By Andrew Hood
Stefano Zanini (Quick Step) team has won the 128-mile opening stageof the Tour of Britain in Manchester city centre. The Italian out-sprintedKevin Van Impe of Belgium and Alejandro Borrajo of Argentina.
British national champion Roger Hammond, of Oxford, finished sixthin the same time as Zanini. By winning the first stage Zanini pulled onthe race leader’s jersey which he will wear during tomorrow’s stage fromLeeds to Sheffield over 107 miles.Navigators are there
The Navigators will be racing this week in the revival of the BritishTour that began Wednesday and concludes with a circuit course in London.
After a five-year absence of stage racing in England, the five-dayTour of Britain kicks off Wednesday in an effort to revive the sport onthe island nation. Despite its 2.3 ranking on the UCI calendar, the raceboasts a strong lineup from some of the biggest teams in the peloton.
Topping the list are Tour de France runner-up Andreas Klöden (T-Mobile),Olympic bronze medalist Axel Merckx (Lotto-Domo) and classics star MicheleBartolo (Team CSC). Tour champion Lance Armstrong won’t be racing, butU.S. Postal Service comes with Benjamin Noval, Pavel Padrnos and JoséLuis Rubiera in tow. Tom Boonen (Quick Step) also brings some star powerto the upstart stage race.
Lining up for the Navs are Chris Baldwin, Kirk O’Bee, Jeff Louder,Ciaran Power and Victor Rapinski.
Tour of Britain (ENG 2.3), Sept. 1-5
Stage 1, Sept. 1, Manchester-Manchester, 207km
Stage 2, Sept. 2, Leeds to Sheffield, 172km
Stage 3, Sept. 3, Bakewell to Nottingham, 192km
Stage 4, Sept. 4, Newport to Celtic Manor Resort,160km
Stage 5, Sept. 5, London-London, 72.5kmFULLRESULTS
Rebellin awaiting Argentine passport
Italy’s cycling World Cup leader Davide Rebellin awaiting the arrivalof a new Argentine passport which he has resorted to acquiring in a bidto compete at the upcoming world championships in Verona.
Rebellin, who secured a rare triple of classics successes earlier thisseason when he won the Fleche Wallonne, the Amstel Gold Race and Liege-Bastone-Liege,has not been picked for Italy’s national team by coach, Franco Ballerini.
The Italian team for the September 26-October 3 championships is likelyto be spearheaded by recently-crowned Olympic road race champion PaoloBettini who is second behind Rebellin in the World Cup, of which he isa two-time winner.
However it seems that competing in the Worlds are paramount to Rebellin,who announced on his website that he had already been given the green lightby cycling’s ruling body the UCI (International Cycling Union).
“I’ve had some good news from the UCI,” said Rebellin. “And I hopeto receive my new passport from the government of Argentina within thenext few days. I’ve chosen to compete at the Worlds in Verona because theItaly team has no respect for me.”
He was first snubbed by Ballerini last year when he was left at homefor the world championships in Hamilton, Canada, where Spaniard Igor Astarloapipped Bettini at the finish line of the road race.
Ballerini offered no explanation and according to reports promisedto pick him for the Olympic Games in Athens, however Rebellin was leftbehind again. Now, in a bid to compete for the world title on home soil,Rebellin said he had no choice but to apply for an Argentine passport.
“I’m 33 years old and I won’t have the chance of competing at a worldchampionships that are being held in my native country,” he said.
Rebellin nevertheless will still be hoping to hold on to his six-pointlead over Bettini in the World Cup, of which there are only two races left- the Paris-Tours on October 10 and the Tour of Lombardy six days later.
— By the AFP
Yus takes Hessen opener
Spanish rider Unai Yus (La Boulangère) won the opening stageof the five-day Hessen Rundfahrt race in Germany. Yus finished 4 secondsahead of German sprinter ace Danilo Hondo (Gerolsteiner) while Lubor Tesar(Ed’ System) came through third.
Hessen Rundfahrt (GER 2.3), Stage 1, Kasselto Bad Arolsen, 191km
1. Unai Yus (Spa), Brioches la Boulangère 4 hours, 40 minutes, 30 seconds
2. Danilo Hondo (Ger), Gerolsteiner +0:04
3. Lubor Tesar (Cze), Ed’ System
4. David Kopp (Ger), Lamonta — all same time
5. Jean Nuttli (Swi), Volksbank-Ideal-Leingruber +0:07No world’s for IMAX star Hamilton
Tyler Hamilton will be lining up Saturday for the team time trial tokick-start the Vuelta a España, but told VeloNews he won’t be racingthe world championships a week after the Vuelta ends.
Instead, the Olympic time trial champion will be traveling to the colsof France’s Basque Country for a week of filming with an IMAX crew and200 extras that include some pro riders to re-enact Hamilton’s stage victoryin the 2003 Tour de France.
