Latest Cycling News for September 7, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones and Hedwig Kröner
Merry go-round at Postal
Benoît Joachim is the third rider of US Postal to wear the leader's jersey in the Vuelta a España in the last three days. Yesterday, after having crossed the finish line, he said, "I am very happy because it is the first time I have been leader of a big tour like the Vuelta. The team tactics were to be part of the break and to take the jersey with the bonus points, which is exactly what happened. We won the time trial, aiming to remain concentrated in order to keep the leadership for as many days as possible. As we have not come to the Vuelta with a clear leader, I hope that another one of my teammates will be able to be the race leader."
Asked about the turn of his season and his future in 2005, he replied "I was somewhat disillusioned when I did not get picked for the Tour, but being in Spain has made up for that. I'm not planning on moving teams. My contract with US Postal goes on for another two years and the new sponsor, Discovery Channel, is planning on remaining in the peloton for another six years. While at the Vuelta I hope to perform well, as we have brought a very competitive team here."
His directeur sportif, Johan Bruyneel also declared himself satisfied with US Postal's strategy so far. "Things are working out for us at the moment, I couldn't be more satisfied with these first three days. I've told the riders that we are not going to carry the weight of the race. We have a group of riders sharing the same overall time as the leader and which have the obligation to catch the best breaks, thus enabling the rest of the team to work less whilst maintaining the Golden Jersey."
After Floyd Landis, Max Van Heeswijk and Benoît Joachim, we might just see another Postie wear the leader's jersey in the days to come. As for GC outcome, Bruyneel was more precise: "Landis and Beltrán are the riders that are out for overall placings".
Vino close, Zabel annoyed
Alexandre Vinokourov, who was ahead of Valverde during the last 200 metres of yesterday's stage, stated on T-Mobile's website, "I underestimated the climb a bit and started the sprint about 100 m too early." The Kazakh rider from T-Mobile still is eighth in GC, only 0'38 behind Joachim.
His teammate Erik Zabel, who was looking forward to the finish - it being the sort of terrain that suits him well in a sprint - was very unlucky about three kilometres from the line, as he punctured his rear tire. Finishing only 170th at 1'18 down, all he said on his arrival was "Sh..". After calming down eventually, the German sprinter stated that "Two almost flat stages still lie ahead. Maybe I can make up for it."
Valverde taking it day by day
Alejandro Valverde (Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme) claimed his 15th win of the season by taking the uphill sprint in the Vuelta's third stage yesterday. The 24 year old, who is in his first grand tour of the season, said that he's taking this race "day by day...I have only been riding during the cycling calendar, and although I may have missed the odd classic, I was never going to race in the Tour or in the Giro. I have come to fight for the general classification but if there are hard stages, I'll go for them too just in case I don't do well on GC."
When asked about his plans for next year, Valverde said, "The team has lost its Pro Tour licence. My contract goes on for another three years. If they don't give us the licence to the Pro Tour, I will have to go. I think it is very important to do the Vuelta and the World Championships."
Fassa: Cancellara staying
In a press release of today, Fassa Bortolo Team denied that the recent rumours about their rider Fabian Cancellara leaving the squad for next season were true. Indeed, various sources indicated the move of the Swiss Time trial specialist. According to Radsport-News.com, the Swiss Phonak team - which already geared up their effective considerably for 2005 (see story) would be interested in signing Cancellara, quoting Phonak's Sports director Alvaro Pino saying that the negotiations with the rider were "difficult, because there are a few teams looking to hire him." Meanwhile, the Fassa Bortolo communiqué states the rider had expressed interest in staying with the team more than once.
A ceremony for Mirabella
U.S. cyclist Erin Mirabella will be awarded her bronze medal for finishing third in the Olympic points race at a ceremony in Frisco, Texas today (September 7). Mirabella won the medal after the third placed finisher, Maria Luisa Calle Williams (Colombia), failed an IOC anti-doping test. However, because the IOC decision came four days after the cycling event, Mirabella was unable to attend and participate in the official medal presentation ceremony.
Mirabella has already received her medal from the USCF, but with little fanfare. This will be rectified on the opening night of the USCF Elite Track National Championships, where the medal will be presented to her in a special awards ceremony between 6-7pm.
The USCF Track National's will be held at the Superdrome velodrome, located on the Preston Ridge Campus of Collin Country Community College District in Frisco, Texas between September 7-11. 16 national championship titles are up for grabs and racing will be held in two daily sessions at 9am and 6pm. Admission is free.
Van Dijk to Mr. Bookmaker
Dutch sprinter Stefan van Dijk has signed a one year contract with Belgian squad Mr.Bookmaker. Van Dijk is currently with Lotto-Domo, but did not gain a spot on the squad for next season. However, with sprinters Robbie McEwen, Tom Steels and Fred Rodriguez signing for Lotto, Van Dijk will find it less crowded in Mr. Bookmaker.
"In my new team I'll be a leader," Van Dijk told ANP. "I see that as a nice challenge. The team really wants me. It's nice to ride for a team that has confidence in you. The team is 95 percent certain of a start in the Pro Tour, so the program looks good."
Van Dijk has also asked for his teammate Koos Moerenhout to come to Mr. Bookmaker.
Vlaanderen and Chocolade Jacques to merge?
There is a possibility that Vlaanderen-T Interim and Chocolade Jacques will merge next year, reports Het Nieuwsblad. Vlaanderen's manager Fons Leroy is on the lookout for more sponsors due to the departure of Peugeot and Daikin, while Chocolade Jacques is in a similar situation.
"Our philosophy is to develop young riders," said Leroy. "The riders who are still under contract in Chocolade Jacques-Wincor Nixdorf are all neo-pro's who are starting the last part of their contract. That fits in with our intentions, and there are also a few foreigners there."
Meanwhile, Chocolade Jacques' Noël Demeulenaere has asked the Communauté Urbaine de Lille if it is interested in supporting a Franco-Flemish team, which would be active mainly in Northern France and West Flanders.
Alan Factory team announces line up
The Alan Factory Team, presented by Euromedia Group, has announced its team roster for the upcoming U.S. Cyclocross Season. Based in Minneapolis, MN, but with members from 10 different states, the team will be led by elite riders with grassroots programs in each of the regions.
The 2004-05 elite roster is as follows:
Jed Schneider Athens, GA - SE Team Leader
Adam Hodges Myerson New England - Cycle-Smart
2004-05 Team Sponsors are:
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