First Edition News for October 29, 2003
Edited by Jeff Jones & John Stevenson
Landbouwkrediet-Colnago complete for 2004
With the signing of Jacky Durand to its roster, Belgian Division I team Landbouwkrediet-Colnago is essentially complete for 2004. The team finished its first year in Division I ranked 27th on the UCI rankings, but it has higher hopes for the future. Its major objective is to gain selection in the 2004 Tour de France, which it will have to do via a wild card pick. Eight such wild cards will be chosen on March 1 next year by the Tour management. So far, Landbouwkrediet-Colnago has submitted its candidature to Jean-Marie Leblanc, and will be counting on the ever popular Durand to help them gain selection.
"It appears to me to be the ideal moment to start with our team," said manager Gérard Bulens. "We have a complementary team. Vaitkus as a prologue specialist, Durand and Dierckxsens as colourful riders in the stages, Steels and Capelle as a duo for the sprints and Popovych who will be supported by a few domestiques who are solely working for him as a general classification rider. I think that this would really be a trump number - not only for us as a team but also to inject even more atmosphere into the race."
"The team for next year is again a mixture of young talent coupled with riders with international experience," added Bulens. "Besides which of course, Jacky Durand must play a crucial role. Not only his popularity, he remains a top rider, his rich experience in the big tours and the classics can only help our young riders. Besides him we gained Sergey Lagutin, who is really a topper from the espoirs. Lagutin was not only world champion, he was also third in the espoirs world cup in 2003. In Belgium we are hoping that through the signing of Nico Sijmens we have a young talent who we can let grow further in international stage races."
Landbouwkrediet-Colnago has also strengthened its management, with the appointment of Adriano Baffi as a directeur sportif. "[Baffi] is still working at the moment for the Italian federation as a technical director for the track, but he can combine this function with his job with us," added Bulens. "Adriano is a good friend but he still deliberated for a long time before I could convince him. Baffi knows a lot of our riders who he has raced with. He still keeps good memories of Tom Steels from his Mapei period."
Manager: Gérard Bulens
Directeurs sportifs: Marco Saligari, Willy Geukens, Adriano Baffi and Jozef De Bilde.
Riders staying: Ludo Dierckxsens (Bel), Johan Verstrepen (Bel), Tom Steels (Bel), Ludovic Capelle (Bel), Tony Bracke (Bel), Marc Streel (Bel), Bert De Waele (Bel), Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr), Wladimir Duma (Ukr), Sergey Avdyeyev (Ukr), Yuri Metlushenko (Ukr), Volodymyr Bileka (Ukr), Ruslan Gryshenko (Ukr), Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita), Santo Anza (Ita), Tomas Vaitkus (Lit), Mikhail Timochine (Rus).
Riders new to the team: Nico Sijmens (Bel, Vlaanderen-T Interim), Jacky Durand (Fra, FDJeux.com), Cristian Gasperoni (Ita, Mercatone Uno), Sergey Lagutin (Uzb, neo), Giario Ermeti (Ita, neo).
Barry extends with U.S. Postal
Canadian Michael Barry has re-signed with U.S. Postal Service-Berry Floor for 2004. Barry had a solid year, and was one of the team's important riders in Roberto Heras' victory at the Vuelta a España. In one of the only races he rode for himself, he finished seventh at the Hamilton World Championships, after bridging up to the winning break on the last climb. Michael's goals for 2004 include making the Tour team with Postal and the Canadian Olympic team.
Appeal to help Eddie B
Kathleen Clinton, wife of cycling photographer Mitchell Clinton and one of the riders coached by training legend Eddie Borysewicz, is appealing for donations to help Eddie B rebuild his house, lost in the California fires.
"I was out in Ramona with Eddie all day yesterday and today," said Clinton. "The barn survived, but the house is a total loss. We managed to dig out a few mementos out of the ashes today, but everything else was lost.
"Eddie does have some insurance, but not nearly enough to replace his home, as modest as it even was. I am trying to get donations to help Eddie try to rebuild. If anyone of you can help with any amount, it would be much appreciated. You can contact me directly and I can give you details.
"As long as I have known Eddie, he has always given the shirt off his back to people and athletes that needed it. He is trying to put on a brave face, but he is devastated on the destruction of his house."
We understand that while Eddie B's house is gone, his horses and dog were also rescued. Andrzej Siobowicz told Cyclingnews, "I was staying with Eddie in his place this weekend and have some knowledge of what happened. While it's true that he's lost his house, but we were able to save his horses and the dog; most of the photos, awards and memorabilia were saved too."
Kathleen Clinton can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mitchell Clinton/www.clintonphoto.com shot these images of the aftermath of the fire
Armstrong denies Sandra Bullock rumours
Lance Armstrong has denied recent rumours that he is romantically involved with actress Sandra Bullock.
