By Andrew Hood
The Navigators have confirmed the team’s lineup for the 2004 Jacob’s Tour Down Under, set for January 20-25 in Adelaide, Australia.
The eight-man team will include Siro Camponogara, Vassili Davidenko, Jeff Louder, David McKenzie, Kirk Obee, Ciaran Power, Burke Swindlehurst and Phil Zajicek.
Henk Vogels, the team’s Aussie star on the comeback from his terrible crash last July, will not ride JCTDU but will join his teammates for a short training camp before the race.
The riders will then participate in an official team camp and presentation in Italy in early February and stay in Europe to race in Italy, France, Switzerland, Belgium, and Holland.
Tonkov vows to help Garzelli, eyes Vuelta
Russian Pavel Tonkov insists he still has a few good years left in his legs.
The veteran climber wants to forget his difficult 2003 season with the CCC Polsat team, when he had to undergo surgery for a herniated disk. Tonkov has been in Spain with Garzelli for some early season training and looks forward to proving himself in the 2004 season.
“I’m not finished like some have said. At 35, I will prove that I can be as good as I was when I fought against Pantani and Gotti in the Giro,” said Tonkov, winner of the 1996 Giro.
Tonkov, who’s married to a Spaniard and lives in the mountains north of Madrid, vows to help Stefano Garzelli, his new team leader at Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie, while leaving himself options for the Vuelta a España.
Tonkov, appearing in Milan during a presentation for the team’s De Rosa bicycles, told La Gazzetta dello Sport that helping Garzelli will be his top goal during the 2004 Giro d’Italia.
“At the Giro, I will help Garzelli, while at the Vuelta and the Tour du Suisse, I will be the team leader,” Tonkov said. He also said the Vuelta would serve as preparation for the 2004 world championships in Verona, Italy.
Beloki still dreams about fall
Joseba Beloki says he’s dreamed “a thousand times” about his fall in 2003 Tour de France that left him with a broken leg and elbow.
“I’ve probably dreamed about that fall a thousand times,” Beloki told L’Equipe. “When I fell I had a feeling of anger. I remembered the three previous Tours when I was on the podium. My anger was contained because I still don’t know what it is to win the Tour.”
Beloki says he’s pleased with his new Brioches la Boulangere team and has positive expectations for the upcoming season.
“I’m sure they will do everything they can to help win the Tour, which remains my top goal of the season,” he said. “The team is very well organized and the level of professionalism is impressive.”
Popovych to start season in Italy
Yaroslav Popovych, the Ukrainian who finished third overall in last year’s Giro, will make his season debut at the Giro della Liguria, February 12-14, the Landbouwkrediet-Colnago team announced this week.
Popovych and several teammates are training in Italy, with a second training camp planned for January in Tuscany.
In other team news, Belgian sprinter Tom Steels is looking closely at the possibility of riding track events at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece after recent training on the Ghent velodrome.
“I was already at Barcelona and Atlanta, and it was unforgettable,” Steels told the Belgian media last week. “The road-race course in Athens isn’t suited for me, but the track could provide a good alternative. If I didn’t have a chance of success, I wouldn’t consider it.”
The team has also signed talented young Belgian, 20-year-old Maxime Monfort, a winner of 24 races in the amateur ranks. Monfort will complete the Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 2004 team roster at 23 riders.
Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 2004: Tony Bracke, Ludovic Capelle, Bert De Waele, Ludo Dierckxsens, Maxime Monfort (neo-pro), Nico Sijmens, Tom Steels, Marc Streel, Geert Van Bondt, Johan Verstrepen (Belgium); Jacky Durand (France), Sergey Lagutin (neo-pro Uzbekistan), Tomas Vaitkus (Lithuania), Mikhail Timochine (Rus); Santo Anza, Lorenzo Bernucci, Cristian Gasperoni (Italy); Sergey Avdyeyev, Wolodimir Bileka, Wladimir Duma, Ruslan Gryshenko, Yuri Metlushenko and Yaroslav Popovych (Ukraine).
Quick Step slates team presentation
Belgian super-team Quick Step-Davitamon will have its official team presentation in Wevelgem on Jan. 9. The team will then have a training camp in Tuscany before starting the season with the Tour of Qatar and early races in Europe.
The has also decided not to race the 2004 Giro, instead focusing its efforts on the World Cup, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España.