What's Cool In Road Cycling

Euro Trash – Monday

Latest news from Europe: Pichon returns to ride for Bernaudeau: Del Olmo returns to Vuelta: Bianchi interested in Bartoli: Flecha: Cooke climbs rankings: Boven: Wauters retains Belgian TT Champs: Stagieres for Lanbouwkrediet: T Mobile shrink: Petacchi after record: Euba: Sijmens: Lefevre: and quite a bit more.

Pichon returns to ride for Bernaudeau
FDJ.com’s Mickaлl Pichon will ride for the Brioches Le Boulangerie team next season. The French rider who recently finished runner up in the Polynormande race and last week finished sixth overall in the Tour du Limousin will be returning to ride for Jean-Renй Bernaudeau at Brioches, he previously rode for the team in it’s previous form under the name of Bonjour in 2001 and 2002.

Del Olmo Returns To Vuelta After Three Years
Milaneza-MSS rider Txema del Olmo (Spain) will start his first Vuelta a Espana for three years on September 6th. The rider who tested positive for performance enhancing substances in the 2001 Tour de France has a good record in his previous two appearances in the Vuelta, finishing 15th overall in 1999 and 16th the following year. Del Olmo sees his role in this years race primarily as a helper to team leader Claus Michael Moller but also harbours ambitions of winning a stage in the mountains. The 30 year old from Ugao, near Bilbao has not raced since finishing 19th Overall at the Euskal Bizikleta at the beginning of June and this worries him somewhat, he is at present preparing at altitude trying to find top form. Del Olmo’s contract with Milaneza finishes at the end of this season and with the perilous state of Spanish cycling he knows he must take full advantage of doing well in the Vuelta.

Bianchi Interested In Bartoli
It is rumoured that the Bianchi team are interested in Fassa Bortolo’s Michele Bartoli who is at the end of his contract with the Italian team. Team Bianchi recently stated that they are looking to strengthen the team and would particularly like to sign a rider capable of winning a World Cup race. Bartoli has shown signs of returning to his old form finishing second in Saturday’s Giro del Veneto and earlier taking a stage in the Tour de la Region Wallonne. Meanwhile Fassa Bortolo are said to be interested in signing iBanesto.com’s Juan Antonio Flecha winner of stage 11 in the Tour de France.

Nicole Cooke up to 7th in World rankings
Britain’s Nicole Cooke jumped up from 11th to 7th place in the women’s world rankings which were released today (Monday). The 20 year old Cooke’s rise comes as a result of her victory in the GP Plouay in France on Sunday.

New Women’s Rankings (25/8/03)
1. Susanne Ljungskog (Sweden) 658.5 pts
2. Nicole Brandli (Switzerland) 584 pts
3. Mijjam Melchars (Holland) 581 pts
4. Judith Arndt (Germany) 537.5 pts
5. Joane Somarriba (Spain) 469 pts
6. Sara Carrigan (Australia) 458.3 pts
7. Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) 375 pts
8. Zoulfia Zabirova (Russia) 353 pts
9. Edita Pucinskaite (Lithuania) 332 pts
10. Regina Schleicher (Germany) 326 pts

Boven stays with Rabobank
Dutch rider Jan Boven has extended his contract with the Rabobank team until the end of 2004. The 31 year old domestique from Groningen has been with Jan Raas’ team since 1996 when he turned professional.

Wauters Retains Belgian TT Champs
Marc Wauters (Rabobank) retained the Belgian national time trial championships in Wachtebeke in eastern Flanders on Sunday. The 42 kms event was held over three laps of 14 kms, Wauters trailed Leif Hoste (Lotto-Domo) going into the last lap but the Rabobank rider showed his strength with a strong finish as he closed the gap and eventually beat Hoste by 10 seconds. Last years runner up Bert Roesems (Palmans-Collstrop) finished third 23 seconds behind the winner. 29 riders started the championships with Frank Vandenbroucke, Nico Mattan and Ludo Dierckxsens all absent. The win was Wauters’ first of the season and ensures he will represent Belgium in the World Championships time trial in Hamilton, Canada.

Three Stagieres For Lanbouwkrediet
Landbouwkrediet-Colnago will engage three stagieres (trainees) for the rest of the season, they are Ludovic Draux (Pйsant Club Liиgeois), Stefan Wijnands and Maxime Montfort (Go Pass ABX). Draux’s best result has been 10th in the Zellik-Galmaarden, while Montfort took 9th in the GP Saint Sйverin.

Vuelta Drug Controls
The 198 participants in the Vuelta a Espana will take their pre race health check on the 4th of September in Gijon, two days before the start of the race. There will be between six and eight daily drug tests including the race leader and the stage winner. To conform to UCI regulations there will be a number of “surprise” tests which will take place in the early morning before a stage start or on one of the rest days.

