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News for March 5, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Vandenbroucke could ride again with a Division II team

Frank Vandenbroucke may be able to race again with a second division Belgian team (Marlux or Collstrop), provided his blood and urine samples taken by police last week are not positive for banned substances. The Belgian was taken in for questioning last week by police after a search of his home revealed quantities of EPO, clenbuterol and morphine, possession of which is forbidden under Belgian law.

His management company SEM said that VDB has not yet considered stopping his cycling career, although he does face a prison sentence of between 1 month and 5 years if found guilty of possession of illegal drugs.

The second division teams Marlux and Collstrop have indicated there interest in VDB, provided he is not suspended by the UCI. This would happen if he tested positive to banned drugs or he admitted taking them.

"We are not opposed to accommodate him unless it is clear that he took something," said Marlux chairman Dirk Vael, according to Le Soir.

Collstrop director Hillaire Van Der Schuren echoed these comments. "I have not rejected the idea. I will talk with my partners and with Frank and his entourage. For now, I simply have had contacts with his manager. It is a little early to say any more. It is particularly necessary to wait for the results of the drug tests."

The test results will be known within the next couple of days.

Jan Ullrich out of Murcia

German Jan Ullrich will be a non-starter in this week's Tour of Murcia, starting on Wednesday, March 6 and finishing on Sunday, March 10. The reason is a knee problem that forced him to stop his training in South Africa for a short period, but became worse when he returned to Germany.

"After I could train pain-free in South Africa for the last two weeks, I thought...everything was OK again," Ullrich wrote on his homepage, www.janullrich.de. "But after my return [to Germany] again there were problems. We assume that they were worsened by the cold weather here in Germany. For safety's sake our team doctors at the University Hospital in Freiburg and I decided to take it easy for the next few days."

"There is no reason to be concerned, because I have worked well so far. The Tour of Murcia is not necessary for my form. I would have gladly raced it as an alternate to everyday training. So I will continue to train easily for the few days."

Tour of Murcia stages

  • Stage 1 - March 6: Murcia - Fortuna, 176.8 km
  • Stage 2 - March 7: Beniel- San Javier, 160.3 km
  • Stage 3 - March 8: Molina - Alguazas, 180.3 km
  • Stage 4 - March 9: Ceuti - Alhama, 173.6 km
  • Stage 5 - March 10: Murcia - Murcia ITT, 12.9 km

Team Coast improves its game

Team Coast has gotten off to a flying start in the early part of the season, and is currently the highest ranked German team, ahead of the mighty Telekom squad on the UCI rankings. The differences are not great, but Team Coast is in fourth spot and Telekom is in eighth - a pleasant surprise for the team which struggled at the bottom of division I last year.

The team management has been revamped, with Marcel Wüst, Juan Fernandez and Alain Gallopin all coming on board. With early season successes in Qatar and Valencia, the team is now hoping to attract more attention from the Tour de France organisers for a wild card spot.

"The season has gone like a dream so far," said Wüst. "I hope that the bell rings a little louder for the Tour organisers in May."

Mapei-Quick Step in South Africa

Mapei-Quick Step's "Young Group" are in South Africa for the 11th Giro del Capo, which runs from March 5-9. The team is Fabian Cancellara, Allan Davis, Michael Rogers, Patrick Sinkewitz, Pavel Zerzan and DS Valerio Piva.

UCI women's rankings after World Cup

The first set of women's rankings for 2002 has been released following round 1 of the World Cup in Australia. After not being able to defend her title on Sunday, Australian Anna Millward (Saturn) has lost the number one spot to her teammate Judith Arndt, who now leads with 692 points. Millward is in second on 653 points with Mirjam Melchers third on 643 points.

Over the course of the next week Millward will also lose any points gained from last year's Tour de Snowy as well as round 2 of the World Cup in New Zealand. She is still recovering from surgery that she had late last year, but hopes to be racing again by the Flèche Wallonne in April.

There were few changes in the team rankings, with Saturn holding a commanding lead over Acca Due O Pasta Zara Lorena Camicie. Vlaanderen-T Interim moved into third place after making the trip to the Antipodes in their quest for World Cup points and early season racing.

