Tsar Tonkov comes home
Former Giro winner, the man from Ichevsk, Russia, Pavel Tonkov, is
returning “home” to Italy after a disastrous season with Polish outfit
The hugely experienced rider has signed with Italian team Vini Caldirola,
presumably to strengthen the Giro team for Stefano Garzelli. The Vini Caldirola
team have had many end of season changes, and the loss of Giro racers Gabriele
Balducci and Eddy Mazzoleni (both to Saeco) means that new manager manager,
Roberto Amadio, needs to add some depth to the squad.
For the second season in recent years Tonkov has had poor luck. In 2001,
after several successful seasons with Mapei he joined the Mercury-Viatel team,
which folded mid season. Despite winning the 17th Stage of the Giro d’Italia (Corvara
- Folgaria), his 2002 contract with Lampre was not renewed and at the start of
the 2003 season the 34 year old “quiet man” of racing found himself still
In mid January he finally signed with CCC-Polsat. However the big money days
seemed to be over and his salary was thought to be around 150,000 euros a year.
Nevertheless Tonkov showed signs of his former self finishing third in the Giro
dell'Appennino behind the rampant Saeco duo of Simoni and Marius Sabaliauskas.
From then on Tonkov’s season went down hill. While training for the Giro,
back pains made him seek medical advice. A slipped disc and inflamed sciatic
nerve meant that an operation was inevitable. However, using stop gap measures
Pavel was at the start of the Giro. A good start (4th on the Terminillo) and he
was still lying in tenth place on the overall when he abandoned on stage Stage
14 with the finish on Alpe Pampeago. Interestingly, Tonkov had made one last
desperate effort, riding away from the peloton on the Passo Valles to try to
cross the gap to the breakaways. The Saeco red train pulled him back, Simoni won
the stage and Tonkov had more than just ill health to worry about.
It was widely rumoured that Tonkov had not been paid by CCC, which combined
with his ill health must have been crushing for the veteran's moral. However,
Tonkov had a successful operation on his back in August and started training in
November for the 2004 season. The experience and talent of Tonkov may prove
vital for Garzelli’s quest for the pink jersey.
Pavel Tonkov- A few facts
The quotes are from this Pavel Tonkov
site, and the pictures are from the official Pavel Tonkov website
“This is a horse sport, we are called horses. They give us blinkers and tell
us “go”. Do not think, do not look around, do not try to understand. But, on the
contrary, I think, and I look around and often, I don’t understand. And I wonder:
what is that for? This is before feeling the cross around my neck, beating my
face and dancing as I am riding ...” (Giro d’Italia 1996)
“No stress, My name is Pavel Tonkov.”
“It wasn’t Gotti who won but Tonkov who lost.” (Giuseppe Saronni )
“Tonkov: a shadow on Pantani’s Throne” (Gazetta dello Sport – Giro 1998)
"I cannot go any further on the suffering scale.”
1987 Junior World Champion
1988 Hessen Rundfahrt + 1 stage(Wiesbaden-Herborn)
Giro di Cecoslovacchia + 2 stages
Giro del Poitou-Charentes + 1 stages
Duo Normand (with Rames Galetdinov)
1 stage Giro della Pace and Top climber
1 stage Milk Race (Coventry-Nottingham)
1991 Giro del Chile
1992 2 stages and final Settimana Bergamasca
1993 1 stage Giro di Svizzera: Vevey
1994 1 stage Midi-Libre: Engordany
1995 1 stage Tour de Suisee
3 stages Settimana Bergamasca: Albese, Roncola (crono), Flero
Overall Settimana Bergamasca
One stage Giro d'Italia: Pratovenoso and Overall winner
One stage Giro di Romandia: Le deux Alpes
2 stages Vuelta Espana: Branillin e Lagos Cavadonga
1 stage Trofeo dello Scalatore: Oropa Fianl GC Trofeo dello Scalatore
3 stages Giro d'Italia: San Marino (crono), Terminillo, Edolo
1 stage Giro di Romandia: Veyssonaz
Final Classification Giro di Romandia
1 stage Giro dell'Appennino: Final Classification Giro dell'Appennino
1 stage Giro d'Italia: Pampeago
2 stages Settimana Lombarda: Adrara e Roncadelle
Final Classification Settimana Lombarda
1999 Luk Cup Buhl (Ger)
2002 1 stage Giro d'Italia: Folgaria
Michael Rogers, Sara Carrigan honored
Michael Rogers, the 23 year old Quickstep Davitamon
rider, was named Australian Cyclist of the Year tonight at BMC Software Cyclist
of the Year awards. Rogers received the Sir Hubert Opperman Medal
as best Australian Cyclist, as well as being named Men's Road Cyclist of the
Sara Carrigan was named best Road Cyclist in the
female category. She won the National Road Time Trial Championship and finished
fourth overall in the UCI Women's Road World Cup series.
