News for December 22, 1999

No EPO for Dekker

The Dutch rider Erik Dekker, who had to retire from the World's because his haematocrit level was over 50 per cent, did not use EPO (Erythropoietin) according to an official investigation. His team, Rabobank, engaged an independent commission to investigate the affair, and they found that his test was taken in an "incorrect manner", thereby yielding a false value. The results of the commission will now be sent to the UCI.

Armstrong wins USOC SoY

Courtesy of Rich Wanninger

Despite being denied Time Magazine's "Person of the Year", Lance Armstrong has still managed to score another accolade. On Tuesday, December 21 he was named the 1999 United States Olympic Committee SportsMan of the Year. The awards are presented annually by the USOC to the most outstanding male, female and team from America's Olympic movement.

In addition to winning the Tour de France this year, becoming only the second American to do so, Armstrong also posted two top-six finishes at the National Off-Road Bicycle Association (NORBA) National Championship Series (mountain biking) in August. He finished second in the USOC Sportsman of the Year voting in 1998 and has been nominated for USOC Sportsman of the Year four times (1991, 1993, 1998 and 1999).

1999 USOC National Coach of the Year Chris Carmichael (Colorado Springs, Colo.) has served as Armstrong's coach for the past decade.

"This has been an memorable year for me, and winning the USOC Sportsman of the Year award is one of the top honors I have received," said Armstrong. "Winning the Tour de France was a lifelong dream. I am very proud and honored to be part of the U.S. Postal Service team, which finished second in the USOC Team of the Year voting. We had some outstanding performances in 1999, and I am very excited about the upcoming year.

"The Olympics are the pinnacle of many athletes careers, and I have been fortunate to compete in two previous Olympic Games, and look forward to riding in Sydney in 2000. My focus now is on the preparing for the Tour de France, my family and the Lance Armstrong Foundation."

The U.S. Postal Service squad finished second, behind the U.S. Women's World Cup Soccer team, in the USOC voting. In July, USPS became the first U.S. team to support the winner in the Tour de France. George Hincapie (Charlotte, N.C.), Tyler Hamilton (Boulder, Colo.), Kevin Livingston (Austin, Texas), Christian Vande Velde (Boulder, Colo.), Frankie Andreu (Dearborn, Mich.), Dylan Casey (Mountain View, Calif.), Jonathan Vaughters (Boulder, Colo.) and Marty Jemison (Salt Lake City, Utah) played key roles through the 1999 campaign.

"Last year was an outstanding season for the U.S. Postal Service team, highlighted by Lance's victory at the Tour de France," said USPS team general manager Mark Gorski, who also was a gold medalist at the 1984 Olympic Games. "We finished the season ranked number 13 in the world, with Armstrong ranked number seven in the individual ratings. For 2000, the team has set high goals including a strong showing in the spring classics, particularly for (1996 Olympian) George Hincapie, and a defense of the yellow jersey by Armstrong at the Tour."

Alison Dunlap (Colorado Springs, Colo.) was USA Cycling's nominee for the USOC SportsWoman of the Year, however Swimmer Jenny Thompson won the Sportswoman of the Year award.

The other finalists in the USOC Sportsman of the Year were tennis player Andre Agassi and track athlete Maurice Greene. Michelle Akers (Soccer) and Serena Williams (tennis) were the other finalists in the Sportswoman of the Year voting.

Final team for Tour Down Under

Italian team Polti (3rd on the UCI rankings) is the final team to be announced for the Tour Down Under, to be held in Adelaide from January 18 to 23. They will line up alongside Saeco-Gaggia, Credit Agricole, La Francaise des Jeux, AG2R, Big Mat Auber, Team Deutsche-Telekom, Memory Card-Jack & Jones, Linda McCartney, Farm Frites, Sun Smart/Mitsubishi and the AIS United Water Team (the latter two are purely Australian teams).