“They will have a crew, some of my ex-teammates at Team CSC, even BjarneRiis will be coming in to re-enact the stage I won into Bayonne,” Hamiltonsaid. “It should be pretty interesting. I will wear my old CSC jersey,ride my old bike and do the whole thing again. They want to get some differentshots they couldn’t get during the Tour. They even have 200 extras to standon the side of the road at act as fans.”
Hamilton is the focus of the IMAX film that’s using the 2003 Tour deFrance as a backdrop on a film about the human brain and how it reactsto different situations. Filmmakers decided the Tour was the perfect settingto tell the story.
Throughout the 2003 Tour, IMAX crews filmed Hamilton and his struggleswith a broken shoulder he suffered in the first stage. The gritty New Englanderendured searing pain to win 16th stage in France’s Basque Country intoBayonne with an epic solo attack over the final steep climbs of the centenaryTour.
“We’re going to be going up on the Col Bagarguy and do some shootingthere,” Hamilton said. “The film is going to be great. It’s going to begreat for our sport. People will be able to see the climbs, the descents,the speeds we race at. I’m excited.”
Production company officials said the film is expected to be releasedin the fall of 2005. Once filming is completed, Hamilton will return tothe United States where he’s scheduled to appear at the Interbike tradeshow in Las Vegas.
Sevilla: ‘We’ll see who’s stronger’
Oscar Sevilla and Tyler Hamilton will be sharing leadership in theVuelta, though “El Niño” gets the honor of the top start bib forthe Phonak team in the season’s final grand tour.
“Tyler and I both come here as leaders. We’ll see who’s strongest oncewe get into the mountains,” Sevilla told VeloNews on Wednesday morningbefore a team training ride. “We’ve already talked about it as a team.We will work for whoever is stronger. That’s not a problem for me or Tyler.”
Sevilla will be racing for the first time since the Tour, where hecracked a rib and injured his left knee in a spill in stage 1. He retreatedto his home base in Granada and rested before beginning to train for theVuelta.
“I took 20 days off the bike after the Tour, not even any training.I had to have time to let my body recover from my injuries in the Tour,”Sevilla said. “I feel good in the legs, but I really won’t know until theracing begins. I haven’t raced since the Tour, but it’s really hard tosay how you’re going until you can test your form in race conditions.”
Sevilla said he and Hamilton previewed of the difficult climbing stagesthat will be featured in the second of the Vuelta, especially the climbingtime trial to Sierra Nevada and the grueling climb to Calar Alto in stage12.
“Tyler came down and we rode many of the climbs, most of which he’dnever seen before,” Sevilla said. “This Vuelta is very hard, especiallythe second half. If I cannot ride for the overall, then I will try to wina nice stage in the mountains. That would be important for my morale becauseof the problems I’ve had the past two seasons.”
Sevilla also said he hopes to earn a spot on the Spanish national teamfor the world championships in Verona. A final selection will be made duringthe Vuelta.
Time trial course ‘tricky’
Phonak riders previewed the team time trial course Tuesday afternoonafter arriving early to León. The 27.7km course hits a gentle Category3 climb at 11km, but otherwise is a fairly straight-forward out and backcourse.
What has riders worried in the first few kilometers through the narrowstreets of downtown León before hitting the open flats outside oftown. Forecasters are calling for a chance of rain, something that worriesPhonak team leaders.
“Those first few kilometers through town are tricky,” Hamilton said.“They take us around so many turns and corners on the narrows streets.If it rains, it could be a mess.”
The chance of rain evokes bad memories from Phonak’s troubled teamtime trial effort at the Tour de France, where the green team from Switzerlandfinished second despite a spate of troubles in the early part of the race.
“If it rains, it’s going to be very difficult,” Sevilla said. “Thefirst part of the course is just full of turns over narrow roads and evensome cobbles. It’s going to be harder than people think.”Mancebo will start Vuelta
Reigning Spanish national champion Francisco Mancebo said he’ll startthe Vuelta a España on Saturday despite lingering problems froman injury to his left wrist.
“They’ve put on a new brace and I hope I won’t have any problems onthe descents when I brake, that’s the worst,” Mancebo told the Spanishdaily MARCA. “I have a lot of motivation to race and in theory I am good,but I should wait to see how this evolves.”
Stronger controls at Vuelta
The world’s anti-doping agency will be making surprise tests duringthe Vuelta a España as the Spanish race will have its toughest anti-dopingtests ever in its history.
The race will also be using a special apparatus to detect EPO, thebanned blood booster. Using the so-called Australian protocol, there aretwo of these $55,000 machines in operation. One was recently used in Athensand the other was used during the Tour de France, where Euskaltel-Euskadirider Gorka González was eliminated for high hematocrit levels.
Six UCI doctors will visit team hotels on Thursday morning to makecomplete health checks on all Vuelta riders scheduled to take Saturday’sdepart. Tests will also be conducted throughout the Vuelta, including thedaily stage winner, race leader and two other randomly selected riders.
