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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest News for October 22, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Astarloa to aim for the classics

Igor Astarloa
Photo: © Jon Devich
Click for larger image

World Champion Igor Astarloa has set his sights on the World Cup next year, in which he hopes to challenge Paolo Bettini as the world's top one day rider. Speaking at the 19th Gran Galà del Ciclismo Internazionale in Italy this week, where he was awarded a prize, Astarloa said, "The battle with Paolo Bettini will be taken up again in the World Cup. I'm known as a man for the classics, and in Italy they understand me. Spain is a land of riders for the Tours and short stage races: If I stayed there I would end up like a 100m runner preparing for the marathon. My "discoverer", Bruno Leali, found the right place for me in time."

Astarloa refused to comment on the doping accusations that have been levelled at him and others in the days following the World Championships. "I don't want to think any more of the unfounded accusations about my abnormal values at Hamilton," he finished.

Simoni plans his season

Gilberto Simoni was also a recipient of honour at the Gran Galà ciclistico internazionale in Conegliano, where he outlined his objectives for the 2004 season. High on the list is the Tour de France, where he wants to seriously challenge Lance Armstrong for the yellow jersey. "The day after tomorrow in Paris we will know the details of the 2004 edition," said Simoni on Tuesday. "I will evaluate everything with my directors and my teammates before deciding whether to ride the Giro as well. There are also the Olympic Games and the World's in Verona among the objectives: I'll have to ask the mechanics of Ferrari to give me a new engine for the world calendar."

Simoni also commented on his teammate Igor Astarloa's performance at the World's. "I know the determination of Igor, who knew how to profit from the race tactics of the azzurri, who had centred everything around one leader. It's better to have more roosters in the henhouse, who in agreement know how to animate the race. Two years ago in Lisbon I experienced it but from another team member, Lanfranchi, who chased me down."

Tour de France presentation tomorrow

The route of the 91st edition of the Tour de France will be presented on Thursday, October 23 in the Palais des Congres in Paris. In attendance will be past winners and first and second place getters in this year's Tour, Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich. This year, Armstrong equaled the likes of Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain as he became the fifth rider to win five Tours de France. Next year, Armstrong will be going for his sixth Tour win, a feat that no-one has yet managed to accomplish.

The 2004 Tour starts in Liège (Belgium) before heading west across northern France to Amiens (Picardy) and then Quimper (Brittany). The Tour will also visit the Limousin region in central/western France. The cities of Limoges and Saint-Léonard-Noblat are expected to host stage starts, while Guéret will welcome one stage finish. Cyclingnews will be at the Tour presentation tomorrow with full details and reactions about the route.

Astarloa, Valverde and Heras in Criterium de la ACP

World championships gold and silver medalists Igor Astarloa and Alejandro Valverde together with Vuelta Espana winner Roberto Heras will take part in this Sunday's 10th Criterium de la ACP in Tres Cantos, near Madrid. The event will take place in the centre of town commencing at 11:00 am.

In a new initiative for the race, over 150 children will compete on the same circuit as the professionals, a move that was supported by former Tour de France winner Pedro Delgado. "It's something that they will recall for their whole lives and that can encourage them to have a greater fondness for the sport," said Delgado at Wednesday's presentation.

Dutch team for Turin World Cup

Dutch national coach Frans Francissen has selected his riders that will take part in this Sunday's first round of the Cyclo-cross World Cup in Turin, Italy. The men will be led by the recovering from injury Richard Groenendaal, along with Gerden de Knegt, Camiel van den Bergh, Thijs Verhagen and Maarten Nijland. The women's team will consist of Daphny van den Brand, Marianne Vos, Debby Mansveld, Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn and Nicole De Bie-Leyten.

"I'm hoping for a quick recovery by Groenendaal and De Knegt," Francissen told ANP about his injured riders. "It is certain that the Netherlands and also international cyclo-cross is strongly dependent on Groenendaal. But if we give it a bit of time, it can still be a nice season. There is a tendency to be gloomy, but I prefer to remain optimistic."

De Nardi-Colpack to Division I

Italian team De Nardi-Colpack managed to finish the season in second place in the Division II team rankings, behind BankGiroLoterij. That means it has the right to enter Division I next season, provided it meets other UCI standards. "It was important for us to go back to the first category in 2004," said manager Gianluigi Stanga. "Also in light of the general restructuring [in cycling] that will happen in 2005. It was our objective and it's mainly thanks to the victories and placings we have obtained in the season just finished."

Bertogliati to Saunier Duval

Swiss rider Rubens Bertogliati (Lampre) has signed a one year contract with the Saunier Duval team, which is rapidly building its roster for next season. Bertogliati won a stage in the Tour de France in 2002 and held the yellow jersey for a day.

Ziegler to Gerolsteiner

German rider Thomas Ziegler, who made his debut as a pro with Wiesenhof this year, will ride for Gerolsteiner next season. Ziegler's best result this year was second place in a stage of the Hessen Rundfahrt in September.

Kai Reus to Rabobank TT3

Junior World Champion Kai Reus has been promoted to Rabobank's division III team for next season. The 18 year old, who only started racing in 2002, finished at the top of the UCI rankings this year as well as winning the World Championship. Reus signed a one year contract with the team, and is looking forward to testing himself in the professional ranks.

Two more for Tenax

After Nicola Loda, Renzo Mazzoleni and David McPartland were signed by Italian team Tenax earlier this week, two more riders have been contracted. 21 year old Slovenian Kristjan Fajt, winner of the Giro delle Regioni this year, will join 25 year old elite rider Giancarlo Ginestri in the team.

Milone and Radchenko suspended by FCI

The Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) has announced the suspensions of elite riders Christian Milone and Roman Radchenko for testing positive to EPO. The controls were carried out at the Trofeo Rigoberto Lamonaca on September 18 (Milone) and the Trofeo Gianfranco Bianchin on September 21 (Radchenko).

THG steroid now detectable by other labs

The new designer steroid tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), at the centre of a huge doping affair in U.S. track & field, will now be able to be detected in IOC/WADA accredited laboratories around the world. The World Anti-Doping Agency announced that the test, developed by Professor Don Catlin at the University of California, Los Angeles, will shortly be a part of regular drug screenings conducted by all accredited laboratories.

"We commend the UCLA lab for moving quickly not only to identify this substance, but also for making sure the other laboratories have access to this test as quickly as possible," said David Howman, WADA's Director General in a statement. "This sends a strong message that there will be no delay in catching those who cheat or who believe they can stay one step ahead of the system. It is also a good example of how important the sharing of knowledge in the scientific community can be to stop doping."

Howman also commended those federations and national anti-doping agencies that have said they may retest previous samples stored in laboratories for THG. "WADA strongly encourages all bodies responsible for testing to review their internal processes and protocols to see whether currently stored samples can be analyzed for this 'new' substance," he added.

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