News for April 5, 2001

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Ronde van Vlaanderen snippets

It may be that Franco Ballerini (Mapei) and Wilfried Peeters (Domo) will finish the Ronde van Vlaanderen for the 13th time in their careers, a feat that no cyclist has ever achieved before. At the moment, three riders hold the record of 12 completed RVV's: Ballerini, Peeters and Adri van der Poel. All three have done so in successive years.

Marc Sergeant finished the race 11 times, (1986-1996), along with Hennie Kuiper (1976-1986), Moerenhout (1935-1945), and Nico Verhoeven (1985-1995).

Johan Museeuw (1991-2000), Andrei Tchmil (1991-2000), and Eddy Merckx (1967-1976) all finished the race 10 times.

Andrei Tchmil won the race last year and was the oldest winner ever at 37. The second oldest was Walter Godefroot (34), followed by Johan Museeuw and Hennie Kuiper. The youngest ever winner was Rik van Steenbergen, who was 19 in 1944.

After his win in the GP E3-Harelbeke last Saturday, Andrei Tchmil again goes into the race as one of the biggest favourites. Johan Museeuw has tried to keep himself free of the incredible pressure by claiming sickness over the past week, although he was seen near the front in the finale of stage 2 of the Driedaagse. Peter van Petegem's sickness appears to be more genuine, and he was having problems staying near the front in all the recent races. However, he still has three days before Flanders.

Mapei news

Freire out for a while

Oscar Freire still has back problems. It will take two to three months for the former world champ to come back to the peloton. Mapei has missed Tom Steels and Kevin Hulsmans in the early part of the season as well.

Tafi has problems

Andrea Tafi didn't start in the Driedaagse van de Panne due to a gall bladder attack the night before the race, and returned home to Italy. Tafi had this problem in January and will get it seen to by the doctors in Italy. He still hopes to start this Sunday in the Ronde van Vlaanderen, subject to a medical checkup tomorrow.

Zanini prepares at home

Stefano Zanini is training in Italy in preparation for the Ronde van Vlaanderen, and is not racing the Driedaagse van de Panne. That's why Laszlo Bodrogi started - Mapei believes Bodrogi can finish well because of the time trial, however he missed today's crucial cut.

The team

For the Ronde van Vlaanderen: Michele Bartoli, Franco Ballerini, Paolo Bettini, Daniele Nardello, Paolo Fornachiari, Andrea Tafi, Stefano Zanini and Bart Leysen (Bodrogi is a reserve in case Tafi can't start).

For Paris-Roubaix, Bartoli and Bettini will be replaced by Laszlo Bodrogi and Davide Bramati. This will also be Franco Ballerini's final ever race.

For the Waalse Pijl/Fleche Wallone: Michele Bartoli, Manuel Beltran, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Lanfranchi, Andrea No, Luca Paolini, Luca Scinto and David Tani.

Finally, for Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Nardello will replace Tani.

Lampre a little under the weather

Italian team Lampre-Daikin has had its share of injuries and health problems this season, and is currently without Robert Hunter (hurt ribs), Frank Vandenbroucke (not fit enough), Luciano Pagliarini and Marco Pinotti (various problems). In this weekend's Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders), Robert Hunter's place will be taken by sprinter Jan Svorada.

The Lampre team doctor will also examine Frank Vandenbroucke today in order to determine his current state of health. If he is considered well enough, he will race the Vuelta al Pais Vasco in a few days time.

Vlaanderen-T-Interim team for RVV

One of the smaller teams in the Ronde is the Vlaanderen-T-Interim team, who announced that Davy Daniels, Jurgen Guns, Geoffrey Demeyere, Bjorn Leukemans, Jurgen van Roesbroek, Kris Gerits, James Vanlandschoot, and Andy Vidts will comprise their team.

Van Petegem vs. Farm Frites

There is still a problem between Peter van Petegem and Farm Frites. The Mercury-Viatel rider still thinks he can get 500,000 Dutch guilders (Euro 225,000) as unpaid salary and interest for last year. Farm Frites had to pay his salary for October, November and December 2000 (350,000 guilders total). But Van Petegem's advisor, Gerrit Vixseboxse, wants to get a month salary for January 2001 as well. "His contract with Farm Frites ended on February 1, 2001."

Peter Post, who arranged the merger between Farm Frites and Domo, is very angry about these statements of Vixseboxse and Van Petegem. "Don't listen to that nonsense. Listen to me, that's the truth. Okay, Van Petegem gets his salary for October and November 2000. But Mr Van Petegem can't imagine that he can get a salary from two companies at the same time - from Farm Frites and Mercury," said Post.

