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News for February 26, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones
Hincapie comments on Haribo
George Hincapie impressed again with his early season form in the Classic Haribo on Sunday, where he finished second behind Jaan Kirsipuu. The pair were part of a breakaway of five riders who escaped with 75 kilometres to go, with Kirsipuu winning his second Classic Haribo in three years.
"Everybody knew what was going to happen," Hincapie commented after the race. "From the start, from kilometre zero, the race was going 60 kilometres an hour. It was a matter of everybody being in the front; there were a few of us and a few from Domo, Lampre and Mapei, so you knew something was going to happen early."
"I was a bit tired from the day before [Tour du Haut Var] but still felt pretty fresh," Hincapie said. "I also knew the riders in the main field chasing were tired as well."
After Kirsipuu helped bring back Cassini in the last 20 kms, the group came to the line together with Kirsipuu taking the win from Hincapie and Cassani. Hincapie was positive about the result.
"Maybe it's because I have reached a certain age, but my body is responding so much better to my training," Hincapie said. "I really enjoy going out and training hard. I feel much more confident and believe in myself that much more. Plus, winning last year in Gent (Gent-Wevelgem) and in San Francisco (the San Francisco Grand Prix), you really enjoy those feelings, and it makes you want it more and more. Once you get that taste in your mouth, it's hard to get rid of. It just makes you want to win every time out."
Hincapie's next event will be the Tirreno Adriatico, a "Hors Categorie" stage race in Italy, taking place on March 14-20.
No insulin for Ullrich
La Gazzetta dello Sport has apologised to Jan Ullrich, who it claimed was in possession of insulin (banned, unless you're a diabetic, in cycling) at the time of the Giro d'Italia raids last year. The Italian sports paper published a story last Saturday stating that Ullrich, as well as his teammate Alberto Elli, were found in possession of the drug.
On Monday a retraction was published, stating that Ullrich's product was simply a substance that could be used "subject to restriction...We would like to apologize for the error to Ullrich, Telekom and German Tifosi."
Ullrich himself has claimed that the product, which was reported to be a corticosteroid, was for treatment of asthma. This is supported by Telekom doctor Lothar Heinrich, who said that Ullrich had permission to use it.
The Italian Olympic Committee will this week start its questioning of the riders, directors and soigneurs involved in the Giro blitz, with the hope of quickly determining whether any sporting sanctions will have to be put in place.
Former Tour de France head warned IOC about Nesp
The former head of the Sociètè du Tour de France, Jean-Claude Killy, warned the International Olympic committee about the drug Nesp (darbepoetin), which was found in three cross country skiiers' urine samples at the Winter Olympics. Killy told the IOC about the drug a few months ago after he suspected its use within cycling, according to an anonymous member of the committee.
The drug was designed for cancer and renal patients suffering from anaemia, and is considered to be a great improvement on EPO with a longer half life and a stronger effect. Unlike EPO, it is not naturally produced by the body, and is therefore (in principal) easy to detect.
At the Olympics, testing for the drug was only carried out if an athletes' blood values were abnormal, as the Nesp test is expensive and slow. The three skiiers, Johann Mühlegg, Larissa Lazutina and Olga Danilova, were all screened prior to the secondary analysis.
Nesp was spoken about in cycling circles following the Vuelta Espana last year, when reports of cyclists using the drug during the Spanish race were circulated in the Italian press. There is another cycling connection as well, as according to German website Radsport-News.com, Mühlegg's doctor is none other than Nicolas Terrados (ONCE), who was charged and fined in relation to the Festina affair.
Other blood boosters such as HemAssist, Oxyglobin and RSR 13 have also been rumoured to be in use within the peloton for at least the past two years. It is clear that the blood screening tests which were used to tip off drug testers in Salt Lake City will need to be improved if blood boosters in sport are to be reduced. The positive news is that the blood screening used (without result) at the Sydney Olympics was further refined prior to Salt Lake City, as the three cross country skiiers above found out.
60th Vuelta Ciclista Comunidad Valenciana
Erik Zabel, Oscar Freire, Laurent Jalabert, Erik Dekker, Michele Bartoli and Mario Cipollini are some of the stars that will start in the 60th Vuelta Ciclista Comunidad Valenciana, February 26-March 2. The race is seen as an important part of the preparation for the first classic of the season, Milan San Remo, which takes place on March 23.
