News for February 11, 1999

Cycling Australia upsets NZ Tour organiser

Jorge Sandoval is angry about the way the Australian Cycling Federation treated him in the lead up to the recently completed Tour of Wellington. He says that CA promised to send "two top national teams". But then, with only two weeks left before the Tour began, a top CA administrator is alleged to have told Sandoval that: "We don't know anything about that Tour" This is despite the Australian team sending riders to the race in past years as a matter of course.

Sandoval says that he then approached a "Director of Coaching for CA" who said to Sandoval that: "I will call you tomorrow". The communication never came. If you think the consequences of this matter are trivial then Sandoval doesn't agree. He said that CA has let a lot of people down. He indicated that he finds it difficult as it is getting the sort of sponsorship necessary to mount the excellent event. He said that it becomes very difficult when he has to explain to a sponsor that they team that they have chosen to support - in this case the Australian team - are not coming because the administrators cannot get their act together.

Sandoval says that he now has 20 jerseys in his office bearing the names of the corporate sponsors that the Australian team was going to ride for. He doesn't know what to say to explain this snub to the sponsors.

So where were the Australian teams? Living it up on South Australian taxpayers' money is the answer.

Festina and TVM invited to ride the 1999 Tour de France

The two teams at the centre of the 1998 Tour drugs scandal - Festina and TVM-Farm Frites - have been invited by the Societe du Tour de France, the race organiser, to start in the 1999 edition which starts on July 3 in the village of Puy-du-Fou (Vendee). The list of 16 teams which are automatic entries was announced this week and is based on the UCI classification as at December 31, 1998. On June 16, after the Giro d'Italia and the Dauphiné Libere, 4 other teams will be added to the field. The Societe Du Tour de France has emphasized that the participation of the 20 teams will be subject to the "their adherence to the code of sports ethics and no involvement in any disciplinary or judicial inquiries, linked to doping".

Italian team Vinavil and American Team US Postal, which were amongst the first 16 teams ranked by the UCI were not on the list because they have dropped below 20th place after the final date for rider signings had passed. Both teams could be invited when the wild cards are given out in June. They have been replaced by the French team Crédit Agricole and Spanish Team Vitalicio Seguros.

These are the preselected teams:

France: Casino, Cofidis, Festina, Crédit Agricole
Italy: Mercatone Uno, Mapei, Polti, Saeco
Spain: ONCE, Banesto, Kelme, Vitalicio
Holland: Rabobank, TVM
Germany: Telekom
Belgium: Lotto

Olano and Jalabert finally ride together

Laurent Jalabert and Abraham Olano, the two leading rider for the Spanish team ONCE-Deutsche Bank have ridden together for the first time in the Challenge Mallorca. The two haven't crossed paths on their bikes since Olano signed with ONCE back in November, although they have met at medical examinations. They have also discussed matters on the telephone but appeared yesterday for the first time in their new uniforms together.

The only reason for their failure to get together relates to the different programs that they have been pursuing. Jalabert travelled to Australia for some training during January while Olano stayed with the bulk of the team at El Bosque (Cádiz).

Manolo Saiz did not start either rider in the first round of the Challenge Mallorca (an 80 kms criterium in Palma). Saiz said: "The first official day of competition is always a very nervous one for the peloton, with a lot of riders beginning their careers. The danger multiplies, even more if the race is held on a circuit. That's why I preferred for Olano and Jalabert to stay behind training." Both rode round 2 however.

Olano arrived on Mallorca very early on Sunday morning, together with Mario Cipollini, after the two of them had competed in the 6-Days of Euskadi race in a special omnium. Cipollini started the criterium, while Olano took to the training roads with Jalabert, along with another major signing for ONCE, Austrian Peter Luttenberger. Other riders to go out were Marcos Serrano, Rafael Díaz Justo, Carlos Sastre and David Cańada. They rode for a little over three hours. Jalabert said: "Exactly 112 kilometers" after looking at his cycle computer.

They went out for longer than planned and some of the riders accompanying them were puffing at the end of the ride. "What's happening? You guys are already getting edgy?, somebody asked Olano & Jalabert, who posed together for photographs for the first time. Jalabert was short: "What we want to do is eat, because we are hungry..."

Zulle doing his own thing

Zülle is doing his own thing at the moment. The Swiss cyclist cannot race until May 1 because of his drugs suspension. He says that the best formula for staying competitive is to simulate races. In Mallorca, he is doing just that. He rides with the team but when they go off to the race Zülle trains alone. He is not always isolated though. He said the format of the Challenge is conducive to him at present because "there are always some of my teammates that don't take the start and I can ride with them. But since our preparation is different from theirs, at the end I tend to finish alone, with my only support being my pump and my food."

