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Edited by John Stevenson
Magistrates investigating allegations of drug use in last year's Giro d'Italia yesterday questioned Roberto Pregnolato, Marco Pantani's soigneur
The investigators from the court in Florence interrogated Pregnolato for an hour. He said afterwards that he was happy with the way in which the interrogation had proceeded, and relieved to have been able to clear up his situation with the magistrates.
Prosecutor Luigi Bocciolini also questioned Mercatone Uno riders Daniele Poli and Giampaolo Mondini. Pantani himself was notified last month that he would also be called to testify in the proceedings that arise from last year's dramatic June 7 raid on the Giro. The court is expected to interview 90 riders, soigneurs, directors and doctors over the next month.
Saeco's new team leader Gilberto Simoni says he is ready for the role of 'greatest threat to Lance Armstrong' in this year's Tour.
In recent interviews, Armstrong has mentioned Simoni along with Jan Ullrich as the greatest dangers on his way to Tour Win Number Four. Simoni has responded with a press release cheerfully taking up the challenge.
However, Saeco, absent from the 2001 Tour, first has to catch the eye of the Tour organisers and get themselves an invite.
"It'll be a great duel at the Tour… if the organisers want it," said Simoni.
The fact that Armstrong considers Simoni as his biggest threat to winning a fourth Tour de France this summer has convinced Simoni that he has a great chance of winning the biggest bicycle race in the world.
"Armstrong doesn't speak that much and is always careful with his words,"Simoni said. "If he thinks I'm his most dangerous rival for the Tour de France, it means that I'm right and that I can cause him problems in the mountains just as I did last year at the Tour of Switzerland. I'm working hard on my time trialing ready for the new season and so if we go head to head at the Tour de France, it should be a great race right to the finish."
Organisers of the World Cyclo-cross championships in Zolder, Belgium, February 2-3, say tickets are selling fast and they expect over 40,000 spectators over the weekend.
In the week since tickets went on sale, over 12,000 have been sold, and that doesn't include places for VIPs, journalists, volunteers and residents of Heusden-Zolder who will be able to enter for free.
World's general manager Jan Verschraegen told the Belga news agency: "Such a mass will naturally require a good organization which will begin before the arrival from the people. On Sunday, there will be a free service shuttle between Hasselt station and the course. Those who decide despite everything to come by car will be able to follow the traffic signs which will lead them to the free carparks."
To keep spectators informed, three giant screens will be erected at the venue, so fans can see the racing more than once per lap.
The Italian Cycling federation has announced its team for the Zolder World's and, as expected, the name of former world champion Daniele Pontoni is missing from the roster.
Pontoni's relationship with his national federation has been stormy lately, with Pontoni accusing the federation of excluding him from World Cup selection, and the federation in turn claiming Pontoni had missed a blood control at the national championships.
Pontoni is considering legal action, or the possibility of riding for another country at Zolder. His main aim, however, is to be eligible for the 2003 world's in Monopoli, Italy and to end his career with a ride in a world championships in his home nation.
Elite men: Luca Bramati, Lorenzo Perotti, Massimo Sargenti, Igor Tavella, Valeriano Vandelli Reserve: Marco Paludetti
Women: Paola Turcutto
Juniors: Stefano Basso, Luca Damiani, Flavio Alex Longhi, Derik Zampedri, Daniele Balducci. Reserve: Rafael Visinelli
Under 23: Enrico Franzoi, Enrico Rossi, Marco Bianco, Michele Sbetta, Erik Miorini Reserve: Roberto Sesia
Despite her dominance of North American cyclo-cross this season, Lyne Bessette will not be a member of the Canadian team at Zolder, according to Canadian Cyclist's web site.
Canadian Cycling Association rules require that a rider attend the national championships (held in Edmonton November last year) in order to be eligible for the world's team. Bessette didn't, but nevertheless appealed to the CCA's High Performance Committee for a place on the team.
That request was turned down after the committee discussed the matter last Friday. CCA spokesperson Sean O'Donnell said, "The rules are clear for Worlds selection - all athletes know that attending the nationals is mandatory. The HPC looked at earlier, similar requests, and said that since they had been turned down, it wouldn't be fair (to grant Bessette's request). It also would set a bad precedent for other areas of the sport, like track, road and mountain bike."
O'Donnell said that the committee recognized that some would argue that Bessette represented Canada's strongest chance to win a medal, however, they felt that it was more important to be fair and impartial to all athletes.