"We're friends, that's about it," Armstrong told the Austin-American Statesman. "There's nothing else to it. We have had dinner before, but it's always been with big groups of people and totally innocent."
Armstrong and Bullock both have homes in Austin, Texas, but the rumours kicked off when they both attended a party in New York two weeks ago hosted by Men's Journal magazine.
Iles Baleares - Banesto approaches final roster
Baleares-Banesto, the successor to Spain's long-running iBanesto.com team, has almost completed its roster for 2004. Of the 2003 team, eleven riders have confirmed they will continue with Baleares-Banesto in 2004: Paco Mancebo, Denis Menchov, Iván Gutiérrez, Aitor and Unai Osa, Xabier Zandio, Pablo Lastras, Chente García Acosta, José Antonio López Gil, José Luis Arrieta and Vladimir Karpets. Jon Odriozola's continuation is still being negotiated, though the team is reported to be unable to pay him the salary originally discussed and he faces the option of a pay cut or finding another team.
Joining the new outfit from other squads are: Toni Tauler and Isaac Gálvez (Kelme-Costa Blanca); Joan Llaneras and Miquel Alzamora (track team); David Navas and Toni Colom (Relax-Fuenlabrada), and Joan Horrach (Milaneza). Another Mallorcan, Xico Martí is a possible addition too.
The team is negotiating with a pair of German riders to complete the roster, but plans for an elite/under-23 associate team have been shelved until next season for lack of time to get it set up.
Relax & Bodysol may merge
Spanish weekly Meta 2Mil has reported that the Relax-Fuenlabrada team is in discussions with Belgian Bodysol team about a merger for 2004.
Saul Raisin to Credit Agricole TT3
US cyclist Saul Raisin has signed with Credit Agricole's division III team for the 2004 season. Raisin, who rode for Ofoto-Lombardi Sport and the US National U23 team this year, had a solid season which included third overall in the Ronde de l'Isard d'Ariège and the Best Young rider a the Tour de Georgia.
"Going to Credit Agricole was a hard decision to make," said Raisin. "Next year I will be living in Europe most of the season racing guys that don't speak any English, but this will give me the opportunity learn a new language and live like a real professional. I am very exited and looking forward to learning a tremendous amount and continuing to grow as a professional cyclist."
Raisin will be one of approximately 10 riders in the team, which will concentrate on the U23 World Cup races including the Ronde de l'Isard d'Ariège, Le Transalsace, and Tour de l'Avenir.
Domina Vacanze signs B World Champ Murilo Fischer
Mario Cipollini's Domina Vacanze team will have a World Champion in its ranks next season in the form of Brazilian Murilo Fischer, who won the B World Championship road race in Aigle this year. Fischer signed a three year contract with the team which has been keeping an eye on him for the past couple of seasons. Fischer, who lives in S.Biagio di Callalta (Trevignano), has accumulated 10 victories in 2002 and 2003 including his 2003 World Championship as well as a stage in the 2002 Baby Giro and several Italian national races.
Reconstruction of the Muur begins
Preparations are now well under way to refurbish the cobbles of the Muur van Geraardsbergen, the famous steep and twisting climb used in classics such as Het Volk and the Ronde van Vlaanderen, and will also be used in the Tour de France next year. The renovations will be directed at the Kapelmuur - the jagged and potholed top section of the climb - which will be completely repaved with new cobbles with this work commencing next week. Although the climb will certainly be easier to navigate, its feared steepness will be unaffected. The average grade of the whole climb is 9.3 percent, with the top section hitting 20 percent at times.
A similar restoration was carried out on the Koppenberg two years ago, and now it is regularly included in the Ronde van Vlaanderen parcours. Its cobbles are relatively easy to ride on in dry conditions, although its 11.6 average gradient and 22 percent maximum would be quite a challenge in the wet.
North American Cyclo-Cross showdown in New England
This weekend in will bring the top cyclo-crossers in the U.S. to Massachusetts for the double header that begins on Saturday with the Central Mass. Cyclo-Cross to End Homelessness in Worcester (UCI Cat. 2) and finishes on Sunday with the Clif Bar/ECV Cyclo-Cross race in Gloucester (UCI Cat. 2). The Worcester event is a benefit for the People in Peril (PIP) Homeless Shelter and features equal prize money for the Elite women's race, while the Clif Bar/ECV race is round 2 of the Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series.
In the Elite Men's race, Marc Gullickson (Redline), winner of last weekend's UCI race in Utah and leader of the Verge NECCS, will square off against former teammate Todd Wells (Mongoose/Hyundai), who won last Saturday's UCI race in Delaware, Clif Bar teammates Jackson Stewart and Andy Jacques-Maynes, Ryan Trebon (CCA), winner of Sunday's UCI race in Pennsylvania, the entire Kona team including Dale Knapp and Bart Bowen, as well as USPRO road champion Mark McCormack (Saturn), under-23 National Champion Adam Craig (Giant), Travis Brown (Trek-Volkswagen), and 5-time Canadian National Champion Peter Wedge (Kona). Expect a fierce battle amongst the under-23 riders between rising star Jeremy Powers (NCC/BikeReg.com), Alan Obye (Devo/Balance Bar), and Junior National Champion Jesse Anthony (Hot Tubes).
