Latest News for October 31, 2003
Edited by Chris Henry
Baden Cooke's rough ride home
By Gerard Knapp
A bungled plane ticket- of all things- may threaten the career of 2003's most successful Australian professional cyclist, Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com). The winner of the green jersey competition in this year's Tour de France, Cooke has been troubled since April by a recurring problem with a cyst in his groin area.
Last month, he underwent surgery in France in an effort to finally resolve the problem that had plagued him all season. Following the surgery, as he waited for the all-clear from doctors, he booked a first class ticket home with Qantas, Australia's national carrier. But Cooke's not one to overly spoil himself; the aim of sitting in the pointy end of the jumbo was to be able to lie down for most of the trip back to Melbourne, a journey that involves up to 24 hours of actual flying time.
But there was a ticketing bungle between lastminute.com and Qantas, and his Aus$9K plane ticket was downgraded to economy. And then he was told that the flight was full, so he fronted the British Airways counter, and spent another Aus$9K to buy what he hoped was a seat at the pointy end, only to be told that due to over-booking, it would be cattle-class all the way.
"So I had to sit on [the operated area] all the way home. It became really inflamed and a day after getting home, all the stitches broke and I was left with this gaping wound."
Consequently, Cooke has not ridden a bike in anger since Paris-Tours , apart from a two kilometre stint on his mountain bike to the gym on the morning he spoke to Cyclingnews. And the gym is the only place he is training, as he is unable to do any serious kilometres. Although he has indicated he will race in the Café Racer criterium in Melbourne next week - "I'd like to go and win it" - his injury may yet prevent any racing.
Plans for 2004
"Next year, it'll be the same as usual," Cooke said. "I want to do everything- the Classics, the Tour, and win every race I possibly can. I'm not a rider who has massive peaks in form so I'll try to be in there in every race I enter.
"I'd like to win a world cup race and I don't really care which one. Then I'll be back for the Tour and the green jersey. [Defending that] will be very hard, whether I like it or not."
Cooke's principal rivals for the points jersey next year are once again likely to be countryman Robbie McEwen and Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi. Until he returns to Europe, Cooke is hoping to be fit in time for the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under but until then, he has to wait for his injury to heal.
"I've seen doctors since and they said if they re-sew it, it could become infected, so it's left hanging open. It looks terrible.
"It's not something I want to muck around with because I've heard that injuries like this can lead to riders ending their careers. It's possible that the scar tissue I'll be left with could be worse for me than if I had left it as it was."
Euskaltel almost sealed
The Basque Euskaltel-Euskadi team has nearly closed the books on its recruitment for 2004. With 24 riders already confirmed, the final position remains open for the possible signing of Joseba Albizu from Mercatone Uno, according to a Todociclismo report. Euskaltel team manager Miguel Madariaga presented his five new riders and confirmed the roster's near completion. New to the team for 2004 are Antton Luengo, Aketza Peña, Markel Irizar, Koldo Fernanadez de Larrea, Gorka Verdugo, and Iker Camaño, who moves from Phonak.
Julen Fernandez, Ruben Diaz de Cerio, Gorka Gerrikagoitia, Alberto Martínez, David Herrero, and Lander Euba all leave the team at the end of 2003.
The last piece of the Euskaltel puzzle, Albizu, is currently under contract with Mercatone Uno. He has asked the UCI to intervene to help him be released from the team and Mercatone Uno manager Davide Boifava. Albizu won this year's Giro del Friuli and caught the eye of the Euskaltel team.
"If he comes, he'll be welcome," Euskaltel manager Miguel Madariaga said of Albizu. "But if he doesn't come we'll have 24 riders to complete the team for 2004."
Bonilla to Kelme
Costa Rica's Jose Adrian Bonilla has signed a three year deal to join the Spanish Kelme-Costa Blanca team. Bonilla reached a three year agreement with Kelme and will join the team for training in January in southern Spain. Bonilla has qualified to represent Costa Rica in the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
Tour de France re-launches anti-doping message
The Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), organiser of the Tour de France, has decided to re-launch its "Prévention Sport-Santé" program, which last year was introduced in an effort to educate young cyclists of the risks of doping in the sport. ASO Will conduct the program again this winter in conjunction with the French Cycling Federation and the Fondation Sport Santé.
The program will pay a visit to France's 13 espoirs programs, as well as national cycling programs for riders aged 15-22 organised by the Ministry of Sports and the French federation. Interactive events, role playing, and a "theatre forum" which seeks to replicate situations in which young cyclists may find themselves facing the pressures of doping. The program presents several key themes including the consequences of doping in sports, cheating and ethical considerations, health implications of doping, and how to protect one's self.
Orwell Wheelers fundraiser a success
By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent
Christmas arrived early this year for the Orwell Wheelers and in particular Dundrum Shopping Centre with the result of their fund raising activity last evening.
Like many clubs in different spheres, the costs of keeping their heads above the parapet has gone up dramatically and in an attempt to keep the wolf from the door, Orwell Wheelers embarked on a sponsorship drive which had them at full stretch for the last number of months.
It was a unique idea, certainly from a cycling perspective! It was a draw to fund an ambitious program of coaching and racing for the next two years. At least 60 members from underage right up to the veteran members will now derive a benefit. One of the first items on the agenda will be a coaching session in Manchester on the velodrome where a major track event sponsored by Kellogg's is scheduled for next year.
The draw was limited to 150 participants, companies or individuals and the cost per ticket was 150 euros. There were three prizes in all. The first prize winner will have the titled (sponsors name on the jersey, front and rear plus shorts) sponsorship. Second, sponsor's name on left and right and panel of jersey, plus shorts. Third, sponsor's name on right and left shoulders. The sponsorship runs for two years (2004-2005). The club jersey will be represented in all the domestic events, which also includes the FBD Milk Ras.
"We got our quota of tickets sold, which guarantees that the ambitious program we had in tablet will now come to fruition," said David Tansey. "Unfortunately, we would have liked everybody to be a winner for the support we got. To put it mildly we were delighted that 'Dundrum Shopping Centre' won the top prize and they will have all the benefits listed. They have been tremendous supporters of Orwell Wheelers for many a long year. Their various sponsorships in the community have been well appreciated and the Stephen Roche Classic is also featured.
"I also know now that other cycling clubs will get the notion of a similar fund raising activity, but they better be warned, it may sound simple to sell 150 tickets, but it is a hard job and the club members deserve a pat on the back," said David as he toasted the winning trio in the draw.
First prize went to Dundrum Shopping Centre, second to Holseld Engineering, and third to Yard Broadcasting Network, or simply YBN.
Further information can be had from as to the mechanics of the draw from, David Tansey-01.2981485.
Images by Shane Stokes/Irishcycling.com
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)