L'Enfant Terrible of Belgian cycling, Frank Vandenbroucke, has reemerged into the limelight, giving a press conference today in Bornem to explain his whereabouts during the past two months, as well as outlining his immediate future. VDB was last seen racing in May in the Euskal Bizikleta, but pulled out of that due to an Achilles tendon strain. His problems continued when he temporarily broke off relations with long-time personal manager, Paul de Geyter shortly afterwards.
VDB's first race back was going to be the Tour of Luxembourg, but he was a no show, with his wife Sarah informing his Lampre team that he had injured his wrist in a training accident. Lampre management indicated their disappointment, but still had faith that Vandenbroucke would meet with them and tell them what was going on.
He didn't, and he hasn't spoken with manager Pietro Algeri since June. In the meantime he has been working with well known Belgian trainer Lieven Maesschalck and psychologist Jef Brouwers to physically and mentally prepare himself to be a professional cyclist again. However at his press conference today he indicated that it's unlikely that he'll race again this season, and almost certainly not for Lampre-Daikin in future.
"I feel much better now, and I don't see things any more in a negative way," he said. "I regret what has happened in the last two years, but I want to win again. I will return in competition stronger than I ever have been, but not before next year."
Maesschalck may be VDB's last hope to get his career back on track, as he is known for helping several top sportsmen back from injury, including Johan Museeuw. Vandenbroucke hasn't started training on the road yet, but is swimming around two hours per day, climbing hills, and practicing Tae-Bo.
He last won a race in 1999, and has had problems with periodic depression which he needs to overcome before any team director will take him on. Domo's Patrick Lefevere, who acquired the services of Richard Virenque mid-year, is an obvious choice as no-one in Lotto-Adecco will talk to Frank. However, Lefevere says that VDB will have to knuckle under if he is to take him on board.
Dutch cyclist Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel performed a couple of tests on the track in Manchester as preparation for her attempt on the World Hour Record. The Dutch triple Olympic gold medalist may go for the Hour on September 12, according to Dutch news sources. The current record is held by Frenchwoman Jeannie Longo, at 45.094 km on December 7, 2000 in Mexico City.
On Monday, Leontien rode for 15 minutes behind the derny to get the feel for the track. "Now that I have discovered this velodrome, I have some idea of what speed I can reach on September 12," she said. "I would like to approach 46 kilometres in the hour but I am afraid of aiming too high."
In the first test, Leontien learned that will not use the 53x16. "The track is faster than I expected. So I needed too many pedal revolutions to get enough speed. That means I have enough power in my legs. Now we will look for 53x15 or even 54x15. Whatever will be the ideal for me. Before Thursday night we have to know, then we fly back to Holland."
The target for Leontien is '19.8'; that's the lap time she wants to keep during the one hour attempt. Husband/manager Michael Zijlaard said "But if she goes over 20.5, 20.6 and closer to 21, then she will stop."
She will train again tomorrow (Wednesday) but will return home to the Netherlands to start in the women's Ronde van Nederland on September 2. There she will only ride for a few days before coming back to the track. She is still looking for a TV company to cover this event.
The International Olympic Committee will shortly finish coordinating the various rules around the famous (or notorious) new EPO test. It will end in a definition of when an athlete is to be considered positive for EPO, according to Kristine Wilkens at the Danish daily paper Politiken.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) has worked with an intermediate level of 80 percent. Some experts, among them Swedish Bengt Saltin, says that no one possibly can have a value over 70 without having some artificial EPO in their bodies.
The IOC's medical director, Patrick Schamasch, has so far stated that "experts" are to decide which levels that should be accepted but he considers 70 percent as out of the question.
"We have made a report. It will be studied and commented by experts and it looks as the minimum level will be at 85 percent or more. It will never be at 70, that's nonsense", Schamasch told Wilkens.
The coordination report will show how much the results differ at the five IOC approved laboratories in Paris, Lausanne, Oslo, Sydney and Barcelona. Results can be expected at the end of September, according to Schamasch. Rasmus Damsgaard at the Danish anti doping agency Anti Doping Danmark, is not impressed:
"It is disappointing that they don't face the facts. If they suggest 85 percent they must have some material that I haven't heard of," he says, hoping that the international anti doping agency WADA won't accept an 85 percent limit.
He hopes though that the accepted limit will be lower in the future. "When the ski federation set the values for haemoglobin, they started with 19.5 grams per decilitre, the equivalent of 60 percent hematocrit. No one reached that so later it was lowered to 18.5 and finally 17.5 for men," Damsgaard pointed out.
"The World Championships are quite simply to late in the season. In mid-October the season is over for many of us that were in form for the Tour", says Norwegian US Postie Steffen Kjaergaard to news agency NTB.
Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) has accepted one of the two Norwegian spots, the other probably goes to teammates Kurt-Asle Arvesen or Bjørnar Vestøl (Fakta). National captain Svein Gaute Hølestøl will announce the squad on September 1.
Belgian Michel Vanhaecke has extended his contract with Landbouwkrediet-Colnago for another year.
Geert van Bondt (Mercury) is another rider on the lookout for a new team, following Jans Koerts and Peter van Petegem. "I am living in the greatest uncertainty. There is still nothing concrete and the situation is becoming stressful to work," he said today.
