News for September 14, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones and Chris Henry
Saturday is the 82nd running of the Paris-Bruxelles classic, which despite its name actually starts in Soissons, France and finishes in Anderlecht, on the outskirts of Brussels in Belgium. The parcours is longer than last year's edition, and totals 266km, including a 13.3km finishing circuit. Last year's winner was Emmanuel Magnien, who rode for Française des Jeux but this season moved across to rival French team Bonjour.
Bonjour (Magnien, Nazon, Rous)
Lance Looms Large
By Tim Maloney, European editor in San Francisco
The City By The Bay welcomes the second annual San Francisco Grand Prix and once again, four time Tour De France winner Lance Armstrong heads the start list of 176 riders for the 209km road race through the streets of San Francisco. Unlike last year's inaugural edition, Armstrong is not riding sick and is reportedly quite motivated to win this challenging race. Although shorter than last year's edition, the SFGP is tough course with almost 2800 meters of climbing over the eight large laps of 16 km and 5 smaller finishing circuits of 8.4km, all run on a tough, bumpy urban circuit. Two KOM's per large lap are on the Fillmore Street hill at Broadway and Taylor and Union, while the small lap has just the tough Taylor St. climb.
The peloton will certainly be motivated by the prestige and honour of a win in the SFGP, as well as $10,000 plus a brand new Saturn ION car first prize, but if Armstrong is feeling good, it will be tough for any team to match him and the USPS squad, with and TDF team riders Floyd Landis, Slava Ekimov and powerful Czech Pavel Padrnos riding support.
Last year's winner George Hincapie is still on the comeback trail from his tough fall in last months Clasica San Sebastian. "I'm feeling OK", Hincapie told Cyclingnews at Friday's press conference, held at SF's Niketown. "I'm not 100% - I'm over my injury and been trying to get back in shape the last couple of weeks. But my body just hasn't been feeling like it normally does. But last year I was feeling really great at this point (in the year) despite the long season. We'll see - "
US Champ Chann McRae, who is departing the USPS squad next year is motivated to show his stars and stripes jersey on Sunday. "I'm feeling very good right now - my body's intact!"
As for the rumours that McRae might focus on triathlon next year after winning a tri in Texas, the Austin based McRae wouldn't actively confirm or deny the rumours.
Kevin Livingston of Team Telekom will ride the SFGP on a mixed team with Danny Van Haute's Jelly Belly-Carlsbad Clothing team. The likeable Livingston confirmed that "this will be my last big race. It's too bad the Telekom team couldn't come because of injuries (and Telekom's Bobby Julich and his wife Angela are expecting their first child this weekend in Philadelphia) but I'm here to show the colours. My whole family is coming out and surprisingly my legs are feeling good. I took some time off after I moved back from Europe to Texas but I'm good."
As for the other challengers, Chris Wherry (Mercury) is just off a brilliant win in the Saturn race last month but his Mercury team is certainly no match for the dominant USPS team. Watch Wherry's team-mate Tom Danielson as well. This young climber, who recently broke Tyler Hamilton's Mt. Washington Hillclimb record is rumoured to be moving from the soon to be defunct Mercury team to USPS next year.
Saturn really doesn't have a rider for this race unless Trent Klasna can regain his form of 2001, while Tim Johnson can be expected to give it a go as well. Navigators and Prime Alliance have brought respectable teams to the SFGP, with the New Jersey squads climber Burke Swindlehurst and the Colorado team's Danny Pate likely to be among the best riders. Although both Acqua & Sapone and Saeco-Longoni Sport have their top teams at the Vuelta a España, but both Italian teams with American bike sponsors have brought quality riders to the SFGP.
Zebra striped A&S have two riders in very good shape for SF; both Sicilian climber Michelle Scarponi and Massimo Giunti are danger men. Saeco-Longoni Sport have young talent Damiano Cunego, 1999 Jr. World Champ and German Christian Wegman, while Italian stagiaire Alex Del Sarto is a good climber.
The 2002 San Francisco Grand Prix Preview begins on Sunday 15 September at 8:30 am in front of Justin Herman Plaza on the Embarcadero at the foot of Market Street, with the finish expected at 13:30. Weather is expected to be a beautiful San Francisco day; cool with some fog in the morning, with a sun towards late morning. As last year, huge crowds are expected all along the circuit, especially on Fillmore & Taylor and the finish along the Embarcadero.
