First Edition News for August 18, 2003
Edited by Jeff Jones
Championship of Zurich: winner's profile
Daniele Nardello scored the biggest win of his nine year career today by taking the 90th Championship of Zurich. Nardello attacked the five man leading group with eight kilometres to go to build a 15 second buffer that no-one, not even turbo diesel Jan Ullrich, could close. It was 31 year old Nardello's 23rd success in his career, which also includes an Italian National Championship and a stage in the Tour de France.
"I had to go very deep to stay with the favourites group but it worked out. I felt strong and absolutely wanted to take my chance for the win. This win makes the past bad year more than good, especially after my terrible Tour. Every win has is special, but one in the World Cup has more shine of course."
Name: Daniele Nardello
Stage in Tour De France
Paris - Bourges
Tour du Haut Var
Meisterschaft Von Zürich/Championship of Zurich
No Vuelta for Ullrich
Jan Ullrich (Team Bianchi) has confirmed that he will not participate in the Vuelta España this year, but has left the door open for the World Road Championships in Hamilton in October. After finishing second for the fourth time in the Championship of Zurich on Sunday, Ullrich indicated that he wouldn't be riding the Vuelta. Team director Rudy Pevenage said that "He won't be starting in the Vuelta in September. We must see how his form goes now. He'll take a break for the first time, because the season has already started to leave its mark."
Ullrich rode strongly today, bridging up to a move on the Forch climb on the last lap that contained Nardello, Hincapie and others, before putting in an attack at the base of the Pfannenstiel. However he admitted that he wasn't as strong as he would have liked to be. "Today I didn't have the legs that I have on my best days," he said, as he was forced to close gaps for much of the rest of the race.
With 2.5 kilometres to go, Ullrich finally broke free of the chasing group and erased 9 seconds of Daniele Nardello's 15 second lead before crossing the line in second place. "Perhaps I could have won if the race was another 400 metres longer," offered Ullrich, but it was clear that Nardello was the strongest and canniest today.
After his victory in the Tour de l'Ain, which finished on Friday, Axel Merckx backed up today to finish a respectable 21st in the Championship of Zurich. However the blonde Lotto-Domo captain thought that things could have perhaps been a little better. "After the Tour de l'Ain, I came clearly too short: I used a lot of strength in Ain and had too little time to rest," Merckx told Belgian TV1 after the race. "Now I'll go and recover. The Grote Prijs Eddy Merckx is my next race: I'll ride the time trial together with Rik Verbrugghe [20th in Zurich]."
"The fact that we're not riding the Vuelta is not bad, it would be crazy to do that because we don't have the team for it. Lotto picks the one day races now that are best. A good month of September hopefully leads to a good World Championship. If coach José De Cauwer calls me up I'll certainly not say no."
Cyclingnews Championship of Zurich coverage
Virenque renews with Quick.Step
Richard Virenque has officially signed a contract with Quick.Step-Davitamon that will see him ride for them through 2004. The Frenchman, who finished 16th in the Championship of Zurich today, described himself as "very happy to be able to ride once again for this team that has proved in these last few months to be a united and winning group; a team that supported me fantastically during the Tour of France."
"I still haven't decided if 2004 will be my last season. As long as I am enthusiastic and get good results I'm sure I'll carry on. Next year I would like to be in perfect condition for the Tour and, why not, take part in the Olympics, a race that I have already done twice."
Quick.Step confirmed that Swiss rider (and friend of Virenque) Laurent Dufaux has given his word to ride with them team next season.
Mick Rogers previews Athens TT
Although the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens are still over a year off, plenty of riders are thinking of them already. This weekend saw the U23 European Championships held in Athens, giving some of the younger riders a chance to experience the climate and the road courses under competition conditions.
This week also saw some members of the Australian contingent fly to Greece to preview the courses. Led by national coach Shayne Bannan, the group included Michael Rogers (Quick.Step-Davitamon), who is a favourite for selection in the time trial.
"On Friday we previewed the time trial, a very fast parcours that uses the coast road. On Saturday 16th August we decided to concentrate on the road race and that appeared extremely difficult. I think it was very important for me to come to Athens and view the races. The Olympics are one of my objectives for next season. I really would love to do well at them and leave my mark."
Dutch reluctant to sign Athens agreement
A sizeable group of Dutch sports people are reluctant to sign an agreement with the NOC*NSF (Dutch Olympic Committee) for the Olympic Games in Athens, 2004. Last Friday (August 15) was the deadline, but swimmer Pieter van den Hoogenband, judoka Mark Huizinga and riders Michael Boogerd, Leon van Bon and Leontien van Moorsel are some of those who refused to sign. So far, 70 percent of the potential athletes for Athens have signed, while the remaining 30 percent includes those unhappy with the agreement, and those who cannot sign for other reasons (e.g. being abroad).
The athletes are concerned about six points, including image rights, insurance and the doping protocol. "From our point of view we want to sign a contract that is correct for both parties," said manager Patrick Wouters on behalf of some of the athletes. "We don't agree with giving our image rights to the NOC*NSF and we also don't agree with the doping rules." Wouters didn't want to go into details as he is still negotiating with the NOS*NSF.
The Dutch Judo Sport Union gave the contract to a lawyer and he had a lot of comments about it, so the Judo Union has advised its judokas not to sign yet.
According to the NOC*NSF website, the Dutch Olympic Committee expects that every Athens candidate will sign. The collection of signed contracts is the job for the various sports unions. NOC*NSF manager Marcel Sturkenboom says there is no indication about sports people who don't want to sign. If athletes or lawyers require more information, they can still contact the "Team de Mission" (Peter Vogelzang, Joop Alberda and Marcel Sturkenboom).
Geminiani operated on
French legend Raphaël Geminiani has been operated on for pleurisy in a hospital in Clermont-Ferrand. The 78 year old rode in the time of Jacques Anquetil and Jean Stablinski, and did the Tour de France 12 times.
Georges Decraeye dies
Belgian Georges Decraeye has died on Saturday, aged 70, after suffering a cerebral haemorrhage. Born in Oudenaarde on July 25, 1933, Decraeye was a professional for 13 years between 1953 and 1965, riding for the Groene Leeuw team, among others. As an amateur, he finished second in the Belgian championships in 1952, which he followed up with a victory in Brussel-Ingooigem in 1960. He also won the GP Zwevegem (1955) and GP Briek Schotte (1954).
Decraeye's son Pino played football for SV Waregem, and is currently involved with the KSV Deerlijk team.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)