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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest News for October 21, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Unzué a happy man

A winning team
Photo: © Unipublic
Click for larger image

The continuation of the top Spanish team iBanesto.com as Illes Baleares next season has greatly relieved team director Eusebio Unzué, who now has a team for the next three years. It's also good news for Spanish cycling, which was faced with the loss of two of its top teams (iBanesto and ONCE) at the end of this season, but now things aren't quite as grim and there's still a good chance that ONCE will continue under another sponsor next year.

"It's a moment of great happiness, especially after the anguish of the last few days," said Unzué in comments to Europa Press on Tuesday. "I am very thankful to all those who have given us their confidence and have believed in this project." He also thanked his riders, 12 of whom have placed their confidence in him that he would find a sponsor for 2004.

Unzué said that the team's strength is in its unity, "despite not having any great figure...we are the top Spanish team and fifth in the world according to the UCI classification, and that is what helped them [Illes Baleares] reconsider the proposal."

As for the team's program, Unzué confirmed that the Giro, Vuelta and World Cup will definitely be on the agenda, as Illes Baleares wants exposure in northern and central Europe. Thus the team will also race more in Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands. The working title for the team is "Islas Baleares Banesto".

Ljungskog finishes year as number 1

Susanne Ljungskog
Photo: © Sirotti
Click for larger image

World Champion Susanne Ljungskog (Bik-Powerplate) has finished the 2003 season as the UCI's top ranked female rider. After winning the World's for the second time in a row, Ljungskog kept her advantage over her nearest rivals, although silver medalist in Hamilton Mirjam Melchers (Farm Frites-Hartol) closed the gap to just 15 points, moving from fifth to second. In third place, a handful of points behind Melchers, is Judith Arndt (Nürnberger) while 2003 World Cup champion Nicole Cooke (Ausra Gruodis) is in fourth, having moved up from seventh.

Plenty of other riders moved up the rankings after the World's in Hamilton, including Edita Pucinskaite (9th - 5th), Anita Valen (11th - 6th), Olga Zabelinskaia (22nd - 15th) and Jeannie Longo (44th - 31st). Others of course suffered the opposite fate, with Joane Somarriba dropping from 3rd to 7th, Sara Carrigan (6th - 10th), Nicole Brändli (4th - 11th) and Olga Slyusareva (15th - 24th).

In the teams rankings, Bik-Powerplate retained its number one spot with 1,468 points, well clear of Nürnberger on 966 points and Farm Frites-Hartol on 883 points. Germany regained the top nations spot with the Netherlands moving up to second (from fifth), just ahead of Australia and Lithuania.

UCI rankings as of October 11, 2003

Individuals
 
1 Susanne Ljungskog (Swe) Bik-Powerplate                     723.50 pts
2 Mirjam Melchers (Ned) Farm Frites-Hartol Cycling Team      708.50
3 Judith Arndt (Ger) Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung          703.00
4 Nicole Cooke (GBr) Ausra Gruodis-Safi                      570.00
5 Edita Pucinskaite (Ltu) S.C. Michela Fanini Record Rox     473.00
6 Anita Valen (Nor) Bik-Powerplate                           405.50
7 Joane Somarriba Arrola (Spa)                               402.00
8 Regina Schleicher (Ger) USC Chirio Forno d'Asolo           351.00
9 Zoulfia Zabirova (Rus) Prato Marathon Bike                 315.10
10 Sara Carrigan (Aus) Bik-Powerplate                        311.30
11 Nicole Brändli (Swi) Prato Marathon Bike                  297.00
12 Olivia Gollan (Aus)                                       285.50
13 Diana Ziliute (Ltu) Acca Due O Pasta Zara Lorena Camicie  271.00
14 Lyne Bessette (Can) Saturn Cycling Team                   262.00
15 Olga Zabelinskaia (Rus)                                   248.40
16 Geneviève Jeanson (Can) Equipe Cycliste Rona-Esker        211.00
17 Rochelle Gilmore (Aus) Ausra Gruodis-Safi                 180.00
18 Oenone Wood (Aus)                                         179.00
19 Jolanta Polikeviciute (Ltu) Team 2002 Aurora RSM          173.00
20 Deirdre Demet-Barry (USA) Team T-Mobile Women's Cycling   166.00
 
Teams
 
1 Bik-Powerplate                                           1,468.10 pts
2 Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung                             966.00
3 Farm Frites-Hartol Cycling Team                            883.00
4 Ausra Gruodis-Safi                                         837.00
5 Prato Marathon Bike                                        758.30
6 Acca Due O Pasta Zara Lorena Camicie                       596.00
7 Saturn Cycling Team                                        525.00
8 Team T-Mobile Women's Cycling Team                         524.00
9 S.C. Michela Fanini Record Rox                             517.00
10 Team 2002 Aurora RSM                                      512.00
 
