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News Roundup 9 September 2003
 
By Staff
Date: 9/9/2003
News Roundup 9 September 2003
 

Roundup by Jakob Duma

Four new riders prolonged at CSC

Nicki Soerensen, Michael Blaudzun, Thomas Bruun Eriksen and Bekim Christensen stay on - Four of Team CSC’s Danish riders have been given new contracts for next season.

"The four riders have all demonstrated their value and they form part of the backbone that the team soon will have in place. Nicki and Michael both did well in the spring races and in the Tour de France. They have demonstrated that they have the right attitude and that they belong on our team. Thomas began his professional career with us and he has won races and has also been a good helper. He is still young and there is no doubt in my mind that he has a lot of potential. I am happy that he stays on at our team. We signed with Bekim just before the Tour de France and he has fully been able to live up to the confidence that we have in him. He has been very professional in his approach to the tasks that he has been given", says Bjarne Riis about the four riders who all have been given 1-year contracts. (Courtesy CSC).

Lotto-Domo going strong

The last couple of days, the Lotto-Domo team proved to be ready for the last weeks of the road season. Stefan Van Dijk won the Tour of Midden-Zeeland, beating Belgian champion Geert Omloop in the sprint. Robbie McEwen (7th) and Gorik Gardeyn (11th) were in the good flight too.

In Bavikhove, Peter Van Petegem triumphed in an omnium race (elimination, time trial, criterium), beating Vinokourov and Bettini.

Also Axel Merckx and Serge Baguet are in a promising shape. That was obvious in the Tour of Hessen. Baguet, after finishing fifth in the second stage, was third on the final day, while the son of Eddy finished third in the final classification.

A third place also for Nico Eeckhout in the Grand Prix Scherens in Leuven, where he was beaten in a bunch sprint by Huvhovd and Hammond. The last weeks of the road season look very promising for the Lotto-Domo-team. (Courtesy Lotto-Domo).

Quick Step – Davitamon 2004 Team taking shape

The Quick Step - Davitamon team is defining its roster for the next season. After the arrival of Juan Miguel Mercado (2 years of contract) and Laurent Dufaux (1 year), Josè Antonio Pecharroman, winner this year of the Bicicleta Vasca and the Vuelta a Cataluña, and Josè Antonio Garrido have signed a contract with the team of Patrick Lefevere. Both the Spanish riders have signed an agreement for the next two seasons. Stefano Zanini too will take part to the roster of the team Quick Step - Davitamon. The Italian rider has signed a one year contract for the next season.

The Spanish Challenge - Carlos is Ready

While many parts of Europe are already starting to prepare for the winter season - as far as sports are concerned - the world of professional cycling still has lots of exciting events for the autumn season. The temperatures are still high in the south of Europe and the sun will probably be a dominant feature on many of the pictures from the Italian one day races – and that will probably also be true for the pictures from the final big tour of the year: Vuelta a Espanã. In the coming three weeks, the Iberian Peninsula offers lots of aggressive racing in the crosswind, in the mountains, on the team time trial, on the two individual time trials, and on the mountain time trial. When you combine all these features into one exciting stage race you can be sure to get a bombardment of the senses. For most riders, the Vuelta is more than a passtime at the end of the season or a warm-up for the world championship. It is an important event with its own exciting history, myths, bad guys and heroes.

For the first time in team history, Team CSC takes part in this year’s Vuelta and when the riders and their staff arrived in Gijon, they were probably filled with expectations of big results and adventures – adventures that will stay in their memories for years to come. The team has had its best season ever this year, so there is a lot to live up to in the Vuelta; and make no mistake: Team CSC has come to Spain with a lot of ambitions.

The 58th Vuelta starts on Saturday September 6th with a 43-kilometre team time trial – a somewhat untraditional and provoking start to a stage race. From Gijon and Asturia, in the northwestern part of the country, the Vuelta will make its way – slowly but surely – eastwards via Santander. From there, it goes south straight across Burgos to the first time trial in Zaragoza. From here on, there will be three hard days in the Pyrenees before the peloton reaches the eastern coastline in Sabadell near Barcelona.

