News for December 10, 2001

Edited by Jeff Jones

Recent results and new features

Jalabert to continue through 2003

One of the top cyclists of his generation, Laurent Jalabert, has said that he will not retire from cycling at the end of 2002. The 33 year old who rides for the CSC-Tiscali team told Dennis Ritter of Danish DR-TV that "I want to be a professional bike rider in 2003 as well," adding that he hopes to stay in CSC-Tiscali for this extra season.

Jalabert's contract terminates at the end of 2002, but now he is ready to re-negotiate and prolong his contract. A happy and proud team manager Bjarne Riis said that "Jalabert's decision is an act of confidence in the team, and it proves to me that we have a good thing going in this team, and that we have a very bright future."

Jalabert had previously maintained that he would only ride through until the end of next season. However he surprised everyone at the CSC-Tiscali team presentation in Copenhagen on Saturday night with his choice to continue for another year.

Rik Verbrugghe awarded

The Kristallen Fiets (Crystal Bike) award for the best Belgian rider of the season has gone to Rik Verbrugghe (Lotto-Adecco). At a ceremony in the Knokke Casino on Saturday evening, Verbrugghe was presented with his trophy. His successes this year included the overall victory in the Criterium Internationale, La Fleche Wallonne, prologue of the Giro d'Italia, and a stage in the Tour de France.

Verbrugghe accumulated 213 points for his performances, well ahead of cyclo-cross World Champion Erwin Vervecken in second place (90 points) and GP Ouest France winner Nico Mattan (85 points).

New US Postal recruit Tom Boonen (Kortrijkse Groeningespurters) was the best young rider, scoring 33 points. He was only two points ahead of world time trial champion Jurgen Van Den Broeck. The team leader of the year was awarded to Lotto-Adecco's Jef Braeckevelt, who along with Claude Criquelion and Walter Planckaert helped the team to 39 wins.

In addition to the Crystal Bike, Verbrugghe was also awarded the Gouden Sprint (Golden Sprint) for his efforts in 2001. That presentation took place last Friday in Spa, with the selection jury containing several former greats of Belgian cycling: Eddy Merckx, Ferdinand Bracke, Joseph Bruyère, Pino Cerami, Claude Criquelion, Roger De Vlaeminck, Alphonse De Wolf, Patrick Sercu, Jean-Luc Vandenbroucke, Lucien Van Impe, Herman Van Springel and Michel Dernies.

In second place were three riders, Serge Baguet, Nico Mattan and Marc Wauters.

Crystal Bike 2001

1 Rik Verbrugghe      213 pts
2 Erwin Vervecken      90
3 Nico Mattan          85
4 Nico Eeckhout        69
5 Serge Baguet         46
6 Marc Wauters         32
7 Johan Museeuw        17
8 Peter Van Petegem     6
9 Mario Aerts           5
10 Sven Nys             3
10 Matthew Gilmore      3
12 Stive Vermaut        1

Past winners

2001 Rik Verbrugghe
2000 Andrei Tchmil
1999 Frank Vandenbroucke
1998 Tom Steels
1997 Johan Museeuw
1996 Johan Museeuw
1995 Johan Museeuw
1994 Paul Herygers
1993 Johan Museeuw
1992 Dirk De Wolf

Gouden Sprint 2001

1 Rik Verbrugghe
2= Serge Baguet
2= Nico Mattan
2= Marc Wauters

Past winners

2001 Rik Verbrugghe
2000 Axel Merckx 
1999 Frank Vandenbroucke
1998 Tom Steels 
1997 Johan Museeuw 
1996 Johan Museeuw 
1995 Johan Museeuw 

Bradley McGee creates development squad in Sydney

Click for larger image
The brains of the team
Photo: © Jean-Francois Quenet

An initiative to help young Australian cyclists develop has been launched by triple Olympic medallist Bradley McGee. 25 year old McGee, who rides for the La Francaise des Jeux team, said that "I've always wanted to share my experience and knowledge with the young cyclists," and he has now put that into practice.

