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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

News for September 11, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Vuelta España news: Stage 4 wrap up

It was another regulation sprinter's stage today, taking place between Aguilas to Roquetas De Mar along the south eastern Spanish coastline. Apart from a breakaway by locally sponsored rider Dario Gadeo (Jazztel-Costa de Almeria), the peloton chose to stay together. Gadeo was hunted down in due course and the Acqua e Sapone zebra train once again executed a perfect leadout for their main man Mario Cipollini, who took his second Vuelta stage win, his 12th season win, and his 179th career win. Not bad.

Tomorrow's stage and the next will be a different scenario, with two mountain top finishes ready to shred the peloton. Be sure to catch all the action live on cyclingnews from 15:00 CEST/09:00 EDT/06:00 PDT/23:00 Aust EST.

Full results & report
Live report
Photos
Danilo Di Luca's Vuelta Diary

Post-stage comments

Mario Cipollini (Acqua e Sapone, 1st stage)

Guess who?
Photo: © Yuzuru Sunada
Click for larger image

"My condition is magnificent and my train is working perfectly. There is union and synergy between those: the team responds well and allows me to give it my best in the sprint. It was a very tricky finale, but with a team like this, I knew I was in safe hands."

"I want to emphasise the work of Daniele Bennati. He has an explosive power that astonishes me. If I was a team manager I would engage him immediately. "

On how long he will stay in the Vuelta: "I think I will stay in Spain until the Vuelta finishes, if my condition continues like this I'll race for another week."

On his plans for the Worlds: "Today I gave a clear reply to the national technical director [Franco Ballerini]. I spoke with him at length last night, now I want to have concrete guarantees".

Joseba Beloki (ONCE, 1st GC)

Beloki in the hot seat
Photo: © Lavuelta.com
Click for larger image

Beloki faces his first real test in the gold jersey tomorrow, when Stage 5 finishes atop the 35km climb of Sierra Nevada (2510m). All the other team's climbers will be out to show what they can do, trying to crack Beloki as they did last year.

"Tomorrow the Vuelta begins for real," commented the race leader. "The nerves of the first few days are over and we will start to calm down a little. The race begins in Sierra Nevada, where we'll all be fighting for places in the general classification."

"Today the team did a great job so that Igor and I stayed ahead in the final kilometres when it was very dangerous. It is a shame that the Vuelta can be lost in such a stage. I think there must be another way to do the finishes, we can't have these roundabouts in the final kilometres."

A minute's silence for September 11

At 11 a.m. local time on Wednesday 11th September, a memorial service will be held in El Ejido at beginning of Stage 5 of the Vuelta, in commemoration of the victims of the September 11 attacks last year. The peloton and organisers will observe a minute's silence, accompanied by the U.S. national anthem and Spanish, U.S. and European flags adorned with black bands. The organisation's vehicles, together with any others who wish to do so, will also carry similar flags throughout the stage as a mark of respect for the victims.

Happy birthday Alberto Martínez

Today's Vuelta birthday boy is Euskaltel-Euskadi rider Alberto Martínez, who turned 27. Martínez has ridden professionally since 1998, all the time with Euskaltel. He has won five races, including stages in the Midi Libre and GP Jornal Noticias (1999), the Vuelta a Burgos and GP Portugal Telecom (2000) and the overall in the Criterium International this year, beating Lance Armstrong. He is currently lying 170th at 17'30 in the Vuelta.

How much does it cost to run the Vuelta?

According to the organisers Unipublic, the 57th Vuelta España will cost 21,036,000 euros to run this year - an average of nearly 1 million euros per day. Where does all the money go, as it's certainly not distributed as prize money?

There will be an estimated 5 million spectators watching the race on the side of the road, and that means that each stage will feature 6000 advertising barriers stretching more than 14 kilometres. The Vuelta's transport includes 57 trailers, 22 trucks, 5 coaches, 70 vans, 600 cars, 200 motorbikes, 8 helicopters, and three aeroplanes - effectively a massive mobile village. Unfortunately the 200 odd cyclists who are relatively environmentally friendly in terms of fuel consumption are outweighed by the motorised fleet, which will consume 330,000 litres of fuel during the three weeks of the race.

Groningen wants a Vuelta start

The success of the start of the Giro d'Italia in the Dutch town of Groningen this year has prompted sports journalist Dick Heuvelman to put forward the idea of a Vuelta start in future. According to ANP, Heuvelman spoke with the organisers of the Vuelta last weekend about the plan, which he hopes will come to fruition in 2007 or 2008.

"I had a very serious meeting with Enrique Franco, the big boss of the Vuelta," said Heuvelman. "He gave me an invitation to the presentation of the route for next year, and he also realises that the idea of the plan is serious."

