News for December 11, 1998

Virenque Update

Richard Virenque may ride next season for an Italian team. According to the Italian newsagency ANSA, Davide Boifava, who after closing the Asics team, is now looking for a new sponsor. He said that he has spoken to Virenque on the telephone. He said: "Virenque knows that there is a possibility. I told him that it would be a shame to lose his talent and that he should get another chance."

My Spiritual Father

This is a foreward written by Marco Pantani to a book "Le livre d'or du cyclisme 98", the golden book of cycling 98, written (in French) by Jean-François Quenet I translated it and publish it with the permission of Jean-François.

I knew it: 1998 would be a significant year for me, fundamental for my career which has been marked already by too many hitches. But I could never have imagined that I would have such a great season. I was victim of several accidents, including one very serious, which nearly stopped me for good on October 17, 1995. I had not yet had the time to enjoy my bronze medal which I won at the World Championships at Duitama in Colombia when, in the descent of Pino Torine doubtful.

I spent 18 months repairing the broken leg. It raised the question. Will I ever be able to pedal up the front again? What remains of the Pantani of 1994, the young nonconformist who attacked Indurain on the corners of Mortirolo? Of Pantani who was able to win on Alpe d'Huez? I still sought the answer when, with the Giro d'Italia, a grey cat sent me crashing to the ground with some other riders. ... My very dear Alpe d'Huez, the arrival to Morzine, and the third place on GC returned the motivation that I needed to return to France and fight for the overall GC victory.

And here in 1998, a fantastic year for me but also a year which took a lot from me. Yes, behind the victories in Giro and the Tour, there is the loss of a great man, of a spiritual father: Luciano Pezzi, who came to visit me to lift my spirit when I was still lying on a bed in hospital with a leg in plaster and metal plates. Luciano Pezzi, the man who had ridden next to Fausto Coppi and Felice Gimondi, the person who had believed the most in my rebirth, just had time to celebrate my success with the Giro d'Italia.

His funeral was the most difficult moment of the year for me. I experienced all the doubts coming back to me. Whether I should ride the Tour de France or not. My head said that I should just let it go for this year and gather my resources until the next season. But my heart prevailed. It was the most significant race in the eyes of Luciano Pezzi. He would have wished that I went to Dublin to race.

This Tour was very hard for me: too many kilometers given to individual time trials, and few mountain top finishes. But I did not lose my heart and I played my own cards when I had to. Initially on the Beille plateau, then at Deux-Alpes, where I will never forget the stage finish. I will also not forget the climb of Galibier, when I rode up between the two lines of spectators who acclaimed and encouraged me. At the end of the most prestigious stage, my rival, Jan Ullrich was nearly 9 minutes down. And me in the yellow jersey!

I will always remember Paris, the Champs-Elysées, the great festival, the joy of being discovered and admired, recognized by the French who were shaken by a poisoned Tour, the highest emotions when I saw the green-white-red flag on the mast and I heard, with a knot in my throat, the Italian National Anthem; finally, pleasure of being the heir to Felice Gimondi. I saw him in Paris. I would have also so much liked to have seen the glance of Luciano Pezzi.

Marco Pantani

Zurich 6-Day Information

David Cowie who contributes to writes that last weekend he managed to finally see a 6-day race. He said he enjoyed the smoky atmosphere, the snow outside, the bratwurst and beer, and the noise of the motor-paced events and dernys.

Before you ask if he is sane, let me tell you a lot of people have the same view. 6-Day riders from yesteryear used to smoke to "prepare" themselves for the 6-Day halls before air-conditioning was common. For me, the halls are a non-smoking, vegetarian's nightmare.

For David a highlight was also seeing Darryn Hill (on his new bike, black but couldn't see exact details) and Jens Fiedler in the sprinters event. Scott McGrory rode well and has a very impressive turn of speed when attacking. Bruno Risi and Kurt Betschart got tremendous support from the crowd everytime they attacked and Andrea Collinelli was far smaller than he expected and Rob Hayles a lot bigger (including his long socks)

If you want to see his photos go to and follow the Zurich 6-day link.

