First Edition Cycling News for September 11, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones and John Stevenson
Armstrong out of T-Mobile International
Lance Armstrong will not ride this Sunday's T-Mobile International in San Francisco because of tendonitis in his right knee, organizers have announced.
The problem cropped up toward the end of the Tour, Armstrong said in a statement announcing his decision to withdraw. "I thought it would go away with the proper rest," he added. "It continued to hurt during training and flared up this week, leading to this decision. This race is just too hard not to enter at 100 per cent. I'm clearly disappointed. However, I felt if I pushed it, I could risk an injury that would set me back for months."
The T-Mobile International is famous for its repeated ascents of San Francisco's brutally steep Fillmore and Taylor Streets, short but very hard climbs that must have influenced Armstrong's decision not to stress his knee.
Armstrong will still attend the race to cheer on his team-mates, according to US Postal Service team director of communications Dan Osipow, who is also a director of race organizer San Francisco Cycling.
"The news is unfortunate, but the USPS team is still one of the strongest in a race that features a terrific field," said Osipow. "The good thing is, Lance will remain in San Francisco and plans to check out the race on the Fillmore and Taylor Street hills."
So what can he do when he's feeling good?
For the third time since the Vuelta began, Alessandro Petacchi crossed the line ahead of all the other sprinters, finally admitting that he might be finding a bit of form. "Today, for the first time this week, I found myself feeling a little better," he said post-stage. "My team as always had done some great work and I spoke to Guido (Trenti) to lead me out and pull off with 200 meters to go because I found myself feeling good and I wanted to do a strong sprint. I have been a little nervous and this was the first day that I found myself feeling better during the stage. I had won twice this week. But I hadn't felt well."
Petacchi perhaps put his nose into the wind for a 50m extra today (which is a lot in sprinting terms), a clear sign that he is getting stronger. He spoke to Cyclingnews after the stage and told us that following yesterday, he was a little bit concerned about the other three sprinters. "They are great champions - Freire, Zabel and O'Grady; but the climb yesterday affected me and I was a little worried that I might not be sufficiently recovered today," he said. "So initially I thought about following their wheels to the finish and going late. But before we arrived I was feeling. That is why I spoke to Guido on the way in and I went early and by myself.
"I am not sure if I can surpass my five wins of last year, in any event I have won three times in the first week and that in itself is pretty significant. Along with my twenty wins this year I think I can say that I have had an incredible season," he added.
Third placed Oscar Freire was tired today, and his close victory yesterday probably contributed. "It's very hard to fight against so many at the ends of the stages," he said. "They all want the wheel of Alessandro Petacchi in the final kilometres and it's difficult."
Alejandro Valverde (Comunidad Valenciana) showed himself near the front of the peloton in the final kilometres, but did not contest the sprint, even though he is more than capable in that discipline. "I am in front because I think that you have to be there to avoid the crashes," commented Valverde. "It's impossible to win a stage against Alessandro Petacchi in a sprint. I've felt good enough during the last few days. In the time trial in Valencia I hope to lose as little time as possible, maybe between a minute and a minute and a half."
Hamilton riding with brace
After his crash during the fourth stage of the Vuelta, Phonak's captain Tyler Hamilton was taken to hospital in Castellón for precautionary x-rays. Fortunately for the American, his right wrist is not broken and he will be able to continue the race.
"Analysis of the images revealed that Tyler has suffered a severe strain to the ligaments along the ulna of his right wrist," stated Phonak team physician Dr. Thomas Klimaschka. "This is a lengthy and painful injury. It represents a certain handicap in terms of cycling, especially when changing gears and applying the brakes."
Two braces were constructed to help Hamilton tackle the next stage of the Vuelta without any pain. In order to stabilize the wrist, there is a night-time brace and another one for racing. "The racing wristband was made in such a way that it interferes as little as possible with Tyler's grip on the handlebar, yet still stabilises the wrist," Klimaschka added.
Rossner's fond farewell
One of the most successful careers of modern cycling comes to a close this season as German sprinter Petra Rossner hangs up her cleats to change roles within the Nürnberger team from winning races to directing others across the finish line. Kristy Scrymgeour looks back with Rossner on a stellar career, and forward to directeurship and motherhood.
It's been a 20-year journey for Petra Rossner, with nine World Cup victories, an Olympic gold medal and a world championship among her 300 top-level victories. Rossner has also been responsible for one of the most thorough dominations of a single race by any athlete, winning seven of the last eight editions of the Liberty Classic, the women's race that runs alongside the USPRO men's championships in Philadelphia every year.
With Rossner calling an end to a career that demands the adjective "illustrious", we had to kick off with the obvious question...
Cyclingnews: How do you feel about retiring from the sport of cycling?
Petra Rossner: I feel a little bit happy and a little bit sad. I'm looking forward to the next phase of my life and I achieved most of the things I wanted to achieve in my career. I would have loved to win road worlds because I think its one of the hardest things to win. Harder than Olympics, harder than a track world championship I think.