The opening stage would be a team time trial over 30 km from Groningen to Assen.

Renault back in place of Acqua e Sapone?

With Acqua e Sapone choosing not to sponsor a cycling team next year, after only one year as a top sponsor, there are strong rumours that Renault Europe will come back to the peloton in support of Mario Cipollini's team. Renault sponsored a top French team between 1979 and 1984, with riders such as Bernard Hinault and Laurent Fignon wearing their jerseys. Of course, Renault being a French sponsor means that there is now a better than zero chance that Cipollini will race in the Tour de France in 2003.

Telekom signs Savoldelli

Telekom have finally made it official that Paolo Savoldelli will ride for them next year. The Italian signed a two year contract on Tuesday at the Vuelta. "We already confirmed him a few days ago," said Walter Godefroot. "However I am happy that we have the Giro winner officially in our ranks."

For his part, Savoldelli has admitted that he is only riding the Vuelta to please his current sponsors Index-Alexia, and to help his teammate Ivan Quaranta. Unfortunately for the team, both riders crashed in the final 10 km of today's fourth stage.

Virenque to Quick Step

Richard Virenque will ride next season for Patrick Lefevere's Quick Step-Davitamon team. Virenque, who will turn 33 this year, signed a one year contract on Monday in Gdansk at the Tour of Poland. It will be the fifth team that Virenque has ridden for since he turned pro with RMO in 1991, the others being Festina, Polti and Domo-Farm Frites. However, Virenque's request to Lefevere that Laurent Dufaux also ride for the team was turned down.

Other riders to sign for Quick Step recently including Frank Vandenbroucke (for two years) and Pedro Horrillo (for three years). The team will have a budget of approximately 8 million euros next year, and has the following riders under contract: Frédéric Amorison, Paolo Bettini, Laszlo Bodrogi, Davide Bramati, Aurelien Clerc, Wilfried Cretskens, Pedro Horrillo, Kevin Hulsmans, Andrei Kashechkin, Johan Museeuw, Nick Nuyens, Luca Paolini, Domenico Passuello, Michael Rogers, Patrick Sinkewitz, Frank Vandenbroucke, Kurt Van de Wouwer, Jurgen Van Goolen, Sven Vanthourenhout, and Richard Virenque.

David Cañada, Piotr Wadecki, Servais Knaven, Bram Tankink and Dave Bruylandts are still negotiating with Lefevere.

Dessel to Phonak

Cyril Dessel (Jean Delatour) has signed for the Swiss Phonak Hearing Systems team. It is also rumoured that another French rider will join this team, possibly Laurent Brochard.

Van Steen extends with Van Hemert Groep

Martin van Steen, Dutch national champion for elites without contract, signed for another year with the Van Hemert Groep Cycling Team.

Hesjedal stagiaire for Rabobank

Canadian mountain biker Ryder Hesjedal will ride as a stagiaire for Rabobank for the rest of this season. Hesjedal won the U23 cross country World Cup, and is aiming to ride the World Time Trial championships on the road.

Also see: Stagiaires for 2002

Scanlon happy with trial so far

By Shane Stokes, Irishcycling.com

Following a strong display at the weekend, Mark Scanlon's prospects of securing a contract with the AG2r team for 2003 have taken another step forward. The 21 year old stagiaire showed his excellent form in finishing towards the fore in both Saturday's 1.1 Coppa Placci event and the Giro di Romagna one day later, rubbing shoulders with some of the world's top professionals and impressing the French team with his strength.

"They were happy with how I was going," he said. "On Saturday I was in the group sprinting for first place, then on Sunday we were going for 19th. I am not sure exactly where I finished but think it was about 25th each day. They are both very tough races, with some really good pros, so it is a pretty good sign."

Scanlon is in ongoing talks with the first division team with regard to racing with them next season and expects that a decision will be made before the world championships in early October. For now he is keeping mum about his chances, preferring not to comment when asked what his prospects are. However many will speculate that the 1998 junior world champion's good display should prove to be enough to convince AG2r of his worth.

Next on Scanlon's programme is the famous Paris-Brussels race, a 1.1 semi-classic this Saturday, with the identically-ranked Grand Prix des Fourmies following 24 hours later and the 1.2 Grand Prix d'Isbergues on September 22nd. The team have decided to change the next events on his schedule in order to maximise his chances of performing in the world championships, and so Scanlon will now line out in the 2.3 Paris-Corrèze stage race from September 27-29th and the 1.3-ranked Paris-Bourges on October 3rd.

