News for October 31, 2001

Recent results and new features

UCI Cyclo-cross rankings

With the cyclo-cross season in full swing now, the UCI has released its first set of rankings for 2001/2002. The young Belgians, Sven Nijs and Bart Wellens, continue their climb up the ladder, and are now in third and fourth behind World Champion Erwin Vervecken and current world number one, Richard Groenendaal. Czech rider Jiri Pospisil has also moved up from 10th to 8th, but other than that there have been few changes since the last rankings on February 18, 2001.

Belgium is still clearly the number one cyclo-cross nation, followed by the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. Italy, Switzerland and France round out the top 6.

Rankings as of October 28, 2001


1 Richard Groenendaal (Ned)   1,816.00 pts
2 Erwin Vervecken (Bel)       1,624.00
3 Sven Nijs (Bel)             1,431.00
4 Bart Wellens (Bel)          1,399.00
5 Mario De Clercq (Bel)       1,314.00
6 Petr Dlask (Cze)                 905
7 Daniele Pontoni (Ita)            744
8 Jiri Pospisil (Cze)              709
9 Peter Van Santvliet (Bel)        661
10 Tom Vannoppen (Bel)             651
11 Gerben De Knegt (Ned)           555
12 Beat Wabel (Swi)                463
13 Vaclav Jezek (Cze)              409
14 Wim De Vos (Ned)                406
15 David Pagnier (Fra)             391
16 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel)       342
17 Luca Bramati (Ita)              318
18 Roland Schätti (Swi)            299
19 Arne Daelmans (Bel)             279
20 Kipcho Volckaerts (Bel)         269


1 Belgium                         6429 pts
2 Netherlands                     3224
3 Czech Republic                  2456
4 Italy                           1451
5 Switzerland                     1326
6 France                          1033

Grand Tours to be shortened to two weeks?

The days of the three week grand tour may be numbered, as part of the UCI's restructuring of the professional cycling calendar. UCI president Hein Verbruggen wishes that these monumental events of the sport be shortened to just 15 days of actual competition, spread out over a three week (21 day) period. The current system has the riders racing for 21 days out of 23, and this is still considered too heavy to discourage the use of illegal performance enhancing (or maintaining) substances.

Although the toughness of the event does not necessarily determine whether an athlete will cheat, the UCI is trying to work towards one of its major goals - improving the health of the peloton.

Not surprisingly, the ideas have met with resistance from the various rider, team and race organisers associations. The introduction of a mandatory second rest day in a grand tour happened only recently, and the reduction in the competition days of these races would take place over a number of years.

The following is a proposed grand tour schedule up to 2010:

Year  Giro d'Italia     Tour de France     Vuelta España

2002: May 11 to June 2  July 6 to July 28  September 7 to September 29 
2003: May 10 to June 1  July 5 to July 27  September 6 to September 28 
2004: May 8 to May 30   July 3 to July 25  September 4 to September 26 
2005: May 7 to May 29   July 2 to July 24  August 27 to September 18 
2006: May 6 to May 28   July 1 to July 23  August 26 to September 9 
2007: May 12 to June 3  July 7 to July 29  September 1 to September 23 
2008: May 10 to June 1  July 5 to July 27  August 30 to September 21 
2009: May 9 to May 31   July 4 to July 26  August 29 to September 20 
2010: May 8 to May 30   July 3 to July 25  August 28 to September 19

Courtesy of Infociclismo

Jamie Burrow to Amore e Vita

British rider Jamie Burrow has signed a two year contract with Italian squad Amore e Vita Beretta. Burrow, who is based in Italy, began his career in 2000 with US Postal, but injuries over the past two years have prevented him from racing a great deal, and he was released from US Postal this year.

Meijs may return to amateur ranks

33 year old Dutch pro, Raymond Meijs (Team Cologne), may be forced to return to the amateur ranks next season, after his contract was not renewed by his team. He was not able to get a ride with the Netherlands' second best team, BankGiroLoterij-Batavus, but is hoping for a chance with the Belgian Collstrop-Palmans team. He will meet Collstrop team manager Hilaire Van Der Schueren this week to assess the possibility of a ride next season.

Matt Stephens signs two contracts

Sigma Sport Pro Cycle Shop Team rider Matt Stephens is celebrating two new contracts this week. Firstly, the 1998 GB Road Race Champion signed up for a career with the Cheshire Constabulary. The new recruit starts basic training immediately and is scheduled to start pounding the beat next spring. Next, Matt signed a new two-year contract with Sigma Sport.

