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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition News for October 26, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Cyclo-Cross World Cup opens in Turin

Sven Nijs a favourite
Photo: © Luc Claessen

Sunday, October 26 marks the first round of the 2003/2004 Cyclo-cross World Cup, to be held in Turin, Italy. The six race series will have subsequent rounds in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, France and the Netherlands over the next four months. The Turin event will take place in the park of Pellerina, quite close to the city centre, over a 2.96 km parcours which has been described as fast but technical, mixing grass, asphalt and dirt sections with a number of testing hills.

The men's race, which will commence at 13:00 CET, will pit the all-conquering Belgians against the rest of the World. Defending World Cup champion Bart Wellens will be one of the top favourites, alongside compatriot Sven Nijs and the rest of the Belgian team (Ben Berden, Erwin Vervecken, Sven Vanthourenhout, Wesley Van Der Linden). The main challengers will include Dutchmen Richard Groenendaal and Maarten Nijland, Poles Tadeusz Korzeniewski and Dariusz Gil, Italian veteran Daniele Pontoni, Swiss Michael Baumgartner, Slovak Robert Glajza, Czech Petr Dlask, Frenchman David Derepas, German Jens Reuker, USA's Jonathan Page and Britain's Matt Ellis.

The women's race, which starts at 12:00 CET, will mark the start of the first ever Cyclo-cross World Cup for women. Challengers for the honours are expected to include Anja Nobus and Véronique Belleter (Belgium), Daphny van den Brand and Marianne Vos (Netherlands) and Laurence Leboucher (France).

Luca Paolini injured in Japan

By Miwako Sasaki, Japanese Cycle Sports

The 12th edition of the Japan Cup to be held this Sunday may have lost one of the favourites. Luca Paolini (Quick.Step-Davitamon) injured his right shoulder when he took part in an cyclotourist event on Saturday morning where Japanese fans can ride the course of the Japan Cup with the professionals. When an amateur rider moved towards him on the descent, he managed to avoid him but hit his right shoulder against a pole on the road side (possibly a traffic pole).

Paolini was taken to hospital and was diagnosed with a strong contusion to his right collarbone, although X-rays suggest that there are no fractures. He was in pain on Saturday evening and will make his final decision whether to ride on Sunday morning.

Pevenage unsure whether to go with Ullrich

Bianchi team director Rudy Pevenage is not certain yet whether he will accept Jan Ullrich's offer to be his personal advisor next year. Although Ullrich will be riding for T-Mobile next season, there is no spot there for Pevenage, who will have to put up with being on the outside if he wants to stay with his protégé.

In Paris last week, Pevenage told SID that "I first want to wait and see what happens with team Bianchi. That will be decided in the next new days." Pevenage is looking for more sponsors for the team, which is struggling to survive without the presence of Ullrich.

VDB to Fassa? Ferretti lays down the law

After his mutually agreed upon separation from Quick.Step-Davitamon last week, Belgian cyclist Frank Vandenbroucke has been linked with Fassa Bortolo, among other teams. Negotiations between the two parties are not particularly advanced at the moment, with Fassa manager Giancarlo Ferretti saying that he has received two phone calls from Vandenbroucke's management. The question is, will he be able to survive under Ferretti's leadership, which is at least as strict as Patrick Lefevere's?

"I know Vandenbroucke's story," Ferretti was quoted in Het Nieuwsblad. "I was even interested when he slammed the door on Cofidis. I know that there is still a long court process following the Sainz affair before the Omloop [Het Volk] last year. I want a chat face to face. If he is prepared to work under my conditions, then we can come to an agreement."

Gotti accepts five month sentence

Former Italian professional Ivan Gotti has accepted a five month suspended prison sentence recommended by the court in Padua over his involvement in the 2001 Giro d'Italia sporting fraud case, which is investigating 35 people. Gotti was accused of possession of doping products during the race which was subjected to a massive police raid in San Remo, a few days from the finish.

In accepting the sentence, Gotti still believes that he is innocent of any wrong doing. "I have a clear conscience, a lot of false things were written on me," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I have spoken with my lawyer and it is better to receive this punishment than to take a risk on a trial."

Jeanson to review oxygen tent use

Geneviève Jeanson
Photo: © Jon Devich

Canadian cyclist Geneviève Jeanson, who it was revealed yesterday tested negative for any banned substances at the World Championships, says that she will review her use of an altitude tent, which she believes caused her hematocrit level to rise above the UCI limit of 47 percent. Jeanson has used the tent, which enables people to sleep in an oxygen deprived environment, thus forcing their bodies to produce more red blood cells, for the last four years but was shocked when she failed a blood hematocrit test on the morning of the World Championships road race on October 11.