At this point, we will already know a lot about who will be the contenders for the overall victory. However, the Vuelta has always – as had the Tour de France this year – been able to keep everybody guessing about who will win until the final stages. As a spectator you can only be grateful for that. Last year, Aitor Gonzales was able to crush the climbers on the final stage’s time trial.

Following a long transfer, the race continues from Sabadell in Catalonia southwards to Utiel in the region to the west of Valencia where there will be some flat stages before the second time trial around Albacete. From here, the race travels south for the stages in Andalucia where it will visit classic and historically important cities such as Granada and Córdoba. The naked climbs, which are found down there, are not terribly steep – but they are long. From Córdoba, the Vuelta turns North to the centre of the country where the final four stages are all conducted in the Madrid region. The final stages will be action packed with two tough mountain stages in the final weekend. The 12-kilometre mountain time trial up to Alto de Abantos is the final time trial in the Vuelta, and for once, it will be the climbers who have the advantage. A couple of years ago, Carlos Sastre came close to winning a similar stage. The Vuelta may well be decided on those 12 kilometres.

"I have prepared myself well for this Vuelta and I know what it takes to do well in the race. I have been keeping a low profile and taken great care of myself in the days leading up to the race", says Carlos Sastre who has spent the latest weeks training in the mountains around Avila to the West of Madrid. The effort has given the young and talented Spaniard good form before this year’s last big event.

"I feel that I have recovered from my Tour effort and I know that the team is ready to back me. The route suits my kind of rider and I know many of the climbs very well", says Sastre who won the best climber’s jersey in the 2001 edition of the race. The Spaniard will have the home-court advantage with his great knowledge of Spanish cycling in the battle for glory  in the biggest Spanish race.

Team CSC’s line up for the Vuelta is as follows: Manuel Calvente, Bekim Christensen, Julian Dean, Thomas Bruun Eriksen, Peter Luttenberger, Michael Sandstoed, Carlos Sastre, Frank Schleck, and Nicki Soerensen. (Courtesy CSC).

Team Saeco's magic summer continues - Di Luca wins at Placci, and Sacchi wins at Romagna.

Fabio Sacchi has continued Team Saeco's run of impressive victories, making the 2003 summer a moment to remember for Claudio Corti's team.

Sacchi worked hard to help Di Luca win the Coppa Placci on Saturday but still had the strength to win himself at the finish of the race in Lugo on Sunday. The victory repaid Sacchi for the impressive work he has done all season and for the races where he just missed out on victory ­for example at the Tour de France in Marseille, when he finished second. Just like in the Coppa Placci, Team Saeco controlled the Giro di Romagna and then Sacchi came up with the winning move in the finale, crossing the line 12 seconds ahead of Serri and Ratti. It was his second win of the season after taking the second stage of the Tour Down Under in Australia in January 22, and his eighth win as a professional. The success is also a timely boost to Sacchi's hopes of being part of the Italian team for the world championships in Hamilton in October. (Courtesy Saeco).

Jalabert in the Top 10 - Hessen

The 5th and final stage of the Hessen Rundfahrt in Germany was dominated by an early breakaway and for the first time in the race, Team CSC was not represented. Telekom’s Danielle Nardello won the sprint in the breakaway and Nicolas Jalabert defended his overall 7th place.

"We have had a good race with a stage victory and a rider in the top-10. We got what we came for. Unfortunately, Jakob was forced to leave the race prematurely but on a grander scale I was pleased to note that the team was very coherent and that the riders helped each other. Nicolas was unable to move up in the classification because Cofidis was able to control the peloton and bring home the overall victory to Vasseur", said Sean Yates after the final 170 kilometres from Wetzlar to Wiesbaden. (Courtesy CSC).