"The team felt that the Giro della Provincia di Lucca was a little close to the world championship time trial so rather than running the risk of me going into the worlds a bit tired, they have decided to change the programme a little," he explained.

Remaining races on Scanlon's AG2r Schedule:

September:

14th: Paris-Bruxelles (France/Belgium) 1.1
15th: GP de Fourmies (France) 1.1
22nd: GP d'Isbergues (France) 1.2
27-29: Paris-Corrèze (France) 2.3

October:

3rd: Paris-Bourges (France) 1.3

Stars to race in Curação

Johan Museeuw, Paolo Bettini, Michael Boogerd, Andrea Tafi and Alex Zülle will be amongst the stars who will race in a 90 km event in Curação on November 2 this year. The field will include all the winners of the World Cup races this year as well as the top three in the overall classification. The race, known as the Amstel Bright Race, is part of the festivities planned for the presentation of the 2002 World Cup. Why have it in the Caribbean? Why not!

Lampre-Daikin for upcoming races

In addition to the team competing in the Vuelta, Lampre-Daikin will send squads to three other races this week: GP Van Steenbergen (Wednesday 11 September), Paris-Bruxelles (Saturday 14 September) and the GP de Fourmies (Sunday, 15 September). The teams are as follows:

GP Van Steenbergen Aartselaar

Ludo Dierckxsens, Raivis Belohvosciks, Alessandro Cortinovis, Alberto Loddo, Luciano Pagliarini, Marco Pinotti, Manuel Quinziato, Marco Serpellini

Paris-Bruxelles

Rubens Bertogliati, Ludo Dierckxsens, Raivis Belohvosciks, Alessandro Cortinovis, Alberto Loddo, Luciano Pagliarini, Manuel Quinziato, Maximilian Sciandri, Marco Serpellini

GP de Fourmies

Rubens Bertogliati, Ludo Dierckxsens, Sergio Barbero, Alessandro Cortinovis, Gabriele Missaglia, Marco Pinotti, Maximilian Sciandri, Marco Serpellini

Three day MTB race in the Netherlands

The first ever professional mountain bike tour to be held in the Netherlands will take place between September 20 and 22 in Drenthe. The race will be known as the Dutch Mountainbike tour (DMT) and will consist of a prologue and three stages, with a total length of 160 km.

The race will be classified as D2 by the UCI, which allows for world ranking points to be scored, and the organisers are expecting a good quality field to take part in the event.

Joint Australian National MTB series announced

Cycling Australia today endorsed a trial joint national 2002/2003 mountain bike series. The trial comes as Cycling Australia and Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA), which has operated as an independent domestic organisation since 1999, work towards finalising the reunification of the discipline of mountain bike in Australia.

Cycling Australia's Council, the constituent member body of the sport, met today in Mooloolaba, and endorsed the concept of reunification, but agreed that further discussion is needed before the two MTB bodies come back together.

"There was a very positive response from the meeting for the plan to bring mountain bike back under one umbrella," said Mike Victor, President of Cycling Australia. "But it's felt more time is required to allow all those affected to be consulted and to participate in the development of an appropriate model for reunification."

Cycling Australia will seek assistance from the Australian Sports Commission to facilitate a forum to which interested parties will be invited. However, as this will take time, Cycling Australia has agreed to endorse a trial joint national series as a gesture of goodwill. The details of this are yet to be confirmed but it will involve a series of races and a singular MTB Australian Championships.

2002 Vergesports Mid-Atlantic Cyclo-Cross Series.

Monkey Hill Cycle Sports and Vergesports have announced the 2002 Vergesports Mid-Atlantic Cyclo-Cross Series. The Mid-Atlantic series started as a grass roots cyclo-cross series, which has grown to include several UCI sanctioned races that draw national and international talent.

The region's top cyclo-cross series incorporates races from New Jersey to Virginia and includes the 2002 version of the Regional Cup. In its second year, the Regional Cup is a hotly contested, one-day show down between the top riders and teams of the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions.

The Vergesports series kicks off on October 6th in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

October 6, 2002: Evo Cross, Wrightstown PA 
October 13, 2002: Beacon, Bridgeton NJ 
October 19, 2002: Granogue (UCI), Granogue DE 
October 20, 2002: Monkey Hill (UCI) Wilmington DE 
October 27, 2002: PVC/All Hallows Reston VA 
November 2, 2002: Lancaster (UCI) Lancaster PA 
November 3, 2002: Highland Park Highland Park NJ 
November 30, 2002: Nov-02 Rockville Bridge/ Marysville PA 
December 7, 2002: Phelps Cross Main Line PA 
December 8, 2002: Fair Hill, Fair Hill MD 

More information: www.monkeyhillcs.com/mac

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