|Tech Features Road MTB Cyclocross Track News Photos Feedback|
News for March 15, 2001
Indurain: Ullrich and Armstrong are Tour favouritesFive-times Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain has tipped this year's Tour to be a battle between the 1997 winner and Olympic road champion Jan Ullrich and '99 and 200 winner Lance Armstrong.
Speaking while appearing as a guest at the World Sports Awards in Berlin, Indurain said he had seen Ullrich and Armstrong at the Tour of Murcia. He felt Ullrich showed the evidence of solid training work and "he has paid more attention to himself this time."
"I think winning the gold medal in Sydney has motivated Ullrich to try everything this year to make his mark on the Tour. He has used his experience, and the mistakes he made in his preparation in the past, to help prepare his form more skillfully this time."
Musing on the development of racing in the last few years, Indurain added, "Today's cycle racing permits specialists to reach a peak of achievement just a few times a year. An all-rounder like Erik Zabel, who is significant all year round, is a rarity.
Armstrong makes a brief return to France
Dual Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong, will race in France prior to the Tour according to his US Postal team. The Texan will ride in the Circuit Cycliste de la Sarthe, April 10-13 as part of his preparation for a possible third Tour win.
"I hope my presence ends any speculation that my team and I are avoiding racing in France," said Armstrong according to his website Lancearmstrong.com.
"I really like the event and am looking forward to once again racing in France. I still own my home in Nice, and my family continues to adore the country and its people."
The US Postal team are still under investigation by a French judge for alleged use of performance enhancing drugs. Armstrong has not raced in France since winning the Tour de France last year, and the US Postal team have changed their training base to Spain.
VDB to miss most of the early season races
"Frank is training 4 to 5 hours a day at the moment," says his Lampre-Daikin director, Pietro Algieri. "Settimana Internazionale is too early for him, but it is going well, his enthusiasm grows day by day. But he only is allowed to start when he has good health and good condition."
His return to the peloton will now be on April 20, in Settimana Lombarda (2.4). "That stage race is on the same time as Liege-Bastogne-Liege, but it isn't realistic to think that Frank can play a role in that classic like he did two years ago. Therefore it's better that he does a program aimed at perfect preparation for the Tour de France," added Algieri.
If everything works perfectly, VDB will do the Four Days of Duinkerke, Midi Libre, Tour of Austria and the Tour du Suisse or the Vuelta Catalunya.
McEwen pulls out
Domo's woes continued in Paris-Nice, as key sprinter Robbie McEwen abandoned in stage 2 after 60 kilometres. McEwen had a bad fall on Monday, together with his teammates Axel Merckx, Koos Moerenhout and Steven Kleynen, complaining of an injury to his left knee.
Merckx, who was suffering badly with his right knee, went home Tuesday morning, and will probably be able to resume training on Thursday on his home trainer. His participation in Milan-Sanremo is very doubtful however.
Is Freire lost for cycling?
Belgian newspaper Het Belang van Limburg published an article posing this question about the 1999 World Champion, Oscar Freire. The Spanish Mapei rider has had back problems for several months, also causing several interruptions his potentially successful 2000 season.
Mapei spokesman Aldo Sassi has been trying to rehabilitate Oscar in Mapei's medical centre in Castellanza. "Oscar is at home and can't do heavy training on the bike. We think that he won't be in the peloton for two, but probably three months from now. And then I'm very optimistic. The only thing we know is that he doesn't have a hernia," said Sassi.
On Tuesday, Freire consulted the Italian professor Simonetto. One of many professors he has met with so far. In the meantime, Oscar even can't sit on a normal chair. Mapei had made a special chair for Oscar with extra support for his back and legs.
Ochoa updateJavier Ochoa is still in a deep coma in the Carlos Haya Hospital, Malaga after an operation on Wednesday. Ochoa was operated on to relieve the pleuro-pulmonary complications he has been suffering, but his condition remains very serious, with severe respiratory insufficiency.
Javier Ochoa was injured when a car hit him and his brother Ricardo last month while they were training. Ricardo was killed and Javier has yet to regain consciousness.
Vanhaecke back for the weekend
Michel Vanhaecke (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) has started training again after an accident last week that saw him injure his hip. He will compete this Sunday in the Omloop van het Waasland in Kemzeke but will miss Saturday's Omloop van Waals-Brabant.
His teammate Filip Meirhaeghe will also join him in the Omloop van Waals-Brabant, after he returns from a training camp in Cyprus on Friday.
Priem may get Belgian driving ban
Former TVM director Cees Priem may be prohibited from driving in Belgium, as a result of the ongoing court case between him and Scott Sunderland. Priem hit Sunderland in the 1998 Amstel Gold Race 1998 whilst driving a TVM team car, and is on trial for negligent driving and hit and run.
The case was heard again in Tongeren (Belgium) on Tuesday when Priem's lawyer, Inge Arnauts, asked for an acquittal. Priem denies that he felt anything, also saying that he didn't see Sunderland fall. The police judge will make a decision on this on April 24, three years after the incident, but Sunderland can take the case further to argue for financial compensation if necessary.
