News for August 17, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones & Chris Henry
US Criterium Championships Preview
By Chris Baldwin, Cyclingnews correspondent
The US Criterium Championships are upon us again, and once again Chicagoland is bracing for some jet-fired racing on the streets of Downers Grove. All the top teams are sending full squads for Sunday's event, as the Stars and Stripes Jersey in on the line.
No course changes are in store over the 8-turn route, and the men will lay down two solid hours of speed in the 100k race. $4000 goes to the overall men's winner, and the first American citizen across the line will be the 2002 USPro Criterium Champion.
Last year's overall winner Harm Jansen, a citizen of Holland who races in the US, has come back and will by no means be a slouch on the couch come Sunday. His Saturn Team Director Jim Copeland expects much from the Dutchman and the rest of a very strong squad.
"Mark McCormack was 5th last year and came really close. He's in good form now, really fit, and I expect him to be in serious contention. Ultimately we are coming to win the bike race, but to win the Stars and Stripes jersey would just be that much better," he told Cyclingnews.
The 2001 USPRO Criterium champion, Navigators' Kirk O'Bee, who was recently relegated from his placing in the 2001 First Union USPro Championship due to a high testosterone/epitestosterone ratio (t/e)*, will not be racing for the Navigators team.
Certainly a major bummer for his team, but no reason to throw in the towel altogether, as Olympic gold medallist Marty Nothstein and Russian speedster Vasilli Davidenko will be right there to pick up the slack. Most other teams fear the Russian rider immensely, and will make sure to cover his every move when the whip comes down.
"There's a lot of really strong teams this year," said Davidenko. "So it's hard to say what could happen. Last year we won the jersey, but this year our goals are a bit different. This year we want to win the race, whether it's a Canadian, an American, a Russian, or a New Zealander who's first across the line. If there's a break, or if the one incline splits things up, then that will be the decisive moment in the race and we will be there to cover it."
Prime Alliance intends to send Jonas Carney to the front for the sprint finish, though their squad will be short a rider, as Chris Horner recently broke his collarbone in Oregon. Neo-pro Alex Candelario has proven a quick study this year, learning to ride aggressively in the pack and where to be when it comes to providing a lead out for Carney. Team manager Kirk Willett said he is also concerned about the overall team standings this year.
"The tightest battle is between Mercury and us. We're ahead, but Mercury is right behind by 160 points. (Mercury riders) Chris Wherry and Gord Fraser both had wins last week, and with Henk Vogels as the fastest lead out man in the peloton, they will have the biggest impact on the race," said Willett.
Mercury manager Thurlow Rogers, still grinning from Chris Wherry's win in Colorado at the Saturn Classic, has lots of confidence in Canadian Gord Fraser, whom he calls "the master of the field sprint."
"Obviously (Saturn rider) Ivan Dominguez is hot, and he showed us what he can do in a 100k race in New York, but Mercury won four times last weekend. Wherry in Colorado, Gord at Manhattan Beach, Plamen Stoyanov on Sunday won in Denver, and Bryce Jones in Kansas City. I'm looking for Gord in the sprint, and if he can get away with Chris Wherry then we can get into the jersey, too."
US Postal is sending a six-man squad to Downers Grove, with hometown riders Kenny Labbe and Robbie Ventura at the fore. US Time Trial Champion Dylan Casey, Euro-Peloton Super-Domestique Matt White, Sea Otter speedster David Zabriskie, David Clinger and NYC cameraman Tony Cruz will also be there. Smaller in number than the other teams, Postal is still a contender for the finish.
"It's our strongest team ever," said Labbe. "It's the highlight of my racing season and the gem of the American criterium scene. It's a hometown race and its one of those rare times I get to show up with a pro field in Chicago in front of family and friends."
"Criteriums are always tricky, and you can never predict Downers Grove," said his teammate Ventura. "All the teams have the power to chase, and everybody has a guy they can send to the front for the win. Gord, Plamen, Vogels, Carney, Prime Alliance's David McCook and John Peters, the McCormacks and Ivan Dominguez, Nothstein, Davidenko, even Schroeder Iron has Hilton Clarke. Races are getting faster, and American racing is getting better overall. You can't just sit in anymore and save your legs for some power at the end. You have to be powerful and fast."
