News for December 1, 1999

Riis stays with Telekom - if he recovers

German first division team Deutsche Telekom will have 22 riders next year and one of them will, a bit surprisingly be 35 year-old Bjarne Riis, winner of the 1996 Tour de France.

"He has been offered a new contract, and with his experience, Bjarne can be valuable for the team," said team manager Walter Godefroot, who earlier this fall seemed to have put Riis out of the team. Riis broke his elbow in June and hasn't raced since. There is one condition though: Riis must be competitive at the beginning of the season. He has had problems with his recovery, as his injured elbow won't straighten properly.

"The main goal for the season is of course the Tour de France (with Jan Ullrich as captain) and in the spring classics we will work for Erik Zabel," said Godefroot. The role that new acquisition Alexandre Vinokourov will play is a bit unclear. Earlier Godefroot had said "With us everybody has his chance if he is riding up front, except in the Tour de France where Jan is the boss." "Vino" won the Tour of Valencia in February and was among the favorites in the Paris-Nice where he crashed.

The team has lost Dirk Baldinger to Team Nürnberger and Francesco Frattini and Christian Henn to retirement. However, five new riders are contracted: Vinokuorov, Gian Matteo Fagnini, who will prepare the sprints for Zabel, and youngsters Stephan Schreck (23), Matthias Kessler (23), and Austrian Gerhard Trampusch (21). The budget for the team will be around eight million Euros (approximately the same in US Dollars)

Team Telekom 2000:

Rolf Aldag
Udo Bölts
Alberto Elli (Ita)
Gian-Matteo Fagnini (Ita)
Ralf Grabsch
Giuseppe Guerini (Ita)
Jens Heppner
Danilo Hondo
Kai Hundertmarck
Jörg Jaksche
Matthias Kessler
Andreas Klöden
Giovanni Lombardi (Ita)
Bjanre Riis (Den)
Jan Schaffrath
Stephan Schreck
Georg Totschnig (Aut)
Gerhard Trampusch (Aut)
Jan Ullrich
Alexander Vinokourov (Kaz)
Steffen Wesemann
Erik Zabel 

VDB awarded

Franck Vandenbroucke has been awarded the "Golden Sprint 1999" award as the top Belgian cyclist of the year. At the moment, we are in the thick of the award season when "experts" of various qualities award sportsmen. However, a quick glance at the jury gives the award a certain value: Eddy Merckx, Ferdinand Bracke, Pino Cerami, Claude Criquielion, Roger De Vlaeminck, Patrick Sercu, Jean-Luc Vandenbroucke, Lucien Van Impe, Herman van Springel, Rik van Steenbergen and Joseph Bruyere are among the jurymen.

VDB won with a big margin ahead of World Cup winner Andrej Tchmil after a season with victories in Liége-Bastogne-Liége and Het Volk and great stage wins in Paris-Nice and the Vuelta. He also was seventh in the World's (with two broken hands). All this with a several month suspension for homeopathic remedies - what a year for Franck!


1. Frank Vandenbroucke  117 pts
2. Andrej Tchmil         73
3. Tom Steels            67
4. Peter Van Petegem     55
5. Marc Wauters          44

Earlier winners:

1995  Johan Museeuw
1996  Johan Museeuw
1997  Johan Museeuw
1998  Tom Steels

Watt defamation trial

The Kathy Watt defamation case has attracted significant interest from sportspeople outside of cycling, due to its "ground breaking" nature. A sportsperson suing a big newspaper for defamation and winning, if the first trial is anything to go by, is not very common. Hopefully it will not become so, as it is fairly disruptive to athletes who have their work cut out just to train and compete. It is important as well in Australian cycling, as it involves the country's top coach, Charlie Walsh and his treatment of athletes.

According to an ABC report, swimmer and Australian sportswoman of the century, Dawn Fraser gave evidence that "Watt was highly respected in the sporting world and an inspiration to upcoming cyclists."

Charlie Walsh is currently giving evidence, saying that "following [Lucy-Tyler] Sharman's performance at a training camp he felt she was a certainty for a gold medal."

The trial is scheduled to run for at least another week.

Melbourne Cup on Wheels start list

Courtesy of Adam Murchie

One of Australia's most prestigious track races, the Melbourne Cup on Wheels will be held this Sunday at Northcote velodrome in Melbourne. The following starters have been confirmed:

Stephen Pate: Former World Champion and many-times Australian Champion
Rahna Demarte: Former Junior World Champion and dual Bronze medallist at this year's World Titles. 4 times Australian Champion in 1999. Andrew Mason: Dual Junior World Champion in Individual and Teams Pursuit
Leigh Egan: Former World BMX champion and top road rider. Won Tatt's Cup tour of Goldfields.
Karen Barrow: Top international rider who has represented Australia on numerous occasions.
Darren Young: Winner of Bendigo madison and winner of Devonport Wheelrace.
David Salton: 3 times Australian Junior champion and Australian Record holder in the pursuit.
Barry Woods: Winner of the event last year.
Troy Clarke: Austral Wheelrace winner, Victorian Sprint Champion and international track cyclist.
Tim Decker: Third place getter in Melbourne to Warrnambool and Sun Tour rider.
Tim Bennett: Winner of Bendigo Golden Mile
David Pell: Sun Tour rider and former Australian representative at the World Titles

Jobie Dajka is unavailable for the event, but Andrew Mason will be racing David Salton in the Pursuit: - World Champion Vs Australian Champion and potential World Championship representative.

Tour Down Under attracts top teams

Australia's Tour Down Under, running from January 18-23 is set to draw several European teams who are seeking to gain some early season form for the classics. The Tour has been upgraded to UCI category 2.3 this year, making it more attractive for top teams to compete.