Other starters include the winners of the last two Vueltas Roberto Heras (US Postal) and Angel Casero (Team Coast), along with teammates Fernando Escartin and Alex Zülle. Dutchman Michael Boogerd and Levi Leipheimer will support Dekker in Rabobank. Tyler Hamilton will make his season debut with CSC-Tiscali, Danilo Di Luca will feature for Saeco Longoni Sport, while Alexandre Vinokourov (Telekom) may be doing more than just leading out Zabel for the sprints.
The five day race is more suited to the sprinters, although there are plenty of small hills. It starts with a 126 kilometres stage in Calpe on February 26, and finishes with a 20.3 kilometre time trial in Valencia on March 2.
Tour 2006: Strasbourg start a possibility
Although the town of Strasbourg has already announced that it will be hosting the "grand depart" of the Tour de France in 2006, race director Jean-Marie Leblanc says that it's a little premature. "It is true that the candidature of Strasbourg is very strong, but it has not concluded yet," said Leblanc in an interview with AFP.
Secret Tour preparation for Lance
Lance Armstrong is honing his form in time for the Vuelta a Murcia by racing back home in Texas. At the Pace Bend Road Race held on Sunday he was a starter in the Pro 1/2 80 mile road race. Somewhat unsurprisingly, he made the final breakaway, but pulled out just before the finish to allow the others to contest the sprint.
"He was in the break of about 10 guys for the last of the four 6.2 mile laps. He pulled off the course with about 200 metres to the finish and was in his vehicle and gone real fast," reported Rick Kent of the United Youth Sports Cycling Club.
"Lance stated to a spectator (they were waiting for him at the finish) that 'his family was waiting for him'. It was fantastic to have him show up like that," he said.
"He never looked like he broke a sweat and looked as if he could have just rocketed away at any moment during the race."
Pinotti recovering from surgery
Marco Pinotti (Lampre-Daikin) is still recovering from the second surgical operation on his ulna, which he underwent last November. The slow recovery is due to the complexity of the knitting procedure, which required a bony tissue graft. After one month of complete inactivity, Marco was allowed to do a light work out at the gym as long as he was wearing a rigid protection for the arm. Later on he started a magnetotherapy which seemed to have stimulated the knitting process. After the last X ray check up, the doctor has seen improvements and thinks Marco may start to train on the bike in a month.
Five cyclists named for NSWIS-FDJ squad
By Jeff Jones
Five young NSW cyclists have been named as part of the NSW Institute of Sport/Francaise des Jeux cycling team at a press conference held in Sydney's Tattersall's Club yesterday. The five will be the first guinea pigs in an initial two year program which aims to develop young Australian cyclists into professionals capable of competing in Europe.
The brains behind the idea is 26 year old Francaise des Jeux cyclist Brad McGee, a former World Champion, winner of three bronze medals at the Olympic Games and four gold medals at the Commonwealth Games. He is also the head of McGee International, which will manage the team in conjunction with NSWIS.
Bradley McGee described his vision at the launch. "What we have is the chance for more Australians to become professionals," he said. "I've recently re-signed with FDJ for two more years. In doing so I realised there was an opportunity to set up a structure in Australia to open up opportunities for these young riders, who are already impressing on the local scene."
"The time to act is right now and it's something I believe will create more Australian professional cyclists. They'll feed off each other - the power of a positive environment is what I've known all my career with the Australian Institute of Sport and now with a professional team, and that's why I believe these guys will succeed."
"The general philosophy is that these guys are obviously talented, but to become professional a few things need to be taken care of," said McGee, who recalled his first six months in France not knowing the language and generally having a hard time of it. When they become stagiaires, "These guys have two months to try and impress. To make those two months work they have to learn such things as the language, the culture and how to work with teammates."
Bradley's older brother Rodney McGee will play the leader's role in the team, serving as "captain, coach, manager, masseur, mechanic - a bit of everything". He will be accompanied by five NSW cyclists, who were named yesterday in Sydney: Mark Renshaw (Bathurst/Sylvania), Chris Sutton (Sylvania), Ashley Humbert (Wagga Wagga), Matthew Farmer (Bathurst) and Brendan Cato (Magerton). NSWIS Head Cycling Coach Gary Sutton will provide coaching assistance throughout the year.