"The police is something I've had at the back of my mind for a few years," explained Matt. "I had to make a decision and accept that at 31 I'm unlikely to find another European professional squad. I could have left it another year, but I wanted to give myself and my family the stability of a good career."

The Sigma Sport team was formed this year, and stepped in to sign Matt as it's leader when his contract with Linda McCartney was effectively torn up on the vegetarian team's February collapse. He gave Sigma it's first Premier Calendar victory and UCI win when taking the Manx International in July.

"I really enjoyed racing at Sigma this year, and I feel there's a good few years in me yet. The police work should complement my cycling - I think that my training ought to be more structured next year. After all, I combined riding with working in a supermarket this year after the McCartney debacle."

2002 will see the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, and Matt makes no secret of his aims. "That's the number one target for me: selection for the Commonwealth Games. Before that there's the National Championships and the Manx, both races I would dearly love to win again."

The Crewe rider took time out to raise a glass to Sigma Sport and their vision too. "Sigma has been the perfect launch pad for me, and I was extremely pleased to sign for another two years. There's great plans for the team, and it's good to be at the heart of things."

La Transocéane 2002

The International Cycling Union (UCI) has confirmed that La Transocéane, a worldwide women's cycling race, will be held from September 18 - 29 in 2002. Created from a combination of the Tour International Féminin de Bretagne (TIFB) in France and the Grand Prix féminin international du Québec (Canada), the Transocéane will be the only female stage race held on two continents.

The beginning of the race, which counts a total prize money of 53,000 Euros (US$48,000), will be in the region of Brome-Missisquoi in Québec (Canada). A prologue and five stages will be held, with one beginning in the United States. After an air transfer and a rest day, the next six stages will be contested in Brittany (France) by the cyclists until the end of this unique sporting event in the history of world cycling.

"We are extremely glad about the dates that the UCI gave us, because the Transocéane is well positioned to become a preparation event for the World Championships. Our race will end 10 days before this event in Belgium. The organization gave all the guarantees to the UCI for them to give us a privileged space in the calendar which is very occupied," said Jean Lessard, the president of the event.

Claude Cuny, vice-president of the Transocéane and president of the TIFB, is also positive that the race will be a success. "Our goal is to promote, develop and defend women's cycling and this event, we believe, will do that."

The Transocéane will feature 20 teams and the itineraries will be finalised by April 2002. The air transport and the ground transport will be assumed by the organisation, as well as the housing and the meals during the 12 days of competition.

For more information, please contact:

Sophie Castonguay (Canada)
Yves LeLann (France)

Marco Polo make it to Burkina Faso...

...But will they make it back?

Marco Polo CC team director Edwin Achterberg reports that after arrival in Ouagadougou, the team was welcomed by the organisation of the race and people from the Dutch embassy. "The Sociètè du Tour de France had taken care of transport and the hotel very well, so up to now this race looks like a luxury trip," said Achterberg.

"When we went back to the airport today, there was a less pleasant surprise. People from Sabena told us, there will probably be no return flights to Belgium anymore, after the 4th of November."

It looks like another job is waiting for the Marco Polo management back home and travel agency Ulysses in Wemmel, Belgium.

The UCI class 2.5 Tour du Faso runs from October 31 to November 11, and will be held over 11 stages. This year is the first year that it has been organised by the STF.

The stages

Noosa International Criterium

Noosa is set to explode at 4:30pm on Saturday, November 3 with the 2001 Noosa International Criterium. The course is a tough, action packed 1.5 kilometre loop along Noosa Parade, starting and finishing near the Lions Park. Crowds in excess of 10,000 are expected.

The field for the event is jam packed full of World Class Professional cyclists and is probably the best ever gathered for a criterium in Australia. International stars attending include Stuart O'Grady (Credit Agricole), Dave Millar (Cofidis), Cadel Evans (Saeco/Volvo-Cannondale), Brad McGee and Sven Montgomery (Francaise des Jeux), Scott Sunderland, Marcus Ljungqvist, Morten Sonne, Kurt Asle Arvesen, Jorgen Bo Petersen (Team fakta), Robbie McEwen (Domo-Farm Frites), Nick Gates (Agro Adler-Brandenburg), Jason Phillips (Team Coast), Matt White (US Postal), Jans Koerts (Domo-Farm Frites), and Jay Sweet (Saturn).

