Edited by John Stevenson
Domo-Farm Frites general manager Patrick Lefevere confirmed in a press conference in Bruges yesterday afternoon that his team has signed the Walloon Whirlwind, Frank Vandenbroucke in a one-year deal, with an option on a second year.
The deal marks a return to a team environment similar to the one where Vandenbroucke thrived when fellow Belgian Lefevere was his team boss at Mapei. In that period VDB's undoubted talent shone brightest and he won 15 races in 1996 and the 1998 Paris-Nice. Since then, Vandenbroucke has been plagued by sporting, personal and psychological problems, eventually getting the boot from Lampre-Daikin earlier this year when he failed to show for the Tour of Luxembourg.
"After messing up with Lampre, this is perhaps his last chance and it's one he needs to take," Domo team manager Marc Sergeant told Darren Tullett of Bloomberg News. "He is an incredible talent, but maybe he hasn't been mixing with the right people."
Vandenbroucke said that he was in the process of 'rebuilding' himself. "I started a major work of rebuilding a few months ago. I have good advisors and I am going well. But if this doesn't work, then I think that it will be my last chance."
"I have worked hard for the last two months and followed the program to the letter. I am improving steadily, but before I signed I wanted to prove that I still deserved a contract for next year."
Vandenbroucke and Lefevere have been in contact for the last two months, a negotiation period in which the two sides have determined the finances and VDB's form. "We finally found an arrangement based on trust and honesty," said Vandenbroucke.
While Vandenbroucke hopes to quickly return to competitive form, he is ready for a year of transition, he said.
Lefevere said Vandenbroucke's physical tests showed he could still put the hurt on a lot of riders, and would probably begin his season with the Tour of Qatar and races in Spain. He added that VDB would compete in the Tour de France in July if he "rediscovers his legs of two or three years ago. We will be patient with him. He will need time, but both Frank and I hope this will be the start of a new adventure."
Nevertheless, signing VDB is a bold move for Lefevere who seems to be courting controversy with this transfer season's signings; VDB joins Richard Virenque on Domo's 'redemption roster'.
Far less controversial are some of VDB's other new team-mates. VDB's countryman Classics Godfather Johan Museeuw may play a crucial role in Vandenbroucke's renaissance, according to Sergeant: "Museeuw has always been a king for Frank, a role model. The only problem was that sometimes Frank wanted to be king too."
The UCI has hit back at implications that it was involved in besmirching the reputations of Juan Llaneras and Massimo Strazzer when the two were reported as being 'non-negative' for EPO after the world track championships. Both riders were cleared last weekend when counter-analyses of their B samples came up below the permitted limit.
The UCI's statement claims that it followed its procedures in full and made public no information about the riders' A sample test results.
The full text of the UCI's statement is:
Llaneras-Strazzer: Procedure Respected
After having learnt in the press about the reaction of Juan Llaneras Rosello and his lawyer with the regard to the EPO test that the rider underwent in an anti-doping control at the Track World Championships in Antwerp, the UCI wishes to stress that the procedure stipulated by the regulations was fully respected.
Although the UCI understands the rider's feelings, it wishes to stress that no information was made public following the result of the A sample analysis.
Only the Spanish Federation and the rider, in line with the rules in force, were informed about the result in question. Although the rider's name was immediately linked to a positive case and consequently a very hasty, not-to-say unfounded, judgement, the objective responsibility of this highly regrettable situation can under no circumstances be attributed to the UCI.
The confirmation of the result of sample A at the counter-analysis, requested by Mr Llaneras and Mr Strazzer in accordance with the right to a fair hearing, which for many years has been guaranteed by the regulations, for the UCI is the fundamental element of any disciplinary procedure involving an infringement of the anti-doping regulations.
The UCI therefore notes that there are no "Llaneras or Strazzer" cases and it is entirely speculation based on hasty and incomplete information provided by others that have unfortunately led to the creation of this situation.