The race route for the 2000 Tour Down Under will work in favour of the sprinters. This has been well recognised by the competing international teams resulting in an impressive display of sprinting talent being presented by the international teams.

Five of the world's top sprinters, Robbie McEwen, Erik Zabel, Stuart O'Grady, Jimmy Casper and Jan Kirsipuu will contest the race. "The race is going to be fast and furious and, given both the strength of the peloton and the allure of the UCI points that this 2.3 race can offer so early in the season, it is going to be the aim of each and every rider to perform to their utmost," race director Mike Turtur said.

Nijs tops rankings

The latest cyclocross rankings for the World Cup as well as for the UCI have been released. As expected with his run of victories so far this year, Belgium's Sven Nijs (Rabobank) is at the top of each, with a large gap to Mario de Clercq (Palmans) in the UCI rankings, and a slightly smaller one to Richard Groenendaal (Rabobank) in the World Cup.

Interestingly, Swiss rider, Tomas Frischknecht is currently eighth on the UCI list, without featuring in the World Cup. Frischknecht has spent the season so far away from the top riders in the World Cup, and has been picking up points at lesser races.

UCI cyclocross rankings:             Cyclocross World Cup standings:

1. Sven Nijs (Bel)            2,147  1. Sven Nijs (Bel)              220
2. Mario de Clercq (Bel)      1,604  2. Richard Groenendaal (Ned)    173
3. Adrie van der Poel (Ned)   1,524  3. Mario de Clercq (Bel)        140
4. Daniele Pontoni (Ita)      1,058  4. Erwin Vervecken (Bel)        134
5. Richard Groenendaal (Ned)  1,034  5. Adrie van der Poel (Ned)     125
6. Bart Wellens (Bel)           953  6. Peter van Santvliet (Bel)    111
7. Erwin Vervecken (Bel)        834  7. Jirí Pospísil (Cze)           97
8. Thomas Frischknecht (Swi)    823  8. Petr Dlask (Cze)              94
9. Peter van Santvliet (Bel)    605  9. Gerben de Knegt (Ned)         89
10. Beat Wabel (Swi)            595  10. Daniele Pontoni (Ita)        84
11. Marc Janssens (Bel)         584  11. Wim de Vos (Ned)             84
12. Wim de Vos (Ned)            558  12. Ben Berden (Bel)             83
13. Jirí Pospísil (Cze)         484  13. Marc Janssens (Bel)          65
14. Ben Berden (Bel)            429  14. Beat Wabel (Swi)             61
15. Tom Vannoppen (Bel)         371  15. Bart Wellens (Bel)           60

No TdF for Bölts

33 year-old Udo Bölts will not ride alongside Jan Ullrich in next year's Tour de France. He declared Tuesday that the Tour "did not have any priority". Bölts and his wife are expecting a child in late June next year, something that the German finds more important, said Bölts at a ceremony in Kaiserslautern where he received a medal of honor from the city council in this his home town.

Bölts is considered to have played an important role in the Tour victories of Bjarne Riis and Jan Ullrich in 1996 and 1997. His words to urge the young Ullrich ahead in a tough passage of the 1997 Tour are already part of cycling legend: "Suffer, you sow!"

Vanderaerden leaves

Just one month after the presentation of the team Farm Frites/Eycken Meubelen, team leader Eric Vanderaerden has left. Team manager Johan Capiot thinks former professional Jelle Nijdam will be the new team leader "I have spoken with him already. We are very interested in him," he told ANP.

Vanderaerden said that he had no problems with the new sponsor Farm Frites, but with the management of the union.