Cyclingnews will be covering the San Francisco Grand Prix in its entirety, beginning at 8:30am local time (PDT)/11:30am EDT/17:30 CEST/01:30 Aust. EST (Monday)
Saeco-Longoni Sport looking for 25th
Italian formation Saeco-Longoni Sport will be spanning the globe this Sunday in search of its 25th win of the season. With a strong debut already underway in the Vuelta a Espana, two other teams will compete this weekend in France and the United States. Mirko Celestino will lead the team at the Grand Prix de Fourmies in France, while American rider Justin Spinelli will be racing on home soil with five teammates at the San Francisco GP. The full rosters are as follows:
GP de Fourmies:
Mirko Celestino, Biagio Conte, Nicola Gavazzi, Jorg Ludewig, Cristian Pepoli, Igor Pugaci, and stagiaire Michele Maccanti. Directeur sportif: Guido Bontempi.
San Francisco GP:
Damiano Cunego, Brad Davidson, Oscar Mason, Justin Spinelli and Christian Wegmann, and stagiaire Alessandro Del Sarto. Directeur sportif: Flavio Miozzo.
Tchmil squares a deal with Itera
According to the Belgian press, Andrei Tchmil has reportedly reached a deal with the Itera company to sponsor a Belgian-Russian division II team for the next three years. Tchmil also has an agreement with several riders, including Pavel Tonkov, Dmitri Konychev, Serguei Gontchar and Evgeni Petrov, while Jef Braeckevelt and Piotr Ugrumov will act as team leaders.
As for the existing Division II Itera squad which has seven young Russian riders under contract for next year, Tchmil says that he will discuss it with the Russian federation. He also hopes to add a Belgian sponsor to the team. If he is successful in this, then riders such as Tom Steels, Fabien De Waele, Fredrik Willems, Gert Verheyen, Steve De Wolf and Wesley Van Speybroeck are all potential candidates.
On the other hand according to Cyclingnews sources the director of the existing Itera team, Alexander Kouznetsov, has flatly denied the existence of such a plan. He says it's a complete rumour, like last year's story about the project of a super team, sponsored by the gas company.
Zanini and Fornaciari to Saeco
Stefano Zanini (Mapei-Quick Step) has signed a one year contract for the Saeco team for 2003. The 33 year old from Varese has been a professional since 1991 and has won 29 races in his career.
Saeco has also signed Paolo Fornaciari, professional since 1991 and winner of one race in his career. For Fornaciari his move is a return to Saeco as he rode for the team until 1998.
L'Hoir for another year with EDS-fakta
Belgian cyclist Manu l'Hoir has signed for another year with the Danish EDS-fakta team.
Wegelius to Colpack
British rider Charly Wegelius will ride for Division II team Colpack Astro next year, according to Cycling Weekly.
Guillamón extends with Relax
Spanish Road Champion Juan Carlos Guillamón Ruiz has extended his contract with Relax Fuenlabrada for another season.
Jean Nüttli to go for Hour Record
Acccording to Belgian TV, Jean Nüttli (St Quentin Oktos) will make an attempt on the World Hour Record, currently held by Chris Boardman at 49.411 km. The attempt will take place on November 15 in Bordeaux.
2002 Nebraska Cyclo-cross Series
This year marks the third installment of the Nebraska Cyclo-cross Series. After two years the series has expanded from three to eight events. The 2002 series will feature four competitions in Omaha at Standing Bear Lake, including the Nebraska USCF Cyclo-cross State Championship on Sunday, November 24th.
2002 Nebraska Cyclo-cross Series events: Pioneers Park, Lincoln: October 6, 20; November 3, 17 Standing Bear Lake, Omaha: October 13, 27; November 10, 24
For more information, contact race director John M. Lefler, Jr. at (402) 499-2065 or email@example.com.
Women's stage race for South Africa
Pieter Joubert, Circulation Manager of Huisgenoot, You and Drum Magazines, has announced sponsorship of a new three-day women's stage race to be held in the Western Cape, South Africa. The race will take place in May 2003, and will cover roughly 200km over the three stages, including a criterium and two road stages.
More information on the event will be available on the Pedal Power Website (www.pedalpower.org.za) over in the coming months, or from race organizer Tony Roberts (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Last chance for Leipheimer jersey auction
Bidding closes on September 14 at 9:28am PDT for the signed Levi Leipheimer jersey, being auctioned as a benefit to California cyclist Ross Dillon. In June of this year, Dillon was struck by a car while riding, suffering serious injuries, and has been in a coma since the accident.
All money from the sale of this jersey will be donated to the Ross Dillon Hope Fund to help defray medical costs.
To bid, click here.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)