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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for September 2, 2004

Edited by John Stevenson

Vuelta organizer wants Armstrong

Lance Armstrong
Photo: © Roberto Bettini
Click for larger image

Vuelta organizer Victor Cordero has criticized Lance Armstrong for not participating in the event, the last of the season's three-week tours. The 2004 Vuelta has a strong list of protagonists headed by Americans such as Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis, Italian talents Stefano Garzelli, Damiano Cunego and Alessandro Petacchi and local heroes such as Roberto Heras, Aitor Gonzalez and Joseba Beloki. But the Armstrong mystique is strong enough that Cordero feels the Boss's absence, even though Armstrong has not ridden the Vuelta since 1998.

"Every race would be better with a cyclist like Armstrong," Cordero told AP. "But cycling has given a lot to Armstrong and he should give something back to it. Cycling is not just the Tour de France, it's a whole season. That's the way other cyclists see it and that's the way fans see it."

Armstrong's fourth place in 1998 was his first significant success since recovering from cancer, and heralded the run of Tour de France victories that began the following year. Since 2001, however, he has ridden the T-Mobile International in San Francisco in mid-September.

T-Mobile for Vuelta

T-Mobile is bring to the Vuelta a squad that spokesman Olaf Ludwig says "couldn't be any stronger". The nine-man team will be led by Alexander Vinokourov whose third place in the 2003 Tour de France hinted at a potential that he was unable to manifest this year because of a crash in the Tour of Switzerland that kept him out of the Tour.

"We can expect a lot from him", said Ludwig of Vinokourov. Ludwig also tipped T-Mobile rising star Stephan Schreck as a likely animator of the Vuelta. Schreck was second behind Vinokourov in the Regio-Tour International recently and rode strongly in the Sachsen-Tour International in July, winning the first stage.

Vino and Schreck are backed up by Cadel Evans and Santiago Botero, making for a T-Mobile formation with considerable GC depth.

Sprinter Erik Zabel will be looking for stage wins, and the team is rounded out by Steffen Wesemann, Torsten Hiekmann, Andreas Klier and Tomas Konecny, under the guidance of directeur sportif Mario Kummer.

Illes Balears for Vuelta

The Illes Balears - Banesto team has announced the riders that will line up in Leon on Saturday for the first stage of the Vuelta a Espana. However, unlike other teams who are making definite decisions about their squads for the Vuelta, Illes Balears is being forced to hedge its bets because of an injury to its star rider Francisco Mancebo.

Mancebo sustained a fractured scaphoid (wrist) in a fall in the Vuelta a Burgos and a final decision on his ability to ride will not be made until the last possible moment. If he is unable to start, Toni Tauler will take a place in the team.

The provisional lles Balears - Banesto squad for the Vuelta is: Francisco Mancebo, Denis Menchov, José L. Arrieta, Toni Colom, Chente García, Joan Horrach, Pablo Lastras, Unai Osa, Mikel Pradera, Toni Tauler (first reserve), Daniel Becke (second reserve).

Cofidis for Vuelta

The Cofidis team has announced the riders that will take part in the Vuelta. Under the guidance of directeur sportif Francis Van Londersele and assistant DS Bernard Quilfen, the team will field Daniel Atienza, Arnaud Coyot, Inigo Cuesta, Bingen Fernandez, Stuart O'Grady, Luis Perez, Guido Trentin, Cédric Vasseur, and Matthew White.

González out of Vuelta

Jonathan González (Paternina-Costa de Almería) will not start the Vuelta, according to todociclismo.com. González is recovering from injuries sustained last week when he was hit by a truck and dragged 70m. The damage was fortunately not serious, and González thought he would be fit for the Vuelta, but a deep cut in his leg has not yet healed and interferes with pedalling, making it impossible for him to race.

Rebellin not Argentinean yet

David Rebellin is not an Argentine citizen just yet, according to a statement from his agent, Fred Morini. Responding to articles in the Italian media that stated Rebellin had already become an Argentinean citizen, Moreni pointed out that Rebellin is still waiting for his Argentinean passport.

Rebellin is seeking Argentinean citizenship because, he believes, he will not be selected for the world championships in Verona, Italy, next month as a member of the Italian team.

T-Mobile expands expo

Organisers of the September 12 T-Mobile International in San Francisco have announced the expansion of one of the event's major attractions - the T-Mobile International Sports Expo - to include the Saturday before the race. The expo will include autograph sessions with some of the pro riders taking part in Sunday's race.

The expo, to be held in Justin Herman Plaza with over 150 vendors, will now begin on Saturday at noon and continue on Sunday. On Sunday, the expo opens at 8 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. The competition schedule starts at 7 a.m. with the women's race. The men's race begins at 10 a.m.

