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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for February 9, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Sevilla looking forward to new start

After a slightly painful transfer from Kelme to Phonak at the end of last season, Oscar Sevilla says that he's ready for the challenges of 2004. Sevilla had spent all of his previous career (since 1998) at Kelme until he made the surprise switch to the Swiss team.

"It cost a great deal to take the decision, but I needed a change in my life and I believe that I have justified it," said Sevilla in an interview with AS. I have other dreams...To feel like this opens up new challenges for me."

Sevilla admitted that he was quite worried about his Kelme teammates. "I was afraid that the team was going to disappear," he said, adding that the relationship with team managers Vicente Belda and Pepe Quiles is now good after an initial painful period.

Since his crash in the Dauphiné Libéré in June 2002, Oscar Sevilla has struggled with various injury problems. He now has big ambitions for the future. "Although I'm riding in another jersey, I want to achieve a great triumph, a Tour or a Vuelta, to thank all the support [that people have given me]."

As for the Tour de France, "I've not forgotten that in my debut in 2001 I was seventh. Since then I have not returned to race it. Therefore, until I do the Tour at a hundred percent, I won't know if it's within my reach. I also have a similar belief for the Vuelta."

Sevilla plans to challenge for the Tour this year. "Why not? Lance Armstrong has faltered and that has encouraged many of us. He can have a bad day and then there is a group of Spaniards that will try to take advantage: Mayo, Mancebo, Beloki, Heras, Zubeldia, and myself."

Vandenbroucke still a team leader

Newly housed at Fassa Bortolo, Frank Vandenbroucke is so far enjoying himself with Giancarlo Ferretti's team, riding a solid Tour of Qatar and looking forward to the next races, particularly Het Volk (Feb. 28). In an interview with Flemish TV station VTM, Vandenbroucke said that, "I feel like the leader of this team. The guys come and ask me 'what should we do?'...And I am still only at 80 percent of my capacities. If I can be 100 percent, then we'll see the best Vandenbroucke again."

Young world champions rethinking SpaarSelect

World Cyclo-cross Champions Kevin Pauwels (U23) and Niels Albert (Junior) have not yet signed contracts for the SpaarSelect team, despite earlier indications that they would join. Pauwels is still considering the offer but Niels Albert will definitely not be signing, reports VRT Teletekst.

Wooldridge clear of cancer scare

By Gerard Knapp

Stephen Wooldridge
Photo ©: Shane Goss

Current world champion team pursuit rider, Stephen Wooldridge, has been given the all-clear from testicular cancer after surgeons removed a suspicious lump that appeared earlier this year.

A clearly relieved Wooldridge, a member of Australia's victorious world and Commonwealth Games team pursuit squad, told Cyclingnews he noticed the lump had formed the day before he left to compete at the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under. When he returned to Sydney, he visited his local doctor who immediately referred the rider to a specialist, who in turn recommended surgery.

"My mum had cancer a few years back and when your family's been through something like that and to be told you're in the prime age group for it happen, and we know how it happened to (Lance) Armstrong, it was a pretty scary time," he said.

Wooldridge lost his mother to cancer a month before the Commonwealth Games in 2002 and said he knew he had to act quickly. However, in this case, the surgery revealed the lump was benign. For the next few weeks, Wooldridge will stay in Sydney recovering from the surgery being allowed back on the bike, and after a final check he will travel to Europe to join his Comnet-Senges team for this year.

"It put my life on hold for a bit, but I'm very relieved," he said. As for his racing, "I know I've got some base there, and it may take a month or two to get back up to race fitness. But that's life, everyone has setbacks and crashes.

"Now, I am becoming a bit frustrated as I'm itching to get going again. I'm on Cyclingnews each morning to see how the boys are going, and it was great to see Brett (Lancaster) win yesterday," he said of his fellow team pursuit squad member who won stage three of the Tour de Langkawi. "I'm missing out because my team is on a two week training camp in the Canary Islands."

Driving the train
Photo ©: Roth

Wooldridge, like all of the Australian team pursuit squad, spends most of his year racing on the road, but 2004 is an Olympics year and the team pursuit squad will be tipped for a gold medal, given their performance at the world championships last year when they smashed their own world record.

As Wooldridge was a member of the worlds squad, he does not have to ride a qualifying time to be of the initial Olympics squad, but this does not necessarily mean he is automatically on his way to Athens, such is the depth of talent in Australia's track endurance ranks and the selection process.

