News for October 18, 2000

Anna's greatest hour

It could be today as Anna Wilson attempts to set a new World Hour Record on the Vodafone Arena in Melbourne. Starting at 1030 Australian ESST (1930 USA EDT/0130 European CEST), cyclingnews will be covering the action live from the velodrome, including 10 minute updates and images of her progress.

The attempt will be made on UCI approved equipment, after recent changes to the UCI regulations for record attempts. Supervising the record ride will be the UCI appointed International Commissaire (official), Karen O'Callaghan of Melbourne, assisted by National cycling officials. The record attempt is being facilitated by the Melbourne based Cycling Promoters, Cyclists International, a non-profit organization that has existed for 28 years in order to help cyclists.

World Hour Record: A brief history

In 1893, the first officially recorded distance of 35.325 km was established in Paris by Frenchman, Henri Desgrange, the founder of the Tour de France. Since the early 1980's many technological developments in bicycle frame and wheel design have evolved for hour record attempts. The Technical Commission of the UCI has recently revised the equipment regulations covering the hour record for cycling, and have decided to revert to a "standard" bicycle and wheels for such record attempts.

Equipment rules now in place, have caused the distance of 56.375 km covered by the British cyclist, Chris Boardman in 1996 to be changed to the "Best Hour Performance" and the UCI hour record has reverted to 1972 mark of Eddy Merckx (Belgium) at 49.431 km.

Boardman will make a record attempt on a machine that meets the UCI's approval in late October, during the World Track Cycling championships in Manchester, England. This will be Boardman's farewell to International cycling and he hopes to recapture the coveted title of "Hour Record Holder" in his final event.

Women's Record

Tamara Novikova (Russia) was the first to hold the women's hour distance at 38.473 km set on July, 7,1955. The current mark is held by Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (France) at 48.159 km, and was set at altitude in Mexico on October 26, 1996. It will, like Boardman's also be voided, because of the equipment used.

The UCI are currently deciding the legitimacy of equipment used in all of the preceding women's attempts. The most likely distance to be approved will be that of Cornelia Van Oosten-Hage (Holland), 43.082 km on September 16, 1978 or the 41.087 km covered by the Russian cyclist, Olga Sidorenko on October 20, 1982. Both these marks are believed to have been set before the advent of the hi-tech bicycles and disc wheels.

Reactions to Morace

Italian national soccer team director, Caroline Morace, has been given some feedback after her comments yesterday regarding cycling: "If it was up to me, I would abolish it," she said. "Because to make people race seven hours on a bicycle is to force them to dope. It is a physical effort that a human cannot withstand, it would be enough to reduce the kilometres of the stages and to therefore render more normal distances. Athletes who have doped should be disqualified for life."

"I second this theory," said former pro-cyclist and Italian TV presenter David Cassani with more than a hint of sarcasm. "The champions of the one hundred metre sprint in athletics would never resort to doping. I'm sorry, Morace has spoken an absurdity to me. The problem is different."

Mercatone Uno's president, Felice Gimondi said, "I invite Carolina Morace to take care of herself in this matter and not to involve herself in things that she has no idea about."

Castellano's grand plans

Perhaps there is a middle ground. Carmino Castellano, the Neapolitan laywer who has been involved with RCS Sport for 20 years, is responsible for around twenty races in Italy including the Giro, Milan-San Remo, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Giro di Lombardia. Castellano has been arguing that stages have to be limited to 200 kilometers with five hours racing per day.

His example is the Vuelta of this year. "Short but stimulated stages. No excess. When riders have time to sleep a little bit longer in the morning and go to bed on time, you can expect something from them during the day," he said.

He has another idea about rider payments. "Why don't we use the UCI points for payments instead of negotiations about start money? When a team sends 8 riders with, for example 2,000 UCI points, I think you can pay them more than a team with a total of 1,000 points. In this way you award the better teams and place extra value on the better riders," he added.

