Latest News for September 23, 2003
Edited by Jeff Jones
Eight Spanish riders pose in the buff
By Hernán Alvarez Macías
Miguel Martín Perdiguero, Oscar Sevilla, Aitor González, Santos González, Alejandro Valverde, Jorge Ferrio, Juan Horrach and José Enrique Gutiérrez posed (almost) nude for the Spanish magazine Interviú. The magazine appeared yesterday in Spain, and it was the big news of the Vuelta's rest day within the peloton. The riders posed in five controversial pictures, using bikes to cover up some of the finer details. The title of the article is, "We won't let Spanish cycling become naked".
The mentor of the idea, Miguel Martín Perdiguero, told Spanish radio "We did it because we want to be known and we want to help Spanish cycling, and maybe this is helpful." It was an answer to the current difficulties faced by many Spanish cyclists following the exit of iBanesto and ONCE, combined with the number of Spanish riders that are competing in foreign teams.
The magazine will put these riders on the spotlight with the hope that the national media will pay more attention to them. But it's reported that so far in this edition of the Vuelta, the TV ratings have not been outstanding.
Bartoli and Rebellin out in the cold again
Italian selector Franco Ballerini will once again leave Michele Bartoli (Fassa Bortolo) and David Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) at home for the World Championships in Hamilton, Canada. Both riders are in excellent form at the moment, with Bartoli winning the Giro del Lazio on Saturday and Rebellin taking the GP Prato on Sunday.
Ballerini was quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport as saying, "All respect for their performances, but they don't have a place in my plans for the World Championships."
The 13 member Italian team will be built around Paolo Bettini, who is the odds on favourite for the elite men's road race. Supporting him will be outgoing World Champion Mario Cipollini, Giovanni Lombardi (Domina Vacanze), Danilo Di Luca and Fabio Sacchi (Saeco), Francesco Casagrande (Lampre), Cristian Moreni (Alessio), Daniele Nardello (Telekom), Ivan Basso (Fassa Bortolo) and Luca Paolini (Quick.Step-Davitamon). Three more riders will be selected.
Dutch World's team takes shape
The Dutch men's selection for the World Championships in Hamilton, Canada, is nearly complete, with eight of the twelve men being named on Monday. Michael Boogerd, Bram De Groot, Jan Boven, Maarten Den Bakker, Karsten Kroon (all Rabobank), Koos Moerenhout (Lotto-Domo), Bram Schmitz and Gerben Löwik (BankGiroLoterij) all have start tickets. The remainder will be selected over the next couple of weeks. There will be no Dutch riders in the men's time trial.
Vera Koedooder (Powerplate-Bik) has been named as the last female rider for the Dutch women's team. She takes the place of Andrea Bosman, who is considered to be not in good enough form for the World's. Koedooder, who turns 20 on October 31, finished third in the U23 European championships in Athens this year.
The other Dutch women who will represent their country in Canada are Mirjam Melchers and Arenda Grimberg (Farm Frites-Hartol), Chantal and Ghita Beltman (Acca Due O), and Loes Gunnewijk (Ondernemers Van Nature).
WADA issues Tour anti-doping report
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has issued its report on the anti-doping measures used during the last edition of the Tour de France. The 47 page report is a detailed assessment of all the aspects of doping control (including test results) and contains recommendations for improvements in some areas.
On the positive side, the WADA report noted the "firm stance of those responsible for the organisation of the Tour de France 2003 with respect to the ethics and fight against doping" as well as the "solidity of the UCI's system of health checks and the importance of this system in the fight against doping."
The report also supports the "strategy developed by France in the fight against doping, especially in legislative matters, the creation of the CPLD, the support of an anti-doping laboratory of high quality, and the measures for dealing with trafficking of illegal substances."
On the negative side, WADA pointed out that the anti-doping procedures are open to manipulation, in particular letting athletes know whether they would be tested or not before the end (and sometimes before the start) of each stage. In the prologue, "the athletes were notified five minutes before their start" that they would be tested, meaning that "others had the opportunity to take stimulants before they started, as they would be certain of not being controlled (unless they won!)."
