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Edited by Jeff Jones
With just one stage to go in the Vuelta a Andalucia (Ruta del Sol), Antonio Colom (Relax Fuenlabrada) has moved into the overall lead on the general classification after placing second in today's stage from Lucena to Benalmádena. Colom finished just behind Javier Pascual Rodríguez (iBanesto.com) after the two had broken away on the final climb with 10 km to go. The consistent Erik Zabel (Telekom) led the bunch home 25 seconds behind for third place.
Click here for the full results and report
Nicola Loda (Fassa Bortolo) won the first stage of the Giro della Riviera di Ponente, thereby continuing the winning form of the top team of the 2001 season which had absolutely dominated the Tour of the Mediterranean. Loda's win came at the end of a technical bunch sprint, that saw him edge out German Olaf Pollack (Gerolsteiner) and Alessio's Angelo Furlan.
Click here for the results and report
Swiss time trial specialist Fabian Cancellara the Prologue of the Tour of Rhodes, an individual time trial over 3.4 kilometres. The Mapei-Quick Step Young Group rider averaged 51 km/h and finished with a 6 second advantage over Belgian Marc Streel (Colnago-Landbouwkredit) and Fabian's teammate Michael Rogers.
Click here for the full results and report
Marco Pantani will not be riding in next week's Vuelta a Valencia (February 26-March 2), suffering from an inflammation of the sciatic nerve. He is currently competing in the Vuelta a Andalucia, but wants to take some time out before tackling the Vuelta a Murcia in March, a race that he won in 1999.
Up and coming British star Nicole Cooke has signed for Deia-Pragma-Colnago, the Spanish-Italian team led by dual Giro d'Italia and Tour de France winner Joane Somarriba. Cooke, a four-time world champion, will provide a valuable asset to the team, as a number of other teams including Acca Due O were interested in signing her last year.
The announcement was made at the team's presentation in Bilbao yesterday, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Deia daily newspaper. The team will be registered in the Ukraine, and should be officially a UCI trade team next week.
Team Deia-Pragma-Colnago will aim to put Somarriba in the top position in the major stage races, and will also ride all the European rounds of the World Cup. The 13 rider team will be able to run two programs, meaning that it will participate in more races on the calendar.
Team roster and sponsors
Photos by DEIA-Pragma-Colnago
Ag2R Prevoyance : Agnolutto, Kirsipuu, Chaurreau, Botcharov
Big Mat Auber 93 : Capelle, Heulot, Kintana
Bonjour : Rous, Chavanel, Simon, Magnien, Nazon,
Credit Agricole : Brard, Hushovd, Voigt
Jean Delatour : Brochard, Halgand
Alessio : Dufaux, Ferrigato
Fassa Bortolo : Petacchi, Basso
Mapei Quick Step : Bodrogi, Bramati, Garzelli, Steels
Tacconi Sport : Frigo (Winner In 2001), Luttenberger
Team Coast : Zülle (Winner In 1993), Escartin, Guidi, Beltran
Team Telekom : Klöden (Winner In 2000), Julich, Vinokourov
Euskaltel Euskadi : Martinez,
iBanesto.com : Menchov, Arrieta
Kelme : Zaballa, Manzano, Gutierrez
ONCE Eroski : Beloki, Azevedo, Gonzalez Galdeano
CSC Tiscali : L. Jalabert
Domo Farm Frites : Virenque, Museeuw, Merckx, Knaven, Blijlevens
The teams and stages have been confirmed for the 71st Criterium International, the two day stage race held over the weekend of March 30-31.
Stage 1 - March 30: Charleville-Mézičres - Charleville-Mézičres, 192 km
Stage 2 - March 31: Les Mazures - Montherme, 98.5 km
Stage 3 - March 31: Charleville-Mézičres ITT, 8.5 km
Cofidis Le Credit Par Telephone
La Francaise Des Jeux
Big Mat Auber 93
Oktos Saint Quentin
Domo Farm Frites
Saeco Longoni Sport
By Shane Stokes, Irish Times correspondent
The professional career of double Irish road champion David McCann is under serious threat following the news that the Ceresit-Henkel team, with whom he was due to compete this season, has suffered financial collapse.
The news bears striking similarity to the sudden demise of the Linda McCartney team in January 2001 which left Irish riders Ciarán Power and Mark Scanlon sidelined. While Scanlon was forced to return to the amateur ranks, Power was able to land a contract with the St. Quentin professional outfit in France; now McCann is hoping that he will be able to do the same.
"It is a bit of a shock all right," the 2000/2001 Irish road race champion today. "The team had been due to get back to me a couple of weeks ago with arrangements for the season, but I didn't hear from them. I went off for two weeks training in Majorca, presuming that everything was okay, but when I did contact them I was told that the sponsor had pulled out and there was no team. Now I am going to have to work out what I am going to do for the year. I will try to get a pro contract but it is very late for that".
