News for December 8, 2000

Longo does it again

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Photo: © AFP

Frenchwoman Jeannie Longo finally had things go her way in Mexico City today after over a month of trying, when she beat her own hour record of 44.767 km set on November 5. Starting at 16:15 local time, Longo rode 45.094 kilometres for an hour in a UCI approved position, without being impeded by wind, rain, punctures or poor physical form.

Although Longo's November 5 attempt on Mexico's Velodrome Olympique (2240m altitude) was successful, she felt she had to try and raise the bar above 45 kilometres. She tried several times in the following weeks before eventually returning home to Grenoble. She flew from France to Mexico last Thursday, and was to have made an attempt on Sunday afternoon, but poor weather forced her to postpone. It wasn't until Thursday that she was satisfied with the conditions.

42 year old Longo has won just about every major title in women's cycling, including 12 world titles and participation in every Olympics since 1984, when female cyclists first competed. She also holds the "absolute" hour record, set under the old rules (48.159 km on October 26, 1996).

Ullrich starts "Operation Yellow Jersey"

Signalling that he's deadly serious about repeating his 1997 Tour de France victory, Jan Ullrich is staying in Gordon's bay, 30km east of Cape Town, South Africa until December 27, avoiding the temptation of the traditional German holiday calorie-fest. "Lots of food at Christmas was always dangerous for me, so I'm staying in South Africa for the celebrations. I think I have my weight problem under control," Ullrich said.

Telekom team head Rudy Pevenage says this year Ullrich's preparation will be very different from before. Making no bones about who Ullrich has to beat he added "if he and Lance are both in top form in July it will be a very close thing."

As well as daily phone contact with Pevenage, Ullrich is under the strict supervision of coach Peter Becker, and is being chivvied along by fellow Telekom stars Andreas Kloeden and Erik Zabel.

Meanwhile, new Telekom signing Kevin Livingston is currently training in Texas and will join Telekom training camps in Mallorca in January and South Africa in February, where Ullrich will tackle phase three of "Operation Yellow jersey". Ullrich's first race of 2001 will probably be the Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia-Costa Calida in Spain at the beginning of March.

From March, Livingston and 1999 Alpe d'Huez winner, Guiseppe Guerini will ride the same races as Ullrich, in preparation for their roles supporting their team captain in the mountains in July.

Garzelli signs and talks

After four months of negotiations, Stefano Garzelli has finally cemented his two year contract with Mapei-Quick Step, the World's largest and highest ranked professional team. At a press conference today in Milan, Garzelli signed on the dotted line and spoke about his future role within the team.

"I had a minor offer from my former team and good offers from foreign teams," he said. "The decision to change came to me after calmly evaluating the future. In the Giro 2001, Pantani will return to be the captain [of Mercatone Uno], and that would have created problems for my ambitions."

However, Garzelli did not choose to rubbish his former team, saying that "I have lived four important years and the relationship with him will continue."

Garzelli will certainly be targeted at the next Giro by Mapei, who are now without Tonkov and McRae. "I give myself a good chance, although I will be up against a Pantani who is coming back and a Casagrande who wants to remedy his last minute loss in the 2000 Giro," said Garzelli of his chances.

The Tour 2001 is possible for Garzelli, but only to gain experience for 2002. An alternative program will see him stop after the Giro and prepare for the Vuelta instead. In case of the latter, Garzelli will start his preparation for next year in Spain in the Vuelta a Valencia.

Mapei's patron, Giorgio Squinzi hopes that Garzelli will break the team's lack of success in the Grand Tours since Tony Rominger won the Giro in 1995. "The most logical solution was Garzelli," he said. If Mapei can support Garzelli like they do with the rest of the team in the Classics, then the Maglia Rosa is theirs by the time the race rolls into Milan on June 10, 2001.

Garzelli's 2001 Giro schedule

February 27-March 3: Vuelta a la Comunidad Valenciana (Spa), 2.3
March 7-11: Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia (Spa), 2.3
March 26-30: Setmana Catalana de Ciclismo (Spa), 2.1
April 7: GP Miguel Indurain (Spa), 1.3
April 9-13: Vuelta Ciclista al País Vasco, (Spa) 2.HC
April 20-24: Settimana Ciclistica Lombarda, (Ita) 2.4
April 25: Giro dell'Appennino, (Ita), 1.2
April 30-May 4: Giro del Trentino, (Ita) 2.2
May 8-13: Tour de Romandie, (Swi) 2.HC
May 19-June 10: Giro d'Italia, (Ita) GT

Pantani to play soccer

Marco Pantani's court case is set to resume next Monday (December 11), however the Pirate will not be able to make it. His manager, Manuela Ronchi said that he has an engagement with his team from December 11-16. Also, tomorrow night he has been asked to play soccer in Budrio (Bologna) as part of an "All Stars" team. He will be up against a national "Pilots" squad led by Max Biaggi and Giancarlo Fisichella.

Vuelta to lose Angliru, visit Basque country

"There will be other climbs" says Gadea

Alberto Gadea, technical director of Vuelta d'Espana organiser Unipublic has admitted that the famed climb of the Angliru will not feature in the race's 2001 edition. But he claims it will still be an exciting race with other important mountain stages and stages in the high country of the Basque region.

"We can't always go to the same places and there will be other climbs," said Gadea, hinting that in his presentation of the full Vuelta route he will present a "discovery" to replace the feared Angliru.

SuperCup 3 - Chicago

This coming Saturday (December 9) sees the USA's premier cyclocross series hit Chicago for its penultimate round, before the combined national championships/SuperCup weekend in Kansas City on December 15-17. Series leaders, Mark Gullickson (Mongoose) and Anne Grande (Kona/Voicestream) will be looking to buffer themselves against an all out assault from the would be challengers.

