News for April 25, 2000

The Posties' Amstel

Lance Armstrong
Photo: © Casey Gibson

Although it was a race they managed second in last year (Armstrong), Team US Postal did not quite have the same success this year, with Armstrong coming in 39th, 1.36 down and Patrick Jonker being the best finisher at 13th in the lead group.

The reason, according to team director Johan Bruyneel was a late crash in the race that split the lead group, keeping Armstrong and several teammates out of the final group. "Lance was pretty motivated and everyone knew that. We were in all the breaks, first with Benoit (Joachim), then again with Benoit along with Christian (Vande Velde) and Patrick. And (Viatcheslav) Ekimov was away almost the whole day. Until the last 20 kilometers, everything was fine," said Bruyneel.

Laurent Jalabert (ONCE) was another involved in the crash and the resultant split saw 7 riders go to the front, later joined by 10. Several strong teams were represented and there was little chance of the stragglers regaining the front.

"It's not a coincidence there were all the strong people in the front," said Bruyneel who also praised Erik Zabel: "However, if the crash did not happen, there could have been perhaps 30-40 riders together for the finish. Zabel didn't get a gift either. On the last climb, Rebellin attacked and Zabel managed to stay there. To be in the front, you have to have good legs. Especially this year, Zabel is going very good. A victory here was always within his possibilities."

"In terms of Lance, right now he is 90%," said Bruyneel. "To make a difference at Amstel, you have to be at 100%. Last year, he was at 85% for the race but had just a super day. This year, he didn't have that super day that can make a difference, especially in a race which stays together for such a long time. Things like that just come and happen; you cannot program that. Last year, it (Armstrong's second place at Amstel) was an unexpected result for Lance. This year, he was very motivated, but not at 100%, and that is calculated. But until the race happens, you don't know."

Armstrong will join his teammates tomorrow and take part in Paris-Camembert, a 208 kilometer starting outside of Paris and finishing in Camembert. From there, many of the same riders from Paris-Camembert will compete in the GP Gippingen in Switzerland on Sunday, leading up to the Four Days of Dunkerque stage race in France on May 2-7.

No Amore in Trentino

Italian-British team Amore & Vita was not allowed to start in the Giro del Trentino (2.2) today, because the team hadn't paid the required sum of money to guarantee their riders' salaries to the UCI.

Riders assigned for the race were: Massimiliano Martini, Cristian Auriemma, Simone Leporati, Mirko Puglioli, Mauro Bartoli, the Russian Andrea Gurajev and the two Polish riders Seweryn Kohut and Artur Krzeszowiec. The team also has a squad assigned for the Circuit des Mines in France starting Wednesday.

The other riders on the team are Britons Christopher King, Harry Lodge, Daniel Moore, Matthew Watch, Lee Davis and Dylan Williams, Italians Roberto Cerri, Cristian Fanini and Massimo Gimondi, South African Ryan Cox, Swede Thomas Grönqvist and Steven Tibbits from USA.

Ziliute on a roll

Former World Champion Diana Ziliute continued her good form in the season and sent out a clear message that she will be one of the favourites come the Olympics in Sydney. Over the Easter weekend, she competed in the three day, four stage Vuelta Ciclista Navarra in Spain, amongst a top quality field of 130 riders. The Lithuanian, aided by her powerful Acca Due O-Lorena team not only won the overall race from Sara Symington (GBr), but won every stage, the points, climbs, and teams classification. She managed second in the metas volantes (intermediate sprints), but strangely enough was nowhere to be found in the Special Sprints, Best U23 or the Best Navarran Rider classifications. Well, nobody's perfect.

However, Sara Symington from Great Britain showed her strength in finishing just 12 seconds behind Ziliute at the end - the same time that she lost in the stage 2b individual time trial. The field included the likes of Jeannie Longo (Fra, Vital Plus) and Joana Somarriba (Spa, Alfa Lum - RMS) as well as several very strong national teams.

Udo Bölts prolongs Telekom contract

Telekom's veteran Udo Bölts, 33, will ride another year for the team. He has renewed his contract for another year by shaking hands with team manager Walter Godefroot. The reigning German champion began his pro career in 1989 in Team Stuttgart, the predecessor of Team Telekom. Among his merits are a stage win in the Giro 1992, Classica san Sebastian 1997 and Dauphiné Libéré the same year. He is a three times German Champion, and is considered to be one of the most important helpers to Jan Ullrich.

