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Cycling News Roundup 1 December 2003
By Podofdonny
Date: 12/1/2003
Cycling News Roundup 1 December 2003

Millar and Cooke set for Athens

The British Olympic Committee have announced the first two members of the British cycling team for next year's Olympic Games in Athens. No surprises that it is the King and Queen of British cycling David Millar, world time-trial champion, and Nicole Cooke, this year's road race World Cup winner and a bronze medallist at the World Championships, who will be in British colours in Athens.

Simon Clegg, of the British Olympics team, said: "David and Nicole's performances over the past couple of years have underlined their reputations in world cycling. I am delighted that these two talented athletes have achieved early selection for Athens by winning medals at the World Championship in October. David will start his event as reigning world champion and Nicole has shown she is one of the toughest young athletes around. These two selections will mean our cycling squad will be as competitive on the road as on the track."

Millar stunned the cycling world in October by winning the time trial at the World Championships in Hamilton, Canada with a ride that put his competitors into the shade. He has also won stages in the Tour de France and the Tour of Spain.

Cooke became the youngest ever winner of the World Cup series and took bronze in the Road race in Hamilton; and is well used to the tensions of top competition being a four-time junior world champion.

Great Britain cycling chief David Brailsford said: "It's wonderful to begin the selections of the cycling team for the Athens Olympics with the announcement of a World Champion and a World Cup Champion. These two athletes epitomise our ambitions for the Olympic Games next year."

"King David” at Hamilton - by Tony Szurly

Javier Otxoa and Isidro Nozal invited to XV Vuelta Cicloturista Internacional Maspalomas-Gran Canaria

Kelme new signing Javier Otxoa, European Champion cyclist for the disabled, and Liberty Seguros España rider ONCE-Eroski Isidro Nozal, second in the last Vuelta a España, will be the guests at the XV Vuelta Cicloturista Internacional Maspalomas-Gran Canaria, that will begin on the 7th of December.

The very popular annual event, that last year saw hotel bookings of boom by 7,000 stays, will cover two new routes, Taidía-San Bartolomé de Tirajana and Las Palmas-Moya-Telde. As usual there will also be conferences, debates and guest speakers about cyclo tourism and related matters.

Saunier Duval News

The new Spanish outfit of Mauro Gianetti have one of the best team web sites on the world wide web here.

The team site lists the following signings for the 2004 season - - Francisco Jose Ventoso- Rafael Casero - Ángel Gómez Gómez - Leonardo Piepoli - Rubens Bertogliati - Juan Jose Cobo - Fabian Jeker - Ruben Lobato - David De la Fuente - Juan Carlos Dominguez - Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver - Javier "Chepin" Gonzalez - Juan Gomis - Alberto Loddo - Oliver Zaugg.

Our dear friend Wim at the excellent Cycling4all also includes in the squad David Canada Gracia, Miguel A. Martin Perdiguero and Massimo Strazzer, and certainly all three riders have been linked by various sources to the team. Quite possibly the team are holding back on these three well known and popular riders and will make the "announcement" of their signings in order to gain maximum publicity for the team over the coming weeks.

The site has interviews with many of the riders on why they chose to sign with the team and what their hopes and ambitions are for 2004. Here is a selection of what the new signings have to say -

Fabian Jeker

The veteran from Fullinsdorf, Switzerland turned pro way back in 1991 with the Helvetia team and then rode with Cyrille Guimard’s Castorama team for two seasons. He then rode from 1995 until 2000 for the Festina team before moving to Portugal to ride for the Milaneza -MSS team, where he achieved some of his biggest successes, winning the Tour of Portugal in 2001, the General Classification of the Vuelta Ciclista Asturias and the Troféu Joaquim Agostinho.

"I am very excited about joining a brand new team where everything is new: the people, my team mates , jerseys , etc... In the team we have very good riders and a good blend of experience and youth who love to learn, to challenge and to win races " as to why he chose the team Fabian says -“I was looking for new motivation, a change of air , and I still want to win great races , I want to help establish a team that has a good team spirit , from this will come good results...! My biggest dream would be to finish the Tour in the first five...!".

David De La Fuente

In complete contrast to Fabian Jeker, David de la Fuente has just finished his first season as a pro with Vini Calderola - SO.DI - yet he showed great potential in his first year -

“I am very positive about everything, because apart from learning many things I have experienced many races…Even so I think that I have still a lot to learn, and I am learning day by day. As for the coming season, David is not yet sure of his racing programme, although he dreams of riding in the Vuelta - "to be honest I do not yet know my racing schedule, but I do know that every race I enter I will try to do my very best. I would like to ride the Vuelta again (the 22 year old finished 156th this year) and hope to do well in the race, and if I had the opportunity, I would like to ride a Classic again, since the one I rode this year was one of my better performances; I was very comfortable".

