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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for November 4, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Verbruggen shocked at Knetemann's death

The death of Dutch national coach Gerrie Knetemann at 53 has shocked the president of the UCI, Hein Verbruggen. "I knew Gerrie and also his family very well," Verbruggen wrote to ANP from China, where he is fulfilling a role as chairman of the coordinating commission of the IOC. "I had a lot of contact with him in his time as a rider and from that a friendship was built. It's difficult for me being so far away in China. It's a huge loss."

Pronk's hour record postponed

Dutchman Matthé Pronk's attempt on the world hour record behind the derny has been postponed for the time being, due to the shock over Gerrie Knetemann's death. Pronk was to attempt the 24 year-old record (64.546 km) on November 10, but agreed together with organiser Harry Mater to put off the attempt. A new date will be selected soon.

Condolences for Knetemann

In a statement, the Dutch Cycling Federation (KNWU) said that it is "devastated by the loss of our friend, national coach and great example to everyone, Gerrie Knetemann. His death is an incredible tragedy for cycling in The Netherlands.

"It is possible to leave condolences to the people Gerrie left behind at "

Spanish federation starts process against Perez

The Spanish cycling federation (RFEC) has started a disciplinary process against Phonak's Santiago Perez, who became the second rider from that team to test positive for a homologous blood transfusion after an out of competition control on October 5. Perez was informed of the positive test by the UCI last Thursday, and now the RFEC has received official confirmation from the sport's governing body.

The disciplinary process will take anywhere between two weeks and two months to complete, depending on the extent to which Perez and his team protest the positive finding. After Hamilton's positive, Phonak set up its own panel of five scientific experts to try to ascertain the validity of the UCI and WADA approved test. But the RFEC will not wait for the results of this assessment to proceed against Perez, whose only recourse seems to be an appeal to the ordinary Spanish courts.

De Clercq out of World Cup team

Belgian 'cross veteran Mario de Clercq (MrBookmaker-Palmans) has dropped himself from the national team to contest the upcoming World Cups, claiming lack of motivation to compete at the top level at the moment. He has informed national coach Rudy de Bie of his choice, paving the way for another young rider to be selected for the next World Cup race in Pijnacker.

Although he began this cyclo-cross season with high hopes, De Clercq's morale took a heavy blow last month when the Landuyt doping investigation in Kortrijk once again threw his name into the ring. De Clercq now faces a disciplinary procedure against him by the Belgian cycling federation, in the same fashion as Johan Museeuw, Jo Planckaert and Chris Peers.

Albert to Palmans

18 year old Belgian cyclo-crosser Niels Albert will join the Palmans team this season, according to Gazet van Antwerpen. But he will not compete as a full professional until next year, first riding with the U23 team managed by Wilfried Nelissen.

Vainsteins retires

2000 World Champion Romans Vainsteins (Lampre) has announced his retirement at age 31. With only one victory to his credit in the last three years, the sprinter told Latvian newspaper Diena that he couldn't get a contract for the money that he wanted and doesn't want to ride for team which isn't in the UCI top 20. Vainsteins plans to go into a furniture business with his brother, and his farewell race will be next summer in his home town of Kuldiga, Latvia.

Besides the World Championship in 2000, Vainsteins also won the Grand Prix Industria e Artigianato (1998), Grand Prix Gippingen, Paris-Bruxelles, a stage of the Giro d'Italia and two stages of Tirreno-Adriatico (1999), Coppa Bernocchi, a stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, and two stages of the Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt (2000), a stage of the Volta A Catalunya and Tirreno-Adriatico (2001), and a stage of the Giro Della Provincia Di Lucca (2003), among other races. He rode for Kross (1998), Vini Caldirola (1999, 2000 and 2003), Domo-Farm Frites (2001-2002) and Lampre (2004).

Jimena Florit retires

Argentinean mountain biker Jimena Florit has announced her retirement from the sport, saying that it's time to "think of the future and move on" after six years racing with the RLX-Ralph Lauren Mountain Bike team. In her retirement letter, Florit wrote, "I must say, racing for this team has been a great experience, which gave me the opportunity to compete in two Olympics, win four NORBA titles, two Pan-Am Games medals, one Continental Championships, and several other major races. But the best part was that shaped me to the person I am today, learning, enjoying, experiencing, gaining friendships, and many many laughs.