The team will be formed early next year, and will consist of six riders who are members of the New South Wales Institute of Sport, based in the Olympic Park in Homebush Bay. McGee's Francaise des Jeux team will provide support, and for now the squad is called the FDJ/NSWIS cycling squad. A colloquial name will be decided next year, along with the selection of riders, who will be between approximately 18-21 years old, and already members of the NSWIS.

An agreement to form the team has been reached between Ralph Doubell - director of the NSWIS and Olympic champion (athletics, 800 meters, 1968), Gary Sutton - head cycling coach at NSWIS and former world champion, Francaise des Jeux represented by it's logistic manager Fabrice Vanoli, working on behalf of the team director Marc Madiot, Rob Bates - the president of New South Wales Cycling and Bradley McGee himself. Brad's brother Rodney, who is also a world champion (team pursuit, 1995) and a former pro road rider (1996 with Giant), will become the coach/director of the newborn squad.

A meeting took place on Saturday announcing the intentions and values of the structure to the NSWIS cyclists. "I'm very excited and happy to have Bradley involved in the future of Australian cycling as well as Rodney as my assistant," said Gary Sutton. "The McGees - initially with their elder brother Andrew - have contributed a lot to the success of New South Welsh cycling. They're now ready to play a key role in favor of young talent coming up."

The riders will compete in club, state and interstate events boosting the Australian domestic scene. International racing will also be encouraged under national programs in cooperation with national head coach Shayne Bannan, who has given his full endorsement for the program.

The organization will be backed financially by Francaise des Jeux (the French lottery) who will also supply equipment, bikes and clothing. Also, FDJ will welcome as "stagiaire" one or more riders during the next two years.

"I'm looking forward to having new Australians on my side in the European races," said Brad. FDJ already has three Aussies on board in the year 2002 with Victorians Matt Wilson and Baden Cooke. It would seem this Franco - Aussie relationship will only be strengthened in the seasons to come.

Domo-Farm Frites and Uni SA for Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under

The Domo-Farm Frites team has named its eight riders to contest the 2002 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, which takes place between January 15-20, 2002. The team contains no less than three current national champions, including sprinter Jans Koerts, the reigning Dutch road champion who has notched up more than 60 victories in his 10 year professional career. Alongside Koerts will be the 2001 US professional champion Fred Rodriguez and Belgian under 23 years Time Trial winner, Jurgen Van Goolen.

Domo-Farm Frites also boasts this year's Paris-Roubaix winner Servais Knaven, 2000 Dutch U23 champion Bram Tankink and 1999 Czech champion Tomas Konecny. The winner of the opening stage of the 2000 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, Koos Moerenhout, returns to Adelaide with Max Van Heeswijk, winner of the 2000 Paris-Brussels making up the team of eight. Van Heeswijk is no stranger to Australia and holds the record for the most stage wins (11) by an individual in the history of the Commonwealth Bank Cycle Classic which he contested four times.

Tour organisers have also confirmed the final make up of the homegrown Uni S.A (University of South Australia) team which includes 2000 Sydney Olympic Games gold medallist and Australian (joint) Cyclist of the Year Brett Aitken. Patrick Jonker, who in 1996 finished 12th in the Tour de France and was the 1998 Dutch time trial champion, will join Aitken as one of the most experienced in the team.

Gene Bates will return to defend the Share the Road Best Young Rider title he claimed this year. Luke Roberts, who won this year's fourth stage into Strathalbyn, South Australian road champion Steve Cunningham, Australian time trial bronze medallist, Russell Van Hout, Adrian Laidler and Corey Sweet complete the team line up.

