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Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition News for October 17, 2003

Edited by Chris Henry & Jeff Jones

Bianchi riders nervous

With the fate of the Bianchi professional team uncertain for 2004, riders who have not made alternate contract plans for the coming season are becoming increasingly nervous about their futures. Built from the ashes of Team Coast mid-season this year, Team Bianchi was largely constructed around the hopes of Jan Ullrich and his bid to return to Tour de France glory. Ullrich's season was a success, garnering another second place in the Tour behind Lance Armstrong and completing a comeback from injury and suspension, not to mention the difficulties to Team Coast in the early season.

Unable to meet Ullrich's expectations for team support in his quest to dethrone Armstrong at the Tour, Bianchi was suddenly faced with the prospects of losing its star rider, which ultimately came to pass when Ullrich signed a multi-year contract to return to the Telekom fold beginning next season. With his departure, the future for several Bianchi riders is anything but bright.

"I don't know yet where I'll ride next season," Sven Teutenberg said in a Radsport-News report. "For a professional rider that's not unusual, and I'll continue. I have some options."

Not all are as optimistic as Teutenberg, however. Thomas Liese, 35, expressed his disappointment at being left in the cold after working to support Ullrich this season, particularly at the Tour de France. Even younger riders like Raphael Schweda, 27, are considering new careers.

"There are a few options, but I'm not very confident," Schweda told RSN. "I already have some alternate plans. If I can't continue as a rider, I want to try another path in cycling," he said, noting that he hopes to complete a program in sports management.

Despite some speculation that directeur sportif Rudy Pevenage would stay with Bianchi, given that he was not given an offer to return to Team Telekom (he would have to work as a private advisor to Ullrich), Bianchi still faces a renewed search for co-sponsors. This task is made more difficult after Ullrich's departure, and the team's budget may not be sufficient to carry on in 2004.

Flemish anti-doping website aims to educate

The Flemish government's official anti-doping website,, has made available a new educational resource. Its purpose is to educate athletes on readily obtainable substances that will result in a positive doping test. The site contains a large downloadable list (in XL or PDF format) with all the medicines and drugs that are available on the market in Flanders, from A.T. 10 to Zyvoxid. Each medicine is given a rating depending on whether it contains a banned substance or not. The majority of the medicines are "OK" while the rest are coded according to the type of banned substance (S = Stimulant, B = Beta-blocker etc.).

The list was produced at the initiative of the Flemish minister for sport, Marino Keulen, and is thought to be the first of its type in the world. Its aim is to give athletes a much better idea of what they are allowed to take during competition and not test positive "accidentally". Athletes will thus no longer be able to use the excuse of ignorance to explain why they tested positive for cough medicine containing pseudoephedrine, for example.

Magnien to focus on 'cross

Frenchman Emmanuel Magnien (Brioches La Boulangère) has decided to end his professional days on the road, preferring at age 32 to devote his energy to cyclo-cross. Magnien, who began his career with Castorama in 1993 (stagiaire in 1992), counts among his biggest wins the 2002 edition of Paris-Brussels, the 1997 Tour Mediterranean, and stage wins and the points competition in the 1994 Dauphiné Libéré.

Magnien will drop to the Elite 2 ranks, competing on the cyclo-cross circuit this winter for VC Montrichard.

Perez to Colombia-Selle Italia

Colombian climber
Photo: © CN
Click for larger image

Colombian Marlon Perez will join Colombia-Selle Italia for 2004. Perez, 27, will leave Orbitel 05 for a one year contract with Selle Italia.

He joins Freddy Gonzalez, Uberlino Mesa, Freddy Paredes, Rubert Albeiro Marin, José Rujano, Leonardo Scarcelli, Rafael Iliano, José Castelblanco, and Carlos Ochoa.

The following riders will leave Colombia-Selle Italia after the 2003 season: Hernan Dario Muñoz, Carlos Ibañez, Mauricio Henao, and John Freddy Garcia.

Planckaert close to Palmans

Belgian Jo Planckaert (Cofidis) is close to a deal with the Palmans-Collstrop team. "Everything is settled, all that's missing is a signature," team manager Charles Palmans said, quoted on Belgian Teletekst. Planckaert represents one quarter of the Belgian exodus at Cofidis, along with Nico Mattan, Peter Farazijn, and Chris Peers.

No Jacques for Van der Ven

Dutch rider Remco van der Ven (BankGiroLoterij) will not be making the step to the new Chocolade Jacques team along with his current team director Johan Capiot and riders Gerben Löwik, Jan van Velzen and Bart Voskamp. He will therefore stay with BankGiroLoterij.