Rankings as of March 3, 2002

1 Judith Arndt (Ger) Saturn Cycling Team                        692 pts
2 Anna Millward (Aus) Saturn Cycling Team                       653
3 Mirjam Melchers (Ned) Team Farm Frites-Hartol                 643
4 Nicole Brändli (Swi) Acca Duo O Pasta Zara Lorena Camicie     579
5 Edita Pucinskaite (Ltu) Figurella Dream Team                  496
6 Petra Rossner (Ger) Saturn Cycling Team                       472
7 Zinaida Stahurskaia (Blr) Usci Chirio                         451
8 Rasa Polikeviciute (Ltu) Acca Duo O Pasta Zara Lorena Camicie 432
9 Susanne Ljungskog (Swe) Vlaanderen-T-Interim Ladies Team      423
10 Fabiana Luperini (Ita) Edilsavino                            394
11 Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (Fra)                                 390
12 Lyne Bessette (Can) Saturn Cycling Team                      351
13 Olga Slioussareva (Rus) Itera                                345
14 Diana Ziliute (Ltu) Acca Duo O Pasta Zara Lorena Camicie     259
15 Trixi Worrack (Ger)                                          238
16 Kimberly Bruckner (USA) Saturn Cycling Team                  234
17 Debby Mansveld (Ned) Vlaanderen-T-Interim Ladies Team        233
18 Monica Valen (Nor) Team Sponsor Service                      224
19 Joane Somarriba Arrola (Spa) Deia Pragma                     202
20 Alessandra Cappellotto (Ita) Power-Plate-Bik                 200

1 Saturn Cycling Team                      2,168 pts
2 Acca Due O Pasta Zara Lorena Camicie     1,429
3 Vlaanderen - T-Interim Ladies Team         891
4 Team Farm Frites - Hartol                  859
5 Figurella Dream Team                       652
6 Itera Team                                 610
7 Edilsavino                                 600
8 Usci Chirio                                483
9 Deia - Pragma - Colnago                    461
10 Team Sponsor Service                      407


1 Germany                                  1,658 pts
2 Lithuania                                1,280
3 Netherlands                              1,195
4 Australia                                1,040
5 Italy                                      864

Full rankings

Portuguese head north

Portuguese teams are rare guests outside the Iberian peninsula but division two team Carvalhelhos/Boavista plans to do several races in France in the latter part of this season as well as a number of Spanish races with Vuelta a Aragon as the highest ranked, 2.2.

The team's international calendar:

April 6: GP Miguel Indurain (1.3), Spain
April 17-21: Vuelta a Aragon (2.2), Spain
April 27-May 3: Volta a Rioja (2.3), Spain
April 28: Tour de Vendée (1.3), France
May 2-6: Vuelta a Castilla-Leon (2.3), Spain
May 15-19: Vuelta a Astúrias (2.3), Spain
August 27-30: Tour de Poitou Charentes (2.3), France
September 1: Boucles de l'Aulne (1.3), France
September 2: Tour de Finistere (1.5), France

Bendigo Madison preview

By Karen Forman in Melbourne

You would expect the event popularly known as "Australia's biggest track race, mate" to be held on a super-fast, steeply-banked and probably indoor velodrome, in one of the land Down Under's major, heavily populated cities.

But it isn't.

In fact, the biggest track event in the country is held in a smallish regional city in country Victoria - 150km and 90 minutes' drive from State capital Melbourne, on a 400-metre, oval-shaped, bitumen surfaced - and very flat - old fashioned track slap-bang in the middle of the central business district. At a modest little venue called the "Tom Flood Sports Oval".

Bendigo is a city better known for its gold fields (it boasted the world's richest in its heyday) than for anything else, although the winegrowers in surrounding areas are said to regularly produce with some red and white nectar that is extremely pleasant to the palate and has the propensity to knock other growers for six when awards-time rolls around.

It is a town popular with tourists, who enjoy its historic buildings and pretty, tree-lined streets, its trendy sidewalk cafes and, of course, the annual winemakers festival. And, because it isn't Melbourne (or Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth or Hobart) the locals consider it a great place to live in relatively safety and peace, to work and raise a family.

