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News Roundup 16 October 2003
By Podofdonny
Date: 10/16/2003
News Roundup 16 October 2003

Denis Menchov for US Postal

Unconfirmed reports from Spain suggest that the latest addition to the US Postal team will be former iBanesto rider Denis Menchov.

Born on the 28th of January 1978 in V. Orel, Russia, Denis has ridden for the Banesto outfit since turning pro in 1999. In 2001 he won the “tour of the future,” the Tour de l'Avenir, after a mighty battle on the last stage with Australia’s Baden Cooke - the top three that year were:
1 Denis Menchov (Rus) @ 38.44.52
2 Florent Brard (Fra) Festina @ 0.01
3 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Bonjour @ 0.09

His biggest success in 2002 was in the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré where he won the “Queen” stage, Tournon - Le Mont Ventoux, 174 km, putting 37 seconds into Lance Armstrong who finished 7th on the day.

Menchov continued his steady improvement in 2003 with a victory in the one day Clasica a los Puertos de Guadarrama and he rode a brilliant Tour de France finishing in 11th spot overall and taking the Young rider classification:

1 Denis Menchov (Rus) @ 84.00.56
2 Mikel Astarloza (Spa) Ag2R Prevoyance @ 42.29
3 Juan Miguel Mercado (Spa) @ 1.02.48
4 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Brioches La Boulangere @ 1.05.17
5 Andy Flickinger (Fra) Ag2R Prevoyance @ 1.09.09

Team Saeco press conference with Astarloa will take place tomorrow afternoon in Como

Spaniard Igor Astarloa will celebrate his recent success at the world championship in Hamilton on Saturday wearing his new rainbow jersey, by taking part at the Giro di Lombardia.

A Press Conference organized by Team Saeco has been confirmed as well; it will take place on Friday the 17th at 3:30 pm in Como (venue at the Como Yacht Club, headquarters of the Giro di Lombardia).

Team Saeco will then clarify its point of view regarding the ridiculous press campaign against Igor Astarloa and Danilo Di Luca about their supposed-to-be positive response at the anti-doping test, considering that test tubes from Hamilton arrived in Lausanne only yesterday and then they have not been analyzed yet.

With Astarloa, Team Saeco will line up at the departure of Giro di Lombardia. Danilo Di Luca, Mirko Celestino, Alessandro Spezialetti, Leonardo Bertagnolli, Igor Pugaci, Gerrit Glomser. The presence of Fabio Sacchi, injured after the crash during the world championships, is not sure yet. If the rider from Milan will not take part to the race, his place will be taken by Stefano Zanini.

Igor Astarloa - “nothing to hide”

World champion Igor Astarloa confirmed he has nothing to hide following revelations that he is among four riders whose urine samples are being tested at a Lausanne laboratory.

The International Cycling Union admitted it had sent four urine samples for testing after having taken blood samples on the evening before the race. However UCI president Hein Verbruggen has ridiculed subsequent rumours of a positive test by the four riders concerned. "It is ridiculous to be talking about positive cases," Verbruggen said Thursday. "The official in charge of our medical commission has told me that the Lausanne laboratory only received the samples on Wednesday. And already there's rumours of a positive (doping) case. "I want to repeat, it's ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous."

Astarloa, Manuel Beltran and Aitor Osa, and Italian Danilo Di Luca all provided urine samples last Saturday, after having given blood samples the previous day.

Astarloa who will be riding for the French Cofidis team next season - says he has nothing to hide and is not concerned.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport he said, "I have absolutely nothing to worry about. There's not a shadow of doubt on my world champion's jersey . I've been tested many times this year and the results have always been correct. I also had a doping test on the day of Paris-Tours (October 5). For us, the riders, these tests don't come as a surprise, we're well used to them."

Di Luca talking to the Italian website said, "I’m cool about the whole thing and so is Astarloa: everything is OK for him and me. I know that I have been named but there’s no reason to bring it up in connection with doping until the results are known. I’ve spoken to my team - they know the situation. There’s no problem and, besides, there can’t be."

The results of the four tests should be known at the start of next week.

Raimondas Rumsas

The former Lampre rider and third in the Tour de France 2002 has rejoined his former Polish team Action Nvidia-Mroz.

