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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News for September 15, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

X-rays OK for Valverde

Alejandro Valverde (Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme)
Photo ©:
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X-rays carried out on injured Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme rider Alejandro Valverde on the rest day have confirmed that he did not break any bones in the crash yesterday. Valverde suffered numerous contusions to his leg, back and arms, including a serious contusion to his knee tendon. Doctors advised him not to ride at all during the rest day, and so he did not train with any of his teammates.

Valverde's masseur worked on the injured area and he received treatment for the inflammation. He reportedly had a good sleep and was in better spirits today than yesterday.

No textbook sprint for Petacchi

Alessandro Petacchi's win in the bunch sprint that gave him second place in yesterday's 11th stage of the Vuelta was a little different to his previous performances, where he was delivered to the final 200 metres in front of the bunch by his superb sprint train. Petacchi and Fassa weren't going for the win yesterday, as David Zabriskie had already crossed the line a minute before the peloton thundered into Caravaca de La Cruz. This was in part due to the crash of Alejandro Valverde in the opening kilometres, which slowed the peloton for a long time and gave Zabriskie the time he needed to pull off an impressive stage win.

"Zabriskie certainly rode very strongly," said Petacchi. "But if it wasn't for Valverde's fall, I would have been celebrating my fourth stage win in this Vuelta a España. I'm sorry for all of my teammates, who worked a lot and deserved another victory. However I shared in their decision not to pull to the end. It was nice for us in that respect. As pertains the sprint, I was a little cautious when I was on the wheel of Trenti, who was a little way behind. I put myself behind O'Grady and waited for him to launch the sprint. At 200 metres to go I was a little far back, then I found a way through and I managed to get past in the last hundred. Certainly I had good legs and thus I consider it a missed victory for me and for Fassa Bortolo."

Vuelta Stage 11 - Full results, report & photos, Live report
Stages & descriptions
Start list

Ullrich to race five times in Italy

Jan Ullrich will ride a series of five races in Italy, according to, with a view to testing his form before the World Championships in Verona, which he is still unsure about riding. "I feel good and I'm really enjoying the daily work in the saddle," said Ullrich, who will race this Saturday in the Giro del Lazio and Sunday in the GP Industria & Commercio di Prato. He will follow that with the Coppa Sabatini (September 23), Giro dell'Emilia (September 25) and the G.P. Beghelli (September 26) .

"None of the races are simple, either in length or profile, and there are real challenges after a long season," he said, adding that the World's is not yet certain, "We'll see how I get through them. After that, I'll look further."

Official: Menchov to Rabobank

Russian cyclist Denis Menchov has been confirmed as signing for Rabobank for the next two years, the team announced on Tuesday. Menchov has ridden for Banesto (now Illes Balears-Banesto) since he started as a stagiaire in 1999, and has produced some impressive results in that time. In 2001 he won the Tour de l'Avenir. One year later he was the best young rider in the Midi Libre, and he also won a tough mountain stage to the top of Mont Ventoux in Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré.

Last week, Menchov won the fifth stage of the Vuelta a España. Earlier this season he won the overall in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, as well as winning stages in Paris-Nice, Vuelta a Aragon and Vuelta al Pais Vasco. He has ridden the Tour de France four times, finishing 11th overall and taking the white jersey of best young rider in 2003.

"Denis is only 26 years old and he has unprecedented skills," commented Rabobank's team manager Theo de Rooij. Team director Erik Breukink added, "Menchov is exactly the guy we were looking for. He has all the skills to play an important role in next years UCI Pro Tour."

Horrillo as well

Quick.Step's Pedro Horrillo Muñoz has also been announced as joining the Rabobank team in 2005, reaching two year agreement over a contract with Theo de Rooij. The Spanish all-rounder turns 30 on September 27 and has recorded two victories this season, in the second stage of Paris-Nice and in the final stage of the UNIQA Classic.

"A splendid reinforcement for our team and the ideal rider to start the sprint for Oscar Freire. But Horrillo can do lots more than just play trailer for Oscar," said De Rooij.

Koerts to Cofidis

35 year old Dutch sprinter Jans Koerts will sign a one year contract to ride for the Cofidis team next season. Koerts currently rides for Chocolade Jacques, but his contract will be up at the end of the year. His job at Cofidis will be to help Stuart O'Grady. "O'Grady wanted someone who knows how to do his job with no fuss," said Koerts to ANP. "My concern will be to put him in the right place in the finales."

