First Edition Cycling News for March 9, 2005
Edited by John Stevenson and Jeff Jones
Short stages aren't easy
Tom Boonen (Quick Step)
Rabobank and Quick.Step proved that short stages aren't easy stages, as
they combined to ride a 40 km team time trial to the base of the only climb
in stage 2. The stage, which was shortened from 191 km to 46.5 km due to
the bad weather, was ridden at a cracking average speed of 52.13 km/h, and
saw numerous small splits in the peloton by the finish. For the second time
in two days, Belgian Tom Boonen showed that he is the sprinter in form by
making it over the climb in 15th place, keeping his cool on the descent,
and launching himself off Kevin Hulsmans' wheel with 200m to go to win the
stage. CSC's Kurt-Asle Arvesen was second, ahead of a better looking Yaroslav
Popovych (Discovery), who lost over four minutes yesterday due to a crash.
Photo ©: AFP
The race lead fell into Boonen's hands after he captured a 10 second
time bonus at the finish. That put Erik Dekker (Rabobank) into second
overall, although the wily Dutchman grabbed another 3 seconds bonus at
the day's only intermediate sprint to distance himself slightly from Jens
Voigt. The latter tried to attack on the last climb, but was caught at
the summit and found himself too far back on the descent to factor in
the final kick. Indeed, he lost 3 seconds to Dekker after being caught
behind a small split.
"It was very hard stage," said Boonen after the finish. "Very nervous,
very fast, and with the climb in the final it wasn't so easy to stay in
front all day. We had a very strong Quick.Step team today and we could
control the race with Marc Lotz, Kevin Hulsmans and Michael Rogers to
do the descent in the last few kilometres. All I had to do was my sprint."
Boonen added that the leader's jersey was "more like a bonus. It wasn't
an objective. Tomorrow is another chance [for a stage win]. But when we
hit the mountains it'll be over."
Tomorrow's third stage from Thiers to Le Chambon-sur-Lignon (174km)
could also be shortened or even cancelled because of the weather. Cyclingnews'
Tim Maloney reported that snow was falling on Tuesday evening as he was
driving along the parcours. The organisers will make their decision tomorrow
morning about whether to race.
Paris-Nice Stage 2
Full results &
Stages & descriptions
Necessity is the mother of invention at Paris-Nice
By Tim Maloney European Editor in Thiers
Up close and personal
Photos ©: Tim Maloney
Jean-Francois Pescheux is not a man to be trifled with. Even by mother
nature. Pescheux is the competition director of ASO, the organisation
that runs races including the Tour de France and Paris-Nice. Normally,
Pescheux's races are run like clockwork and generally considered the best
in the world from a technical standpoint. Woe betide any in-race photographer
who doesn't heed Pescheux's strident orders to "prenez-vos champs, monsieurs"
(get the heck out of the way!) when the traffic clogs up at the front
of his race.
Pescheux is a consummate professional, so when the carefully monitored
weather reports from MeteoFrance told him that snow had fallen in Thiers
early Tuesday morning, where Stage two of this year's frigid Paris-Nice
was scheduled to finish eight hours later, he was ready. On Monday evening,
ASO had already issued a communique about a possible change in the stage
length due to lousy weather and so at 1100, Pescheux decided to put Plan
B into action for Stage two.
Although Stage two was scheduled to start in the small French town of
Le Chatre, home of romantic poet and mistress of Frederic Chopin, Aurore
Dupin (aka George Sand), Pescheux had no romantic notions himself of making
the riders do the full 191km. Not only were the temps just above zero
centigrade, but the low grey sky looked like it might snow or rain at
You don't often see improvisation at a big race like Paris-Nice, but
when the situation demanded it, Pescheux jumped right in with two feet.
As team directors came to the sign-in for the pre-race huddle, Pescheux
collared them one at a time or in groups to make sure everyone was on
the same page. "Okay, here's what's happening... the riders will sign
in, then we'll leave in a caravan just after noon and head along the main
road to Montlucon. We'll get on the Autoroute for fifty kilometres until
exit 12-1, then reassemble in Aigueperse and race the last 46km. The conditions
should be good and there is a sprint, a KOM and the finish."
That was that; everybody nodded okay, all the busses, team cars, official
race cars and media made their way to Aigueperse and bada bing, badda
boom (or in French, maybe 'zut alors' or 'voila'), stage two (albeit a
shortened version thereof) got underway at 1500CET. Pescheux got his race
off and all was right with the Race To The Sun again.
Liberty limits the damage
The Liberty Seguros team wasn't taking any risks in yesterday's breakneck
stage of Paris-Nice, contenting themselves with "crossing the line without
mishaps," according to a team statement.
