First Edition News for May 15, 2003
Edited by Jeff Jones & John Stevenson
Ullrich & Coast: further cooperation "not possible"
In the latest twist to the ongoing soap opera of Jan Ullrich's return to professional cycling, his manager, Wolfgang Strohband said yesterday that further co-operation with Team Coast owner Günther Dahms "is not possible," according to German news agency dpa.
Team Coast was suspended by the UCI for the second time last week for non-payment of rider salaries. Coast team director and Jan Ullrich's mentor Rudy Pevenage hinted afterwards that his and Ullrich's future might lie elsewhere. Now it seems that the camel's back is finally broken.
"The future will be without Dahms," said Strohband. "That applies to Jan, Rudy Pevenage and me. The damage Dahms has already done to our reputations is large enough." Rudy Pevenage was reported yesterday to be seeking UCI approval for a new Dutch-registered team, derived from Coast but with Bianchi as main sponsor.
Strohband said it was not yet clear whether formal termination of Ullrich's three-year contract with Coast was necessary as financial commitments made to Ullrich had not been met.
Co-sponsor Bianchi is also determined to split from Dahms and Coast, and intends to take the existing Coast Division I license and riders across to a new team as early as next week.
"We are working very closely with the UCI," said Bianchi spokesman Stefano Vigano. "We will also work with three other co-sponsors, but no more with Coast and Dahms," added Vigano. Bianchi's aim is to have a team that will start the Tour de France on July 5 in support of Jan Ullrich.
Dahms has expressed surprise at the latest development and said he was waiting for an opinion from his lawyers as to whether "Ullrich and Pevenage can leave their contracts so easily." He added that it was "completely inexplicable that the Coast license can simply move on to a successor team."
Dahms sees the most likely outcome as "a new combination of names in which Coast still appears. There are many different scenarios, many possible models in what is above all a very legally complex area."
86th Giro d'Italia news
Stage 5 wrap up: Petacchi on song
It's been a brilliant first five stages for Fassa Bortolo's top sprinter Alessandro Petacchi, who took the Maglia Rosa after he won on the first day and has not come close to relinquishing it. Today he realised a dream: to win a stage while wearing the coveted pink jersey. He did so by just two centimetres, beating the luckless World Champ Mario Cipollini in the run in to Catane on the island of Sicily.
With the bonus seconds he's been getting, Petacchi now has a 49 second lead on second placed Stefano Garzelli, who is one of the favourites to take the pink in the first mountain top finish on Satuday in Terminillo. But before then there is another sprinter's stage, 222 km from Maddaloni to Avezzano. Maybe there Cipollini will finally equal Binda?
Tomorrow is a rest day, and the riders will be taking full advantage of it, knowing that the next 11 days will present some serious challenges.
Mario Cipollini came tantalizingly close to winning the stage today and equalling Binda's record, but in the end he came up short - just. "I don't have great physical condition," he commented after the stage. "In the last 1,500 metres there was a risk of falling, I took a big risk. That cost me my position in my train. I was in Petacchi's slipstream, but unfortunately a pothole during the sprint slightly obstructed me. I lost those centimetres to Petacchi, who went on the right hand side, and he beat me. I needed this victory for the morale."
Cipollini will have another chance to win on Friday, with the 222 km stage from Maddaloni to Avezzano
"Severe test" on tough Milk Rás
Heavy surfaces, wind-swept roads and two gruelling mountain stages all add up to a demanding eight days of racing in the 2003 FBD Milk Rás, according to Shane Stokes.
While the FBD Milk Rás takes a different route around Ireland each year, there are common threads running through every edition of the race. There are vital components to a balanced contest; flat stages which nod towards the breakaway specialists and sprinters, wide open, wind-buffeted roads which favour the strong and tactically astute, and tough mountain climbs which act as a launching pad for those big of lung and light in stature. A well-balanced route leads to a competitive, exciting contest, and so a course offering something for everyone has long been an FBD Milk Rás standard.
It comes as little surprise, therefore, that the 2003 edition of the race follows a similar template. Eight days in duration and over 1150 kilometres in length, the route features a total of 13 categorised climbs plus a longest stage of 188 kilometres. It adds up to what race organiser Dermot Dignam labels "a severe test", a course which should result in a gripping race.
