From Jay Sweet at Paris-NiceEverything is good here. Yesterday was a bunch sprint and I finished 4th. I was way too far back. I started the sprint about 350m to go at about 15th or 20th position. By the time I got to 4th the others started to sprint and I was starting to die so I just held my place. I'm hoping that Sunday is a sprint finish and I've got good legs. My turn to win is coming soon! I'd better get some sleep. Talk to you soon.
Neil Stephens to ride the Bank Classic34-year old Australian professional Neil Stephens who is currently riding with Festina will ride the Commonwealth Bank Cycling Classic in October for the first time. This is now official information confirmed in a media release put out by the Bank's Tour publicity unit. Neil will be the team leader for the Bank's own team in the event which will comprise 4 other Australian cyclists and will aim at to become the 5th Australian to win the GC since the race began in 1982.
The race finishes in Canberra which is Neil's home town. It will follow a similar route to last year with the hills in the southern highlands between Sydney and Canberra once again strategically placed and likely to figure in determining the GC. The race will start on October 17 with a criterium in Sydney. Next day it heads north to Newcastle, then Port Stephens (north of Newcastle) before winding back down the Central Coast to Sydney. The last 3 days of the race are spent south of Sydney on the way to the final stage in Canberra on Sunday, October 25. The total race distance will be 1,100 kms.
The history of the race contains famous names including the 1993 winner Jan Ullrich. Last year's winner was Andrei Kivilev who turned professional this year with Festina. The race has the status of having the last East German team to ever compete: Uwe Ampler, Olaf Ludwig, Jan Schur, Mario Kummer and Falk Boden.
The signing of Stephens will lift the profile of the Cycling Classic and should generate a lot of interest from European and American cycling fans in particular. Last year I received many Emails from overseas readers of these pages requesting information and results. I was able to bring complete results after some last minute arrangments with the Tour organisers. This year I am hoping that www.cyclingnews.com will be the official Tour site and I will be able to bring you unprecedented coverage of the race as it unfolds. Negotiations are underway. Stay tuned.
The Australians in the PelotonMy friend Theo Muller has taken the time to prepare a summary of all the Australian riders in the 1998 peloton. There are 17 Australian riders in a Division 1 or 2 team this year. The oldest is Neil Stephens from the Festina team who will be 35 years old in October. And the youngest is Marcel Gono from the French GAN team who at the end of May will be 22 years old. Bradley McGee who was also born in 1976, turned 22 recently.
Marc Madiot, his team manager has a lot of time for this young Australian rider, who also holds the Australian one-hour record. He thinks that Bradley has an immense potential as rider. In addition he learns very fast as one could see during the recent Omloop Het Volk as an example.
Theo says that Stuart O'Grady and Henk Vogel do very well in the Belgian classics and he would not be suprised, if one day, they will win a race like Paris-Roubaix. But Theo's favourite is the excellent teamwork that Neil Stephens performs, day in and day out. He thinks that Neil is the most popular Australian rider in the peloton.
If you look on the age of these 17 riders, it is worth noting that 12 of them are under 26 years of age which promises well for the future.
Data for Australian Riders
Name Team Born Rank Points Hen VOGELS GAN 31.07.73 60 440.50 Stuart O'GRADY GAN 06.08.73 101 307.00 Robbie MCEWEN Rabobank 24.06.72 116 282.00 Patrick JONKER Rabobank 25.05.69 118 278.00 Scott MCGRORY Continentale 22.12.69 126 264.00 Jay SWEET Big Mat 11.08.75 212 156.00 Neil STEPHENS Festina 01.10.63 247 132.00 Matthew WHITE Amore e Vita 22.02.74 301 104.00 Peter ROGERS Amore e Vita 24.10.74 322 96.00 Scott SUNDERLAND Palmans-Ideal 28.11.66 336 91.00 Tristan PRIEM Kross 19.02.72 550 42.00 Marcel GONO GAN 24.05.76 642 31.00 Jason PHILLIPS Continentale 20.11.69 648 30.00 David MCKENZIE Kross 06.08.74 864 15.00 Matthew GILMORE Spar-RDM 11.09.72 1079 8.00 Bradley MCGEE Française des Jeux 24.02.76 - 0.00 Nick GATES Continentale 01.03.72 - 0.00
Chicky World stays amateurKim Frederiksen has confirmed that the aspiring Danish team Chicky World will not ride as a Division II UCI team this year. They will remain an elite team this year. Daniel Schamps tells me that he saw the team at some 1.6 races earlier this year and is not surprised that they have delayed their entry into the pro ranks. Next year they hope to turn pro.