The last five kilometres of the shortened parcours were particularly
dangerous, the team said, with a high risk of falls, "It was too much,"
said Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, "we were going like madmen."
Gerolsteiner directeur sportif Hans-Michael Holczer described the stage
as "short, tough and extraordinarily intense." But Holczer was happy that
his riders, including Davide Rebellin who was involved in the crash in
stage one, kept the rubber down and didn't lose any significant time.
"At least today we hardly lost anything. I asked around and nobody can
remember weather like this [at Paris-Nice]."
CSC denies money problems
By Susan Westemeyer
The CSC team has denied rumours that it is running out of money. A story
carried on Belgian teletext, credited to daily paper Het Nieuwsblad,
alleged that the team's riders would receive only half of their usual
salary until the end of March. According to the report, riders were free
to leave if they could find a better deal, but those who remained had
Contacted for a comment, CSC spokesman Brian Nygaard said, "I can deny
the rumours completely. They have absolutely no basis in reality. I have
contacted the journalist and he will write a denouncement for his paper
Sprinters galore in 40th Tirreno-Adriatico
By Jeff Jones
The 40th edition of Tirreno-Adriatico gets under way in the Italian west
coast town of Civitavecchia on Wednesday, March 9. Like Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico
is a ProTour race and will therefore see the 20 top teams in cycling present,
along with Ceramiche Panaria-Navigare, Naturino-Sapore Di Mare and Acqua
& Sapone-Adria Mobil. The "race of the two seas" will be run over seven
stages for a total of 1214 km, with no time trial stages this year.
As usual, the quality of the field is high, featuring most of the top
riders who are targeting Milan-San Remo (Saturday, March 19). Paolo Bettini
(Quick.Step) will be chief among these. The Olympic champion and winner
of Tirreno-Adriatico last year will ride with the number one dossard.
He will be up against Rabobank's World Champion sprinter Oscar Freire,
who won Milan-San Remo last year. Michael Boogerd is Rabobank's alternative
card in case Freire has problems.
The peloton is stacked with more good sprinters, including the in-form
Mario Cipollini (Liquigas) and Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo), Australian
champion Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto), Discovery's Max van Heeswijk,
Cofidis' Stuart O'Grady, Francaise Des Jeux's Bernhard Eisel, Domina Vacanze's
Ivan Quaranta, Gerolsteiner's Danilo Hondo, and last but not least, Erik
Zabel (T-Mobile), a four-time winner of Milan-San Remo and still capable
of performing at the top level.
Other riders to watch include Ivan Basso (CSC), George Hincapie (Discovery),
Pietro Caucchioli (Credit Agricole), Andreas Kloden (T-Mobile), Danilo
Di Luca (Liquigas), Joseba Beloki (Liberty), Brad McGee (Francaise des
Jeux) and Peter Van Petegem (Davitamon-Lotto).
At least three of the stages should suit the sprinters, but depending
on how well the teams can control things, we could easily see more bunch
The teams & main riders
Acqua & Sapone-Adria Mobil (Ita): Marzoli, Ferrigato
Bouygues Telecom (Fra): Brochard, Chavanel
Ceramiche Panaria-Navigare (Ita): Sella, Tiralongo
Cofidis (Fra): O'Grady, Vasseur
Credit Agricole (Fra): Caucchioli, Halgand
Davitamon-Lotto (Bel): Van Petegem, McEwen
Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team (USA): Hincapie, Van Heeswijk
Domina Vacanze (Ita): Gonchar, Quaranta
Euskatel-Euskadi (Spa): Aitor Gonzalez, Laiseka
Fassa Bortolo (Ita): Petacchi, Petito
Francaise Des Jeux (Fra): McGee, Eisel
Gerolsteiner (Ger): Hondo, Wegmann
Illes Balears (Spa): Arrieta, Carrasco
Lampre-Caffita (Ita): Bortolami, Bennati
Liberty Seguros Wurth Team (Spa): Beloki, Scarponi
Liquigas-Bianchi (Ita): Cipollini, Di Luca
Naturino-Sapore Di Mare (Swi): Colombo, Simeoni
Phonak Hearing Systems (Swi): Guidi, Zampieri
Quick Step (Bel): Bettini, Pozzato
Rabobank (Ned): Freire, Boogerd
Saunier Duval-Prodir (Spa): Bertogliati, Tafi
Team CSC (Den): Basso, Peron
T-Mobile Team (Ger): Zabel, Kloden
Stage 1 - Wednesday, March 9: Civitavecchia - Civitavecchia, 160 km
Stage 2 - Thursday, March 10: Civitavecchia - Tivoli, 181 km
Stage 3 - Friday, March 11: Tivoli - Torricella, 215 km
Stage 4 - Saturday, March 12: Teramo - Servigliano, 160 km
Stage 5 - Sunday, March 13: Saltara - Saltara, 170.4 km
Stage 6 - Monday, March 14: Civitanova Marche - Civitanova Marche, 164
Stage 7 - Tuesday, March 15: San Benedetto Del Tronto, 164 km
Lampre-Caffita for Tirreno-Adriatico
Lampre-Caffita's Giuliano Figueras has joined the European peloton's
increasingly lengthy sick list, bowing out of Tirreno-Adriatico with what
team doctor, Dr. Guardascione describes as "flu with acute throat inflammation.