Domo-Farm Frites

Servais Knaven (Ned)
1st Paris-Roubaix World Cup Round
3rd Stage 8 Tour de France
4th Stage 2 Tour de France

Jans Koerts (Ned)
Dutch Road Race Champion
1st Stage Paris-Nice
1st two stages Tour de Langkawi
1st Stage Tour de Picardie

Koos Moerenhout (Ned)

Fred Rodriguez (USA)
American Professional Road Champion
1st Stage Tour du Luxembourg
3rd overall Tour du Luxembourg
4th Stage 4 Tour de France

Tomas Konecny (Cze)

Bram Tankink (Ned)

Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel)
U/23 Belgian Time Trial Champion
1st Stage 2 and 4th Stage 4b Grand Prix Wilhelm Tell
6th U/23 Time Trial World Championships ­ Portugal
7th U/23 Road Race World Championships ­ Portugal

Max Van Heeswijk (Ned)
1st Stage Tour de Catalogne


Patrick Jonker (Aus)
1st Stage 1 Tour du Limousin
2nd overall Tour du Limousin
3rd Grand Prix Ouest France-Plouay
5th overall Tour de Mediterranean

Brett Aitken (Aus)
1st Elimination Race Goodwill Games
2nd overall Tattersall's Cup Series
2nd Madison and Scratch Race Goodwill Games
3rd Melbourne Madison
3rd Points Race Goodwill Games

Luke Roberts (Aus)
1st Stage 4 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under

Gene Bates (Aus)
Share the Road Best Young Rider, Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under
Member Australian U/23 National Team

Adrian Laidler (Aus)
4th Melbourne to Sorrento
Member Australian U/23 National Team

Steve Cunningham (Aus)
SA State Road Champion
2nd Tour of Canberra
5th Australian Open Road Race (won sprinter's jersey)

Corey Sweet (Aus)
1st Eurode Omloop

Russell Van Hout (Aus)
2nd Stage Herald Sun Tour
3rd Australian Time Trial Championships
9th overall Tour of Poland
12th overall Herald Sun Tour

For more information, please visit the official race website,

Vote for your favourites in the Cyclingnews 2001 Reader Poll

What was the best performance of 2001? Who was the best rider? It's time for you, the readers of Cyclingnews, to tell us the stand-out riders, rides and equipment of the year.

Go to our Reader Poll page to cast your vote for the Legend of Cycling; the Cycling Personality of the Year; Photograph of the Year; the best teams and male and female riders across a range of disciplines, and the best bikes and equipment.

Click here to vote now! Results will be announced in the New Year.

Tacconi Sport meet on Tuesday

The Tacconi Sport team, which includes Gianluca Bortolami and Dario Frigo as part of its 2002 roster, will meet on Tuesday, December 11 in Bedizzole (Brescia). The team's 23 riders will get together for the first time for medical tests and measurements for equipment and clothing for next season. The riders will then travel to Mendrisio, Switzerland where they will be given their race calendar and individual goals for 2002. The camp will conclude in Mendrisio on Thursday, December 13.

Popovych prepares

Ukrainian U23 World Champion Yaroslav Popovych is getting ready for his first season as a professional, where he will ride for the Belgian Landbouwkrediet-Colnago team. From Tuesday, December 11, the talented 22 year old will start training in Livigno with his teammates Yuri Metlushenko, Volodymyr Bileka, Lorenzo Bernucci, Salvarote Scamardella and Claudio Lucchini. The riders will be supervised by Zoccorinese-Vellutex director Olivano Tecnico, who will also assist them next season.

Ronde Van Vlaanderen to start in Brugge until 2005

The popular Flemish town of Brugge will host the start of one of the biggest early season classics, the Ronde Van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) until at least 2005. An agreement was reached between the organisers and the city council of Brugge, which has already hosted the start for the past five years. The event provides significant exposure for the city, where tourism is one of the most important industries.

