News for January 12, 2003
Edited by Anthony Tan
Davide Rebellin remembers Denis Zanette
The unexpected death on Friday of Fassa Bortolo rider Denis Zanette, 32, to a heart attack as he was leaving a dentist's surgery on Friday has stunned the Italian and global cycling communities.
Leading Italian rider Davide Rebellin, who rode for three years on the same teams as Zanette, is deeply hurt by the loss of his good friend. Rebellin rode with Zanette with Polti in 1999 and then with Liquigas-Pata in 2000 and 2001.
"Zanette always was extremely sensible, in his understanding of others and his ability to adapt to different situations," Rebellin told Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport. "He was a good guy - a real altruist, generous both on and off the bike and always smiling."
Rebellin added that their conversations often slipped beyond cycling, and Zanette would often show him the plans to a house he was building a kilometre away from Rebellin's, where Zanette was planning to live with his wife Manuela and his two daughters, Anna and Paola, born eight months ago after the beginning of the Giro.
Said Rebellin, "We thought along the same lines - we rode the same wave. He was like a brother to me. And in racing, you could trust him blindfolded; it appealed to him to put himself in the service of others rather than for personal gain."
Fassa Bortolo's 2003: Bartoli update
It has been a terrible start to the season for the Fassa Bortolo team, first with Michele Bartoli's crash in training on January 7 and the tragedy of Zanette passing away. While the inital report following Bartoli's crash indicated the injuries were not too serious, further tests showed it was actually much worse.
The diagnosis for Bartoli revealed a fractured pelvis that will keep him off the bike for at least 15 days. Bartoli spent the afternoon in the San Rossore Hospital on Saturday for further tests. Writing on his Web site, the rider said "I've already known that I would spend my first 'Italian day' after the last day's accident between medical examinations and consultations to have a more detailed diagnosis. At the San Rossore hospital orthopedist Dr Mario Spinelli subjected me, as a precaution, to a kidney echography. Here the diagnosis: a transversal compound fracture of the ischial-pubic zone and a slightly decomposed oblique fracture of the iliac-pubic one. There are two fractures even if they are quite little. It shouldn't be a very serious complication but the situation will be valued again in the following weeks. I will undergo a new examination and I will take an x-ray in 15 days: my recovery will depend on the length of the calcification. For the moment the best treatment is a complete rest."
Bartoli said the accident happened "in a very banal way". Earlier this week he had been training in Barcellona in search of good weather with team-mates Petacchi, Pieri and Flecha. "We were just starting when after only 200 metres I crashed because of the moist ground. I realised at once it was a quite serious accident. According with the first check it could be a compound fracture of my right iliac, just like the last year in Germany. I felt a strong pain, I move with difficulty, but above all I am frustrated since this accident will be likely to affect the first part of my season."
De Clercq the favourite - according to himself
Of the cream of the Belgian cyclo-cross spread - Nys, Wellens, Vervecken and De Clercq, it is the last name who is considered the hot favourite to take today's Belgian national cyclo-cross championship. At least according to Mario De Clercq, anyway.
"If the condition of the course does not change too much and if the temperatures also remain cold, my competitors will have to be strong to prevent me from taking the title," said a confident De Clercq, 36.
After displaying incredible form in round 5 of the Superprestige series in Diegem, De Clercq won his third race in the space of one week shortly after Christmas with victory in the Centrumcross Surhuisterveen. However, the reigning world champion claims to be suffering from a sore back, and in last weekend's World Cup race in Liéven, De Clercq finished behind rivals Sven Nijs and Bart Wellens, the former winning the race from Dutchman Richard Groenendaal.
De Clercq acknowledges that "it will be easy - Sven Nijs and Bart Wellens were in great form at Liévin". There are others too: Ben Berden, Bert De Waele, Philippe Gilbert (the only Walloon), Erwin Vervecken, and Tom Vannoppen, to name just a few.
Ullrich not quite right
If finding a team for 2003 wasn't enough of a drama for former Team Telekom star Jan Ullrich, the German's incessant knee problems may prevent him from racing at the top level in the forseeable future.