Trophee Simonin Results

1. Jean Nuttli (Volksbank-Ideal) 21.5km in 26`40" (48.356 km/h)
2. Michael Schär (Swiss National Team) +1`01"
3. Martin Kohler (Swiss National Team) +1`26"
...
17. Tony Rominger (V.I.P.) +4`58"
18. Alain Prost (V.I.P) +5`02"
27. Jörg Müller (V.I.P.) +6`19"
(Courtesy Jean Nuttli)

Rabo's Michael Rasmussen speaks out

Dear Cyclingfriends,

It is the day before the day. I am not talking about x-mas, newyears or my aunts birthday, but the day before the start of the last of the three big tours of the season. The Vuelta Espana, which in my case will be the second grand tour of my career, after doing the Giro last year. Compared to the Giro, I am in a very different position this time. I have gained a lot more experience since May last year and am also stronger than at that time. At the Vuelta I will start out as co-captain along with Liepheimer, which off course ads higher pressure to perform, but also demands 100 % concentration on every stage. As a domestic you can take a "day off" during the three weeks, plus you have three extra rest days in form of the time trials. I will try to stay in contention for the GC at least until the first mountain stages in the Pyrenees, and then make a desision for the rest of the tour. I am not going to the chance of a stage win for the overall classification, meaning that I will be willing to take a high risk (by losing a lot of time) to get a stage win. 20th place and a stage win is definitely better than a 10th place without.

The time leading up to the Vuelta has been very positive. I came back into racing in San Sebastian after 4 weeks of hard training, and was able to stay with the best, when an incredible Paolo Bettini gave the peloton a "how to ride a bike fast" demonstration. After Spain I went to do Tour of Denmark, or at least part of it. I quit the race on Thursday at a point, when I was sitting in the 3rd group, a couple of minutes behind the leaders, due to a puncture shortly before Ejer Bavnehoj, where Team CSC and Team Fakta went on attack and spilt the peloton to pieces.

My exit from the race brought me in the line of fire from the race director, who also happens to be President of the Danish cycling federation. I was criticised for having an arrogant attitude towards the races in Denmark. A criticism that I find very hard to take seriously. It is a matter of priorities. I wasn't planning on doing the Nationals, because it would conflict with the Tour. I didn't get selected for the Tour and therefore decided to go to Denmark to race the Nationals the best I could. As far as Tour of Denmark goes, I pulled out of the race along with 13 other riders, on a cold, windy and rainy day, at a time when I was no long in for the GC.

I think the president of the federation/race director at times forgets on whose behalf he is speaking. As a race director he has the right to be disappointed when riders for one reason or the other drop out of the race, but as president of the federation, he should be taking care Danish cyclists' interests. In my case, I made no secret of it, that the priority was the upcoming World cup race in Zurich, so instead of being mad about what he didn't get, he should be happy about what he actually got.

The fact that not a single journalist reacted on the case, I take for a common understanding for my decision. A decision that proved to be right, as I came very close to winning the world cup in Zurich on the following Sunday. I had the legs, but lacked the luck.

The big countdown has started. There are now less than 24 hours to the start of the Vuelta and I am starting to feel a bit nervous. I know that I have trained well, but from now on only time can tell if it has been enough. I am very excited to get going and hope to bring some good experiences with me home to Italy. (Courtesy Michael Rasmussen)

Museeuw may miss the world championships

Johan Museeuw may miss the road cycling world championships in Canada next month after his house was raided in a police drugs investigation, team manager Patrick Lefever stated in an interview published on Saturday.

"I still have full confidence in Johan Museeuw," Patrick Lefevere, manager of the Quick-Step team told La Derniere Heure - Les Sports on Saturday afternoon.

"The inquiry will prove Johan has done nothing wrong. But, on the other hand, I fear that his image can be damaged."

Museeuw will continue with his race programme over the next few days starting with the Dutch Delta Ronde van Midden-Zeeland this weekend, but Lefevere said his preparation for the championships in Hamilton would be damaged, because of the new doping speculations, but says that the best thing for Museeuw to do will be to continuing riding or else people may think he’s hiding something, stated Lefevere.