Since the beginning of this year he has helped run an espoir team, "Team 23 Udo Bölts", in his home province Rheinland-Pfalz.

Ullrich will start in Midi Libre

Rudy Pevenage (Telekom) said today that Jan Ullrich will start in the Midi Libre in May. He denied the statement by Walter Godefroot in l'Equipe about not starting in Midi Libre. "Jan trains with Peter Becker constantly in the Schwarzwald in the South of Germany, and everything is fine."

Beltrán: a man for the Tour - and the Vuelta

Spaniard Manuel Beltrán went from Banesto to Mapei this year, and even if Mapei is a gigantic team with its 36 riders there is a place for Beltrán to shine. He is the kind of rider that the team lacks, with the exemption of Pavel Tonkov - a rider for the Grand Tours.

Beltrán says according to Spanish site Sportec that he will use May and June to gradually build his form for the Tour de France, his kind of race. But it is actually the Vuelta that is his main objective for the season, and the reason that he left Banesto (with Jimenez and Zülle) for Mapei, where he once rode at the beginning of his career.

"My seventh position in the Vuelta last year was excellent but my aim is to improve that result," he said. He thinks that the roads will suit him but admits that he has to sharpen up in the ITT's.

Hartwell, Nothstein and Witty for US Trials

The US Olympic track trials are scheduled to start tomorrow, April 25-29 at the Superdrom in Frisco, Texas. This series will give athletes in some events the opportunity to qualify directly for the Olympic team, or the Olympic Long Team. The Olympic Long Team is a pool of athletes who have met certain qualifying standards in past international and national competitions. The final U.S. Olympic Track Cycling Team will be announced in early July.

Marty Nothstein (triple world champion), Erin Hartwell (medallist in two Olympic Games) and Chris Witty (dual medallist at the 1998 Winter Olympics for Speedskating) will be the big names present at the trials, along with all the other hopefuls. The US may field up to 27 cyclists (in three disciplines - Track, MTB, and Road) at the Olympics in Sydney - the largest ever team that they have had.

Track cyclists may earn spots to Sydney by posting certain times on the 250-meter track at the Superdrome in Frisco. If an athlete wins one of the following designated events at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Track Cycling as well as meeting the following time standards, then he/she could earn a trip to Sydney.

Kilometer time trial: 1 minute, 03.000 seconds 500m time trial: 35.300 seconds Men's sprint - 10.350 seconds (200m time trial, and win the sprint tournament} Women's sprint - 11.400 seconds {200m time trial, and win the sprint tournament} Men's 4,000m Individual Pursuit 4:24.000 Women's 3,000m Individual Pursuit: 3:35.000

Each of the morning sessions, which begin at 10:30 a.m., is free to the public. The admission to the evening sessions is $15. The evening sessions begin at 7 p.m. with the exception of a 5 p.m. start on Saturday, April 29. To purchase tickets online, go to

Special for April 25, 2000 - Anzac Day

April 25 is a special day in Australia, New Zealand, Britain and parts of Belgium and France, as it commemorates the ultimate sacrifice paid by young men and women in defence of their country and their ideals. On Anzac Day, cyclingnews pays tribute to one member of the Australian forces who went into battle in the Great War in Europe.

The young Australian Thomas Robinson was not only a soldier but a bike rider. A farm labourer in 1914, he originally enlisted and became a member of the Australian Light Horse but then transferred to the 4th Division Cyclist Company and was a member of the Australian armed forces in France during the Great War.

In 1916 he transferred to the 1st Anzac Corps Cyclist Battalion as a Lewis gunner, where he served in the Somme. Thomas survived the horrors of this torrid campaign and after the war, he came home, became an "outstanding racing cyclist", according to the Australian War Memorial, and also built racing frames for an Adelaide bicycle company.

The Great War was the first time the old world of Europe saw the forces from Australia and New Zealand. Some 330,000 young Australians enlisted to fight in the Great War, and 48,617 of those men and women died in France and Belgium. On Anzac Day 2000, Thomas is one of only 31 living survivors of those Australian forces.

Age shall not weary them.