So then, what makes it the home of the biggest track race in the country? Why, when you cross the borders from South Australia or New South Wales into Victoria, do cycling people start raving about the "Bendigo Madison" and telling you that you'll be missing out on "something great" if you don't go?

"It's the international field we always get," suggests Brent McCaig, one of sons of Frank, who helps organise the two-night Bendigo Gold and Opal Madison Carnival with the Bendigo Aplex-Lions Committee and Caribou Publications.

"And the fact we get up to 12,000 people coming to watch."

And there's more. In an economic climate where sports promoters (and, as we have seen lately with Paris-Nice et al - not only in Australia) find it extremely difficult to raise the money to hold events, the Bendigo Madison offers a total of $35,000 prizemoney - including $20,000 for the feature event, the 80km madison.

Not bad for what is, by all accounts, simply a big country town.

So what brings 'em in? Why are riders travelling from as far as the United States, New Zealand, Germany, Japan - and, wait for it - Chile, to contest the 2002 event, to be held from 3pm this Saturday, March 9 and from 6pm on Sunday, March 10? And what attracts the crowds?

Maybe it's the atmosphere. WIth 12,000 enthusiastic country people cheering you on, you're bound to enjoy the experience. Or perhaps the prizemoney. While the madison offers $20,000, the Golden Mile Handicap has $8000 up for grabs plus a $1000 gold nugget. There's a $2000 keirin series and a whole heap of handicaps.

Whatever the winning formula is, it works. As it as done for near on 47 years.

Aussie Olympians Brett Aitken and Scott McGrory, who won the Madison last year in a countback from German Eric Weisspfennig and Bathurst rider Mark Renshaw, will be back "with bells on" to have another go this year. Who knows, this time 2000 world madison champion Weistfenning and Renshaw might just tip the scales their way.

But nobody is going to have it easy. This year's field of 17 riders is international-class and hungry for a win.

United States rider Jame Carney is travelling to Australia specially for the event. He has been teamed with last week's Austral Wheel Race winner Darren Young from Tasmania and the pair are in top form. Other riders are expected from Japan, Chile and New Zealand. An official team list is due out Wednesday.

Among the locals, previous winner TIm Decker, David Pell and Andrew Mason have been riding well at events including the SKilled Geelong Bay Classic and the Victorian track carnivals, are in good form and have the advantage of local track knowledge.

"It has always been a very good race," Rick McCaig, who organises the actual madison race, said last night.

"As long as the weather holds out, this year's event should be as big as it has been in previous years."

Copenhagen almost profitable

The Copenhagen six days race, run by DBC Pro Cycling A/S in the new Danish velodrome in Ballerup, made a small loss, approximately $US5,000, on the race which had a turnover of US$450,000. This means that it is certain that the race will be on the calendar also next winter, according to Danish news paper BT. The company's managing director Ole Kjeldsen says that he is satisfied that the organizers managed to create the right six days atmosphere in the new suburban arena.

UK MTB team head for USA

The GB Mountain bike Team head for California today for a month's training and racing on and off road. They will begin with a training camp at Santa Cruz before moving on to the Redlands Road Race, and then the Sea Otter Classic MTB race.

The team manager Simon Burney will be backed by Gary Foord (coach), Adrian Timmis (Masseur), Craig Denning (Mechanic) and Rachel Pickett (chef). The riders are Caroline Alexander, Sue Thomas, Oli Beckingsale, Barrie Clarke, Jody Crawforth, Phil Dixon, Liam Killeen and Tim Morley.

From the 4th to 11th March they will be at the training camp at Santa Cruz. On the 11th they drive to Redlands and from the 13th to 17th March compete in the Redlands classic. The Y2K team for this race of consists of Phil Dixon, Jody Crawforth, Tim Morley, Liam Killeen, Gary Foord & Guest. Sue Thomas is guesting with Team Voler, Caroline is guesting with another team. Barrie and Oli are riding with the GB Track Endurance team who will also be riding the event.

Gary Foord returns to the UK on the 18th March. On the 21st March the remainder move on to Monterey. From the 22nd to 24th March they ride the Sea Otter MTB stage race.



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