There is one variation, though, this year; the actual orientation of the route. After a number of years passing through places such as Cork and Kerry, the 2003 FBD Milk Rás is concentrated mainly in the northwest of the country, with the race heading no further south than stage one's finish town of Roscrea. After that first day, the field heads gradually upwards towards the mountains of Donegal, where the riders will slug it out over cruel slopes which are regarded as among the toughest in the country.
Day one sees the riders heading to Roscrea on a mainly flat opening leg which starts in Dublin and winds through Newbridge, Kildare, Monasterevin and Mountmellick, before encountering the first categorised climb of the 2003 race in the Slievebloom Mountains. Ranked as a category three climb, The Cut is unlikely to wreak major havoc but will make a flat-out, aggressive stage even tougher. The opening stage gives every strong rider the chance of taking the first yellow jersey of the race; consequently, expect fireworks throughout the entire 135 kilometre journey.
The second stage is the longest of the race, 188 tough, exposed kilometres from Roscrea to Clifden. The wind is likely to play a part in the action as the riders head west through Birr, Portumna and Galway City and into Connemara, where the heavy roads will make a long day even tougher and stir up plenty of attacks before the field races onto the streets of Clifden. Stage three sees the race wind north through Connemara, passing through some of the most beautifully rugged scenery in Ireland. Leenane, Westport, Newport, the third category climb of Keenagh and Bellacorrick will be the battleground before the charge into Ballina at the end of 142 kilometres of racing.
The following day's stage to Letterkenny features 173 kilometres of mainly flat roads, which are the last respite before the serious climbing starts. After leaving Ballina the riders will travel through Dromore West, Sligo, Bundoran and Donegal before racing over the third category Barnesmore Gap and heading on towards an uphill finish in the streets of Letterkenny.
The first serious shakeup of the general classification is set to occur one day later, with the lure of the yellow jersey and the four categorised ascents providing motive and opportunity for the climbers in the bunch. The slopes of the third category Bredagh Glen set the theme before the mayhem starts proper on the daunting roads up Ballagh Hill and the Mamore Gap - reputed to be the steepest climb in Ireland - with Pinch Hill acting as one final springboard before the finish in Buncrana. Day six will be similarly appealing to sadistic spectators and masochistic contestants, with another four categorised climbs awaiting the tiring field. The 167 kilometre stage takes the riders from Buncrana and back through Letterkenny to the second category slopes of Meenirroy Hill and then on to the one-in-four hairpins of the spectacular Glengesh Pass. The splintering peloton will then race down into the town of Carrick before the road pitches skywards once again up Bogagh Hill and Bavin Hill, and then on towards to the finish in Donegal town.
Stage seven offers a respite of sorts, in that lower gearing will be needed for just the third category Oggal Hill and second category Bellavalley Gap, but the length of the day's racing will nevertheless continue the shakeup. 180 kilometres parrying the final real assaults on his leadership will ensure a difficult few hours for the yellow jersey, while those with more modest ambitions will be willing their rapidly-tiring bodies onwards through Bundoran, Manorhamilton, Belturbet and Virginia to the finish in Oldcastle.
After that, just one stage will remain and like the final day of the Tour de France, little change is expected in the overall classification. The action concludes with a one hour criterium in Dublin on Sunday May 25th, which like last year will take place in the fine settings of the Phoenix Park. The last day of racing is about the hunt for primes, plaudits and, of course, the stage win; constant attacking is expected throughout.
Rossner's Nürnberger heads women's teams for Wachovia
Six-time winner of the Wachovia (formerly First Union) Liberty Classic Petra Rossner (Nürnberger) will be back to defend her title at the race's tenth edition on June 8. Rossner has won all but one of the last seven editions of the race, which is part of the Wachovia Series and Pro Cycling Tour Series.
The current German champion, Rossner's last five victories at the Liberty Classic were gained while riding for the Saturn team. When Saturn scaled back its women's program for 2003, Rossner moved to German-based Nürnberger but is looking forward to a return to the US to defend her title.
"It is very exciting for me to be returning to Philadelphia. I know that it will not be easy to bring the number in the win column to seven," said Rossner. "It is a great honor to be called to the start line as the defending champion. And I can tell you that sprinting in front of thousands of cheering fans goes a long way to making me go very fast."