Despite two operations to his right knee in May and August last year, Ullrich's sport doctors have instructed him not to raise his training load any further at this stage.
"My physicians have recommended that I do not increase my training in a way that I would like," said Ullrich on his website, janullrich.de.
Coast is equally cautious about Ullrich's plight, playing their cards close to their chests. Team Coast's Sport Manager, Wolfram Lindner, said to German sports publication Sport-Informations-Dienst: "Before a signature can be made, we must have the green light from our team physician, Dr. Ernst Jacob."
Cipollini's new team: Domina Vacanze
Recently crowned World Champion Mario Cipollini and the rest of his team - formerly known as Acqua & Sapone - are now sponsored and known as Domina Vacanze-Elitron-RDZ.
As reported in Tech News on January 9, the Lion King and the rest of the Domina Vacanze team will continue to ride on Specialized's S-Works E5 road machines, the final design - 22 in total - used to full effect in Cipo's stunning victories in Milan-San Remo and Gent-Wevelgem, six stages in the Giro d'Italia, three in the Vuelta a España and, of course, the World Road Championships.
The following early season races are earmarked for Cipollini and his zebra-striped squadra: Tour Méditerranéen (Feb 12-16), Trofeo Luis Puig (Feb 23), Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (Feb 25-Mar 1), Tirreno-Adriatico (Mar 13-19) and Milano-Sanremo (Mar 22). As part of their Division I status, the Domina Vacanze-Elitron-RDZ team will also be focusing on the three major tours, namely the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France, and Vuelta a Espana.
Mario Cipollini (Ita)
Virenque eyes l'Alpe d'Huez and Worlds
At the official team presentation of new Belgian Divsion I squad Quick Step-Davitamon last Thursday, Richard Virenque announced he is already eyeing victory in a mountain stage of this year's Tour de France - in particular stage 8 to l'Alpe d'Huez - and the World Championships to add to his lengthy list of palmarès.
"I hope to win a major mountain stage in the Tour de France and also do well in the World Championships in Canada at the end of the season," said Virenque, who turns 34 this year.
"For me 2003 will be an important season. Quick Step is a good team and I think we'll have a good season. We're all motivated and there's a good team spirit. I've won several mountain stages on the Tour de France in places such as Morzine, La Plagne Luz-Ardiden and at Mont Ventoux last year but I've never won at l'Alpe d'Huez."
The pin-up boy of French cycling - at least according to the housewives' poll - still hasn't forgotten about his infamous past, where he and the rest of the Festina squad were thrown out of the 1998 Tour, implicated for the possession of banned doping substances. Virenque eventually admitted to taking drugs and was subsequently banned from the sport for eight months.
"I can never forget what happened; it is engraved in my mind," reflected Virenque.
However, the Frenchman is determined to overcome his demons from years past and continue racing for at least another two seasons.
"It was a difficult time for me but now I'm stronger mentally. I was under attack every day and thought my career was over, but I had the strength and determination to come back and I'm still here ready to start another new season," said the enthusiastic Frenchman.
"I'm proud of how I've managed to continue racing and I think other riders in the sport respect me for how I survived."
Virenque also believes the 2004 Olympic Games are achievable. "I rode in Atlanta and Sydney; I'll be 35 in 2004 but I think I can make it to Athens," he said. Virenque's first race of the 2003 season will be the Tour of Qatar, commencing January 31.
Savoldelli's a no show at the Giro
Telekom leader Paolo Savoldelli regrets that he will not be able to defend his title in this year's Giro d'Italia, but understands that to challenge Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France, he and the rest of Team Telekom must direct all their efforts towards those three weeeks in July.
The 29 year old resident of Bergamo told gazzetta.it that "Telekom is very clear on their intentions. The Tour remains the first objective of the team, and because Ullrich is no longer with Telekom, all efforts must be directed to victory in France."
