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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition News for March 6, 2003

Edited by John Stevenson & Jeff Jones

No impending demise for Ullrich's new squad

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

Alain Rumpf, the UCI's manager of the Professional Cycling Council today clarified the current situation on the status of Team Coast. "Up until now, the UCI has had no reason to impose any sanctions against Team Coast," Rumpf told Cyclingnews from his office in Aigle, Switzerland.

"Certainly, Team Coast has to send us specific documents as required by the UCI's Professional Cycling Council for their registration, and perhaps they have been asked for more information than some other teams this year, but everything with Coast so far is in order."

Rumpf also pointed out that Coast had initially paid riders with cheques, but that this was not acceptable and since then, Coast has paid via wire transfer as required by the PCC rules.

Coast DS Rudy Pevenage
Photo: © Cyclingnews
Click for larger image

Further to this, Coast directeur sportif Rudy Pevenage was quoted in Gazet van Antwerpen as saying that "All wages for January have been paid, the salaries for February are on their way, but it is also clear that Mr Dahms [Coast boss] is no Telekom or Rabobank."

Pevenage pointed out that the team still hasn't got the €2 million bank guarantee back from the UCI from 2002, due to the various rider disputes. "Normally, Mr Dahms would have got that money back at the beginning of the year," said Pevenage. "He has enough to finance the team this year. Once again, Telekom never had problems with that amount. For us, it is something else again."

Armstrong believes he can win six

Lance Armstrong believes he can win six Tours de France, according to an interview with the four-time Tour champion at his team's training camp in Solvang, California by French sports newspaper l'Equipe.

"My ambition is to win the Tour de France and that will be the same until I decide to end my cycling career," said Armstrong. "It would be presumptuous on my part to say that I can do it, but I believe I have the form to win six."

"The Tour is my cycling life. It is what gets me out of bed in the mornings. All the time that I dedicate to cycling is toward this goal."

Affirming that he did not expect it to be easy to win this year's Tour, Armstrong named his main rival as Jan Ullrich. "I think he missed a great opportunity to relaunch his career when he signed for Team Coast, but he is still my number one rival and without him the job would not have the same flavour."

Other riders that Armstrong sees as threats include Santiago Botero and the ONCE team.

Armstrong also cited the efforts of his US Postal team-mates as vital in his Tour de France victories, saying that in last year's Tour they were "stronger than ever."

"We all work for the same objective, the yellow jersey that only I wear, but everyone contributes. In the Tour, the team has one leader, me. Everyone works toward my victory and I am happy to take on that heavy responsibility. But in other races I am perfectly capable of putting myself at the service of the team when I am not the strongest rider and I have shown that on several occasions."

But winning Tours de France is not without its costs. "The suffering and the sacrifice are the things that mark the difference between a champion and someone who will never be one," he said. "If I did not accept the suffering I would feel that I was betraying the public, the team and myself. I am the best because I can suffer more and make more sacrifices than others."

A victory in the centennial Tour is extra motivation for Armstrong as a win this year will feel like "being a part of this legend."

O'Grady & McGee add fireworks to Good Friday meet

If Bradley Wiggins and David Millar were expecting an all-UK showdown in this year's Good Friday track meet at Herne Hill, London, April 18, they're in for a surprise. Two of Australia's top riders will be lining up for what's set to be a fiery event.

Commonwealth Games and Australian road champion Stuart O'Grady (Credit Agricole) and current world pursuit champion Brad McGee (fdjeux.com) will also be on the start line for Herne Hill's unique 10 Minute Pursuit race.

Neither O'Grady nor McGee have ridden track in the UK except in their Australian colours and both are really looking forward to taking on two of Britain's best roadmen. Wiggins, the 1998 World Junior Pursuit Champion, has plenty of track experience, but Millar has never having raced on the track before. As Millar says, "It's going to be pretty cool racing Stuart and Brad on the track in the UK, whether I am up to the job remains to be seen!"