In the road stages, the riders to be tested were announced 20 minutes before the end of the stage, again allowing the opportunity for some to take a fast acting stimulant.
Other negative procedural points include letting riders who were notified for testing get changed in their team buses after the stage finish, "...sometimes for more than 20 minutes...a manipulation was possible."
Overall the balance was favourable according to WADA, which hopes the continual improvement of the anti-doping controls and the elimination of weaknesses in the system "preserve the health of the riders, preserve the sporting truth, especially because the riders cannot use prohibited substances or methods."
Only one rider tested positive during the Tour this year, and that was Javier Pascual Llorente (Kelme) who tested positive for EPO.
Pantani looking at retirement
Marco Pantani, who is currently suspended by his Mercatone Uno team, has predicted his retirement from racing. In an interview with Voce di Romagna, Pantani declared that "Now I feel in all effects an ex", explaining that he lacked the motivation to continue as a professional cyclist.
Professional offers for De Schrooder
Belgian rider Benny De Schrooder, currently a stagiaire with Palmans-Collstrop, has received offers for a professional contract for next season. De Schrooder will be able to stay with Palmans if he wants, or join Vlaanderen-T Interim.
In other contract news, Bert De Waele (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) has extended his contract with the team for another year.
Geelong to kick off women's World Cup again in 2004
The Australian city of Geelong will once again host the first round of the women's World Cup on February 29, 2004, which will see the world's best women cyclists compete for the first World Cup leader's jersey. The race will again be preceded by the 4 day Geelong Tour, which takes place between February 22-25.
The official website for both events is now live at www.geelongworldcup.com, and the site features a host of information for cycling fans and spectators planning to head to Geelong in February. www.geelongworldcup.com features results, stories, photos and a video of the 2003 events. It also details the range of things to see and do in Geelong and surrounding areas.
Irish season still going strong
By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent
With the emphasis this coming week on Bike Week, there is still room for competition. The Paddy Neary Memorial event goes ahead on Saturday at Knockbridge, Dundalk. This event is more or less a prelude to the National Criterium Championships which will be held next Sunday week in Cork.
The following day (September 28) in Spelga, close to Hilltown at the foot of the Mourne Mountains, Co.Down, the Hill Climb Championships will start at 11:00am. According to race organiser Don McGreevey, "if 50% of the phone calls I have received enquiring about the promotion, turn up, I'll have over 60 in the event. Realistically, a maximum of 30 is what I envisage on the day. Sign-on is up at the Spelga Dam from 10 o'clock," said Don.
The climb is just over a mile long, the defending champion is Gareth Rodgers from the Banbridge CC. Expected on the start line will be a former winner, Paul Griffin from the Earl of Desmond/Tralee Bicycle Club just back from the Tour of Hokkaido in Japan.
The weekend before last in Newport, Wales, Sean Kelly added yet another win to his CV. Kelly took up the challenge against many of the top former professionals on the UK circuit back in the '80's. He just got the better of Sid Barras with Ian Fagin back in third spot.
Hibernian National Bike Week
Hibernian National Bike Week started last Sunday and runs for one week. The campaign is to encourage people from all walks of life to get involved with cycling. Hibernian Insurance Group sponsor the event which will be organised by Cycling Ireland. The theme of this year's Bike Week is 'Bike to Work' and is in aid of the Irish Diabetes Federation. As well as encouraging more people to bike to work, a series of additional events and activities will take place during Hibernian National Bike Week, including a Hibernian Coast to Coast cycle over the weekend of 27/28 September from Dublin to Galway and back.
A spokesperson for Cycling Ireland said "Cycling is a healthy, enjoyable, affordable and friendly lifetime activity for everyone. In addition to raising valuable funds for the Irish Diabetes Federation of Ireland, we hope to increase commuter, recreational and leisure cycling throughout Ireland.
"Over 200,000 people in Ireland currently have diabetes with only 50% aware that they have the illness. The Diabetes Federation is committed to raising the profile of the condition and raising awareness of the symptoms of the condition amongst the general public. Monies raised during Hibernian National Bike Week will be used to fund research into a cure for the disease."
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