Team T Mobile Shrink By Four Next Year
The German DPA news agency reported Sunday that Telekom team manager Walter Godefroot has confirmed that next years team which will be known as Team T Mobile will shrink in size by four riders from 25 to 21 pros. Seven riders are leaving: Danilo Hondo is going to Gerolsteiner, Gian Matteo Fagnini has not received a contract renewal and is rumoured to be on the way to Domina Vacanze to be re-united as Mario Cipollini’s lead out man. Also Kai Hundertmarck, Bobby Julich, David Kopp, Dirk Reichl and Stefan Schumacher have not been retained by the team. As previously reported Tomas Konecny (eD’system – ZVVZ ), Sergej Ivanov (Fassa Bortolo) and Bram Schmitz (Bankgiroloterij) are the newcomers for next year.

Petacchi Looks For Records In Vuelta
Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) speaking at last weeks Ronde van Nederland has confirmed that he will ride the Vuelta a Espana starting on September 6th in Gijon. He says he is looking to become only the third man in cycling history to win stages in all three major tours in the same year. Only Miguel Poblet (1956) and Pierino Baffi (1958) have previously achieved this feat. Belgium’s Freddy Maertens holds the record for the most victories in the major Tours in one season with 20 when he took 13 stages in the Vuelta and seven in the Giro in 1977. After Maertens’ fantastic tally of 20 the next best total is 12 stage victories in major tours in one season this is jointly held by Eddy Merckx (1973), Delio Rodriguez (1941) and Alfredo Binda (1927). Petacchi currently stands on 10 for this season with six stages in the Giro and four in the Tour, therefore three victories in the Vuelta will make the Italian the second most successful stage victor in the major Tours in one year with 13.

Euba Released By Euskaltel
Lander Euba has been informed by the Euskaltel-Euskadi team that he will not be offered a contract renewal. Basque newspaper Deia reported this over the weekend with Euba commenting, “I was told during the Vuelta a Burgos that I was free to look for another team as I was not part of the teams future plans, after taking my first pro win in the GP Joaquim Agostinho I thought they would offer me a renewal. The manager Antonio Vaquerizas says I have proved myself this season and thinks something will turn up for me in Spain or Portugal”. It is also rumoured that two other riders are to be released by the team with Julen Fernandez and Rubйn Diaz de Cerio being mentioned as the likely names.

Sijmens To Landbouwkrediet
Vlaanderen-T Interim’s Nico Sijmens is rumoured to be set to join the Landbouwkrediet-Colnago team for 2004. The 25 year old from Diest in Belgium has had three wins this season, taking two stages in the Tour of Austria and a stage in the Circuito Montanes. He recently finished 10th overall in the Vuelta a Burgos being part of the “great escape” of 11 riders on stage 1.

Tour of Britain To Return ?
Once more there are rumours circulating that the Tour of Britain will return to the UCI calendar in 2004. Every year a British Tour is included on the calendar and every year it is cancelled because of lack of sponsorship. This year the The New Milk Race (UCI 2.5) was due to be held at the beginning of June but had to be scrubbed.

No Rider Will Complete All Three Tours
The publication of the provisional start list for the Vuelta a Espana which was issued at the end of last week has confirmed that no rider will attempt the rare feat nowadays of riding and completing all three major Tours in the same year. 13 riders have ridden and completed the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France this year, these include top names such as Gilberto Simoni, Georg Totschnig, Franco Pellizotti and Andrea Noe, but none of these 13 are scheduled to ride the Vuelta in September.

Patrick Lefevere On His New Bodysol- Brustor Squad
Patrick Lefevere, Team Manager of the Quick Step-Davitamon team has been talking to the Belgian press over the weekend about the new second division team he is setting up called Bodysol- Brustor, which will replace the current Quick Step Espoirs (Div 3) team. “I have created a new team completely independent of the Quick Step team and I am about to sign the final deal with the sponsors, contrary to what people are saying Bodysol-Brustor will be completely separate from the Quick Step squad and the only bond between the two will be Patrick Lefevre”. When asked what is the motivation for setting up the new team, he says, “Simply the fact that the gap between division three and being an elite pro is too big, there are several good riders in Belgium who are on the verge of riding at the top level but may find going straight into a division one team too much. Therefore I will set up a second division team of about 12 riders who will be able to ride in the top races without having the pressure that can exist within a division one team”.

Didier Rous Ends His Season
Didier Rous (Brioches Le Boulangerie) has had to terminate his season after being diagnosed with a broken left collar bone as a result of a crash in the final stage of the Tour du Limousin last Friday. Rous had led the race after taking the first stage on Tuesday and was in a comfortable position to win the race when he crashed on a descent.

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