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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

Latest News for October 15, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Rebellin looking forward to Lombardy

Italian Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) is looking forward to the Tour of Lombardy this weekend, where he hopes to be one of the main protagonists. Rebellin will line up today in Milan-Turin, which he is also treating seriously. "Milan-Turin is an important race in itself, not just as a lead up to the Tour of Lombardy," Rebellin was quoted by ANSA. As for being left out of the unsuccessful Italian World's team, Rebellin commented that "The Italians are always very strong in the one day races: leaving winning elements at home proved to be disadvantageous."

Somarriba outlines her objectives

Anger at lack of technical support in road race

World TT Champ
Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

Part of the successful Spanish World's team, women's time trial gold medalist Joane Somarriba has outlined her plans for 2004. After flying home from Hamilton, Somarriba gave a press conference in Bilbao on Tuesday, where she also explained what happened in the road race. As one of the favourites in the race, many were surprised to see Somarriba drop off the pace in the last two laps and finish 22nd, 2'32 behind the winner. But an unfortunate mechanical problem combined with a lack of assistance proved to be her undoing.

"It was a tremendous disappointment," said Somarriba of the road race. "What I went through on Saturday was frustration and a lot of anger because I was feeling great. Everything went well, we controlled things with the aim of attacking on the last two laps and doing some damage. When I was halfway up the climb I saw that my cable had broken and I had to climb in the smallest gear and with a lot of difficulty against the world's best. I started to raise my hand and upon looking back I saw not a single car coming and I felt a lot of frustration. In the professionals' race on Sunday, when Oscar had a mechanical, he had bikes and all the things necessary so he could continue racing. On the other hand I was cast aside. It hurt me deeply, and that anger is going to remain inside me."

Despite this, Somarriba was very happy with her gold medal in the time trial, which was a childhood dream come true. "I believe that this jersey and the gold medal in the time trial is my consolation," she said. "I feel happy but it's hard to assimilate that I'm World Champion, it sounds too strange to me."

Next year could be a big one for Somarriba, who will have three main objectives: the Giro d'Italia, Olympic Games in Athens and World Championships. Her biggest goal will be the Olympic time trial, she said. "The possibility to be Olympic champion is something that is within my reach and that motivates me to fight and to continue training as I have done these last years. The Olympic time trial is not going to have difficult corners, it requires aerodynamics and a great deal of power because it has enough climbs in the 24 kilometres. It's a course that suits me. I'll be starting the Olympics as World Champion and that is something very important with a view towards morale and to continue fighting to be good there."

Somarriba will not, on the other hand, be defending her title in the women's Tour de France in 2004, mainly because it finishes five days before the Olympics. "The aim will be to do the Giro to prepare for the Olympics," she said.

As for retirement plans, 2004 could be her last although Somarriba's husband Ramontxu González Arrieta is trying to convince her to go on for one more year in order to do the World's in Madrid.

Antequera anticipates no problems in future

Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

Successful Spanish national selector Francisco Antequera expects that there will be no problems in future World Championships by having three team leaders, such as Oscar Freire, Alejandro Valverde and Igor Astarloa. "I don't think it's a double edged sword, in fact Igor Astarloa and Alejandro Valverde - gold and silver - confirmed at the World's that they are prepared to assume the leadership of the team," said Antequera after arriving in Madrid this morning. "The guys will keep working for Oscar Freire, and as it happened in Hamilton, it will be the race that decides the leader. What is clear is that three are better than none. One of the keys to Astarloa's success was that Freire was very closely watched by his rivals. Next year it would be the reverse. The important thing is that we have obtained the objective and that harmony was maintained in the team, without a doubt it's that unity that makes us stronger and different to the rest."

Antequera was very concerned at losing his "wild car" Oscar Sevilla at the beginning of the race due to a crash. "He had freedom to do what he wanted and we lost an excellent option with his withdrawal. And in the final we weren't doing too well with the mechanical problems of Oscar Freire, who had to change his bike three times and had problems with his chain, and also Igor Astarloa's crash with one lap to go. Exasperating situations, but we managed to solve it with the calmness of the champions."

Quebec to be considered in 2008

Quebec City's plans to host part of the Tour de France in 2008 during the City's 400th birthday celebrations are being seriously considered by the organisers of the Tour. If successful, Canada would be the first non-European country ever to host the Tour. However there are several logistical hurdles to be overcome, namely the transport of 4,000 people and 1,600 vehicles across the Atlantic Ocean in a short space of time.