"I have the written proofs here, official documents of the UCI. There you can read that Van Petegem started with Mercury on December 6. Is it normal to ask money from one company, while you work for another? How dare he say this? Who broke his contract? There is only one party in this case which was doing business correctly, and that's Farm Frites," he added.

Farm Frites lawyer, Eric Vil, admits that there is again a problem between the two parties. "I asked the other party to show us documents. And I want to know from the correct party at which point his contract started with Mercury. We still await an answer. As long as we don't see the documents from Van Petegem, we don't pay. We have patience," he commented.

Tour de France plan to attack doping

The head honchos of the Tour de France organisation will unveil their plans on Thursday to counteract doping in this year's race. Race director Jean-Marie Leblanc, Patrice Clerc (president of the Amaury Sport Organistation) and Jean-Pierre Courcol (president of the Amaury Group) will make the announcement together with Fabrice Salanson (Bonjour), who is meant to represent the young riders.

The past winter has seen the Tour organisers increase their efforts to find solutions to the doping problem, but nothing has been revealed so far. The recently validated EPO test will comprise part of the Tour's anti-doping measures, but there is likely to be more in store for potential cheats.

Ronde van Nederland still needs a sponsor

The 41st edition of the Ronde van Nederland (August 28-September 1) is still seeking a top level sponsor, after the race route was unveiled today in Rotterdam. This will not affect the running of the race this year, although organiser Ed Nijpels said that a new sponsor would have to be found if the race is to continue in 2002.

The stages

August 28: Rotterdam-Tilburg
August 29: Tiel-Nijverdal
August 30: Nijverdal-Denekamp
August 30: Nordhorn-Denekamp ITT
August 31: Markelo-Goor-Venlo
September 1: Blerick-Landgraaf

Foot and Mouth stance changing

The British Cycling Federation has again been forced to update its advice to its members with regard to the Foot and Mouth situation that has ravaged bicycle racing in Britain. The Ministry of Agriculture (MAFF) recently issued a statement listing the "Dos and Don'ts whilst in the countryside".

Under the heading "Where you can go now" it lists the following: "Anywhere in the can visit...sporting, recreational or other special events." In addition, under the heading "What you can do now" is the following: "Anywhere in the walk, run, ride horses, cycle on or beside tarmacked roads."

The BCF is now advising organisers of events taking place on public highways, closed circuits and at dedicated BMX, Track and Cycle Speedway venues that they should continue with their events as planned, unless approached and specifically advised not to by the local MAFF office, the local authority or the police.

Mountain bike event organisers are clearly still strictly limited by the continuing lack of access to large off-road areas. The BCF's advice is that they should continue to work closely with the relevant landowners and accept the instructions of their local MAFF office. Finally, the BCF advises that organisers should continue to take into account Public Relations and local feeling. Many organisers have strong relationships with their local community, including farmers, which could be damaged long-term by running an event.

However, three more races have fallen foul of the outbreak: the Aldwyn Robinson Memorial RR (Yorkshire, April 29), the Autosave RR (Wales, May 6) and the WCU Cross-Country MTB race at Llandegla on April 29.

Ford-No Boundaries Women's MTB Team

A new women's cross-country mountain bike team has been formed in the USA's Southeastern region, sponsored by the Ford motor company. Team Ford-No Boundaries is its name, designed to promote Ford's Sport-Utility Vehicle Lineup in the Southeast Series and in the top races throughout the USA.

Team Ford-No Boundaries is comprised of 4 women. Shari Hausbeck of Louisiana, Caroline Duncan of North Carolina, and Jody Koch of Michigan, all race professionally. Rachel Massey is an expert-level racer from Florida. "The main goal of this team is obviously to perform well on the regional and national-level race circuits and to actively promote Ford SUV's," stated team manager and racer Jody Koch.

"But we also intend to focus heavily on promoting the involvement of women and girls in the sport of mountain biking and mountain bike racing. To that end, we are actively mentoring selected junior racers, who will travel to some of the larger races with us."

In addition, Ford - No Boundaries team members will continue their involvement with women's fun rides and cycling clinics, and continue to provide information about cycling and competitive athletics to groups of young girls.

Team Roster

Shari Hausbeck
Caroline Duncan
Jody Koch (manager)
Rachel Massey


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