First Edition News for October 15, 2003
Edited by John Stevenson and Anthony Tan
Bartoli to defend Milan-Torino title
Today's 88th edition of Italy's oldest classic, Milano-Torino, will see Michel Bartoli (Fassa Bortolo) attempt to repeat his 2002 win, when he took a bunch sprint after breakaway leader Fabiano Fontanelli crashed as he entered the Fausto Coppi velodrome.
Milano-Torino was first run in 1876, won by Paola Magretti, though its early years were spotty, with only four races between then and 1913. A couple of world wars prevented some subsequent editions.
FDJeux.com & Lapierre: Good for two more years
Madiot believes Cooke can win Roubaix
Encouraged by FDJeux.com's success at the Centenary Tour de France, most notably Bradley McGee's prologue win and subsequent spell in the maillot jaune and Baden Cooke's green jersey victory as overall winner of the points competition, Lapierre Cycles has decided to continue their relationship with FDJeux.com until 2005.
"It's a relationship that's been in place for two seasons now," said FDJeux.com team manager Marc Madiot. "There was an introduction through Shimano, and we were at the end of our sponsorship with Gitane at the time - we were with them for five years - so things came together naturally."
With five promising neo-professsionals joining the roster in 2004 including yet another Australian, Mark Renshaw, Madiot displays ongoing enthusiasm for his growing band of Aussie talent.
"He has good qualities for sprinting," said Madiot said about Renshaw. "He's young, he's rough around the edges, he needs to mature... but he has good qualities." Renshaw's success on the track as part of the Australian national team helped get him noticed, but Madiot shows no ambivalence about where Renshaw should be heading. "He's with us for a career on the road, to win sprints."
Madiot even goes so far as to say that Tour de France green jersey victor Baden Cooke can one day win the queen of the Classics, Paris Roubaix.
"Yes, of course! At one point or another... "
"I've had an excellent relationship for several years with McGee; he was the first to come, the precursor," he added. "He has the profile to get through the mountains and do well in the stage races, maybe up to three weeks," said Madiot of McGee's progression. "But he still needs at least two or three years."
Click here to read the feature on the FDJeux.com and Lapierre partnership.
ONCE-Eroski for Trittico d'Autunno
The ONCE-Eroski team has announced the eight riders who will race the trio of events this weekend that make up Italy's season-closing 'Trittico d'Autunno'. Starting with Milano-Torino today, the team will contest Thursday's Giro del Piemonte and finally the Giro di Lombardia on Saturday, which is also the final round of this year's World Cup.
The team is: Alberto Contador, Allan Davis, Jan Hruska, Igor Gonzalez De Galdeano, Isidro Nozal, Joaquín Rodríguez, Marcos Serrano and Ángel Vicioso.
Aitken working for Athens
Australian Olympic gold medalist and Cyclingnews fitness Q&A contributor Brett Aitken is preparing to his bid to qualify for the 2004 Athens Olympics, according to a report in Adelaide's Advertiser newspaper.
Aitken in planning to ride a qualifying time trial at the Adelaide Superdrome track in November, an essential step if he is to make the squad for Athens. Unlike previous years, when Aitken's results have been enough to gain him a place in the team, this year he has to impress the selectors.
"I am 100 per cent committed. I want to make that clear," Aitken told the Advertiser. "This is the most excited I've been about racing since Sydney. It will be up to the selectors though. I need to do a qualifying time to get in the squad - they still have to pick the team after that."
Aitken hasn't raced at international level since the Goodwill Games in 2001, hence the need to jump though selection hoops, but he has had a solid domestic season, and says he's almost at peak fitness. "I'm just one step away from being back to my best form," said Aitken. "I've got the 10 days of the Herald Sun Tour starting on Thursday and then the six-day Queensland Tour. After those two tours I will be in my best form since the Olympics. I know I will be the fittest I've been for years."
The November meet at the Superdrome is one of only two opportunities for riders to make selection for the Australian track squad. Aitken has already said he expects selection to favour riders who can defend Australia's team pursuit world record, and he is shooting for probably the only spot for a non-pursuit rider.
USA Cycling revamps MTB & road nationals for 2004
In a flurry of press releases yesterday, USA Cycling officially confirmed long-rumoured major changes to the 2004 US mountain bike nationals championships and NORBA national series, and revealed a new unified road nationals week that will comprise junior, espoir and master category championships. All three event changes/additions will be co-organized by Team Big Bear and Blue Wolf Events in partnership with USA Cycling.
