News for March 16, 2001

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Paris-Nice comments

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Alex Zulle
Photo: © AFP

Swiss Alex Zülle surprised everybody, including himself, by winning the fourth stage of Paris-Nice into Sisteron. The Team Coast rider broke away with Jose Azevedo (ONCE) with 8 kilometres to go for the win, holding off a large group by 4 seconds.

"I don't remember if I've ever won a professional race in a sprint," he said. "I came to Paris-Nice with the idea of riding a good race, aiming at the general classification. But I was hampered in my preparation by bronchitis."

"Today, I was better. I felt good on Ventoux and benefitted in the finale. It is the first victory for the team this season."

Race leader Peter Van Petegem survived the tough test of Mont Ventoux today, and kept his white leader's jersey. A win in Paris-Nice would be a huge coup for Mercury-Viatel, but there are still some challenging stages to come, including a 240 kilometre marathon between Berre l'Etang and Saint-Raphaël tomorrow, and the 10 kilometre Col d'Eze mountain TT on Saturday.

"It was a difficult day, the hardest since I gained the white jersey," said Van Petegem. Fortunately, the team believes in me. Tonkov helped me on Ventoux, he devoted himself to getting me back on. I hope to preserve this jersey for at least another day, but there are still many kilometres and quite a few bumps in the next stage."

Women's World Cup round 2

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Anna Millward
Photo: © Tom Balks

The second round of the Women's World Cup takes place this Sunday in Hamilton, New Zealand, where many of the female competitors have travelled to and raced after the Tour de Snowy and Canberra World Cup in Australia. Heading the start list is round one winner, Anna Millward (Saturn-Timex), who will be keen to notch up another win before Diana Ziliute gets going in Europe. She will be aided by teammates Anke Erlank and Kristy Scrymgeour, with Danish rider Sofie Hemmingsen being brought in to make up a composite team.

The competition will be similar to last weekend, with Alfa Lum's Mari Holden and Sara Felloni, GAS Sport's Zinaida Stahurskaia, Gabriella Pregnolato and Roberta Bonanomi, Acca Due O's Mirjam Melchers, AIS' Alison Wright and Sara Carrigan, and New Zealand's Sarah Ulmer and Rosalind Reekie-May.

Hamilton, 100 km south of Auckland, hosted a round of the World Cup in 1999 and the race will be held on a 5.7 kilometre circuit around Lake Rotorua. The course is similar to Canberra, although it is slightly hillier and more technical. 18 laps have to be covered for a total of 102.6 kilometres.

Big names to Settimana di Coppi e Bartali

The first edition of the Settimana di Coppi e Bartali (2.4) will be held in the week following Milan-San Remo, from March 27-31. The event was known last year as the Memorial Cecchi Gori, but is dedicated this time to two Italian greats of cycling, Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali.

Some top riders have already confirmed themselves as starters for the event, including Francesco Casagrande, Frank Vandenbroucke (in his first race for 2001), Gilberto Simoni, Davide Rebellin, Andrea Tafi, Serguei Gonchar, Wladimir Belli, Paolo Savoldelli, Dario Frigo, Raimondas Rumsas, Andrea Noé, Giuliano Figueras, Chepe Gonzalez, Hernan Buenahora, Gabriele Missaglia, Giuseppe Di Grande and Timoty Jones. It is even possible that Marco Pantani will take the start, but this has yet to be confirmed.

The four day race starts in Ferrara on Wednesday, March 27 and finishes in Chianciano Terme on Saturday, March 31.

No more time keepers for Giro d'Italia TT's

The time trials in this year's Giro d'Italia will be measured solely through the use of transponders attached to riders' bikes, according to race organisers RCS Sport. The devices were successfully used last year, and consist of a small gadget on the bottom of the bike, located about 30 cm from the ground. When the rider passes over a certain position containing the receiver, the time is recorded.

UCI to hand over US Postal samples

The UCI said Thursday that it will hand over blood samples from the US Postal team to the French authorities some time in the next week. The samples, taken during last year's Tour de France, are needed for the French judicial investigation into alleged doping within the team. The UCI received a formal letter of request on Wednesday.

"This is standard procedure. There was a request several weeks ago and we agreed then to cooperate," said UCI lawyer Philippe Verbiest. The UCI is based in Switzerland and therefore out of the jurisdiction of the French courts, but agreed to cooperate because US Postal gave permission for the samples to be released.

Fulst positive for caffeine

The German Cycling Federation, the BRD, announced Thursday that the rider positive for caffeine at the Stuttgart Six was Olympic pursuit champion Guido Fulst. Both Fulst's samples from the January 19-24 event showed levels of caffeine over the allowed limit, said the BRD, adding that disciplinary proceedings had been launched.

Caffeine, a stimulant, is found in coffee and other beverages. Five cups of strong coffee can be enough to take a rider over the permitted level.

Italian pharmacist gets two year suspended sentence

Massimo Guandalini, an Italian pharmacist implicated as part of a doping investigation in Bologna, has been sentenced to two years imprisonment with deferment. He was found guilty of falsification, illegal manufacture and sale of drugs (ephedrine spiked caffeine tablets), and complicity in illegal pharmaceutical practices. He was found not guilty on charges of sporting fraud, or distribution of doping products.