The team hopes Figueras will be well again in time for Milano-Sanremo
on March 19.
For the 40th Tirreno-Adriatico, which starts today, the team will field
Daniele Bennati, Giosuč Bonomi, Gian Luca Bortolami, Paolo Fornaciari,
Enrico Frantoi, Juan Fuentes Annullo, Oleksandr Kvachuk, Samuele Marzoli.
Voigt doubts Armstrong
Jens Voigt doesn't believe that Lance Armstrong will actually start the
Tour de France this year. "Basso can win the Tour. And especially because,
I still don't believe that Lance Armstrong will participate," he told
the Berliner Morgenpost. "Lance knows that his streak won't last
forever. And he sure doesn't want to finish in second place. If he does
start, then he will win the Tour again with five minutes advantage. But
I just don't believe it."
Courtesy Susan Westemeyer
Nothstein to make world's farewell at LA
Perennial US track star Marty Nothstein will make his farewell to world
championship track racing at the March 24-27 world track championships
at the ADT Event Center at Carson in suburban Los Angeles. Nothstein has
been the US' top track cyclist for over a decade, winning the world championship
title in the sprint and keirin in 1994, and landing Olympic gold in Sydney
"Cycling allowed me to accomplish some incredible feats, winning an Olympic
gold medal was a dream come true, but I am just as proud of my kids and
family. They have supported me for so long and I look forward to spending
more time with them in the future," said Nothstein.
Nothstein's record is impressive: Olympic gold and silver medals; three
world championships; eight world championship medals; four Pan-American
gold medals; seventeen world cup victories; and thirty-five U.S. national
championships. His greatest performances came in track sprint events,
however his recent transformation from a full sprinter to a road and track
endurance rider proved his versatility. Nothstein's greatest result as
an endurance rider came in August 2003 when he won the New York City Cycling
"I want to be remembered as the best American track cyclist ever, not
just because I won Olympic gold, but also because I made a very hard transition
from straight sprinting to top endurance riding," said Nothstein.
Nothstein will continue to be involved in US cycling as the new chief
operating officer of the Lehigh Valley Velodrome, long a nurturing ground
for rising young track racers.
"I am really looking forward to working with up and coming athletes.
I know we have some of the best talent in the world and I want to help
others succeed and make America a top cycling nation," said Nothstein.
Armstrong, Van Moorsel, Berrecloth & Dahle nominated for Laureus Awards
Lance Armstrong heads a list of four cyclists nominated for this year's
Laureus World Sports Awards. Although this year's list is dominated by
Olympic achievements, Armstrong's record-breaking sixth Tour de France
victory has to make him a strong contender in the category of Laureus
World Sportsman of the Year, against runner Hicham El Guerrouj, tennis
player Roger Federer, swimmer Michael Phelps, Formula One driver Michael
Schumacher and motorbike racer Valentino Rossi.
Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel was nominated for Laureus World Sportswoman
of the Year for her record number of Olympic medals in cycling. She is
up against runner Kelly Holmes, pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, heptathlete
Carolina Kluft, tennis player Maria Sharapova and golfer Annika Sorenstam.
Mountain bike cross-country racer Gunn-Rita Dahle and freerider Darren
"Bear Claw" Berrecloth have been nominated for Best Alternative Sportsperson
of the Year.
Dahle was practically unbeaten in top-level mountain bike racing last
year, landing the world championship, World Cup and Olympic titles in
her second year of total domination of women's mountain bike racing. Berrecloth
is widely considered to be the top exponent of the freeride discipline
of mountain biking, which involves riding extremely steep and technical
The fat-tyre pair are up against wakeboarder Dallas Friday, Mike Horn,
the first man to circumnavigate the Arctic Circle on foot and by kayak,
solo round-the-world sailing record holder Ellen MacArthur and freeskier
and BASE jumper Shane McConkey.
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