Separate event for MTB nationals
Perhaps the most significant change is that the US will finally come into line with most other nations in awarding its mountain bike national championships at a single-day event open only to riders from the USA, to be held at Mammoth Mountain, California in September. The US national championships was previously awarded to the best US rider over the course of the NORBA series. Because NORBA's series is open to foreign riders, this often led to the slightly embarrassing spectacle of a US champion who hadn't won a race all season.
The change, welcomed by virtually everyone involved, will align the U.S. with the rest of the world in the way it crowns its national champions. It will also provide the opportunity for Americans to contest a true national championship against each other, with no foreign riders being allowed to participate.
The inaugural U.S. Mountain Bike National Championships are slated for September 23-26, 2004. A qualification system for the championships will be put in place, and details will be released in the near future, according to USAC.
Changes in store for 2004-05 NORBA Series
USA Cycling also announced the schedule for the 2004-05 NORBA National Mountain Bike Series that encompasses location changes designed to bring events closer to metropolitan areas, along with the proposed event inclusions to encourage greater participation.
In an effort to bring the sport of mountain biking to a larger audience, the 2004 series will kick off in Waco, Texas, while 2005's series will begin in Comfort, Texas. Snowmass Resort in Aspen, Colorado will also host a round of the series in each of the next two years. All five venues that hosted events in 2003 will return for the 2004-05 season.
Also in the works are format changes that include a four-race marathon series, a proposed point-to-point cross-country race, and a pro team relay. A stage race format that includes off-road time trials, cross-country and short-track events will also be introduced in a number of rounds. These changes will combine with the classic four stand-alone disciplines of downhill, mountain cross, short-track, and cross-country.
100 national titles to be awarded at Park City Cycling Festival
Finally, an 11-day event in Park City, Utah will play host to national road championship competition for junior, espoir, and master categories in 2004, and will crown 100 national champions in men's and women's time trial, criterium, and road race events.
Scheduled for August 12-22 at Deer Valley Resort, the event will feature the first-ever women's espoir road race and time trial, newly created events that will replace the current format that crowns the espoir women's national champion. The festival will also include tandem racing in both elite and master classifications. Individual national titles will be awarded to 24 juniors, four espoirs, and 53 masters, while tandem championships will go to three elite and 16 master categories.
Although details are still being finalized, the road races will start and finish at Deer Valley Resort and feature a tour of the outlying communities, while the criterium will be held on a circuit within the resort itself. The time trial will highlight one of the nation's most unique landmarks, the Great Salt Lake, with a course planned on Antelope Island.
New England 'cross gets underway this weekend
The New England UCI cyclo-cross calendar kicks off with Round 1 of the Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series this Sunday at the Downeast Cyclo-Cross in New Gloucester, Maine.
The season-opener has a new, less brutal course than past years from design master Tom Stevens, as the Downeast Cyclo-Cross moves to a new venue. While the leg-breaking ski-hill run will be gone, Stevens has guaranteed a challenging race, including a long, though less steep run at the first-time course in New Gloucester.
The biggest weekend of the New England season will be the C2 Worcester/Gloucester double. Worcester is offering a full, equal C2 prize list to the Elite Women in only the second year of the event. With almost $1000 to win, it will push the total prize money for the day to over $7000, and $12,000 for the weekend when combined with the now-classic race at Stage Fort Park on Sunday in Gloucester.
Top riders are expected to attend many of the Verge Series races and Worcester, including last year's champions in the elite men's and elite women's categories, Marc Gullickson (Redline) and Mary McConnelough (Seven Cycles), Junior National Champion Jessie Anthony (Saturn Development), and under-23 National Champion Adam Craig (Giant), former National Champion Todd Wells (Mongoose), and the Clif Bar team with Andy Jacques-Mayne, Jackson Stewart, Carmen D'Aluisio, and Gina Hall. Rumors of an appearance by Daniele Pontoni have been circulating and preliminary arrangements made, but no confirmation of his start as of yet. Allison Dunlap has also confirmed for Worcester/Gloucester.
7Up/Maxxis gets 'cross
Despite its imminent demise, the 7Up/Maxxis team will have on last hurrah in the 'cross season, supporting two riders from Boulder, Colorado in national and state cyclo-cross events.
Brandon Dwight and Ben Turner are on the staff at Cycle-Smart coaching, and both have been racing cyclo-cross for a number of years. Dwight had Super Cup podium finishes in 2000 while Turner was the overall Collegiate champion at Super Cup in 2000. Turner rode for 7UP/Colorado Cyclist in 2001, but was sidelined due to an injury in 2002.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)