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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition News for October 6, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones & Chris Henry

A "petit miracle" in Tours

Happy Erik
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

Telekom's evergreen sprinter Erik Zabel defied the odds on the Avenue de Grammont in Tours by beating this year's sprint king Alessandro Petacchi to win the 97th edition of Paris-Tours. Zabel is having a solid end of season, beating Petacchi in a head to head sprint in the Vuelta, as well as taking the points jersey.

After his win, a visibly delighted Zabel told French TV that "it was a petit miracle" that he won today. "Petacchi started early (at 250m) and he had the wind in his face. I managed to pass him with 50 meters to go to win..."

Today was Zabel's eighth career world cup win, coming nine years after his first ever in Paris-Tours in 1994.

Petacchi was disappointed today, as he was not only looking for his 25th win of the 2003 season, but also his first ever World Cup victory. But a cold he got after the Vuelta and a broken tooth during the race slowed him down.

The Fassa Bortolo man told RAI-TV's Alessandra Di Stefano that "I wasn't sure of my condition today. I made my move and went too early...after 250km, I just didn't have it."

Paris-Tours coverage

Full results & report
Live report

Rodriguez may do the World's

Although not initially named as part of the USA's 12 man squad for the World Championships, sprinter Fred Rodriguez may be a last minute inclusion for Hamilton. Cyclingnews spoke to Fred before the start of the 97th Paris-Tours, where he was Vini Caldirola's protected rider and eventually finished 9th.

"After this I go back to the States," said Rodriguez. "I might be doing World's, I'm not sure yet. At first I wasn't but they've asked me to do it so we'll see. The team is already set but we have to see if the other guys in the team are really riding well or not. I'll probably know tomorrow."

Rodriguez believes that this year's World Championships will be very selective: "I think it's going to be a really hard course, a lot harder than most of the teams think," he said. "I'm going there to help George [Hincapie] so I really don't have any expectations for myself. George has really been concentrating on doing well [in Hamilton] so I think he should do well."

Vandevelde looking forward to Hamilton

One of the finalised members for the US World's team, Christian Vandevelde, told Cyclingnews that he's looking forward to racing in Hamilton with 12 riders. "I haven't done the World's with a true team," said Vandevelde today. "In '98 we were there with Lance and tried to do our best for him but we weren't really that strong. This year we have a full twelve guys and I don't think that's happened for a long time. I talked to George [Hincapie] and those guys yesterday and he said he did seven hours. Anybody who can do seven hours on his own must be going well."

"I think we could be great underdogs," Vandevelde believes. "Nobody knows how it's going to play out with the race."

Saiz keeps his hand in

ONCE team manager Manolo Saiz is still keeping his chances alive of managing a division I team next year. He has already paid the UCI €12,000 to register his team for next season, however he is still waiting to secure the major sponsor(s). The latest report is that there is an Italian company with a branch in the Netherlands interested in buying the team structure. The core of the team would remain, including Beloki, Nozal, Gonzalez de Galdeano and Vicioso, as well as team staff Saiz and Pablo Anton. At most the team would have 18 riders.

One of Saiz's current riders, Joseba Beloki, is holding out hope that Manolo will find a new sponsor in time. "I have a feeling I will race abroad next year, although until I speak with Manolo nothing will be clear," Beloki told Europa Press. "I've always said that I would be happy to race in a Spanish team, but the only one that has guarantees is Euskaltel and I have not received any offers from them...I'll return to the times when I raced with Festina, but first I'll hope for a surprise from Manolo.

Beloki is certain that whatever team he joins, he wants to be the leader for the Tour de France. "For example I don't see myself racing with Armstrong in his team, because having the same objective would be impossible," he said.

Beloki is still not able to race after his terrible crash during the Tour de France, but is improving every day. "I really desire to start again but I'm also calm...I watched the Vuelta with a lot of envy. The team was good but they didn't win, I think that there was bad luck when they had it in their hands. In spite of the defeat, I'm happy for Roberto and for his victory in a year that has not been good for him, he deserves it."

Ampler out of coma

The condition of German Uwe Ampler, who was hit by a car over a week ago while training, is getting better each day. The 39 year old ex-professional is reported to be out of a coma now, and doctors are hoping that there will be no permanent brain damage after he suffered serious head trauma.

Rafael Casero to Saunier Duval

The ambitious Saunier Duval team (currently Vini Caldirola-Saunier Duval) has signed a second new rider to its ranks for next season. Rafael Casero (Paternina), brother of 2001 Vuelta winner Angel Casero, will don the colours of Saunier Duval in 2004. Casero's palmares this year include a stage of the Vuelta Comunidad Valenciana, second in the Spanish championships and fourth overall in the Volta a Catalunya.

Sastre signs again for CSC

Spanish rider Carlos Sastre has signed a new contract with Team CSC for one more year, according to Sastre and the team had previously indicated their desire to stay together, but the contract was only signed after the Vuelta a España.

Lotto riders sign for 2004

Six Lotto-Domo riders have signed new contracts for 2004: Stefan van Dijk, Wim Vansevenant, Leif Hoste, Kevin Van Impe, Koos Moerenhout and Gert Steegmans.

Rondelez to Jacques

Cyclo-cross specialist Björn Rondelez has the possibility to turn pro with the new Chocolade Jacques team. At the moment he has a contract with Wincor Nixdorf-Spemco to ride 'cross until the end of December, but next year he can become a full pro with Chocolade Jacques.

Van Impe team director?

Belgian 1976 Tour de France winner and six-time King of the Mountains champion Lucien Van Impe may find himself behind the wheel of a team car next year. He has an offer to become a sports director for an as yet undisclosed division II (or possibly division I) team. According to VRT Teletekst, the team is being built by Gio Verbogt from the 12win marketing company, and will be partly sponsored by Spanish company Massi (bikes and clothing).

"I've been contacted, but at the moment I can only say that there is nothing official," said Van Impe. "At the moment I'm still waiting until the project becomes more concrete. It would be a team with older pro's completed with espoirs."

People Cycle launches Heritage Cyclocross series

People Cycle, Inc. has announced its inaugural grassroots cyclocross series. The series, entitled the Heritage Cyclocross series, is described as a "return to New England cyclocross heritage" and will feature events for all levels, including beginner and kid (under 13) races, as well as an overall series jersey.

The events are aimed at emphasising the fun of cyclocross, while attracting individuals unaccustomed or unfamiliar with bicycle racing. The series, presented in conjunction with the Corner Cycle Cycling Club, kicks off on October 25th with the Canton MHS Cyclo-Cross Race (Canton, MA). It then heads south to Cape Cod on November 9th before moving to Plymouth, on November 15th, for one of New England’s longest running 'cross races. The series concludes at the Mike Wiley Memorial 'Cross race in Cape Cod on December 14th. Proceeds from both Cape Cod events will benefit the People Cycle Junior Development Team.

Series sponsors include Rudy Project, Honey Stinger, Bici-Imports (Stelvio Teamwear), and Corner Cycle of Cape Cod. In addition, Todd Crisafulli and North Atlantic Velo Club, and Bill Sykes and International Cycling are supporting the Series.

For series information visit People Cycle (

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