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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition News for March 8, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Coast remains suspended

A day after voting to suspend the German 'Top 10 Club' Team Coast from competition, the UCI has not changed its mind, and therefore will not allow the team to race in Paris-Nice this Sunday. The governing body today issued a short press release:

"Following an in-depth evaluation of the documents presented today by the team management, the UCI confirms the suspension of Team Coast. This Trade Team will not be allowed to participate in Paris-Nice."

Although Coast management claims that it is merely a technicality that it hasn't been able to provide the UCI with proof of payment of its riders' salaries, the UCI seems to think otherwise, and has taken the stringent step of suspending the team. The UCI has had problems with the team since late last year, when Coast's registration was delayed from December 20 to January 10, due to "disputes in progress between the team and certain competitors due to the non-payment of wages for the 2002 season."

When the UCI did agree to register the team, it was subject to some conditions, with the UCI reserving the right to apply "any measure of control on administrative team management considered appropriate by the relevant departments of the UCI" as well as "possible increase in the bank guarantee if new disputes should be reported to the UCI."

Fernando Escartin and Aitor Garmendia joined Lars Michaelsen, Mauro Gianetti and Frank Hj in the list of riders that had complained to the UCI about the non-payment of several months of salaries, and there were more allegations of non-payment by other riders on the 2003 roster.

The three year engagement of Jan Ullrich for approximately €2 million per year was meant to facilitate the search for a second sponsor that would help Coast to fulfil its financial obligations, but so far there has been little joy on that front. Putting the cart before the horse in this manner persuaded the UCI to take action. In fact, Ullrich has not even been registered on the Team Coast roster, according to the UCI.

Courtesy of João Cravo

Gabrovski too high

Bulgarian rider Ivailo Gabrovski (MBK Oktos) was not allowed to start the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen after returning too high a haematocrit value following UCI controls early on Friday morning. Gabrovski will have to stay out of competition for two weeks as a result.

The prologue of the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen was won by David Millar (Cofidis).

No room for Walter Planckaert at Palmans

Former Lotto directeur sportif Walter Planckaert will not be able to find a similar job in Palmans-Collstrop, according to the Belgian VUM newspapers. Palmans team manager Hilaire Van der Schueren said that, "We have enough people. Furthermore, we are keeping a place warm for Mario De Clercq. He can start the day after his last cyclo-cross race, whenever that is."

Palmans-Collstrop is also in negotiations with World Cyclocross Champion Bart Wellens, who has yet to reach a satisfactory deal with his current team, Spaar Select.

Thor Hushovd's new website

Credit Agricole's powerful Norwegian Thor Hushovd has a new website, appropriately named With a thunderous - but not too heavy - opening credit, the site is presented in both French and English and features news, results, photos, bio and a lot of green thunder.

Hushovd is currently preparing for Paris-Nice (March 9-17), as he explains on the site. "I'm highly motivated for this race, Thor said. I nearly won the prologue last year but had a crash in the final kilometre. I hope to win a stage this year."

Also see: Cyclingnews interview with Thor Hushovd and Cyclingnews pro sites.

Team Orbea - Etxe Ondo

Another Division III trade team has been registered in Japan. The Orbea-Etxe Ondo team consists of eight riders, including Kazakhs Kairat Baigudinov and Bakhtiyar Mamyrov, along with Japanese Teruo Iida, Masashi Nishitani, Shinya Numata, Michiaki Saito, Yusuke Takahashi, and Makoto Takeuchi.

Team roster

Colnago to sponsor World's

The Hamilton 2003 Road World Championships today confirmed that Colnago Bicycles will be the official bicycle sponsor of the event. The well known Italian company has been in business for over 50 years, and its frames have been ridden to victory in numerous World Championships.

The Road World Cycling Championships will be staged in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada from October 6 to 12, 2003. Over 800 cyclists from over 50 different countries will compete in ten different races. There are two disciplines - the individual time trial and the road race with five different classifications, elite men and women, junior men and women, as well as

Sea Otter to end with fun century ride

After four days of racing, the final day of the Sea Otter Classic, powered by SRAM, will feature a non-competitive road ride, open to recreational riders and pro's alike. The ride will exit Laguna Seca on Sunday, April 13, at 8:00AM and travel through rolling green fields and along beautiful Monterey Bay. The nominal distance is 100 kilometres, although riders will have a choice of three distances shorter than the full distance.

New Zealand national series details this weekend

The next rounds of the 2003 New Zealand Mountain Bike National Series will be held this weekend near Auckland. The details are as follows:

Downhill - Saturday, March 8

When: Starting from 11 am - with the following classes: Hardtail, Women, Master, Senior, Junior then Pro-Elite Men (Pro-Elite should start around 2 pm)
Where: Hunua Forest - about one hour south east of Auckland
Directions: Turn off Southern Motorway at Papakura and head inland on Beach Road. Turn left onto the Great South Road, take first right onto Settlement Road. Go over the railway line and after roughly 2km turn right onto Hunua Road. Follow this until you reach the Hunua township and continue for another 6.5km and turn left onto Moumoukai Road at the AA Dams sign. Follow this up and over the hill to the bottom of the downhill course and continue on to the Moumoukai Dam.

Cross Country - Sunday March 9

When: Sport - 9am, Expert - 11.30am, Pro-Elite - 2.30pm
Where: Woodhill Forest - Approximately 45 mins from Auckland Central
Directions: Go north on North West Motorway - at the end turn left then right at the roundabout and onto Highway 16. About 16km past the Muriwai turn-off turn left into Restall Road. Drive to the top of Restall Rd and take the gravelled road on the right.

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