Saturday's expo will include participation from pro cyclists who will chat with fans and sign. Expected to participate are Chris Horner from Webcor Builders, Fred Rodriguez of Aqua y Sapone and teams such as Jelly Belly and Colavita Olive Oil.

Ryan Bayley leads the charge

Australian cyclists return to heroes' welcome

Comment by Gerard Knapp

Two months ago, they were considered a political liability, snubbed by the organisers of a Prime Minister's Olympic fund-raising dinner. Now, the politicians are queuing to greet them.

Two weeks and six Olympic gold medals have changed the world for Australia's cycling squad.

As the Australian Olympic team stepped off the two chartered Qantas Jumbos that landed in Sydney this morning, the team faced a huge reception. Australia is in election mode and the official welcome of the Australian Olympic team was an opportunity for the Prime Minister, John Howard, and the Leader of the Opposition, Mark Latham, to bask in the reflected glory of the country's most successful Olympic squad ever.

Many of the cyclists were not on those planes, as they went back to their jobs as professional riders, but the remaining cyclists were clearly some of the brightest stars that came home to a reception that could not have been in more stark contrast to the harassment they endured before they left. On this day, they were on equal billing with the other 'rock stars' of the squad, the swimmers.

Even among the country's factional sports administrators, the times may have changed. Prior to the Olympics, the president of the Australian Olympic committee, John Coates, was interviewed on national television and asked about the country's medal prospects. He mentioned almost every Olympic sport except cycling, a slap in the face to every passionate supporter in the country that knew the country's team was the finest that would compete at an Olympics.

Ever the politician, on the flight home from Athens, Coates asked dual gold-medallist, track cyclist Ryan Bayley, if he would be the first athlete to leave the aircraft, accompanying the swimming sensation, Jodie Henry, another dual gold medallist in Athens. This is close to being asked to carry the flag at the closing ceremony, except Bayley is too young for that job. The door swung open and there was the trackie, first off the plane. So what did Ryan say to Messrs Howard and Latham, who were there to greet him? "Oh ... how ya goin'?" he told ABC Radio. A classic, unaffected Australian greeting. As a dual gold medallist, Bayley was seated at the first class pointy end of the 747, but slept most of the way home. He was really looking forward to getting to his home in Perth, Western Australia, another four hours away on the other side of the country.

The Australian media have warmed to Bayley and the cyclists in direct contrast to the outright hostility displayed prior to the Games, where there were repeated attempts to smear every cyclist in the country. One senior journalist, who is also a member of the Australian Sports Commission, described the cycling squad as "the poor relation" of the Australian Olympic team. Showing little understanding of the team's intrinsic quality - stacked as it is with current and former world champions - he is one of many of the country's sports writers that have been left with egg on their faces.

Bayley - like every member of the Australian cycling team - showed great team loyalty and support throughout the 'French affair'. As he was one of the sprinters - in the direct firing line - he stood by his besieged team-mates, regardless of the accusations. But it's not his athleticism or his loyalty that is generating the copy, rather, the media tends to highlight his diet of take-away food and soft drinks. But it's also just as likely that his down-to-earth nature, decency and dignity has broken through the media's scathing scepticism that was displayed en masse before they left.

Now, the headlines say: "Cycling was the difference", when accompanying stories on the success of the whole 2004 squad. Doubtless, the riders and coaching staff will see through this transparency, but at last, they are receiving the recognition and respect they have always deserved.

McCormack set to defend in Green Mountain Stage Race

A record field of 800 riders, including over 100 in the pro/1/2 category, will convene in Vermont on Friday afternoon for the 4th Green Mountain Stage Race. Reigning champion Mark McCormack (Colavita) has brought some team-mates to help him defend his title this year. Four members of the Colavita professional team will be coming to Vermont, including former Univest Grand Prix winner Todd Herriott, former collegiate national champion Tyler Wren, and Aaron Olson (Eugene, Oregon), who was won stages of the Grand Prix de Beauce and the International (Altoona) this year.

Threatening McCormack are riders such as former Canadian national road champion Dominique Perras (Ofoto-Lombardi Sports), former San Francisco Grand Prix winner Charlie Dionne (Webcor Builders), Andrew Randall (Jet Fuel Coffee), and former pro and New Hampshire native Justin Spinelli (Richard Sachs).

On the women's side, the absence of defending champion Genevieve Jeanson has left a field of which several riders could take this year's title. New Zealander Johanna Buick (Victory Brewing) returns this year with her eye on grabbing the title, but she will have some fierce competition from Amy Moore (Team Quark), Anna Milkowski (Rona), Kristen LaSasso (Century Road Club-Aquafina), and Hiroko Shimada (Velo Bella).

