Latest News for March 20, 2003
Edited by Chris Henry
Parcours change for Milan-San Remo
The opening round of the UCI World Cup, Milan-San Remo, will offer a modified parcours for Saturday's event. Landslides have blocked the old Roma Coast Road (SS1), forcing organisers to deviate the race and bypass the Via Aurelia between km 230-245. The first of the race's famous capi (hills), the Capo Mele, will be excluded as a result. However the peloton will still face another climb in its place.
After 230km of racing the race will now turn right in the town of Albenga and deviate to the autostrada. Riders will face a longer (but more gradual) climb before exiting the autostrada and descending to Andora to rejoin the original parcours and the Capo Cervo. The substitute climb, which has been used in the Trofeo Laigueglia, is new to Milan-San Remo, and as an unknown element may provoke some new attacks.
Boogerd skips San Remo
Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) has shown good form this week in Tirreno-Adriatico, securing a fourth place in the final standings. Nonetheless, the Dutchman has decided to forego Milan-San Remo on Saturday, preferring to tailor his training to upcoming stage races.
Hushovd out too
Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole) will also take a pass on the opening round of the World Cup, suffering from fatigue following Paris-Nice. Hushovd abandoned Paris-Nice during the stage to Mont Faron, and following tests on Tuesday in Montpellier, has determined that over training has worn him down. Hushovd will take a few days rest and will be replaced on the start line in Milan by Éric Leblacher.
Italian team directors comment on Mori affair
The Italian association of professional teams issued a communique concerning the latest scandal to hit cycling in Italy. Responding to the events surrounding Massimiliano Mori (Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave), who was thrown out of the Tirreno-Adriatico for allegedly attempting to avoid a doping control, the Italian teams association issued the following statement:
"This association deplores the comportment of our colleagues involved in this affair, which in any case has been serious for the directeur sportif [Gabriele Di Francesco], who appears to be a person complicit in an act of attempted fraud against the sporting regulations. Our association is trying to do the best job it can to show that the team directors and responsible people and are always available for maximum cooperation with race officials and doping controls. We find that this behaviour has given a poor image to the sports directors."
The Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave team has explained that the suspicious bidon of urine found in Mori's hotel room was in fact directeur sportif Gabriele Di Francesco's. Di Francesco was to be admitted to hospital on Tuesday for an infection of his urinary tract, and has aid he was expected to keep a 24 hour urine sample prior to the operation.
Di Francesco was unavailable for comment when Cyclingnews attempted to contact him Thursday morning. Tests on the urine are not expected to produce results until next week. Should a positive result arise, both will be fired from the team and Di Francesco will be expelled from the Italian team directors' association.
Mori's sponsors disappointed
Vito Taccone, partner of team sponsor Formaggi Pinzolo, pulled no punches while expressing his disappointment over his team's involvement in the Mori affair. "We have to find all riders who are doping, remove them for life after the first infraction," Taccone said, notably including Mori.
"There area lot of riders [like Mori]," Taccone said plainly. "They ride one month then wilt like poppies in the sun. Without their vials, they'd be nothing."
Strong words from Taccone, quoted in Thursday's edition of l'Equipe, which notes that as an ex-pro Taccone himself had been subject of suspicion in the past, and has not received much of a forum for his opinions in the Italian press.
Australian team for Mexico Track WC
Australia will send eight cyclists to the second round of the UCI Track World Cup Classics series in Aguascalientes, Mexico. The three day event begins Friday, March 21. Australia will confirm its team for the next World Cup round in South Africa (April 11-13) later this month.
The team for Mexico includes: Peter Dawson, Mark French, Rosealee Hubbard, Ashley Hutchinson, Shane Kelly, Aaron Kemps, Kerrie Meares, and Stephen Wooldridge.