He was suspended by the Fédération Lituanienne de cyclisme following a positive dopage contol for EPO after the last Giro d’Italia. He will return to action in the summer of next year.

Chrono des Herbiers

The traditional end to the French season, the prestigious time trial race, Le Chrono des Herbiers, takes place this season with a World Class field.

Newly crowned World Champion Time Trial Queen Joanna Somarriba will race against the clock and last year's winner, the Russian - Zoulfia Zabirova, the dethroned Champion.

The German Michaël Rich (Gerolsteiner), defending Champion and winner of the Grand Prix des Nations, leads the men’s field.

Top times 2002 - Men, 48.15km:
1 Michael Rich (Ger) Gerolsteiner 59.45.36 (48.346 km/h)
2 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Mapei-Quick Step Espoirs 0.08.97
3 Bert Roesems (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 0.29.42
4 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Mapei-Quick Step 0.45.68
5 Michael Rogers (Aus) Mapei-Quick Step Espoirs 0.56.81

Women, 20.525km:
1 Zoulfia Zabirova (Rus) Usci Chirio 28.57.42 (42.528km/h)
2 Jeannie Longo Ciprelli (Fra) Paris Cycliste Olymp 0.52.75
3 Cathy Moncassin (Fra) Lavaur Velo Sport 2.43.17
4 Géraldine Gill (Fra) VC Quintin 3.09.22
5 Magalie Finot-Laivier (Fra) VS Nivernais Morvan 3.52.13.

CSC discards Pablo Urtasun

Danish equipment CSC has decided to do without Navarrese Pablo Urtasun, the elite rider who has been on trial there for the last few weeks. Bjarne Riis has had the hard task of telling him that it is time to start looking for another team.

Malta - David Millar - the local scene

When David Millar stormed to victory in the World Time Trial, a small Island in the Mediterranean would have been cheering rather more loudly than many of its neighbours.

Since his parents were serving in the British Army when young David Millar was born in Malta in 1977, he became a British Citizen. Millar, truly an international figure (at home in Hong Kong, Scotland, lives in France...), has acknowledged his Maltese background in the past by riding in certain events there.

So what is the racing scene like in Malta?

An excellent article on the racing scene in Malta, some great photos and what appears to be a very committed club are reprinted below...

The original article is here, and the highly recommended club site is here.

Malta Champions Mosta Mapei Cycling Club win in Valletta


Thursday, October 16, 2003

As part of the Independence Day celebrations held in the capital city Valletta, the Malta Cycling Federation organized a devil race in the streets of Valletta. This race consist of a criterion in which the last cyclist that cuts the finish line has to stop until only one cyclist remains in the race and wins. It is a very hard race as everyone tries not to stay in the last position and so one could see many attacks and a very high average speed amongst the group.

This year there were almost four categories of cyclists which saw the elite (ages 18-39) and the juniors (16-18) being the first group to start the race. The race start was in Republic Street near EuroSport. Then turning to Merchants Street and coming back by turning from St. John's Street and back to Republic Street. There were many spectators mostly tourists that gave support to the cyclists.

In the elite category to mosta mapei cycling club obtain the 3rd place with Johan Galea followed by Gregory Caminzuli in 4th, Quentin Chetcuti in 5th and in 7th place Mark Bonnici.

In the juniors category mosta mapei cc had no cyclist as the Steve Scibberras was abroad in Italy. There he met with the 2003 champion of the Giro D'Italia Gilberto Simoni and 2nd placed at the Tour De France Jan Ulrich. He also met with Francesco Casagrande and Ivan Gotti.

The two other categories were totally dominated by the mosta mapei cycling club. The masters category (over 40 years) saw the runner-up for the Malta Road Championships Emanuel Bezzina winning in front of Mosta Mapei's Emanuel Camilleri. The two had a great race with Bezzina finishing almost a lap in front of Cammileri.

In the other category, that of the under 15, 2nd time Malta Champion Adrian Scibberras finish once again first ahead of his team mate Chris Formosa (mosta mapei). Both cyclists made a good race with Scibberras keeping a good average speed with the winner of the masters category Emanuel Bezzina.

After the race followed a short speech by the organizers and by the MCF president John Zammit. In the mean time the committee of the mosta cycling congratulates with all the winners and those that participated in the race as well informs those interested in joining the club to visit the site

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