News for February 12, 2000

The Russians are back

The Russian cycling federation, who were in danger of having their riders excluded from this year's Olympics, have been told that they can start, it was announced today in a news conference. The decision occurred after a meeting with IOC president, Juan Antonio Samaranch, who overturned a UCI decision to ban the athletes because the Russian Federation had not paid their bills.

The debt in question was a fairly trifling $US 250,000, which had accrued over the past four years after the Roslotto team went bankrupt. The federation, under UCI rules, was meant to pay the shortfall, however the necessary funds were not available. The UCI suspended them indefinitely as a result, meaning that all Russian riders could not compete for their country internationally until the debt was paid. In addition, the hosting of the first round of the Track World Cup in Moscow was under threat because of this.

Ironically, the riders through no fault of their own, were being punished doubly for this affair, and this was realised by Samaranch: "Our main principle was not to punish the athletes because they are not responsible for this problem," he said at the press conference. "The Russian cyclists can now compete in all international competitions, including the Sydney Olympics."

"I got a promise from all the parties involved that they will find a solution and eventually the money would be paid," he said. From where though is still a mystery, because the Russian Federation definitely does not have the cash.

Nijs aims for the final Superprestige

Although in somewhat of a quiet mode after the World Championships, Belgian rider Sven Nijs has still one more goal for the season. He wants to win the final Superprestige race in Heerlen this weekend, and cement his place at the top of the overall standings. In second place ironically, is teammate Richard Groenendaal who is just 18 points behind the Belgian.

"I would like to stay at the top," said Nijs. "I want to end the season with a win. My legs have been good this week - on Wednesday evening I trained with Peter Van Santvliet and Ben Berden, and afterwards we had a large amount of frites for dinner. But that will not matter," he laughed.

"I have not forgotten the World Championships, but we had the discussion about it during the week. This coming winter I will really try and win the rainbow jersey," he said.

New rider for Van Moorsel

Dutch World TT Champion, Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel has a new member in her team, Farm Frites Hartol, after Marije Gemser had to stop riding due to heart problems. 29 year-old Jeanet Harder (Ned) will take her position in the team, which has also signed a new co-sponsor: Zeeland's Roem (a mussel distributor).

Italian presentations and news

The team of Mobilvetta-Rossin had their presentation today at "Fantasy World" in Minitalia, in Capriate. The squad, directed by Stefano Guiliani has already had considerable success this year, with Ivan Quaranta taking three wins in the Tour de Langkawi.

Cantina Tollo will also have their presentation this weekend. It will take place tomorrow at the Tollo Wine cellar, in Tollo (Ch). The team is headed by Roberto Sgambelluri and Danilo de Luca,

Italian rider, Nicholas Chesini (Mapei-Quick Step) has added to his palmares, although not with a recent win. The rider was declared the winner of the 19th Trofeo Cittą di Castelfidardo (last May) after Slovakian Jan Bratowski was declassified for doping. This brings the Italians tally of wins for 1999 to 10.

USCF National Road Championships

Courtesy of Rich Wanninger

The USA Cycling Federation have confirmed that the National Road Championships will be held in Natchez, Mississippi on Sunday, May 21. The 200-rider field for the USCF Elite Men's National Road Cycling Championships is open to category 1 cyclists (non-UCI trade team members) only. The field will be filled on a first-come, first served basis.

The Championships will be held the day after the Olympic trials in Jackson, Miss. and the federation deemed it important to delineate the two. The Olympic, National and Tour LeFleur time trials will be held in Jackson also, on Thursday May 18. The field will be limited to 100 for the (UCI) Tour LeFleur Time Trial (male professional riders only), and 200 for both the elite men and women's individual time trial event. To be eligible for the Tour LeFleur, cyclists must be a member of a registered UCI trade team. The Tour LeFleur Time Trial is part of the UCI calendar and Saturn USPRO Tour.

The USCF Elite Men and Women's National Time Trial is open to all categories; however, non-U.S. citizens may not compete. The women's individual time trial winner is nominated to the Olympic Long Team. The men's individual time trial winner will not be used as part of the Olympic Team nomination procedure. Each cyclist may compete in only one individual time trial.

In the Olympic Road Race trials, on Saturday May 20, the winner of the men's and women's road races will be nominated to the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team for the Sydney Games.

Tour of Lancashire off

Courtesy of BritProNews

The 2000 Tour of Lancashire has been cancelled due to lack of sponsorship, rising costs and issues over policing the race, but the organiser Gordon Harling hopes to bring the race back next year. Lancashire based sponsor Travelwise pulled out after the Lancashire Police were unable to escort the race, restricting it to Greater Manchester. The four day race has been won in the past by riders such as Malcolm Elliott and Chris Boardman.

Gatorade MTB challenge

The third edition of the Gatorade mountain bike tour will take place from March 3-5, starting at Monte Stella, Milan. It consists of three days of events, varying from beginners to expert, downhill, cross country, and time trials. It will be opened by colourful cycling identity, Paola Pezzo, who won the 1996 Olympic MTB Gold Medal in Atlanta.

NSW MTB calendar finalised

Courtesy of Grand Medlock

The 2000 series calendar for mountain bike racing in NSW, Australia will be as follows:

5-6 February XC   	Round 2 	Milton, Eurobodalla
27 February DH   	Round 2 	Lithgow, Central Tablelands
5  March XC    		Round 3 	Waterfall, Camp Coutts, SORCC
11-12 March XC 		Round 4 	Bargo Colliery, Razorback Rangers
11-12 March Dual   	Round 1		Bargo Colliery, Razorback Rangers
18 March Dual   	NSW Titles 	UWS Nepean, WSMTB
19 March XC     	Round 5 	Fairfield City Farm, Manly MTB
19 March OT     	NSW Titles 	Fairfield City Farm, Manly MTB
26 March DH   		Round 3 	Killingworth, Hunter MBA
l April DH     		Round 4 	Coffs Harbour, Banana Coast CC
2 April  XC      	Round 6         Coffs Harbour, Banana Coast CC
15 April XC      	Round 7 	Killingworth, Hunter MBA
16 April DH     	Round 5		Killingworth, Hunter MBA
6 May DH      		Round 6 	Ourimbah State Forest,
7 May XC      		Round 8 	Central Coast MTB
13-14 May DH      	Round 7 	Coffs Harbour, Banana Coast
20-21 May DH 		State Titles	Lithgow, CTMBC
27-29 May XC 		State Titles    Lithgow. CTMBC