Millward to undergo surgery
Anna Millward will undergo hip surgery on Saturday, March 22 in an effort to repair damage she sustained in a crash during the 2001 World Championships. Millward, 31, claimed the silver medal in the time trial at last year's Commonwealth Games in Manchester despite battling the injury throughout the 2002 season. Since then she has been unable to race due to recurring pain.
In the past year she has been subjected to a raft of tests, including MRI's, x-rays and nerve conduction tests, but until recently doctors were unable to determine the exact nature of the problem. Earlier this month she returned to a hip specialist for tests on the range of motion and strength of her right hip.
"After the test I had a local anaesthetic injected into the hip capsule and went back to the specialist to test it again," Millward explained. "I had much greater range before pain set in and it was very obvious to me as well as to him. He had me get on my bike and test out the leg with the local anaesthetic still working and it was amazing. I could ride like a normal human being again."
The operation will put Millward on crutches for two weeks, followed by three months of rehabilitation before she can race again, but she is just happy to have the problem identified.
"The thing is that there is absolutely no way I can race the way I am right now, so it's an easy choice to make,” she said. "I just have to try and be patient for a bit longer even though that’s not really in my nature."
Teams for 72nd Critérium International
The Amaury Sport Organisation has announced the participating teams for the 72nd Critérium International, scheduled this year for March 29 and 30. The two day, three stage race is held in the region surrounding Charleville-Mézières in northeastern France.
Racing begins Saturday with a relatively flat road race of 187.5 km, which typically favours a sprint finish. Sunday will test riders with a hilly parcours of 98.5 km between Les Mazures and Monthermé, followed by a short 8.5 km time trial that afternoon in Charleville-Mézières.
The race is designed to produce an strong winner with all-round capabilities. Last year's event was won by Euskaltel-Euskadi's José Alberto Martinez, who beat Lance Armstrong by less than one second to claim the overall victory. The Critérium International is also an important race for teams seeking a wild-card invitation to the Tour de France.
Ag2R-Prévoyance (Botcharov, Brochard)
Teams for Cholet Pays de Loire
The third round of the Coupe de France series, Pays Cholet de Loire, will take place Sunday, March 23. The UCI 1.2 race provides those who don't contest Milan-San Remo (held the day before) with a challenging parcours to help prepare for the northern classics in April. The race includes ten climbs over a 202km parcours that begins and ends in Cholet in the Pays de la Loire region of France. Last year's edition was won by FDJeux.com's Jimmy Casper.
Gonzalez and Santoni back in court
Lawyers representing Aitor Gonzalez (Fassa Bortolo) are seeking damages from Domina Vacanze-Elitron manager Vincenzo Santoni, following the lengthy dispute over the Gonzalez's signature and contract obligations between Fassa Bortolo and Domina Vacanze. Spanish daily Marca reports that Luis Sanz and Angel Buenache, lawyers for the 2002 Vuelta a España winner, have filed a suit with the court in San Vicente del Raspeig in the Alicante region of Spain.
Sanz and Buenache will seek damages for allegedly false statements made by Santoni during the legal wrangling over Gonzalez's contract. The Gonzalez camp has always maintained that following an initial contract signed with Santoni, the rider was released from said contract following a 50,000 euro payment to Santoni, something Santoni has consistently denied. The UCI ultimately sided with Gonzalez, clearing the Spaniard to ride for Fassa Bortolo on February 28.
Delayed start for Sevilla
Oscar Sevilla (Kelme-Costa Blanca) underwent surgery last week to remove a boil which impeded his pedaling. The Spaniard hopes to restart his training after this weekend, following orders from his doctors to take up to ten days off the bike. The operation means a delayed start to Sevilla's racing program, though he preferred to have surgery now, in the hope of avoiding any problems closer to his major objectives such as the Tour de France.
Knee operation for Amorisson
Frédéric Amorisson (Quick-Step) underwent surgery on his knee Monday, to remove a small piece of bone that has caused problems since the beginning of the season at the Tour of Qatar. Amorisson is immobilized for a week, but is hoping to return to action soon and regain form for the second half of the season.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)