News for February 22, 2001

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Rodriguez to Belgium

US Champion and Domo-Farm Frites rider Fred Rodriguez will 'emigrate' for a few months to Belgium, living near Johan Museeuw. "I will train with Johan very often. He will become my teacher. He will show me the way in the classics of the north," spoke Rodriguez reverently in an interview with Gazet van Antwerpen.

As an amateur, Rodriguez has been in this area before. "Love at first sight? Oh no, more suffering. How can you enjoy the cold, the bad conditions, abandoning? You can't love that. Even Museeuw doesn't like that."

"What's the kick? The greatness of the event. Ronde van Vlaanderen, Paris-Roubaix: their tradition, legend, the audience, the decor. To be quite honest, I look forward to this period more than the Tour de France."

About his move to Domo, Rodriguez said that "It was a logical choice for me. I worked a lot with Marc Sergeant during my time with Mapei. He gave me confidence, he believed in me. Like Museeuw, Peters and the other Belgians. I feel I am welcome. When Marc told he was following Lefevere, my decision was made easily. I had better contact with the Belgians than with the Italians. I prefer the Belgian mentality."

Rodriguez was born in Bogota, Colombia. His father, a former cyclist, dreamed about the United States, "When I was 2 or 3 years old, we went to Los Angeles. Therefore my step to Europe isn't so big. It's more difficult for Americans. Even though I grew up as any other American kid."

Rodriguez is the official coffee agent for Domo-Farm Frites too. Fast Freddie Blend is the name of his own in-house trademark. "Coffee is culture. Very popular in Los Angeles. I like the culture of coffee, the atmosphere in which you enjoy the coffee. It wakes you up in the morning."

ACP and RFEC to protest to Spanish government

The Asociación de Ciclistas Profesionales (ACP) and the Real Spanish Federation of Ciclismo (RFEC) will protest to the Spanish government in Madrid for safer roads for cyclists, following the death of Ricardo Otxoa last week. Both cycling associations deplored the road toll in Spain, which saw over 100 cyclists killed and 2000 injured last year.

"Whenever an accident takes place such as this one, there is unanimous agreement that the situation is untenable," said RFEC president Manuel Perez Rubio. "But there are no solutions adopted. We want to alert the public to the repeated traffic accidents that affect us. We hope that the top politicians in charge of our country will recognise our desire for the improvement of road safety".

The demonstration will take place this Saturday, February 24, in Santiago Bernabéu (Madrid) at 11:30 am. Cyclists of all descriptions will be there, including many professionals and ex-professionals. At noon, the group will march along Paseo de la Castellana, Raimundo Fernández Villaverde, Cuatro Caminos, Reina Victoria and Ciudad Universitaria. The march will finish outside the Palace of Moncola, where a representative of the RFEC will present a petition to the president of the Spanish Government, Jose Maria Aznar.

Otxoa still in a coma

Javier Otxoa remains in a coma following the accident that killed his brother in Malaga last week. He is in a slightly more stable condition, but is still quite serious. He is on sedative and vasodilating medication and is maintaining normal intracraneal pressure.

Spanish newspaper Marca has confirmed that the driver who hit the Otxoa brothers was asleep during the accident. The driver told the police that he awoke after he hit the two cyclists.

Freire won't start for a month

Oscar Freire's 2001 season will be put on hold until he can cure his back problems. He is still receiving treatment for a lower lumbar problem after a fall several months prior to the World Championships in 1999 which he won. He has so far had treatment from several top specialists, and is currently in Varano Borghi where he travels to Castellanza each day for therapy.

The Mapei management believe that it is pointless to try and cure him whilst he is racing, and therefore he will be out of competition for at least another month, forcing him to miss Milan Sanremo where he placed third last year. The team is also experimenting with Oscar's bike position, in order to give him more relief while in the saddle.

More broken Jalabert bones

X-rays have revealed that a fall suffered by Nicolas Jalabert in Etoile de Besseges actually resulted in two broken ribs that will keep Laurent's little brother out of CSC/World Online's line-up for at least 2 weeks.

CSC/World Online directeur sportif Alex Pedersen commented on Nicolas Jalabert's situation, "He will not be ready before the weekend of 3-4 March, when things open up in Belgium with Het Volk and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. But I must say that Nicolas has really proven himself to be a fighter. He tried to fight though the Tour Mediterranéen and even was out training for an hour after one of the stages. But now he has to take a break."

Courtesy of Jon Jay Neufeld

Rossi seriously injured

Italian junior cyclocross champion, Vania Rossi (Scrigno-Coser) was hit by a car in Forlě on Monday afternoon. The 18 year old, who rode at the World Cyclocross Championships earlier this month, was taken to a nearby hospital, where she arrived in a critical condition. The driver of the car did not stop and he is being sought after by the police.

Godefroot's priorities

For Telekom boss Walter Godefroot, a win in the Tour de France by Jan Ullrich is only his team's second priority this year. In an interview with Sportbild magazine, Godefroot said that his main aim was "team harmony" followed by sporting success. Godefroot is also hoping for wins in the Classics, and Erik Zabel and Steffen Wesemann will likely be the key figures there.

