What's Cool In Road Cycling

Euro-Trash Thursday

The stinky stuff keeps on rising from the PEZ news dumpster. Plug your nose and take a peak into the bin to get a wiff of what’s left from Hamilton, what’s ahead for the Worlds and Tour, and more…

Inhale, Exhale
Spanish ONCE team rider Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano was forced to leave the men’s TT on Friday due to cramping in his left side. Unfortunately his pain had stopped him from completing his Time Trial with only 4 kilometers to the finish line. Once Gonzalez had reached the 28.8km mark he was in 5th place, but his cramping had permitted him not to be able to complete. Team ONCE’s doctor Pedro Celaya thinks that Gonzalez’s problem was coming from his intercostal muscular contraction. Luckily he is being scheduled to race in the Elite Men’s Road Race on Sunday.

Valkenburg for the 2008 Worlds
The Dutch City of Valkenburg has proposed some candidates for the 2008 World’s. Not to mention being 5 or 6 years ahead of time. Valkenburg and Heerlen are both involved in the battle for being the host town in 2008 or 2009. The last time tat Valkenburg had hosted the World’s was in 1998, yet the organizers have proposed to use the same parcours as last time, and the Time Trial would start in Heerlen.

ONCE Rider Not Sure Once rider Joseba Beloki believes that he is not ready at this time to announce the team that he will be riding with in the near future. He was supposed to name the team on Sunday however he says that he is going to delay for a couple of days. Joseba says “This week began with some very good points and, above all, with the desire to free myself once and for all of this thing, given that I wanted to resolve everything and forget about it for the next three years, but I believe that there is going to be a little delay due to a complication with the new team.” However the situation for Manolo Siaz, and his plan to rebuild a new team from the fallen ONCE team giant have brought Joseba to give full support saying “have all my consent and support to find a sponsor up until now I haven’t seen an official communiquй of the project”. So hopefully in the coming days ahead we will hear some news of which team and what he is planning on doing unravel in the near future. Until then we are just as lost as Joseba.

Aquarel Will Support the Tour Till 2009 Nestlй’s bottled water Aquarel will continue to support the Tour de France for another 6 years. The first time that Aquarel had ever sponsored the Tour was in 2001, and ever since then having received a lot of publicity through the Tour De France (After all it is the most popular cycling event in the world). The first time that Aquarel had related itself with the tour was through the Best Young Rider Classification (AKA White Jersey), but now it is sponsoring the stage winner. The General Manager for marketing and Communication at Nestle says “Without the TDF, the brand would not have seen the expansion from which it is benefiting today, the Tour de France contributes actively towards getting the brand known to a wide family public across Europe.” He wasn’t kidding either, in 2002 alone Nestle grossed around 5.3 Billion Euro, and is optimistic that by the year 2010 it will be the leading bottled water brand in Europe. So drink up.

Rogers on Path to Greatness
23 year old Australian Quick Step-Davitamon team rider Michael roger rode an astounding race on Thursdays Elite Men Time Trial. Rogers not only gave Australia its first medal but he became the first Aussie to place on the podium in The Elite Men’s time Trial. Mr. Rogers (No pun intended) placed 1’25 behind Great Britain’s David Miller whom also rode a sensational race. Rogers says about the race “It’s a fantastic day for me, I would have been really happy with a top five but I happened to be really good on the day.” Even throughout Rogers trials and tribulations with not only a flat tire, but also a slow bike change with still 8km to the race left, words of reassurance from former pro Neil Stephens helped him out greatly. Rogers commented on Stephens help by saying “He just told me to settle down and get back into my rhythm which I did quite well and on the last climb I gave it all I had, when I was a young fella around ten years old I was riding with ‘Stevo’ when he was a pro out training and over the years we’ve built quite a relationship.” He also mentioned “Unfortunately I punctured and I think I lost about 30 seconds, I don’t think I would have won overall but I sure would have been a little closer to Dave Millar’s time. When I punctured all that was going through my mind was to get that bike off that roof. We were having a lot of trouble and in the heat of the moment once I did get going I couldn’t get my feet back in the pedals because I was shaking and carrying on.” We should be seeing a lot of this Australian in later times. Perhaps we will be seeing him taking the lead over Miller next time.