Ex-pro Jens Veggerby will aid Nicolai Bo Larsen to find a new team, since CSC-Tiscali isn't interested in him anymore, according to Danish news agency Ritzau. Larsen himself says that Veggerby, who also is Jakob Piil's personal manager, has spoken to Team Fakta and several other teams.
Larsen didn't start in the HEW Cyclassics World Cup race last week end and is now taken out from the squad for Zürich GP coming week end. Larsen sent an SMS message to CSC's sports director Alex Pedersen shortly before the Hamburg race which was a bit too discreet for the CSC management, according to Ritzau. It's uncertain when Larsen will come back into the ordinary season's plan for the team.
Jesper Skibby, who finished his long career last year, will leave his post as PR- and sponsor coordinator at CSC-Tiscali at the end of August. The reason is unknown but Skibby will take a position with the DVD company PH Ballerup.
Danish National Coach Lars Bonde has selected Rasmus Dyring (Odder), Thomas Eriksen (Team Bornholm), Lars Bak (Hammel), Thomas Oredsson (Ordrup), Morten Knudsen (Herning) and Lasse Siggaard (Herning) for the U23 European Championships in France coming weekend.
What's the attraction of Belgian kermis racing, and why is it so popular? Today's race in Zottegem - the 65th Dr. Tistaert Prijs - was one of many such races during the season, albeit with a few UCI points on offer. But it's not just about the bike race as you can read in the Cyclingnews report on the festivities. How many bookmakers have you got planned for your next race?
Fyn Rundt (Tour of Fyn), one of the UCI classed races in Denmark plans to upgrade from 1.5 year with the intention to become the highest classed race in Denmark. GP Århus and GP Midtbank are 1.4. At the same time the tour ride with the same name will be held on the same day, August 11, next year. Fyn Rundt is a real classic that started in 1894 and is the third oldest race in the UCI calendar, according to cyclingworld.dk.
The Tour de France may be over, but this year's edition left many fond memories. Texan Cyclingnews reader Ted Arnold followed the race with Bikestyle Tours. You can read his exuberant account of his travels here.
After a hugely successful first running of this mountain bike event last year it's happening again. Some 200 teams of 2 riders are expected to weave their way around a huge chunk of the metropolitan area (full details released 3 weeks before the event) on everything from suburban streets, national park dirt, trains, ferries. They've 8 hours to reach as many checkpoints as possible by whatever route they choose.
Last year's 30 odd checkpoints included on the Manly Ferry, inside Royal North Shore Hospital, on the Harbour Bridge, beaches, parks... Where will they put them this time?!
Organized by Polaris who usually run these events in rugged bush and mountain country, the day will suit anyone who loves to ride, who wants to see parts of Sydney they'd never thought about and who wants to have fun with the spice of competition.
The event will again be raising funds for those with spinal injuries.
For further details, photos, entry forms etc. contact Huw Kingston on firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel 02 4883 6509 or check out www.polarismtb.com.au (Website will be updated with this year's full event information in late Sept).
Major Races and Events
September 7-29, 2002: Vuelta a España (GT) - Preview, stage list
May 11-June 2, 2002: Giro d'Italia (GT) - Preview, stage list, photos
July 6-28, 2002: Tour de France (GT) - Full preview & official route details
December 8: Superprestige Rd 5 (Cat. 1) - Erwin Vervecken
November 29-December 4: Six Days of Noumea (6D) - Sassone/Neuville victorious
November 26-December 1: Six Days of Zurich (6D) - Day 6 - McGrory/Gilmore/Schnider win
December 1: Melbourne Cup on Wheels (IM) - Scott Moller, Keirin, Sprint, Support races
December 2: Cyclo-cross World Cup #2 (CDM) - Sven Nijs again
November 24-December 3: Juegos Deportivos Centroamericanos (JR) - Final results
December 8-9: Frankfurter Rad-Cross (Cat. 2) - Alex Mudroch, UK National Trophy Series #4 (Cat. 3) - Roger Hammond, Grote Prijs Industrie Bosduin - Kalmthout (Cat. 1) - Bart Wellens, Int. Radquer Obergösgen (Cat. 2) - Björn Rondelez, Trofeo Mamma e Papa Guerciotti (Cat. 3) - Enrico Franzoi, Premio Egondo (Cat 3) - David Seco, Irish cyclo-cross championships - Robin Seymour
Results: local racing
Australia - CycleWest Promotions Omnium Series #2, Eastern Suburbs Summer Criterium Series, Carnegie Caulfield Tuesday criterium, Southern Cross Junior Track Open & Madison Cup, Manly Warringah CC, George Town Track Carnival, Carnegie Caulfield CC, Randwick Botany CC, Gold Coast CATS CC, Caesar's Illawarra CC, Caesar's Illawarra (track)
Denmark - Danish cyclo-cross Post Cup #3
Italy - Gran Premio Città di Bassano
Luxembourg - GP De Kopstal
New Zealand - Cyco Criterium series
Spain - Elorrio cyclo-cross
USA - Georgia Cross Series Championship, Chimborazo Grand Prix cyclo-cross, Boulder Cross Rd 6, New Mexico State Cyclo-x Champs, Sorrento Cyclo-x & California State Champ's, Boulder Cross Rd 5, Verge New England series, Northampton CC Cyclo-cross Championships, Chris Cross International CycloCross
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