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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest News for October 30, 2003

Edited by Chris Henry & John Stevenson

Six day season underway

Six day action in Gent
Photo: © N. Rosenthal
Click for larger image

Track cycling returns to the fore in Europe with the winter six day season, which this week gets into full swing. Following the opening event, the Amsterdam Six Day won by Robert Slippens and Danny Stam, the calendar continues with the Grenoble (France) and Dortmund (Germany) events, beginning Thursday, October 30.

Twelve pairs of riders will take to the boards Thursday night in Grenoble, the only six day organised in France, with events taking place from 7pm until after 1am the next morning. Italian sprinter Ivan Quaranta will take the place of Adriano Baffi, teaming with Marco Villa against the likes of Sassone/Van Zyl, Tessier/Reynaud, and Marvulli/Aeschbach.

Other track events will complement the six day racing in Grenoble, showcasing French talents Laurent Gané, Florian Rousseau, and Arnaud Tournant, among others, in the Golden Sprint, team pursuit, and keirin, facing off against Germans Jens Fiedler, René Wolff, and Stefan Nimke.

Dortmund will welcome pairs including Risi/Betschart, McGrory/Aldag, Gilmore/Nothstein, and Wiggins/Hayles, as well as Amsterdam's winning duo of Stam and Slippens. Germany will host the greatest number of six day events, including competitions in Stuttgart, Berlin, Kiel, and Munich. The principal six day season wraps up in Moscow in early March.

Calendar of major events:

October 30-November 4: Grenoble (France), Dortmund (Germany)
November 6-11: Munich (Germany)
November 18-23: Gent (Belgium)
November 27-December 2: Kiel (Germany)
January 8-13, 2004: Bremen (Germany)
January 15-20: Stuttgart (Germany)
January 22-27: Berlin (Germany)
January 30-February 4: Copenhagen
March 2-7: Moscow (Russia)

Relax-Brustor merger

The Spanish Relax Fuenlabrada team has decided to merge with Patrick Lefevere's new Bergasol-Brustor team for 2004. The two teams will join forces with the hopes of entering Division I, targeting major Spanish events, notably the Vuelta a España and the Vuelta a Aragon, according to a Marca report. The Tour of Belgium will also receive a major focus. Lefevere had already signed Nico Mattan as a team leader for his new outfit, and now an expected roster of 25 riders will take shape with the merger.

The Spanish component will still be led by Relax riders Santi Blanco and José Jufre, as well as Alberto Martinez who will transfer from Euskaltel-Euskadi. Relax directors José Maria Perez and Jesus Suarez Cueva will be joined by Herman Frison, designated director of the Bergasol-Brustor team.

New setback for VDB

Frank Vandenbroucke, currently in search of a new employer after an amicable split from Quick.Step-Davitamon, has according to a Het Nieuwsblad report broken his collarbone in a training accident. The Belgian was in training in Mauritius when the accident occurred. Vandenbroucke, most recently linked with Fassa Bortolo, has reached yet another turning point in his brief and eventful career. After early success in 2003, notably a second place in the Tour of Flanders, illness and poor form derailed VDB's season, which effectively ended with his withdrawal from the Vuelta a España in September.

Inaugural Tour of Queensland starts Monday

Sixty cyclists from fifteen countries will contest the inaugural Jayco Tour of Queensland which starts on Monday November 3 and runs until November 8. The race will feature such names as Olympic gold medalist Brett Aitken, and Americans Scott Moninger and Tim Johnson, fresh from the Herald-Sun Tour.

Although his season has ended, 2002 Tour de France green jersey and Queenslander Robbie McEwen has endorsed the race. "It's fantastic that Queensland has now got a UCI race," said McEwen, "[the race] will provide a great opportunity for young Queensland riders to experience major racing at a top level."

The 570km race over eight stages will begin with a 30-lap criterium in Bunderburg, before visiting Rosedale, Seventeen Seventy, Woodgate, Childers, Maryborough, Mount Perry, Gin Gin and Bargara. The peloton will then return to Bunderburg for a 30-lap semi hot-dog criterium to decide the winner.

With AU$60,000 in prize money up for grabs, you can bet the riders, from countries such as the USA, Italy and Belgium, won't be resting on their laurels.

Top Kiwi riders line up for K2 Classic

This Saturday November 1 sees the second edition of what's claimed to be New Zealand's hardest one-day race, Coromandel's K2 Classic. A host of top New Zealand riders have signed up for this year's edition, including last year's winners Roz Reekie-May and Matthew Yates, his brother Jeremy, plus Glen Mitchell, Scott Guyton, Brendon Cameron and Sarah Ulmer.

As well as the country's top pros the K2 attracts over 500 riders, ranging from elite racers to recreational cyclists. The attraction is a tough 200km course with over 2,300 metres of climbing in the spectacular New Zealand countryside.