Results – Stage 1 – Tour of Britain
1. Stefano Zanini (I), Quick Step-Davitamon
2. Kevin Van Impe (B), Lotto-Domo
3. Alejandro Alberto Borrajo (ARG), Ceramiche Panaria
4. Julian Dean (NZl), Crédit Agricole
5. Tom Boonen (B), Quick Step-Davitamon
6. Roger Hammond (GB),Mr Bookmaker.com
7. Maksym Rudenko (Ukr), Chocolade Jacques
8. Yanto Barker (GB), Wales
9. Paride Grillo (I), Ceramiche Panaria
10. Ben Day (Aus),Mr Bookmaker.com
11. Russel Downing (GB), GBR
12. Filippo Perfetto (I), Ceramiche Panaria
13. Stefan Adamsson (Swe), Team Barloworld
14. Ciarán Power (IRL), Navigators Insurance
15. Fernandez Moreno (Sp), Relax Bodysol
16. Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor), CSC
17. Jeff Louder (USA), Navigators Insurance
18. André Korff (G), T-Mobile
19. James Vanlandschoot (B), Relax Bodysol
20. Mauricio Ardila (Col), Chocolade Jacques
21. Tim Cassidy (IRL), Ireland
22. Hector Guerra Garcia (Sp), Relax Bodysol
23. Kieran Page (GB), GBR
24. Paolo Lanfranchi (I), Ceramiche Panaria
25. Jeremy Hunt (GB),Mr Bookmaker.com
26. Nick Nuyens (B), Quick Step-Davitamon
27. Ryan Cox (RSA), Team Barloworld
28. Nico Mattan (B), Relax Bodysol
29. Eric Leblacher (F), Crédit Agricole
30. Jurgen Van De Walle (B), Chocolade Jacques
31. Kirk Obee (USA), Navigators Insurance
32. Brett Lancaster (Aus), Ceramiche Panaria
33. David Mccann (IRL), Ireland
34. Michael Blaudzun (Dk), CSC
35. Nick Gates (Aus), Lotto-Domo
36. Wim De Vocht (B), Relax Bodysol
37. Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz), Crédit Agricole
38. Michele Bartoli (I), CSC
39. Enrico Degano (I), Team Barloworld
40. Erwin Thijs (B),Mr Bookmaker.com
41. Aaron Kemps (Aus), Quick Step-Davitamon
42. Serge Baguet (B), Lotto-Domo
43. Tristan Hoffman (Nl), CSC
44. Philip Deignan (IRL), Ireland
45. Sean Sullivan (Aus), Team Barloworld
46. Jeremy Maartens (RSA), Team Barloworld
47. Evan Oliphant (GB), Scotland
48. Geert Verheyen (B), Chocolade Jacques
49. Kristof Trouve (B),Mr Bookmaker.com
50. Andrea Peron (I), CSC
51. José Luis Rubiera (Sp), U.S. Postal Service
52. Koos Moerenhout (Nl), Lotto-Domo
53. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (B), U.S. Postal Service
54. Tom Southam (GB), GBR
55. Christopher Baldwin (USA), Navigators Insurance
56. Andoni Aranaga (Sp), Chocolade Jacques
57. Paolo Savoldelli (I), T-Mobile
58. Pavel Padrnos (Cz), U.S. Postal Service
59. Paul Manning (GB), GBR
60. Charles Wegelius (GB), GBR
61. Michael Creed (USA), U.S. Postal Service
62. Mario Aerts (B), T-Mobile
63. José Azevedo (P), U.S. Postal Service
64. John Gadret (F), Chocolade Jacques
65. Paidi O’Brien (IRL), Ireland
66. Julio Lopez De La Torre (Sp), Relax Bodysol
67. Frédéric Amorison (B), Quick Step-Davitamon
68. Benjamin Noval (Sp), U.S. Postal Service
69. Axel Merckx (B), Lotto-Domo
70. David O’Loughlin (IRL), Ireland
71. Nicki Sorensen (Dk), CSC
72. Jason Mcintyre (GB), Scotland
73. Chris Newton (GB), GBR
74. Bradley Wiggins (GB), Crédit Agricole
75. Sébastien Joly (F), Crédit Agricole
76. Davide Bramati (I), Quick Step-Davitamon
77. Rolf Aldag (G), T-Mobile
78. Andreas Klöden (G), T-Mobile, all s.t.
79. Jeremy Yates (NZl), Crédit Agricole, at 0:19
80. Mario De Clercq (B),Mr Bookmaker.com, at 0:34
81. Rodney Green (RSA), Team Barloworld, at 3:13
82. Gary Hand (GB), Scotland, at 5:18
83. Tommy Evans (IRL), Ireland, at 6:00
84. Jamie Norfolk (GB), Wales, 6:14
85. Graeme Brown (Aus), Ceramiche Panaria, at 8:06
86. Julian Winn (GB), Wales, 9:54
87. Alex Coutts (GB), Scotland, s.t.
88. Robert Partridge (GB), Wales
89. Anthony Malarczyk (GB), Wales
90. Viktor Rapinski (Blr), Navigators Insurance
91. David Smith (GB), Scotland
92. Gareth Jones (GB), Wales
93. Duncan Urquhart (GB), Scotland