Koerts' past experience includes leading out the likes of Robbie McEwen and Jean-Paul van Poppet. He has ]an Australian wife and spends three months of the year in Australia. "[Stuart] has often said that I have to come and ride with him once. Now it will happen, finally."

Strong field for Giro del Lazio

This Saturday's 70th Giro del Lazio, a UCI hors category one day race in the province of Roma, Italy, has attracted a strong line up. Defending champion Michele Bartoli (CSC), who is still in search of his first victory this season, will start with number 1. He and his teammate Ivan Basso will be up against Olympic champion Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step-Davitamon), current World Cup leader Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), and the improving Paolo Savoldelli and Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile). Other names on the provisional start list include Fred Rodriguez (Acqua e Sapone), Fabio Baldato (Alessio-Bianchi), Emanuele Sella (Panaria), Filippo Simeoni (Domina Vacanze), Juan Antonio Flecha and Tom Danielson (Fassa Bortolo), Gianluca Bortolami (Lampre), Yaroslav Popovych (Landbouwkrediet) and Leonardo Bertagnolli (Saeco).

Watt the favourite in women's Grafton

The inaugural World Heritage Way Ladies Challenge from Grafton to Glen Innes (Australia) is shaping up to be a hotly contested event as part of the Eastmon Camera House Cycle Classic, which takes place this Saturday, September 18. 1992 Olympic gold medallist Kathy Watt will start the Category 1 race as hot favourite after taking line honours last year. Watt heads into the race in top form after winning the Australian National Road Series Title on the Sunshine Coast last weekend.

Last year's sprint queen winner Jennifer Finlay looms as a major threat over the 160km race. Finlay will represent the Hamilton Pines River Club from Brisbane and is also in good form after finishing second in the time trial at the nationals. Zoe Southwell has proven to be a strong rider in past events and will aiming to upset Watt's second title campaign.

Jane Despas will line up in her third classic. The Australian, now based in the United States, finished third last year and has been constantly monitoring the build up to the race. Race director Peter Sunderland has fielded a number of calls from Despas. "Jane seems serious and arrived in Australia earlier this week - she rates as a big chance," Sunderland said.

Riding in her first senior year, Kate Nichols is also expected to feature strongly. Kate is the daughter of Los Angeles Olympics gold medallist Kevin, who will race in the O-45s race on Saturday.

The WHW is expected to be the most gruelling, longest and highest prizemoney women's event in Australia. The women's race will start at 7.30am and this will bring them into Glen Innes around 1pm behind the leading C graders.

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BikeNZ on the hunt for High Performance Director

In the wake of a successful 2004 for its cyclists, the New Zealand cycling federation (BikeNZ) is searching for a new High Performance Director, as current HPD Warren Lister does not intend to apply for a permanent position when his fixed term contract expires.

"The need for a High Performance Director to lead the elite sport programme in the run up to the 2004 Olympics was recognised by Cycling NZ in December 2002," said BikeNZ CEO Rodger Thompson in a statement. "Warren was appointed to the position by BikeNZ after a comprehensive international search conducted by the Empower Group. While it is regrettable that Warren has confirmed he won't be applying to a permanent position with BikeNZ, we are very pleased with what he has achieved in the past 16 months when you consider we have 4 World Champions, 1 Olympic gold, 1 Olympic record, and 1 World record. Warren has firmly established the position of High Performance Director and we are now seeking to make this a permanent role."

Thompson also expressed disappointment that some of the NZ Olympic team had made negative comments about National Track Coach Kurt Innes in the media when there is a formal review process for every Olympic sport with the New Zealand Olympic Committee and the New Zealand Academy of Sport.

"The Olympic debrief process is all about reviewing preparation for, and performance during, the Olympic Games, so that learning points can be fed into the planning process for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games and 2008 Beijing Olympics," said Thompson. "It looks at everything from the high performance and training plans, to the coaching and preparation. It also involves confidential evaluations and one-to-one interviews with athletes. This is the proper and constructive place for athletes to give feedback on Olympic preparations. Overall it was obviously a very successful campaign and we are very pleased with it."

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