On Friday Museeuw said he had full confidence in the police - his hours was one of 20 riders homes raided on Thursday afternoon, in search for performance-enhancing hormone drugs.

Officials said a number of people were being interviewed among then (Chris Peers, Jo Planckaert of Cofidis, and Mario De Clercq of the Plamans team), after a local vet was suspected of distributing hormones among Belgian cyclists, and the whole affair has started to spread the doping speculations to the winds in the cycling-loving country once more.

San Francisco pro cycling live on TV and internet radio

San Francisco--The T-MOBILE INTERNATIONAL, presented by BMC Software takes to the streets of San Francisco, Sunday, September 14th, and KGO-TV/ABC7, Outdoor Life Network (OLN) and AdventureSports Radio have it covered. KGO-TV/ABC7 will once again bring viewers the start, the finish, and all the LIVE racing highlights of the professional men’s cycling action and the for the first time this year highlights of a Pro Cycling Tour women’s race. OLN will feature a one-hour highlight show later in September while AdventureSports Radio is LIVE on the internet.

On September 14th, KGO-TV/ABC7 will provide 8 hours of LIVE coverage of the event, beginning at 7a.m. with Breaking News during regularly scheduled programming. From 9a.m. - 11a.m. a Special Edition of KGO-TV/ABC7 News with LIVE updates of the T-MOBILE INTERNATIONAL, presented by BMC Software Women's Pro Race followed by LIVE coverage of the Men’s Pro Race.

ABC7 Sports Director Martin Wyatt will host the broadcast, along with ABC7 Sports Anchor Larry Beil, Morning News Anchor Team Eric Thomas and Elizabeth Bermudez, and reporter Stacey Hendler, delivering live coverage from the famous Taylor and Fillmore climbs to the fast-paced flats of the Embarcadero.

KGO-TV/ABC7's live coverage is sponsored by T-MOBILE, BMC Software, the United States Postal Service, Webcor Builders, the Wall Street Journal, Arrowhead Water, Clif Bar, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Smart Money Magazine.

OLN’s T-MOBILE INTERNATIONAL, presented by BMC Software highlight show will air nationwide on September 25th at 8p.m. and 11p.m., September 27th at 5p.m. and September 30th at 12Noon. All times listed are Eastern Time. Check local listing for more details.

AdventureSports Radio this year is once again proud to bring all of the races pageantry, excitement, and challenge to the Internet airwaves with up-to-the minute coverage of the largest one-day cycling event in the country. Listening is FREE and easy. Use either Winamp or as your media player. Point your browser to AdventureSports Radio and ‘click’ Listen Now. You’ll tune into the Sports talk station.

The broadcast will be produced by Clear Channel Entertainment. The T-Mobile International, presented by BMC Software is the final stop on the 2003 Pro Cycling Tour and is produced by San Francisco Cycling LLC, a partnership between Threshold Sports and Tailwind Sports. The event begins at 7:30a.m. with the Start/Finish line on the Embarcadero near Justin Herman Plaza on Sunday, September 14th. (Courtesy Threshold Sports)

UPMC 3rd in Tour of Venezuela

The UPMC-Fraysse cycling team's star Uruguayan rider, Alvaro Tardaguilia, finished 3rd Sunday in the opening stage of the Vuelta a Venezuela, a two-week stage race rated 2.5 on the international calendar. Tardaguila sprinted hard for the win, but was overtaken on the line by Cuban speedster Gil Cordoves (Go. Zuila Alc. Cabima) and Venezuela's Honorio Machado (Triple Gordo Gob. Lara). The UPMC team provided a fantastic lead-out to "el Coto," as Tardaguila is known, but riding with only 5 cyclists instead of 6, they were at a disadvantage from the gun. The team is shorthanded and without their captain Joe Papp, who was hit by a car while training in late-August.

Said Tardaguila of the finish, "I credit my teammates for setting a beautiful rhythm in the finale. We only lacked a bit of luck, though with another rider it might have been different." As a result of time bonuses awarded in intermediate sprints during the stage, Tardaguila is 6th overall in the general classification, 3rd in the regularity competition and 4th on points. UPMC-Fraysse is 8th in the team classification. Full results from the stage can be seen at: http://espanol.geocities.com/fvc_vzla.

Stage 1 Official Results

1. Gil Cordoves (Cuba) Go. Zuila Alc. Cabima
2. Honorio Machado (Ven) Triple Gordo Gob. Lara
3. Alvaro Tardaguila (Uru) UPMC Fraysse

Mtn Bike World Championships - Lugano Switzerland

This report courtesy Trek-Volkswagen Racing --The most important weekend of racing in mountain bike was held in the city of Lugano, Switzerland, this past weekend. Known throughout Europe as the Swiss Solarium, spectators and athletes were greeted with warm temperatures and sunny days. As a World Championship event, all athletes are chosen for their individual National teams and race with their countries' jersey.

Friday's 4-X event was specially scheduled in order to broadcast the event on live television throughout Europe. With a late 9pm start time, athletes were given plenty of training time and were well acquainted with the course. Large jumps and difficult rhythm sections were the name of the game with very large 20-meter drops between the sections. Under the floodlights and with crowds estimated at 15,000, the men's racing brackets thrilled the spectators with big air and stiff competition. Trek-Volkswagen's Wade Bootes easily dispatched his first three brackets, racing with great form and easily one of the favorites for the finale. In the semi-finals it was Bootes, Brian Schmith (Mongoose-Hyundai), Michal Prokop (Author) and Cedric Gracia (Siemens-Cannondale). Prokop grabbed the hole shot out of the gate with Bootes glued to his hip and Gracia and Schmith wheel to wheel. Through the first set of double jumps Prokop took the advantage as Gracia and Bootes held off Schmith. At the line it was Prokop to advance to the final as Gracia crashed out leaving the fight between Schmith and Bootes.

Through the step up double jump and into the final rhythm section, Schmith held the advantage passing Bootes and advancing to the finals. The hard charging Bootes finished 5th position on the night. Mio Suemasa charged from the gate with reigning champ, Anne-Caroline Chausson (Commencal), Anneke Beerten (Willems) and Leana Gerard (Sobe-Cannondale). At the finish, Suemasa missed the bracket advance, finished in 9th position for the day.

Downhill Saturday saw another great crowd on hand lining the long and technical course. With a long, flat straightaway finish and steep, technical descents, this course would reward a complete athlete with victory. As the runs progressed through the starting order, it was Petra Bernhard (Siemens-Cannondale) holding the leader's hot seat until a flurry of riders each knocking time from the previous left Fionn Griffiths (Foes-Azonic) with only the top ten to go. Trek-Volkswagen's Suemasa charge hard to the line but couldn't better the time of Griffiths. At the finish it was returning champ Chausson (Commencal) claiming her second victory of the weekend. Suemasa finished 7th place.

Cross Country racing began the day on Sunday with women's event. From the gun, Alison Sydor (Trek-Volkswagen) set the tempo with Marga Fullana (Orbea), Sabine Sptiz (Merida) and Irina Kalientava (Merida) hot on her heals. As the race progressed, Sydor and Fullana gained a solid advantage with both athletes trading turns at the front of the race. First a bobble and then a crash resulted in Fullana's withdrawal from the race and Sydor alone at the front. Riding strongly through the middle 2 laps, Sydor rode cleanly and smoothly with Spitz and Kalientava working together at less than 20 seconds arrears. Susan Haywood (Trek-Volkswagen) rode strongly through the field, hovering around the 10th position.

