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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition News for March 7, 2003

Edited by John Stevenson

Ullrich still welcome at CSC

Tour winner and Team CSC manager, Bjarne Riis is still willing to take on former team-mate Jan Ullrich, if the economic problems of Ullrich's new Team Coast continue. (See yesterday's news flash and previous news).

Ullrich's participation in the Tour de France is at risk if Coast is unable to resolve its financial difficulties and persuade the UCI to lift the suspension imposed yesterday, but one possible solution for Ullrich is to move to another team.

In an interview with Danish newspaper BT, Riis said that he will always be interested in Ullrich.

"But if he wants to co-operate he will have to come to us. It is not up to me to contact anybody and at the same time we would have to find the necessary money, " said Riis.

Bjarne Riis emphasised in the interview that the failure of the last round of negotiations between CSC and Ullrich does not mean an end to his relationship with the German star. Riis was in discussion with Ullrich during the off-season, but in the end Ullrich chose the offer from Coast at higher salary and with the guarantee of bringing with him former Telekom directeur sportif Rudy Pevenage, among others.

"In principle the door is not closed. I have stated my opinion on what happened and I stick to that. I advised him at the time, but that was not good enough for him. So he has to find out, what he wants, " said Riis.

In related news it has been reported that the delayed salaries for February for riders of Team Coast are on their way.

Bettini & Museeuw on sick list

Johan Museeuw and Paolo Bettini have joined the Quick-Step - Davitamon sick list after their efforts at Het Volk over the weekend. According to team sources, both have flu.

Museeuw started feeling unwell on Wednesday afternoon. "I started feeling tired and my legs heavy yesterday afternoon while I was training behind the derny with my father, " he said. "After a while I had to ask my Dad to slow down a little; this is something that doesn't normally happen. First of all I thought maybe that I hadn't recovered enough after the two races of Saturday and Sunday, then in the evening I started sweating and I realised that my temperature was rising."

Paolo Bettini also has a high temperature. "Wednesday afternoon I started getting a sore throat, " he explained, "and today I'm in bed with a temperature of 38°. Johan is in the same situation as me. I spoke to him earlier on - we both agree that is a lot better to be ill at the moment than later on when the important races of the season begin."

Both of the riders will be inactive for three days and are taking antibiotics.

Their team-mate Pedro Horrillo is also still having back problems. However, team doctor Yvan Van Mol visited him yesterday and confirmed that he will be able to take part in the Driedaagse Van West Vlaanderen race which runs from today to Sunday.

New dad Simoni returns at Paris-Nice

Saeco's team for Paris-Nice this weekend will include 2001 Giro winner Gilberto Simoni in his first race since the recent birth of his baby daughter Sofia. Simoni will be supported by Igor Astarloa and Mirko Celestino, who are both showing good form currently with a stage win in the Vuelta Valenciana and second place at the GP Chiasso respectively.

Saeco's Paris-Nice squad is rounded out by Ivan Quaranta, Salvatore Commesso, Alessio Galetti, Giosuè Bonomi, Marius Sabaliauskas and Joerg Ludewig.

Meanwhile, Saeco riders who aren't heading for France will be busy in Italy at the Giro della Provincia di Reggio Calabria (Saturday March 8), the Trofeo Pantalica (Sunday March 9) and the Trofeo dell'Etna (Tuesday March 11). For these races Saeco will field Antonio Bucciero, Damiano Cunego, Alexander Shefer, Alessandro Spezialetti, Christian Pepoli, Leonardo Bertagnolli, Nicola Gavazzi, Andrea Tonti and Igor Pugaci.

UCI status for Sea Otter

This year's Sea otter Classic is once again on the UCI calendar after a year as a non-UCI race in 2002. Last year's Sea Otter carried no UCI points so that riders could take part in the 'Iron Otter' competition that included both road and MTB races without sponsor and licensing complications. This year's event has road and MTB races scheduled simultaneously and the road races are now back on the UCI calendar, with the men's race carrying a 2.5 ranking and the women's a 2.9.2.

