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Cycling News Roundup 2 December 2003
 
By Janna Trevisanut
Date: 12/2/2003
Cycling News Roundup 2 December 2003
 

Liberty Seguros Thinking Big

Further to our report yesterday that Manolo Saiz's new team Liberty Seguros was looking to sign a big talent to the team before year end, today Todociclismo reports that this big rider might be Roberto Heras of US Postal-Berry Floor. The Spanish cycling news site states that Heras has one year left on his contract with Postal but negotiations would go forward to satisfy the Postal contract so that the reincarnated ONCE team could secure Heras as its captain. Marca reports it slightly differently - that the 2003 Vuelta winner wants to move to Liberty Seguros and is negotiating the recission of his contract.

The site also reports that Liberty Seguros' interest in Alejandro Valverde may have waned in recent days, due to negotiation difficulties with Kelme, Valverde's present team, but negotiations are still ongoing. Again, Marca reports slightly differently, quoting Valverde as saying, "There is a 98 percent possibility that I will remain with Kelme. I am only hoping that the agreement of sponsorship with the Community of Valencia is signed."

Valverde also commented on the departure of Sevilla from Kelme: "It is sad that he has left because he is a great companion on and off the highway, but if he is better for it, then I welcome it".

Unipublic's World Championships 2005

Unipublic, organizer of eight major Spanish races including the Vuelta Espana and the Spanish Championships, is also the organizer of the 2005 World Championships. The organizaiton today unveiled details of the Madrid events to take place in late September 2005. The UCI must still approve the courses, which will run around the city of Madrid, avoiding heavy congestion spots. The Vuelta Espana 2005 will wind up in Madrid on the 18th of September, allowing the riders an additional chance to "test" the Worlds circuit, and should be interesting due to its nearness in date to the Vuelta.

Tuesday, 20 September 2005: Inaugural Ceremony
Wednesday 21 Sept.: Women's Individual Time Trial (23 kms) and U23 Individual Time Trial (23 kms)
Thursday 22 Sept: Elite Men's Individual Time Trial (47 kms)
Friday 23 Sept: Rest
Saturday 24 Sept: Women's Road race (120 kms), U23 Road Race (160 km)
Sunday 25 Sept: Elite Men's Road Race (approximately 275 kms - 13 laps on a 21.3 km circuit). (Todociclismo)

Vuelta 2004 Details Revealed

The formal presentation of the 2004 Vuelta Espana will take place on 17 December, but in the meantime, a new climb is mentioned today - the 2168 meter Calar Alto will be featured. The climb is in the Sierra de los Filabres, in the Almería province, and on its peak is the German-Spanish Astronomical Centre observatory. This climb (29 km of ascent over 1,410 meters), much of it bare and subject to winds,  promises to be another piece of other-worldly landscape for a grand tour, as the photo below shows.

The region will also host a portion of the Vuelta a Andalucia. Says regional representative Marca Juan Megino of the Vuelta stage:  "It is going to be a spectacular stage. Almeria is known for its beaches and plastics, but also we have three natural mountain ranges and four parks. So that the Vuelta caravan arrives in perfect condition we must asphalt 2 kilometers of highway." (Marca)


Courtesy All the Sky.

Beloki - When in France...

Joseba Beloki will make his Brioches la Boulangere racing debut in France, riding the traditional French season opener Grand Prix d'Ouverture La Marseillaise on 4 February 2004. Beloki says, "I signed with a French team, therefore I want my racing to begin here."

The Spaniard is expected to ride the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, the Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia, the Critérium International as well as Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Paris-Nice may fall in favor of Murcia - Murcia ends 7 March, while Paris-Nice begins that same day.

Michael Boogerd Double Good News

Rabobank's Michael Boogerd has been recognized as the best Dutch rider of 2004, receiving the Gerrit Schulte Trofee ahead of Servais Knaven and Gerben Löwik. The most promising rider of the year is Thomas Dekker and best female rider is Leontien Van Moorsel (it is her ninth such award)

Boogerd was ranked 9th in the UCI on 9 November with 1441 points. This is his fourth consecutive honor by the magazine Wieler Revue (based on reader polls) and will make his upcoming annual Fanclub Day (13 December) even more special.

More great news for Boogerd is that he will become a father in June 2004 - if you wish to send congratulations to Nerena and Michael Boogerd on their upcoming addition, please visit Michael's website here; his guestbook is here. Information on his fanclub day is here. (Thanks Michael Boogerd, Rabobank and Velo Club du Net)

Charly Wegelius Cleared

De Nardi Colpack's Charly Wegelius was found unfit due to high hematocrit levels at the Giro di Lombardia in mid-October, but the De Nardi website has announced that he has satisfied the UCI examiners by medical certificate that his natural hematocrit level is high (52%).  He has been declared a rider in good standing. 