Small Vueltas

The stages of some of the "lesser" Vueltas have been revealed:

Vuelta a la Comunidad Valenciana, Cat. 2.3

Stage 1, February 22: Sagunto - Sagunto
Stage 2, February 23: Sagunto - Calpe
Stage 3, February 24: Calpe - Xàtiva
Stage 4, February 25: Xàtiva - Castellón
Stage 5A, February 26: Castellón - Valencia
Stage 5B, February 26: Valencia, 20 kms TT
Vuelta a Ciclista a Murcia - Costa Calida, Cat. 2.3
Stage 1, March 1: Murcia - Caravaca
Stage 2, March 2: Caravaca - Cieza
Stage 3, March 3: Cieza - Lorca
Stage 4, March 4: Murcia - Aledo.
Stage 5, March 5: Individual time trial.

Saturn finalises roster

The Saturn Cycling Team have put the finishing touches to their squad for next year. Only four new athletes will join the team - German Petra Rossner, Antonio Cruz, Trent Klasna, and Dutchman Harm Jansen.

Team director, Rene Wenzel, has set his sights on the Olympic Games in Sydney as well as the 2000 Saturn USPro Cycling Tour. The Saturn Team won the men and women's 1999 team titles in the Saturn USPro Tour, with New Zealander Susy Pryde and American Nicole Reinhart also capturing first and second, respectively, in the individual awards for the women's competitions. The women's team, with Australian Anna Wilson, double Silver Medalist at the 1999 World Championships, finished the 1999 season by leading the UCI Team classification. Wilson also won the Individual UCI World Cup Title.

The men's Saturn team claimed the Team Title of the 1999 Saturn USPro Cycling Tour with four team members in the top ten and veteran Saturn rider Bart Bowen finishing third in the final standings. The men's squad will begin their season with the Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia in January. The women will begin competing in March.

2000 Saturn Cycling Team Roster


Lyne Bessette   (Canada)
Dede Demet   (Boulder, CO)
Julie Hanson (Boulder, CO)
Clara Hughes (Canada)
Susy Pryde (New Zealand)
Nicole Reinhart  (Toppend, PA) 
Emily Robbins (Littleton, CO)
Petra Rossner (Germany)
Anna Wilson (Australia)


Michael Barry (Canada)
Bart Bowen (Albuquerque, NM)
Antonio Cruz (Long Beach, CA)
Harm Jansen (Holland)
Trent Klasna (USA)
Frank McCormack (Leicester, MA)
Mark McCormack (North Easton, MA)
Seth Pelusi (DeSoto, Texas)
Robbie Ventura (Gurnee, IL)
Brian Walton,  (Canada)
Chris Wherry (Boulder, CO)

Contracts in Spain, Portugal and Poland

Sports director Miguel Moreno is still counting on the fact that Jazztel-Costa Almería will be Spain's seventh professional team. He has Mario Traversoni, Fabio Roscioli, David García, Ginés Salmerón, Ernesto Manchón and a couple of neos under contract. There are also rumors about some more neos: Ricardo Valdés (Banaka), Gonzalo Bayarri (Sodexho) Carlos Torrent (Trujillo) and José Antonio Pecharromán (Supermercados Froiz).

Two Spanish neos, Óscar Serrano from Super Froiz and Miguel Martínez (Aguas de Mondariz), are going to Portuguese team Cantanhede. Joan Horrach from Illes Balears is going to Portuguese Maia - MSS to assist compatriot Ángel Edo.

Ximo López of Sodexho will join Slovenian KRKA - Telekom despite rumors about Portuguese team Paredes Móvel.

Gianluca Bortolami is staying for another year with Vini Caldirola-Sidermec.

Six Polish riders, Bernard Bocian, Marek Kaminski, Krzysztof Krzywy, Grzegorz Rosolinski, Grzegorz Krejner and Adam Wadecki are rumored to ride for Warsaw based Servisco (GS III) and so are foreigners Daniel Aeschliman (Swi/Ericsson), Chad Gerlach, (USA), Harald Morscher (Aut/Saeco), Kjell Carlström (Fin/neo) and Roberto Lochowski (Ger/Nürnberger) although manager Zbigniew Szczepkowski is unlikely to sign all the foreigners.