By Andrew Hood
The eighth round of the 2002 World Cup will be disputed on a hilly coursearound Zürich, Switzerland, on Sunday. The Meisterschaft von Zürichis the most challenging of the three remaining World Cup races and overallleader Johan Museeuw (Domo) will be starting simply with the intentionof trying to score points.Second-place rival Paolo Bettini (Mapei-Quick Step) at 68 pointsback is the main challenger for the veteran Belgian rider. Bettini is thedefending champion but pulled out of the Tour of Denmark earlier this weekcomplaining of tendonitis. Bettini needs to score the win or finish secondand have Museeuw, twice a winner here, finish out of the points to bounceinto the overall lead.Held on a similar course as recent years, the 248-km Zürich racefeatures a 41-km loop with a steady rise to Forch at 10 km and then thesteeper climb to Pfannenstiel at 24.2 km. The finale is a long 8-km flatalong Lake Zürich to the finish in Zürich.In recent years, the race has come down to a small group. Cycling’sbiggest teams nearly boycotted the race after prize money remain unpaidby last year’s organizers. The race was taken over by the same race organizersof the HEW Cyclassics, and they were forced to pay nearly $100,000 overtwo years to attract the top teams to the start in Zürich.Others looking strong include Saeco’s Igor Astarloa, second inthe past two World Cups, and teammate Danilo Di Luca. Fellow ItaliansFrancescoCasagrande (Fassa Bortolo) and Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner)always do well in August and will be looking to be in the mix after missingthe break last week in San Sebastian.Last week’s winner Laurent Jalabert confirmed he will race andcould be a factor is he’s as motivated as in Spain. Tour de France championLanceArmstrong will be at the start for one of his final appearances inthe 2002 season in Europe.Armstrong will be wrapping up his season in San Francisco in Septemberbut won’t have George Hincapie at the start line in Zürich.Hincapie crashed last week in San Sebastian and is recovering from hisinjuries. Other Americans expected to start include Kevin LivingstonandBobby Julich on Telekom, David Clinger and Floyd Landison U.S. Postal Service and Levi Leipheimer on Rabobank.Tafi signs with CSC-Tiscali
In a surprise move, Andrea Tafi is expected to sign a contractwith CSC-Tiscali for the 2003 season, the French sports daily L’Equipereported Friday. Team manager Bjarne Riis said Tafi will leave Mapei-QuickStep, which is folding at the end of the 2002 season, to give CSC-Tiscalimore muscle for the classics.Tafi, the winner of Tour of Flanders this year, is one of the most consistentperformers in the classics and remains a force even at 36. There were somerumors floating that Tafi might join U.S. Postal Service. The team is alsostill reportedly negotiating with world champion Oscar Freire, anotherMapei-Quick Step rider looking for a contract for next season.Mancebo delivers another win for iBanesto.com
Spanish rider Francisco Mancebo delivered yet another stage-racevictory for the iBanesto.com team after tying up the Vuelta a Burgos onFriday. David Fernandez (Relax-Fuenlabrada) won the field sprintand Macebo, who took the race lead in Thursday’s climbing stage, finishedsafely in the main bunch to secure the victory.Mancebo’s win is the latest for iBanesto.com, which has dominated theSpanish stage-race season, winning seven races this year and taking theVuelta a Burgos for the third consecutive year. Leonardo Piepoliwon in 2000 and Juan Miguel Mercado won last year. Jose LuisRubiera (U.S. Postal) finished second for the second year in a row.In Thursday’s stage, Rubiera couldn’t stay with Mancebo as he bounced intothe overall by just 12 seconds.Roberto Heras revealed he was good in form leading into September’sVuelta a España. The 2000 Vuelta champion was caught up behind apileup early in the race and lost nearly two minutes, but in Thursday’sclimbing stage, he held back to help Rubiera and finally shot across theline to finish second behind former world mountain bike champion MichaelRasmussen (CSC-Tiscali).The Burgos race also saw the continuing good form of Gilberto Simoni(Saeco), who will be one of the protagonists in the Vuelta after he wascleared of doping charges that resulted in his forced departure from the2002 Giro d’Italia.Oriol seals l’Ain
French rider Christophe Oriol (AG2R) sealed final victory inthe Tour de l’Ain on Friday in France. Oriol won the difficult climbingstage in the Jura Mountains on Thursday and finished with the leaders inFriday’s fourth and final stage 139 km between Saint Genis Poilly and LeGrand Colombier. Marek Rutkiewicz (Cofidis) won the stage.Russian holds lead in Grande Boucle Feminine
The Russian racer Zinaida Stahurskaia won Friday’s 12th stageand easily retained the overall lead of the Grande Boucle Fémininein the 112-km race from Le Mans to Châteaudun. Stahurskaia edgedSusanneLjungkog to take the win. American Amber Neben finished third,which keeps he nicely placed in the top-10 in ninth place. Neben is at27’49” back in the overall while fellow American Kimberly Bruckneris 10th at 32’49” back.The Grande Boucle Féminine wraps up Sunday and with the steepmountain stages now part of the history books, defending champion JoaneSomarriba will have a hard time making up her 1:23 difference to Stahurskaia.Results – Stage 12 -Le Mans to Châteaudun
