First Edition News for October 25, 2003
Edited by Jeff Jones
Spanish react to the Tour
Each year the Spanish riders are typically some of the main protagonists in the Tour de France, which nearly always passes close to the French/Spanish border in the Pyrenees. In 2003, Spanish riders such as Joseba Beloki, Haimar Zubeldia and Iban Mayo played important roles, with the latter two eventually finishing in the top six on GC. In today's L'Equipe, the following riders were asked about their thoughts on the 2004 edition. As expected, the mountain time trial of l'Alpe d'Huez (stage 16) was a big talking point.
Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel-Euskadi, 5th in the 2003 Tour)
"This parcours suits riders like me perfectly, even if the time trial up l'Alpe will be really tough. But I am climbing better and better."
Iban Mayo (Euskaltel-Euskadi, 6th in the 2003 Tour)
"I'm very pleased with the route of this Tour. I know l'Alpe d'Huez well, I won there last time, and so it's really a nice surprise to learn that we will climb it against the clock. Really, this Tour will be great."
Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (ONCE-Eroski)
"The difficulties in the final week will make this Tour longer. Since I've been leader, for the Tour, I lose strength as the days pass. This time, I think everyone will find it long. The time trial on l'Alpe d'Huez is a type of stage that is not favourable for me, but it is super for the public. It will neither favour the climbers nor the rouleurs. And as always, the strongest will win."
Lefevere says Bettini can win the Tour
After examining the 2004 Tour route yesterday, Quick.Step-Davitamon director Patrick Lefevere is pointing to Paolo Bettini as an outside chance to win the Tour. Bettini, the World Cup champion for two years running and currently ranked number one in the world, is known for his explosive attacking style in the one day races. But can he climb mountains with the best?
"I see more people who can contend than in previous years," Lefevere was quoted in Het Laatste Nieuws. "Bettini for example. He can go a long way with the yellow on his back. Maybe even to Paris. If he really applies himself to it, certainly. Have you seen any cols of more than 2000m? I haven't. The mountain time trial? He can certainly do that. And on the way there are enough bonus seconds to gain to create a gap."
"Furthermore our team will be even stronger for the coming days, with Virenque and co-leaders like Mercado and Pecharroman. And also Van Goolen can do well on this parcours."
UCI confirms World's samples negative
Professional Cycling Associations react angrily
The UCI's Anti-Doping Commission has confirmed that the analysis of all urine samples taken during the Hamilton World Championships (except for four samples from junior riders) has yielded negative results for banned substances. The analysis was carried out in Montreal and Lausanne (for EPO and NESP detection).
In light of the accusations that were leveled at some of the elite riders after news leaked out about their identities, the UCI issued a statement that explained its position on out-of-competition testing. "Only part of the out-of-competition controls are decided on the basis of blood examination results, the Commission reserving the right to add riders to the list as it wants," read the statement. "Taking into account the strict confidentiality of the procedures, it is absolutely impossible to establish a direct connection between the names of riders submitted to out-of-competition testing and the motives of these controls."
The international Professional Cycling Association (CPA) and the Italian Professional Cycling Association (ACCPI) reacted angrily to the developments of the past few weeks, mainly because riders had been unjustly accused of testing positive.
CPA president Francesco Moser commented that "In future we could take on radical measures until there is a refusal, on the part of the riders, to carry out out of competition testing. The false indiscretions over the alleged positives of athletes taking part in the last World Championships represented a shameful episode. The World Champion and other top riders were branded unjustly with doping on the front pages of the newspapers and in the opening titles of television shows. Enough now. The riders cannot continue to be treated like meat after being slaughtered, at the mercy of unprepared people or worse, in bad faith."
Moser continued, "Perhaps not everyone knows that these are the same athletes who fund the controls with a percentage of their prizemoney. We thought it was worth the trouble to support these sacrifices to ensure the greatest transparency for our environment. We hope we didn't make a mistake."
Ullrich a "Man of the Year"
Jan Ullrich has continued to be honoured for his famous waiting gesture on Luz Ardiden during stage 15 of this year's Tour de France. Ullrich was recognised as one of the men who have helped improve the world this year at the recent World Awards in Hamburg. Nobel peace prize winner and former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev presented the awards, as president of the Austrian based organisation that runs the World Awards.
"I have asked myself for a long time, why am I here?" Ullrich questioned, to which the laudator answered: "After a crash of his rival Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France he showed fairness and waited, he lost the race, but won the sympathies of millions." Ullrich couldn't let that go, and responded, "For me, fairness is the most normal thing in the world."
Other men to receive awards included Polish president Lech Walesa, actor Michael Douglas, cancer researcher Dietrich Grönemeyer, doctors in the Iraqi war, opera singer Placido Domingo, former "Superman" Christopher Reeve, Yusuf Islam (the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens), German entertainer/magician Siegfried Fischbacher (minus his tiger-mauled partner Roy), Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb, music band The Pet Shop Boys and others.
Andrzej Bek appointed U.S. sprint track program director
USA Cycling has appointed Andrzej Bek as the Sprint Track Program Director for the U.S. Cycling Team. Bek returns after holding a similar position from 1986-88, and again from 1994-99. Bek's responsibilities are to mould Olympians out of the current crop of American track sprinters. In 1996, Bek led the U.S. Cycling team to two silver medals in the Atlanta Olympic Games. He coached Marty Nothstein and Erin Hartwell, who placed second in the men's sprint and one kilometre time trial respectively.