Starting from Thames, the 200km course takes a scenic but savage tour of the Peninsula via Tairua, Whitianga, Kuaotunu and Coromandel before finishing back in Thames. The crux point of the course is the 10km long climb to the top of 425m high Kopu-Hikuai Hill, an ascent that last year's winner Matt Yates dubbed 'The Bastard'! They don't mince words these Kiwis.

Yates is expected to work with his brother to defend his title, but faces strong competition from Glen Mitchell, Scott Guyton and Tim Gudsell. Guyton in particular has been in good form of late, with a stage win and third place overall in Australia's Herald-Sun Tour.

Interest in the women's race will revolve around whether track star Sarah Ulmer can match Commonwealth Games road rep Roz Reekie-May. If Ulmer can stay close to Reekie-May through the huge mountain sections, she may have too much speed on the fast, flat coastal sections over the last 30km.

K2 takes its name from the 200km distance and the Coromandel township of Kuaotunu, which in Maori means "to inspire fear in young animals."

Swift builds up for Okinawa

By Shane Stokes,

Irish road race silver medalist Colette Swift is to become the first Irishwoman to compete in the end-of-season Tour of Okinawa, following an invitation from the organisers of the race to include a woman on the squad. Swift will join Eugene Moriarty, David McCann, Paul Griffin and Rory Wyley as Irish entrants in the world-ranked event, which is taking place in early November.

The four male riders face a tough 200 kilometre contest in the 1.5 ranked contest on November 9, while Swift's race is one day earlier. At 50 kilometres, it is considerably shorter but takes place on a very hilly route, and so will be a tough test for the London-based Corkwoman.

"It is a good bit shorter than what I am normally used to," said Swift recently, "but it is very hilly and so will be a hard race. I am happy with the course as climbing is a strength of mine. But because it will be so intense, I have to be able to hold form and so will be working hard before traveling over to Japan.

"It is difficult to keep going until this time of the year but I have some great people to train with and can do a few races with men over in the UK. That will help me to keep in good condition."

Swift has had a fine season, taking high placings in both men's and women's races in Ireland and the UK. She also raced in Belgium during the year. Highlights of the season included her fine eighth place on stage one of the Dunboyne three day, her dominant win in the Isle of Wight two day (where she took all three stages and finished nearly eight minutes clear) and, of course, her strong performance in the B world championship road race in Aigle, Switzerland, where she finished eighteenth. Her selection for Okinawa came after another good performance at the TQ Paper International two day, where she took third on both road stages, finished second in the points classification and fifth overall.

"The standard of women's racing in Ireland has taken big strides in the last year and we're delighted to be able to send a girl to Okinawa," says Valerie Considine of Cycling Ireland's Women's Commission. "We wish Colette all the best and hope that Okinawa will be a standard date on the women's racing calendar in the future."

NORBA adds eighth race to 2004 series

USA Cycling has announced an addition to the 2004 NORBA mountain bike series with an extra round in Sonoma, California, May 13-16 as part of the California Outdoor Championships. The race previously scheduled for that slot, in Big Bear California, has been moved to May 20-23.

The new event, to be held at the Infineon Raceway in Northern California, will consist of cross country, short-track, mountain cross, and dual slalom events in conjunction with various other outdoor competitions such as road cycling, trail running, and rock climbing.

2004 NORBA national mountain bike series

Round 1: March 11-15 - Waco, Texas XC/ST/TT/Marathon
Round 2: May 13-16 - Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, Calif. XC/ST/DS/MTNX
Round 3: May 20-23 - Snow Summit Resort, California XC/ST/DH/MTNX
Round 4: June 10-13 - Snowshoe Resort, West Virginia XC/ST/DH/MTNX/Marathon
Round 5: June 17-20 - Mount Snow Resort, Vermont XC/ST/DH/MTNX
Round 6: July 29-August 1 - Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Idaho XC/ST/DH/MTNX
Round 7: August 5-8 - Aspen/Snowmass Resort, Colorado XC/ST/DH/MTNX
Round 8: August 26-29 - Durango Mountain Resort, Colorado XC/ST/DH/MTNX/Marathon

New South Wales track calendar kicks off Saturday

Australia's Caesar's Illawarra Cycle Club will be conducting the first Track race of the Cycling New South Wales calendar on November 1 2003 at the Wollongong Velodrome, Princes Hwy, Unanderra, NSW.

Riders from across the state will be attending the event with both junior and senior riders competing in various racing styles during the night, culminating in the running of the Wheelrace over six laps of the 270 metre track. The podium finishers in the Wheelrace will be granted semi-final entry into the prestigious Sydney Cup on Wheels to be held on December 6 at Dunc Gray Velodrome.

Racing starts for the junior riders (under 17 and below) at 5:00pm with the senior event scheduled for 6:30pm. The feature race, the six lap Wheelrace will take place between 8:00pm and 8:30pm. Further information can be obtained from Andrew Telford on 04 1816 5174 or by email

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