The big mystery in the Elite men's race remains the attendance of Italy's Daniele Pontoni. US Cyclo-Cross patron Geoff Proctor has been working with New England organizers Adam Hodges Myerson and Stu Thorne, as well as the Mid-Atlantic's Mike Hebe and Craig Callan, to bring Pontoni over for a string of three weekends of UCI events on the East Coast. Plans are in place, but there is still some question as to whether Pontoni will get on the plane Thursday for the trip. The Elite Women's race offers no such mystery. With equal UCI Cat. 2 prize money, all the top riders will be assembled for the first time this season. The race will feature former world MTB and multiple national 'cross champion Alison Dunlap (Luna Bar), current National Champion Anne Knapp (Kona), Verge NECCS Leader Mary McCouneloug (Seven Cycles), Clif Bar's Carmen D'Aluisio and Gina Hall, and local stars Alicia Genest, Katrina Davis (Richard Sachs), Anna Milkowski and Marianne Stover (Gearworks/Spin Arts).
Saturday's race is the highest ranked UCI race in the world featuring equal prize money for both the men's and women's Elite events. Race organizer Adam Hodges Myerson of Cycle-Smart explains that, "We've been pushing for equality in the prize money for women for a long time, but we haven't always had the resources to do it in full. For us and for the PIP Shelter, it's a political issue as much as anything else. The lack of income equality across all professions is one of the primary factors in homelessness for women, so it makes sense to make a statement against that kind of inequality with our event."
Sunday will see the battle for the Verge New England Championship Series lead between Gullickson and McCormack resume. Gullickson gained the upper hand two weeks ago in Maine, handily winning the first round. Both riders will be at full strength this weekend, and both have stated that winning the Verge Series is one of their primary goals. Following this weekend, the Verge NECCS will continue on November 16th with the Cycle-Smart International (UCI Cat. 2) in Northampton, Mass.
More information: www.necyclocross.com
Wisconsin Off Road Series announced for 2004
WORS returns to NORBA
Next year's Wisconsin Off Road Series (WORS) has been sanctioned as part of NORBA by the national governing body, USA Cycling. The 12 race series is the largest off-road state championship series in the USA, boasting an average of 800 competitors per event. WORS will also host two events that are part of the 2004 American Mountain Bike Challenge Series (AMBC): The WORS Cup Stage Race in Merrimac, Wisc. June 25-27 and the Wigwam/Ultimax MTB Challenge in Sheboygan, Wisc. October 10.
"WORS recognizes the efforts of USA Cycling and NORBA to return to a membership based organization and feels the NORBA program changes made for 2004 are an excellent start," said Don Edberg, organiser of WORS. "By joining with NORBA, it is WORS' hope that we can somehow help to expand the popularity of recreational mountain bike racing in Wisconsin to rest of the United States. WORS also hopes that this will be a long lasting, mutually beneficial relationship with greater national recognition of WORS and its riders as America's Largest State Mountain Bike Racing Series."
The 2004 Wisconsin Off Road Series kicks off on May 2, 2004 with the Alpine Valley Open in East Troy, WI, and concludes with the Wigmam/Ultimax MTB Challenge on October 10. The complete 2004 WORS schedule is as follows:
May 2 - Alpine Valley Open (Alpine Valley Resort, East Troy, WI)
More information: www.wors.org
Randwick Botany "100 Years of Cycling" Race Day
To celebrate the Centenary of the Randwick Botany Cycling Club in Sydney, Australia, a Centenary Race Day and Celebration Dinner will be held at Heffron Park, Maroubra on Saturday November 15, 2003 from 10.30am. The 2 km enclosed criterium circuit will be used throughout the day in a complete program of racing, from U9 Juniors to Elite. Over $5,000 prizemoney is on offer, including $1,000 for first place in the Elite race. Riders can enter online at www.nsw.cycling.org.au/raceentry.html, with entries closing this Thursday, October 30. Cost is $10 (Juniors) or $20 (all other categories).
The Celebration Dinner will be held in a giant marquee at Heffron Park from 6.00pm and includes Buffet Dinner, Drinks and Entertainment. Special Guests including SBS Sport Presenter Michael Tomalaris, Randwick City Council Deputy Mayor Michael Daley and Phyliss Gilbert, the daughter of Snow Wilson, the longest serving Club Secretary. Dinner tickets are $65 (adults) $35 for under 18 year olds.
More information: www.randwickbotanycc.com
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)