What's Cool In Road Cycling

Euro Trash – Monday

The latest news from Europe: Rumours persist over the futures of Hamilton and Beloki: Ronde van Nederland starts Tuesday: Bettini takes a break: Van de Wouwer concerned: Somarriba wins Grand Boucle: Ullrich out of Vuelta: European U23 Champs: New Pro and Stagieres for 2004 and some more …..

Phonak In For Hamilton Or Beloki ??
There have been conflicting reports in the press in the last few day over who will be Phonak’s new team leader next season. At the end of last week Spanish sports paper “Diario AS” said that Joseba Beloki was close to signing for the Swiss team, however Sundays edition of the Swiss newspaper “Blick” said that CSC’s Tyler Hamilton had an agreement to switch to the team for 2004. Phonak team manager Urs Freuler would neither confirm of deny the “Blick” story saying that there are no official transfers before September 1st. It looks as if this is a case of “wait and see”.

ENECO Ronde van Nederland (UCI 2.1)
Tom Steels (Landbouwkrediet) will be absent from the ENECO Ronde van Nederland which starts tomorrow (Tuesday) with a 185 kms stage between Middelburg and Rotterdam, Steels is still awaiting the birth of his child so will not be present on the start line. However there will not be a lack of top sprinter in the race with Alessandro Petacchi (who won Sunday’s Dwar doors Gendringen), Robbie McEwan, Baden Cooke and Erik Zabel all starting. For the General Classification, Tyler Hamilton, Michael Boogerd, Vlatcheslav Ekimov, Laszlo Bodrogi and defending champion Kim Kirchen will be among the favourites.

Bettini To Take A Break For Three Weeks
World Cup leader Paolo Bettini will rest until September 7th after his successful campaign in the three August world cup races, he will then compete in the GP Jef Scherens Leuven (UCI 1.3) in Belgium. “I will have a break from racing until the beginning of September then I will ride the Leuven’s race which is important to my Belgian sponsors”, commented Bettini.

Van de Wouwer Concerned Over Team Place
Quick Step-Davitamon’s Kurt van de Wouwer is concerned about his future at the team following the recent signings of Laurent Dufaux and Juan Miguel Mercado and the imminent arrival of Jose Pecharroman. Van de Wouwer who has had a mediocre season with only 19th overall at Paris-Nice and 62nd overall in the Tour de France to show as his best results fears he may be surplus to requirements, “Patrick Lefevere said he will talk to me about 2004 after the Vuelta a Espana” commented the Belgian.

Somarriba Wins Her Third Grand Boucle
Spanish female cyclist Joane Somarriba completed overall victory in the Grand Boucle Feminine on Sunday thus registering her third win in the women’s version of the Tour de France and equalling the record of Jeannie Longo and Fabiano Luperini who also won the race on three occasions. Saturday’s 37 kms time trial at Flers saw no change in the leadership as Somarriba extended her lead over second placed Nicole Brandli (Switzerland), however third placed Fabiano Luperini lost her place on the final podium to Germany’s Judith Arndt who took the time trial with an impressive display. Sunday’s stage into Paris was a promanade with no significent changes ever likely to take place. Somarriba received a telegram of congratulations from the Spanish king Juan Carlos after her victory. Speaking to reporters she commented, “I hope this victory will get sponsors interested in female cycling so we can form a team more easily next season, next year I want to do well in the Athens Olympics and my preparation will be centred on the Games.”

Ullrich Will Not Ride Vuelta
Jan Ullrich announced after the Championship of Zurich world cup race on Sunday that he will not be riding the Vuelta a Espana which starts on September 6th. The German said he is feeling tired after coming back this season after having 14 months off the bike after a drugs ban, he also does not want to be separated from his wife and baby for a three weeks period. Ullrich will almost certainly ride the world championships in Canada in October and will use the International Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt (Sept 17 – 21) as preparation. Ullrich has pledged that he will be riding this coming Saturday’s Renault Cup criterium in Essen.

European Under 23 Championships
Italy’s Giovanni Visconti took the European U23 road race Championships on Sunday, Visconti, a Sicilian by birth who rides for the Tuscan Finauto Sport team, was a victor in the 1st Gran Premio Inda (UCI 1.6) at the end of July and held his form to win yesterday’s race in Athens as part of a breakaway group of eight riders.