UCI tips Wood too
Her team-mate Sara Carrigan is confident that Oenone Wood will emerge series champion from the final round of the World Cup in Nürnberg this weekend, and - somewhat surprisingly - so is the UCI. In its latest newsletter, cycling's world governing body writes, "The ninth and last event in the UCI Women Road World Cup, which will be contested on Sunday in Nürnberg, Germany, will not change the leadership of the general classification in the series, which will be won by Oenone Wood, the major discovery of the season. With her 264 points, the young Australian is already certain of beating the Dutch rider Mirjam Melchers and the Russian Zoulfia Zabirova."
The news that she's unbeatable will doubtless come as great relief to Wood and her coach and team-mates. Earlier this week Australian team coach Warren MacDonald told Cyclingnews that a rule change awarding double points to the final World Cup round meant that Wood could be beaten by Melchers, Zabirova or Petra Rossner, all of whom are within 150 points of Wood. A normal World Cup round awards 75 points to the winner, so in previous year's Wood's 122 point margin would have meant she was safe.
The announcement of the rule change doubling the points for the final round was made in February, on page 106 of the UCI's Official News Bulletin.
Riders depart RAGT
The RAGT Semences-MG Rover team has announced that six of its current roster will not be renewing their contracts with the team for 2005. The departing half-dozen are Frédéric Finot, Gilles Bouvard, Christophe Laurent, Michael Buffaz, Bruno Thibout and Jérôme Bernard.
The team is in negotiations with a co-sponsor for 2005 and intends to continue its focus on developing young riders.
Tour of Hope seeks riders & volunteers
Organizers say it's filling up, but spaces are still available on the Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope D.C. recreational fundraising ride, scheduled for October 9, 2004. Spaces are available for the first 1500 cyclists to register for the event, a fund-raiser for the Lance Armstrong Foundation anti-cancer charity.
Lance Armstrong will be among the riders celebrating the final day of the cross-country ride by the 20-member Tour of Hope team. Armstrong will join the fundraisers at the start and ride with them until he leaves to rendez-vous with the Tour of Hope team.
The 26-mile recreational fundraising ride will start at 8:00 a.m. at the Georgetown Prep School. Riders will restage at the Irish Pub at Glen Echo, for the final eight miles into D.C.
The recreational ride will conclude on the Ellipse, in plenty of time for fundraising cyclists to join Armstrong, the Tour of Hope Team, and special guests there for the grand finale event, open to the public.
The ride also needs hundreds of volunteers to act as course marshals, registration helpers, bike parking attendants, and to assist at the aid stations.
For more information see www.tourofhope.org.
ACT-UPMC for Univest GP
The America's Cycling Team-UPMC has announced the field it will field at the Univest Grand Prix (UCI 1.6), to be contested Saturday, September 18 in Souderton, PA.
The team will be captained by a resurgent Joe Papp, who most recently won a stage at the Green Mountain Stage Race in Vermont. "I think we've assembled a team with depth that has a very strong chance of finishing on the podium," explains team manager Mike Fraysse. "Solar is currently riding the Tour of Venezuela and should return with excellent form, while Eneas and Joe both finished their preparation with the stage race in Vermont this past weekend."
Papp finished third overall and was the first American finisher in the 1999 version of the event, which was won by Canadian Alex Lavalle with Belgian Tom Boonen in second.
The full team roster is: Gerardo Castro (Uru), Eneas Freyre (USA), Joe Papp (USA), Mateo Sasso (Uru), Ward Solar (USA) and Alvaro Tardaguila (Uru). Reserve: Alejandro Acton (Arg).
Brownie's bike not for sale
Several readers have brought to our attention an auction on eBay selling what is claimed to be Graeme Brown's Teschner track bike, as featured a few months ago in our 'Pro Bikes' series. The auction listing uses images lifted from Cyclingnews, as well as a spec list cut-and-pasted from us.
According to both Peter Teschner, who built the bike, and Graeme Brown's father Rod, the bike - or rather its bare frame - is currently in the care of coach Garry Sutton in Sydney, Australia, and not in Duluth, Minnesota as claimed in the auction. Anyone bidding on this item is therefore very likely to be disappointed.
Wisconsin 'cross series
The Wisconsin Cycling Association (WCA) has announced its 2004 Bianchi Cyclocross Series with $2,500 in prize money for the series points leaders.
The 2004 season has expanded to eight races with two new venues this year, Washington Park in Milwaukee and Evergreen Park in Sheboygan. The Wisconsin State Cyclocross Championships will again be held at the Angell Park Motor Speedway; and with renovations to the Speedway's grounds complete, organizers say this years course will be more exciting and challenging than last year's inaugural event.
For more details visit the Cyclocross Page of the WCA's website at www.wicycling.org
2004 WCA Bianchi Cyclocross Series
Round 1 - September 19, Lapham Peak State Park, Delafield, WI
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