Nations
 
1 Germany                                                  1,338.00 pts
2 Netherlands                                              1,108.20
3 Australia                                                1,104.80
4 Lithuania                                                1,069.00
5 Russia                                                     930.90
 
Full rankings: Individuals, Teams, Nations

A Vuelta stage in Camp Nou

Next year's Vuelta a España will incorporate a time trial stage finishing in Camp Nou, FC Barcelona's home stadium. The idea was conceived by Vuelta director Enrique Franco, and so far has been met with a good deal of support by the race's sponsors. The stage will be at least 30 kilometres in length.

The Vuelta having a stage finish in Camp Nou follows the successful final stage in 2002 that finished in the Bernabeu stadium in Madrid: FC Barcelona are Real Madrid's arch-rivals.

Operations for Rebellin and Garzelli

Italian riders Davide Rebellin and Stefano Garzelli will both undergo operations this week. On Wednesday, Rebellin will have his left shoulder operated on in Milan, as a result of a crash in La Flèche Wallonne earlier this year. He will have to rest for two weeks before starting rehabilitation in the pool and the gym.

Stefano Garzelli will be operated on on Friday, also in Milan, to get his tonsils out. It's believed that this was the cause of his breathing problems during the last Tour de France. He will stay in hospital for three days.

Domínguez to Saunier Duval

32 year old Spaniard Juan Carlos Domínguez (Phonak) is the latest rider to be signed by the "new" Saunier Duval team. Domínguez has a one year agreement with the squad that will be directed by Joxean Fernández Matxin. Although only winning one race this year (the time trial stage in the Tour de Picardie), Domínguez hopes to be able to repeat his past successes which include the prologue in the Giro d'Italia (2002) and overall victories in the Bicicleta Vasca, Vuelta a Aragon and Vuelta a Asturias in 2001. The latter two races he also won in 1999.

Ride for the Roses this weekend

Cancer survivors and volunteers are gearing up for the annual Ride for the Roses Weekend to celebrate cancer survivorship. Organised by the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF), the charity event takes place between October 24-26 in Austin, Texas. The RftR servers as the celebration and culmination of the Peloton Project, the LAF's major outreach and cancer awareness effort, which has raised more than $3.5 million for survivorship programs and grants this year.

The celebrations will begin with the PowerBar Health & Sports Expo, which will take place from 10 am-6 pm on Friday, Oct. 24, at the Austin Convention Center in downtown Austin. The Expo, where riders and runners obtain their registration packets, will serve as the centre for all weekend events and will continue on Saturday, October 25, from 10 am-5 pm.

Saturday's events will begin with the Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Run for the Roses, which will take place from 8:30-10:30 am in downtown Austin. Participation requires a $50 donation to the LAF, and registration is open until the day of the event or until the first 1,000 slots are filled.

Later Saturday evening, from 6:30-8:00 pm at the Austin Convention Center, the LAF will premiere "A Lion in the House - Stories of Survivorship", a documentary about the lives of three childhood cancer survivors. Immediately following the film's premiere, Lance Armstrong will moderate a discussion about the film, featuring the documentary's participants and its filmmakers. Tickets for this event, which is sponsored by Wells Fargo, can now be purchased online at www.laf.org/events/rftr-movie.html.

On Sunday morning, Oct. 26 at 8:00 am, participants in the Ride for the Roses will take off from the Travis County Expo & Heritage Center. Thousands will ride with Lance through the Texas Hill Country over distances varying from 6 to 100 miles. Participation in the ride requires a $100 donation to the LAF, and registration is open until the day of the event or until the first 5,000 slots are filled.

Throughout Sunday, the "Post Ride Party" will combine food, drinks and live entertainment in celebration of cancer survivorship. Musicians will include Crazy Chester, HoneyBrowne, Jo Dee Messina and South Austin Jug Band. The Post Ride Party will take place from 10:00 am-5:30 pm on Sunday, Oct. 26 at the Travis County Expo & Heritage Center.

Ideal Tile/Brielle Cyclery looking for riders

The New Jersey based Team Ideal Tile/Brielle Cyclery is looking for additional Category 1 and 2 riders for the upcoming 2004 season. Riders based out of the Tri-State area are preferred. Team Ideal Tile is in its sixth year of existence and currently supports eleven riders. Interested riders can contact Christian Young, at teamidealtile@aol.com, or via fax at (732) 899-9463.

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