Looking Back at ONCE

A few photos from the great ONCE-Eroski website.


Azevedo on the Tour of Germany podium after winning the queen stage


David Etxebarria at Pau (Tour´99)


Zülle and Indurain, maximum rivals at the 96 Tour


The Yellow Serpent on the roads of France - 2002 Team Time Trial

Hamilton Commemorative Calendar

Our kind neighbors to the north at Canadian Cyclist inform us of a unique commemorative issue with over 100 photos from the 2003 Cycling World Championships in Hamilton, Ontario - 40 pages of full colour images by Rob Jones, Greg Descantes, Chris Redden and other international photographers provide a day-by-day memento of this rare event. Order now for delivery before Christmas.

Total cost, including shipping and taxes, is $12.79 Canadian per copy ($14.55 Canadian for U.S. orders). This is a limited edition calendar and orders must be placed by December 5th. There are two ways to order - by printing off and faxing the attached PDF order form, or by ordering online through our secure server: http://www.canadiancyclist.com/races03/comm_issue.html.

Canadian Cyclist is also conducting its Canadian Cyclist of the Year poll - read about it here.

On the Lighter Side - What they say ...(and what they think)

This bit of satire from Tick at Cycling4Fans - Haven't you ever wondered about all those "nice" interviews? Nice questions, nice answers -- and boring as hell! Here's a look at what really goes on the minds of riders being interviewed.

Question: How does it feel to be the first rider to win the Tour de France umpteen times in a row?

Answer: Fantastic, just fantastic! (What an INCREDIBLY stupid question!) And I'd like to thank my teammates (the lazy bums, I was lucky to win in spite of them), my sporting director (he still doesn't know I turned my radio off and didn't hear one single world he said the entire Tour), and, of coure, my wonderful wife! (Not to mention my even-more-wonder girlfriends!)

Q. How does it feel to finish second in the Tour for the umpteenth time?

A. Oh, I'm just thankful to have done so well (I can't believe I lost -- AGAIN!!!!) and it's no shame to lose to such a great rider (that $§$%& son-of-a-§/&§O$)!

Q. What is your stand on doping?

A. I think it's terrible! (Great!) Why would anyone want to risk future health problems? (I'll worry about that when I retire.) I can't imagine resorting to such illegal methods in order to win. (Gimme a break, how else do you expect me to accomplish anything?) I would never use any drugs! (And if you believe that, you're even stupider than I think you are!)

Q. What do you think of your new team jerseys? A lot of people don't like them!

A. I'm proud to represent my sponsor, and we riders don't think about such things as much as the fans do. (As long as they pay me I'll wear any damn thing they want me to!)

Q. What is your schedule for the first part of the season?

A. I'll do some of the early Spanish races (I can't stand those mountains!), ride a couple of the spring Classics (my S.D. hates me, he hopes I'll wipe out on the mud and cobblestones), use the Tour de Suisse as a warm-up (if I survive that long), and then I'll be ready for the Tour! (where I'lll probably finish dead last!)

Q. What do you expect to do at the Tour?

A. I expect to place well and win at least one stage! (I expect to carry exactly 17,438 water bottles.)

Q. How do you feel about your team hiring a new captain who will come in and take your place?

A. It doesn't bother me at all! (In a pig's eye! I'm so angry I could spit nails!) He and I have always been good friends. (He can never even remember my name!) It will be an honor to ride in support of him. (But only if they double my salary.....)

Q. How does it feel to mentioned as an equal with Merckx, Indurain and the other greats?

A. It's a real honor, although I know I'm not at all worthy of it! (Ha! I'm a hundred times better than any of those old guys were!)

Q. Were you shocked to hear that your teammate tested positive?

A. Oh yes, absolutely! (That damned team doctor, he swore we'd never get caught!)

Q. After your horrible crash last year, you have recovered from your broken bones, other injuries and multiple operations. How do you think you'll do this season?

A. Oh, I'm top fit again! (Yeah, I can walk three whole feet without pains!) I'm ready to take up again right where I left off. (I'm lucky if I can ride 10 km, and they expect me to win races?!?)

Q. We've heard your team is hving financial troubles. How does this affect the riders?

A. We know our team manager is doing everything he can. (Everything he can to line his own pockets, that is.) We trust him (just about as far as we can throw him). We don't worry about it, we just concentrate on riding. (My God, I haven't been paid in three months, the bank is threatening to foreclose on the mortgage, my wife is pregnant again ...... what the hell am I going to do?)

Q. Erik, I have some questions for you, but first let me ask you about Jan.

A. Sure, no problem! (AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

 
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