News for July 17, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones
Jalabert to retire in October
By Jeff Jones in Bordeaux
Photo: © Sirotti
Laurent Jalabert (CSC-Tiscali) has announced his decision to retire at
the end of the season, contrary to earlier reports that he would continue
through 2003. Jalabert made the announcement at a press conference in
Bordeaux velodrome during the first rest day of the Tour de France.
When asked why, he replied, "Last year I told myself that to finish
on a high level, with the Tour de France that I had done, would be formidable.
Everyone dreams of that. But I still wanted to race. I felt in good form
at the beginning of the season. I was full of morale. Then I had some
"I believe that the decision is wise. I've had a long career and my
wish is to stop whilst being a respected and respectable racer. I was
used to playing the top roles, I do not see myself in a secondary role.
I had the spirit to continue at the beginning of year, I was sincere.
But, today, this decision is irrevocable. This is a choice in my life."
"I spoke about it with my wife Sylvie, who never asked me to do it but
was very happy with my decision. I spoke about it with my brother Nicolas
who was on my side, and three days with Bjarne Riis, my directeur sportif,
whom I was anxious for to be at my side for this announcement, because
there is no funny business."
Jalabert described himself as "ready to turn the page...not at all depressed,
even if the moment is a little hard for me. The bicycle, has been my whole
life up to now. I would like to rediscover a little more calm in my life
but the bicycle always has a big place in my heart."
In future, "I envisage a career as a directeur sportif. But I would
like very much to be present at a number of events in the season, the
races that everyone dreams of doing."
Jalabert is not sure whether he will remain in Switzerland, or return
home to France. "I am very attached to my home but it is true that I have
found a balance in Switzerland."
Riis and Jalabert
Photo: © Sirotti
He has few regrets in his very successful career, "I maybe had the potential
to win a Tour, I can regret not being the World Champion in Benidorm (1992),
but at that moment I was not quite capable. There aren't many regrets."
When asked whether he was motivated for the rest of the Tour, he answered
"I don't think I am any less motivated - you saw it in the prologue. My
decision was taken at the Midi Libre. I told myself that it was not necessary
to regret anything. My aim is to make the sacrifices in the final three
In his 14 seasons as a pro, Laurent Jalabert did not consider himself
'unlucky'. "I had some terrible crashes, but in comparison with all the
kilometres I rode at all times... It is necessary to have the capacity
to come back, rebound, to face the great difficulties when one encounters
them. That will serve me well in future."
The future of French cycling is good according to Jalabert, who will
leave a big hole when he departs the scene. "There are a lot of French
riders with the right qualities, the temperament. I have the impression
of discovering my roots when the stars were Fignon, Mottet, Bernard. Just
wait a little for the likes of Chavanel, Casar."
Finally at the World Championships in Zolder in October, "I will do
the Championships to win them or to help the French team win. If by chance
I win, it would be fantastic but that would not change my decision. I
would then be the first retired World Champion."
Jalabert is 33 years old, and has won 135 races including a World Time
Trial Championship, a Vuelta España, three editions of Paris-Nice and
many, many more.
Verbrugghe training again
Belgian Rik Verbrugghe (Lotto-Adecco), who fell during the Tour's fifth
stage, is able to ride again on his indoor trainer. He broke his collarbone
in the fall, and will not be racing for another four weeks at least, although
he will not need an operation. He and his spouse have chosen to take a
holiday in the Pyrenees in the meantime...
Boonen in demand
Tom Boonen, US Postal's neo-pro who performed outstandingly in the classics
early this year, is very much in demand from other teams. At present he
has a contract with US Postal which he describes as "very good...but I
have to talk about it with the management because I've had a number of
offers from other teams."
Stive Vermaut to have more tests in Saarbrücken
Belgian Stive Vermaut will undergo a final series of tests in the university
clinic in Saarbrücken to help him decide whether he can race again. Vermaut
was diagnosed with heart problems at the beginning of the season, and
had to stop racing. However further tests in the United States led him
to believe that he could handle the problem, with the correct medication,
although his former Lotto-Adecco team doctor did not want to risk having
him back on the team.
Vermaut says he is training quite a lot at the moment, and could in
theory start racing by the beginning of August, provided these final batch
of tests are positive. He could ride for the Palmans-Collstrop team, who
have offered him a contract.
Simoni to front FCI disciplinary commission this week
Gilberto Simoni, who on two separate occasions recently tested non-negative
to cocaine, will appear before the Italian Cycling Federation's disciplinary
commission this Thursday, July 18. Simoni will be heard by the commission,
but no decision will be made just yet on whether to sanction him. The
30 year old has been suspended by his Saeco team pending the outcome of
the investigation, and could face up to a two year ban.
His two non-negative tests were dated April 24 (just prior to the Giro
del Trentino) and May 21 (during the Giro d'Italia). He and his lawyer
have claimed that the cocaine could have originated from imported South
American sweets that he was given.
Guglielmo Pesenti dies
Former Italian champion track cyclist Guglielmo Pesenti died last Friday
evening, at the age of 68. Pesenti held the world record for the flying
200 and 500 metres in 1955 (11.80 and 30 seconds respectively).
Trofeo Melinda on August 29
The Italian late season classic Trofeo Melinda-Val di Non will be held
on August 29 this year instead of September 4. The organisers Gruppo Sportivo
Melinda have been granted permission by the UCI to change the dates. They
argued that the proximity of the Vuelta Espana, which starts on September
7, would impact on the race, which is classified 1.2 on the UCI calendar.
This year's race will again start in Malè and finish in Fondo.
International Sprint Tournament at Lehigh Valley Velodrome
The Lehigh Valley Velodrome will host the International Sprint Tournament,
Friday, July 19 at 19:00, in Trexlertown, PA.
After initial 200-meter time trial qualifications, which will be held
at 11:30 am Friday, the riders are seeded for position in the evening's
tournament. The cyclists with the top six times qualify for the semi-finals.
The semi final round will be three sprint heats with 2 riders in each.
The winner of each semi-final heat advances to the finals, which will
be a three-up sprint.
Top contender for the men is Anton Quist, Masters World Champion in
the Match Sprint. "I have raced all over the world," said Quist, "but
T-town is my favorite track. Although I am from England, I consider the
Lehigh Valley Velodrome my home track, and its great to race in front
of the home crowd."
The Masters World Champion will be getting his chief competition from
East Coast Velo's trio of sprinters, Eric Bonser (Parryville, PA), Mike
Beers (Breinigsville, PA) and John Frederick (Bowers, PA).
"Sarah Uhl, 2001 Junior World Champion in the Match Sprint is by far,
the favorite," commented Pat McDonough, director of the Lehigh Valley
Velodrome. "This is Sarah's first year as a senior or "elite" rider, and
she'll be the one for the women to beat this week. But don't count out
newcomer Cindy Lakatosh, who at 13 years old has recently set several
records and had stellar performance in last week's Keirin Cup."
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)