In Gullickson's case, the defending Chicago champion will likely find himself without teammate Steve Larsen, who is suffering from illness. He will face some strong competition from Saturn, with the likes of Tim Johnson, Bart Bowen, and Frank and Mark McCormack, who are all in excellent form at the moment. He has the added pressure of his sponsors, Mongoose, who have headquarters in nearby Bannockburn, and they're planning a big party to showcase their star athlete.

Racing against the powerful Saturn squad is described as "Sisyphean hell" by SuperCup organisers, Kiron Group. "Any poor sod that musters the heroic strength to chase down the attack is rewarded with a counter-attack from another Saturn rider."

"But Gullickson is the Jake Lamotta of cyclocross, in itself a brutal, bloody form a combat on wheels. He rides like a Pamplona bull, charging out of every turn, attacking off every hurdle, hammering out of the saddle over every hill, and more than willing to hand out an elbow, fist or head-butt to anybody who blocks his path."

"He essentially pins his opponents against the ropes of their physiological limits. And then he looks to knock them out. He hopes for a mechanical mishap, a crash or a slow response to his attack, and then he drives home the sword. In this fashion, he won the national title and the Boulder SuperCup. In this fashion, too, he has lost major races."

In the women's race, it is likely to be a contest between Anne Grande, Rachel Loyd, Carmen Richardson and Gina Hall, who has finished third in both rounds contested so far. Grande has been called America's "Queen of 'Cross" and has won all but 5 of the past 16 SuperCup races, and finished no lower than 2nd in the rest.

"It's getting a lot harder. The women racing have gotten better and better and there's more of them," says Grande, a former runner who races MTB's over summer. However, race promoter Lyle Fulkerson describes her as "mistake free, and 'cross is a game of mistakes."

The only major thing that has eluded Grande over the past three years is the US national champion's jersey, that has been coveted by MTB star, Alison Dunlap.

The Chicago SuperCup will be held on Saturday, December 9 at Washington Park, near the University of Chicago. The elite women's race begins at 1 p.m. and the elite men's race starts at 2:30 p.m.

Scott Sharples to be Cycling Australia's MTB guy?

By John Stevenson

A highly-placed source within the Cycling Australia mountain bike structure tells us that CA is about to hire a part-time mountain bike officer, a development that will be welcomed by Cycling Australia's mountain biking members, some of whom have felt a bit neglected in recent years. (Indeed some clubs from the ACT and Victoria felt so neglected they took their ball home and set up rival off-road racing body MTBA.)

'Deep Tread' said that subject to CA board confirmation, the CA MTB guy will be "a downhill identity who may also be taking on a major role within the High Performance area" and who has recently retired from competition. Sounds an awful lot like Scott Sharples to us.

Seville prepares bid for 2005 road world's

The Andalusian Cycling Federation (FAC) is preparing a bid for Seville to host the 2005 road race world's. Although the support of the city council has not yet been formally obtained, the vice president of FAC, Juan Fernandez Camacho, said that he believed Seville had a "very strong" chance as the city will host the 2002 Spanish road nationals and is about to announce whether or not it will accept the UCI's offer to host the 2003 artistic cycling World's.

FAC will meet with the mayor of Seville, Alfredo Sanchez Monteseirin, on December 12 to try and obtain confirmation of the artistic cycling world's and present the case for the 2005 road world's. These events will be part of a great revival for Andalusian cycling, according to Camacho, and a great opportunity to promote the area internationally as well as supporting Seville's bid to host a future Olympic games.

Walton to direct Team Snow Valley

Team Snow Valley has announced that Brian Walton, formerly of Team Saturn, will be the new director for its Elite Men's and Women's teams. One of Canada's best known and most consistent international riders, Walton was a member of the 1988, 1996 and 2000 Canadian Olympic Teams.

Although Walton has retired from pro cycling as a racer, this position gives him a way to stay involved in cycling. As full time team director for Snow Valley, his main focus will be to coach the Elite men's and women's teams, as well as junior development. Brian will also serve as a spokesman for the bottled water company and coordinate community events that will involve the cycling team.

Team Snowy's club president, Arch McKown, welcomed Walton's appointment, saying the team had previously lacked the coaching and organisation that was only possible with a full time director.

Gaspard Van Peteghem's problem

Spar-OKI director, Gaspard Van Peteghem has lost his main sponsor for next year but not his riders. The second division team sponsored by a Belgian supermarket chain (Spar) and Oki printers has Bart Heirewegh, Danny Daelman, Bjorn Rondelez, Didier Deceuninck, David Roodhooft, Mindaugas Goncaras, and Arthur Fahrenhout under contract for another year. He may start next season with a lower division or amateur/elite squad.

French club news

Mickaël Boulet has finally found a new team, remaining in Brittany to ride with VC Pontivy.

Jean Floc'h had a training camp last weekend , in which the new recruits got to meet the old guard and take in some mountain biking. The team leaders on the road will be Frederic Delalande, Stéphane Pétilleau and Guillaume Judas.

Johan Nyman of Sweden moves from VS Cahors to US Montauban for 2001.

Courtesy of

Raleigh, Diamondback, Univega recall disc-braked bikes

Bike maker Derby USA and brake manufacturer DiaTech USA have issued a recall on about 5,000 mountain bikes fitted with disk brakes sold during model year 2000. The brakes can stick, causing the rider to lose control and crash. The affected models are: Raleigh M600, M800, and M8000; Diamondback Zetec Comp and X-2; Univega DS950 and Alpina 700. If you own one of these bikes you should stop riding it and return it to a Raleigh, Diamondback or Univega dealer for free replacement brakes

Full details here: