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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

News for April 6, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Lampre-Daikin for the Ronde

Ludo Dierckxsens, Max Sciandri and Zbigniew Spruch will be the Lampre-Daikin top men for the classics, and we can expect smilin' Ludo to show himself at the front. "The Paris-Roubaix is still the most suitable Classic for my characteristics but I'm sure I will be able to be in the front next Sunday," he says. "My favourites? Van Petegem, Museeuw and the Mapei bunch. I will try to manage my energies in the best way but do not expect me to act like an accountant!"

Dierckxsens is glad for the return of the Koppenberg: "The finale of the Ronde van Vlaanderen will be more difficult than last year. That's better: for the public and, maybe, for me too!"

The team for the Ronde is: Raivis Belohvosciks, Ludo Dierckxsens, Gabriele Missaglia, Luciano Pagliarini, Maximilian Sciandri, Marco Serpellini, Zbigniew Spruch and Johan Verstrepen

US Postal for the Ronde

George Hincapie will be the US Postal team leader at the Ronde Van Vlaanderen, and he can expect a solid degree of support from his teammate Lance Armstrong. Both are riding well at the moment although Armstrong has not ridden the Ronde since 1996, when he finished 28th.

The team is: George Hincapie (USA), Lance Armstrong (USA), Tom Boonen (Bel), David Clinger (USA), Gianpaolo Mondini (Ita), Pavel Padrnos (Cze), Matthew White (Aus), Christian Vandevelde (USA)

Den Bakker will miss Ronde

Maarten den Bakker (Rabobank) will not start on Sunday in the Ronde Van Vlaanderen, as he is suffering from a cold. Coen Boerman will take his place. Also, Addy Engels will not be riding in the Vuelta a Pais Vasco or the Ardennes Classics as he has chicken pox. His place will be taken by Thorwald Veneberg.

Rabobank team for the Ronde: Marc Wauters, Coen Boerman, Steven De Jongh, Mathew Hayman, Matthé Pronk, Markus Zberg, Jan Boven and Karsten Kroon.

Ronde Van Vlaanderen information

Preview and history
Course map, profile, route descrption and timetable
Start list

Ullrich is motivated and ready

Jan Ullrich says he's still motivated and will be ready for the Tour de France, despite knee problems that have dogged his early season. The Telekom super diesel gave an interview with L'Equipe about his plans for getting back into competition, and his chances in this year's Tour.

"I am keeping my hopes up, otherwise why would I have persisted for the last two months," he said. Ullrich has not raced since the Tour of Qatar in January due to pains in his right knee, and has waited patiently for the doctors to say yes before he starts training on the bike again.

"Physically I feel quite good even though I have not been able to train properly for three weeks. I had to maintain my physical condition without moving my painful knee. It is already very hard to accept. I have experienced blows to my morale, but my motivation is intact."

Strangely, Ullrich still doesn't know exactly what caused the problem. "I trained a lot more intensively this winter. Maybe my body could not cope with that much work."

As to when he will return to racing, that is still not decided. "Normally, I will start training within the next few days, but I don't want to go too quickly. Initially I will work on recovering a good base, and then, in the month of June, I will follow a very intensive program, more than the other years, in my approach to the Tour."

"If I don't have any problems between now and then, I will be at the start of the Tour de France with the same ambitions."

CONI demands suspension of 13 riders

The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) has demanded the suspension of 13 cyclists for up to four and a half years, and have sent the riders' files to the disciplinary commission of the Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) for consideration.

CONI prosecutor Giacomo Aiello, who is heading the Giro blitz investigation in Florence, has recommended that Gianpaolo Mondini (US Postal Service) be suspended for four and a half years (six months on the basis of the investigations in Padua, and four years from the investigations in Florence). Alberto Elli (Index-Alexia), Ermanno Brignoli (Mercatone Uno) and Daniele De Paoli (Alessio) have all been recommended for a four year suspension; Marcello Siboni (Mercatone Uno) for two and a half years; Giuliano Figueras (Panaria) for two years; Giuseppe Di Grande (Index-Alexia) Endrio Leoni (Alessio) for 18 months; Dario Andriotto (Index-Alexia), Rinaldo Nocentini (Fassa Bortolo), Mariano Piccoli (Lampre), Domenico Romano (Landbouwkrediet) and Antonio Varriale (Panaria) for six months.

On the other hand, CONI has acquitted Marco Magnani and Marco Villa (Index-Alexia), Marco Velo (Fassa Bortolo) and Vladimir Duma (Panaria) of any charges.