In other RVV news, the UCI has given its stamp of approval to the use of the Koppenberg climb in the 2002 edition. Although the famed climb is still undergoing renovation, UCI official Charly Mottet paid a visit to the hill and was supportive of its inclusion in his report. Importantly, the Koppenberg will be incorporated in the last part of the race (after 200 km) rather than as the second hill of the day, when the fight for position makes the run into the climbs quite dangerous.

Tour de la Région Wallonne 2002

The route for next year's Tour de la Région Wallonne (UCI 2.3) was unveiled by the organisers in Spa on Friday. The race will start in Chaudfontaine on July 29, one day after the finish of the Tour de France. It finishes on August 2 in Flobecq, after travelling through each Wallonian province. The total distance covered is 825 kilometres.

The stages

Baltimore USA 'cross nationals

Johnson, Gullickson prepare for fight

Marc Gullickson and Tim Johnson are two of America's top cyclocrossers, whose brutal battles have elevated this nation's "mudders" to international calibre. Great friends off the bike, both riders have retreated to their respective corners - Johnson to New England and Gullickson to Colorado - to tune up for a smashing battle in Baltimore on December 15-16.

As racers they are completely different; Johnson is the perfect tactician. Rarely falling, fast with dismounts, capable of picking apart opponents on the barriers and obstacles into and out of which he is dazzling.

Gullickson has been referred to as the "Jake Lamotta of 'cross"; he is known for falling, getting up, and battering opponents with his locomotive force. A converted mountain bike racer, Gullickson learned the sport the hard way in Colorado racing mostly against other mountain bikers.

Until 1999, both riders were routinely beaten by Team Saturn's Mark McCormack, Frank McCormack and Bart Bowen, who laughingly rode to the national and SuperCup titles from 1996 to 1998. In 1999, however, Gullickson showed remarkable improvement, especially with his start.

"In cyclocross the first lap is half the race," said Gullickson, 31, who duelled with Bowen that season. He won his first SuperCup in Boulder and won again in Portland. He then roared away from the three Saturn stars to claim victory at the 1999 nationals at San Francisco's Presidio. The next day he lost the SuperCup series on the last lap to Bowen.

Then a promising young amateur, Johnson opened the '99 season in the U.S. but spent the bulk of the season in Europe, returning for the nationals. He won the Under-23 (espoir) title and rode brilliantly in the SuperCup finals, finishing third. Gully and Johnson were a sort of rebel alliance against the Saturn juggernaut. They had fought them to the line and drawn blood.

"That was when Gully held off all three Saturn riders and me by himself. It broke the stranglehold...Racing to a prescribed finish isn't good for anybody," said Johnson.

In 2000, the curtain came up with the spotlights shining on Johnson and Gullickson. The Colorado star had a pro contract with Mongoose/Hyundai, finishing the mountain bike season as a top American. Johnson got a pro contract with Saturn, becoming a teammate of his New England rival, Mark McCormack and joining the empire.

In each SuperCup Gully and Johnson duelled brilliantly. Gullickson opened with a win in Boulder. In Gloucester, Mass., McCormack took the day and Gully and Johnson sprinted to a photo finish for second. In Chicago, Johnson scored his first SuperCup win over Gullickson.

Then came Kansas, held in Arctic conditions. Racing in 40-degrees-below zero conditions, Johnson used a last lap assault and soft tire pressure to score the nationals victory over Gullickson. The next day, in relatively balmy 20-degree conditions, both men duelled to the line, leaving Dale Knapp (Kona/Voicestream), Jonathan Page (Richard Sachs) and McCormack in their frozen wake. Gullickson powered to the win in the closing meters to score the SuperCup title.

The 2001 season opened with three unique factors: first, the SuperCup opened in Gloucester with World Champion Erwin Vervecken of Belgium on the start line; second, Gullickson had a bona fide teammate in Todd Wells (Mongoose/Hyundai); and third, new UCI races had sprung on to the calendar nationwide offering crucial international points and new venues for these racers to compete.

