First Edition News for September 8, 2003
Edited by Chris Henry
Cipollini's swift departure
World champion Mario Cipollini (Domina Vacanze) did not take the start of stage 2 Sunday at the Vuelta a España, a decision which surprised and disappointed the Vuelta organisers. Cipollini had to be pushed by teammates during Saturday's opening team time trial, and clearly was in no form to race. Nonetheless, the Domina Vacanze team's invitation to the Vuelta was contingent upon Cipo's presence, and his late decision to travel to Spain provided the entry ticket his teammates needed.
"It's sad for cycling, for the fans, and for organisers, and I would say also for Cipollini, who won't come out of this affair any bigger," Vuelta director Victor Cordero told AFP. "We're not going to exclude Domina Vacanze now. But today, annoyed by what has happened, I'm inclined to say that we won't invite the team back."
Cipollini is not the only early departure to unsettle the race organisation. Saeco's sprinter Ivan Quaranta lasted only 3km into the team time trial Saturday. "His case is incredible," Unipublic's Enrique Franco said of Quaranta's withdrawal. "We'll take that into account for the next Vueltas."
Solid start for Sevilla
Kelme-Costa Blanca leader Oscar Sevilla was satisfied with his first Vuelta road stage, finishing in 18th place and only 15" behind stage winner Luis Perez of Cofidis. Sevilla, short on form after missing most of the season's competition, is hoping to continue riding himself into shape in the opening stages of the Vuelta. The inclusion of Cat. 3, 2, and 1 climbs in only the second stage of the Vuelta gave the Spaniard an early test of his condition.
"I counted on something like this, because the Vuelta is different and all of the stages are complicated," Sevilla said after the stage. "The best thing for me was that I felt good, and was supported perfectly by the team. I'm optimistic, but I want to take it little by little and find my rhythm."
Sastre takes seconds
Team CSC's Carlos Sastre fired a warning shot to the competition with a fine performance in the Vuelta's first road stage, finishing second behind Luis Perez and taking 14 to 15 seconds out of the majority of the top riders for the general classification. However Sastre still has time to regain himself, sitting over a minute behind the ONCE armada after the Spanish team's winning team time trial on Saturday.
"I don't like to lose, but I am glad for Luis Perez," Sastre said of his compatriot's stage 2 victory. "He won because he was faster than me. The important thing is that I have taken a few seconds from my direct rivals for the final podium. I've seen that some of the favourites are not as good as they seemed."
Noval's Vuelta incentive
Benjamin Noval, frequently seen on the attack in recent editions of the Vuelta a España, has a new incentive to realise a successful race this year. Reportedly in talks with US Postal Service for an eventual transfer, Noval knows the time to perform is now.
"I have the opportunity," he said of the possibility of joining USPS. "First, I must demonstrate my ability to perform well during a three-week stage race. I have a double motivation in this years Vuelta: I want to respond to the confidence placed in me by Relax-Fuenlabrada during all these years and, at the same time, to do my best in order to show US Postal what I capable of doing."
Nonetheless, before any deal is signed, Noval remains focused and isn't getting ahead of himself. "It's too early yet to talk about a signing," he admitted.
Quick.Step confirms new recruits
The Quick.Step-Davitamon team has announced formally the addition of two more riders for 2004. Hoping to further enhance its capabilities for stage races, the team has engaged Volta a Catalunya and Bicicleta Vasca winner José Antonio Pecharroman, and fellow Spaniard José Antonio Garrido. Both riders have signed two year contracts with team manager Patrick Lefevere, who has already signed Laurent Dufaux and Juan Miguel Mercado for the coming season. Italian Stefano Zanini, who has already ridden for Lefevere in the old Mapei colours, has signed with Quick.Step for one year.
Gorka Gonzalez extends
Euskaltel-Euskadi has continued to secure its roster for the coming seasons, re-signing young professional Gorka Gonzalez for two more years. The 25 year old scored his first pro victory last month at the Vuelta a Burgos and will look forward to racing in orange until at least 2005.
Michael R. Rabe Midwest 'Cross Championships
Tailwind Enterprises is proud to present the Michael R. Rabe Midwest Cyclo-Cross Championships in Rochester, Michigan. The event was renamed following the tragic accident that led to Michael's untimely passing. Michael was a key player in the promotion of this event. A portion of each entry will be donated to The Michael R. Rabe Memorial Fund for Juniors.
Promoted by Robert Linden and Tailwind Enterprises, this event will take place at Bloomer Park in Rochester on Saturday, October 4. Bloomer Park has become a paradise of sorts for cyclists of all types. The park offers miles of singletrack mountain bike trails, has hosted several Cyclo-cross races including two State Championships, and now houses one of the most aggressive velodromes in the country.
The Michael R. Rabe Midwest Cyclo-Cross Championships will be the only UCI sanctioned event in the American Midwest. Being a UCI Category 3 event, in addition to the $3,350 in cash and additional merchandise prizes, points will be up for grabs to the top 5 finishers in the Elite Men/U-23, Elite Women, and Junior categories. The day's racing begins at 10:00am with the 'C' race and winds up with the UCI Elite/U-23 race at 3:00pm.
Tailwind will also be holding a second race in its Michigan series (non UCI) at Bloomer Park on Sunday, October 5. For more information on either race, visit www.tailwind.net. Registration is available from the web site, or at www.bikereg.com.
Jim Traynor RIP
By Shane Stokes, Irishcycling.com
Irishcycling.com is very saddened to report the unexpected and untimely death of journalist Jim Traynor, who over many years made huge contributions to the sport. Jim died suddenly Saturday morning at the age of 63. A real enthusiast of cycling, he wrote on the subject for the Irish News and other publications, covered many northern events for this website and also worked in a volunteer capacity in the sport. He was a regular sight at the FBD Milk Rás, where he acted as Chief Judge for many years.
Race director Dermot Dignam was one of those keen to pay tribute to Jim. "I am completely shattered by the news. I knew Jim for many years, first meeting him back in our racing days. He was a very sociable character, was passionate about the sport and loved going to France with his bike each year. We served together on the executive council of the NCA and more recently, worked together on the FBD Milk Rás where he acted as Chief Judge. He was always one of the most committed and dedicated officials in the sport, and was very likeable too. It is a big, big shock."
Jim is survived by his wife Bridie. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him, and missed too by those who may not have met him but who read his fine reports. We would like to thank him for all he has done for the sport, and extend our sympathies to Bridie and all those who knew him personally over the years. May he rest in peace.
More prizes for Cyclingnews Vuelta Fantasy Game
New prizes are on offer in the Cyclingnews Vuelta Fantasy Game, thanks to fi'zi:k and Rudy Project, in addition to the first prize of an Orbea Vertex bicycle. The Fantasy Vuelta follows the same rules as our Giro d'Italia and Tour de France games, where you select a team of 15 riders worth a maximum of 9,000 UCI points, from which you pick nine for each stage, the overall, points and mountains classifications. It's a great way to get involved in following the Vuelta stage by stage and you can increase your chances by adding more teams.
The closing date to register teams is midnight European time on September 10 (i.e. after stage 5 but before stage 6). You must build and pay for your teams before stage 6 begins to be eligible for the prizes.
Join now at fantasy.cyclingnews.com.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)