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Photo ©: Schaaf

News for January 5, 2003

Edited by Chris Henry

Coast finances remain in question

As reports continue to point to German Team Coast signing Jan Ullrich, questions still remain about the team's non-payment of several riders 2002 salaries. Notably, Frank Høj and Lars Michaelsen have yet to receive payment from the team for the second half of 2002.

"Right now I really just want to get on with what's important for me, and that is to ride my bike, as I don't believe that I will ever get paid by Team Coast," Høj told "I have already contacted UCI, but they just told me to sort things out with Coast myself, so I'm not that optimistic."

Michaelsen, however, is less inclined to let the issue pass quietly. "We had problems with our salary during the whole of 2002," said the rider to Danish TV2. "At first I chose to focus on my cycling career and had my lawyer handle the economical aspects. But it's been going on since March, and it's incredible that Coast is now trying to sign Ullrich. I've contacted the UCI, and I hope that they will prevent Team Coast from being able to sign Ullrich."

Courtesy: Kim Plesner,

Free from US Postal, Boonen thinks big

Tom Boonen, freed from his contentious relationship with US Postal, is thinking big for 2003. The young Belgian hopeful, who signed with Quick Step for 2003 after an extended effort to release himself from a contract with USPS, has been tipped by many as the next great classics specialist after placing third in his first pro Paris-Roubaix.

Despite being surrounded by the likes of Museeuw, Bettini, and Vandenbroucke, Boonen has high hopes for his own performances in the spring classics. Clearly Boonen sees himself riding alongside, not strictly in service of, the team's proven classics winners. "That doesn't pose any stress for me, since my role will no longer be that of a water-carrier," he told La Dernière Heure, in a fairly obvious reference to his limited program at US Postal in 2002.

"Let's imagine that Museeuw wins the Tour of Flanders," Boonen added, "it's not impossible, following that, for me to be protected by my teammates on the pavés of Paris-Roubaix."

Boonen may have tasted his biggest success on the harsh roads of Paris-Roubaix, but he is not ready to limit himself to any given objective. "No one-day race seems inaccessible to me," he stated. "I would be happy to prove myself one day in Liège-Bastogne-Liège."

However high his confidence, Boonen will certainly face the challenge of rivaling his own teammates, Museeuw with three wins each at Flanders and Roubaix, and Bettini with two wins already in Liège, a course he clearly cherishes.

French road season openers

The traditional opening of the French road season will take place Tuesday, February 4 with the GP d'Ouverture "La Marseillaise". The race will be run between Gardanne and Aubagne-Aires St. Michel, with a parcours of 150km. The 2002 edition was won by Xavier Jan (BigMat-Auber 93).

The next day, the 33rd Etoile de Bessèges will begin, including five stages from February 5-9. Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen began his successful 2002 European season with the overall title at Bessèges.

The 2003 stage list is as follows:

February 5 - Stage 1: Saint Cannat- Sainte-Tulle, 153km
February 6 - Stage 2: Marseille-Marseille, 150km
February 7 - Stage 3: Nîmes-Les Flumades, 160km
February 8 - Stage 4: Alès-La Grande Combe, 154km
February 9 - Stage 5: Branoux-les-Taillades-Bessèges, 148km

Tour de Corse 2003

La Roue d'or Ajaccienne and the Comité Régional de Corse have presented the 30th Tour de Corse (Tour of Corsica) for 2003, running from May 8-11. The first Tour was held in 1920, since subjected to numerous cancellations and interruptions. The event resumed in 2001, and is now reserved for National Elite 3 and Regional riders.

The 2003 edition will cover 430km around the island of Corsica, beginning with a prologue time trial and including several mountain passes throughout the race. Previous winners of note include Bernard Hinault, Stephen Roche, and Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle.

Stage list:

May 8 - Prologue TT: Bastia, 4km
May 8 - Stage 1: Bastia-Calvi, 91km
May 9 - Stage 2: Corte-Porto Vecchio, 121km
May 10 - Stage 3: Porto Vecchio-Sartene, 74km
May 10 - Stage 4: Sartene-Propriano TT, 13km
May 11 - Stage 5: Propriano-Ajaccio, 125km


Chouffe to race Elite 2

Alexandre Chouffe will race in the French Elite 2 ranks for 2003, following the abrupt rupture of his contract with Saint Quentin-Oktos for the coming season. Chouffe has signed with SCO Dijon, which this season raced as a DN1 squad. He will join his brother Max, who has worked as a mechanic with the team for several seasons.


BIK Powerplate for 2003

The roster for Dutch women's team BIK-Powerplate has taken shape for 2003. Returning to the team are Andrea Bosman, Tania Belvederesi, Yvonne Brunen, Corine Dorland, Lenie Dijkstra, Alessandra Cappellotto, Corine Hierkens, and Christine Mos.

New members for the coming season include Catherine Bates, Sara Carrigan, Vera Koedooder, Kirsty Robb, and Sharon van Essen. The 13 woman team will be managed by Arie de Jager, along with directeurs sportifs Frank van der Goes and Ton Vrolijk.


Hunter clashes with motorist

South African pro Robert Hunter was involved in a skirmish with a motorist on Monday while out on a training ride with some friends. A motorist reportedly tried to run the group after the road, and after an ensuing argument, the motorist allegedly attacked Hunter. Hunter punched him, breaking a bone in his right hand.

A charge of attempted assault has been laid against Hunter, who was allegedly threatened with a gear lock. He, in turn, has also laid charges against the motorist. According to Hunter's manager, Tony Harding, the cyclist acted in self defence and was shaken up. "It again highlights how dangerous it is for him and all cyclists to apply their trade on South African roads," Harding said.

"We have appointed a top notch lawyer to defend him. Robert feels the case, if it ever goes to court, will provide the public with an insight into the plight of South African cyclists who very often have to deal with harsh conditions on the road," Harding continued.

Evidently the broken hand Hunter suffered won't hamper his training leading into his 2003 season, his first with Rabobank after riding for Mapei. "He underwent surgery on the evening of the incident and was already back on his bike this morning. He will be fully recovered within six weeks and it won't affect his racing program," said Harding.

Source: Wynand de Villiers (SuperCycling)

Glomser Austrian cyclist of 2002

Saeco's Gerrit Glomser has, for the second time since turning pro in 1997, received the honour of Austrian cyclist of the year. The award is voted by journalists, fans, and sponsors of Austrian cycling. Glomser won the Tour of Austria in 2002, and rode consistently to a number of top ten stage finishes in the Vuelta a España.

Final ranking:

1. Gerrit Glomser
2. Franz Stocher
3. Rene Haselbacher
4. Georg Totschnig
5. Elisabeth Osl
6. Peter Wrolich
7. Roland Garber
8. Wolfgang Eibeck
9. Hans-Peter Obwaller
10. Peter Luttenberger

Previous winners:

2001 Franz Stocher
2000 Georg Totschnig
1999 Gerhard Trampusch
1998 René Haselbacher
1997 Gerrit Glomser




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