The awards for Track Cyclist of the Year went to South
Australia's Luke Roberts (male) and Victorian Katie MacTier (female).
Roberts, 26, was part of Australia's team pursuit gold
medal winning combination at the World Championships where he also finished
second in the individual pursuit.
MacTier, 28, silvered in the World Championship individual pursuit where she
recorded the fastest time ever by an Australian, and she won individual pursuit
gold medals at the Oceania and Australian Championships.
Coach of the year went to Ian McKenzie, the man who mentored the Teams
Pursuit world record and World Champion combination, and a special award was
given to Australia's teams pursuit riders who set a world record time in winning
a track world championship for the second straight year. (Cycling Australia,
René Foucachon fined
Former professional cyclist René Foucachon has been found guilty of EPO
distribution and the tribunal of Grasse has sentenced him to a suspended 7
months prison sentence and a fine of 7000 euros.
The offences took place between 1996 and 1998 when he sold around 380 ampules
of EPO to professional cyclists and the French press have been critical not only
of the leniency of the sentence but also the length of time the case has taken
to appear before the courts.
Today, 37 year old René Foucachon is a bricklayer, however in 1995 he was
riding for the AKI team, which had Jaskula (third in the Tour de France 1993) as
team Captain. Foucachon made contact with an unnamed Doctor in Bologne who would
supply him with EPO to order, firstly for his own usage and then for other
cyclists. Over a three year period he sold 380 EPO ampoules to four professional
cyclists, for big races such as Paris Nice or the Giro in 1997.
Certainly had the case been brought to court more quickly the affair may have
had more repercussions. The four named cyclists were: Pascal Lino, former yellow
jersey wearer and Tour stage winner in 1993, Franck Morel, Pascal Peyramaure and
Jean-Jacques Henry. "My client was just the go between," said his lawyer Henry
Roberty, who has decided not to appeal against the sentence.
The cyclists named in the case are beyond the law since all of them have
retired from the profession.
The legal process was slow due to the fact that although the FCC had a tip
off by anonymous letter in March 1998 (three months before the Festina affair),
the authorities were unable to locate Foucachon. Now, finally the case has been
brought to court and "Each rider admits EPO usage except Pascal Peyramaure, who
categorically denies such charges," said Roberty.
"What good has it done to bring this up after all this time?" said John
Jacques Henry, the former pro racer with Festina in 1994, then with Big Mat
Auber until 1997. "Apart from adding a few more names that were missed by the
Festina affair, it has taught us nothing. It would be far more relevant to look
at today's peloton."
Pascual Llorente - Serious doping control irregularities
Javier Pascual Llorente, who was suspended for 18 months due to a positive
doping control for EPO in this year's Tour de France, has lodged a
counter-protest regarding the security of samples taking during doping controls.
Llorente is disputing the system used - specifically that the containers into
which samples were placed were not secure.
The cyclist has outlined his defense before the UCI and the Spanish
Federation, which sanctioned to him.
Llorente's attorney described "serious errors" in the control which, "to
begin with, was special, outside the race, and ordered by the Ministry of Youth
and Sport of France, not by the UCI". The analysis sample was placed in a
container "that was not sealed and with a seal control number, but instead with
an adhesive, something which Kelme already expressed its doubts on" at the time.