Bek returns to USAC after a year as the director of the Saturn Cycling Team, where he helped the team to arguably its best season ever, sweeping the individual and team classifications in the USAC National Racing Calendar series. Saturn's manager Tom Schuler commented that "Andrzej contributed an immense amount to the success of the Saturn Cycling Team in 2003. Andrzej brought a level of commitment and focus to the team and all our athletes responded to his intensity with incredible results, I give Andrzej all the credit for motivating our guys. I know that Andrzej will shine in his new position with USA Cycling. Based on my 12 months with Andrzej, the USA Cycling Team and its athletes are very fortunate to have Andrzej on board."
Tough weekend for Vergegear.com MAC Series
The Vergegear.com Mid-Atlantic Cyclo-Cross Championship Series (MAC) heads into an action packed weekend this weekend with the first set of back to back races. Saturday sees riders returning to Granogue Estate in Wilmington, Delaware for Granogue Cyclo-Cross (UCI Cat 3). On Sunday the action moves to a brand new venue in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania for Prophecy Creek Cross.
Last year Marc Gullickson (Redline) beat Saturn's Tim Johnson to take the win at Granogue. This year Johnson will not be on the line but Gullickson will be facing former teammate Todd Wells (Mongoose/Hyundai) and the Clif Bar duo of Andy Jacques-Maynes and Jackson Stewart. Other top riders for the weekend include, Ben Jacques-Maynes (Family Cycling Center), Jacob Stechmann (Alan Factory Team) and current MAC series leader, Ryan Leech (Fort/GPOA). Rising star, Jeremy Powers (NCC/Bikereg), who counts MAC Round 2 amongst his early season wins, is expected to be there along with another U23 rider, series leader, Greg Wittwer (CRC/Extreme Sports).
In the Elite Women's field, the"Mid-Atlantic Sisterhood" (MAS) will face the other half of the Clif Bar team. Carmen D'Alusio, last year's winner at Granogue, and teammate Gina Hall, fresh off a win last Sunday in Redwood City, California, are scheduled to race both days. Betsy Schauer (Fort/GPOA) heads into the weekend wearing the Vergegear.com leader's jersey. The start line promises to look like a who's who of East Coast Cross as numerous top riders from both the Mid-Atlantic region and New England are expected to make the trip.
In the Masters 35+ class, Chris D'Alusio (Clif Bar) is rumoured to be lining up on race day. Other riders to watch this weekend include the current series leader in the Masters 35+ class, Mike Hebe (Monex), Aaron Snyder (Tailwind), series leader in the Juniors category and Fred Wittwer (Charlottesville Racing) who currently leads the Masters 45+ class. Tammy Ebersole (Evolution Racing) leads the Masters Women 35+ class and Steve Rescigno (Bethel Cycle) tops the Men's B class.
Racing starts both days at 10 am. Cycle-Smart coaches will be holding a cyclo-cross clinic prior to the start of racing at the October 26th Prophecy Creek race. For more details, see www.monkeyhillcs.com/mac.
Orwell Club chase sponsorship
By Shane Stokes, Irishcycling.com
The Orwell Wheelers club, which in the past helped nurture the careers of Irish professionals Stephen Roche, Paul Kimmage and Laurence Roche, will unveil the new sponsors of its team on Tuesday following a recent campaign to secure backing. In a somewhat novel approach the Dublin club has been selling tickets to companies and individuals for €150 apiece, three of which will be randomly selected by draw to determine the names which will adorn club clothing in 2004 and 2005.
Limited to 150 participants, first prize in the draw will see the company or individual concerned become the title sponsor of the club, commanding a prominent position on club gear and being named as the backers of teams in events such as the FBD Milk Rás, the Rás Mumhan and the Gorey 3 day. Second and third prizes will also secure a place on club clothing, thus providing important exposure for the sponsors concerned.
"It has been pretty positive so far, there seems to be a lot of people interested," said Dave Tansey of the Orwell Wheelers. "There seems to be a lot of support from local businesses. As far as I know the idea is new to cycling here."
"I think we should sell 100 tickets, but am hopeful that we might achieve a bit more than that as there are people due to get back to us before Tuesday. The plan is to use the money raised to back teams in big races. We are hoping to also use it to hold a couple of couple of coaching weekends and also perhaps to run some fitness tests for club members. That would be of benefit to everyone in the club, not just those who are already racing."
Further information is available from Dave Tansey at 00 353 1 2981485 (w), or from Eddy Lynch at 00353 87 2562909.
Dick Lane Velodrome flea market and swap meet
One of the few velodromes in the United States closed indefinitely on September 6 due to required repairs estimated at $100,000-150,000. The Dick Lane Velodrome, one of the most used velodromes in the US over the last 29 years, was closed by the city of East Point, Georgia, a city which is facing serious economic and fiscal challenges on all fronts and is incapable of meeting the repair requirements.
As part of the effort to help save this facility, the East Point Velodrome Association will hold its second Flea Market and Swap Meet at the Dick Lane Velodrome this Saturday, October 25. Cyclists of any sort are welcome to buy, swap, or sell equipment that needs a new home from 12:00 PM until 4:00 PM. Individuals may enter the swap meet with one item to swap/sell at no additional charge above the regular admission price.
More information: www.dicklanevelodrome.com.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)