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News for May 8, 2001
Ullrich OK for Romandie
Jan Ullrich will start the Tour de Romandie as planned, after a medical check up at the University of Freiburg clinic revealed no health problems. Ullrich had complained of muscle soreness for the past few days, and had pulled out of the GP Gippingen, and there was a small chance that he would not start today.
"His blood showed nothing abnormal, and there was no inflammation in the body," said team doctor Andreas Schmidt afterwards.
Ullrich has certainly lagged behind his main Tour rival, Lance Armstrong, in competition this year, despite having far better off season preparation in South Africa and Mallorca than in previous years. He has not come close to winning a race, and his team director Rudy Pevenage commented that "it would be a lot easier if he were further ahead. A non-start in the Tour de Romandie would have been quite bad for Jan."
The Tour de Romandie starts with a 6.9 kilometre prologue in Pfaffnau, and Ullrich will be there with his Telekom teammates Andreas Klöden, Kevin Livingston and Alberto Elli.
55th Tour de Romandie
A good quality field is down to start the 55th edition of the Tour de Romandie, held over six days in Switzerland from May 8-13. Many of the riders will be using it as a final tune up for the Giro d'Italia that starts on May 19, but the top GC riders in the Giro will not go too deep in Romandie.
16 eight man teams will take part in the race, including six of the world's top 20 riders. Last year's winner Paolo Savoldelli (Saeco) will certainly be present, along with Laurent Dufaux, Mario Cipollini and his entourage. Cipollini won two stages in this race last year, and is always hungry for more.
Other top riders include Francesco Casagrande and his Fassa Bortolo teammates Dario Frigo and Wladimir Belli. Pavel Tonkov, ranked 18th in the world, will take the start for Mercury-Viatel, while Jan Ullrich (Telekom) and Oscar Camenzind (Lampre) will also be there.
The race totals 719.3 kilometres, starting in Pfaffnau (near Lucerne) with a 6.9 kilometre prologue individual time trial. Two road stages (Pfaffnau - Tramelan and Tramelan - Vevey) follow before another 25.5 km test against the clock in Payerne. Following this stage will be a mountain stage that includes that Col de Mosses and the final climb up to Nendaz. The final stage takes the riders from Saxon to Geneva, over 178 kilometres.
Saeco (Paolo Savoldelli, Laurent Dufaux, Mario Cipollini)
47th Four Days of Dunkirk
The 47th edition of the Four Days of Dunkirk, a six day stage race in the northern part of France and Belgium, commences with a 165 kilometre road stage from Dunkirk to Steenvoorde (Bel). It carries a 2.1 UCI ranking, one level below the Tour de Romandie (2.HC) which is being held concurrently from May 8-13.
The race is perfect for sprinter/time trialists, and the defending champion is CSC-World Online's Martin Rittsel. Can the Danes make it three in a row? Michael Sanstød also won the 1999 edition, riding for Home-Jack & Jones. It is possible, and the team will include the returning to form Laurent Jalabert, who is looking to find some form in time for Le Tour.
21 teams are enrolled to start, including 9 French, 5 Italian, 2 Belgian, 2 American, 1 Dutch and 1 Danish squad. The riders will be able to race over some of the 2001 Tour de France parcours, which starts in Dunkirk on July 7.
The second stage from Roost Warendin to Haisnes-les-la-Bassée (192 km) will feature three sections of pavé, while the hilliest stage is the 5th, from Outreau to Boulogne-sur-Mer (170.5 km) that travels over the Bergs of West Flanders.
First Union Series riders
More details about the riders slated to attend the First Union series (Pennsylvania and New Jersey, US, June5-10) announced yesterday:
FCI lament the exclusion of Saeco and Mercatone Uno
The Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) are "sorry about the exclusion of two important Italian Cycling Teams, Saeco and Mercatone Uno, from this year's Tour de France." A statement was issued after a board meeting yesterday, and was slightly critical of the decision of Jean Marie Leblanc to overlook the Italians.
"The decision, rather than being based on enforceable international rules, emphasises the importance of a set of regulations for the participation in the Grand Tours, so that it gives more guarantees to the teams that are constantly active at the highest level."
The Italian Council of Professional Cycling will meet just prior to the Giro to determine a course of action, and will submit something to the FCI.
It should be noted that of the 20 teams in the Giro d'Italia, 13 are Italian.
Lampre news: VDB delays, Spruch and Missaglia return
Frank Vandenbroucke will not start tomorrow in the Four Days of Dunkerque, as he has not yet completely recovered from the viral infection and the slight bronchitis that he caught during the Amstel Gold Race. He barely trained last week, and although was feeling a bit better over the weekend, sports director Pietro Algeri did not want to take risks. VDB will now resume competition in the Midi Libre, on May 22.