The final team to ride in Athens will be decided later in the year, presumably after the 2004 World Track Cycling Championships in Melbourne this May. The make-up of Australia's pursuit team for the worlds in Melbourne will also depend on the availability of Panaria riders Graeme Brown and Lancaster, who were both in the same team pursuit squad but are likely to be racing in the Giro d'Italia.

"There's still going to be more guys in the squad than spots available (for Athens)," he said. "But I don't have to ride a qualifying time and if I hadn't done that by now and with this (surgery), then that could have put me behind."

Wooldridge said the Australian coaching staff had been in regular contact and very supportive after learning of his condition. "It's unbelievable to have the depth we do," he said. "It's a good situation if you're a coach," he joked. Indeed, Wooldridge is one of seven riders that have won team pursuit gold at the highest level since 2002, apart from the other riders who closely push them for their final places.

Another possible rider for Australia's team pursuit squad could be Bradley McGee, if the coaches deem him necessary. McGee has his eyes on the individual pursuit at Athens and showed in 2002 how he has the ability to complete a major road race, in this case the Tour de France, and then perform on the track at the highest level - within two days.

"Brad's shown he can do it (go quickly from the road to the track) in the individual pursuit, but he's a bit of an exception. Also, he's probably spent five years riding around in circles at all those velodromes around the world under Charlie Walsh and other coaches. He knows it so well and knows what he has to do."

Unlike the solo effort of the IP, the team pursuit squad must operate like clockwork. The four members ride at an average speed of over 60 km/h, with their wheels only centimetres apart, precisely swapping turns and maintaining a constant, near flat-out tempo, without surging off the front or any unsteadiness.

"In the team pursuit, I think you do need a few weeks on the track to get the team harmony and dynamics of the team settled, otherwise it's not going to work so successfully," he added.

Related story: Big talent pool keeps Australian pursuiters keen for the team

Car flips in Tour De Langkawi

By Shane Stokes,

Photo ©: Shane Stokes

There was a scare for the riders in the Tour de Langkawi after the driver of the Relax Bodysol car crashed and turned over his vehicle inside the final ten kilometres of the second stage. The dramatic accident happened when the driver lost control and hit a wall before flipping the car.

The driver emerged shaken but not badly injured, his pride and reputation the biggest casualties. The accident though was of concern to those racing up the final first category climb to Tanah Rata, as several of them thought that a rider had been involved. "We were riding past it and could see a crushed bike beneath the roof," said Ireland’s Eugene Moriarty after the stage. "It looked really bad."

Fortunately the mangled machine had been one on the roof of the car, rather than in the race at the time, and no rider had been hurt. The rumour that the driver has been issued with a golf cart for the remainder of the race is, however, untrue.

U.S. Cycling legends turn out to help "Save the Track"

by Mark Zalewski

Andy Hampsten (l) and Tom Schuler
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski

"I wouldn't be the cyclist I am today if it weren't for the Northbrook Velodrome." So were the words of U.S. Postal cyclist Kenny Labbé, who grew up just twelve miles away from the aging facility. Kenny, along with teammate Robbie Ventura and U.S. cycling legends Andy Hampsten and Tom Schuler, joined about one hundred dedicated supporters of the "Save the Track" movement in suburban Chicago for a benefit dinner.

But the benefit turned into a celebration when event organizer Pete Janutis announced that to date the amount of money raised had reached more than two-hundred thousand dollars, surpassing the initial goal for resurfacing the track. However, Pete cautioned that the process is not quite over yet, because the actual cost will be determined through a bidding process this spring. Additionally, the track hopes to upgrade the timing system and other areas as well.

Regardless, the support for the track in the community was clear, with people still pulling out their wallets for the silent auction, including a Colnago jersey signed by Ernesto himself, and a Saturn Team jersey signed by members of the 2003 team, (including a certain rider who is now riding for Fassa Bortolo!).

The evening also included a hearty prime rib dinner donated by E.J. of E.J.'s Place in Skokie. It wasn't hard to understand E.J.'s passion for the sport after seeing signed jersey's from Saturn and 7-Eleven hanging on the walls.

After dinner, each of the special guests talked about how track cycling, and particularly the Ed Rudolph Velodrome, had contributed to their careers. Native midwest rider Robbie Ventura grew up racing in Northbrook and nearby Kenosha, Wisconsin. "The thing that this track represents for me is that I made my best friends - and my father made his best friends - at the track," said Ventura. "As far as cycling goes, it has given me my edge. Learning from people the cool skills you can't learn on the road - it's an area where you can just dial, tweak and change. I was always racing [on the track] with higher level and better guys, and I had to do that to survive. I had to draft and hang on to a wheel, and I use that same stuff on the road."