Simoni and Di Luca back in the Basque Country

Gilberto Simoni and Danilo Di Luca (Saeco) will return to racing at the Vuelta a Pais Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country) after recovering from their recent injuries caused by crashes at the Setmana Catalana and Milan-San Remo.

After being given the green light for his knee injury, Simoni is training hard at home in the Trentino area. He aims to get back into racing form again in the Basque country. Di Luca has also made a complete recovery following his fall two weeks ago, and hopes to do well in the overall classification of the tour. Afterwards, Di Luca will go to Belgium for the Ardennes classics, his main objective for 2002.

The rest of the Saeco-Longoni Sport team for the Vuelta a PAis Vasco will be Igor Astarloa, Oscar Mason, Alessandro Spezialetti, Juan Fuentes, Gerrit Glomser and Marius Sabaliauskas.

Mirko Celestino will captain the team in the Tour of Flanders this Sunday, accompanied by Fabio Sacchi, Salvatore Commesso, Biagio Conte, Cristian Pepoli, Joerg Ludewig, Torsten Nitsche and Christian Wegmann.

Team selection 2002 Giro

The names of the 22 teams that will participate in this year's Giro d'Italia have been announced:

Acqua e Sapone
Fassa Bortolo
Index Alexia
Lampre Daikin
Mapei Quick Step
Mercatone Uno
Saeco Macchine per Caffé-Longoni Sport
Tacconi Sport-Emmegi
Ceramiche Panaria Fiordo
Team Coast
Domo Farm Frites
Lotto Adecco
Kelme-Costa Blanca
Phonak Hearing Systems
Team CSC Tiscali
Selle Italia

VDB to decide on Monday about his future

Frank Vandenbroucke will decide next Monday about whether to take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, after he was suspended for six months for possession of drugs. For the past few days, VDB has spent time with his wife Sarah, daughter Margaux and mother Chantal with his in-laws in Northern Italy. He returned to Belgium today to discuss things with his manager Paul De Geyter, who said last week that it would be completely Frank's decision whether to appeal against his suspension.

Sick Kelly will not ride Sid Patterson GP

By Karen Forman in Melbourne

Adelaide rider Shane Kelly's dreams of finally clinching a major wheel race win for the 2002-2002 Australian track season have been dashed at the eleventh hour.

The Australian Institute of Sport scholarship holder is sick and has been forced to withdraw from Saturday night's $10,000 Sid Patterson Grand Prix at Melbourne's Vodafone Arena, in which he had had his heart set on winning the Champion of Champions wheel race.

Originally from Ararat in country Victoria, Kelly had consistently placed in all the season's major wheel races, but hadn't managed to win any of them. He was second in Forges Wheel Race and third in the Austral, both in Melbourne.

However, with the introduction for the first time in Australia of the Champion of Champions event - pitting winners and placegetters from all the major wheel races against each other to determine the unofficial wheel race champion of Australia - his hopes were high.

Spokesman for promoter Cyclists International, Barry Langley, said Kelly had come down with a virus and was unable to travel to Melbourne.

"He is disappointed; we are disappointed," he said.

"I think he was in with a real chance to win this one. Unfortunately this is the final major track event for the season, so now Shane will have to wait to next year."

Kelly told Langley he was very disappointed at having to withdraw at the last minute.

"I have been crook all week," he said.

With Kelly out, Mark Renshaw, Brett Aitken and Darren Young will make up the scratch group. The trio will also be fierce contestants in other events during the night, with the top placegetters qualifying for the eight lap Sid Patterson Wheel Race.

Tickets for the event - the final international track program to be held in Australia this season - are on sale through Ticketek or at the door.

Darryn Hill announces retirement

The 1995 World Sprint Champion Darryn Hill (Australia) has announced his retirement, 19 months after his last competition at the Sydney Olympics. The 27 year old has decided to continue working in his family business, and not return to contest the Commonwealth Games. However, he's not altogether happy about it.

Hill was particularly critical of AIS sprint coach Gary West, saying in an interview with the West Australian newspaper: "He was not willing to listen to the riders, he became so arrogant. When Gary Neiwand, Danny Day and I started training with him in 1995, he used to listen to us. There was a good atmosphere throughout the whole team."

"I then won the world sprint title and he thought he was God's gift to cycling coaching. He began to lack flexibility and it progressively got worse. If he wants to become a great cycling coach he should look at Martin Barras."