However, at the latest hearing the police judge stated "The question this raises, is whether it wouldn't be more interesting to have a proper driver behind the wheel of a team car during a race."
"If Cees hadn't seen nor felt that a cyclist had fallen after he came into contact with the front bumper of his car, then we have to doubt whether he was vigilant enough as a driver," he added clearly singalling his opinion on the issue.
The prosecutor, Rosette Vandenborne, called the driving style displayed by Priem during the race "a very dangerous game...He wasn't capable of driving, simultaneously leaning out of the window, looking at his rider, talk to him and keep an eye on the movements of the peloton. The cars following the riders have to watch out for those riders, not the other way around."
"The car Priem was driving should have been keeping a safe distance. Only a minor braking action would have been needed to avoid this accident. Or should the cyclists install mirrors on their handlebars?" was the question raised by Jan Ruiters and Jacques Verhaeghe, Sunderland's lawyers.
Mrs Arnauts responded with: "It is the race director who is responsible for the safety of the cyclists. The situation wasn't dangerous. Priem was driving like any other director would have. Sunderland was the one who should have known there was a car behind him! He was the one who wasn't careful...Sunderland should have gone to the left."
She also questioned the grounds on which the UCI commissaires fined him for driving dangerously during that same race. "Mr. Priem was driving responsibly; I can't see why he was given a fine."
The workers' compensation has paid over a million in costs involved in this accident. Sunderland nearly died because of bloodclots in the head and was unable to race for over a year. He still experiences problems with balance and his right eye only gives him a distorted sight.
Italian doping trial: three to face the judge
Three Italians will appear in the court of Bologna today on charges of distributing illegal doping products. Pharmacist Massimo Guandalini, and sports doctors Alberto Maria Bergossi and Roberto Corsetti will face judge Massimo Poppi as a result of a three year investigation carried out by the Italian narcotics squad. The three have admitted partial responsibility in the affair.
Dr Michele Ferrari is also involved in this case, but he will be tried through conventional means, and is expected to front up on September 21. He is suspected of administering EPO and other prohibited substances to a large number of high profile athletes, including Ivan Gotti, Mario Cipollini, Paolo Savoldelli, Pavel Tonkov, Abraham Olano, and Axel Merckx.
Former Tour de France winner and World Champion Greg Lemond was quoted in Tuesday's "Le Monde" as saying that in 1993-1994, Ferrari took "10% of the profits of the riders he treated. Under these conditions, a doctor thinks more of earning money than of the health of his patient."
Saturn to sponsor Zinger Challenge in 2001
The grueling 225 kilometre "Zinger Cycling Challenge" scheduled for August 11 in Colorado, USA, has a new sponsor for 2001. The Saturn company has taken over the naming rights and it will be known as the "Saturn Cycling Classic" this year. The race from Boulder to Breckenridge passes over the Continental Divide, and features over 4000 metres of climbing, on both paved and dirt roads.
Race director Len Pettyjohn said that the event was "another big step for cycling in the United States. We developed this race in the spirit of the European classics and what we unveiled last year definitely raised the bar for American racing."
Saturn will use the event as part of the launch of its new VUE sport utility vehicle, and the winner will receive a new VUE as part of the overall prize list of $US75,000.
Boulder resident Scott Moninger was the winner of the inaugural event last year, taking 7:17:34 to complete the marathon finishing in the freezing rain. Only 20 riders completed the entire course, and many voted it the hardest race they'd ever done.
The Saturn Cycling Classic will also feature the Nicole Reinhart Criteriums in Breckenridge. Last year's race was won by the late Nicole Reinhart, a member of the Saturn Cycling Team who was killed in a race on September 17, 2000. Saturn Cycling Team members are racing in her honor throughout the 2001 season and have adorned their jerseys, bikes and team vehicles with a special "N" logo.
Two criteriums will be added to the Breckenridge schedule, for category 3 and category 4 amateur racers, in addition to the women's elite event. Saturn Corporation and the Nicole Reinhart family will award a special trophy to the winner of the elite race.
Complementing the day's racing activities will be a sports expo in Breckenridge, along with concerts and other festivities.
PVL-Forte Bicycle Racing Team
Based out of Victoria, BC. Canada, the PVL-Forte Racing Team's focus is road and track racing from the local right up to the international level. HPV (Human Powered Vehicles) is represented by team members Sam Whittingham and Andrea Blaseckie. Both are current world record holders in several categories for HPV and will be defending their champion status at events in the United States, England and Germany later this year.
The team has recently added PVL Nutrients (athletic supplements) to its sponsor list. Other sponsors include Forte Human Powered Machinery, a custom bicycle frame builder located in Victoria BC, Schwalbe Tires and Louis Garneau.
Major Races and Events
Results: local racing
Recently on Cyclingnews