Result – Road Race
1. Giovanni Visconti (Italy) 4hrs 10mins 31secs
2. Jeremie Roy (Germany) same time
3. Kristjan Fajt (Slovenia) same time
4. Jurgen Van den Broeck (Belgium) same time
5. Moises Duenas (Spain) same time

Germany’s Marcus Fothen of the Teag Kostritzer squad took Friday’s European U23 time trial championship in Athens. Fothen who will be 22 years old next month beat Slovenia’s Jure Zrimsek into second place by 14 seconds, Russia’s Vladimir Goussev took the bronze medal. Fothen is the reigning German U23 time trial champion and hopes that this win will help him find a pro contract for 2004.

Result – Time Trial
1. Markus Fothen (Germany) 32 kms in 41’32”
2. Jure Zrimsek (Slovenia) at 14 sec.
3. Vladimir Goussev (Russia) at 24 sec.
4. Juan Jose Acebo Cobo (Spain) at 30 sec.
5. Alexander Bespalov (Russia) at 30 sec.

Aussies In Athens To View Facilities
In a related story a Press Release from the Quick Step team tells of Michael Rogers’ trip to Athens to view the course and facilities.

The Olympics are still a long way off but there are still riders that don’t want to leave anything to chance. Michael Rogers is one of these. The 22-year-old Australian athlete of the QUICK.STEP – Davitamon team flew to Greece this week along with some of the Australian National Team’s technicians. The group, lead by Shayne Bannan, went to preview the road and Time Trials race that will be included in the 2004 Olympics of Athens. “On Friday (15th August 2003) – explained Rogers, this years winner of the Tour of Belgium, Tour of Germany and the Route du Sud – we previewed the Time Trial, a very fast parcourse that uses the coastal road. On Saturday 16th August we decided to concentrate on the on road trial that appeared extremely difficult. I think it was very important for me to come to Athens and view the races. The Olympics are one of my objectives for next season. I really would love to do well at them and leave my mark”.

New Pros And Stagieres
Denmark’s Brian Bach Vandborg of the Herning Cycling Club has signed a two year deal to turn pro with the CSC team of Bjarne Riis. Vandborg took two stages in the Cykeltouren race in Sweden in May and finished third in the Danish TT champs in June. Vandborg’s team mate at Herning Morton Knudsen who finished 91st overall in the Tour of Denmark which concluded on Saturday will ride as a stagiere for CSC from September the first. Frenchman Mathieu Sprick who has been riding for the Vendee U team will turn pro with the Brioche Le Boulangerie team next year. Vendee U are regarded as the nursery team for the Brioches team and Sprick has impressed this season with good results which have included taking a stage in the Ronde de l’Isard d’Ariиge. Britain’s Yanto Barker has secured a deal with the MBK-Oktos team to ride as a stagiere from September 1st, Barker has been a member of the French elite 2 team CC Etupes this year and won a stage and held the leaders jersey in the Circuit des Mines in April. And finally Switzerland David Loosli who took a stage and the overall in the Flиche du Sud in May will ride as a stagiere for the Saeco team for the rest of the season.

Fuentes dominates the GP Llodio
Team Saeco Press Release
Yet again the young riders of Team Saeco are in the news in August. After
Nicola Gavazzi’s win in the third stage of the Regio Tour, Damiano Cunego’s
overall victory at the Qinghai Lake Tour and the win by the 35 year-old but
ever young Alessio Galletti at the Due Giorni Marchigiana, it is now the
turn for Juan Fuentes.
The Sydney born – but Spanish – raised rider won his second race of the
season the GP Llodio on Sunday with an impressive ride on the climbs. He
was in a break for most of the race – first in an early selection and then
a four-rider move before making the decisive attack with Carlos Garcia
Quesada 15 kilometres from the finish.
Fuentes then dropped the Kelme rider on the second descent of the Alto del
Malkuartu winning alone by 9 seconds. His great ride was also marked by the
fact that he was first to the summit of five of the six climbs in the race.

Geminiani Has Operation
Former cycling great Raphael Geminiani had an operation for pleurisy on Thursday at Clermont Ferrand hospital. His wife Anne Marie confirmed on Saturday that the operation had gone well and he was in excellent condition. Geminiani rode between 1947 and 1961 and took part in 12 Tour de France’s. After retiring he had six brilliant years as a director sportif managing riders such as Jacques Anquetil and Jean Stablinski.

Like PEZ? Why not subscribe to our weekly newsletter to receive updates and reminders on what's cool in road cycling?

Comments are closed.