On the second last lap, Spitz charged hard, covering the gap and claiming Sydor's rear wheel. The two rode through the lap together, both pushing hard and hoping the other would make the ultimate mistake. Into the final lap, Spitz led Sydor up the climb and into the single-track. With a slight bobble, Sydor lost contact with Spitz who, sensing victory, charged hard to open a gap. At the finish line, it was the German Spitz claiming the rainbow jersey as Sydor charged hard finishing a mere 16 seconds back for the silver. The tenacious Haywood continued her streak through the field, sprinting across the line for 6th place.

The men's event rolled to the line as the women's collected their podium flowers and bouquets. At the gun, Ryder Hesjedal (Subaru-Gary Fisher) rocketed away from the pack with Lado Fumic (T-Mobile), Jose Hermida (Motorex-Bianchi), Ralf Naaf (Merida) and Roland Green (Trek-Volkswagen). Through the first laps, Hesjedal maintained his race lead hovering at the 15-20 second mark. As the attritionof the event took its toll, first Green then Hermida dropped back through the field. On the 6th of 8 laps, Filip Meirhaeghe (Specialized) charged to the front, taking the lead and never looking back. Into the final straightaway, Meirhaeghe pumped his fist and enjoyed his victory, crossing the line with a 44 second margin over second place Hesjedal. The defending champ, Roland Green, suffering an infection, finished a distant 19th place.

Race Results
Mens 4X
1. Michal Prokop - Author
2. Eric Carter - Mongoose-Hyundai
3. Brian Lopes - Hyundai -GT
5. Wade Boots - Trek-Volkswagen

Womens 4X
1. Anne-Caroline Chausson - Commencal
2. Sabrina Jonnier - Intense
3. Jill Kitner - Staats Racing
9. Mio Suemasa - Trek-Volkswagen

Womens Downhill
1. Anne-Caroline Chausson - Commencal
2. Sabrina Jonnier - Intense
3. Nolvene LeCaar - Fiat-Rotwild
7.  Mio Suemasa - Trek-Volkswagen

Womens Cross Country
1. Sabine Sptiz - Merida
2. Alison Sydor - Trek-Volkswagen
3. Irena Kalientava - Merida
6. Susan Haywood - Trek-Volkswagen

Mens Cross Country
1. Filip Meirhaeghe - Specialized
2. Ryder Hesjedal - Subaru-Gary Fisher
3. Roel Paulison - Siemens-Cannondale

Amber Neben

This past weekend T-Mobile's Amber Neben released a statement regarding being notified of a positive control. Her statement and her team's statement are here. The Daily Peloton received this email from long-time reader Kevin Sherman.

Dear Daily Peloton,

Over the past few years I, as most cyclists and followers of the sport, have been somewhat jaded to the announcements involving the detection of banned substances within the pro peloton ranks. The majority of the reason for this shrug of the shoulders attitude lies in the fact that I do not know the athletes in question and am also sure that there are those members of the peloton which do resort to the use of banned substances to enhance performance.

Recently, Amber Neben announced that she had received notification that her A Sample tested on May 31 had indicated a positive result for Nandrolone-- a banned substance. For most this will be status quo, a US National Champion testing positive. That explains everything.

For me, this one is different. You see, I know Amber. We have the same coach (I am an amateur) and train together when she is in Southern California. Amber works harder than any athlete I have ever met regardless of the sport, putting in the necessary overtime to achieve her goals-- no short cuts! I have met her at six in the morning after driving for an hour and a half to time trial twelve miles uphill preparing for race day. I have raced with her in the local training crits while she puts the hammer down on members of the men's pro peloton in Southern California, applying the finishing touches to her latest training mesocycle.

In addition to her hard work, she shows a keen interest in doing what's right for cycling. Talking with up and coming juniors, riding with lower category riders. I have never seen her turn a cold or impassive shoulder to anyone no matter how casual the acquaintance. Amber is all that I admire in a professional athlete.