In 2002 the team will compete at the national level in Australia, save for Humbert who will spend most of the year with the Australian U23 national team in Italy. Before that, Humbert, along with Rodney McGee, Brendan Cato, and extras Ben Brooks and Paul Rowney will compete in the Tour of Tasmania (February 27-March 3).
Rodney is clearly relishing the role, as it will give him a chance to once again put his heart into the sport he loves. He spoke to Cyclingnews about his objectives for the team, which will mainly race in Australia.
"Obviously if they go overseas it will be with the national squad," said McGee. "Ashley will be with them for most of the year and young Brendan [Cato] will be away for eight weeks. We've got a couple of younger guys who are still U19's. Next year when they become seniors we'll do a few more races."
Unlike a lot of teams that want good results from the outset, NSWIS-FDJ is not about that. "To tell you the truth, results aren't everything," said Rodney. "I'm not going to come up and say we're going to clean up the national series. I'm realistic about it all. It's mainly about them becoming complete cyclists, both on and off the bike."
"Ashley Humbert will more than likely fill the stagiaire role [in FDJ] this year, and for me that's a great bonus because realistically I was looking at least two years down the line. That is all FDJ basically want - someone who's ready. I'd never send anyone else over for the sake of it."
"They can see the talent when it gets there, but it's a bit raw. My objective is to make it more suited to the European racing."
That is going to be a hard task in Australia, which does not have the depth of European racing, and Rodney admits this. "The thing that is changing in Australia is there are a lot more smaller teams starting up. The more team racing we get, the better it will be for them."
Team member Mark Renshaw was also excited by the prospect. "It's one of the best things that's happened to me in my career so far. Over the last nine years of cycling, my dream has been to go to Europe and represent Australia, Sydney, and also my home town Bathurst. With this team it's just that step closer to going to Europe."
The NSWIS-Francaise des Jeux team will be mainly funded by Francaise des Jeux, a French lottery. The cyclists will ride identical bikes to the professional squad: Lapierre aluminium equipped with Shimano Dura Ace. NSWIS will provide the facilities for testing the cyclists as well as helping with the team infrastructure.
Photo's of the Sydney launch by Tom Balks.
Clara Hughes joins dual Summer-Winter Olympic medalists
Canadian Clara Hughes has added her name to the small list of athletes (four) who have won medals at both Summer and Winter Olympics. She won a bronze medal in the 5,000 metre speed skating on Saturday, February 23. Hughes won two bronze medals in cycling at the 1996 Atlanta Games in the road race and time trial.
Hughes joins Eddie Eagan of the United States, Jacob Tullin Thams of Norway and Christa Rothenburger-Luding of East Germany as the only athletes to win a medal in both an Olympic Winter and Summer Games.
She said that she started to make plans to return to speed-skating after competing in Australia at the Sydney Games. In 2001, Hughes competed at her first speed skating World Championships in Salt Lake City, placing 11th in the 3000 metre event. Although Hughes earned her Olympic bronze medal in the 5,000 metre event, she feels that if there was a women’s 10,000 metre event that she would thrive in it, and that "shorter" 3,000 metre events feel more like a sprint to her.
She continues to race for the Saturn team after returning to speed skating. During 2001 she won the Stazio Criterium in Boulder, Colorado. Hughes has remained involved in cycling because she feels that it is her "secret weapon" to success in speed skating.
South African Stolen Bike Register
A new service, a national Stolen Bike Register, has been launched on the sa-cycling.com website. This register is provided to record details of stolen bikes, in the hope that at least some may be identified and restored to their rightful owners.
You can either register your stolen bike below or view the register. If you have received or know of a stolen bike matching a description, please contact the webmaster and we will pass these details onto the rightful owner. The owner's details will remain confidential and will not be passed on to any 3rd party. If you know of someone who has had a bicycle stolen, please encourage them to use this service.
Pfizer/Lippert Sports Cycling 2002
Pfizer/Lippert Sports Cycling in its first year has a talented list of masters and category racers that will be competing in the Midwest, at USA Cycling’s Masters National Championships and throughout the United States. More than just a competitive cycling team, Pfizer/Lippert Sports Cycling will focus energy into suicide prevention education, as well as promoting cycling as a healthy, gratifying lifestyle.
Manager/Director: Kevin Lee Lippert
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