The Four Days of Dunkerque will be the first race for 'Zibi; Spruch after his bad crash during the Tirreno Adriatico. The 36 year old Polish World's silver medallist has missed out on all of the classics of the pre-season. He has adapted his program, aiming at the Tour de France and the remaining World Cup races.
Gabriele Missaglia's injured heel is also getting better, and he will start in the Four Days of Dunkerque.
Four Days of Dunkerque selection
Zbigniew Spruch, Gabriele Missaglia, Jan Svorada, Matteo Frutti, Pagliarini, Raivis Belohvosciks, Rubens Bertogliati and Johan Verstrepen.
Tour of Romandy selection
Gilberto Simoni, Oscar Camenzind, Mariano Piccoli, Sergio Barbero, Massimo Codol, Simone Bertoletti, Juan Manuel Garate and Marco Della Vedova.
Nothstein still winning despite injury
Olympic Champion Marty Nothstein shook off a shoulder injury from the previous weekend to win four races in the second round of the National Track Cup in Frisco, TX. Nothstein won the Points Race, Ten Mile, Miss and Out, and Keirin during the two-day track meet.
"I was a bit concerned for my shoulder when I arrived in Frisco," said Nothstein. "I didn't know until the last minute whether I would ride the event or not because the pain was pretty bad."
Nothstein did indeed ride and continued his dominance on the track by winning all four events that he entered, including three endurance events. "I could tell that the different training that I have been doing has paid off," he said. "My form is falling into place at the right time," Nothstein added.
Capital & Clarendon Cups
The US Postal Service will be sponsoring two days of cycling in Washington, DC and Arlington, VA when the Pro Cycling Tour makes its next stops on June 2-3. The first race is the USPS Capital Cup, featuring Australian Henk Vogels (Mercury-Viatel) who is looking to defend his title in the 100 km race along Virginia Ave, NW in Washington, DC.
On Sunday June 3, the full field of riders will move across the bridge for another day of intense racing on the streets of Arlington, VA. The 4th US Postal Service Clarendon Cup expects to see Dave McCook lead the 7UP-Colorado Cyclist team into a compelling effort to repeat his 2000 victory.
The events will serve as the prelude for the First Union Series, that begins on June 7, and will see an excellent turnout of teams.
The First Union events will see George Hincapie, fresh from his win in Gent-Wevelgem and an extraordinary finish in Paris-Roubaix leading a strong US Postal Service team, along with Viatcheslav Ekimov, Christian Vandevelde and Dylan Casey.
Saturn's headliner to watch for is Trent Klasna, the National Racing Calendar points leader. Mercury will be led by Leon Van Bon, Fabrizio Guidi , Henk Vogels and Geert Van Bondt. Domo-Farm Frites will bring US champion Fred Rodriguez who will be supported by Wilfried Peeters, Piotr Wadecki, and Mario DeClercq. CSC-World Online will feature Michael Sandstod and Jakob Piil.
The Capital Cup and Clarendon Cup are organized and promoted by Arlington Sports, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to the development and promotion of amateur and professional cycling.
Espoirs Liege-Bastogne-Liege report
The U23 version of the Liege-Bastogne-Liege/Luik-Bastenaken-Luik took place last Tuesday in Belgium over a 177 kilometre parcours. Won by Ukranian Ruslan Gryshchenko (Vellutex), the race was an important part of the Espoirs World Cup, which includes shorter versions of most of the northern classics.
A report of what it's like to race in these events has been sent to us by Damon Morrison, who is travelling with the USA espoirs team. In it, US national champion Brice Jones describes what can happen when a pileup takes out 70 percent of the team in one fell swoop.
Tour of Eritrea
A 10 stage race will be held in Eritrea, the first time in 55 years. Assisted by 1100 Dutch blue helmeted peace corps, the race will start on Sunday, May 13 in the capital city of Asmara, finishing in Massawa on the coast.
Because of the war in neighbouring Ethiopa over the last decade, it was impossible that a sporting event of this type could be organised. "Thanks to the new peace that has been enforced by the Dutch and Canadian peace keepers, we can do this," said organiser Haile Araia to Dutch newsagency ANP.
The military police will be primarily responsible for keeping the roads clear and safe for the riders. It is possible that in a few years, Ethiopians will be able to ride in the Tour of Eritrea, but not yet. "We will see how we go," said Haile Araia. "The war is over. It cost us a lot of work to organise this race. That was a first step."
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