"The RLX team was committed to the sport, not just in the racing level where we achieved great results, but acting as role models to kids, we were at almost every Shimano Kids race, regardless of our sponsorship. We were always supporting team appearances to schools, bike shops and autograph sessions. That made us one of the most appealing teams in the circuit, to sponsors and public.

"That’s why I encourage sponsors inside and outside of the cycling industry to invest on these riders to stay together. JHK, Willow Koerber and Carl Swenson have the perfect recipe to professionalism and balance competing honestly and with the passion to be at the top level.

"I feel really lucky to have shared my career with all of them and wish the very best in their future. As for myself, is that time of my life when I need to make choices, thinking on the future and moving on to my next chapter. I am considering all my options, some of them with sports, some of them without.

"MTBiking has given me great friends, that I will keep forever. Great memories that no one can take away from me. I am sad that I will not be at each start line of the NORBA races, but I am excited about my future, and pursuing other opportunities, perhaps Adventure some of you will still see me around!

"I would like to thank all my sponsors during my racing career, my teammates for putting up with me, all my competitors for making me stronger, my coach Arnie Baker for guiding me and always being there no matter what, and my husband John, for his unconditional love and support.

"In other words, Mountain Biking has been veri veri gud tu mi!"

Varese presents its World's bid

The Italian city of Varese has presented its bid for either the 2008 or 2010 Road Cycling World Championships on Wednesday, November 3 at the Provincia di Varese headquarters. Regione Lombardia (Lombardy Region), Provincia di Varese (Varese Province) and Comune di Varese (Varese City Council) have guaranteed their support for the bid, which is in the hands of S.C. Binda and Lauta communication.

Local entrepreneur and president of Mic S.p.A. and of the Italian Assocorridori, Amedeo Colombo will head the organising committee. At the presentation, Mr Colombo was joined by other leading entrepreneurs from Lombardy, including Giorgio Squinzi (Mapei S.p.A.), Franco Polti (Polti S.p.A.), Alberto Ribolla (president of Univa), Luigi Orrigoni (Tigros supermarkets), banker Francesco Aletti Montano and Giambattista Pizzimbone (Aineri). There were many riders from Varese present as well, as CSC's star Ivan Basso previewed the road race parcours and his teammate Andrea Peron demonstrated the time trial circuit.

Varese has a long cycling tradition and organised the World's in 1951. The proposed courses will all start and finish at the "Le Bettole" hippodrome. The road circuit would be 15.12 km long, run through the city of Varese and including the Ronchi climb, which measures 3 kilometres at an average gradient of 4.5% and a maximum of 12%. This climb is well known to riders who have competed in the Tre Valli Varesine. The time trials would use part of the circuit used in 1951. The longest circuit (54.2 km) would pass through Varese, Brinzio, Bedero Valcuvia, Valganna, Induno Olona, Calcinate del Pesce, Groppello, Oltrona al Lago, Voltorre, Gavirate, Comerio, Barasso, Luvinate and Casciago.

The UCI will visit Varese in December and January and make its report in mid-2005. The 2008 World's will be awarded at the 2005 Road Cycling World Championships next September in Madrid. If Italy does not host the 2008 World's, the Varese candidature will be automatically shifted onto the 2010 (the 2009 World's has already been awarded to Switzerland which has proposed Mendrisio as the hosting city. Varese and the other Italian candidates for the 2008 World's will have to compete with Ireland and the Netherlands.

Verge MACCCS #5: Westra/Lower Allen Classic

After a weekend off, the 2004 Verge Mid-Atlantic Cyclo-Cross Championship Series returns to racing action with a round in Central Pennsylvania (USA) for the third running of the Westra/Lower Allen Classic (UCI Cat. 2). With sponsorship from Westra Construction and the support of all past participants, the Westra/Lower Allen Classic has been able to donate over $2,000 to the Lower Allen Township Park each year.

This year, promoter Mike Hebe is aiming for a $1,300 donation to the park and additional donations to the Lance Armstrong Foundation and to a local breast/ovarian cancer charity located in the Harrisburg area. Besides the donation of funds raised through entry fees, all proceeds of the concession stand will be donated to the local charity and a massage therapist offering free chair massages in the heated registration barn plans to donate all tips to the same charity. Riders expected on race day include "Flyin' Ryan" Leech (Fort/GPOA) along with the rest of his Fort/GPOA teammates. The Fort/GPOA team currently owns the top two spots in the Verge Mid-Atlantic series with Mike Yozell sitting on top and Leech sitting in second position. Teammate Gunnar Shogren is currently ranked fifth in the series. Out-of-towners will look to break up the Fort/GPOA domination and chief among them will be Todd Wells (Hyundai/GT). Wells is fresh off two top five finishes in last weekend's Gran Prix races and looks to improve on his second place finish in last year's Westra Classic. Jonathan Card and Jeremy Walker of the Cane Creek team will also be in town.