He hasn't calculated his plan exactly yet. But in his proposal he counts 1.5 Euro for every UCI point, no matter where the team is coming from. In the three big stage races (Giro, Tour de France, Vuelta) the price will be 25 Euro per point.

Castellano has one important condition: Split the top teams from the rest. "It doesn't matter how many teams count for a top team. But it has to be well structured teams including a youth team. These teams should only be allowed in races up to category 2. If they want to start in the 3rd and 4th category, then they don't earn UCI points in those races," he finished.

Crowds at the World's

Despite being a town of just 5,000, Plouay manages to attract many times this number for the GP Ouest France each summer after the Tour. For a one day race, figures of 200,000 are often quoted (although some officials put the figure nearer 35,000...) for this Hors Categorie classic in Brittany. So how did the World Championships stack up?

Unfortunately, the official word (paraphrased a la Fred Dagg) is that "The World Championships in Plouay were held in front of an estimated crowd". In numbers, this means between 100,000 and 500,000 , possibly counted over the whole six days of the championships. On Sunday, 80,000 - 100,000 paying entries were received by the French Federation, and that was the figure given to the media.

Given the chillier weather, this was a pretty good turnout, cyclingnews estimated that there were "a lot" of people there. It is certain that all the gathered folk, particularly the French, thoroughly enjoyed it as they always do with any bike race in France.

The official word on Joachim

US Postal Service have terminated the contract of their Luxembourg rider, Benoît Joachim, after he returned a positive drugs test after the Luxembourg national championships on June 25 (which he won). Joachim, a second year pro, had his B sample confirmed for nandrolone by the Luxembourg Federation last Saturday, and is likely to lose the title as well as receive a six-month suspension from the Federation.

The team maintains a strict no drugs policy, and USPS general manager, Mark Gorski said "we are extremely disappointed in Benoit's judgment regarding this matter. Our team has always maintained a zero tolerance policy regarding the use of banned substances, and all of the team's riders and staff are aware of that position. We remain committed to fielding the best team in the world but will not compromise our high standards and integrity."

Team director Johan Bruyneel claimed he was "very surprised and also very disappointed" when told of the test. "In our team, everybody knows the rules and everybody knows what unprofessional behavior can lead to."

"Benoît claims to me that he is innocent and that he doesn't understand what happened," Bruyneel continued. "I would like to believe him, but we cannot tolerate any doubts. Anyone who doesn't follow the rules has to assume the consequences of his acts."

Joachim has claimed that the substance was contained in food that he bought at the supermarket.

U.S. track team for the World's

USA Cycling have nominated five riders as their team to contest the World Track Championships in Manchester, October 25-29. Olympians Jame Carney (5th points race in Sydney), Tanya Lindenmuth (6th match sprint) and Erin Veenstra-Mirabella (8th individual pursuit, 10th points race) will join Jeff LaBauve and Jennie Reed in the squad.

Team news

Telekom will strengthen their lineup with double Olympic gold medallist, Robert Bartko, it was confirmed today. Bartko, who recently had to forgo his individual pursuit title defence in the World Track Championships next week, will join Andreas Klier (Farm Frites), Torsten Hiekmann, and Roberto Sgambelluri (Cantina Tollo) as new recruits for the team. Bartko's next races will be the six days in Dortmund and Munich.

Telekom will have 24 riders next season, the largest number since the team started in 1992. They plan to compete in all three grand tours next year, and will need an expanded lineup.

French team St-Quentin will see espoirs Mickael Olejnik and Grégory Faghel join next season, however the team will lose coach Martial Gayant to Francaise des Jeux.

Ag2r have signed Alexandre Grux for two years, along with Stephane Bergès, Thierry Loder, Linas Balciunas, Ludovic Capelle and Sebastien Demarbaix. They will lose Stephane Barthe, Pascal Chanteur and Andrei Kivilev.

The future of Agro Adler-Brandenburg is in doubt after their top rider, Andreas Kappes tested positive for nandrolone after the German track championships in Hamburg in July. This came after Uwe Ampler's positive test last year for testosterone, and several sponsors are not happy. Three of them withdrew last week, placing the four year old division II team on the brink.