Grimberg to new Therme team

Former Farm Frites-Hartol rider Arenda Grimberg has decided not to join the @Home Cycling Team, and will instead ride for the brand new cosmetic sponsored Therme team in 2004. Grimberg was presented as part of the @Home Cycling Team recently, but just before the World Championships she changed her mind, much to the annoyance of the @Home team. "We will go with a signed letter referring to the preliminary contract," said team spokesman Harry Snuk to ANP. "If she refuses then we'll go to court."

Grimberg believes it is ridiculous for @Home to hold her to a preliminary agreement. "We were still in negotiations about how much I cost at that moment I had to attend the presentation, and then I also said that it was 80 percent likely that it would come good. Therme came really with a better offer, above all where I can find myself in a good sporting environment."

The Therme team will be directed by former pro Erwin Nijboer, who rode in the service of Miguel Indurain in his time.

MrBookmaker joins Palmans

As the team continues to sign riders for 2004, Palmans-Collstrop has received assurances of additional sponsorship for the coming season., an online betting site, will join Palmans as a principal sponsor.

Six Days of Mexico cancelled

The Six Days of Cycling of Mexico track competition has been cancelled this season. Scheduled for October 21-26, the Mexico event has been suspended to allow the national federation to place priority on the World Cup meet at Aguascalientes, which serves as an important qualifier for the World Track Championships and 2004 Olympic Games. The Six Days of Cycling has been tentatively rescheduled for June 2004, around the time of the Mexican national track championships, according to a Todociclismo report.

Vuelta Ciclista Higuito

The 11th Vuelta Ciclista Internacional Higuito will take place November 1-9 in Costa Rica. The tour will welcome teams from Mexico, El Salvador, Panama, the United States, and Europe. Over the course of nine days and nine stages the peloton will cover 1,052 kilometres, including 17 classified climbs, 20 intermediate sprints, and one individual time trial (stage 6).

This year's Vuelta Higuito will visit several traditional locations, including San Pedro de Poás and Turrialba, as well as the Parque de la Paz-Universidad de Costa Rica circuit.

The stages

Stage 1 - November 1: Higuito - San Pedro de Poás, 124 km
Stage 2 - November 2: Circuito Parque de la Paz, 86.4 km
Stage 3 - November 3: Cartago - Turrialba - Paraíso, 144 km
Stage 4 - November 4: Naranjo - Puriscal, 130 km
Stage 5 - November 5: Tibás - Turrialba, 150 km
Stage 6 - November 6: Pozos de Santa Ana - Hospital CIMA ITT, 16 km
Stage 7 - November 7: Alajuela - La Fortuna de San Carlos, 120 km
Stage 8 - November 8: La Fortuna de San Carlos - Puente Salas de Barva de Heredia, 153 km
Stage 9 - November 9: Desamparados - Higuito, 128 km

Irish off-road news

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

Lurgan Park, Co. Armagh is the setting for the start of the cyclo-cross campaign Saturday. It is anticipated that the good work done last year to re-ignite the 'cross action will bear fruit this season.

Apollo CT is the promoting club and according to its blurb, "this is one of the best flowing events around and uses a similar course to previous years with two extra short running sections added."

Underage racing is also on the program at mid-day and the U-16 race will also double as a "try cross" event for anyone new to the sport, or wishing to compete on a mountain bike. The main event will be at 1pm. The venue is Waves Leisure Complex where the entry fee will also cover soup, showers and coffee afterwards. The race is part of the Irish Cross League and all licence holders from both Cycling Ireland and the Northern Ireland Cycling Federation are cordially invited to participate. The main event will be handicapped into four groups. Be warned that mountain bikes are permitted but will not qualify for League Points.

Last year Michael Mulvenna, a member of the Ards Cycling Club and a junior, showed up his more senior competitors to win the event and has indicted that he'll be a definite starter. The organisers are unlikely to allow Michael similar hospitality by allowing him over six minutes on his more senior competitors for the eight lap course.

Irish mountain bike champion Robin Seymour, a previous winner of the league will be an absentee. Seymour will compete in Greece this weekend on the course which will be used for the 2004 Athens Olympics, so it will be a reconnaissance for the Kilmacanogue biker to familiarise himself for the big race next year. He will be back the following week to launch his campaign for back-to-back overall league wins.

Further information, contact Myles at or 07736687052.

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