Team Fort/GPOA also holds the top spot in the Elite Women's series ranking with Betsy Schauer maintaining the number one spot she owned at the end of the 2003 series. Schauer will have a tough day ahead of her as the Velo Bella squad plans to make a stop in Camp Hill. Team Velo Bella has had a great cross season so far and the depth of the squad makes it likely that its success will continue straight through the rest of the season. Barbara Howe swept the last Mid-Atlantic double UCI weekend with wins at Granogue and Wissahickon. She also picked up two fourth place finishes in Gloucester last weekend. Teammate Christine Vardaros who has a few UCI wins to her credit this season is also expected on race day. A third Velo Bella rider, Sami Fournier, will also be lining up on race day. The women's field will include many top Mid-Atlantic riders including Amber Itle (Yellow Breeches Racing), Caroline Hacker and Melissa Maurer, both of Evolution Racing and Melanie Swartz of the Squadra Coppi team.

Racing action starts at 10am with Elite racing getting under way at 1:30pm. More information can be found at

Verge Mid-Atlantic Cyclo-Cross Championship Series

Round 5 - November 6: Westra/ Lower Allen Classic (UCI), Camp Hill PA
Round 6 - November 20: Beacon Cross (UCI)(USGP), Bridgeton, NJ
Round 7 - November 21: Highland Park (UCI(USGP), Highland Park NJ
Round 8 - December 5: Capital Cross (UCI), Reston, VA Xpower goes Continental

The top British amateur squad Xpower has announced that it is applying for a UCI Continental team licence in 2005. Xpower won over 40 races in the UK this year and its two main sponsors have increased their budgets for next season, with more sponsors expected to be added soon. The squad shall be based in the UK for 2005 and has already been guaranteed a place in the Tour of Britain as well as in many other international races.

Team directeur sportif Phil Leigh stated that within the UK, the team will focus on the British Premier Calendar and Elite Criterium series, where team members finished second and third in this season despite missing rounds due to international duties.

The squad will include the entire 2004 roster: Russell and Dean Downing, Robin Sharman, Shaun Snodden and Ben Greenwood, plus five others who shall be announced shortly.

More information:

Graeme Brown and Hayley Rutherford married

By Rob Arnold, Ride Cycling Review

Graeme and Hayley
Photo ©: Rob Arnold
Click for larger image

Two of the regular starters in the Australian national cycling teams, Graeme Brown and Hayley Rutherford, got married on Saturday, October 30. A gathering of close friends enjoyed a ceremony on the banks of the Swan River in Perth, Rutherford's home town.

Mr Brown, 25, is one of two Australians to win two gold medals at the Olympic Games in Athens (in the team pursuit and Madison). And Mrs Brown (nee Rutherford), 24, was a member of the national team at the recent world road championships in Verona, Italy. The guests included other gold medal winners from Athens, Sara Carrigan and Brett Lancaster.


Images by Rob Arnold/Ride Cycling Review

Three killed in Mexico

The cycling community of Ensenada, Mexico is mourning the death of three cyclists who were hit by a drunk driver last Sunday, October 31, while returning from a training ride. Rene Ibarra Jordan (55), Simon Gonzalez Hernandez (63) and Enrique Rodarte Mendiola (30) died on Sunday morning, while Rene Cano Perez (45) and Israel Kikunaga (28) were seriously injured and are still hospitalised as a result of the accident.

Rene Ibarra was a loved local figure in the cycling community for more than 30 years. He was president of the local children's cycling league, owner of a local bike shop from which a Sunday training ride usually departed, and was junior national champion in 1968 and winner of numerous local races.

The driver was apprehended at the crime scene on the outskirts north of Ensenada, near the finish of the famous Rosarito-Ensenada bike ride. He faces a sentence of up to 40 years in prison.

The state cycling association has established a fund to help the relatives of the victims. For additional information please contact Mr. Jose Manuel Garcia Ramirez, president of the Asociacion Estatal de Ciclismo de Baja California at +52 (646) 174 0463 or Mr. Hector Contreras, secretary of the Asociacion, at +52 (646) 176 1801.

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