News for May 9, 2001
Chiappucci on the Pantani exclusion
Marco Pantani's former teammate Claudio Chiappucci has said that it was "justified" to exclude Pantani from the Tour, adding more fuel to the controversy that has raged for the last week. In an interview with Spanish daily AS, Chiappucci said that "The moment has come to change cycling. Like a wheel, certain things come and other things go."
"Pantani is not in shape, and is not training much. At the moment, he is 31 and is losing his strength," said 'El Diablo' Chiappucci. "It must also be taken into account the fact that Marco has had many problems with Italian law because of doping."
"In Italy, people have the impression that Pantani was a big player until he had problems with his hematocrit. The tifosi don't see any more results now that he is normal and they think that's why."
"There is no doubt that he will race the Giro, in which there are not any big names participating. However, it seems to me that Pantani is not in a position to win it."
US Postal 's Dylan Casey suffered a broken pelvis and a broken clavicle today in a freakish crash with a France Television sound man after crossing the finish line in today's opening stage of the Four Days of Dunkirk stage race in northern France.
Following the conclusion of the 164.8 kilometer stage from Dunkirk to Steenvoorde, just over the French border in Belgium, Casey, part of the second group of riders to finish the stage, rode straight into the sound man - who was standing in the middle of the road - at near full speed.
The Californian was then taken to a hospital in Hazebrouck, France. "In the last few kilometers, I began to lose contact with the main peloton because of the cross winds," Casey said. "I was finishing as hard as I could as I was trying to limit my losses for the overall. I was on the left side of the road when I crossed the line and as I started to slow down, I saw a cameraman with his back to me standing in the middle of the road. I moved to the left to avoid him and he took two steps to the left and I went right into him. I was either going to hit him or the barriers."
Casey said x-ray results indicated his left collar bone is fractured near the shoulder and that his pelvic bone is fractured as well. "It's still together, but there is definitely a break," Casey said of his collar bone.
Volta a Catalunya presentation
The eight day Hors Categorie Spanish stage race, Volta a Catalunya, takes place from June 21-28 this year. Being held just prior to the Tour de France means that it is an attractive option for the Spanish teams preparing for the Tour, the alternative being the Tour de Suisse which runs from June 19-28.
The race begins with a 24.4 kilometre time trial on Thursday, June 21, starting and finishing in Sabadell (Barcelona). Stage two goes between Sabadell and Blanes (173.5 km), followed by a third stage between Blanes and L'Hospitalet (149.4 km). The fourth stage is 115.8 kilometres, and will also start and finish in Barcelona. Stage five starts in Granada, and travels to Vilaseca-La Pineda over 178.2 kilometres.
The sixth stage on June 26 is the first hard mountain stage, between Les Borges Blanques and the ski resort of Boí-Taüll (184.2 km). This is followed by another mountain top finish, starting in Boí-Taüll and climbing to Alto de Els Cortals d'Encamp (176.1 km).
The final stage is another individual time trial, 13.9 kilometres between Sant Juliá de Loria and climbing to the Alto de la Rabassa.
As is traditional during the presentation, the organisers handed out medals of honour to Claudio Chiapucci and Juan Llaneras.
16 teams will ride, including 6 spanish outfits: division I ONCE, iBanesto.com, Euskaltel, and Kelme; and division II Jazztel and Relax Fuenlabrada. Some of the big names down to start include Marco Pantani, Roberto Heras, Laurent Jalabert and Jose Maria Jiménez.
12th Giro d'Italia femminile
Beginning on July 2 with a circuit race in Milazzo is the 12th edition of the women's Giro d'Italia, which runs for two weeks through until mid-July. The race covers 1376 kilometres in seven different regions over 14 stages and half stages. It includes one rest day and one time trial, and three stages will finish with a climb. The race may come down to the final stage, which is a 29.7 km individual time trial from Cornuda to Valdobbiadene.
One of the big favourites for the event will be Italian climber, Fabiana Luperini, who dominated this race (and the Tour de France) between 1995 and 1998. For the last two years, the maglia rosa has been won by Spaniard Joanne Sommariba, who also won the Tour de France last year.
"I will arrive at the Giro with better condition than I've had in the last few years," said Luperini at the presentation. "Of course, the time trial remains uncertain for me."
But last year's runner-up, Alessandra Cappellotto, said that the final time trial will suit her: "The distance appeals to me," she said.
The race is organised by (and will be until at least 2004) the Unione ciclistica Vittorio Veneto, who are also responsible for the Giro d'Italia for Elite/U23 riders.
Rabobank Tour team
The top ranked team in the world has selected 11 riders for its Tour de France team, to be whittled down to 9 for the final squad. Michael Boogerd, Jan Boven, Erik Dekker, Bram de Groot, Steven de Jongh, Maarten den Bakker, Addy Engels, Marc Lotz, Grischa Niermann, Geert Verheyen and Marc Wauters.