LA Velodrome CampaignThere is a campaign on to stop the LA Olympic Velodrome from being closed. Coordinating the campaign is Dan Weinberg who is able to be contacted on DWeinberg@aol.com. He has sent me a lot of material but I am unsure about the legality of certain of the statements so I have declined to publish it all. I think the issues are worth supporting if you are concerned with track racing in the United States and you should try to contact Dan and see what you can do. The USCF has urged everyone to get behind the venue by supporting the next big promotion there. Here is a letter to Dan from USA Cycling.
USA Cycling is very concerned about the situation and we are working with the Domiquez Hills Velodrome Foundation to find a long term solution. We are also in contact with the major media outlets in LA and we are attempting to generate local interest in both the event and facility.
I think the best way to approach the situation is to support the EDS Cup as athletes and spectators. Media coverage and a full stadium of spectators would definitely show the Foundation the value of the facility.
I hope to see you at the EDS Cup the weekend of April 3rd.
Trivia questionMichael Elmer asks "What do all of the following riders have in common?"
Erik Zabel in 1997 Milan-San Remo Rolf Sorenson in 97 Tour of Flanders Fredric Guesdon in 97 Paris Roubaix Laurent Jalabert in 97 Fleche Wallone and Tour of Lombardy Michele Bartoli in 97 L-B-L Bjarne Riis in 97 Amstel Gold Davide Rebellin in 97 San Sebastion and GP Suisse
They all won the respective races wearing hardshell helmets.
If there is a message in his trivia question then I hope you all get it. Presumably this is a small percentage of total races won during the season.
US season continues with the Sequoia Cycling ClassicThe Sequoia Cycling Classic is the second stop on the 1998 U.S. National Racing Calendar schedule as riders will compete in two events, March 14-15.
The action opens with Saturday’s Graton Road Race, followed by the Visalia Criterium on Sunday. All of the defending champions are expected to compete, though both of last year’s winners, Chad Gerlach (OilMe-Klein), W. Sacramento, Calif., and Julian Dean (Mercury), Hamilton, New Zealand, will be wearing jerseys of new team this year. Kendra Wenzel (Saeco-Timex), McKenzie Bridge, Ore., will try to defend her double win of a year ago.
The field will also include a pair of double winners from last week’s season- opening Redlands Bicycle Classic. Dean’s teammate, Gord Fraser, Ottawa, Ont., Canada, will lead a strong Mercury squad, while Clara Hughes, Hamilton, Ont., Canada, will lead a Saturn squad making its final preparation before heading to New Zealand and Australia for international action. The Saturn squad will include national criterium champion Karen Bliss Livingston, who will see her first national duty of the season.
The men’s field will also include riders from Saturn, Navigators, Colorado Cyclist, Shaklee and the U.S. Postal Service, while the women’s field will include Ralph’s-Klein, Shaklee, U.S. National and Potomac Racing. Due to impending overseas commitments, neither Redlands champion -- Mari Holden (Cratoni-Hawk), Colorado Springs, Colo., or Jonathan Vaughters (USPS), Englewood, Colo., is expected to compete.
The Sequoia Cycling Classic is also the third stop of the California Spring Classic Series. The series continues next week with the SRAM Sea Otter Classic, March 20-21, in Monterey, Calif., and concludes with the Wine Country Classic in Santa Rosa, Calif., March 28-29.
Standings at March 10
Men 1. Jonathan Vaughters 183 points 2. Cadel Evans 110 3. Trent Klasna 84 4. Chris Wherry 82 5. Gord Fraser 70 6. Levi Leipheimer 66 7. Tyler Hamilton 60 8. Steve Larsen 48 9. Bart Bowen 42 10. Scott Moninger 36 Women 1. Mari Holden 136 points 2. Clara Hughes 118 3. Alison Sydor 90 3. Pam Schuster 90 5. Alison Dunlap 72 6. Karen Kurreck 70 7. Leigh Hobson 60 8. Susy Pryde 57 9. Julie Young 56 10. Linda Jackson 48
The National Racing Calendar is a year-long ranking system modeled on the system used by the UCI, the international governing body of cycling.