There are several things of which I am sure: 1) Amber does not, has not and will not intentionally take any banned substances to enhance her performance; I have watched her progress in her abilities over the years and it is simply extremely hard work and great coaching that has allowed her to achieve her success. 2) Amber will emerge from this challenge with a clean reputation-- my only hope being that it does not jeopardize her ability to represent the United States in the Olympics as she wholeheartedly deserves.

For those out there that do not know her, this should be a rallying cry to cyclists of the world on both the professional and amateur level for reform within IOC, UCI, WADA and USADA. There should be regulation and control but it must be fair and realistic (reference the recent ATP scenario involving positive results for banned substances based on contaminated supplements).

If this can happen to Amber it could literally happen to anyone.

Best Regards,
Kevin Sherman
Mission Viejo, California

Here is who Kevin is talking about...

Amber Neben

Height : 5'4"
Weight: 110
Hometown: Santa Ana, California
Trains: Irvine, California
Education: B.S. Biology, University of Nebraska, M.S. Biology, UC Irvine
Team: T-Mobile

2003 Tour de Grand Montreal
2003 USCF National Road Championships: 3rd
2003 Women’s Elite National Road Race
2003 Flèche Wallonne Femmes: 7th
2003 Sea Otter Classic: 4th, G.C.
2003 Redlands: 4th, G. C.
2003 Pomona Valley Stage Race: 2nd, G.C.
2002 World Championship Elite ITT: 15th
2002 USCF Elite National Time Trial Championships: 2nd
2002 La Grande Boucle Feminine (France): 9th, G.C.
2002 Housatonic Valley Classic (Danbury, CT): 2nd, G.C.
2002 Gracia Cez-Ede (Czech Republic): 1st, G.C.; stage winner (UCI 2.9.1), Queen of the Mountain.
2002 Vuelta Ciclista Castilla y Leon (Spain): 4th, G.C.
2002 Sea Otter Classic (Monterey, Calif.): 9th, G.C.
2001 Road World Championships (Lisbon, Portugal): 30th, Road Race
2001 USCF Elite National Road Cycling Championships: 2nd Road Race, 6th Time Trial

Ghosts of Spanish Cycling - Followup

Last week we ran an interesting story from the Gazet van Antwerpen about the supposed reappearance of deceased Jose Manuel Fuente. GVA has now published this update:

José Manuel Fuente, or the man posing for the Spanish mountain goat from the seventies, suddenly interrupted his holiday in Geraardsbergen. He swiftly disappeared two days earlier than he had planned, being chased by press people as he was. The direction of his journey is unknown so far.

The man who claims to be the in 1996 deceased Spaniard Fuente has become the centre of quite a lot of press attention, after a seemingly harmless dinner with Lucien Van Impe in a Geraardsbergian restaurant. Journalists were the last people he wanted to see, and he kept refusing every interview request. Monday the man suddenly disappeared, together with his Belgian partner. Telephone calls to the house where he stayed remain unanswered. “He hasn’t made any contact with me yet since then”, Van Impe says.

The mountain king still believes that the man with whom he had dinner and posed for a few pictures with is the rider that gave him so many hard times during his career. “My suspicion is growing that he has staged his own death and took on a new identity to escape the fiscal authorities in his homeland. He talked about a bankrupcy of his cycling - and sportstore during our meeting. Whatever the case; he claimed to live in Benidorm, and so does my eldest brother, so I’ll have him go out on reckon sometime, because the man I met is expecting me there on a visit soon. He wanted to show me his photo-albums, which he obviously didn’t have with him on vacation. For the time being I’ll leave him alone, and I’d rather not talk about it anymore either. 'The nightmare will be over in October,' he told me. I don’t want to be the one who comes out a “traitor” in this.”

The story about the (supposed) resurrection of José Manuel Fuente hasn’t really come through to the Spanish sports papers yet. So far the news is being greeted by a mild mocking over there.

Source : Gazet Van Antwerpen, www.gva.be
José Manuel Fuente: http://www.dewielersite.net/coureurs/fuente_j.htm

 
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