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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

News for July 19, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Ballerini to give Cipollini two weeks

Franco Ballerini, the Italian national coach, will give Mario Cipollini 14 days to change his mind about retiring. "First he asked several times to be selected for the national team and now he wants to stop. I know he is training with Giovanni Lombardi at this moment - already for some weeks. I'll give him 14 days for an answer. Otherwise I won't select him."

Cipollini pulls out of New York City Cycling Championship

Threshold Sports, the organisers of the inaugural New York City Cycling Championship presented by BMC Software on August 4, have announced that Mario Cipollini will not be competing in the race, despite receiving a signed engagement contract from Cipollini's team manager, Vincenzo Santoni on July 9, 2002.

On the day that Cipollini was announced to be competing in the race, he also notified the world of his retirement via a short message on his website. Since then, he has confirmed his intentions to retire after holding a press conference last Monday.

"While we can try to enforce his contract, we can't make the Lion King ride his bike if he doesn't want to," said David Chauner, president of Threshold Sports. "Several other top pros have expressed interest in racing in New York and we hope to fill Mario's spot quickly."

On the other hand, triple Tour de France Champion Lance Armstrong, and 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist Marty Nothstein are among the field of top international cyclists who will race through the streets of Lower Manhattan.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is the official charity of the event, which also includes a pro women's race, Celebrity Chase and BMC Software Corporate Challenge. The men's pro race will be telecast live on WABC-TV New York from 1-4 p.m.

Simoni case postponed

The Italian Cycling Federation's disciplinary commission has decided to postpone their decision involving a possible sanction of Gilberto Simoni, who tested non-negative to cocaine on two occasions on April 24 and May 21. The FCI want to acquire more information about the analysis of his drug tests.

Przydzial suspended for eight months

Piotr Przydzial (CCC-Polsat) who tested positive for EPO in the Peace Race has been suspended for a period of eight months by the Polish cycling federation.

O'Bee suspended for testosterone

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced Thursday that Kirk O'Bee of Ada, Michigan tested positive for an elevated testosterone-epitestosterone ratio at the 2001 USPRO Championships in Philadelphia on June 10, 2001. Testosterone and related compounds are prohibited anabolic steroids under the under the rules of the Union Cycliste International (UCI), the international federation for cycling.

The 25 year old Navigators rider was suspended for one year, beginning on July 15, 2002, which is the maximum suspension in accordance with the applicable UCI rules. O'Bee was also fined 2,000 Swiss Francs. In addition, O'Bee results at the 2001 USPRO Championships will be disqualified.

O'Bee, who is the current USPRO criterium champion, declared that his positive drug test "resulted from a special training regimen recommended by his coach, which involved dietary supplements and exercise."

Vierhouten can go home

Aart Vierhouten (Lotto-Adecco) will be able to travel home today (Thursday). The Dutchman has been in hospital in Rennes after a stomach virus forced him out of the Tour before stage 8. Team doctor Daniel De Neve said that "There is nothing wrong with Aart. He needs 10 or so days of rest. It's normal after an infection like this one."

Burrow back

British rider Jamie Burrow (Amore & Vita Beretta) is back in action after having 10 weeks off the bike and three months without racing due to an injury. The 25 year old recently completed the Course de la Solidarité Olympique stage race in Poland, where he finished 75th. His next race is the Giro del Medio Brenta on July 20.

Strange coincidence: Dick Ploog and Guglielmo Pesenti

Courtesy of Geoff Frost

They say life is strange with its twists and turns. Thought you might be interested in this coincidence.

On Sunday I sent you details of the death of a life member of the Gold Coast CATS Cycling Club, Dick Ploog, who died on Sunday morning. Dick's funeral was held yesterday, Wednesday July 17, and on returning from the funeral I read yesterday's news page and saw that former Italian Track Champion Guglielmo Pesenti had died on Friday night.

Ploog and Pesenti raced each other in the semi final of the 1000 metre sprint at the 1956 Olympic Games. Pesenti won the semi final but severely interfered with Ploog in the process. Ploog's protest was dismissed, so Pesenti went through to the final where he won the silver medal, while Ploog went on to win the bronze.

At Dick's funeral were photo boards of his life, and among them were photos of Ploog and Pesenti together. When I phoned Dick's son Rick to tell him of the coincidence of both men dying within 36 hours of each other, 46 years later, he commented "So he beat Dad again did he?" My comment was "No, your Dad outlasted him by 36 hours".

Cycleways-Lee Strand Grand Prix preview

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

Back on track after a week devoid of competition for Senior cyclists, who in recent weeks have suffered more than anybody because of cancellations. Back at the beginning of June a week after the FBD Milk Ras, a similar occurrence happened.

This Sunday in Narraghmore, Co. Kildare, the Cycleways-Lee Strand Grand Prix is the focus of attention. The Grand Prix is an addition to the calendar because of the cancellation of the Matthew Corcoran, which was scheduled for Naas on Sunday. The demise of this event was a shattering blow to the cycling fraternity. It was one of the most professional events held on the domestic calendar.

Thankfully the ingenuity of Liam Walker who after weeks of negotiation salvaged an event, which is new to the racing calendar. It will be based in the village of Narraghmore, which normally plays host to the local club Hillcrest Hire Kilcullen CC.

"It is a nine mile course with variety a plenty. The climb at Lipstown Hill comes very close to the finish, which will not suit the sprinters. Our intention is to stage a Senior A (9x9 miles), Senior B (7x9) and Juniors, Veterans, Ladies and C's (5x9).

"For those who have intentions of travelling, it will be well signposted and there is no fear of anybody going astray.

"Racing gets under way at one o'clock and I would welcome any volunteers who want to help on the day," said Liam who along with Tom Keenan will be responsible for the staging of these three events.

Down in Cork on Sunday also, the Jim O'Leary goes ahead which is always well supported. Last week's hero, in the All Ireland Junior Championship in Monaghan, Paudi O'Brien should be the one to watch.

Also down in the Munster region, Midleton, a criterium is down for decision on Saturday evening. Favourite to land the spoils here will be local competitor Aidan Crowley. Aidan has a fine turn of speed and this tight circuit that the event is being staged on will suit the capabilities of Crowley who literally enjoys criterium racing.

Aidan then will make the trip to Narraghmore for the Grand Prix on Sunday to lend support to Cycleways-Lee Strand GP who supports his club in a big way.

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)