News for January 22, 2001

Recent results and new features

Premier John Olsen speaks

JCTDU "a risk that paid off"

By John Doggett Williams
Click for larger image
Martin Bruijn gets it sorted
Photo: © CN/JJ

The Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under is in some respects similar to the Tour de Langkawi, in that it has a huge amount of government sponsorship backing the race. Since its inception two years ago, it has grown in stature and some (not all) teething problems have been ironed out. The event is extremely popular in South Australia, with crowds of at least 50,000 per day watching it along the parcours. This is no mean feat when you consider the sparse population.

It has the support of top international names as well, and this does not refer to just the riders. For example, chief commissaire is Dutchman Martin Bruijn, whose unique torso and head can be seen strongly urging the team cars up to the rear of peloton to service riders, as well as allowing press cars and motorbikes past at the right time. There are also the high profile international media stars, including Phil Liggett, David Duffield and Graham Watson, who enjoy the event and are important for its international exposure.

Before the stage 5 start in Gawler, South Australian premier John Olsen spoke to discuss the impressions and future of the race.
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John Olsen comments
Photo: © CN/JJ

"We are totally committed for this event to continue. A number of the team managers and riders have said this is second to the Tour De France in standing, reputation and management. Mike Turtur and his team should take credit for that," said Mr Olsen. "Four years ago when Mike Turtur said we could put on a bike race similar to Tour de France and call it Tour Down Under, I was somewhat concerned it was a risk. But we took the risk and we now have this fabulous event in January."

"It's free, it's profiling cycling as an event. It is a European event that is growing its reputation and standing in Australia and among South Australians. The public have embraced it so well and the teams have supported it, so it's going to go from strength to strength."

For an event like this, the public needs to be educated and it has to be established on the international circuit. What is your practical commitment to it?

"We want to expand the event as we have the rights for another eight years," he said, although he would not reveal how much money the government had put in. "In addition to that, what we want to do is television coverage in Australia, so the tactics, the strategy from the teams are better known by Australians."

"There is no doubt from moving around to the public that 'more television coverage, more explanation, [equals] better understanding' because they are really trying to enjoy this race," he finished.

Fassa Bortolo 2001

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Team presentation
Photo: © Roberto Bettini

The Fassa Bortolo team of UCI-ranked world Number One Francesco Casagrande unveiled its line-up and aims for 2001 at the weekend. While every other team launch seems to contain the phrase "we want to do well in the Tour de France" Fassa Bartolo has a more Italian-centric aim: to win the Giro.

Team manager Giancarlo Feretti said at the launch: "The Team has as main target the Giro d'Italia. We thought our Giro's Team for that, with men who know their job, who know how to sacrifice themselves for their leader. "At the Tour we will ride with young riders. They have a lot to learn in a big, important, difficult stage race. And with Basso and Petacchi we will surely be protagonists."

Francesco Casagrande will be building his whole season around winning the Giro: "The first six months of my season will be concentrated on the Giro. I have to be very strong in this period. My adversaries ? I will know them at the beginning of the Giro, now I do my own preparation and I'm confident. After the Giro, I'll ride the Swiss Tour and the Italian Championship. Then I'll stop until August. The end of my season will be all for the World Championship in Portugal."

But Casagrande isn't the only rider on Fassa Bartolo capable of winning significant races. "I like to win," said Ferretti, "I'm hungry for victories, lots of victories…"

Alessandro Petacchi, one of the Italian revelations of the 2000 season, is one of these possible winners and he has clear ideas: "This year I want to win a big race to become a big one !"

Ivan Basso, 1988 under-23 world champion is also a contender: "Last year I wasn't very lucky and I didn't have the possibility to have constant results. I hope this year to be useful at the team, to be competitive in the beginning of the season and to do well at the Tour".