Two other sports doctors, Alberto Maria Bergossi and Roberto Corsetti, were cleared of similar charges. The three were being investigated by prosecuting judge, Giovanni Spinosa, in collaboration with the Italian drug squad since 1998. Dr Michele Ferrari is at the center of this investigation, as he is believed to have supplied drugs to and treated several high profile cyclists in the early 1990's. His trial commences on September 21.

More UK cancellations

The BCF has circulated the following list of race cancellations from organisers who had contacted the federation's Competition Department by 9am Thursday March 15. The BCF also reminded all UK riders that the Welsh Cycling Union and Scottish Cycling Union have cancelled all races in their respective countries for March.

For information on affected time trials, the BCF suggests visiting the RTTC website.

Cancelled and postponed events

Saturday March 17
VC Venta Circuits, Thruxton (Postponed), Wessex

Sunday March 18
Isle of Purbeck Junior RR at Wareham Wessex
Crest Spring Road Race Essex
Circuit of the Mendips RR Western
Birdwell Wheelers Danum Trophy RR Yorkshire
Caygill Cycles Grand Prix West Yorkshire
Wansbeck Pursuits North East
Ed Taylor Memorial RR (Postponed) East Anglia
Evesham Vale RR (Postponed) Birmingham

Saturday March 24 - Sunday 25
National Points Series Cross-Country MTB Round 1, Thetford East Anglia

Sunday March 25
Lindale RR Lakes & Lancs
John Cull Memorial RR, Halsall Merseyside
Somer Valley Circuit Races (Postponed) Western

Saturday March 31
BCF Western Circuit Races (1) - Colerne Western
VC Venta Circuits, Thruxton (Postponed) Wessex

Sunday April 1
Darley Moor East Mids
Elms Joinery Mercia RR (Postponed) East Mids
Tom Hawkins Memorial RR (1) Devon & Cornwall
Essex Roads Spring RR (Cancelled) Essex
Hantspol CC Circuits, Thruxton (Postponed) Wessex
New today Nolan/Greenfield RR (Postponed) Yorkshire

Saturday April 7 and Sunday April 8
VC Meudon Cycle Kingdom 2-Day Surrey
New today TQ Paper 2 Day (Postponed) Ireland

Sunday April 8
New today Neophix Nick Denby Memorial RR (Postponed) Yorkshire
Central Lancs RC First Gasp Road Race (Cancelled) Lakes & Lancs

Sunday April 15
Spry Memorial RR Devon & Cornwall

Sunday April 22
Pendle Forest RR (Cancelled) Lakes & Lancs
New today Viper Classic (Cancelled)

Sunday April 29
Cheshire Classic BCF Reynolds National Women's RR (Cancelled) Merseyside

Rescheduled events

The Mid Devon Spring Time Pursuits number 3 (Devon & Cornwall), originally scheduled for March 3, will now be run on June 3.

Dragon Downhill Rounds 1 and 2: postponed until November 10 and 11 2001 respectively

Why not use circuits?

The BCF has also suggested organisers consider using closed circuits. In its latest release, the BCF said:

Last weekend's three surviving road races were all on closed road circuits at Hillingdon and Lea Valley. Perhaps it's time for us to think about moving more events to the network of circuits around the country. Organisers interested in this suggestion should call the BCF competition staff who will be happy to put them in touch with local circuits.

On the same theme, Dave Cockram of the Preston circuit has been in touch with us. This is what he said: "It strikes me that maybe we are not trying hard enough. The list of cancelled events gets ever longer, and yet there are two closed circuits in the Region lying idle for most of the time. Let's try and encourage organisers to use either Scale Hall and the New Preston circuit rather than cancel. Riders may well become fed up of riding these circuits, but it's better than not riding at all. Next time anyone gets wind of a cancelled event point the organiser in my direction please."

LA Pecol-Casprini

Portuguese squad LA Pecol has signed an agreement with Italian company Casprini to give the team a new name, LA Pecol-Casprini. As part of the deal, there will be a stronger Italian presence in the team with former Giro d'Italia winner Franco Chioccioli coming on board as a director, with Fabrizio Gini as manager. Also, Marco Traversoni (Jazztel), Alessandro Baronti (Cantina Tollo) and Lombardian rider Tupak Casnedi (KRKA) will join the squad.

Fabrizio Gini tried to form a new team himself with 13 riders, but did not manage to meet the UCI deadline. He will lead LA Pecol-Casprini in the upcoming Settimana di Coppi e Bartali.

Penn State's Collegiate Cycling Men's A Team

The Penn State USA Collegiate Cycling Men's A team has announced its roster and sponsors for the 2001 season. Coaching and leading the team will be Dr. Jim Young. The team's first major event will be UVM's weekend on March 17-18. The team will focus on winning the ECCC overall points championship, Easterns Championship and a high placement at Collegiate Road Nationals in May.

The team will consist of four cat 2 riders and four cat 3 riders. Included is the current Collegiate National Track Omnium winner, as well as a NORBA semi-pro mountain biker and some top USCF regional riders. A balanced team of designated sprinters, climbers and work horses should produce some results.

Team Roster

Coach and Director

Dr. Jim Young

Team Captain

Mark Walchinsky

Men's A riders

Jake Burns
Alan Funk
Devin Grosh
Bart Kirk
Jacob Loverich
Bobby Lea
Chaim Letwin
Mark Walchinsky


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