The team have already sacked Kappes, who tested positive and was suspended for 6 months in 1997. However, he is entitled to appeal the decision in front of the sport court in Germany.

Directeur sportif, Dirk Meier intends to hold out until the end of November for new sponsors, saying that "it is not correct to make everything dependent on Kappes - we still have other very good riders."

Marcel Wüst update

Hi everyone, Just over 2 months that I had this bloody crash and I'm starting to feel allrite now. Still nothing to see on my right eye, the next operation in Dec/Jan will tell me more...all I have is optimism that the docs will fix it.

The worst was that I had to lay dead flat in the bed for another 12 days after feeling allrite in late September, but now I can start walking around a bit and it looks like the family and I will make it to our plane leaving Oct. 23rd to take the well deserved holiday.

I hope all of you riders will enjoy the holiday, and 4 all the rest...keep smiling


How's Jay?

Australian Jay Sweet and his LOOK bike were the first casualties of the World Championship Road Race on Sunday (apart from Mark Lovatt (GBr) and Morten Sonnne (Den) who did not start). A destroyed bike and a broken bones in his hand were the result, and he will have to have his hand splinted for 4 weeks. He describes every cyclist's nightmare:

"If you hadn't heard I crashed on the 6th lap of 19 in Plouay and broke my left hand. I was descending the hill and I heard a cracking sound. I pulled on my handlebars to see what it was and my front wheel and forks went from underneath me so I went straight over the top on landing on my head. Fortunately I was wearing my helmet. When I got up I saw that my bike was broken into three pieces.

Udo finishes

While Telekom's Udo Bölts didn't exactly take the world of Ironman triathlon by storm with his finishing place in Hawaii last weekend, he certainly didn't embarrass himself. He didn't quite break the 10 hour barrier with a time of 10:02:42, but this was enough to put him in 168th place overall, and 39th in his age category (30-34). His bike split was the 8th fastest of all categories, and his sub-four hour marathon was most impressive considering he had never run more than 15 km before in his life.

The splits were as follows:

Swim (3.8 km): 1:14:02
Bike (180 km): 4:42:00
Run (42 km): 3:59:07


Swim-Bike: 4:05
Bike-Run: 3:30

Total: 10:02:42

Apeldoorn track

The Netherlands' new velodrome in Apeldoorn is still in the early stages of planning. It hasn't been decided yet who will build the track, as first of all Apeldoorn has to put the contract to tender in Europe, because of European rules. The first selections will be made around the end of this year.

In March/April 2001, they hope to put out the official contract when they know more of the details. The first impression is that the track will look like the track in Valencia (a combination of a cycling track and an athletics track).

Provisional road calendar for 2001

The UCI announced their road calendar for 2001 during the World Championships in Plouay last week. Although provisional, the calendar should provide a good guide to all the major events. The first race of the season is the 2.5 Tour of Wellington, January 3-7 and the last is the Tour of South China Sea in Hong Kong, December 25-January 1, 2002. An often asked question to cyclingnews is "when is the Tour of Mallorca on?". Answer: February 4-8.

10th Giro Del Capo

A UCI 2.5 class tour, the Giro del Capo in South Africa is in its 10th year in 2001. The dates are from March 6-10, and a provisional stage schedule follows:

Stage 1 - March 6: Paarl, 166 km (including 3 KOM, one on the Malanshoogte gravel road as in 1999)
Stage 2 - March 7: Stellenbosch, 131 km (Nine laps of the circuit used in 1997/8, including the climb of the Old Hellshoogte Pass)
Stage 3 - March 8: Durbanville, 90 km (including Vissershok)
Stage 4 - March 9: Melkbosstrand, 80 km (out towards Darling) Stage 5 - March 9: Goodhope Centre, 40 km (Ten laps of a 4 km circuit through old District Six, and including 2 KOM) Stage 6 - March 10: Signal Hill, 5.6 km (Hill Climb Finale)