Fassa Bortolo 2001 — riders

                     (Nationality/Born/Turned pro/Victories)
Fabio Baldato        (Ita/1968/1991/27)
Ivan Basso           (Ita/1977/1999/2)
Wladimir Belli       (Ita/1970/1993/11)
Filippo Casagrande   (Ita/1973/1995/10)
Francesco Casagrande (Ita/1970/1992/33)
Marco Fincato        (Ita/1970/1996/6)
Dario Frigo          (Ita/1973/1996/4)
Leonardo Giordani    (Ita/1977/2000)
Volodimir Gustov     (Ukr/1977/2000)
Serguei Ivanov       (Rus/1975/1996/25)
Kim Kirchen          (Lux/1978/neopro)
Dimitri Konychev     (Rus/1966/1989/30)
Nicola Loda          (Ita/1971/1993/5)
Luca Mazzanti        (Ita/1974/1997/2)
Andrea Peron         (Ita/1971/1993/7)
Alessandro Petacchi  (Ita/1974/1996/10)
Roberto Petito       (Ita/1971/1993/3)
Oscar Pozzi          (Ita/1971/1997)
Raimondas Rumsas     (Lit/1972/1996/29)
Paolo Tiralongo      (Ita/1977/2000)
Matteo Tosatto       (Ita/1974/1997/2)
Tadej Valjavec       (Slo/1977/2000)

Armstrong comes out against Texan anti-bunch bill

His website admits it's taken a while but cycling's most famous Texan has thrown his weight behind the campaign against SB 238, a bill to restrict the way Texan cyclists can use that state's roads. Among other things, the bill forbids riding two abreast and requires cyclists to wear a sign declaring they are "slow-moving vehicles". If enacted, this bill could have a have a devastating effect on mass rides and training bunches.

The Texas Bicycle Racing Association has information on campaigning against the bill on its web site here.

You can read the bill for yourself here.

Thomas Grönqvist interview

Swede Thomas Grönqvist rides for the well known division II Amore & Vita team, which had its existence threatened last year. Gabriela Ekström caught up with him recently in order to ascertain the 25 year old's career ambitions and plans for this coming season.

CN: Were you satisfied with your team's results last year?

TG: There was some turbulence about the registration of the team, so we were racing until the time around the Giro, but after that we weren't allowed to participate in any amateur rces, and we weren't allowed to race anything higher than 1.4 or 2.4 either. The team took some nine victories, and one of them was my stage victory in Tour of Yugoslavia, so I must say that I'm quite satisfied with my season.

CN: So which was the ride of the year within the team?

TG: I must say Sewerin Kohut's victory in Tour of Bulgaria.

CN: Have you met any of the new riders in the team? Is there someone special you are looking forward to work with?

TG: No, I haven't met them yet. [Due to an air strike in Italy, Tomas was caught at an airport in Basel, Germany as the interview took place] I know Andrus Aug (former Tuul OLMO) will ride for the team, as well as Sewerin Kohut brother Slawomir and then there will be a couple of neo-pros. I have of course met them in races when I raced as an amateur, but there hasn't been any get together within the team yet.

CN: What does your program look like?

TG: I really don't know that right now. We will have to discuss it. There will be a lot of races in Italy, hopefully some of the bigger ones too. We'll start in Croatia in early February.

CN: So what expectations do you have on yourself this year?

TG: Well, I have developed a lot during the last years, and I hope it will continue like that. If I have any really big ambitions? Uhm, ask me again later in my career.

Jacky Durand fanpage launched

German fans of French star Jacky Durand have created an unofficial page in his honour at It's currently all in German, but an English version is in the works, after lots of mail about the site from English-speakers, according to webmasters Susanne and Florian Schaaf.

If you would like to know more about pro-rider sites, please check out's new directory page of pro sites. Included are brief descriptions of each site. Are there any that we've missed? Please email us if there are and we will include them.

Lopes jumps online

Mountain bike and dual slalom star Brian Lopes now has his own website at There's not a great deal of content there as yet; Lopes webmaster, MTB scene gossipmeister and mechanic-cum-web designer Stikman admits it's very much a version 1.0 effort. Still, Lopes program for 2001 is there, as well as a very nice photo set from a recent shoot, and we look forward to reading the profile and rider history info when they're up.

Rocky Mountain looking for riders

Stikman also reports that the Rocky Mountain team is looking for male and female downhill and dual slalom riders for the pro team and male XC riders. Contact

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