Joaquín Rodriguez courtesy Unipublic

Joaquín Rodríguez

The rider who raised his profile with the Spanish public and cycling fans worldwide by wearing the Gold jersey in the 2003 Vuelta has a clear aim for the 2004 season -

“My objective is to have a quick start to the season and try for some early victories so I can prepare in peace for the Vuelta and have the reserves to do well in the general classification. Signing for Saunier Duval was an easy decision to make because it's a new, young team that wants to grow. I think we share that ambition, and I'm optimistic for next season."

New Saunier Duval team shirts.

Liberty Seguros España News

The Spanish Daily Marca reports that the Liberty Seguros team of Pablo Antón and directeur sportif Manolo Saiz are still looking to sign a "a very important rider" before the year ends.

Manolo Saiz admitted that the quest for a sponsor had had an adverse effect on team building - "We have had to let go some riders who we didn’t want to release as we only got financial backing together when the bell for next season was already ringing. Most of our team is very young and as one of the top 10 teams in the world we want to make a major addition to our line-up before the end of the year. Now we have some stability we are looking for a co sponsor."

The team have seen the likes of Joseba Beloki, Mikel Pradera and Jorg Jaksche leave the ship while Valverde seems to have used the interest from Liberty Seguros as a tool to “up” his contract value with Kelme.

Meanwhile, Saiz said that the loss of Joseba Beloki was due to "special reasons that he and I know" but "our relationship is excellent, there is no resentment and we are thankful to him, as I believe that he is with us.”

Tour Down Under - Lotto Domo

McEwen aims for ranking points to secure Olympic selection--Queensland’s Robbie McEwen has set his sights on claiming as many points as possible towards his world ranking in a bid to secure selection for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and will use the 2004 Jacob’s Creek Tour Down Under to kick off his campaign. If successful it would be the third time McEwen has represented Australia at Olympic level.

“To ensure I am in with a good chance of selection I need to keep my world ranking up and post some impressive performances in the lead up to the selection date,” said McEwen who is currently the highest placed Australian on the world rankings in 27th place but is only 11 points ahead of fellow Australian sprinter Baden Cooke. “This year some injury problems meant I couldn’t get as many early season points as I would have liked but next year that should change.”

In the 2003 Jacob’s Creek Tour Down Under McEwen was forced to pull out of the race during Stage 5 and relinquish his lead in the SA Lotteries Sprint competition because of left knee injury concerns. But he says the problem hasn’t affected him since and he’s optimistic of being in top form for January where he’s aiming for an early stage win.

“I always say if you can win one stage you can win two and if two why not three,” he explained. “So as it’s only a six day event I want to get in early.”

McEwen will head a strong Lotto-Domo team which will include Belgian Axel Merckx, the son of cycling legend Eddy, and Polish rider Piotr Wadecki.

“Axel has wanted to do this race for several years but this is the first time it’s been possible,” said McEwen. “Both Axel and Piotr are definitely candidates for overall honours and I’m sure both of them will be looking to have good form when they come down.”

Based on last year’s sprint finished McEwen is expected to face stiff opposition from Cooke ( and Sydney’s Graeme BROWN (Panaria Margres). BROWN was relegated to last place on the opening stage of this year’s event after officials ruled he interfered with McEwen’s sprint.

“You don’t go into a race expecting that sort of thing to happen and I don’t expect it to happen again next month,” said McEwen. Cooke and McEwen battled it out for green jersey honours right up until the last sprint in the final stage of the Tour de France with Cooke snatching the jersey from McEwen and denying him back-to-back sprint crowns.

The rest of the Lotto-Domo team will be made up of Belgians Hans De Clerq, Wim Vansevenant, Glenn D’Hollander, Gert Steegmans and Australian Nick Gates.

Lotto-Domo team for 2004 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under:

Robbie McEwen AUS 24.06.72

• 2003 1st Stage 2 Tour of Switzerland
• 2003 1st Stage 4 & 11, 2nd Stage 8 & 9 Giro d’Italia
• 2003 1st Stage 4, 2nd Stage 4 Etoile de Besseges
• 2003 1st Stage 3, 2nd Stage 1 & 2 Jacob’s Creek Tour Down Under
• 2003 2nd Stage 1, 3rd Stage 20 Tour de France
• 2002 1st Road Race Australian Championships
• 2002 1st Stages 3 & 20 and overall sprint classification Tour de France
• 2002 1st Stages 4 & 10 Giro d’Italia
• 2002 1st Paris – Brussels
• 2002 1st Stages 2 & 3 and overall Circuit Franco-Belge
• 2002 2nd Road Race World Championships BEL
• 2002 1st Stages 2 & 7 Paris-Nice
• 2002 1st Stages 1, 3, 4 & 6 Jacob’s Creek Tour Down Under
• 1999 1st Stage 20 & 2nd Stage 17 Tour de France