"With Botero, Evans, Klöden and myself, we must try and make life as difficult as possible for Armstrong," analysed Savoldelli, nicknamed "il Falco" (the Falcon) for his incredible descending ability. "We will make sure that we are always on the attack, especially in the mountains; hopefully four riders like us can overcome one champion."
Savoldelli added that the race will decide whether Botero or he will be the "il capitano", and that in the three previous editions he has ridden the Tour ('96, '99 and 2000), the objective was to gain experience, not ride for the overall classification.
However, Savoldelli emphasises that 2003 will be different. "I have already trained hard for 15 days in December, riding up to four hours each day and focusing on my pedalling. I have also done some mountaineering and a number of long walks in the mountains. Now is the time to begin training seriously, increasing the mileage and losing some weight."
Savoldelli will make his racing debut in February, begininning with the Giro Riviera Ligure di Ponente or the Tour of Valencia, then Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-San Remo and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Livingston decides to keep the wheels spinning
Former member of US Postal and Telekom, Kevin Livingston, late last year decided to step back from the professional racing scene at 29 to spend more time with his family and explore other opportunities, one of which will be running cycling clinics and camps in Texas.
Livingston has linked up with AustinOutbound to run cycling clinics and camps in the Texas' Hill Country. "Cycling has been such a huge part of my life up to this point and I am looking forward to this," he said. "This is the best of both worlds for me and my family; I can give back to cycling by sharing my experiences with people and spend more time with the most important people in my life - my wife Becky and our young daughter, Kate."
"My life up to this point has been profoundly interesting - I’m 29 years old with many projects in the works and I feel confident that for me, life is just beginning."
Team Telekom Malaysia for TdL
Defending Asian champions Team Telekom Malaysia, who are gunning for a hat-trick of wins in the upcoming Telekom Malaysia Le Tour de Langkawi, today announced a strong roster made up of four old faces and three newcomers for the 2003 edition of the Le Tour de Langkawi (Jan. 31 to Feb. 9).
With the brutal climb of Genting Highlands invariably determining the outcome for any team, Team Telekom Malaysia has formed a team made up of five Asians and two Europeans, the majority of them competent climbers.
Tonton Susanto of Indonesia, Wong Kam Po of Hong Kong, Iranian Ghader Mizbani Iranagh and Nor Effandy Rosli are the old faces of the team while Tsen Seong Hoong of Malaysia, Italian Simone Mori and Irish sprinter Tommy Evans are joining the composite team for the first time.
Gamuda Eagle Tour 2002 champion Simone Mori of Team Nippon Hodo, is expected to boost the team's strength with his climbing abilities while Irish sprinter Tommy Evans, who won a stage and was 10th overall in the Gamuda Eagle Tour, is expected to shoulder the team's hopes in the sprints.
Reigning Asian champion Tonton Susanto will certainly be the man to watch following his exploits and prowess in the mountains in last year's LTdL. The Indonesian, who recently signed a professional contract with Taiwan-based Division III team GiantART, has time and again proven his reputation as one of Asia's best climbers, along with Kam Po and Mizbani.
The presence of Kam Po, the only Asian to have won a stage in the Tour, and Mizbani, the Iranian champion who won the King of Mountains jersey in last year's Gamuda Eagle Tour, are both expected to be a strong contenders for the overall Asian crown.
Telekom Malaysia Chief Executive Datuk Dr. Md Khir Abdul Rahman hoped that the team would be able to retain their domination in the Asian competition and improve on their previous results - the team finished 7th on the general classification in the past two years.
"It is our hope that the team will keep on improving, and with this lineup, I believe we can do even better," said Datuk Dr. Md Khir.
First Cartel Executive Chairman Datuk Wan Lokman Dato' Paduka Wan Ibrahim agreed with Datuk Dr. Md Khir's comments, and said that the presence of several strong climbers should place the team as one of the strong contenders for the race.
"I would say there is a good combination with emphasis on the mountain stages. The boys should be able to make Telekom Malaysia proud and stand tall in the race," said Datuk Wan Lokman.
