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News for January 2, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

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Mario Cipollini's New Year's resolution

Evergreen sprinter Mario Cipollini has his eyes on the 2002 World Road Championship title, when the race takes place in Zolder, Belgium in October. In a message to his fans on his personal website (www.mariocipollini.net), he argued that "If a Dutchman of 39 years [Joop Zoetemelk] was able to win the championship in Italy, why can't an Italian of 35 win the championship in Belgium?"

That will be Supermario's biggest goal of the year, but he also desperately wants to win Milan-San Remo at least once in his career. He won 10 races this year, including four stages in the Giro d'Italia, saying that "Professionally I am almost satisfied... I say "almost" because I haven't yet digested the second place at Milano San Remo and I am almost sure that I won't ever digest it, neither with a victory in that race, which I will try to do for as long as I ride a bicycle."

In his review of 2001, he commented on the San Remo raids during the Giro d'Italia, which "left me very upset. It was a hard blow for all the cycling world."

Also, "we should never cancel 11th September from our minds. I have two little girls, Lucrezia and Rachele. There are times I wonder how can I answer their questions and explain that it wasn't a film, these are things that can't be explained."

In 2002, Cipollini will be leaving Saeco, where he has spent the past eight years and won more than 100 races. He will now be riding for Acqua e Sapone-Cantina Tollo: "I am sure that I have chosen the right team, also because some of the elements which were part of the old team decided to follow me...so that with the new and old elements we will be able to be competitive."

Delayed start for Millward in Skilled Geelong Bay Classic

The Skilled Geelong Bay Classic will start in Rye today without defending champion Anna Millward. The world number one told Cyclingnews that she underwent an operation 10 days ago, and did not recover as quickly as she would have liked from the general anaesthetic.

"I ended up with a week off the bike," she said. "I didn't feel quite ready to jump into five days of criterium racing. I don't want to ruin myself with the National's approaching, as they are important for Commonwealth Games selection."

The good news is that she will be back in action for Race 3 of the series in Geelong, which doubles as the Australian Criterium Championship. However with the competition so intense for overall points, she rates her chances at winning the overall title as "pretty remote...unless the girls race amongst themselves."

The Skilled Geelong Bay Classic will be held over five days, starting in Rye and travelling to Barwon Heads, Geelong, Port Arlington before finishing at Crown Casino in Geelong on Sunday, January 6. As the hosts of the official race website, Cyclingnews will provide full coverage of each of the events.

Look out for Wong in Wellington

Winner of three stages and the overall classification in the Tour of the South China Sea, Kam Po Wong, will be one of the biggest favourites for the five day Trust House Cycle Classic (Tour of Wellington) that starts today. 28 year old Wong is the star of Hong Kong cycling, and is said to be finally considering a professional career after years of riding as an amateur.

Race director Jorge Sandoval said that Wong is race fit, and that would make the difference. "What really surprised me is he's a renowned hill climber but he won three stages [in China] in massed sprints...he is going to be hard to beat."

The tour starts with a 45 kilometre criterium around Lower Hutt's Fraser Park at 2.30pm today.

Tournant voted 2nd in L'Equipe's "Champions"

French sports newspaper L'Equipe has voted track cyclist Arnaud Tournant second in its list of Champions of French Champions for 2001. In October, Tournant became the first cyclist to break the one minute barrier for the 1000 metre standing start time trial, achieving the feet at high altitude in La Paz, Bolivia. But this, combined with three world titles in Antwerp (1000m, Olympic Sprint, Individual Sprint), was not enough to put him ahead of Jackson Richardson, who won the world championship handball title. Tournant received 189 votes compared to Richardson's 197.

Longo and Rous awarded

43 year old world time trial champion Jeannie Longo has been crowned the Champion of 2001 by French newspaper Ouest-France. Longo received 48% of the votes in a survey conducted by the newspaper, with tennis player Sebastien Grosjean and English sailor Ellen MacArthur finishing in second and third respectively.

Longo won her 13th world title in October in Lisbon. She commented after her award, "Champion of Champions, I didn't think that I did that much."

The newspaper also named Didier Rous (Bonjour) as the French cyclist of the year. Rous won the French Championship in Argenton-sur-Creuse, as well as the Tour de Vendée, Trophée des Grimpeurs, Quatre Jours de Dunkerque, and came 11th overall in the Tour de France.

Trofeo Marca Sprint to Alejandro Valverde and Café Baqué

The eighth edition of the Trofeo Marca Sprint, awarded to the best Spanish U23 cyclist and the best local team, has gone to Alejandro Valverde (Kelme-Costa Blanca) and the Café Baqué team. The jury was composed of national selector José Luis De Santos, David González (Revista Ciclismo a Fondo) and Xabier Usabiaga (ETB). They voted unanimously for Valverde and Café Baqué.

Trofeo Marca Sprint honours list

2001: Alejandro Valverde (Kelme) and Baqué. 
2000: Adolfo García (Banaka) and Banaka
1999: Ibán Mayo (Baqué) and Olarra-Ercoreka
1998: No award
1997: Francisco Mancebo (Banesto) and Banesto
1996: Eduardo Hernández (Porcelanatto) and Porcelanatto
1995: Roberto Heras (Orbea-Pan Ocio) and Orbea-Pan Ocio
1994: Juan Carlos Domínguez (Kaiku) and Banesto

Centennial Park update: good news for cyclists

Sydney's Centennial Park is safe for the time being from a controversial Transport, Access & Parking Plan, which threatened to destroy the security and safety of cyclists and others who use the park for training and recreational needs. The Plan, proposed by the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust, was strongly opposed by Cycle Centennial, a group representing the cycling community of Centennial Park. After months of debate, Cycle Centennial reported that "All of the opposed recommendations have been abandoned, and alternative recommendations put forward by Cycle Centennial are being seriously considered by the Park Trust."

The details are as follows:

The minutes of a meeting held on September 19 between a Cycle Centennial delegation, the Park Trust and Sinclair Knight Merz, the consultants that designed the Plan, can be found on Centennial Park's website. More information regarding the status of the Plan can be found here. The final plan will be released in February.

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