Axel Merckx BEL 18.08.1972

• 2003 1st GC Tour du l’Ain
• 2003 3rd GC International Hessen Rundfahrt
• 2003 2nd stage 2 Tour of Belgium
• 2002 3rd Stage 15 Tour de France
• 2002 2nd GC Tour of Andalucia
• 2001 1st GP Wallonie
• 2001 2nd Stage 2 Dauphine Libere
• 2000 Belgian road champion
• 2000 1st Stage 8 Giro d’Italila
• 2000 Belgian road champion
• 1998 2nd Classic San Sebastian World Cup Race
• 1998 10th GC Tour de France
• 1996 4th road race world championships SUI

Piotr Wadecki POL 11.02.1973

• 2003 2nd GC & stage 1 & 3rd stage 3 Tour of Luxembourg
• 2002 2nd GC Tour of Switzerland
• 2001 6th road race World Championships1997 Polish road champion
• 2001 1st stage 5 Paris Nice2000 Polish road and time trial champion
• 2000 1st stage 1 and 2nd GC tour of poland
• 2000 7th road race Sydney Olympic Games
• 2000 2nd GC Tour of Japan
• 1999 1st stage 5 Tour of Poland

Hans De Clerq BEL 03.03.69

• 2003 5th road race Belgian Championships
• 2002 12th Paris-Roubaix World Cup Round
• 2002 8th Road Race Belgian Championships
• 2001 1st Classic Haribo
• 2001 Classic Haribo

Wim Vansevenant BEL 23.12.71

• 2003 5th time trial Belgian Championships
• 2003 13th Paris-Brussels
• 2002 3rd Cholet-Pays de Loire
• 2001 4th time trial Belgian Championships

Glen D’Hollander BEL 28.12.74

• 2002 1st Stage 3 Etoile de Besseges
• 2002 5th Stage 1 Jacob’s Creek Tour Down Under
• 2002 5th time trial Belgian Championships
• 2001 3rd time trial Belgian Championships
• 2001 1st UNIQA Classic

Gert Steegmans BEL 30.09.80

Nick Gates AUS 01.03.72

• 2002 7th road race Australian Championships
• 2002 4th Stage 2 Jacob’s Creek Tour Down Under
• 1996 Australian road race champion

Italian Cycling Federation Suspension

The Italian Cycling Federation has suspended rider Fabio Testi of Mercatone Uno Scanavino for a positive doping control at the Giro del Veneto on 23 August 2003. The team had suspended him in September when notification of the positive was received. He is suspended for two years starting today's date for testing positive for EPO and aminoglutetimide, and and fined 2000 Swiss francs, his team is fined 2500 Euros.

New Cycling Club Seeks Vegetarian Athletes

December 1, 2003--OrganicAthlete, a nonprofit involved in promoting healthy, plant-based diets and athletics, is looking for vegetarian, vegan, and raw food athletes for a new cycling and athletic club. Interested athletes can respond to the questionnaire posted at or email Bradley Saul at

Save the Velodrome - Close the Gap

Northbrook, Illinois, Dec. 1--In cycling terms, "closing the gap" means digging deep and making that extra effort to stay ahead. The Northbrook Cycle Committee is asking the community to respond the same way to its "Close the Gap" year-end fundraising drive.

The NCC coordinates fundraising to save the Northbrook Park District Ed Rudolph Velodrome, one of only 16 bicycle racing tracks in the United States. "Close the Gap" represents the latest in a series of efforts aimed at raising more than $160,000 needed for resurfacing and other improvements.

"This is a critical juncture for the Save the Velodrome Fund," according to Peter Janunas, NCC president. "Our initial momentum has brought us a long way toward our goal. We hope that supporters get into the spirit of the holidays with further giving this month, taking advantage of two-for-one 'Angel' matching in the next 30 days."

In just four months, Save the Velodrome efforts have raised more than $117,000, thanks in large part to the "Velodrome Angel." This anonymous contributor began with a $25,000 donation and then announced a two-for-one matching program through December 31. "Every $100 contributed is really $300 to the Fund through the end of the year," Janunas says. "Even small contributions will have a big impact."

What's more, all contributions are tax-deductible, as the NCC is a 501(c)3 charitable organization. Donations may also be eligible for company match programs offered by many employers. Supporters are encouraged to send checks to Northbrook Cycle Committee, P.O. Box 1101, Northbrook, IL 60065-1101; contributors are asked to provide full contact information and indicate "Save the Velodrome" on all checks.

The Velodrome is in danger of closing after the 2004 season unless improvements are made. The Northbrook Park District, which owns the facility, has offered to fund half the project, charging the local cycling community with raising the rest. Since August, efforts such as online auctions, benefit races, a letter drive, and a lemonade stand have shown the community's commitment and raised funds. "Close the Gap" builds on that foundation.

More information and a contribution form are available on the web at

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