Bobbie Traksel update
The youngest ever pro in the Netherlands, Bobbie Traksel, has a diary in the Amersfoortse Courant. He broke ten ribs several weeks ago and is slowly coming back.
He wrote that he "had to wait for two months. Two long months. But on May 6 I had my first race after my fall in Belgium. Rund um der Flughafen Koln-Bonn in Germany, 4 laps of 50 kilometers. The bunch wasn't too strong, so it wasn't a real race."
"In lap three it was over for me. We were in a group of 15 and we tried to come back with five. The jury took us out of the race in the last lap. I did one lap on my own, so I could make the 200 kilometers."
"My experience? Was I glad? Yes and no, no and yes. I knew it would be difficult. In the climbs I felt I wasn't in the best shape yet. I didn't have that explosion. I hoped to finish the race on a normal way. So now I know what I have to do: training and training."
"Our Rabobank team is winning and winning. But I'm not involved in those races, I can't do my work for the team. Last week I went to the Ardennes in Belgium. Rabobank tests the juniors there, the so called Rab-proof. There were good training conditions for me and it goes better and better. I was glad to be back."
His next race will be two kermesses in Belgium on May 16-17.
Belgian team for World Track Championships
Michel Vaarten, Belgian national track coach, has announced the selection for the World Track Championships in Antwerp (September 26-30).
For the team pursuit: Jurgen Van Loocke, Wouter Van Mechelen and Dimitri De Fauw. The fourth rider will come from the following: Patrick D'Hont, Andries Verspeeten, Iljo Keisse and Bert Roesems.
Bert Roesems is the only candidate for the individual pursuit.
Sprint: Bjorn Nachtergaele.
Madison: Matthew Gilmore will partner either Van Loocke, Van Mechelen or De Fauw.
Women: Ingeborg Marx, Evy Van Damme and Inne Wannijn.
So, no Etienne De Wilde, Tom Steels or Frank Vandenbroucke in the pre-selection. "We can't stay too long with the old vedettes. It's time for the younger riders. And I was thinking about Tom Steels as a partner for Gilmore, but Steels has the Vuelta on his programme and that's at the same time," said Vaarten.
"I am still thinking about Frank Vandenbroucke for the pursuit, but then we have to have a serious talk first. But my option is to make a choice for the younger generation. It will be good preparation for the 2004 Olympics in Athens."
Giro stage winner McKenzie to ride in FBD Milk Ras
By Gerard Cromwell, irishcycling.com
2000 Giro D'Italia stage winner David McKenzie will lead a strong foreign challenge in this year's FBD Milk Ras, starting in Navan on May 20.
McKenzie leads Swiss division III squad Fisconseils in this year's Ras. Voted Australia's cyclist of the year in 2000, McKenzie will be well supported in this year's eight-day event by Swiss teammates David Chassot, Julien Vergeres and Stephane Gremaud as well as experienced American pro Erik Saunders.
The British Cycling Federation have also announced a strong line-up to contest this year's FBD Milk Ras. The team will be led by in-form Chris Newton who recently won the Circuit Des Mines stage race in France. Great Britain have opted not to change a winning team and will send the same squad that won the French race. Newton will be strongly supported by Brian Steele, Stephen Cummings, Phil West and Paul Manning.
This year's FBD MILK Ras takes in 31 mountain climbs and covers 1,119 kilometres of racing, with stage finishes in Ballaghaderreen, Portumna, Castleisland, Killorglin, Skibbereen, Dungarvan and Bunclody, before finishing in Dublin on Sunday May 27.
Imola get big names for bid
The Italian city of Imola has selected its promotional committee for the bid for the 2004 World Road Championships. After a meeting yesterday, the following were named: Vittorio Adorni, Ercole Baldini, Felice Gimondi, Gianni Bugno (all former World Champions), and Nino Ceroni, Guido Cavina, Fabrizio Castellari, Vittorio Prodi, Vasco Errani, Bruno Solaroli, Massimo Marchignoli, and Remo Mosole.
Six Days of Amsterdam is back
With the signing of an official sponsor's contract yesterday, the Amsterdam Velodrome will host its first Six Day race for some time, from September 11-16, 2001. "For the past two and a half years, we have organised nine international track meetings," said Franck Boelé, director of the velodrome.
"Each time there was more interest; from press, sponsors and spectators. Then we dared to make the big step to being an organiser of a Six Day."
Six Day racing is particularly popular in Germany, as well as France, Switzerland and Belgium. "The combination of sport and entertainment works perfectly. You can watch a bike race, an appearance from Lee Towers, plenty of beer. That's what the people want."
The race director will be the legendary Belgian, Patrick Sercu, who is responsible for many of the big six day races that are currently held. This race will open the 2001/2002 Six Day season.