TT Helmet Upgrade
Right after the UCI had announced that the helmet issue would begin to become mandatory coming the start of the year 2004, they had also announced that Hard-shell Time Trial helmets are also to be worn. Up until now the only reason for the helmet in time trials was to cut down on wind resistance and look like one of those aliens from “Aliens”. Maybe not the Aliens part, maybe? However this rule will not only apply to the Time Trialists but also to those in track racing as well. But it is for the best.

Saeco’s New Mates
The Italian team “Saeco” will be adding 5 new riders to there arsenal of riders. These new 5 riders will be joining the already existing 15 riders for the 2004 season; new riders include the names of Eddy Mazzoleni, Evgeni Petrov, Gabrielle Balducci, Goradz Stangelj, and Sylvester Szymd. Adding these new riders will hopefully add anew style to the team and I personally can’t wait to see how they do in the 2004 season.

Yanks Not To Par U.S. Rider Mike Creed placed in 34th which was the best placing in the American team (As Of The 11th). The entire American team was highly disappointed with there performance in this years worlds. Creed had mentioned I didn’t think the break would come back once it went, and then when I realized there were no Dutch in it, “I saw Weening start to go across. I went on his wheel and felt good, but he just kicked it up the first climb and I just missed it. I knew that was it once he made it across. I’ve never done an Espoir Worlds like that. I thought I was really feeling good early but then I just realized we were going really slowly. There was never one solid pace, it just got faster and faster from the start to the finish.” Mike’s teammate Saul raisin said “Today was the weirdest U-23 race I’ve ever done, we had the same game plan as every other team in the race, just to take it easy in the first five laps. It started so slowly and most of the teams just looked at each other not knowing what to do. We were waiting for the right moment to go and it was very hard to pick the move that was going to be the one.” However on the flip side he (Saul) did have some nice things to say “Everyone rode well and we were in good position on the last lap with our four strongest guys left in the race. We just asked each other ‘who’s going good?’ Will and Mike felt the best, so I drove it and brought the peloton back to about ten seconds with the help of a couple other guys. It was a great race, I’m happy with it.”

Australia, Coming From Down Under Australia’s 3 women juniors all ranked up in the top ten for the Junior Women’s Road Race this past Friday. Candice Sullivan ranked the highest in 6th place; behind her was Tasmanian Stephanie Williams in 8th place, and Kate Nichols right behind her in 9th place. Sullivan said subsequent to the race “It’s fantastic to have all of us up there in the top ten, we worked really hard during the race and it’s nice to see it pay off.” Sullivan said about Kate “We were hoping Kate might be able to stay away but with the downhill section before the final corner to the finish it was always going to be hard.” Williams has made a great improvement from her 32nd place finish last year to her 8th this one. “It’s really satisfying to know that I have improved and this year has given me even more experience, I’ll go back home to Launceston after this and let it all sink in.”

Somarriba Loaded With Euro The new women’s Time trial Champion Joane Somarriba is said to receive in about 60,000 euro for her hard work this season. Some of these staples include winning the women’s Tour De France and The World Championships. Not to mention an additional 48,000 euro scholarship from the ADO, on top of that she will also receive a bonus of 12,000 Euro for winning the gold. Somarriba said about after her partying with her fellow teammates that “I woke many times, but each time I looked at the chair where I had placed the medal and rainbow jersey, and remained thus for a while, enjoying the dream that I obtained.” If those numbers aren’t motivation enough to go out there and cycle then I don’t know what is.

David Miller To Queensland The new World Champion David Miller has established that he will be one of the contenders in this years Cycling Grand Prix series in Queensland, Australia during November and December. Great Britain’s David Miller will be at the starting line with some of the top Australian riders in the field, Such as Stuart O’Grady, Matt White, and Ben Johnson all of which are on the Cofidis team. Defending his title will be Robbie McEwen and try to get back some of that dominance that he had until Baden Cooke had won the green Sprinters Jersey in this Years Tour De France. Even though this is only the second year that this cycling event has taken place it has really caught on and is growing into one of the countries major criterium series. Next the World. The first race is going to be held November first in Noosa, then in Brisbane in on December 7th, and after that on December 14th. Some good cycling should be going down so make sure to catch it.

