News for October 3, 1999

Italian U23 champion fails "health" test

By Tomas Nillson, correspondent

Just prior to the start of the World Championships, the Italian team has sacked Simone Lo Vano, the Italian U23 ITT champion, for failing pre-race blood and urine tests. As is the case with these supposedly difficult-to-prove-anything tests, he will be taken out of racing for two weeks for "health reasons". He will be replaced in the World Championships by Claudio Salvi, according to Italian newspaper La Gazetta dello Sport.

This might may clear the way for last year's champion, Thor Hushovd of Norway, to defend his title. The 21 year-old Norwegian showed excellent form in Paris - Bourges last week where he came in eleventh, riding as a stagiaire for Credit Agricole. He started the season in good form by dominating Ringerike Grand Prix, a cat 5 stage race in Norway. His form fell away in the summer, a bit longer than planned, and came back strongly this fall. "Bad form and illness were the reasons to the weak summer performances. I took a week off on the beach and that was enough for me to get my strength back," said Hushovd to Norwegian news paper Aftenposten.

Armstrong to sue US Postal co-sponsor

1999 Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong is said to have commenced legal action against the Colorado-based company Pearl-Izumi, alleging it misused his name in its advertising. The case will be brought to Travis County District court and Armstrong is claiming $750,000 in damages. Pearl Izumi is a co-sponsor to US Postal but allegedly has no separate deal with Armstrong, according to Norwegian site Syklingens Verden (Cycling World).

Jack & Jones may find new home

Team manager Torben Kølbæk is negotiating with a possible new main sponsor for the Danish team Home Jack & Jones. It's said to be a company with "an international character", according to Danish CyclingWorld. The deal is already set at the original level of 18 million Danish kroner for the team budget (just over US$2 million), according to Lars Mikkelsen at Elmic's Home page.

In that case the new sponsor will replace the realty-company "Home" and will pay four million kroner (US$500,000). "Home" withdrew its sponsorship of the team following Marc Streel's expulsion from the Grand Prix des Nations due to a high hematocrit level. The name of the new sponsor will remain a secret for a few days.

Rider updates

*Gert-Jan Theunisse is no longer the manager and trainer of Bart Brentjes, the Olympic mountain bike cross-country champion . They are still with the same Amerian team Specialized but with Theunisse as team manager and Brentjens as rider. Theunisse is said to be too busy with this team management and he can't follow Brentjes physical training.

*An insider said ex-TVM/Farm Frites-riders Jeroen Blijlevens and Bart Voskamp signed with Polti.

US pros kick on in Bermuda

For much of the US Pro peloton, the season ended with a race and vacation in Bermuda. Even Hurricane Gert couldn't dampen spirits as the sun came out by Wednesday. Thursday's separate (from the stage race) night criterium was viewed by two entire cruise ships tied up at the start/finish line and many locals.

Todd "Nightvision" Littlehales was a pre-race favorite, as was Robby the "Plumber" Ventura (who offered to show his special "plumber" trophy, a golden drain plunger). Despite the best efforts of several Sean Yates-led Linda McCartney Brits and John Lieswyn (Shaklee), Trent Klasna (Navigators) dropped the hammer and lapped the field solo to win.

The stage race started with a time trial near the airport, and despite a steady morning rain the road dried for the majority of the 60 odd contestants in the mens race. Eric Wohlberg (Pan Am TT gold medalist for Shaklee) ripped the 10 miles in 19.14 while second best Klasna went 20.00. Graeme Miller (Shaklee) 20.11 Chris Wherry (Saturn) 20.14 John Lieswyn (Shaklee) 20.16 followed by Sean Yates (McCartney) and Mark Walters (Navigators) in under 20.30.

The 17-lap, 75-mile road race saw unconventional tactics by race leader Wohlberg as he went on the offensive on the 2nd lap. Soon joined by Wherry, Miller, Yates, and Walters, the 10-man break was set. At five to go the above mentioned five riders dropped the other five, who were swept up by Alex Lavalee (6th) John Lieswyn (7th) and Seth Pelusi (8th). Finishing two minutes ahead of this threesome, Miller won from his lead group to notch the second Team Shaklee win in two days.

In the final criterium Shaklee made it three in row with John Lieswyn winning from a break of three including Seth Pelusi (Saturn) and Christian VandeVelde (USPS). The overall GC finished as:
5. Walters
6. Lieswyn


Englishman aims for 60 kph average over 40km

With a special 67-tooth chainring and a howling tailwind, English rider Michael Hutchinson plans to attempt one final challenge to conclude his most successful season ever. He is hoping to break the RRA Straight Out (one way) 40km (25 mile) record, currently held by Harry Walker at 40.45.

In the process he hopes to be the first rider on record to break 40 minutes for the distance - at an average speed of 60 kph (37.5 mph). Hutchinson, 28. (Bio RT - MDT), winner of the RTTC National Time Trial Series, is currently completing his final post graduate thesis at Cambridge University.

He has already beaten the 50 minute barrier five times this season in out and home events and is probably the leading short distance time trialist in Britain this year. He is being supported in his attempt by his new sponsors, MDT, Cheltenham-based manufacturers and designers of specialist cycling equipment who've produced a special 67 tooth chainring for the attempt, giving Michael the enormous gear ratios required for the ride.

The ride will require a strong south westerly tailwind, and the first possible date for the attempt will be October 7, though the attempt will be postponed until the weather condition are right. The Road Records Association require two clear days notice for when the ride will take place. The ride could take place any time during the following month.

If the correct conditions do not occur then the attempt will be rearranged for next season. (Currently a howling gale is blowing and the conditions are perfect.) The Road Records Association, which will hallmark the ride, has been certifying cycling road records since 1888, and the names of many great champions already adorn its record book.

The performance will also be recognised by the Guinness Book of Records. For our English readers who'd like to witness his attempt, contact for the latest details.