News for August 12, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones and Chris Henry
Vuelta a Burgos preview
With less than one month until the start of the Vuelta a España, the five stage Vuelta a Burgos (UCI 2.1) will provide one of the last major tune ups for those looking to perform in the third of the three week tours. The Vuelta a Burgos will run from August 12-16, featuring all the major ingredients of a stage race in the five days of competition. Sprinters, climbers, and specialists against the clock will all have an opportunity for stage victory. Sixteen teams will contest the race, including six Spanish teams.
ONCE-Eroski (Mikel Zarrabeitia)
Ullrich back home
Jan Ullrich has returned to Germany, after a five week holiday in the USA. Ullrich travelled there with his girlfriend Gaby following the news of his positive test for amphetamines, that he took in June at a night club during his rehabilitation from a knee injury. Although the drugs weren't used for the purposes of doping, Ullrich received a six month suspension from the German Cycling Federation for testing positive to a banned substance.
After the news broke, Ullrich's future in Telekom was scrutinized closely by team management. The outcome was that he is allowed to stay, provided that he is not paid a salary while serving his suspension, which runs until March 23.
Ullrich will now undergo more tests and rehabiliation in the University hospital in Freiburg to help get him in a condition to train again.
Moreau still injured
Credit Agricole's Christophe Moreau is still suffering from various crashes sustained during last month's Tour de France. The Frenchman has a pain in his back, and has been unable to get back into top racing condition. He will have a scan taken at the beginning of next week to try and determine the exact cause of the pain.
Paris Lido dancer hanging tough in Grande Boucle Féminine
By Chris Henry, Cyclingnews correspondent
Cynthia Compain (CA Mantes-la-Ville) currently lies in 85th place in the Grande Boucle Féminine, and is the lanterne rouge after the 8th stage of the Tour. After a tough first week during which she suffered several crashes, plus two miserable stages in the Alps, Compain sits 3 hours 53 minutes behind current race leader Zinaida Stahurskaia (USC Chirio). What is worth noting, however, is not so much the substantial time gap back from the leaders, rather the mere fact that Compain is hanging in the race at all.
This year's Grande Boucle is not only the toughest race on the women's calendar, it is the first stage race of Cynthia's cycling career. Making her living as a professional dancer at the famed Lido club in Paris, after several years at the Crazy Horse, Compain has begun to shift her attention to international peloton after only two years on the bike.
Though her notoriety in the French press has thus far centered more on her nightclub background than her exploits in the women's peloton, Cynthia has impressed by digging deep just to remain in this year's race. And while she may be almost 4 hours behind Stahurskaia, there are 25 other women over 2 hours back on GC, not to mention the 28 who have abandoned. Given that the Lido is also a co-sponsor of the CA Mantes-la-Ville team, Cynthia's transition may prove more seamless than one might expect.
CA Mantes-la-Ville teammate Emma James summed up Compain's resolve in her latest diary entry for Cyclingnews. "Our Lido dancer, Cynthia finished last, 15 minutes behind a group of ten riders, but after a crash on the first descent that made the next 120km even tougher. She seems to still be in good spirits, as much as can be expected after a very long week."
Landbouwkrediet-Colnago for Tour of Denmark
The Landbouwkrediet-Colnago team will ride in next week's Tour of Denmark (August 13-17) with a team of eight riders. They are as follows: Yuri Metlushenko (Ukr), Oscar Cavagnis (Ita), Bert De Waele (Bel), Michel Vanhaecke (Bel), Vincent Cali (Bel), Masahiko Mifune (Jpn), Jeff Louder (USA), Kurt Van Landeghem (Bel).
In other Landbouwkrediet-Colnago news, Russian rider Michael Timochine will ride as a stagiaire for them from September 1.
Eagle Tour aims to be big in Asia
The inaugural Gamuda Eagle Tour of Malaysia, which starts on Wednesday, August 14, already has big ambitions for the future. Race organiser Clear Mission Sdn Bhd is confident that the race will develop to a higher level and eventually, become Asia's biggest. That's a bold claim to make for a 2.6 class race, especially with well established events such as the 2.3 Tour de Langkawi continuing to grow.
According to Clear Mission Executive Chairman Datuk Wan Lokman Wan Ibrahim, the race has no intention to rival other major races in Asia but instead, is aimed at promoting cycling in the continent and provides Asians with an avenue to compete in a highly competitive race which offers bigger prize money.
The inaugural event will carry RM200,000 (US$52,000) in prizemoney, comparied to the RM1.5 million ($US400,000) offered by this year's Tour de Langkawi. However the latter is a victim of its own success in Asia, as its relatively high UCI ranking means that it has to be fairly restrictive in the number of Asian teams that it invites. This year, only five teams were able to start, with the bulk of the field made up of European trade teams.
The Eagle Tour, which is also held in Langkawi, intends to take a different approach to being "big". While still maintaining an international flavour, with several division III and national teams taking part, the race will feature a majority of Asian teams. The organisers hope to create a race that is of good enough quality to help the Asian cyclists develop into world class riders.
"What we need to do now is to find a strong footing for the race. We'll work on stabilizing the race in the first two or three years. But our main aim and objective will remain, that is to promote cycling in Asia give Asian riders who were unable to compete in Europe or Tour de Langkawi a chance to upgrade their performance," said Wan Lokman, who is also responsible for the success of Tour de Langkawi.
This year's Eagle Tour has attracted the very best teams in Asia including China and Iran. The top names in the region or who's who in Asian cycling such as China's Wang Guozhang, the reigning Asian champion, and Ghader Mizbani, Iran's national champion, have confirmed their participation.
Asia's only professional team, Taiwan-based Giant Asia Racing Team, have also confirmed their entry and will be out to prove that they are the best on the continent.
"I am confident the Eagle Tour will develop into the biggest race in Asia. In this debut year alone, the response has been tremendous and this goes to prove that Asian teams are starved of top class cycling events. This is a fact and we hope that Eagle Tour will help alleviate this situation," said Wan Lokman.
Jurgen Guns retires
26 year old Vlaanderen-T Interim rider Jurgen Guns has decided to retire from professional racing at the end of the season. Guns turned pro in 1999 after showing promise as an U23, however he has not been able to reach the level of a pro rider.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)