Even a good silent auction needs a model.
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski

Kenny Labbé also expressed how important having a track was to him, and how important it will be to developing the future of cycling in the U.S. "Even the road riders have benefits from riding on the track - learning how to ride in a pack safely is important. Especially for the youth, [the track] is a safe environment to train. The learning curve is a lot quicker too, and it is very important [for the younger riders.] "

Labbé remembered hearing about this facility when he was growing up in nearby Mt. Prospect, Ill, and that he demanded that his parents take him to see the track, which at the time seemed like the mecca of cycling. "I think the movement behind resurfacing this track is amazing - it's incredible what this group has done. We sent a strong message to the community that the track will remain and will stay. I think now is a very important time for cycling in the U.S. to have tracks like this to have a long-term future for the youth."

Andy Hampsten and Tom Schuler even have ties to the Northbrook facility. Hampsten, who grew up in North Dakota, came to Madison, Wisc. to train in his younger years. And even though he was told by a trainer that he had "not one fast-twitch muscle fiber" he knew the value of track racing. "Someone taught me how to get second place in a miss-and-out here at Northbrook," Hampsten remembered. "It's fun to be back in the midwest where I started racing.

The evening concluded with Hampsten telling stories of his triumphs in the Giro, Tour de Suisse and his win on Alpe d'Huez. Hampsten also told the story of his infamous climb over the Gavia Pass during the 1988 Giro, giving the audience incredible details of that stage.


Images by Mark Zalewski

Spanish championships decided on

At a meeting last Friday in Madrid, the board of directors of the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) has determined the venues for this year's various Spanish Championships. One exception is the elite road championships, which will take place between June 24-27 in an as yet undisclosed location in Cantabria. Of the rest of the categories, the juniors and cyclotourists will race in Don Benito (Extremadura), and the veterans and cyclomasters in Zaragoza.

The elite track championships will take place in Palma de Mallorca between April 16-18, while the junior track championships will probably happen in Galapagar, Madrid between April 8-10. The cadets championships will be held in Tafalla (track) and Navarra (road) between August 27-29.

The first Spanish MTB marathon championships will take place on July 4, while the Trials championships will be organised in Ogijares from June 19-20. The BMX championships will happen on June 27 in Tenerife. The RFEC is still looking for candidates to host the rest of the MTB events.


NSW track team for Australian Championships

New South Wales team selectors have announced the team for the 2004 Australian Junior Track Championships to be held at the Silverdome, Launceston between March 5-8, 2004. The team includes

Junior Men Under 17:

Luke Barrett, Gregory Beer, Geoffrey Hopkins, Angus Morton, Matthew Pettit, Nicholas Spratt.

Junior Women Under 17:

Deena-Maree Faulkner, Jessica Hume, Emma Sonerson.

Junior Men Under 15:

Luke Davison, Paul Fellows, Matthew Guillan, Joseph Northery.

Junior Women Under 15:

Megan Dunn, Netasha Pearse, Naomi Pinto, Sinead Cosgrove.

Manager: Jeff Barrett
Coaches: Tom Dawson, Jeff Beer
Chaperone: Margaret Mills

Father and son randonnée team killed

Retired University of Florida professor Gustavo A. Antonini (66) and his stepson William W. Cupples (42) were killed on Saturday morning near Gainesville, Florida after being hit by a pickup truck. The accident happened as they were starting out a 190 mile ride organised by the Gainesville Cycling Club. They were riding in the bike lane on State Road 45, just north of NW 46th Avenue near High Springs, when a 1979 Chevy pickup truck traveling in the same direction moved into the bike lane and killed them.

The driver, Charles Ray Porter (46), fled the scene but was later arrested when he lost control of his vehicle some 5 km from the accident. Porter was taken to the North Florida Regional Medical Center for drug and alcohol testing, and was charged with two counts of leaving the scene of a traffic crash involving death. If tests show that he was under the influence, then he will likely be charged with DUI manslaughter. In the last 25 years, Porter has been arrested on more than a dozen charges, including writing worthless checks, possession of marijuana, grand theft, dumping industrial substance and battery.

Expressions of sympathy can be directed to:

Victorina Basauri (Gus' wife)
1427 NE 12 Street
Gainesville, FL 32601

Kelsey Cupples (Bill's wife)
1223 Seneca St
Jupiter, FL 33458-3935

Source: Gainesville Sun

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