News for November 2, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones and Chris Henry
German Olympic Committee may exclude Ullrich from 2004 Olympics
The German National Olympic Committee (NOK) will decide this Sunday whether to allow Jan Ullrich to compete in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Ullrich, who won the road race at the Sydney Olympics and finished second in the time trial, is currently under suspension for testing positive to amphetamines in June, 2002 during his rehabilitation from a knew injury. Although it was officially recognised that Ullrich wasn't using the drugs for doping, the rules of the NOK state that "The Olympic team cannot contain any athletes who have, between October 1, 2000 and August 12, 2004, been proven to have committed an offence against the Anti-Doping Code."
Given the circumstances, the exclusion of Ullrich would certainly cause a stir. However at this stage it's not even known whether Ullrich will be racing in 2004 and if so, whether he is interested in riding in the Olympics.
Botero honored in Colombia
Colombia's president, Alvaro Uribe, awarded Santiago Botero the National Sports Medal of Honor on Thursday, congratulating the cyclist on his victory in the World Time Trial Championships and his performance in this year's Tour de France. Botero received the award at a ceremony in the Nariño Palace, where he declared "I have sacrificed a lot in the last 11 years, and have had some very difficult moments. What helped me win the gold medal at the World Championships was the motivation that comes from representing a country like Colombia." Botero presented Uribe with his gold medal from Zolder and a rainbow jersey.
President Uribe pledged his support for sports in Colombia, despite economic constraints which Botero himself has worked to overcome. Botero noted that his goals in the coming years include the World's, the Tour de France, and the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
Gazet van Antwerpen Trofee opens at the Koppenberg
The first round of the Gazet van Antwerpen Trofee cyclo-cross series in Belgium was held in Oudenaarde today, over the famous Koppenberg, with Rabobank's Richard Groenendaal and Sven Nys finishing first and second in a dominating performance. The seven race series will feature some of the biggest names in the sport, including World Champion Mario De Clercq, Sven Nys, Richard Groenendaal, Erwin Vervecken, and Bart Wellens in the men, and Laurence Leboucher and Hanka Kupfernagel in the women. There are also races for juniors and beginners.
Gazet van Antwerpen Trofee
November 1, 2002: Internationale Cyclo-Cross Koppenberg, Oudenaarde
Hunt and Sweet to Saint-Quentin-Oktos
Jeremy Hunt, winner of this year's GP Plouay, has signed a contract with French formation Saint-Quentin-Oktos for 2003. Hunt moves to Saint-Quentin-Oktos from Big Mat-Auber. Also joining the team in 2003 will be Jay Sweet (Saturn). The team line up for the coming season looks to be set with the following 14 riders:
Jean-Patrick Nazon to Jean Delatour
French sprinter Jean-Patrick Nazon has signed a contract with the Jean Delatour team. Nazon, 25, turned pro for La Française des Jeux in 1999. This season Nazon found success with stage wins at the Critérium International and Four Days of Dunkerque.
Somarriba looks ahead
Despite the withdrawal of the Deia-Pragma-Colnago team from the women's peloton, Joanne Somarriba remains upbeat about the coming season and her prospects in the sport. "I am still excited to race," she told sports daily Marca, "unlike in other years where I had my doubts or my ambition to continue was not as high." Somarriba has to her credit two wins in the Tour Féminin, as well as two victories in the Giro d'Italia. The Spanish climber ended her 2002 season with strong performances at the (decidedly flat) World Championships in Zolder, finishing fourth time trial, and third in road race.
Somarriba indicated she will likely join an Italian team, but hopes to be joined by her current teammates. Her primary objective for the 2003 season remains the Tour Féminin, though she will also focus on the World's in Canada and the Vuelta.
GP CAM Valencia honors two
The 13th Criterium Internacional de Ciclismo de la Comunidad Valenciana, to be run on November 10, will this year honor Javier Otxoa and Abraham Olano. The race is organized by CD Podium and sponsored by the Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo (CAM).
Olano will leave ONCE when he retires at the end of the year, while Otxoa hopes to return to cycling after a long recovery from his injuries in an accident which also claimed the life of his brother Ricardo. The brothers Otxoa rode together for Kelme. In their honor, the race's focus will be "to raise consciousness and promote road security," according to CAM advisor Enrique Ros. The last great rider honored by the race was Eddy Merckx, with victory on that occasion taken by Angel Casero. Other previous winners include Pedro Delgado, Gianni Bugno, Tony Rominger, and Bjarne Riis. Miguel Indurain counts the most victories, with three in the criterium.
Tour of Southland preview
By Alan Messenger
New Zealand's Tour of Southland, which gets under way from Invercargill at the bottom of the south Island on Monday November 4th, is the country's oldest established and it's biggest cycling tour. The race was first held in 1956 as part of the Southland province Centennial celebrations. It was intended to be a "one off" but 46 years later it is still going strong.
"It just keeps getting bigger and better," race organiser Bruce Ross told Cyclingnews.
Other major Tours have come and gone in New Zealand but only the Southland event has stood the test of time. "It's a lot because of the loyal support the event receives from the sport loving Southland Public. For one week in November many communities throughout the region grind to a halt as the Tour winds its way around the Province," Ross said.
Since its inception, the Tour has attracted the cream of New Zealand cycling talent. The winners list includes the Sport's biggest Kiwi names: Warwick Dalton, Tino Tabak, Paul Jesson, Eric McKenzie and in recent years Jack Swart, Brian Fowler, Stephen Cox and Graeme Miller.
Eight time winner Fowler is back in the field this year, riding as a veteran but he says that it will definitely be his last. Swart is also making a sentimental return to the race this year.
Only two overseas riders, both Australian, have ever won the tour, Malcolm Powell in 1964 and David Gee in 1970 but that may be about to change. The race has been sanctioned as a UCI event and with it there is an influx of overseas riders.
Among them is the well seasoned Aussie David McKenzie. The tough Victorian finished fourth in the recent Sun Tour. He also lists on his CV a win in the 2001 Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic and he's a former Australian Road Champion, not to mention his Giro d'Italia stage win in 2000. McKenzie will be well supported by two top line Kiwis Scott Guyton and Lee Vertongen.
Four recent winners are back in the field this year. Guyton, Glen Mitchell, Gordon McCauley and last year's winner Karl Moore must all be considered serious contenders again. Last week at Invercargill McCauley won his third national Road Championship and also the Time Trial Title.
SBS cycling programme to kick off on December 22
With Australian cycling enjoying its best season on several levels, the interest in the sport is picking up on the domestic front. Free to air TV channel SBS is gearing up to broadcast a weekly half hour cycling programme, with the first show set for December 22. The magazine style programme will be presented by Mike Tomalaris, who has covered the Tour de France for SBS for many years, and will feature the Doherty Hotels Launceston International Classic in the December 29 broadcast.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)