Regarding the difference between the results of the two analyses, the UCI cannot accept that the reliability of this detection method for EPO introduced on 1st April 2001 is being called into question before having taken note of the conclusions of experts, who are currently carrying out an in-depth study of all the factors and circumstances (human error, quality of equipment, technical defect, etc) which could have caused it.
The International Olympic Committee has requested French scientists to conduct a study into systems that stimulate the production of red blood cells by recreating the low-oxygen conditions of altitude, to determine if these techniques act as a form of doping.
IOC medical subcommittee director Patrick Schamasch told news agency AFP that "This work aims to determine if using these these hypoxic systems (hypobaric chambers) could be harmful to the health of the athletes and therefore prohibited by the sporting regulations."
Hypoxic tents, that simulate high altitude conditions by reducing the oxygen content in the air the athlete breathes while sleeping, have become popular with many top cyclists in the last several years. The subject of whether it is a form of doping has come up several times in the past, but so far the consensus is that it is safe to sleep in these tents, and the effects are nothing like as great as EPO.
Despite recent reports of his retirement because of ongoing prostate problems, Laurent Dufaux signed Tuesday with the Alessio team.
32-year-old Dufaux, who rode for Saeco in 2002, recently turned down an offer from CSC-Tiscali, stating his intention to retire early after 11 years in the pro ranks. However, it seems the prospect of riding for a team with guaranteed entry in all three Grands Tours in 2002 was just too tempting.
Alessio is currently top of Division 2 and after winning the team classification in the 2001 Giro, has a berth in the Tour de France and the Vuelta.
For the third time in a row, Lance Armstrong is the recipient of Velo Magazine's 'Velo d'Or' award for the best rider of the year. "It is a major honour," said Armstrong. "All being well, I will be in Luxembourg on 6 July to try and win a fourth Tour de France."
Armstrong has also been awarded Velonews magazine's 'International Cyclist of the Year.'
Rosalind "Roz" Reekie-May and Greg Henderson have been named New Zealand Road and Track Cyclist of the Year respectively by Cycling New Zealand.
Reekie-May, leader of UPMC Pittsburgh Cycling's women's squad, placed eighth overall in the US Pro Cycling Tour and ninth overall in the BMC Software Grand Prix. Furthermore, she finished third at the Tour de Toona and was 22nd at the World Championships in Lisbon, Portugal.
Roz will represent New Zealand at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England.
Henderson finished fifth in the men's points race on his first attempt at the World Championships in Belgium. This was on top of his win in round one (Cali Columbia) of the five round UCI World Cup series in may this year.
Henderson is also a member of the NZ Pursuit team which finished sixth at this year's World Championships.
Australian mountain bike racer Paul Rowney became a father in the small hours of Wednesday morning with the arrival of a 7lb 9oz daughter Kaitlyn. In an excited email, Paul said "Selina went into a super fast labour and the baby nearly ended up on my bathroom floor. Running lights and gunning the car we made it just in time for her to drop our first born 15 minutes later. Phew. I nearly missed it 'cause I had to speed home and get her medical records, so I made it just in time to see my little girl come into the world cutting the cord was cool."
"Anyway, let me introduce Kaitlyn Rowney. Born 12.50am, November 28, 2001. She rocks."
The Baltimore round of the SuperCup series is shaping up to be the biggest ever cyclo-cross race in the US, according to promoter Lyle Fulkerson. The December 14-16 racing weekend, which includes the US cyclo-cross national championships, is expected to attract over 600 racers and if the weather gods are kind 5,000 spectators to downtown Baltimore's Patterson Park.
The popularity of the event has generated what Lyle Fulkerson calls a "happy problem,": the event's headquarters hotel is already sold out. "We've sold more hotel rooms for Baltimore than for any cyclo-cross event I've ever been involved with," said Fulkerson, noting the MarriottCourtyard headquarters sold out in 11 days.
"Fortunately we're surrounded by other hotels offering great rates. The Marriott people have done a great job with their other facilities nearby and the travel industry is offering great deals."
