First Edition News for September 20, 2003
Edited by Chris Henry & Jeff Jones
Frigo reinvigorated by the grand tours
By Hernán Alvarez Macías
Dario Frigo is one of those riders who is always fighting for the top position in most of the major races. He has ridden well several times in the Giro d'Italia, claimed stage victory in the Tour de France, and this year he is riding a strong Vuelta a España with his Fassa Bortolo team. After Stage 13 he is ninth in the overall classification, but still struggling for the podium, having slipped from fifth overall.
The Italian was second in Andorra last Sunday, conceding the victory to Alejandro Valverde by mere metres in an exciting uphill sprint finish. "Yes, Valverde was faster than me," he acknowledged about his second place in the last Pyrenean stage. "The uphill finish wasn't so hard; in the end of the stage we were ten riders trying to win the stage and I was the second fastest."
Here in Albacete he didn't race as well as he wanted to. He ended up in the 37th position; however he will insist and keep trying. Both Frigo and teammate Aitor Gonzalez are still capable of improving and recovering in the overall standings with eight stages still remaining in the Vuelta 2003.
Cyclingnews reached the blond rider at the Fassa Bortolo truck minutes before he started the individual time trial Friday. He seemed at ease and very confident in the moments before such a crucial stage. About this vital day he said "today is the most important day in my opinion, not only for me but also for Aitor and for everybody because it's a time trial longer than the first one and it's possible to win the Vuelta if we have a good stage." In the end, this doesn't happen, but not for lack of trying.
In the Pyrénées, Frigo demonstrated some of his best climbing ability. "I felt very good. I have worked very well and now my main goal is to end up the Vuelta the best I can," he said. "[Thursday] I had a bad day, but we still have many days of racing and everything is possible."
"The ONCE and the US Postal teams made a very strong cut at one point in the race," he explained, referring to the crucial Stage 12 split in the peloton. "At that time I wasn't riding well; it was very difficult to get over it, but the important thing is that we only lose one minute." There are some chances in the Sierra de la Pandera stage for him next Sunday and also in the Sierra Nevada stage next Monday. Frigo said about his chances "well, anything is possible. We will give a try, that's for sure."
If he doesn't get a good result in the Vuelta Espaņa he will have other races for revenge. "For now I am totally focused in the Vuelta, but my plans are to compete in the time trial in the World Championships that take place in Hamilton."
Frigo sole Italian in World's TT
Dario Frigo (Fassa Bortolo) will be the only Italian to start in the Elite Men's World Time Trial Championships in Hamilton. Although not one of the five Italians to finish the Italian time trial championships in June, won by Giampaolo Mondini, Frigo is considered on paper the best Italian against the clock.
Final US men's selection for Hamilton
USA Cycling has announced the final list of 12 nominees for the elite men's road race at the world championships in Hamilton, Canada:
In addition to the elite men's roster being finalized, the long list for the elite women's road race has been expanded to include two additional riders:
Elite women's road race (6 Start Positions)
Long list for remaining 3 start positions:
Kelme secure through 2007
The Kelme-Costa Blanca team will compete in the professional peloton through at least 2007, following an agreement reached with the regional administration of Valencia to continue sponsorship. Oscar Sevilla has a very good relation with the people in the marketing section of that government and this helped facilitate the continued support.
Sevilla, as well as the young Alejandro Valverde, will be the team leaders next season when the team will celebrate its 25th anniversary. As it will be a special season for the team, Kelme will be looking for big results in the three grand tours.
Team director Vicente Belda wanted both riders with him for 2004. Belda confirmed to Cyclingnews that Valverde has signed a four-year contract. If another team wants to sign the young rider before 2007 it would have to pay €1.5 million, a standard buyout clause Kelme includes in its riders' contracts. Valverde's annual salary is reported to be around €300,000, not including bonuses for good performances.
Van Moorsel gets ready for Hour attempt
Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel will depart today (Saturday) for Mexico City, where she will make her second attempt on the women's World Hour Record. The attempt is scheduled for around the beginning of October, depending on the weather conditions and the state of repair of the Mexico track, which is currently being refurbished.
Zijlaard-Van Moorsel has devoted virtually her entire season to training for the Hour Record, and hopes to beat Jeannie Longo's impressive mark of 45.094 kilometres on a "standard" bike. In addition to her training, she has considered all of the important aerodynamic aspects that could make a difference to her time, from her position on the bike to her hair style. She will even cut off her long pigtail so it will fit under her helmet. "Now I can put my hair under my helmet," she told ANP. "With a thick pigtail I couldn't do that. I don't want to perhaps miss the record by a single second."