Cadel Evans to ride in Brisbane International Criterium

Imagine that you are only 21 years old, You are the World Ranked No. 1 in your chosen Sport, You have just won the World Cup, You are less than 2 years away from competing for your country at the Olympic Games in your home country. You would be excused for having a Big Head about it all. But not so for Cadel Evans, the current World Cup Champion and World Ranked No.1 Mountain Biker from Plenty in Victoria.

Cadel is back in Australia for a break between seasons on the gruelling World Cup Mountain Bike Circuit. But instead of having a well deserved rest he is still in training doing the things that he doesn't get a chance to do while travelling, like getting in the gym and doing some strength work. He might also be forgiven for not wanting to look at his bike for a while but no he is still out clocking up the kilometres.

Cadel is also a highly respected Road Rider as Neil Stephens found out last season in the Tour of Tasmania when Cadel rode away from him on the last stage up Mt. Wellington to take the overall win in the event. Cadel will turn to the road after the Sydney 2000 Olympics and pursue a career in Europe alongside Stuart O'Grady where it is tipped he will become Australia's first real chance of overall victory in the biggest race of all the Tour de France.

You can see Cadel Evans along with Stuart O'Grady and a host of European professionals at The Brisbane International Criterium on December 13th at Davies Park, West End.

Cadel Evans


DOB: 14/7/77, Plenty, Victoria, Australia
Height/weight: 170/62kg
Years as a pro mountain bike racer: 3
Competitive background: Road Racing

Racing Highlights:

1998 Grundig/UCI Cross-Country World Cup

Overall World Cup 1st
XC Race 1 - Napa, CA 6th
XC Race 2 - Silves, Portugal 1st
XC Race 3 - Budapest, Hungary 4th
XC Race 4 - St. Wendel, Germany 2nd
XC Race 5 - Plymouth, England 1st
XC Race 6 - Canmore, Alberta Canada 1st
XC Race 7 - Conyers, GA 5th
XC Finals - Bromont, Quebec 3rd
World Championships (U-23 category)- Mont Ste. Anne, Quebec 4th
1997 Grundig/UCI Cross-Country World Cup Overall 3rd

Asian Games, 50 kms ITT

Ghader Mizbani Iranagh from Iran beat two fancied Kazak riders to win the Men's 50 kms ITT Championship at the Asian Games. In the women's 25 kms race Zhao Haijuan from China beat her compatriat by 36.46 seconds.

In the men's race, Mizbani Iranagh was just over 30 seconds ahead of professional Dmitriy Fofonov (Kazak) at the half distance checkpoint. He finished up winning by just over that margin and did the 50 kms at an average speed o 47.41 km/h).

In the women's race, Zhao was 22 seconds faster than Ma Huizhen after 12.5 kms and extended that lead to win by 36.46 seconds at an average speed of 42.5 km/h.

Men's 50 kms ITT:

 1. Ghader Mizbani Iranagh (Iran)
 2. Dmitri Fofnov (Kazakstan) 
 3. Pavel Nevdakh (Kazakstan) 
 4. Sergei Derevianov (Kyrgyzstan)
 5. Makoto Iljima (Japan)     
 6. Kim Bong-min (South Korea)
 7. Yoshiyuki Abe (Japan)     
 8. Sergei Arkov (Uzbekistan) 
 9.  Victor Espiritu (Philippines)
10. Sergey Krushevskiy (Uzbekistan)
11. Thongchai Wangardjaingam (Thailand)
12. Sergey Yazov (Kyrgyzstan) 

Women's 25 kms ITT:

 1. Zhao Haijuan (China)                  35.17.55
 2. Ma Huizhen (China)                    35.54.01
 3. Ayumu Otsuka (Japan)                  36.49.59
 4. Choi Hyun-soon (South Korea)          37.57.63
 5. Banna Kumfu (Thailand)                38.24.38
 6. Shim Jung-hwa (South Korea)           38.27.72
 7. Fatma Galivlina (Uzbekistan)          38.54.76
 8. Kaori Sakashita (Japan)               39.41.88
 9. Skuntala Chantasit (Thailand)         39.52.61
10. Yeung Ka Wah (Hong Kong)              41.09.10
11. Lynn Dabbous (Lebanon)                44.38.28