Vervecken crushed all in the SuperCup opener, with Johnson second and Gullickson third. In Chicago Sundt, Knapp, Candelario and Wells went to the line with the two favourites. More important there, however, was that Johnson raced without Team Saturn support. Gullickson's new teammate, Todd Wells delivered a last lap attack that set up Gullickson for the winning counter-attack. In short, Team Saturn's dominance could be challenged by Mongoose/Hyundai and Kona/Voicestream.

So into Baltimore goes Johnson and Gullickson, with Gullickson in the SuperCup leader's jersey by just two points over Johnson, the national title up for grabs, a handful of wild cards in the deck, and three dominant teams set to do battle.

No person has ever won both the SuperCup series title and the nationals in the same year. "I can guarantee it's going to be a good race," said Johnson. "Whoever beats the hell out of each other most will get the jersey."

Recent results and new features on Cyclingnews

Major Races and Events
   September 7-29, 2002: Vuelta a España (GT) - Preview, stage list
   May 11-June 2, 2002: Giro d'Italia (GT) - Preview, stage list, photos
   July 6-28, 2002: Tour de France (GT) - Full preview & official route details
   December 8: Superprestige Rd 5 (Cat. 1) - Erwin Vervecken
   November 29-December 4: Six Days of Noumea (6D) - Sassone/Neuville victorious
   November 26-December 1: Six Days of Zurich (6D) - Day 6 - McGrory/Gilmore/Schnider win
   December 1: Melbourne Cup on Wheels (IM) - Scott Moller, Keirin, Sprint, Support races
   December 2: Cyclo-cross World Cup #2 (CDM) - Sven Nijs again
   November 24-December 3: Juegos Deportivos Centroamericanos (JR) - Final results
   December 8-9: Frankfurter Rad-Cross (Cat. 2) - Alex Mudroch, UK National Trophy Series #4 (Cat. 3) - Roger Hammond, Grote Prijs Industrie Bosduin - Kalmthout (Cat. 1) - Bart Wellens, Int. Radquer Obergösgen (Cat. 2) - Björn Rondelez, Trofeo Mamma e Papa Guerciotti (Cat. 3) - Enrico Franzoi, Premio Egondo (Cat 3) - David Seco, Irish cyclo-cross championships - Robin Seymour

Results: local racing
   Australia - CycleWest Promotions Omnium Series #2, Eastern Suburbs Summer Criterium Series, Carnegie Caulfield Tuesday criterium, Southern Cross Junior Track Open & Madison Cup, Manly Warringah CC, George Town Track Carnival, Carnegie Caulfield CC, Randwick Botany CC, Gold Coast CATS CC, Caesar's Illawarra CC, Caesar's Illawarra (track)
   Denmark - Danish cyclo-cross Post Cup #3   
   Italy - Gran Premio Città di Bassano
   Luxembourg - GP De Kopstal
   New Zealand - Cyco Criterium series
   Spain - Elorrio cyclo-cross
   USA - Georgia Cross Series Championship, Chimborazo Grand Prix cyclo-cross, Boulder Cross Rd 6, New Mexico State Cyclo-x Champs, Sorrento Cyclo-x & California State Champ's, Boulder Cross Rd 5, Verge New England series, Northampton CC Cyclo-cross Championships, Chris Cross International CycloCross

Recently on Cyclingnews
   Latest Photos - Olympic Armstrong, Boulder & California 'cross, More Pan-Am, Canberra, Boston & REI 'cross (December 13)
   Cyclingnews survey - Reader Poll 2001 - Vote for your favourite riders
   Letters - VDB, Lance, Boring Tour, Coastal Post, Respect (December 13)
   Cyclingnews Interview - Ryan Bayley - the KFC-fuelled world champ (December 13)
   Cyclingnews Interview - David McKenzie - Macca's back (December 12)
   Cyclingnews Interview - Laurent Jalabert - Jalabert looks ahead (December 11)
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