There are other championship races on tap as well this weekend. Elite men and women race early Sunday for their titles, as do handcyclists and inline skaters. Saturday's 6pm men's pro-am should see cloudy skies with a chance of thunderstorms, while the weatherman promises highs in the 70s and clear horizons for Sunday's main event. Cyclingnews will have full race results and interviews right after the race.
(*Navigators' PR person Ray Cipollini advises that O'Bee "has not tested positive for any banned substance. He's agreed to the suspension only until the USADA can determine the reason behind the abnormality. His testosterone levels are normal, and so far it has not been shown that he has done anything wrong. He is still undergoing a medical evaluation to determine if it's due to a physiological problem.")
Tafi to join CSC-Tiscali
Mapei's Andrea Tafi is expected to sign a contract with the Danish CSC-Tiscali team on Saturday. "Tafi is a great classics champion," commented team manager Bjarne Riis. "He is a rider who rides to win, but he also knows how to ride for the team. He's an ambitious cyclist, and his age is not a concern."
Professional since 1989, Tafi has ridden for Mapei since 1994, however with the title sponsor's withdrawal from cycling at the end of this season the former Italian champion has had to consider other options. With his dramatic victory in this year's Tour of Flanders, the tall Tuscan proved that he is still a force to be reckoned with in the one day races.
"I have chosen CSC-Tiscali because already during out first encounter, team manager Riis has shown to have a lot of confidence in me," said Tafi. "The team is competitive for me. The racers and the staff believe in my plan to win Paris-Roubaix. In the second part of the season I will be at the disposition of Hamilton and co. in the Giro and the Tour. I want to finish on a high note and to leave the indelible sign of the Gladiator on season 2003."
Garzelli appeals doping suspension
Stefano Garzelli has to filed an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, asking for a complete annulment of his two year suspension, according to Associated Press.
Garzelli was handed a two year suspension by the Swiss Olympic Association (the Italian holds a Swiss racing license) after testing positive for Probenecid on the second stage of this year's Giro d'Italia. The Mapei rider remained in the race until May 21, awaiting the outcome of a B-sample test. Further, part of his ban has been suspended, meaning Garzelli could resume competition in April 2003. The CAS is expected to render a verdict within four months.
Mapei-Quick Step for Meisterschaft von Zürich
Alvaro Crespi has announced the team selection for this Sunday's Meisterschaft von Zürich, round eight of the World Cup. The team will consist of Paolo Bettini, David Cañada, Cadel Evans, Oscar Freire, Luca Paolini, Eddy Ratti, Charly Wegelius. Directeur sportif: Serge Parsani
Note: Zürich defending champion Paolo Bettini was a non-starter for stage 3 of the Post Danmark Rundt (Tour of Denmark), abandoning due to tendon problems, and thus his participation in this weekend's World Cup event may be in question.
In addition, former Italian national champion Daniele Nardello remains out of competition after injuries sustained last week. Nardello was due to return for the Tre Valle Varesine on August 20, but will instead be replaced by Andrea Tafi.
Saeco-Longoni Sport ready for Spain and Zürich
The Saeco-Longoni Sport Team will be engaged in a very intense Sunday in Switzerland and Spain. After some good results in Hamburg and San Sebastian (Astarloa finishing twice second), the team faces the Meisterschaft von Zürich. Saeco will start with a strong lineup, including Astarloa (third overall in World Cup), Di Luca and Sacchi (winners in Due Giorni Marchigiana), the Italian champion Commesso, Celestino, Bertagnolli, Spezialetti and Galletti.
Gilberto Simoni, after his good results in the Vuelta a Burgos will race again in Spain. He'll dispute G.P. Llodio with his team-mates Fuentes, Cunego, Glomser, Mason and Pugaci.
Live coverage of Zürich
Cyclingnews will be providing live coverage of the Meisterschaft von Zürich from 1530 CEST/0630 PDT/0930 EDT/2330 Aust EST.