Perhaps it is for this reason that Kelme is holding a spot for the suspended
rider. (Bike2it, Diario Vasco)
New position for Zbigniew Spruch
The former Lampre rider Zbigniew Spruch has been appointed as the general
manager with the Polish Cycling Federation to select participants for that
country's Olympic team. Spruch is delighted with the position, and thanks
president Wojciech Walkiewicz for allowing him to remain close to cycling.
Petacchi looks at next year's bikes....
Alexander Petacchi, together with teammates Fabio Sacchi and Alberto Ongarato,
visited the Pinarello company in Treviso this week to look at their bikes for
next season. They met with Fausto Pinarello and Pinarello mechanics.
The Fassa Bortolo team and, particularly, Alexander Petacchi, have ridden a
special Pinarello, the magnesium Dogma in magnesium, which have certainly served
them well this season.
Fausto Pinarello says, “The sponsorship of a professional cycling team
represents a very important moment for our firm that must offer the best of our
resources, human and technological. The bicycle of a champion, as for instance
that of Alexander Petacchi, is born from the continuous comparison between our
shop and the specific and particular demands of the athlete himself. The
collaboration of mechanics and personnel in our firm who have worked with us for
years have helped me to success, to build bikes for champions of the caliber of
Miguel Indurain, Jan Ullrich and Erik Zabel, to name a few."
Pinarello has supplied the first bicycles to the Fassa Bortolo (the Prince
SL) that the team will use for training for 2004. A second delivery is
anticipated beginning in January of the Dogma, completely in magnesium.
Petacchi's special bike will be the model Prince SL in aluminum, with the new
Campagnolo Record 2004 carbon gruppo, Dedaelementi Alanera carbon handlebars,
titanium Look pedals, Mavic Ksyrium SL2 wheels, carbon bottle holder and a new
Selle Italia saddle, with carbon fiber reinforcement. The weight of the bike of
the Fassa Bortolo training bike is 7.2 kg. (Courtesy Pinarello)
Euro Cross Camp
Izegem, Belgium 20 Dec 2003--5 Jan 2004
Just after the US cyclocross season comes to its mid-December climax at the
National Championships in Portland OR, twelve ambitious Americans will head to
the heart of the European 'cross season for a two-week camp full of some of the
toughest races at the highest level.
In the works since July, the camp roster has come to fruition with some of
the best 'cross names in the US. The entire Clif Bar Team of elite riders -
Jackson Stewart, Andy Jacques-Maynes, Carmen D'Alusio, and Gina Hall, current US
Junior points leader Tucker Thomas (Rad Racing), and current US Espoir points
leader Jeremy Powers (NCC/Bikereg.com) will contest the busy holiday race
period. Joining them for the Euro blitz of mud, fields and cobbles will be
juniors Konrad Lebas (Richard Sachs), Will Freeman and Severin Skolrud (both Rad
Racing), espoirs Matt White (NCC/Bikereg.com) and David Fleischhauer (Rad
Racing), and elite stalwart Erik Tonkin (Kona). While riders must cover their
airfare and daily travel/lodging expenses, assistance from sponsors, family, and
supporters has been overwhelming.
Director Geoff Proctor explains that the camp has two objectives in its first
year: to provide excellent preparation for the World Championships in
Pontchateau (Jan 31-Feb 1) and to offer valuable European race experience for
top American cyclocrossers:
"After Monopoli last year, where I really felt we were under-prepared, I
wanted to see if we could try to improve the situation. With the way our US
calendar goes, we arrive at Worlds at a distinct disadvantage, having not had
any real competition for six weeks. This camp will give our riders a tough
racing period followed by enough recovery time to then capitalize at Worlds.
And, for the camp riders who don't make the USA team selection, there's nothing
like racing against the best to gain experience."
Enhancing the entire project will be USA National Espoir Road Director Noel
Dejonckheere and his staff in Belgium. By utilizing Dejonckheere's facilities
based in Izegem, the riders will gain proximity to some of the most hallowed
races in the history of the sport.
Events that literally roll off the tongue of any European cyclocross fan -
Overjise, Diegem, Koksijde, Loenhout, Baal, Hoogerheide - will see a structured
American presence during the heat of the season.
Contact: Geoff Proctor, Director/Coach, CrossSportif@aol.com