Loneliness in training is not a new thing for Alex. He's used to training in his country without much company. "In Switzerland sometimes I go out with Rolf Jaermann or Philip Buschor, who live close by. But since they aren't always there, most of the times I go out alone".

Zülle is not feeling jealous about his teammates who are already racing. He says: "I am still capable of holding back, but I know that soon I will have the desire to compete, that's why my head has the need to simulate the races. This and the discipline in training are the secrets to overcome the fact that I am suspended".

Zülle says that he will continue these simulations during the Vuelta a Murcia (March 3-7) and the Vuelta a Aragón (April 14-18). "There I won't have any teammates to ride with, that's why I will go out one or two hours before the start of the stage to cover the same route as the peloton."

José Miguel Echávarri, Banesto's manager, prefers to call this simulation "racing without a number". Zulle agrees: "What we are talking about is doing the same as in a race, without actually contesting it. I wake up at the same time, I have breakfast with my teammates, I spend time with the mechanics, I get my massage..." And Zulle sees favorable consequences from his peculiar situation because he will reach the Tour fresher than other rivals.

Mauro Gianetti to ride for Vini Caldirola

Swiss cyclist Mauro Gianetti, silver medallist at the 1996 Lugano Worlds behind Belgian Johan Muuseew, will ride for Italian Team Vini Caldirola this season. 35-year old Gianetti, 12 years a professional was with the French team La Française des Jeux last year.

ONCE will not ride in France until things are clarified

ONCE-Deutsche Bank team manager Manolo Saiz has told the newspaper, Le Figaro that his team will not race in France until the French doping legislation is more precise. He said: "When I receive different and contradictory notes from the French Ministry of Sports, from the French Cyclign Federation and their Spanish equivalents about sports medicine my duty is not to expose the name of my sponsor to possible problems So until the time that the legislation becomes precise, we will not race in France".

This means that ONCE will not race in Paris-Nice, the Tour du Haut Var or the Clasica Haribo. Saiz said: "We have already paid for the last Tour and for the supposed products that the police discovered in our trucks." This was in reference to the police discovering asthma medication which Saiz claims was not used by the riders but was there for his own use. The product found was worth 2.7 Euros ($US3.00) and led to the French judicial system charging the team doctor Terrados for the importation of poisonous substances.

Even though the analysis has only indicated the asthma medication was present in the truck, the investigating judge Patrick Keil has demanded that Saiz appear at a hearing in Bordeaux on February 23. Saiz is openly critical of the French approach and their attitudes. He is specifically critical of the president of the French Cycling Federation, Daniel Baal and the FFCs fight against drugs in cycling. He said: "Baal should take a look at the rules in Spain, Italy and other cycling countries. He would then know that ONCE has been doing the required testing (biological and physiological adopted in France after the Tour) for a long time now".

In an interview with the French daily sport's paper L'Equipe, Laurent Jalabert said: "I lament not being able to participate, for example at Paris-Nice. I have won it three times (1995, 1996 and 1997) and I would have wanted to see myself at a race like that".

But he is completely clear as to where his loyalties lie. He said: "I race for a Spanish team and I have a sponsor that pays me and if they feel that we shouldn't race in France, we won't". Instead of Paris-Nice, Jalabert will ride at Tirreno-Adriático. He spoke enthusiastically about the Italian race.

Jalabert will be away from France until the Clasique des Alpes in June. It is not clear if ONCE will start in the Tour. At any rate, Jalabert may not start even if the team goes. He explained that: "the Vuelta a Espańa suits me better and even though the route this year is very tough, I would like to win it again. Every day I have less hope that I could win the Tour."

Mercury starts the season well in the USA

The Mercury Team got off to a hot start as they won 3 races in the first weekend of major competition. Gord Fraser closed out the weekend with a 5th place in the Usery Pass Road Race.

In the always tough Boulevard Road Race, that started the UCSD Grand Prix, the Mercury men sent John Wordin up the road in an early breakaway with Mountain bike pro Floyd Landess (Chevy Blazer). The duo was soon joined by 4 other including teammate Zarate and Knickman. After the first major climb, Knickman had wheel trouble and after switching with Wordin soon joined back up.

The group went clear 2 minutes and included former US Pro champ Gragus and Postal rider Vande Velde. On the last lap, Zarate went clear and won by 30 seconds over the Chevy rider Landess. Knickman took 3rd and Vande Velde 4th.

In Sunday's Snake Bite Criterium, the Mercury Men were heavily marked and after numerous attempt to go clear, it was inevitable that a field sprint was coming. Knickman and Wordin wound it up on the very difficult course and with a final push from Zarate, Clinger came around on the final hill for the victory over Navigator, Trent Klasna.