A total of twelve teams will contest the event, including Deutsche Telekom (Ger), Jack and Jones (Den), Credit Agricole (Fra), Big Mat Auber (Fra), La Francaise des Jeux (Fra), AG 2R Prevoyance (Fra), Saeco–Gaggia (Ita), Farm Frites TVM (Hol), and Linda McCartney (Gbr).

Stuart O'Grady, winner of the inaugural event last year is down to start along with former Credit Agricole colleague, Henk Vogels. Vogels will ride as a member of one of two Australian teams in the event, the Sunsmart / Mitsubishi and the United Water – AIS Team, according to race director Mike Turtur. One international team is still to be finalised.

Swedish - Finnish cooperation

By Tomas Nilsson, correspondent

Mattias Carlsson, a pro in Danish GS III-team Kvickly Odder is joining Swedish top amateur squad Team Wirsbo. 24 year old Carlsson had his season destroyed by a broken arm. The team will also have Finland's promising Oscar Stenström, 22 years old, in their ranks. In Finland he will ride for IF Länken and the two teams will continue their cooperation on international events, "borrowing" riders from each squad.

The international spring tour will start February 12 in Biarritz, France. Then there will be races in Spain, followed by Portugal for a couple of pro races, and then back to Spain for the Cinturón Ciclista Internacional in Mallorca. Following this, they will race a few minor races until it's time for the espoir versions of the Tour of Flanders and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. On the way home there will be the Ringerike GP in Norway and the first national races in early May.

In the major Swedish races, like the National and Scandinavian Championships and Postgirot Tour of Sweden the team will be completed with pros from continental teams so long as they don't have other commitments.

The team:

Magnus Albertsson, Mattias Carlsson, Kristoffer Ingeby, John Nilsson, Tobias Nilsson, Jukka Heinikainen and Oscar Stenström. The two latter will ride for IF Länken in major races in Finland.

Johan Nyman will ride for French amateur tam VC Cahor, but will ride for Wirsbo in the nationals along with continental pros, Anders Juhlin, Magnus Ljungblad, Esa Rosendahl and Henrik Sparr of De Nardi, Marcus Ljunqvist of Team Fakta and the still contract-less ITT World's silver medallist Michael Andersson.

The Finish partner IF Länken will line up Heinikainen and Stenström completed with Christian Selin, Mikko Nurmela, Antti Tuukkanen and Olli Hakala. Joona Laukka is also member of the team but he might also ride as a pro for Benfica of Portugal.

Australian Juniors awarded

Courtesy of Graham Fowler

The Junior World Cycling Champion Olympic sprint team (Jobie Dajka, Ben Kersten and Mark Renshaw) was awarded the "Junior Team of the Year" at Tuesday night's annual Australian Sports Awards.

Nominated female cyclist, Anna Wilson narrowly missed out on winning an award, with top wheelchair athlete Louise Savage taking it. With such prowess in Australian sport it was lucky that the cycling got anything this year. The deadline for the awards was October 18th, so more recent performances will have to wait till next year.

Tour of Wellington 2000

Courtesy of Jorge Sandoval

The 2000 International Tour of Wellington, an annual sporting fixture for the past eleven years and recognised as the best shop window for road cycling in New Zealand is undergoing a name change to "The Fuji Xerox Cycle Classic" to reflect it's new sponsor. It starts on Tuesday the 11th January and will finish with a street circuit race around Frank Kitts Park on Saturday the 15th January.

Race director, Jorge Sandoval has introduced new stages to the race - a criterium around Fraser Park in Lower Hutt and a 150-kilometre around the Wairarapa, finishing at the top of the Rimutakas. The final stage will be a criterium around Frank Kitts Park in Wellington.

New Zealand number one professional rider Chris Jenner has been confirmed on the start list, along with several other big New Zealand names in the event including Graeme Miller and the NZ track team. International teams from Australia, Hong Kong and the Czech Republic are confirmed starters while teams from Belgium, Chile and Switzerland are expected to participate, subject to confirmation. The final teams will be announced on the 20th of December 1999.

Race Route:

Jan 11th Lower Hutt Criterium (Fraser Park) 	40km
Jan 12th Wellington - Masterton			110km
Jan 13th Tour of the Wairarapa			150km
Jan 14th Upper Hutt Circuit			120km	
Jan 15th Wellington - Hawkins Hill		60km
 	 Wellington Circuit (Frank Kitts Park)  40km 

Portuguese news

Courtesy of Rui Pinto

The Portuguese team, Recer/Boavista has signed Portuguese rider Jose Barros for next year. Jose Barros is 28 years old, and has ridden this season for the other Portuguese team Paredes/Movel/Ecop.

The Team Recer/Boavista squad for 2000 is:

Directeur Sportif: Jose Santos

Current riders:
Delmino Pereira(Por)
Marco Morais (Por)
Pedro Soeiro (Por)
Pedro Andrade (Por)
Josep Jufre (Esp)
Vitoriano Fernandez (Esp)
David Bernabeu (Esp)

New Signings:
Atanas Petrov (Bul, Gresco/Tavira)
Arturas Trumpaukas (Lit, neo)
Adrian Palomares (Esp, neo)
Jose Barros (Por, Paredes)

Vitalicio farewells two stars

World Champion Oscar Freire and Daniel Clavero had their last race with Spanish team Vitalicio Seguros on the weekend - the Memorial María Isabel Clavero criterium. The race was held to commemorate Daniel Clavero's deceased sister, and was won by Freire who is off to Italy to familiarise himself with his new team Mapei. He will compete in the classics next year as his main objective.