"I've used the tent for four years, and I've come to believe that it does me good," said Jeanson in a statement. "The first times I used an oxygen tent, in 1999 and 2000, I tracked my hematocrit levels very closely and took frequent blood tests. Once my usage pattern was established and stabilised, however, I took more time between checkups. I'm planning from now on to make sure I do a more thorough follow-up, not only to ensure that an incident like the one at the Worlds doesn't happen again, but also to make doubly sure that the tent isn't a health risk for me."

Jeanson added that her conscience was clear after her World's shock, and considers the incident "closed" now. "I'm not surprised or relieved because I wasn't in the least worried," she said. "I've never taken a prohibited substance, so there was no way any trace could be found in my urine. However, I'm very glad to have these new test results as an answer to anyone who has suspicions about my integrity, especially those people who were in such a hurry to condemn me."

"On the other hand, I've had many expressions of sympathy and confidence from friends, my sponsors and cycling fans. I want these people to know that their trust is well founded, and I won't betray it.

"I'm probably one of the most frequently tested cyclists in Canada, male or female. Since the start of this season, I've been tested more than 10 times, including two surprise tests. All these tests have come back negative, and there was no reason why this latest test result should have been any different."

Museeuw to work for Quick.Step after retirement

Johan Museeuw's career post-cycling has already been mapped out. After his retirement on April 14 next year, Museeuw will take on a job with the Quick.Step-Davitamon team. "It will be a bit of everything," said Museeuw to Het Nieuwsblad. "I'll do some public relations, serve as a team director and accompany the younger riders in training. After I've tried everything I'll decide at the end of the year what role I want to play in the future."

De Clercq to continue?

Despite officially retiring from cyclo-cross two weeks ago, Mario De Clercq apparently hasn't ridden his last race - either in Belgium or abroad. According to Gazet van Antwerpen, De Clercq's team leader Charles Palmans said that he has convinced him to get back on the bike. "I wanted Mario back on the bike and that has been successful," said Palmans. "Hilaire [Van der Schueren] and I have talked to him and insisted on a comeback. That was successful. We do not yet have a program but it is the intention that he rides everywhere. In Belgium and outside."

O'Neill back on the road again

O'Neill with Micah Rice
Photo: © Kokomotion

Australian Nathan O'Neill has at last been able to return to training on the roads, after his July 31 crash in the Tour de 'Toona where he broke his C1 and C2 vertebrae. The U.S. based rider has been able to train for around 1 hour 40 minutes per day, and is enjoying it. "I really missed riding my bike on the road, and Georgia's warm weather has given me a chance rebuild my tan," said O'Neill.

O'Neill's physician, Dr. Franco Cerabona, Chief of Spinal Surgery at St. Vincent's Hospital said that "Nathan's recovery has been incredibly fast for someone with such a serious injury. Generally speaking, we usually do not see anyone walking after this type of injury so that makes it even more incredible."

"Everything is almost completely healed," said O'Neill. "I feel great. I must be a little careful for now, but I will be able to race in January without any worries."

Tour ambitions for Landbouwkrediet-Colnago

Division I team Landbouwkrediet-Colnago hopes to be one of the 22 teams selected for the Tour de France next year. Due to its ranking, the team will have to depend on one of the eight wild cards given out on March 1, 2004. In its favour is breakaway specialist Jacky Durand, who has animated many Tour stages with his early attacks. The team also contains Yaroslav Popovych and multiple stage winner Tom Steels which will lend weight to its selection chances.

Grönqvist brothers to Amore e Vita

Tomas Grönqvist and his brother Anders will both ride for Italian team Amore e Vita next season, according to Cykel Nytt. Anders is a neo-pro while Tomas rode for Team fakta this year, but also rode for Amore e Vita between the years 2000-2002.

Ceramiche-Panaria Fiordo complete for 2004

The Italian division II squad Ceramiche-Panaria Fiordo has been finalised for 2004. The team will remain largely the same as this year, with no-one leaving and two new riders being signed: neo-pro Emanuele Sella and Formaggi Pinzolo's Fortunato Baliani.

Team roster

Giuliano Figueras (Ita)
Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio (Mex)
Luca Mazzanti (Ita)
Paolo Lanfranchi (Ita)
Claudio Bartoli (Ita)
Ruben Bongiorno (Arg)
Graeme Brown (Aus)
Scott Davis (Aus)
Fabio Gilioli (Ita)
Brett Lancaster (Aus)
Sergey Matveyev (Ukr)
Filippo Perfetto (Ita)
Paolo Tiralongo (Ita)
Alejandro Alberto Borrajo (Arg)
Emanuele Sella (Ita) Neo Pro
Fortunato Baliani (Ita) Formaggi Pinzolo

Team Directors: Bruno and Roberto Reverberi

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