UCI announces World's participation numbers
The UCI has officially released the numbers of riders per country allowed to take part in the men's World Championship road race in Zolder on October 13. The numbers are based on the nations ranking as of August 15, 2002. The top 10 nations are allowed to start with 12 riders, save for Spain who can enter outgoing World Champion Oscar Freire as a 13th rider.
Rank 1 - 12 riders Italy Spain (13 riders, including Freire) Belgium Germany France U.S.A. Netherlands Switzerland Australia Russia Rank 2 - 8 riders Denmark Poland Kazakhstan Austria Colombia Rank 3 - 4 riders Ukraine Portugal Czech Republic Slovenia Lithuania Rank 4 - 2 riders Great Britain Estonia Sweden Norway Latvia South Africa Hungary Mexico Luxembourg Bulgaria Additional countries - 1 rider Venezuela Moldavia Islamic Rep. of Iran
2002 U.S. World MTB team
USA Cycling has announced its Mountain Bike team for the World Championships in Kaprun, Austria from August 28 to September 1. The team includes World Champion women's XC rider Alison Dunlap, Todd Wells (Elite Men XC), Walker Ferguson (U23 XC), Eric Carter (Men DH and 4X), Missy Giove (Women DH), Brian Lopes (Men 4X) and Tara Llanes (Women 4X).
Cross Country Men Todd Wells Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski Travis Brown Carl Swenson (selective pick) Carl Decker (selective pick) Women Alison Dunlap Mary McConneloug Sue Haywood Willow Koerber Shonny Vanlandingham Under 23 Walker Ferguson Adam Craig Barry Wicks (selective pick) Junior U19 Men John Devine Brent Bookwalter (selective pick) Aaron Bradford (selective pick) Junior U19 Women Molly Hummel Liza Winne Magen Long Sabra Davison (selective pick) Downhill Men Eric Carter Myles Rockwell (selective pick) Kirt Voreis (selective pick) Richard Lancaster (selective pick) Todd LeDuc (selective pick) Women Missy Giove Kathy Pruitt Lisa Sher Marla Streb (selective pick) April Lawyer (selective pick) Melissa Buhl (selective pick) Junior U19 Men Henry O'Donnell Cody Warren Daniel Umland (selective pick) Cory Gustafsen (selective pick) Steve Wentz (selective pick) Junior U19 Women Magen Long Leana Gerrard Four Cross Men Brian Lopes Eric Carter Mike King Kirt Voreis Brian Schmith (selective pick) Rich Houseman (selective pick) Women Tara Llanes Lisa Sher April Lawyer Melissa Buhl Jill Kintner (selective pick)
Café Baqué looks to sponsor team for 2003
Early negotiations continue for the rumoured seventh Spanish professional team. The two principal protagonists in the team's creation, Jon Cengotitabengoa and Sabino Angoitia, have spent the last year searching for sponsors, though thus far without success. Enter Café Baqué, sponsors of a top amateur team at the moment, and new hopes that sufficient backing will be provided for the creation of a new professional team next season. The team is said to carry a possible budget of 2-3 million Euro.
Roche to lead Irish team in Junior Tour of Wales
By Shane Stokes, Irishcycling.com
Following his dominant performance in the M. Donnelly Junior Tour, Nicolas Roche has been named to lead a national selection in the Junior Tour of Wales next week. The 18 year old took two stages, the mountains jersey and the overall classification during the recent 6 day and this impressive ride has prompted national squad manager Tom Keenan to believe that he could win the Welsh event. "He is very strong at the moment and will be a big favourite," he said.
Roche will be joined on the team by national junior champion Páidí O'Brien, who won the second stage of the Junior Tour, plus Andrew McQuaid, Barry Woods, Mark Cassidy and Theo Hardwick, who was the Best First-Year Junior last week. The race is part of the Irish team's preparation for the Junior World Championships in Zolder, Belgium, in October.
The Junior Tour of Wales begins on Saturday, August 24th with a tough prologue hillclimb and continues until August 26th.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)