If the first attempt fails, then Van Moorsel will try another attempt a few days later. If she succeeds, then she would have a comprehensive palmarès on the road and the track. But she won't retire just yet. "No, in any case I will go to the Olympic Games in Athens. But Athens is really my last appointment. According to me, Michael [her husband] will saw the bike in two after that."
69th Giro del Lazio
Saturday marks the running of the 69th Giro del Lazio, a UCI 1.HC event and staple of the Italian fall classics season. The race runs from Rieti over a challenging 196 kilometre parcours, including climbs of the Palestrina, Rocca Priora, and Campi di Annibale, before finishing on a circuit in the town of Nettuno.
Last year's winner Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step-Davitamon) will be on the line to defend his title, and once again use the race as an important tune up for the world championships. Bettini put himself in the service of Mario Cipollini last year in Zolder, Belgium, but this year is perhaps the number one favourite for the rainbow jersey in Hamilton. The World Cup leader will be up against the usual suspects, including Francesco Casagrande, Davide Rebellin, Danilo Di Luca, and Michele Bartoli, among others. The field of top riders also includes foreigners frequently found on the Italian circuit, such as former world champions Oscar Camenzind and Romans Vainsteins, and rising stars Denis Menchov and Yaroslav Popovych.
Teams and principal riders:
Alessio (Baldato, Pellizotti)
Pantani verdict due
A verdict is expected in the court case against Marco Pantani stemming from allegations of doping in the 1999 Giro d'Italia. The head of the court in Tione, Italy is expected to render a verdict on October 2. Pantani has been charged with sporting fraud.
Pantani was ejected from the 1999 Giro before the start of the penultimate stage, while wearing the leader's pink jersey, due to an excessive haematocrit level. Pantani and his defense team have maintained that circumstances such as dehydration or an improper blood sample could have influenced the results.
Pantani's whereabouts are currently unknown, much to the dismay of his Mercatone Uno team, which suspended him two weeks ago because of his unexplained absence.
Guimard joins VC Roubaix
Cyril Guimard, former directeur sportif to such luminaries as Bernard Hinault, Laurent Fignon, and Greg LeMond, has joined forces with one of France's top amateur clubs, Vélo Club de Roubaix. Guimard, 55, will work with VC Roubaix to assist with the club's training, recruitment, and race direction, under the general title of technical consultant.
Lea continues collegiate success
TEAM Fuji member Bobby Lea has added two more championships to his cycling resume. Lea, representing Penn State, repeated his 2002 collegiate performance by winning both the pursuit and kilo of the 2003 Collegiate National Track Championships currently running in Indianapolis.
Lea's win at Collegiate Nationals comes close to mirroring his performance of the recently concluded Elite Track Championships at which Lea won the men's Kilo and placed second in the pursuit.
Lea and Penn State team members Andy Lakintosh (junior World Track Championships team member and national sprint champion) and Mike Friedman (2001 U23 national road champion) are looking forward to the remaining events of the Collegiate National Track Championships to help secure the overall title for Penn State.
Southern California 2-day Madison
This weekend (September 20-21) will bring the second Southern California 2-day Madison to the San Diego Velodrome in Balboa Park. Invited riders from across the USA are flying in to take on the best local riders, as well as racers from Trinidad, Australia and the United Kingdom.
Eleven teams of two riders will compete in various events including four madison races. Saturday's session (5-8pm) will also include a sprint competition between the top six Southern California sprinters as they go head to head in a variety of events including the motorpaced keirin.
The two day competition concludes on Sunday, 12-3pm, with the final race being an 80 lap madison for double-points.
Featured riders include national elite champions Eric Saunders (madison) and Curtis Gunn (team pursuit), and newly crowned world master's champions Peter Coulson and Shaun Wallace, as well as state madison champion Matt Chambers. Making a comeback to elite-level racing is Scott Hembree, national points race champion in 1980.
Entry for spectators is free, and the first 100 though the gate will receive a complimentary San Diego Velodrome water bottle. The San Diego Velodrome is located behind the tennis courts in Balboa Park.
Further information about the event can be found on the website at www.sdvelodrome.com.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)