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News for June 21, 2000
Jean Delatour won't give up
French division II team, Jean Delatour are going to great lengths to try and get themselves a start in this year's Tour de France. Although rejected by the Tour organisers in favour of Bonjour, Kelme and Memorycard-Jack&Jones, Michel Gros believes that his team was hard done by, and will take the matter to court in Nanterre this Friday, June 23.
Jean Delatour are sponsored by a jewellery chain and are a completely French outfit. They were formed at the beginning of this year with their main goal being a start in the Tour. To do this, they signed riders such as Cristophe Bassons, Laurent Brochard, and Patrice Halgand. However, by the end of May, the Société du Tour de France decided that Bonjour (who are ranked lower) should get the "French" wildcard. Kelme were a given, and Memorycard had performed extremely strongly this year, and were ranked 10th in the first division. Lampre were actually ranked higher, but were refused. However, they are Italian.
Delatour's spokeswoman, Sylvie Thueux said that "Monsieur Jean Marie Leblanc unfortunately did not answer the letters of our lawyers. We asked him to state the criteria that the three teams were selected." The bottom line is that the selection criteria were not necessarily based entirely on ranking, hence the term "wildcard". Delatour believe they have been strong in the fight against doping, have a large number of French riders, and have had good results in the first half of the season. They want to get the facts out of Mr Leblanc if they can.
They have attracted support from the French teams union, led by Festina manager, Yvon Sanquer who said that "this affair shows how hard it can be for a professional team in France that is not invited to the Tour. It endangers the existence of these teams who have contributed a great deal to French cycling."
Domo takes shape
Patrick Lefevere's new team for next year, Domo, will go for at least three years and have a budget of over $US 2 million per year. The move from Mapei surprised many, but Lefevere has attracted sufficient support to sign some top names, including Johan Museeuw and possibly Frank Vandenbroucke. They will hold a press conference this Friday in Oudenaarde that will fully reveal the team and its riders.
Domo International are a Belgian Carpet company and therefore will not have Quick Step as a co-sponsor. The latter sponsor Mapei at the moment, but are in the business of vinyl floor covering so are in competition with Domo. On the other hand, Domo's spokesman, Eric Coplo said that they would have no problems with Latexco, Mapei's other Belgian sponsor.
Aussies all over
As Olympic selection draws closer, several Australian riders seem to be lifting themselves in order to gain a spot on the Games team. This will be the first time since Melbourne in 1956 that the Olympics have been held in Australia, and every athlete is hoping to be in Sydney. Over the past 5 days, Australians have been successful in all cycling disciplines as demonstrated by the mainstream media who hold cyclists in the greatest esteem (although not as great as football, league, union, soccer, Aussie Rules, cricket, netball, hockey, swimming, volleyball, weightlifting, surfing boxing and basketball). However, there was a story today about Marco Fincato winning stage 7 of the Tour de Suisse.
The fun started last Friday in Germany, when the two man team of Scott McGrory and Brett Aitken took the teams race and the flying lap in the "Freitag Nacht" track meeting in Cologne. They beat the likes of Olympic Champion Silvio Martinello and World Champion Etienne De Wilde in the event, which was also contested by Australians Brent Dawson/Graham Browne and Luke Roberts/Brett Lancaster.
This was just the start as Saturday saw time triallist Nathan O'Neill record a huge victory in the Tour of Sweden time trial stage, beating race leader (and World silver medallist) Michael Andersson in the process. Also on Saturday, Anna Wilson lapped the field in the penultimate stage of the HP Women's challenge, taking over the leader's jersey in the process which she clinched on Sunday. The final stage of the race was won by the USA's Karen Kurreck, with Margaret Hemsley of Australia taking second.
Meanwhile, back on track in the World Cup in Mexico City, Lyndelle Higginson claimed a gold medal in the women's sprint, beating the USA's Tanya Lindenmuth in the final. Higginson also won silver in the 500 metre time trial. Kathy Watt followed this up with a silver in the 3000 metre individual pursuit, beating by Italian Olympic Champion Antonella Bellutti. Although the time wasn't excessively quick (3.46.228 vs 3.43.228), the race was conducted at altitude and the final only an hour after they qualified.
The altitude tends to cut endurance performance while improving sprint times, as evidenced by Arnaud Tournant's world record in the 1000m time trial, and Ben Kerten's silver. With Darryn Hill's fourth in the sprint, and Jobie Dajka's third in the Keirin, the Australians performed well enough to earn the prize for the best nation.
Back to Sweden and on Sunday Farm Frites' Robbie McEwen managed to place third in the final stage into Stockholm. Once again he is coming into some form when the time is right. Swiss based Mountain biker Cadel Evans is also continually improving after his series of collarbone breakages earlier this year. He placed second in a Swiss Cup event in La Chaux-de-Fonds won by Christoph Sauser, but in front of arch rival Miguel Martinez, who is the new World Champion. Martinez finished third in the event, nearly two minutes behind Evans.
Last but not least was David McKenzie's win in the final stage of the Spanish tour, Circuito Montanes. The Linda McCartney rider capped off an excellent tour for his team, breaking away with 40 kilometres to go with teammate Bjornar Vestol and Wesley Huvaere (Vlaanderen 2002), and two others who were subsequently dropped. Giro stage winner McKenzie used his powerful sprint to defeat Huvaere with Vestol taking third. Finally, Irishman Ciaran Power took second in the bunch sprint, to give the team three out of the top stage placings.
"It's always nice to win a stage, but the last one of a race is special, because you feel real good all the way home!" said a jubilant Macca afterwards.
Farm Frites selection for the Tour
The following riders have been named by Dutch team Farm Frites for the Tour de France: Geert van Bondt. Serguei Ivanov, Servais Knaven, Jans Koerts, Glenn Magnusson, Robbie McEwen, Andreas Klier, Michel Lafis, Koos Moerenhout, with team managers Hendrik Redant and Johan Capiot. Reserves are: Dirk Ronellenfitsch, Steven Kleynen, Pieter Vries and Miquel Van Kessel.
They clearly have their sights set on stage wins, and have several sprinters capable of taking care of that job. Peter van Petegem is the big name left out, but he will be concentrating on the Olympic Games and the World Championships.
French Federation accepts EPO test
Although it has not been officially approved yet by the UCI, the new test to detect EPO in urine has been given the thumbs up by the French Federation. Currently, the test is being verified in a double blind study of 220 samples, and an independent assessment is being made by three IOC experts. The final result is expected by June 22, when the UCI will decide whether to allow it in the forthcoming Tour de France.
The French Federation have jumped the gun a little, and will use the test in the French Championships that run from June 22-25. They will also use anti-corticoid tests at the Championships, along with the traditional drug tests.
Rogers signs for 2001
Australian cyclist, Michael Rogers has signed a professional contract for next season with Mapei-Quick Step. Rogers is well known for his time trialling abilities, placing second at last year's World Championships in the Espoirs category. He is also quite handy on the track in the individual pursuit, as well as being a good climber.
Savoldelli under investigation again
Saeco's Paolo Savoldelli was one of several cyclists to be questioned under the Italian doping probe by CONI prosecutor Giacomo Aiello earlier this year. Although he was acquitted by the anti-drug commission, Aiello has not given up. He is currently preparing an appeal against the decision, and is accusing Savoldelli of manipulating his hematocrit.
Italian attempts disabled hour record
Italian para-cyclist, Fabrizio Macchi will make an attempt on the hour record, which currently stands at 38.388 kilometres. He will try for the distance on the Ganna velodrome in Varese at 1600 CET on Saturday, June 24.