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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition News for October 20, 2003

Edited by Chris Henry

Sarah Ulmer: "I'm definitely capable of going faster"

By Anthony Tan

Cleaning up at the Track World Cup in Sydney earlier this year
Photo: © Mark Gunter
Click for larger image

Reigning Commonwealth Games champion and record-holder in the individual pursuit, New Zealander Sarah Ulmer, knows she has to do better than her current best if she's to come away with a gold medal at the Olympic Games next year. In fact, with recently crowned hour record holder, world record holder and world champion Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel, new kid on the block Australian Katie Mactier, and Russian fighter Olga Slusareva, Ulmer may have to break her Games record just to walk away with a medal come Athens.

In an interview with Cyclingnews, the 27 year-old from Auckland expressed disappointment with her performance at this year's World Track Championships in Stuttgart, where she finished in fourth place behind Zijlaard-Van Moorsel. After an excellent build-up, where Ulmer won two out of the two rounds she contested at the Track World Cup (including the overall series) and back to back stage wins at the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic, great things were expected from New Zealand's most popular cyclist.

"I just wasn't good enough," replied Ulmer. "I raced 110 per cent, I had a good build up and as far I was concerned, I thought my preparation was as good as last year, but I simply couldn't produce anything better than fourth on the day."

Asked if lack of competition at the Track World Cup poses an issue, Ulmer denies the theory as contributing factor to her unsatisfactory result in Stuttgart: "No one expects to have four world championships at the World Cup events; I think for the purpose that the World Cup serves, the competition is good enough and I certainly keep that in perspective if I happen to win a round of the World Cup," she said.

Responding to Zijlaard-Van Moorsel's comments made after the Track World's, where the Dutchwoman told Cyclingnews her greatest threat next year is born-again track rider Katie Mactier, and that "I have to do 3'29 to beat her [Mactier] when she's in the same shape", Ulmer went only as far as to say she is certainly capable of going faster, but refused to speculate about breaking the magical three minutes, thirty seconds barrier. Zijlaard-Van Moorsel came closest at the Sydney Olympic Games three years ago, breaking Marion Clignet's long-standing world record in a time of three minutes 30.816 seconds.

"I think I'm definitely capable of going faster - my personal best is a 3'32, and I know I can go faster than that," said Ulmer. But it's hard to say whether I can do a sub 3'30 in Athens, because they haven't even built it [the velodrome] yet!"

Click here for Cyclingnews' full interview with Sarah Ulmer.

Superprestige begins

The major European cyclo-cross season is firmly under way with the first round of the Superprestige series. The season-long series kicked off in Ruddervoorde, where defending Superprestige (and Ruddervoorde) champion Sven Nijs will be among the heavy hitters looking to open their 2003-04 accounts. In an interview with La Dernière Heure, Nijs made no secret of his typically big ambitions.

"It's simple, I'm hoping for nothing less than the Superprestige title, but also the World Cup," he said. Nijs, reigning Belgian 'cross champion, won last year's Superprestige ahead of current world champion Bart Wellens and the recently retired Mario De Clercq.

"I feel like I'm in excellent shape," he added. "I've already won two races and twice finished fourth. I feel very strong right now."

2003-2004 Superprestige:

October 19: Ruddervoorde
November 2: St-Michielsgestel
November 23: Asper-Gavere
November 30: Gieten
December 25: Diegem
January 25, 2004: Hoogstraten
February 8: Harnes
February 21: Voorselaar

Brighter outlook for Balearic Islands

The future is once again looking brighter for director Eusebio Unzúe's quest to find a replacement sponsor for 2004. Despite fears that the inability to sign German Jan Ullrich had dashed the chances of sponsorship from the Balearic Islands, the deal appears almost certain. Unzúe traveled to to Mallorca Saturday to meet with representatives from the Balearic government, including regional president Jaume Matas, and hopes to finalise the arrangement soon.

Tenax takes three

The Italian Tenax team has reached agreements with three riders for 2004. Fassa Bortolo's Nicola Loda will join, alongside fellow Italian Renzo Mazzoleni from the Swiss Team Macandina. Tenax has also offered a two year contract to Australian David McPartland, who this season joined the team as a stagiaire.

"I am very happy with the contract and Tenax is happy to take me on so things are looking good for the next two years," McPartland wrote. "It's a relatively small team where I will have the chance to learn and gain experience whilst competing in some of the biggest races in the world."

McPartland anticipates possible rides in Milan-San Remo and the Giro d'Italia in the first half of 2004, as well as an eventual effort to gain selection to the 2004 World's in Verona, Italy.

Martinez, Herrero to Relax

Alberto Martinez appears set to join the Colchon Relax-Fuenlabrada team for 2004. Martinez, a former winner of the Critérium International, was not offered a contract renewal by Euskaltel-Euskadi, with whom he turned professional in 1998. According to a Todociclismo report, the agreement is in place although final contract details must be ironed out before Martinez signs, most likely in early November.

Martinez will likely be joined by fellow Euskaltel rider David Herrero, 24, at Relax.

Javier González to Saunier Duval

Colombian Javier "Chepín" González will join the Italian Saunier Duval team for 2004, according to Spanish daily Marca. González makes the move after four years with his native Orbitel 05 team of Colombia, where he won several races on the national calendar.

24 Hours of Adrenalin

Organisers of the 24 Hours of Adrenalin series have announced their tentative race schedule for 2004. New for next year will be a spring Southern California event as well as a new event on August 14-15 (location to be determined). A new US Solo 24 Hours of Adrenalin Championships will be introduced, taking place May 15-16 in Monterey, California at Laguna Seca Raceway. Final series dates will be announced in the near future.

2004 24 Hours of Adrenalin:

March 27-28: Southern California (tentative) TBD
April 3-4: Southern California (tentative) TBD
April 24-25: The Breaks At Bar-H Mountain Bike Ranch St. Jo, TX
May 15-16: Laguna Seca Including US Solo National Championships Monterey, CA
June 12-13: Kelso Conservation Area Milton, ON
June 26-27: Holiday Farm Dalton, MA
July 17-18: Canmore Nordic Centre Canmore, AB
July 31-August 1: Colorado TBD
August 14-15: Tentative New Event TBD
August 28-29 Hardwood Hills Barrie, ON
September 11-12: BC TBD BC
September 25-26: Hurkey Creek Park Idyllwild, CA
October 16-17: Georgia International Horse Park Conyers, GA
October 30-31: McDowell Mountain Regional Park Fountain Hills, AZ

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