The French Cycling Federation has named the riders that will represent France at Zolder. They are:
Elite: Dominique Arnould, David Derepas, John Gadret, Arnaud Labbe, Guillaume Benoist Reserve: David Pagnier
Under 23 : Francis Mourey, Steve Chainel, David Boucher, Pierre-Bernard Vaillant, Jean-Baptiste Béraud Reserve: Sébastien Minard
Women: Maryline Salvetat, Laurence Leboucher, Corinne Sempé
Juniors: Romain Villa, Adrien Delautre, Nicolas Belot, Fabien Pedemanaud, Romain Fondard
Cylocrossworld.com is selling T-shirts to help fund the US riders attending the World Cyclo-cross Championships. All profits will help to offset the riders' expenses for the trip. These are a limited run T-shirt that was designed by Todd Christy of Marianne's screen printing. They are available at www.cyclocrossworld.com.
After months of speculation, the UCI has announced that the downhill and four-cross races lost from the World cup schedule when Leysin and Arai pulled out last year have been replaced.
The new venues are Fort William, Scotland and Telluride, Colorado USA. Both venues will host Downhill and 4-X races.
The schedule of the 2002 Tissot-UCI Mountain Bike World Cup will therefore be:
May 18-19: XC#1, Madrid, Spain
May 25-26: XC#2, Houffalize, Belgium
June 1-2: DH/4-X#1, Fort William, Scotland
June 8-9: DH/4-X#2, Maribor, Slovenia
June 29-30: XC/DH/4-X#3, Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada
July 6-7: XC/DH/4-X#4, Grouse Mountain, Canada
July 13-14: DH/4-X#5, Telluride, USA
September 7-8: XC#5/DH/4-X #6, Les Gets, France
Margarita Fullana, the 2000 world cross-country MTB champion, will ride for the Spanish Orbea team in 2002. Fullana was a member of the Specialized team in 2002 but attended only four of the eight rounds of the World Cup series
Trail design and advocacy experts from the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) will visit Australia in February to share knowledge and experience on mountain bike management, trailbuilding, conflict resolution and volunteer group mobilization.
Working in partnership with Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA), IMBA membership and communications director Pete Webber and trails specialist Joey Klein will travel throughout the country February 11-26, 2002.
The IMBA team were originally slated to visit Townsville, Cairns, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra. Appeals from Sydney mountain bike activists put Australia's largest city on the agenda, and Webber and Klein will meet with representatives of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
The schedule is as follows:
February 12, Townsville
February 13-14, Cairns
February 16-19, Perth
February 20-21, Adelaide
February 22-25, Canberra (including Perisher Blue Resorts)
February 26, Sydney
Not content with having grabbed everyone's attention by putting the 'strip' back into launching its team strip, Acqua&Sapone formally launches its team, centred around Italian super-sprinter Mario Cipollini, January 26. What will they come up with this time? Cipo riding naked and on fire surrounded by models dressed (but only just) as Secret Service agents in a parody of In The Line of Fire? The team in space suits delivering wooden dialogue in a take-off of Armageddon? Mario wise-cracking his way into a bank vault in an Ocean's Eleven theme? We can hardly wait.
Jeff Corbett's 7Up men's team has a sister in the new Diet Rite women's pro cycling team, sponsored by the soft drink of the same name, a brand of Plano, Texas-based Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc.
The core of the team is inherited from last year's Proctor & Gamble squad, strengthened by 2000 Pro Tour winner Tina Mayolo-Pic and world's junior track silver medallist Sarah Hammer.
"I'm very excited about the new roster and having Diet Rite on board as our title sponsor," said Jeff Corbett, director of the Diet Rite team. "These women are coming to compete, and I think they'll surprise a lot of people this season."
Jeff Corbett, director
Diet Rite soft drinks
Time forks, shoes and pedals
The team named for everyone who doesn't quite spend as much time as they'd like, Jelly Belly, is back for its third year in the US pro peloton, with a new additional title sponsor, Carlsbad Clothing Company.
Jelly belly/Carlsbad Clothing adds six new riders for 2002, retaining four of the 2001 team, and will concentrate on the US National Racing Calendar, as well as supporting non-NRC events for a total of 100 races this year.
Director Van Haute laid out the team's goals: "We hope to achieve great success with this line-up of riders. All the riders on the team are strong with a good balance of climbers and fast finishers."
Team captain Kirk Albers added: "One of our other objectives, which we believe all US trade teams should support, is to provide a conduit for developing the talent of younger riders. Again our team continues to support the riders of the Under-23 National Team program by providing them with trade team support while they are in the US."
The team will hold its preseason training camp in San Marcos, CA from February 22 through March 3.
Kirk Albers (Captain)
Mariano Friedrick (2-time US Olympian)
Brent Dawson (2000 Australian Olympic Team Member)
Austin King (US U23 National Team Member)
Chris McGovern (from European Team Fisconseils)
Remi McManu, (2001 US Elite National Champion)
Cory Steinbrecher (US U23 National Team Member)
Derek Wilkerson (Former US National Champion)
Danny Van Haute (Team Director)
Steve Zoumaras (Team manager)
Jelly Belly Candy Company
Carlsbad Clothing Company
Rudy Project eyewear
Aussie Technical Clothing
Off The Front
USANA Vitamin Supplements