The races begin on Friday afternoon with the John Egan's Big World prologue, a 13km hill climb which takes the riders up the eastern slope of the Appalachian Gap. Stage 1 and the Moretown Circuit Race take place on Saturday as riders negotiate a 31 km loop that features a short climb each lap and a wide open sprint at the end. Stage 2 on Sunday brings the Sugarbush Resort Mad River Road Race, a point-to-point race featuring 2 major climbs for the women on a 104km course and 3 major climbs for the men on a 166km course. Stage 3 winds up the racing on Labor Day with the Voler Burlington Criterium, a 1km closed course which the women will ride 32 laps and the men will ride 50 laps.

Fastest Man on Wheels Nothstein's final 2004 Lehigh event

The Lehigh Valley Velodrome has announced the riders confirmed to compete in the 2004 USA Cycling Fastest Man on Wheels this Friday and Saturday, September 3-4. Among the athletes competing will be a host of Olympians, and World Champions including 2000 Olympic gold medallist Marty Nothstein (Navigators), who will be making his final Lehigh appearance of the year.

Other top male riders to compete include Andy Lakatosh (Tri-State Velo). A 2004 Olympic alternate, Lakatosh is America's top up and coming sprint cyclist and looks to prep himself for next week's USCF Elite National Championships by competing in this event.

Female athletes to compete include longtime Velodrome rivals Sarah Uhl (Quark) and Ashley Kimmet (Colavita). Sarah is well known for her incredible Junior World Championship win here at the Lehigh Valley Velodrome in 2001, while Kimmet has long been one of America's top female athletes with wins on both the road and track.

Racing events include a men and women's keirin, sprint tournament, points race and final race. On Friday men will compete in a sprint tournament and 60-lap points race while women are to contest a keirin and 25-lap final. On Saturday evening men will race in a keirin and 10-mile final with women taking on a sprint tournament and 25-lap points race.

For tickets or more information about the September 3-4, USA Cycling Fastest Man on Wheels visit the Velodrome website at www.lvvelo.org.

London's lawyers take to the track for charity

On Sunday 19 September, a collection of London's barristers and solicitors will gather at the Herne Hill International Velodrome in London for the third annual Lawyers' Bike Races.

The event is organised, with the help of the Bar Cycling Club and the Solicitors' Cycling Club, for the benefit of the Teenage Cancer Trust in the UK.

Events will include the team pursuit, scratch races and individual time trials. There is scope for some serious competition, but the main aim is to have fun participating on Britain's premier outdoor cycling track.

While the event is organised by London's lawyers, entries from other professions are encouraged, and entries are open to both teams and individuals. Participants simply need a serviceable road bike. There will be an opportunity to try out fixed-wheel track bikes on the course. Russell Williams, three-times World Champion on the track, and regular British Eurosport commentator, is again expected to be present to assist on the day.

To register for the day, or for further information, contact Kris Gledhill at krisgledhill@aol.com or Rod Freeman at rod.freeman@lovells.com.

For more information about the Teenage Cancer Trust, visit www.teencancer.org.

Queensland Summer of Cycling

A minimum of $20,000 is up for grabs in Queensland's premier track racing carnival from Tuesday December 14 to Saturday December 18. Racing will be at Chandler velodrome in Brisbane's eastern suburbs and at the Gold Coast Cycle Centre velodrome at Nerang. Race organizers have brought the dates forward this year to fit in with broad changes to the national and international track calendars. Events will be held for all ages and grades, providing for sprint and endurance riders. This year also sees the introduction of selection events for elite and under 19 state teams, guaranteeing a high standard of racing. Put the date in your diary and watch out for more information on the .

Top tips for the Cyclingnews Fantasy Vuelta

Vuelta a España fantasy gameCyclingnews' Vuelta a España Fantasy game is now open, and it's time to select your teams for this year's race. We asked last year's 1st place winner Marcin Kadzielawski from the USA what lessons could be learnt from last year's race.

"It looks like this year's Vuelta is pretty wide open," said Marcin. "There are at least 10-15 riders that might end up on the podium or very close. The hardest part is to pick the 7-8 right ones. With only 6 flat stages this year I'll mostly go with GC riders and pure climbers and only 4-5 sprinters since they don't have that many opportunities. Besides that I usually go with more than one team and wait to the last possible stage to confirm final selections. In my opinion the only no-brainer for this Vuelta is taking Joseba Beloki with just 1 UCI point who should be back in top shape for month of September. Thanks and good luck everyone!"

To take part this year all you need to do is pick a team of 15 riders to race and select 9 riders each day during the tour. You can join up until stage 6 begins. It's a great way to follow the Vuelta. To register go to http://fantasy.cyclingnews.com/ . Good luck!

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