By Andrew Hood
The Navigators will be heading to Australia after the New Year to make its season debut in the Jacobs Creek Tour Down Under, Jan 20-25. The team will join 11 other squads in what’s the first major race of the 2004 season.
Heading to Australia will be Siro Camponogara, Vassili Davidenko, Jeff Louder, David McKenzie, Kirk Obee, Ciaran Power, Burke Swindlehurst, and Phil Zajicek. They will hook up with their Aussie teammate Henk Vogels for a brief training camp prior to the race, the team reported.
The official team camp and presentation will follow the JCTDU with a complete team gathering in the Tuscany region of Italy beginning the first week in February. Following the Italian camp, the team begins its European spring campaign with several races planned in Italy, France, Switzerland, Belgium and Holland.
Julich jazzed about CSC
Bobby Julich just got back from Team CSC’s annual December “boot camp,” and from the sound of a detailed report on his web-page, the 1998 Tour de France third-place finisher is very happy to be on board.
Julich and his teammates traipsed through the mountains and swam in the seas near Lanzarote in an Outward Bound-style camp that team boss Bjarne Riis says helps bring the team’s riders together.
“What I felt right away with the team, and what was confirmed day after day, was that this team is what I have been looking for all my career,” Julich wrote on www.bobbyjulich.com. “This is how all cycling teams should be run.”
Julich has signed on with Team CSC for a one-year contract and will likely be a key member of the team in the 2004 Tour de France, a race he missed last year for the first time since 1997.
“From the time that I stepped foot in the team hotel, I knew that something was special. Many teams have organization and great riders, but the thing that CSC sets them apart in my eyes is vision,” Julich wrote. “Vision of what the future holds for all sporting teams, not the ‘stuck in the mud for the last 30 years’ feeling that many teams seem to be in presently. This team is run like a Fortune 500 company.”
Di Luca wants more in 2004
Italian star Danilo Di Luca is getting married at the end of this month (sorry, girls) and has already set his eyes on some high-profile goals for the 2004 season.
“I have just come out of a strange and not so fortunate season, so I have modified my preparation and training to be able to ride stronger and further,” Danilo told the Italian wire service ANSA. “I’m 28 and I’m reaching the best years of my career.”
The Saeco rider’s top goals will the World Cup overall and a stage victory in the Tour de France. Beltrán to race Tour, Vuelta again in 2004
Manuel Beltrán rode both the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España last year, and he’s poised to do it again in 2004.
The popular Spanish rider joined U.S. Postal Service in time to help Lance Armstrong win a fifth Tour and then rode with strength through the Vuelta to push Roberto Heras to victory for the second time.
“To repeat 2003 will be complicated, because I helped Armstrong win the Tour, Roberto win the Vuelta and then rode the world’s that won the gold and silver medals,” Beltrán told the Spanish wire service EFE. “
Beltrán will travel to America after the holidays for a U.S. Postal Service training camp in North Carolina and participate in the team presentation in Washington D.C.
Ullrich named German sportsman of the year
Jan Ullrich finished ahead of race car driver Michael Schumacher to be named German Sportsman of the Year. Sports journalists cited his comeback from a career-threatening knee injury and a doping ban to finish a close second to American Lance Armstrong in the 2003 race.
The former Tour winner collected 3388 points. Schumacher, who won a record sixth Formula One title this year, was second with 2862, while Nordic combined World Cup champion Ronny Ackermann was third with 1897. Last year’s winner was ski jumper Sven Hannawald.
Reuters names Armstrong Sportsman of Year
The Reuters News Service has voted five-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong as Sportsman of the Year for 2003. Reuters polled 31 sports editors and journalists from 24 countries, who nominated up to three leading sportsmen of 2003.
Armstrong received 42 points in the poll, surpassing England rugby player Jonny Wilkinson, who received 37 points, and German six time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher, who received 36 points.
Armstrong obviously is popular in England – he also was recently named BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year.
Daewoo joins Domina Vacanze as sponsor
The Italian division of Daewoo Motors will join Domina Vacanze as a co-sponsor for the 2004 season, the team reported Monday. 2002 world champion Mario Cipollini will figure in some ads to push the cars in Italy. The team is set to begin its season with the Tour Down Under in January.
U.S. pays back dues to WADA, Burns joins board
The World Anti-Doping Agency and the United States Office of National Drug Control Policy have made up, with the U.S. agency paying its full dues for 2003.
WADA and the U.S. agency have knocked heads over dues and jurisdiction over anti-doping agencies. Scott Burns, deputy director for state and local affairs at ONDCP, will be the new WADA board member, effective immediately, WADA reported Monday.
Burns has a long history of working against drugs in the United States. He has previously served on the White House Committee on Illegal Narcotics and Addiction, and as a former prosecutor, has prosecuted a number of significant narcotics cases. Burns also has a sporting background and was inducted into Southern Utah University’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.
Burns visited WADA’s headquarters in Montreal last week for in-depth discussions with WADA president Dick Pound and WADA director-general David Howman on the continued leadership of the United States on doping matters.
Topics discussed included the recent positive cases involving the designer steroid THG and the problem of doping in professional U.S. sports leagues. Howman traveled to Washington recently for talks with ONDCP officials on these and other timely issues.
“We are looking forward to this partnership with WADA as we work to remove the drugs that threaten the legitimacy of sport worldwide,” Burns said. “The United States government is committed to being a leader in this arena, and we intend to work with all our international partners, both governments and the Olympic movement, to make sure that the fight against doping is a top priority.”
Cipo’, Petacchi and Naudusz draw fines
Italians Mario Cipollini and Alessandro Petacchi have both been sanctioned by cycling’s world ruling body for anti-sporting behavior during the 2003 season, the UCI announced Tuesday.
Cipollini, who was the reigning world champion at the time of his offence, was fined 3000 Swiss francs ($2400) for throwing water bottles at an official race motorbike during the Ghent-Wevelgem one-day classic in April.
Fassa Bortolo’s Petacchi, this year’s sprinting sensation, was fined a token 200 Swiss francs ($160 dollars) for his role in an argument with Latvian rider Andris Nauduzs during the ninth stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia.
The riders argued as they vied to take Cipollini’s wheel before the sprint to the finish, with television pictures showing Petacchi trying to push Nauduzs, who then responded by tapping Petacchi on the head.
After studying the evidence the UCI’s diciplinary commission decided to increase the fine imposed on the Latvian, who had initially been disqualified from the stage, to 3000 Swiss francs. – Copyright 2003/AFP