News for September 30, 1999

USA announces World's squad

Alison Dunlap (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Chann McRae (Austin, Texas) and Mari Holden (Colorado Springs, Colo.) will lead the USA's squad to contest the 1999 World Road Cycling Championships, Oct. 4-10, in Treviso and Verona, Italy.

"The World Championships are always important for us but these Worlds are particularly important because of the Olympic qualifying aspects," said USA Cycling's Director of Athlete Performance Sean Petty. "The individual time trial for the professional men and pro women will give us the opportunity to earn a second start position in that event in Sydney. Some of our top pro men individual time trialists, like Lance Armstrong, Tyler Hamilton, Jonathan Vaughters and Bobby Julich, will not be able to compete at Worlds."

In addition to the elite teams, the U-23 men will be led by Danny Pate (Colorado Springs, Colo.), winner of the senior and espoir road race national titles. Kirk O'Bee (Ada, Mich.) who has many top results this year, including a victory at the Hasselt-Spa-Hasselt in Belgium and 10th in the Paris-Roubaix (under-23) is also in the team.

Michael Creed from Colorado Springs will lead the men's junior cyclists. He finished third at the recently completed Tour of Austria, and 5th in last years Worlds TT. In the junior women, National champions Allie Warfel (Millersville, Pa.) and Rebecca McClintock (Boulder, Colo.) will head the team.

Men's Elite Roster - Limits: 12 in road race; 2 in time trial

David Clinger - RR - Woodland Hills, Calif./Mercury
Eddy Gragus - RR - Ft. Collins, Colo./IKON-Lexus
Chris Horner - RR - Lemon Grove, Calif./La Francaise des Jeux (France)
Floyd Landis - RR - San Diego, Calif./Mercury
Levi Leipheimer - TT/RR - Windsor, Calif./Saturn
Chann McRae - TT/RR - Austin, Texas/Mapei-Quick Step (Italy)
Scott Moninger - RR - Boulder, Colo./Mercury
Fred Rodriguez - RR - Piedmont, Calif./Mapei-Quick Step (Italy)

Women's Elite Roster - Limits: 6 in road race; 3 in time trial

Allison Dunlap - RR - Colorado Springs, Colo./GT
Karen Dunne - RR - Colorado Springs, Colo.
Elizabeth Emery - TT - Albuquerque, N.M.
Mari Holden - RR/TT - Colorado Springs, Colo./Acca Due-O Lorena (Italy)
Karen Kurreck - RR - Cupertino, Calif./Edilsavino (Italy)
Emily Robbins - RR/TT - Wauwatosa, Wis./Saturn
Kim Smith - RR - Highlands Ranch, Colo.
Julie Young - RR - Auburn, Calif./Timex

Men Under-23 - Limits: 5 in road race; 2 in time trial

Matt DeCanio - RR/TT - Tampa, Fla. /AIX/CVVC
Kirk O'Bee - RR - Ada, Mich./Mapei-Quick Step (Italy)
Aaron Olson - TT - Eugene, Ore./Nutra-Fig
Danny Pate - RR - Colorado Springs, Colo./Colorado Cyclist
Justin Spinelli - RR - Nashua, N.H./Mercury
Josh Thornton - RR - San Antonio, Fla./CCB Volkswagen

Junior Men - - Limits: 4 in road race; 2 in time trial

Brad Buccamubuso - RR - Logan, Utah/Logan Race Club
Mike Creed - RR/TT - Colorado Springs, Colo./Colorado Cyclist
Will Frischkorn - RR/TT - Charlottesville, Va./Mercury-Ritchey
Devon Hoff-Weekes - RR - Long Beach, Calif./Mercury-Ritchey
Jon Retseck - RR - Doylestown, Pa./East Coast Velo

Junior Women - Limits: 4 in road race; 2 in time trial

Megan Elliot -RR - Tama, Iowa/ AbD Cycling Club
Jessica Haddock - RR - Riverside, Calif./Jane Cosmetics
Rebecca McClintock - TT/RR - Boulder, Colo./Jane Cosmetics
Allie Warfel - RR - Millersville, Pa./ Red Rose Rockets/Team Grimace

Merckx stops for the year

For the second year in a row, Belgian Axel Merckx will not race in autumn. His last race was in the Tour of Latium on September 19th, a race in which he didn't finish.

In previous years, Merckx was strong at the end of the season: he had a good World Championships in the juniors in Oslo, 1993, 4th in the World Championships at Lugano and 3rd in the Tour of Lombardie in 1996, and a good World Championships in 1997.

"I talked with Patrick Lefevere and we decided to stop for this season. A human being has to listen to his body. It was a good Mapei-year for me. A good pre-season - third in the Belgian Championship, but something went wrong with my body in the Tour of Suisse. I was tired, had no power. I had a lot of blood and other tests. But till now we couldn't find the reason. We are still waiting for the test results, which we did in the United States. Until now we think I was overtrained. I'm going hard with my training. That's my style. If that's the reason, I can change my training," the Mapei rider said.

Spanish changes

Throughout the month of September, many of the riders with expiring contracts have been signing with new teams, and the future of Escartín and Beltrán is still not known. Festina may round off a great summer, if they managed to snag Escartin as they have already signed Angel Casero and Joseba Beloki, the Spanish National Champion and one of the promising your Spaniards. If Beltran were to sign with Mapei, he would be following the Italian way that has been taken by Dani Clavero, who will leave Vitalicio to sign with Polti. But there are still names that haven’t signed.

