Latest News for October 28, 2003
Edited by Chris Henry
17th Tour du Faso
The 17th edition of the Tour du Faso (UCI 2.5) begins October 29, once again bringing serious stage racing back to Burkina Faso in Africa. In its third year under the auspices of Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), organisers of the Tour de France, the Tour du Faso attracts an international field from Africa and Europe. Sixteen teams of six riders will contest the 2003 edition, which begins Wednesday in Ouagadougou and returns to the capital eleven stages and 1,244 kilometres later.
Morocco's Abdelati Saadoune won the 2002 Tour du Faso after leading the race from start to finish. Saadoune built his winning margin on a solo break on the first stage, and his Moroccan team ably defended the leader's jersey.
This year's edition also introduces several new elements to the race, including bonus seconds on offer for the intermediate sprints and stage finishes. Five of the stages will conclude with finishing circuits, while stages 7 and 10 will feature sections of unpaved roads up to 4.4 kilometres long. The final stage into Ouagadougou will wrap up the event after 10 laps of a 7.6km circuit.
Stage 1 - October 29: Ouagadougou - Kaya, 111.5 km
African national teams:
CSC signs Fabrizio Guidi
Danish Team CSC has signed 31 year old Italian Fabrizio Guidi on a one year contract according to the team's official web-site. The signing comes just a day after re-signing Dutch rider Tristan Hoffman and confirms CSC's expectations to be more active and visible in the classics next year than was the case this year.
"Guidi is a good rider that we can use the whole season but first of all he is a good rider to have on our classics team, and at the same time he is a rider that can win races and compete in the sprints during the rest of the year," said team director Bjarne Riis.
Guidi himself is relieved to come to a well organized team after his latest experiences with first Team Coast and Team Bianchi.
"I'm very happy that I'm now going to Team CSC," he explained. "I need to come to a serious team where everything works and I know that's the case with Bjarne Riis and Team CSC."
Guidi is a winner of more than 30 races including stages in both the Vuelta a España and the Giro d'Italia, as well as Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie, and Driedaagse de Panne. He said that he both expects to win himself and to help other teammates to victories in 2004.
Courtesy of Ole Ryborg
Cofidis keeps Tournant
Top French track cyclist and multiple world champion Arnaud Tournant has signed a new contract with his Cofidis team. Tournant will stay with the team for at least one more year.
Phonak drops Gougot
Citing "internal reasons", the Swiss Phonak Hearing Systems team has decided not to renew the contract of Fabrice Gougot of France. Gougot rode with Phonak for two seasons, and is now on the hunt for a new employer for 2004.
Division I ambitions for Oktos
Although not a certainty, MBK-Oktos manager Pascal Cordier has his eyes set on a move up to the Division I ranks. Cordier is still hoping to recruit additional riders for the coming season, and is in talks with potential new sponsors to further the cause, according to a l'Equipe report.
"As long as we're in Division II, we're not taken seriously," Cordier told the French paper. "Our team, which has a budget between 1.5 and 1.8 million euros, could be in Division I. In that case we'd need the minimum 16 riders, but if we are back in Division II I would like to at least be given a chance to ride Paris-Nice and the Dauphiné Libéré. If we don't do Paris-Nice in the beginning of the season, we're immediately behind relative to other teams."
Cordier lost one his top riders, Christophe Rinero, to Jean Delatour's successor RAGT Semences, but nonetheless has added several hopefuls to the team, including Saulius Ruskys from Marlux. British sprinter Jeremy Hunt will remain in the team for the coming season.
Gazet van Antwerpen 'cross series
The Gazet van Antwerpen Trofee Veldrijden cyclo-cross series begins this weekend with the first of seven events scheduled for Saturday, November 1 in Oudenaarde, Belgium. Changes for this season include the return of Trofee Veldrijden racing to Kalmthout, host of a round of the 2002 World Cup, and the removal of the Lille event, where the Belgian national championships will be held in 2004. Four events will receive live television coverage in Belgium: Oudenaarde, Kalmthout, Loenhout, and Baal.
In addition to Belgian champion Sven Nijs, looking to defend his 2002-2003 Trofee Veldrijden title, the following riders are confirmed to compete throughout the series: Bart Wellens, Richard Groenendaal, Ben Berden, Erwin Vervecken, Tom Vannoppen, Gerben de Knegt, Arne Daelmans, Sven Vanthourenhout, Petr Dlask, Peter Van Santvliet, Vaclav Jezek, Thijs Verhagen, Wim Jacobs, Tim Van Nuffel, Martin Bina, Wesley Van der Linden, Bart Aernouts, Radomir Simunek, Jr., Klaas Vantornout, and Kevin Pauwels.
November 1: Oudenaarde (Koppenberg)
Despite the relief among the Spanish cycling community following the confirmation of the Balearic Islands' support of the iBanesto.com team for the next seasons, it seems not everyone is pleased with the decision to devote funding to cycling. In the newspaper Ultima Hora, the president of the Balearic Islands Basketball Federation was quick to note his disappointment.
"I feel that with a billion pesetas, we could have had a basketball team win the European championships and more activities could have been supported, particularly at the base level," Jaume Estarellas commented.
"People are upset because the money should be designated for the athletes of the Balears, who can and should be the beneficiaries."
Cooke gives back
Benalla, Australia's Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com) has become patron of the rural city's Young Sportsperson's Trust, according to a Shepparton News report. Cooke was a beneficiary of the original Benalla Young Sportsperson's Trust and has decided to return the favour as a supporter.
"Baden has been a generous supporter of the Benalla Trust Foundation which helps local families in crisis and now he has also agreed to be our patron," Trust chairperson Kim Scanlon said.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)