"This really is the dream race," said organizer Graham Bristow on hearing the news that the four riders were confirmed. "It should be a really special event at what is already a great day." The Good Friday Meeting is in its centenary year and the roadmen are just the icing on the cake of what is going to be a feast of great track racing. The track stars attending on the day are yet to be confirmed although there is considerable interest from both the UK and Australian track champions as well as riders from the rest of Europe.

The 100th Good Friday Meeting takes place on April 18 from 11.00am until around 5.30pm at Herne Hill Stadium, Burbage Road, London SE24. For enquiries about entry please contact Graham Bristow on 020 8776 2779. For information about tickets and pricing see www.hernehillcycling.com.

New parcours for junior Ronde van het Lage Land

The year's first 'Classic' for junior riders, the Ronde van het Lage Land, will take riders on a new parcours for its 31st edition on Sunday March 16.

More than 40 three-rider teams will start this year's 120km race, with teams from North Holland clubs including Alcmaria Victrix, BRC Kennemerland, Hoornse RTC, HSC de Bataaf and DTS.

The list of past winners of Ronde van het Lage Land is an illustrious one, with names such as Jos Lammertink, Henk Havik, Michel Cornelisse, Marc Lotz, and Bobby Traksel. Podium-finishers have included Michael Boogerd, Leon van Bon, Servais Knaven, Bert Oosterbosch, Gerrit Solleveld, and Steven de Jongh.

The major change to this year's parcours is the elimination of the 'railway section' at Zaandijkse Guisweg. The organisers, Stichting Ronde van Noord-Holland who also run the professional Ronde van Noord-Holland (April 13), felt this section too frequently caused problems for the riders.

From Medemblick the race will follow the same parcours as the Ronde van Noord-Holland, giving the juniors a taste of the roads the pros will race the following month.

Park Tool renews with USA Cycling

USA Cycling has renewed the sponsorship deal with bike tool maker Park Tool that sees Park Tool supply USA Cycling teams and mechanics with bicycle tools and stands, plus clothing for USA Cycling's mechanics program.

Park Tool has supplied products for USAC teams and mechanics since the early 1990s and has also assisted with the USAC mechanics clinics for many years.

Park Tool's John Krawczyk told Cyclingnews, "Park Tool has worked with USA Cycling in both formal and informal ways since 1988 (our first year of formal sponsorship). It is a great relationship for both of us. We get to help with the development of America's most talented young riders and mechanics. We also keep our finger on the pulse of competitive amateur racing here in the USA."

37th Giro delle Tre Province

This Saturday March 8, sees the 37th edition of the Giro delle Tre Province, one of Italy's more important early-season Elite/Under 23 races.

Over 200 riders are signed up for the 151km Milan area race that runs at the same time as a local carnival, which should ensure plenty of spectators.

Previous winners of the Giro delle Tre Province include italian legend Guido Bontempi while last year saw a sprint showdown between winner Enrico Grigoli (Trevigiani Mapei) and Francesco Chicchi who went on to win the Espoirs World Road Championships in Zolder.

Lateral Stress Velo

Lateral Stress Velo - Trek/VW, a Baltimore, Maryland based team has announced its roster for 2003. The elite team's season starts with a training camp outside Woodstock, Va. early March, followed by its first racing outing at the Jefferson Cup, Charlottesville, VA, March 30. The team will focus on local and regional events, aiming to race at the Elite National Championships, Espoirs National Championships, Masters National Championships and some key NRC events for the women's team.

Full roster

Ford/Giant Cycling Team

Michigan's Ann Arbor Velo Club has announced the 2003 roster for its associated elite squad, the Ford/Giant Cycling Team. The team will compete in events throughout the U.S. and Western Ontario. In 2003, the team will be defending the Michigan Road Series and Mountain Bike cross-country Series. The team will also compete in select national events, such as the Sea Otter Classic and the National Road Championships.

Full roster

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)