The ‘cheap’ contract of Oscar Sevilla (Kelme) makes him a rider to be had, although he would have to resort to decree 1.006 (which Santi Blanco already used to leave Banesto for Vitalicio, before his contract expired) and wait for a judge’s decision for the amount of indemnity that he would have to pay Kelme to be released. Angel Edo, José Manuel Uría and José Angel Vidal, also from Kelme, have expiring contracts. The same with Festina’s Félix García Casas, who still hasn’t signed.

Vuelta success on the screen

Only soccer is more popular than cycling on TV in Spain. Two and a half million Spaniards followed the Vuelta on TV each day(!) That's 100 000 more than last year.

Hopes for Møller

By Thomas Nilsson, correspondent

Dane Claus Michael Møller was banned for two years by the Danish Cycling Union after being caught in a drugs test this spring. The UCI (!) will now appeal to the international sports court, CAS, and is considerd to have a good chance to get his sentence shortened in line with other nations, where drug users normally are banned for half a year. In that case Møller might be back on the roads next spring. If not he'll be grounded for good.

The 31 year old Dane will quit unless his sentence is shortened. He will not though under any circumstances be able to ride Danish national races or for the national team. He also has three months pay, approximately 20 000 USD, frozen at TVM, and there's a very small chance that he will get it.

Cyclo cross stars to Berlin

Before the road season is over it's time for cyclo-cross. Traditionally the cross pro's start their season in Berlin at the Day of German Unity, October 3.

The circuit in Berlin is relatively fast and therefore a good transition event from road to cross.

In the starting list we find World Champion Mario DeClerq and the Superprestige overall winner Sven Nijs, both Belgian. Also riding will be Rabobank's Dutch veteran Adrie van der Poel, Daniele Pontoni (Italy) and Radomir Simunek (Czech), who will have his son in the junior race. Malte Urban is the only German top contender. German cyclo cross is at the bottom and could do with some good results.

There will also be a women's race - interesting since the women will make their debut at the World Championships this season.

Sweet to stay with team

Australian sprinter Jay Sweet will be with Big Mat for another 2 years. Sweet is taking a short break in the U.K. before resuming in the new year with the Summer racing in Australia.

UCI rankings reshuffle

In the latest UCI individual rankings for men, some major changes have occurred. Following the Vuelta, Frank Vandenbrouke (Cofidis) went from 18th to 7th position, while Spaniard Abraham Olano went down from 3rd place to 9th. The most spectacular change came from German Jan Ullrich (Telekom), who after his recent win at la Vuelta a España has climbed almost 400 places, up to 25th. He's now no longer "Done nothin', been nowhere".

Botero cleared

The suspicions that cyclist Santiago Botero was on the juice have been allayed by Spanish Doctor, Eufemiano Fuentes, who demonstrated that the rider’s high testosterone levels are natural in origin (horses are natural, aren't they?). The Colombian Cycling Federation accepted Dr. Fuentes’ explanation.

Botero had been placed in a compromising position when four tests showed his testosterone level to be more than 6 nanograms, the maximum level for normal people. The levels detected in Botero were: 17, 28, 29 and 27(!) Due to these results, his team, Kelme-Costa Blanca, left him out of la Vuelta a España as a preventive measure and his case went to the Colombian Federation.

What's VDB up to?

The great white hope of Belgian cycling (after Axel has pulled the pin), Frank Vandenbroucke, one of the great favorites for the World in Verona, has been doing secret miles in Maremma with his teammate Lelli.

The Belgian, who yesterday took a bath, whether he needed one or not, at the Baths of Saturnia, will leave on Saturday for France. He will race Paris-Tours on Sunday with the aim of grabbing some points from World Cup leader, Andrei Tchmil. The Cup this year could all come down to the Tour of Lombardy...

D'Amore signs with Mapei

Twenty year old Italian, Crescendo D’Amore has signed with Mapei-Quick Step for next season. The young sprinter, has already been a Junior World Champion and currently rides with Team Grassi Mapei. D'Amore has had four wins this year and will join the group of neo-pros joining Mapei, along with Rizzi, Ratti and Brodrogi.

Dutch chances for the Worlds

Although most of the pundits are favouring VDB, Dutch national coach Gerrie Knettemann is backing Michael Boogerd, according to an article in ANP (the Dutch Press Service). He is the designated team lead, with Marten Den Bakker and Eric Dekker as protected riders. The rest of the team will work for the three, with Boogerd being given prime position.

"With Boogerd in his current form we are sure of a medal or perhaps even the rainbow jersey. After Michael's two victories in Italy I think the Italians have more worry from us than we from them. If the TVM riders are ready to work, things are looking good," said a confident Knettemann.

The TVM rider, Jeroen Blijlevens will actually play a domestique role, although he is in reasonable shape at the moment. This will be his first World Championships: "In the past he was always sick or tired at this time of year. With a win in the last stage of the Vuelta he has shown that he is fit. Reason enough to select him," explained Knettemann

Blijlevens expects to be useful for the team until the final. The sprinter, who usually lets others do the work to set him up, wants now to help others. "In Spain I also survived the toughest stages," he said. "That's why I am ready to work for the team. The WC is something special. Aside from that, I am looking forward to the Olympic Games in Sydney. On such a flat course I hope that the others will work for me. First you have to invest before you can get a return," the sprinter added.

Another newcomer in the team will be Jan Boven. After his performance in the Vuelta, Boogerd gave the thumbs up for his teammate. The national coach had also been watching him this year and noted he was riding well enough for a team spot.

For the individual time trial, Knettemann chose Bart Voskamp and Eric Dekker. Servais Knaven, who had to miss the national championship for the Vuelta, was disappointed. "I find it very disappointing. The course is very flat so it would have been perfect for me," said Knaven after he was overlooked.