Additional lodging is presently listed on the official SuperCup website, www.kirongroup.com.
The proximity of Baltimore to so many major cycling markets dovetails nicely with the rising popularity of cyclo-cross. "The Chicago race both for men and women was such a crowd pleaser, I've had calls from the MidWest from people who decided on the spot to make the trip to Baltimore," said Fulkerson. "If we get good weather, this crowd could surpass anything we've seen to date in America for a 'cross race."
The racing will all happen in downtown Baltimore's Patterson Park. The headquarters is located in the city's Inner Harbor region, surrounded by shops, restaurants and attractions.
The course, laid out by Tom Stevens, is promising to deliver additional thrills for riders and spectators alike. The layout includes pavement, grass, some brick roads, some steep drop offs, and a crowd-pleasing stone staircase.
This weekend the Mid-Atlantic Championship Cyclo-Cross (MAC) series enters double figures as round 10 is staged at the Phelps School, Malvern, Pennsylvania on December 2.
The Phelps Schoolhas opened up its campus to provide what the organisers describe as a "challenging cyclo-cross course." Excited about hosting an event of this caliber, The Phelps School has pulled out all stops. Anticipating a large crowd of hungry racers and spectators, they have even arranged for catering of breakfast and lunch! Proceeds of the race will benefit The Phelps School Scholarship Fund.
With only two weeks to go before the National Championships in Baltimore, Maryland, many Mid-Atlantic riders are putting the finishing touches on their peak racing form. This was evident last week at the Regional Cup race when George "Skip" Menard (Snow Valley) showed up and took the win in the Elite Men's race. With Menard making an appearance in the last few races before Baltimore, the current MAC series leaders may have another rider to watch.
Kris Auer (LSV/Trek/VW) still leads the series but Bill Elliston (Jaeger Wheelmen) is only 4 points back in second. Ryan Dewald (Beans Rheinhardt) sits in third place and Greg Ferguson (Trek VW) has a solid hold on fourth. Szymon Niemotko (Evolution Racing) has moved up two spots into fifth, jumping over Tim Johnson (Saturn) and Sean Groom (Snow Valley). Mike Yozell (Guys Bicycles), Ryan Leech (Monkey Hill CS/Aquafina) and Jason Moore (Beans Rheinhardt) account for the remainder of the top ten positions.
Although the racing has been tough in the Elite Women's field, the series lead has not changed for the past few weeks. Josie Shew (First State Velo Sport) continues to wear the leader's jersey but Thais DaSilva (Wissahickon) in second place, continues to make it a close race. A win at the Regional Cup boosted Katie Compton (Wooden Wheels) into third place, knocking Jennifer Leonard (Evolution Racing) down a spot into fourth. Lyne Bessette (Saturn) holds fifth place with Jessica Peil (Snow Valley) in sixth. Jen Dial (Independent Fabrications), Kelly Yoder (TalgoAmerica.com), Jill Morgan (Evolution Racing) and Tammy Ebersole (Evolution Racing) round out the top ten.
New Zealand will be sending two riders to the Cyclo-cross World Championships in Zolder, Belgium. The duo are Mark Legg, a US resident who recently won the Montana State Cyclo-cross Championships; and mountain bike racer Craig Sharratt.
The career of former champion Gianni Bugno literally took off this week when he joined the firm Free Air as a helicopter pilot for Ciampino Heli-rescue.
Bugno will keep in touch with the cycling world as consultant and p.r. for MIC S.p.A., the Italian firm dealing in several products, among them Shimano items.
Astute examiners of the UCI calendar for 2001 may have noticed something odd. That the classifications for Elite men's road races start at 1.HC and 2.HC for the hardest and most prestigious one-day and stage races respectively, and go down to 1.6 and 2.6, but there are no races in 2002 classified 1.4 or 2.4.
Eagled-eyed Cyclingnews reader Andrzej Rudnicki spotted this and asked us what was going on. We asked UCI spokesman Alain Rumpf, who tells us: "Classes 1.4 and 2.4 have been merged with classes 1.3 and 2.3. The goal was to simplify the calendar's structure as there were very few differences between these classes in terms of financial obligations, UCI points and rules of participation.
