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First Edition Cycling News for March 26, 2005

Date published:
March 26, 2005, 0:00 GMT
  • New Continental rankings

    Article published:
    March 26, 2005, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Jeff Jones and Hedwig Kröner

    The UCI has released the five sets of Continental rider rankings for the month of March, with two...

    The UCI has released the five sets of Continental rider rankings for the month of March, with two new leaders in the Africa and European Tours. Tiann Kannemeyer (Barloworld-Valsir), the winner of the Giro del Capo in South Africa, is the new leader in the Africa Tour, while Aitor Perez (Spiuk) has earned the right to wear the European Tour leader's jersey for the next month. The leaders of the other tours are unchanged, with Edgardo Simon (Argentina) the leader of the America Tour, Graeme Brown (Ceramica Panaria) leading the Asia Tour, and Robert Mclachlan (MG Xpower) continuing to hold the Oceania Tour jersey.

    In the teams rankings, Barloworld-Valsir (Africa), Colombia-Selle Italia (America), Ceramica Panaria (Asia), Comunidad Valenciana (Europe), MG Xpower Presented By Bigpond (Oceania) are the top teams, while South Africa (Africa), Argentina (America), Japan (Asia), Spain (Europe), and Australia (Oceania) are the top nations.

    Rankings as of March 24, 2005

  • Bettini out, Moreni better

    Article published:
    March 26, 2005, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Jeff Jones and Hedwig Kröner

    Quick.Step rider Paolo Bettini could not start at the fourth stage of the Settimana Internazionale...

    Quick.Step rider Paolo Bettini could not start at the fourth stage of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi & Bartali on Friday. Bettini had a high temperature in the morning, which had started rising during the night, and is now taking antibiotics. He will rest for a couple of days, before taking up training again.

    Meanwhile, his teammate Cristian Moreni is recovering from a crash 40 km before the finish line at last week's Milano-Sanremo. He was immediately taken to hospital, where he was given two stitches on his right knee and told to wear a neck collar for a few days.

    "I didn't get out of bed either on Sunday or Monday as my whole body was in pain," explained Moreni. "After a consultation with the team's medical staff I started training again on Thursday, but without overdoing it. For the moment my knee isn't giving me any trouble and I'm getting better day after day. If all goes well, I'll start intensifying my training programme to take part in the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco and to be at the top for the second part of the Classics."

  • Fassa Bortolo for De Panne

    Article published:
    March 26, 2005, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Jeff Jones and Hedwig Kröner

    Fassa Bortolo has announced its team lineup for the Driedaagse Van De Panne from March 29-31. Andrus...

    Fassa Bortolo has announced its team lineup for the Driedaagse Van De Panne from March 29-31. Andrus Aug, Fabio Baldato, Fabian Cancellara, Francesco Chicchi, Claudio Corioni, Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni, Alberto Ongarato and Roberto Petito will participate in the race.

  • Liquigas-Bianchi counts on Bäckstedt

    Article published:
    March 26, 2005, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Jeff Jones and Hedwig Kröner

    The season of northern racing starts for Italian team Liquigas-Bianchi with the Driedaagse van De...

    The season of northern racing starts for Italian team Liquigas-Bianchi with the Driedaagse van De Panne, taking place from March 29-31. The team is relying on Magnus Bäckstedt, winner of last year's Paris-Roubaix, to perform in the flat lands of Belgium. The Swede, back from Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-San Remo, is riding these races to train for the competitions that suit him more.

    "The Three Days of De Panne will be already a good test to evaluate Bäckstedt's condition in view of Paris-Roubaix," said managing director Roberto Amadio. "Magnus did his best to get ready for this, although the flu has stopped his training more than once. But I'm sure he will be able to play a leading role in these races where - let's not forget it - luck is also a determining factor."

    In De Panne, Bäckstedt will be supported by his fellow countryman Marcus Ljungqvist and by the Italians Mauro Gerosa, Nicola Loda, Marco Milesi, Marco Righetto, Gian Luca Sironi and Marco Zanotti. The same squad will also start at the Tour of Flanders on Sunday, April 3, Gent-Wevelgem on Wednesday, April 6 and Paris-Roubaix on Sunday, April 10.

  • Belgian cycling season heats up this weekend

    Tom Boonen (Quick.Step-Davitamon) takes out the E3 Prijs
    Article published:
    March 26, 2005, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Jeff Jones and Hedwig Kröner

    The second major weekend of racing in Belgium takes place this weekend, March 26-27, with the...

    The second major weekend of racing in Belgium takes place this weekend, March 26-27, with the E3-Prijs Vlaanderen Harelbeke on Saturday and the Brabantse Pijl on Sunday. Both are considered important races in view of next week's Ronde Van Vlaanderen, with the 1.HC rated E3 Prijs always an important form tester.

    Starting from Harelbeke in West Flanders, the E3 follows a tougher route than last Wednesday's Dwars door Vlaanderen, taking in several tricky cobbled sections (Ename/Volkegem, Paddestraat) and 12 climbs, including the Eikenberg (km 134), Stationsberg (km 139), Taaienberg (km 143), Paterberg (km 160), Oude Kwaremont (km 164), Knokteberg (km 173) and Tiegemberg (km 184). There are no finishing laps, so the last 16 km after the Tiegemberg will not leave much room for cat and mouse tactics.

    Last year's winner was Tom Boonen, and the Quick.Step sprinter will be in action again to try to defend his title. He faces stiff opposition from the likes of 2003 winner Steven de Jongh and his teammate and World Champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Peter Van Petegem (Davitamon-Lotto), who was looking in good form last Wednesday, Andreas Klier (T-Mobile), an expert in the Belgian races, Stijn Devolder and Roger Hammond (Discovery), who are due for a win soon, Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis), Ludovic Capelle (Landbouwkrediet) and Nico Eeckhout (Chocolade Jacques).

    Sunday's Brabantse Pijl starts in Zaventem, near Brussels, and finishes on the Alsemberg in Beersel. It will be run over a 198.3 km parcours featuring one big lap of 118 km and five circuits of 15.9 km. The finishing circuit features three climbs per lap (Bruineput, Lindenberg, Alsemberg) and the race is suited to the hilly classics specialists. It was won last year by Luca Paolini ahead of Michael Boogerd and Nico Sijmens.

    Neither Boogerd nor Paolini are on the start list for this year's race, leaving the door open for other favourites such as Oscar Freire (Rabobank), who is often a...

  • Prohibited substances found in Acqua & Sapone hotel rooms

    Article published:
    March 26, 2005, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Jeff Jones and Hedwig Kröner

    On Thursday, March 24, Belgian police searched the hotel of the Acqua & Sapone team in Erpe-Mere,...

    On Thursday, March 24, Belgian police searched the hotel of the Acqua & Sapone team in Erpe-Mere, where the Italian team was staying prior to this weekend's races, E3 Prijs Vlaanderen and Brabantse Pijl. They allegedly found doping substances in the rooms of three of the team's members, according to Belgian newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen.

    It's reported that a local police agent saw one of the riders throw away a bag, as well as other garbage into a garbage bin. The agent recovered the bag, which contained different kinds of medical material, used syringes and empty medical packages. The court in Dendermonde was informed right away, and a search of the team's hotel rooms was performed the same evening. Members of a special branch of Belgian police that deal with illegal hormones were present, as well as federal agents. It is not yet known what products were found.