Ullrich is further ahead in his preparation than at this time last year, due to the fact that he spent winter training in South Africa. Ullrich will start his 2000 season soon, perhaps on Sunday with the Trofeo Luis Puig in Spain, or the following Tuesday with the Vuelta Valenciana. "No matter where Jan races, he rides only for the Tour de France," specified Godefroot. "Jan will be stronger than last year."

Godefroot added that Andreas Klöden (3rd at the Olympics last year and winner of Paris-Nice and Vuelta a Pais Vasco) will help Ullrich in the Tour this year, meaning that "it will be difficult to repeat his good performances from last year."

He also believes that Erik Zabel will win another 15-20 races this year, and he already has three of these. Despite a tough 2000 season, "Erik has recovered marvelously and is back to his old self again," said Godefroot.

Collstrop-Palmans gets Amstel wild card

Hilaire Van Der Schueren of Collstrop-Palmans received a phone call from the organiser of the Amstel Gold Race informing him that his team had received a wild card for April 28.

"Good news. Now I hope the Belgian organisers will give us a start permit in the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Luik-Bastenaken-Luik," said Van der Schueren.

Vlaanderen T Interim update

After yesterday's Trofeo Laigueglia, the Vlaanderen T Interim team travels to Saint-Aygulf (Fra) for a training camp until February 24. Then the team will have to be ready for Omloop Het Volk on March 3.

"Up till now I'm very satisfied about our preparation for the coming season," said Roger Swerts (Directeur Sportif). "We only had a few small problems with illnesses of Gert Vanderaerden and Jan Verstraeten. Even Stijn De Schoenmaecker is training again after his knee injury. In the Trofeo Laigueglia, Stremersch did a good job and the neo-pro's Symons and Van Landschoot were a surprise for me too."

Four Days of Dunkirk will go ahead

The slightly misnamed Vierdaagse van Duinkerke (May 8-13) will still take place this year, despite the recent death of organiser Jacques Durand. Michel Delebarre, the mayor of Dunkirk, will take over the roll of chief organiser, and he will be assisted by Durand's daughter.

Tre Valle Varesine to Switzerland

The Tre Valle Varesine is the first of three consecutive Italian races in August that includes the Coppa Agostoni and Coppa Bernocchi. This year, the 81st edition of the race has more of a Swiss flavour (for sponsorship reasons), starting at Campione d'Italia, an Italian enclave in Switzerland. The race will spend some time in Switzerland before crossing into Italy, taking in several of the classic climbs such as the Brinzio. The finish has been made significantly easier than last year, much to the relief of some of the riders who criticised it for being too tough.

Kappes acquitted

The legal committee of the German cycling federation (BDR) has cleared Andreas Kappes of doping, finally agreeing with the federal sports court ruling in December 2000. Kappes tested positive for nandrolone at the German track championships in Hamburg last year, but protested and was cleared by the federal sports court. However, the BDR objected but have now acknowledged the acquittal.

Kappes always claimed that it was a contaminated food supplement that was the cause of the nandrolone positive, and was able to ride three Six Day races during winter. However, his Agro Adler Brandenburg team is still unsure whether they can afford to hire him this season.

Thijs can go to Murcia

Erwin Thijs, who tested positive to caffeine in the 2000 Belgian time trial championships recevied a three month ban. His case was heard today (Wednesday) and he hopes the three months are only for Belgium and not for all UCI countries. "I have to wait until March 19-23, so that means I can start with Collstrop-Palmans in the Tour of Murcia. I hope my new bike is ready by then," said Thijs today.

But no pay for Roesems

Suspended Belgian cyclist, Bert Roesems (Landbouwkrediet) has not been paid by his team after he tested positive for nandrolone in the 1999 World Time Trial Championships in Italy. Roesems was suspended until May this season, after taking his case to the Belgian cycling federation and the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He is still hoping that the UCI will reduce his sentence by one month.

Campione Racing Team

Today's featured 'team of the day' on Cyclingnews is a new Canadian Elite Masters Team. The Campione Racing Team comprises 16 members, including past World Masters Champion Larry Zimich and National Champion Paul Tettamanti. The team will compete throughout Canada as well as western U.S.A. In August the team will compete at the Masters World Championships in St.Johan, Austria.

Team roster

Larry Zimich
John Athanasopoulos
Steve Cohen
Paul Tettamanti
Bernardo Nella
Bruno Nella
Melissa Kerr
Joe Haily
Frank Castellanos
Jeff Bandura
Henning Sorenson
Clark Cochran
Gary Wright
Gavin Johnston
Jack Okuniewicz


Campione Cycles
Cramerotti bicycles
WellTech: Wellness Technologies,
Flash-5 Energy Foods
West Side Chiropractic and Associates
Cycle Dynamics
Nella Cutlery
Deda Elementi
Limar helmets

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