National rider, Nor Effandy, was thankful to Telekom Malaysia for putting their trust in him to ride and lead the team.
"It's a heavy responsibility but I'm delighted that the team has given me another chance not only to be in the team, but also to lead the challenge. However, we'll have to get down to business as soon as possible to work things out," said Nor Effandy.
Former SEA Games gold medallist Seong Hoong was elated with his selection, saying: "I'm honoured, but at the same, the pressure will be immense. The important thing is working hard for the team, and not for personal glory."
Nor Effandy Rosli (Mal)
Reynes to LA Pecol
Spanish rider Vicente Reynes will start his professional career with the Portuguese team LA Pecol. There the 21 year old will join two of his countrymen, Juan Gomis and Yon Bru, both of them starting their second seasons as pros, as well as riders of LA Pecol.
Reynes signed a two year deal with his new team after choosing not to accept the offer from Milaneza-MSS.
Winner of the Semana Aragonesa, Vicente Reynes closed his third and last season as an U23 coming 15th in the U23 Road World championships in Zolder, Belgium. Having as an idol the great Laurent Jalabert, Reynes is a rider for all road profiles, and is considered as one of the best Spanish riders of his generation.
Vicent Reynes is looking forward to February 2, the first day of the XII Vuelta a Mallorca, and most likely his first day as pro.
Courtesy of João Cravo
Salsa to debut with TDS Women’s Pro Cycling Team
Salsa Cycles, a Minneapolis-based company known for its popular steel frames, will debut a new line of Scandium frames with their sponsorship of the TDS Telecom Women’s Professional Cycling Team for 2003.
The newly-formed squad will ride the Salsa Campeón, a Scandium/carbon road frameset, on the National Racing Circuit (NRC) and at other races during the 2003 season. As part of the sponsorship agreement, the manufacturer will also provide Team TDS with Salsa’s pro-level stems, handlebars, bar tape, seatposts, water bottles, cages and tubes. Scandium Campeón production frames will be available at retail locations in Spring 2003.
Verge Sport gets Jittery
New York based custom cycle clothing manufacturer, Verge Sport, has signed on to be the official apparel sponsor for the Jittery Joe’s Professional Cycling Team.
"We are excited about our relationship with Verge clothing. Verge really uses quality fabrics and modern craftsmanship, so we know our pros will be comfortable in their cycling clothing all year long", says Jittery Joe’s Team Manager, Micah Rice.
Princeton University Cycling Team announced
For a third year in succession, Mercury Vehicles will be the Princeton University Cycling Team's title sponsor.
After winning the Eastern Conference Division II title for the second time in 2002, the team is upgrading to Collegiate Division I for 2003. The team's objectives are a record eleventh Ivy League Cycling Championship, a win in the road race at Collegiate Nationals and an Eastern Conference Championship.
The team is led by four-time Collegiate National Champion Tyler Wren, with sprinter Scott Rickard and previous Collegiate Nationals podium winner Alistair Sponsel. The women's team will feature veterans Amanda Alexander, Michelle Hemmat and Kate Swearengen.
Coaching the elite men will be Patrick Kennedy; Rod Murray of Cycle Right Training will be working with the women and the men's development team. Peter Betjemann, former Junior National team rider, will be the sprint coach.
Jason Houck (senior, civil engineering)
Amanda Alexander (junior, religion)
Scottish Cyclists' Union awards night
The Scottish Cyclists' Union Annual Awards Presentation and Dinner Dance will take place in East Kilbride at the Hilton Hotel, Stewartfield, next Saturday, January 18. The theme will be linked to the SCU's 50th anniversary celebrations and the success of Scottish riders from 1952-2002.
Tickets will be on sale from the office at the price of £22 with a 25 per cent reduction for award winners (£16.50). Orders can be placed by phoning the SCU office on 0131 652 0187 or by calling 01560 485990.
Overnight accommodation is available at the Hilton at the special rate of £30 per person sharing a twin room. People requesting this overnight accommodation should contact the Hilton direct on 013552 36300, mentioning they are attending the SCU function.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)