In Northern Cal, The annual Cherry Pie race drew a touch field who braved the weather. Teammates Peters and Sayers held off the challenge of Saturn rider Adam Sbeih. The Mercury team have now won 4 races so far this season.

Netherlands, 1999 Visser & Smit Hanab Competition, 3rd round

The third round of the 1999 Visser & Smit Hanab Competition 99 was held in terrible weather conditions in the Dordrecht area in Netherlands last weekend. The field was reduced to around 100 riders. Storms, rain and hail confronted the riders. Several top riders pulled out in the first few kms because of the bad conditions. A strong top group formed early with Heerco Gorter, Rob Sienders, Gerhard Klijnhout, Peter van Vliet, Club Mol riders Jordan van Scheers, Robert Reijers and Marco Scholten. This group maintained a fast pace and worked well together. A second group with Gert Verhoef and Arno Wallaard tried to bridge the gap but were unable to make any impression of the leaders. In the finale, Heerco Gorter broke away and took the victory on his own. It was revenge for the previous week when he had been defeated in the end by the professional riders in the race. Second place went to the strong rider Gerhard Klijnhout of De Hoekse Renners.

 1. Heerco Gorter (de Volharding)
 2. Gerhard Klijnhout (De Hoekse renners)
 3. Peter van Vliet (Avanti)
 4. Jordan van Scheers (Visser & Smit Hanab/De Mol)
 5. Arno van Veen (Volharding)
 6. Marco Scholten (Visser & Smit Hanab/De Mol)
 7. Rob Sienders (De Hoekse renners)
 8. Robert Reijers (Visser & Smit Hanab/De Mol)
 9. Ron Verwolf (Jan van Arckel)
10. Arno Wallaard (JAn van Arckel)

Standings after Race 3:

 1. Gerhard Klijnhout (RTC de Hoekse Renners)  		40
 2. John Talen  (Batavus/Bankgirolotery) 		40
 3. Heerco Gorter (UWTC de Volharding)  		38
 4. Jordan vn Scheers (Visser & Smit Hanab/de Mol)  	38
 5. Edward Farenhout (RTC de Hoekse Renners)  		38
 6. Perry Bothof (WV Breda)  				35
 7. Bjorn Schilperoord(Visser & Smit Hanab/de Mol)	35
 8. Robert Reyers(Visser & Smit Hanab/de Mol)		33
 9. Rob Sienders(RTC de Hoekse Renners)			30
10. Peter vn Vliet(WC Avanti)				28
11. Ron Verwolf (GRC Jan van Arckel)			28
12. Barry vd Ham (Willebrord Wil Vooruit)		26
13. Marco Scholten (Visser & Smit Hanab/de Mol)		25
14. Rene Lems (Visser & Smit Hanab/de Mol)		24
15. Arno vd Veen (UWTC de Volharding)			21
16. Maarten den Bakker (Rabobank Wielerploeg)		20
17. Johan Tromp (GRC Jan van Arckel)			19
18. Ruud Zijlmans (WV Breda)				18
19. Ron Verweij (UWTC de Volharding)			17
20. John den Braber (Westland Wil Vooruit)		17

Caulfield-Carnegie Criteriums, February 7, 1999

The trackies were away for the Gippsland double of the Leongatha and Warragul carnivals, leaving smaller but still aggressive bunches to race at Glenvale Crescent in unusually cold, windy conditions. The passing showers bothered a few but just seemed to make Neils Heuvelman, a visiting Dutch MTB racer homesick. Unplaced in A grade today, he returns to take his place in the MTB version of Paris-Roubaix in six weeks with a tan, plenty of "klicks" in his legs and plans to return to Melbourne again.

A grade, James Taylor again, four wins in five starts! The four placegetters were away for at least half the race, Taylor getting the better of his companions in a spirited sprint.

Four escapees again in B grade, no effort in the finale, experienced riders sharing the work without concern for finishing order. Travers Nuttall (15) missed the opportunity to make it two in a row when

Matt Young got over him on the line, the C grade bunch had been strung out during the last four laps due to spirited pace making. D grade suffered the wet conditions, with the sprint keenly contested.

A Grade, 1 hour + 3 laps:

 1. James Taylor
 2. Russell Nelson
 3. Herbert Donovan
 4. Russell Collett

B Grade, 1 hour + 3 laps:

 1. Matthew Chessum
 2. David Sturt
 3. Thomas Campona
 4. Russell Newnham

C Grade, 45 Minutes + 3 laps:

 1. Matt Young
 2. Travers Nuttall
 3. David Down
 4. Stewart Corcoran

D Grade, 45 Minutes + 3 laps:

 1. Ben Phillips
 2. John Groves
 3. Peter Mitchell
 4. E. Phillips