One thing in McCann's favour is the 81 UCI points he picked up last season in races, winning the Tour of Hokkaido and defending his title in the Irish road race championships. UCI points are valuable currency in cycling and the Belfast man would be an attractive prospect for a team, particularly with the Irish champions jersey on his back.
However the fact that the season has already begun weighs heavily against his chances. "I might end up racing as an amateur in Italy - the priority is to go wherever the best standard of racing is to develop my ability as a rider."
McCann's two main targets for the season are the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships time trial and, despite this most recent disappointment, he remains firmly set on pursing these. "I can be right up there in the Commonwealth games", he says, "and think I am capable of finishing in the top 20 or 25 in the World Championships. I plan to just keep working towards those two goals."
American cyclist, Aaron Olson, has joined iteamNova.com for the 2002 season. The 24 year old from Eugene, Oregon will debut with the team in its first European race of the season, the Grand Prix de Lilleres in France on March 10th.
Team Director, Sean Yates, says Olson is a rider with a lot of promise and will be a great asset to the team. "I have had only good reports about him from my sources in America and I think he's got a lot of potential," said Yates.
"I am super motivated to be riding for iteamNova this season," said Olson. "There's a lot of support in the cycling community for the iteamNova project and I am thrilled to be able to work under a director of the calibre of Sean Yates."
Olson has been cycling since 1992, and comes into the team with solid credentials. He was one of America's top junior cyclists claiming the national team pursuit crown in 1996 and finishing on the podium in national road and track events. He joined the United States National Team as a junior in 1995 and represented his country at the Junior World Championships in 1996.
"In 1997 the "espoir" (Under 23) category arrived which wasn't great for me as I was only 19 at the time and there were a lot of older American riders with claims on National Team places."
In an effort to work his way back to representative honours Olson moved to Spain to race which he admits was not a great success. "Basically I spent too much money, got sick, had not team and came home," he said.
But despite the bad experience he persevered and in 1998 raced in France with a team in Limousin. "This was a much better move and I really enjoyed the season," he explained. "I won a time trial (Boucles Gouzzaines) and secured a lot of top five placings."
His efforts were rewarded when in 1999 he was invited back on the US National Team. "We lived in Belgium for most of the next two years and started in some really hard races including the Tour of Flanders and Liege-Bastogne-Liege."
In the 1999 Tour de l'Avenir placed second in the time trial stage, the highest placed amateur and only two seconds behind the reigning world Under 23 champion, Thor Hushovd. "It was a real battle from the start but I was determined to finish the race because I knew the suffering would pay off in the long run," said Olson.
He lined up for the US in the World Road Championships (Under 23) in Treviso, Italy in 1999 and in 2000 rode in Plouay, France.
"2000 was one of my best years and in time trials especially I was consistently finishing in the top ten," he said of the year when he started talking to professional teams. "I ended up signing with a new American professional team [Noble House] but it was a fiasco."
"I had a contract but there was never really a team and we never received payment so it was a bad start to 2001."
After his first team fell apart Olson rode most of the year in America with Prime Alliance but was eager to get back into European racing again. "I'm really happy to be heading back to Europe and I'm looking forward to meeting up with the rest of the team," he said.
Australian Jamie Drew, who recently competed with the team in the Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia will fly to Belgium to join his team mates in early April after the birth of his first child. His wife Annabelle is due to deliver on the 24th March.
The three-time Danish U-23 champion Thue Houberg Hansen (Glud & Marstrand Horsens) has chosen to stop his carrier at the age of only 22. Thue signed contract with Glud & Marstrand Horsens for 2002, but continuous pain in his knee after an operation in the autumn of 2001 made impossible for the him to ride.
Courtesy of Frank Rud Jensen
Dual Olympic gold medalist in women's track cycling, Antonella Belutti, is at it again - this time trying for gold in the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Belutti was competing in the two woman bobsled, a new event in the winter Olympics. She and her partner Gerda Weissensteiner (a former medal winning lugeist) finished seventh in the event for Italy, not a bad performance by any means.
Another Winter Olympic "cyclist" competing in these games is Chris Witty (USA), who broke the world record for the women's 1000m speed skate. At 1'13.83, her time is not that far off what she would do on a velodrome: Witty competed in the Sydney 2000 Olympics in the 500m time trial, clocking 35.230 for fifth place.
Maybe Stephen Bradbury should take up cycling?
SRAM Corporation has signed an agreement to purchase RockShox Inc. The agreement includes working capital and an anticipated transaction closing date in mid-March. The overall integration plan is expected to be finalised by June.
A full report will follow in Cyclingnews Tech section.