The Sea Otter Classic takes place April 9-13 at Laguna Seca Recreation Area in Monterey, California, USA.

Busy weekend ahead for Irish racers

Mick Cahill Memorial dominates Sunday fixtures

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

Sunday's Mick Cahill Memorial in Banteer, Co. Cork should a hard battle between two of Ireland's strongest amateur racers, Lacey Cup winner Matt Slattery and surprise Cycleways Cup winner Vincent Gleeson.

In the corresponding event last year, held later much later in the season, Vincent Gleeson and Richie Cahill were up front for the majority of the race, only to be caught in the last mile of an exciting race by a chase group of six. The winner was Kieron McMahon and he is back on Sunday in search of two in a row. McMahon will have numerical advantage on the likes of Cahill and Gleeson because of the number of entrants from his club, Earl of Desmond Tralee Bicycle Club.

Dubliner Paddy Moriarty of Dublin Skip and David O'Loughlin of US team Ofoto Lombardia have intimated to the organisation that they intend traveling and their presence will have to be taken seriously. McMahon may just shade it on the day but don't rule out Richie and Fergal Cahill who will be flying the flag for the local club.

This will be the second edition of the promotion by the Banteer Cycling Club of the Mick Cahill Memorial Cycle Race in honour of his achievements. One of Ireland's strongest riders of the sixties and seventies, Mick Cahil began riding in 1964 and his 15 year career took him all over Ireland and occasionally beyond. During that time he won everything that cycling had to offer in this country, including a number of Irish Championships on the track and the blue ribbon of Irish Cycling, the 100 Mile Irish Road Race Championship. The only race which eluded him was the Ras Tailteann, finishing third on one occasion only a handful of seconds behind a French man and a victorious Carlow man. Many felt that he deserved to win but it was not to be. To this day he remains the highest placed Corkman in the Ras. He travelled out of the country twice, once to Scotland (a race he won and in the process becoming Scottish Champion) and to Paris where he competed with distinction.

The 2003 Mick Cahill Memorial starts at 1pm, outside Banteer National School where Mick was a teacher for many years. Sign-on is in Banteer Community Centre from 12:00 and there are races for Senior A. B & C as well as Juniors, Vets and Ladies. The course consists of seven laps of a mostly flat nine mile circuit with only one short hill, the scene of a lot of the breakaways from last year's race.

Banteer can count on a big turnout if last Sunday's race in Tralee is a yardstick. Unfortunately from a promoter's perch, the Connor/Coombes in Balbriggan and the John Haldane in Newry also on Sunday will be vying for competitors' support because of the proximity of both events. Surely the calendar co-ordinators could have sussed this particular problem in advance of publication.

Sojo returns to Saunier Duval

Spanish rider David Sojo, who last year was a neo-pro for the Portuguese Division II Matesica-Adóboda team, has returned to the amateur ranks. For 2003 Sojo will once again ride for the Spanish Saunier-Duval team.

Sportsbook.com adds Acrow Bridges

Bill Laudien's Sportsbook.com pro team has added an unusual sponsor in Acrow Bridges, a Carstadt, NJ manufacturer of prefabricated modular steel bridges. Acrow owners Bill and Charlie Killeen are cycling enthusiasts who say they're pleased to be involved in supporting the team and contributing to "cycling's continued growth in the USA."

Sportsbook.com's first outing will be at Solano and Redlands at the end of this month.

Symmetrics Cycling Team

Sponsored by a Vancouver-based data analysis software the Symmetrics cycling team has announced its roster for 2003. As well as the six-man elite squad the team is active in youth development and charity projects.

Full roster

Savage Hill Cycling Team

The Columbus, Ohio Savage hill Cycling Team has announced its new roster and a new bike sponsor in the shape of Orbea USA. The team's focus for 2003 will include the Ohio Valley Racing Spring Series, Tour Ohio, Ohio Grand Prix Series, Indiana Race Series, Hoosier Cup, The International, Wendy's International, as well as many other Midwestern and regional events.

Full roster

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