Hill also claimed that he was made to ride in the wrong position (3rd wheel) for the Olympic Sprint in Sydney. The extra effort took its toll and he did not qualify well for the individual sprint the next morning. Although he didn't believe that he could have beaten Marty Nothstein, Hill thought he was at least a medal chance.

However, Hill's retirement may have been forced by Cycling Australia, who recently banned him from competition until he could answer charges of threatening an ASDA (Australian Drug Testing Agency) official. According to CA's Graham Fredericks, quoted on ABC radio, Hill "made life difficult for the ASDA official. Avoidance tactics without avoiding, abusive language [but no physical intimidation]. Generally just bad behaviour in terms of officials."

"We took it very seriously," said Fredericks. "We took legal advice on whether charges could be brought under the anti-doping policy. He did eventually submit to a test, and that was negative. We felt it was appropriate to take action then under our disciplinary conduct."

"He's taken the sport and the federation into disrepute."

"If he was to join program again, then he would have permanent ban until he confronts this issue. That's an effective ban world wide."

Hill has fallen foul of officialdom several times in the past. He was fined AU$6000 after being convicted of three counts of assault outside a Perth nightclub in 1995. In 2000, he was fined AU$4000 and given a 12 month probation for assaulting a teammate (Ben Kersten) during a pre-Olympic training camp.

Now he seems to be enjoying his fishing on the Swan River in Perth.

Utrecht wants to host Tour start

The Dutch city of Utrecht has declared itself a candidate to host the start of the Tour de France in 2007 or 2008. Cycling journalist Jeroen Wielaert instigated the idea and he wants support from the city council and the businesses to carry it out. Wielaert proposes that the prologue would finish on the Croselaan, where the head offices of Rabobank are located.

"If the Giro can find a place under the Martinitoren [in Groeningen], then a Tour under the Dom can also be a reality," he said, estimating the cost at around 5 million euros.

The Tour de France has started four times in the Netherlands: Amsterdam (1954), Scheveningen (1973), Leiden (1978) and Den Bosch (1996). Den Bosch claims it suffered a financial loss six years ago, but has benefited since then from the exposure in terms of tourism. Den Bosch is also hosting the start of the women's Tour de France this year.

Wielaert is promoting the idea as a massive sporting and cultural spectacle, with enormous potential for local businesses and tourism. He has chosen either 2007 or 2008 because there is strong competition to host the start of the Tour over next few years: Paris (2003); Liege (2004), France (TBD) (2005), and Strasbourg (2006) are the strongest candidates at the moment.

Paris-Roubaix comes to Ballinamore

Paris-Roubaix, the famous French cycling classic that races over the torturous cobblestone country roads of northern France, will be reflected in the final kilometres of stage 1 of this year's FBD Milk Ras on Sunday May 19. Having passed through the finish town of Ballinamore in County Leitrim, the riders face a daunting 10 kilometre circuit that takes in an extremely narrow road, which was once the Cavan - Leitrim railway line, running spectacularly alongside the Shannon Erne waterway.

While lacking the pavé of Paris-Roubaix, the Ballinamore circuit presents an even greater challenge to the riders for one wrong manoeuvre or crash on a road barely wide enough to take three cyclists abreast, and the waterway is close enough to receive the less fortunate of the fallers. It will be a stunning stretch of racing, 200 riders on a road that at times is only 10 feet wide, and each of the riders determined to be in the frame for the honour and glory of winning the opening stage and possibly the first yellow jersey of the fiftieth edition of the race.

Local organiser, Gregory Smyth, is working closely with Leitrim County Council in ensuring the road surface is in the best possible condition and also with the Gardai in giving the huge field a traffic-free run. Smyth also assures that the cyclists will have a unique line of spectators, luxury cruisers, barges and the only waterbus on the Shannon Erne Waterway, all packed with enthusiastic holidaymakers cheering on the riders.

Get better Joe Hailey

Last Saturday, March 30, in Langley BC (Canada), veteran cyclist Joe Hailey was involved in a crash at the finish of a race. The crash involved several riders in a sprint finish of the C group at the Spring Series Road Race. Three riders were left unconscious with Joe Hailey being airlifted from the race site to Vancouver General Hospital.

Two of the people involved in the crash had broken bones and concussions but are expected to make full recoveries. Joe Hailey is currently in Neurological Intensive Care Unit 1 in critical but stable condition. He is expected to remain in ICU for at least another five days.

Joe Hailey has been a fixture on the BC road and track cycling scene for well over 20 years. Escape Velocity Cycling Club wishes Joe a speedy recovery.