1. Zinaida Stahurskaia (Rus), 112 km in 2:44:37(40.822 kph)
2. Susanne Ljungkog (S), s.t.
3. Amber Neben (USA), at 0:05
4. Regina Schleicher (G), at 0:07
5. Olga Slioussareva (Rus), s.t.
6. Edita Pucinskaite (Lit), s.t.
7. Judith Arndt (G), s.t.
8. Joane Somarriba (Sp), s.t.
9. Yvonne Brunnen (Nl), s.t.
10. Priska Doppmann (Swi), s.t.Overall after 12 stages:
1. Zinaida Stahurskaia (Rus), at 2014.4 km in 39:11:49.
2. Susanne Ljungkog (S), at 0:35.
3. Joane Somarriba (Sp), at 1:23.
4. Edita Pucinskaite (Lit), at 2:06.
5. Nicole Brandli (Swi), at 2:45.
6. Valentina Polkhanova (Rus), at 12:25.
7. Judith Arndt (G), at 15:13.
8. Raza Polikeviciute (Lit), at 22:38.
9. Amber Neben (USA), at 27:49.
10. Kimberly Bruckner (USA), at 32:49.
Piil keeps lead in Tour of Denmark
CSC-Tiscali’s Jakob Piil retained the overall lead of the Tourof Denmark after finishing with the leaders in Friday’s fourth stage. ItalianElioAggiano (Mapei) won the stage while Piil retained a 1:15 advantageover Kurt-Asle Arvesen of Norway.The race concludes Saturday. In other CSC-Tiscali news, Michael Sandstod,the Danish time trial and national road champion who crashed hard in theTour de France, penned a two-year extension with the team headed up byformer Tour champion Bjarne Riis. Sandstod, 34, crashed off the Col d’Aubisquein the Tour and suffered several cracked ribs and punctured his lung andis still recovering and likely won’t race again this season on the road.Garzelli wants reduction
Stefano Garzelli, the Italian on the Mapei-Quick Step team whowas kicked out of the 2002 Giro d’Italia after failing doping tests, wantshis two-year suspension overturned, AFP reported.Garzelli, who now is a Swiss resident, filed an appeal Friday with theCourt of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) asking that the two-year ban be reversed.He tested positive for the banned diuretic called probenicid after winningthe second stage of this year’s Giro. He was later removed from the raceafter his second B sample also tested positive.Garzelli’s ban has already been partially reduced and the Italian couldreturn to competition in April 2003, but Garzelli wants the entire suspensionoverturned.“It’s an absolutely scandalous sentence taking into account the verdictshanded down by other cycling federations,” said Garzelli, who claimed thatpoultry he ate was to blame for his positive test. “This disparity in applyingthe standard is not acceptable.”Probenicid is a prescription drug typically used to treat chronic gout,and was once used as a masking agent for such performance enhancing drugsas steroids. Garzelli has long argued that the trace amounts of the drug in his system were inadequate to mask anything, particularly since the substances Probenicid had traditionally masked are now detected by other means.The Swiss panel, however, ruled that trace amounts could simply be an indication of a large time gap between consumption and testing. The 2000 Giro champion was suspended and also fined 50,000 Swiss francs (35,000 euros) and initially faced the prospect of a five-year ban. The CAS will schedule a hearing and issue its decision within four months.