"As a result, all .4 races have been upgraded to .3."
RCU Charly Lietzsport, Austria's only all-female cycling team, yesterday announced its roster for 2002.
The team had a busy and successful 2001 with 73 starts in national and international one-day and stage-races leading to 42 victories, 56 top three placings and 142 top10 results.
Top rider was Isabella Wieser with 29 victories in 65 races, followed by Andrea Graus (3 victories in 44 races).
In 2002 the team intends to be more visible at the international level, fielding riders in six stage races, three one-day races, three European World Cups, and the road, cross and mountain bike world championships.
Isabella Wieser (Aut) (Austrian cyclo-cross champion 2001)
Michaela Diensbier (Aut)
Marion Kapuscinsk, (Aut)
Sandra Koll (Aut)
Brigitte Krebs (Aut)
Petra Pil (Aut)
Christine Steinwender (Aut)
Susann Tavella (Ita)
Claudia Meyer (Ger)
Petra Schörkmayer (Austrian Champion Uphill 2001)
US amateur team cbike.com returns for its third year of racing in 2002 with a bigger budget and a focus on Espoir racing in support of its four U23 riders.
The team's 2002 calendar will include the UCI event Four Bridges of Elgin. Other races for the team will include Elite Nationals, and races on the national calendar.
Chad Hartley (U23)
Mike Lange (U23)
Eric Walters (U23)
Scott Walters (U23)
Choice Eye Care
Major Races and Events
September 7-29, 2002: Vuelta a España (GT) - Preview, stage list
May 11-June 2, 2002: Giro d'Italia (GT) - Preview, stage list, photos
July 6-28, 2002: Tour de France (GT) - Full preview & official route details
December 8: Superprestige Rd 5 (Cat. 1) - Erwin Vervecken
November 29-December 4: Six Days of Noumea (6D) - Sassone/Neuville victorious
November 26-December 1: Six Days of Zurich (6D) - Day 6 - McGrory/Gilmore/Schnider win
December 1: Melbourne Cup on Wheels (IM) - Scott Moller, Keirin, Sprint, Support races
December 2: Cyclo-cross World Cup #2 (CDM) - Sven Nijs again
November 24-December 3: Juegos Deportivos Centroamericanos (JR) - Final results
December 8-9: Frankfurter Rad-Cross (Cat. 2) - Alex Mudroch, UK National Trophy Series #4 (Cat. 3) - Roger Hammond, Grote Prijs Industrie Bosduin - Kalmthout (Cat. 1) - Bart Wellens, Int. Radquer Obergösgen (Cat. 2) - Björn Rondelez, Trofeo Mamma e Papa Guerciotti (Cat. 3) - Enrico Franzoi, Premio Egondo (Cat 3) - David Seco, Irish cyclo-cross championships - Robin Seymour
Results: local racing
Australia - CycleWest Promotions Omnium Series #2, Eastern Suburbs Summer Criterium Series, Carnegie Caulfield Tuesday criterium, Southern Cross Junior Track Open & Madison Cup, Manly Warringah CC, George Town Track Carnival, Carnegie Caulfield CC, Randwick Botany CC, Gold Coast CATS CC, Caesar's Illawarra CC, Caesar's Illawarra (track)
Denmark - Danish cyclo-cross Post Cup #3
Italy - Gran Premio Città di Bassano
Luxembourg - GP De Kopstal
New Zealand - Cyco Criterium series
Spain - Elorrio cyclo-cross
USA - Georgia Cross Series Championship, Chimborazo Grand Prix cyclo-cross, Boulder Cross Rd 6, New Mexico State Cyclo-x Champs, Sorrento Cyclo-x & California State Champ's, Boulder Cross Rd 5, Verge New England series, Northampton CC Cyclo-cross Championships, Chris Cross International CycloCross
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