First Edition Cycling News for September 10, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones and John Stevenson
If at first you don't succeed...
Rabobank's Oscar Freire proved that persistence pays off by beating Erik Zabel in a bunch sprint to win stage 6 of the Vuelta a España. Freire profited from the hard work of his team earlier in the stage, then the work of Cofidis in the finale, before finally catapulting off Zabel's wheel in the last 50m to win the stage by a wheel.
"Luck is also important in a sprint," said a very satisfied Freire post-stage. "Today I had better positioning than in the two pervious days. My victory shows that whomever tries and tries again, succeeds. It was the stage in which the less strong guys came through, but I believe that the others were as strong as I.
"Petacchi has the best team and you can see that at the finish. They make it easier for him. They ride very well for 400-500 metres and leave him to do the last 100. I don't have those riders, as nowadays only Petacchi has that sort of a team. The Rabobank that is here in the Vuelta is a young team, but I must say that today they worked magnificently before the climb, when nobody was pulling. We all fought for the wheel of Zabel but in this case, experienced served me and I did not get nervous. I only got it at 200 metres to go when everyone hadn't used up all their power. You have to calibrate it well. I believe that my best sprint was the one in Zaragoza, and perhaps today was my worst. There I had to get to the front from a long way back and when I finally did we were in the final metres."
Freire is now looking towards the World Championships in Verona, which will be held on a similar course to the one where he won his first world title in 1999. "I expect to arrive at Verona in good form," he said. "I've always gone well in the World's. Spain has a good selection and it's not like the Olympic Games where you can only have four riders and if three crash you are on your own. For the World's I think you have to keep Bettini in mind, as he is a great specialist in one day races."
Freire also said that he is no longer suffering from the boil that caused him so much pain this year.
Was it food poisoning?
T-Mobile lost a fourth rider - Andreas Klier - during today's sixth stage of the Vuelta, and only two of the remaining five riders are still completely healthy, the rest suspected of having food poisoning. Erik Zabel and Cadel Evans have come through unscathed, while Alexandre Vinokourov, Tomas Konecny and Stefan Schreck are trying to suffer through it.
It's still not clear what caused the sickness, although T-Mobile's doctor Andreas Blüm ruled out any sort of a virus. "Our riders have been laid low by a bout of food poisoning," he specified. Cadel Evans thought it could have been a dodgy fish salad (which he didn't eat), while the Spanish press have been speculating that it could have been bad rice pudding.
The Hotel Palafox, where both T-Mobile and Liberty Seguros stayed on Tuesday evening, issued a statement via the Vuelta's organisers saying that both teams received exactly the same menu, except that Liberty Seguros wasn't served the rice pudding. The hotel has sent a sample of the rice pudding to be analysed, and will make the results available to the race organisers and the media.
Poblet visits the Vuelta
Spanish legend Miguel Poblet Orrioles visited the Vuelta today in Benicarló. Born in Moncada i Rexach (Barcelona) on March 18, 1928, Poblet's career began in 1945 and continued through 1962, when he retired. His palmares included many track and road titles, winning stages in the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and of course the Vuelta a España. His favourite classic was Milan-San Remo, which he won in 1957 and in 1959, 45 years before today's stage winner Oscar Freire also won it.
One last time for Wood
By Kristy Scrymgeour
The final round of the women's world cup will take place this weekend in Nürnberg, Germany. The race is the last time Australian Oenone Wood will have to defend the World Cup leader's jersey that she has held since round one in Geelong, Australia. Despite double points being awarded for the final race, only three riders, Mirjam Melchers (Farm Frites/Hartol), Zoulfia Zabirova (Let's Go Finland) and Petra Rossner (Nürnberger) have the ability to dethrone her, each of them needing to win the race outright and keep Wood out of the top ten to do so. - A hard task, considering the consistent performance of the Australian team this year leading Wood to seven top ten placing out of only eight races.
The circuit race will cover nine laps of a 12.9km loop for a total of 116.1km on undulating roads. The Nürnberg team, who won last weeks round of the world cup in Rotterdam, will be aiming to repeat using their sprinter Petra Rossner and will therefore be set on keeping the race together for a bunch sprint.
Click here for the full World Cup finale preview.
Gorospe delighted with Pro Tour acceptance
By Martin Hardie in Benicarló
Euskaltel-Euskadi manager Julian Gorospe was smiling at the start of Stage 6 in Benicarló when we asked about his team's recent acceptance into the UCI Pro Tour. Things have been tough for the Basque brigade of late and the weight of the struggle to enter the Pro Tour was only adding to their wows. It had got to the point this week were head honcho Miguel Madariaga was threatening to take the Basque case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
We congratulated Julian Gorospe in our best (but not very good) Euskera, and he responded, "Eskerek asko... yes, they say we are in the Pro Tour at last. Of course we are overjoyed because it is very important for all of us, the team and the country. I think overall our approach has been good. We have been progressing very well and many people, along with us have wanted us to be in the pro Tour. And now we are there!
"We have to now focus on putting together the line up we will need for the different races of the Pro Tour, not only the Tour de France but all the other important races such as the classics."