"The idea of participating in Quebec's celebration is very dear to us," said race boss Jean-Marie Leblanc to AP. "However there is an objective, technical, practical side of this to be studied and worked out. It will all take time to sort out and we will take all of 2004 and likely part of 2005 to examine it.

Euskaltel to discuss Nozal with Saiz

Euskaltel's manager Miguel Madariaga will discuss with ONCE's Manolo Saiz the possible signing of Vuelta star Isidro Nozal for next season. Nozal's personal manager José Antonio González Linares has already had contacts with the Euskaltel team, and has indicated Nozal's desire to ride with the all-Basque outfit.

"He is a great rider and for us it would be incredible to have him," Euskaltel's Miguel Madariaga told Europa Press. "I have spent a lot of money to keep my existing riders. I don't know what I can ask of Isidro and I don't have a great deal of money to offer him. The money I had left I've already offered to the Osa brothers, and they haven't answered me, which means that the Osas are above that kind of money."

Madariaga said that he would speak with ONCE's managers Manolo Saiz and Pablo Anton today, as he does not wish to interfere with other team's plans. Nozal has offers to stay in the ONCE team structure, although this is of course yet to be finalised.

Koen Barbé close to Vlaanderen

Belgian U23 champion Koen Barbé is close to signing a contract with Vlaanderen-T Interim, which would leave the team with one extra spot. "Trainer Ferdi Van Den Haute says that we could use him best," said team director Roger Swerts to VRT. "The contract is ready, we're only missing his signature."

Hip operation for Kleynen

Steven Kleynen (Vlaanderen-T Interim) has had to undergo a hip operation on Tuesday, which will put him out of action for several months. The Belgian started experiencing a lot of pain in his hip after the Luk Cup in Buhl, and doctors ordered an operation. He will spend the next six weeks in a wheelchair, and team director Roger Swerts doesn't expect him back on the bike until January.

Sydor to Rocky Mountain Crystal Decisions

Top Canadian mountain biker Alison Sydor will ride for the Rocky Mountain Crystal Decisions Race Team next season. The triple World Champion and World Cup Champion is aiming for the Olympic gold medal next year in Athens.

Heritage Cyclo-cross Series schedule

There are less than two weeks to go until the four race Heritage Cyclo-cross Series kicks off in Canton, Massachusetts on October 25. Organisers People Cycle have now released the event schedule and details of the series.

Canton MHS Cyclo-Cross Race - Oct. 25

Returning for 2003, the Canton race should prove to be an exciting start to series. The course, held at the Massachusetts Hospital School, is a fast, mostly flat 1.5 km loop featuring a short paved climb, plenty of grass, some fast dirt double and single track, a few sharp turns, and three sets of barriers. Part of the proceeds on the day will be donated to the MHS wheelchair athletics program. For information go to:

Coonamessett Eco 'Cross - Nov. 9

In cooperation with Coonamessett Farm and the Alchemy Farm Ecological Community, the first Cape Cod event takes place near the Coonamessett Conservation area. Riders will face a technical course that winds across the Coonamessett Farm area, traversing a difficult climb and several barrier sections. The course should prove ideal for spectators, with the nearby Cafe overlooking much of the course. Proceeds from the race will benefit the People Cycle Junior Development Foundation. For information go to:

Plymouth Cyclocross - Nov. 15

It is only fitting that Bill Sykes and Plymouth, home of one of the longest running cross events, play host to a Heritage Series race. Site of two National Championships, Plymouth Cyclocross claims to offer one of the most challenging courses in New England: ample wide grass sections, a challenging technical descent and two stiff run-ups help keep the heart rate at this race. For information go to:

Mike Wiley Memorial 'Cross Race- Dec. 14

Falmouth High School will host the final event in the Heritage Cross series. Small changes have been made to the course, but most of the "fun" course sections remain to offer riders a sufficient challenge. Named in honour of Nantucketer Mike Wiley, Corner Cycle Patron and all around nice guy, the course remains largely unchanged with many fast, grassy sections, wooded trails, at least one run-up, a tricky loose chip descent and climb and many barriers. Proceeds from the race will benefit the People Cycle Junior Development Foundation. For information go to:

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