But Rossner is unlikely to have things all her own way. US teams in particular will be looking for a first in the tenth anniversary Wachovia Liberty Classic: a win for a domestic rider after nine years of domination by visiting overseas racers. Likely to put Rossner under pressure are Laura Van Gilder of Saturn, who finished second in the 2002 race; Dede Demet Barry of T-Mobile, third in 2002; and Tina Mayolo-Pic of Diet Rite.
The Wachovia Liberty Classic shares the same course as the men's USPRO Championship, with the women starting 10 minutes after the men.
2003 Wachovia Liberty Classic teams
Canadian National (Can)
Sportsbook.com adds two
The sportsbook.com team has added two riders to its roster for the 2003 season: Simon Kessler and Ryan Dewald. South African Kessler was his country's national road race champion in 2000 and 2001 as well as 2001 African TT champion and a stage winner in the 2003 Giro del Capo. DeWald was a US National team member in 2002 and won the 2003 Ronde Van Mullica.
Team director Bill Laudien said he was "excited" at the additions. "Simon finished in the top 15 last year in Philadelphia and should give us a solid threat at the Wachovia Week races," said laudien. "Ryan Dewald fits in perfectly with the team's goals of providing developmental opportunties for young riders. At 24 years old and only racing on the road a couple of years, he's shown great promise. He'll also help fill a huge void in our Mid-Atlantic roster until Ryan Oelker's return."
Teams & contenders for Picardie
ASO has announced the teams and main contenders that will line up in Beauvais on Friday, May 16 for the first of the four stages of the Tour de Picardie. The roster includes two former winners (Gaumont in 1996 and Kirsipuu in 1999) and many riders who have been performing strongly in the early months of the season.
Tour de Picardie teams
AG2R Prévoyance (Fra): Kirsipuu, Flickinger
Teams For Captech Classic
The organizers of the Captech Classic, the May 30, Richmond Virginia stop in the US National Racing Calendar series, have announced the men's teams for what is shaping up to be another US domestic ding-dong battle between, in the red corner, Team Saturn and in the blue corner, well, everyone else.
Saturn will field Chris Horner and Nathan O'Neill, currently the two top ranked riders in the US, though O'Neill's form suffered a setback recently when he and team-mate Tom Danielson contracted a stomach bug at the Peace race.
Lining up to try and knock Saturn off its perch will be other top US teams including Prime Alliance, Schroeder Iron, Ofoto-Lombardi Sports, and Jelly Belly.
"We could not have asked for a better men's field than this," said Tim Miller, the event's Executive Director. "As a first-year event, we were hoping to get a solid turnout from the pro teams, just because of our proximity to the Clarendon Cup, which will take place in Arlington, Virginia just two days later. But this is even better than we expected."
Captech Classic teams
Cyclingnews Giro fantasy game update
It's still not too late to enter the Cyclingnews Giro fantasy game, with registration still open until the end of stage 6 and before the start of stage 7 (May 16-17). So as not to be disadvantaged by entering late, and also to allow time to understand the game play, you will be able to pick your teams and still earn points retrospectively for each stage so far. Even if you entered the game early, you can go back and change your stage selections, or your initial 15 team members.
The rules of the game allow you to select one (or more) teams of 15 riders, from which you choose nine riders for each stage, as well as nine for the final overall mountains, points and general classifications. You have 9000 UCI points to 'spend' on your each of your 15 rider teams, so choose wisely!
As an example, the Cyclingnews team selected for the competition (taking full advantage of the rules!) is as follows: Francesco Casagrande (Lampre), Mario Cipollini and Gabriele Colombo (Domina Vacanze-Elitron), Bernhard Eisel (FDJeux.com), Isaac Galvez Lopez and Carlos Garcia Quesada (Kelme-Costa Blanca), Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola-SO.DI), Graziano Gasparre (De Nardi-Colpack), Rodolfo Massi (Colombia-Selle Italia), Robbie Mcewen (Lotto-Domo), Marco Pantani (Mercatone Uno - Scanavino), Alessandro Petacchi and Aitor Gonzalez (Fassa Bortolo), Gilberto Simoni (Team Saeco) and Scott Sunderland (Team fakta-Pata Chips).
Of course even if it scored enough points, the Cyclingnews team isn't allowed to win a Cannondale CAAD7 road frame or any of the other great prizes on offer. That's what you can win if you enter this week, and the game costs $7.50 to participate in. Payment is required only after stage 6 - it's free to enter up until then. Click here for further details.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)