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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for November 17, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Tafi to Alessio

Andrea Tafi
Photo ©: Frank Rud Jensen

Andrea Tafi will join the Alessio squad next year, after the Italian rider signed a contract on Sunday. "That's correct that we have signed a contract with Andrea," said Alessio's Peter Sejer to "I have received a confirmation from Alessio. I haven't been involved in the bargaining, it's Alessio who have taken care of it. After our purchase of Andrea Tafi we have a very strong team for next season with both Baldato, Skelde and now Tafi."

Tafi rode for Team CSC this year, with highlights being a 5th place in Paris-Roubaix and the points classification in the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under. With five World Cup victories to his credit (Ronde Van Vlaanderen, Paris-Roubaix , Paris-Tours, Giro di Lombardia and the Rochester Classic) as well as the Italian Championships, Paris-Brussels and the Giro del Lazio three times, the 37 year old should be an asset to the newly beefed up Alessio squad.

Pantani closer to retirement?

The rumours are getting stronger that Italy's enigmatically popular Marco Pantani is on the verge of retiring from cycling. The 33 year old has reportedly put on 20 kilos, according to an interview with his friend and Mercatone Uno team owner Romano Cenni in Tuttosport. "Marco has really finally left himself hanging," said Cenni. "He has tried starting again, however he slid into yet another deeper personal crisis."

Cenni said that he would stop the Mercatone Uno team in December. "I would have gladly remained if Marco returned, but it is pointless. Without him there is no cycling any more. The personalities that the people love are missing."

Marco Pantani has been having problems with his cycling since mid-1999, when he was thrown out of the Giro d'Italia on the penultimate day while wearing the Maglia Rosa for having an elevated hematocrit. Since then his comebacks - apart from the 2000 Tour de France - have largely ended in failure, and Pantani has had trouble coming to terms with the fact that he will never be the athlete he once was. Several doping related court cases have not helped his career, and this June he even checked into a clinic that specialised in the treatment of depression.

Frischknecht and Thürig named Swiss Cyclists of the Year

Thomas Frischknecht and Karin Thürig have been named as the Swiss Men's and Women's Cyclists of the Year at a ceremony held in Bern last Friday evening. Frischknecht, winner of the World Marathon MTB Championships this year, received 274 votes to beat Franco Marvulli (208) and Balz Weber (185). Karin Thürig, winner of the pursuit in the B World Championships and fourth place finisher in the World Time Trial Championships, garnered 466 votes to beat Nicole Brändli (284 votes) and Bettina Schmid (205 votes).

Heppner to lead Wiesenhof in 2004

The almost 39 year old Jens Heppner will captain the German Division II Wiesenhof team again in 2004. Heppner will lead a modestly sized squad of 12 riders in what will probably be his last season. The team's second in command will again be Enrico Poitschke, with Ralf Grabsch, Roberto Lochowski, Martin Müller, Rene Obst, Björn Schröder, Lars Wackernagel and derny specialist Carsten Podlesch making up the bulk of the rest of the squad. The team has signed track World Champion Sebastian Siedler (TEAG Köstritzer) along with Christian Knees (KED Berlin) and Daniel Meinke (ComNet) to complement the existing line up. On the other hand, Thomas Ziegler (to Gerolsteiner) and Eric Baumann (to Telekom) are both leaving.


2nd Doherty Hotels Launceston International Criterium

The streets of Launceston will host the Doherty Hotels Launceston International Criterium (LIC) for the second time this December.

The race will be the only gathering of all of Australia's six Tour de France riders on home soil. Brad McGee and Matt Wilson will be joined by teammate Baden Cooke, who is recovering from complications as a result of cyst in a rather delicate place. The 2003 Tour de France green jersey winner is well known in Tasmania after taking an active role in the promotion of last year's inaugural event, and will be one of the crowd favourites on December 27.

Stuart O'Grady will make his final racing appearance in both his Credit Agricole colours and National Champions jersey at the Launceston race. O'Grady will return to France to the Cofidis team presentation directly after the event.

Last year's pre-race favourite (who eventually placed second) Robbie McEwen will be back in 2003 to avenge his defeat and try and take home the $10,000 first prize. McEwen's Lotto-Domo teammate, Nick Gates will be having his first start in the LIC in 2003 and should prove a valuable asset to his fast finishing team leader.

Quickstep-Davitamon's Michael Rogers is also another first timer for this year's race and the man tipped to be the brightest star of Australia cycling future will generate a lot of crowd support in the island state.

Another man who will be back in 2003 is the only person who knows what it takes to win the $10,000 first prize. Hilton Clarke upstaged the biggest names in Australian cycling last year and will be out to ensure that people don't regard his 2002 win as a fluke.

Race organiser, Dr. Stan Siejka has promised a bigger and better 2003 race, and after fact-finding trips to the Tour Down Under and several professional races in Europe, has added several features to this year's race. A fully catered corporate area will be set up on Cascade Straight. The stands in this area will have a full view of the finish line and a direct view of Siejka's other big innovation, the giant TV screen.

The 2003 LIC is an open event and anyone who wants to take their shot at the big prize, or just wishes to ride alongside their idols for a few laps, can enter online at

Tyler Hamilton Foundation launch in January

American cyclist Tyler Hamilton has announced the creation of a foundation named after him to help people with multiple sclerosis. The Tyler Hamilton Foundation will be launched at the Cyclorama in Boston on Thursday, January 8, 2004, and will include food, music, auctions, and of course Tyler.

"It is my goal to help provide opportunity and access to individuals with multiple sclerosis and aspiring young cyclists," said Hamilton. "I have been lucky in my life and feel it is important to give back. I hope that you will join me in these efforts."

Ticket prices:

Podium Tickets - $1,000
Yellow Jersey - $500
Polka Dot Jersey - $250
Green Jersey - $100
Peloton Tickets - $50

To purchase tickets:

Send a cheque payable to Tyler Hamilton Foundation, Inc. and post to:
Tyler Hamilton Foundation, Inc.
3 Pleasant Street
Marblehead, MA 01945

Please provide name, address, phone, email and names of all guests

Australian BMC Software Cyclist of the Year Awards

This year's Australian BMC Software Cyclist of the Year Awards will take place on Saturday, December 6 at Sydney's Dunc Gray Velodrome in Bass Hill. The awards will again be presented as part of an evening of entertainment starting with the Sydney Cup track carnival at 6.00pm, an intermission of live entertainment, followed by the awards and dinner from 8.30pm.

The Awards Dinner will cost $AU100 per person for corporate dining, and include seating for the Sydney Cup program. Tables can be purchased from CA in groups of 10. Those who do not wish to buy a 'dinner seat' may also view the awards from an area on the infield where beverages will be available at bar prices. The cost for an adult will be $30 including Sydney Cup entry and a light meal. To pre-book tickets contact the Velodrome (ph: 61 (0)2 9738 9900) / Handlebar Tavern or the Bankstown Sports Club.

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