Igor The Conquistador The Championship is over and we now have a Champion, its Spain’s Igor Astarloa. Astarloa had continued on with the attacks of Peter van Petegem on the second to last climb, then he had made his own attack on the final hill, an attack so strong that Bettini could not even handle. Sorry Bettini. Igor said about his race “I really can’t believe I won today, I just found the right moment to get away and was able to win. I’ve already won a classic this year (Flиche Wallonne) but the World Championships, that was just a dream until today. I still can’t believe it. Yes, on the last lap I got in the good break. Van Petegem was really strong but I was good too!” Astarloa has impeccable timing seeing as he is about to switch over to team Cofidis in 2004, team Cofidis manger announced that there would be an unofficial prize of sorts. Some of Igor’s accomplishments are in 2001 the Grand Prix Primavera, 2002 Brixia Tour, 2003 Fleche Wallonne, World Road Championships, Stage 3 Vuelta Valenciana and I am sure that we will be seeing many more come next season.

Astarloa’s Bad Move 2003 World Championship winner Igor Astarloa has been accused of using some undesirable words towards Italian rider Paolo Bettini. Astarloa claims that will in the race Paolo Bettini had offered him an undisclosed amount of money in order to collaborate in the final Kilometers. One of Bettini’s close riders and companions stated that “Astarloa said he didn’t understand what Paolo had said to him during the race, it happened in the heat of the excitement, at a very tense moment.” During the last Lap of the race on Sunday Astarloa had evaded the attack that was lead on by Peter Van Petegem of Holland (Third Place Winner) and Paolo Bettini. Following the end of the race Astarloa had mentioned that Bettini had offered him an amount of money to help him with the hilly sections of the course then to duel it out the rest of the race amongst themselves. This could be looked at from the view point of Bettini as an “Attack” on his real cycling ability; Astarloa’s suggesting that he bribed him to win the rest of the race could bring doubt if any of Bettini’s wins were legit. However Astarloa stated later that “It was all a misunderstanding, I’m very friendly with Paolo, and I’ve even been on vacation with him. He just asked me to help him to attack his principal rivals. In no case did he offer me money, because he knows that I wouldn’t have traded this World’s victory for all the gold in the world.” We will just have to wait and see how this one plays itself out. If this is true that Bettini did bribe Astarloa however then there would be a bigger picture to look at. But for now let’s just be happy for Astarloa now and pray that it isn’t true. (“Say It Ain’t So Bettini, Say It Ain’t So”).

Zabels 14 Victories Even though Erik Zabel will not be in first place in the UCI World Rankings he will have an astonishing 14 wins this season. Some of this Telekom sprinters victories have been seen in the Paris-Tours World Cup and his two stages and points jersey in this years Vuelta a Espana. In the World championships held in Hamilton Canada this past Sunday he saw an 11th place finish only a mater of 12 seconds behind Spanish rider Igor Astarloa. Zabel says about the Championships “It’s naturally annoying, I would have preferred to be further in front and absolutely wanted a medal, But when Astarloa attacked on the final climb, I was on the limit. There was nothing more.” Zabel said about his season this year that “It was not great, but a good season for me.” That’s all that we can ask.

Quebec for the 2008 Tour The organizers of the Tour De France are seriously considering making plans to have the 2008 Tour De France in Quebec-That’s Canada not Europe. If the race is to be held in Quebec in 2008 it is on the 400th Anniversary. If these plans go through then Quebec, Canada would be the first Non-European country to host the Tour De France (not in France eh). Like always there are many objectives that have to be dealt with first of all, such as transporting 4,000 people and the 1,600 vehicles across the Atlantic Ocean. Head Honcho Jean-Marie Leblanc says that “The idea of participating in Quebec’s celebration is very dear to us, However there is an objective, technical, practical side of this to be studied and worked out. It will all take time to sort out and we will take all of 2004 and likely part of 2005 to examine it.”

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