Featured riders

Stuart O'Grady has significantly raised the profile of cycling in Australia. He has worn the leader's yellow jersey of the Tour de France on two separate occasions. The second time was this year where he won a stage of the Tour, wore the yellow jersey for almost a week, and at the same time held the green Sprints Jersey for most of the Tour, only to lose it on the last day in an agonizing struggle with German Sprint Ace Eric Zabel.

David Millar needs no intro. David won the prologue of the 2000 Tour de France and held the leader's yellow jersey. This year he repeated the feat in the Vuelta España and then came second in the World Time Trial Championships by a mere six seconds to German Jan Ullrich.

Cadel Evans is Australia's most successful ever Mountain Biker and one of the most promising road racers of the future. Cadel has broken into the tough European road racing scene this year with a win in the Tour Of Austria and a number of top placings including finishing in the front group of the World Road Championships in Lisbon. Cadel has arrived at Noosa in hot form with a 2nd place in Sunday's Japan Cup, so watch out for him.

Matt White rides for the US Postal team, led by Lance Armstrong. Matt is an integral part of the team and as a show of confidence in his ability has been signed by US Postal for a further two years.

Scott Sunderland is the number two ranked Australian in the World and one of Australia's best ever cyclists. Scott rides for Danish Team fakta and last year came 7th in the World Road Race Championships, the highest placing ever by an Aussie in this race. His current world ranking is 66th place with 615 points . He notched up some impressive wins this year including the Grand Prix Pino Cerami in Belgium and Grand Prix Fourmies in France. Scott is in good form after winning the toughest stage of the Sun Tour in Victoria last week. He is the defending champion in the Noosa Criterium having won it in 2000.

Bradley McGee is another young shining light of Australian cycling. Bradley rides for Francaise de Jeux and lives in Angers, France, 300km west of Paris, with wife Sharni and baby Tahlia. A three time bronze medalist at the Olympic Games, Bradley showed excellent form this season in winning a stage of the Midi Libre and then finishing on the podium twice in the Tour de France.

Sven Montgomery, was this year a teammate of Bradley McGee and is a top Swiss professional. Sven is another of the up and coming young riders in cycling. He has had a number of top placings in major races this year and has been snapped up by World No. 1 team Fassa Bortolo for 2002. Sven crashed out of this year's Tour de France on stage 16 while holding 17th position. He sustained multiple fractures to his collarbone and face and has only recently returned to racing.

Jay Sweet is a Commonwealth Games Road Race Gold Medallist who has ridden for Big Mat for the last few seasons. Jay will change scenery next year to race for top American Team Saturn. Jay has said he's got the best late season form of his career and he proved this by also winning a stage of the Sun Tour last week.

Robbie McEwen is the most successful Queenslander ever and winner of the final stage of the Tour de France in 2000. Robbie is one of the top 10 "most winning riders" this year with 9 wins in UCI events, two of which came in the Sun Tour last week.

Nick Gates won the 1996 Commonwealth Bank Classic and the Australian Road Championship. He is a professional with German team Agro-Adler Mark Brandenburg.

Jason Phillips, local boy, European professional for the Category 1 Coast Team.

Jans Koerts is another of the sprint kings of world cycling and is one to watch this weekend. Jans is set to ride for the division I Domo-Farm Frites team from Belgium next season.

Plus a host of the best Aussie domestic riders including Scott and Allan Davis who have raced in the Under 23 Australian Team based in Italy for the past 3 years.

Chris Thater Memorial awarded

The Chris Thater Memorial, promoted by the Broome County STOP-DWI Program to raise awareness about drunk driving, is the 2001 recipient of L. Richard Novelli Memorial Award. The award, presented annually by the New York State Association of Traffic Safety Boards and the New York State Association of STOP-DWI Coordinators recognizes outstanding traffic safety education and prevention programs in New York State.

James F. May, Broome County STOP-DWI Coordinator and promoter of the Chris Thater Memorial accepted the award on behalf of Carl and Lucy Thater. May founded the race in honor of their son Chris, a cycling enthusiast, who was killed by a drunk driver. The Chris Thater Memorial, which marked its 18th year in 2001, has become one of the premier cycling events in the United States and part of the Pro Cycling Tour. The event also features a world class 5K Run, In-line Skating, a large expo and a youth sports festival that includes a basketball tourney, volleyball competition, bicycle clinics and a swimming meet.

Recent results and new features on Cyclingnews

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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