Amongst the riders Gorospe and Madariaga are currently negotiating with is Quick Step's Pedro Horrillo, who has had the knack of arriving at the front quite a bit this week in the Vuelta. Horrillo also has experience in the non-Ardennes classics - the Basque brigade has often done well in the Ardennes - and would round off that prong and give the team someone to launch in the sprints when necessary.
Kelme angry about Pro Tour exclusion
Kelme directeur sportif Vicente Belda is furious that his team - the longest-running squad currently operating - has not been invited to be part of the UCI's new Pro Tour grouping of top teams.
The UCI announced the teams on Wednesday that would fill four of the remaining five places in the Pro Tour, and will announce the final team on October 6. Kelme was not among the four.
"The UCI do not care about 25 years of cycling history," Belda told Reuters. "We've been a disaster getting the paperwork in on time, I admit, but it now seems that the 20,000 different bits of paper they asked us for is more important than a long and distinguished cycling history.
"The Pro Tour will be the tomb of cycling, it will finish the sport," said Belda.
Dufaux to retire
Swiss rider Laurent Dufaux (Quick.Step-Davitamon) has decided to end his 14-year career as a professional cyclist at the end of this season. His final race will be next Saturday's Giro del Lazio in Italy, a race that holds special significance for Dufaux, as it's where he made his professional debut as a stagiaire for Helvetia-La Suisse in 1990.
According to his team, 35-year-old Dufaux realized last winter that he was losing the motivation to continue making the sacrifices necessary to continue as a pro at the top level. He is now considering his future options, but has not yet decided what he'll do next.
Dufaux long career showed promise early on when he won the Swiss national championship in 1991. He went on to win the Dauphine Libéré twice, in 1993 and 1994, a stage of the 1996 Tour de France and the 2000 Züri Metzgete/Championship of Zurich.
O'Loughlin aims to defend Irish TT title
By Shane Stokes
The identities of those Irish riders to compete against the clock at the world championships in Verona will be settled this weekend at the national time trial championships in Killorglin.
The first two riders in the elite men's championship will book their ticket to Italy, while the women's champion will also be heading south provided her time is within the standard set by CI. She will be required to cover the course at a speed that is within 18 percent of that achieved by the male winner.
Speaking today, defending men's champion David O'Loughlin said that he felt the course should provide a worthy winner. "I've just ridden the course and it is very, very hard. There are draggy roads which are continuously up and down with a lot of twists and turns…quite technical, really."
O'Loughlin will start as joint favourite with David McCann, who also rode the Tour of Britain last week. He was uncertain how that race would influence his chances. "It is hard to know how I will go," he said. "Sometimes you come out of a stage race a little flat as the distances are so long. This course should favour strong riders, though, so it is not just about speed. I think I have recovered okay, although I was out yesterday and didn't feel great. Hopefully it will all come together for the time trial."
Should O'Loughlin defend his title he will have achieved a rare double. In June, he beat McCann and Nicolas Roche to win the Irish road race championships in Sligo and so will relish the chance to take a second gold.
Leboucher signs for Heijdens-Ten Tusscher
Cyclo-cross and mountain bike champion Laurence Leboucher has signed to race with Dutch team Heijdens-Ten Tusscher through to the 2006 world cyclo-cross championships in Zeddam. The 32-year-old Frenchwoman has twice been world cyclo-cross champion (in 2004 and 2002) was world cross-country mountain bike champion in 1998.
Heijdens-Ten Tusscher has also renewed the contracts of Erwin Bakker and Maarten Tjallingii for two more seasons.
Rosters for upcoming races
Cifidis, Quick-Step and Fassa Bortolo have announced their rosters for this weekend's races. They are as follows.
Paris-Brussels, France/Belgium, September 11
Cofidis: Jimmy Engoulvent, N. Roche, Jimmy Casper, Hayden Roulston,
A. Moinard, Damien Monier, Peter Farazijn
Giro Delle Colline Del Chianti, Italy, September 11
Fassa Bortolo: Marzio Bruseghin, Francesco Chicchi, Thomas Danielson, Luca De Angeli, Dario Frigo, Gustav Larsson
GP de Fourmies, France, September 12
Cofidis: Frédéric Bessy, Jimmy Engoulvent, Christophe Edaleine,
Peter Farazijn, Dmitriy Fofonov, David Moncoutie, Hayden Roulston
Greenville hosts 20th Classic
One of the final events of the 2004 US road season will be the 20th Annual Greenville Cycling Classic presented by Hincapie Sportswear in Greenville South Carolina on October 9 and 10. Several US national champions are expected to join hundreds of amateur and professional riders to compete on a course that winds its way around Greenville's downtown area, including the historic West End.
"2004 marks the 20th year for this popular event," said Rich Hincapie, longtime Greenville Classic Race Director. "There have been more than a few milestones attained in world-class cycling this year, and we're very pleased to add to that list by reaching the 20th anniversary for the Greenville Cycling Classic. We are very proud to be one of the oldest and most popular bicycle races in the United States. We are expecting a great turnout for this year's event, so we should be in for some fast and exciting action."
Heading up the start roster will be Rich's brother George Hincapie, better known as one of Lance Armstrong's top lieutenants and the only rider to have been part of the US Postal team for all six of Armstrong's Tour victories. George Hincapie recently won the US 100k race in Atlanta.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)