International Challlenge of Mallorca; Spanish a lock at Vuelta; Armstrong's schedule shaping up
By Andrew Hood
Trofeo Mallorca kicks off Euro-seasonSunday’s Trofeo Mallorca (1.3) kicks off the 2003 European racing season on the Spanish island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean Sea as part of the five-day International Challenge of Mallorca.
Unseasonably cold weather blew through the Balearic Islands, dumping snow last week on the highest reaches of the typically mild Mallorca vacation hotspot. Twenty teams with 250 riders will tackle the season opener, covering 727 kilometers in five stages.
Sunday’s Trofeo de Mallorca is held on an 82.5km circuit course in Palma de Mallorca. Monday’s course tackles the first climbs of the 2003 European season, a category-two and a category-four climb, during the 164km Trofeo Cala Millor. On Tuesday, riders face four category-two rated climbs in the 169.5km Trofeo Manacor. Wednesday’s 166km Trofeo Alcudia presents no major climbs, but the finale in the 149.5-km Trofeo Calvia presents five rated category-two and three climbs.
Among the teams are Quickstep-Davitamon (Paolo Bettini, Johan Museeuw and Richard Virenque); Team Coast (Angel Casero and Alex Zulle); ONCE (Joseba Beloki and Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano); Banesto (Juan Antonio Flecha and Ivan Guiterrez); Rabobank (Oscar Freire); CSC (Carlos Sastre); and Kelme, Relax-Fuenlabrada, Euskaltel, Paternina-Costa Almeria, Labarca 2-Café Baque, Gerolsteiner, Telekom, Wisenhof Leipzig, Batavus, Milaneza, La Pecol, Phonak and Lokomotiv.
All in all, it should be a fine inaugural to what’s sure to be an exciting and highly competitive 2003 season.
European racing this week:Feb. 2, Trofeo Mallorca, SpainFeb. 2, GP Costa degli Etruschi, ItalyFeb. 3, Trofeo Cala Millor – Cala Rajada, SpainFeb. 4, Trofeo Manacor, SpainFeb. 4, GP d’Ouverture La Marseillaise, FranceFeb. 5, Trofeo Alcudia SpainFeb. 5-9, Etoile de Bessèges, FranceFeb. 6, Trofeo Calvia, Spain
Vuelta guarantees Spanish teams’ presencePerhaps taking a cue from their colleagues at the Tour de France, officials from the Vuelta a Espana announced all Spanish teams will be represented in the 2003 Vuelta a Espana lineup, including four Spanish teams not among the top UCI team rankings.
Among the teams already with an invitation include: Fassa Bortolo, U.S. Postal Service, Coast, Cofidis, ONCE, Banesto, Rabobank, CSC, Gerolsteiner, Telekom, Kelme, Alessio, Sidermec and Saeco, all of which are automatic bids. Also receiving invitations are Euskaltel-Euskadi, Relax, Paternina and Labarca 2.
Two more invitations will be offered later in the season.
Armstrong’s pre-Tour schedule taking shapeThe European wires are reporting that four-time defending Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong will make his 2003 season debut at the Vuelta a Murcia in Spain on March 5-9.
Armstrong, who recently wrapped up his training camp in California, will lead a similar racing schedule he’s followed the past few seasons, with appearances in selected Spring Classics and smaller stage races in a Tour buildup. Armstrong will defend his title at the Criterium de Dauphine Libere in France in June. With the disappearance of Midi Libre in May, a race Armstrong won last year, the Texan said he will use the month to train instead of racing.
Armstrong goes for a record-tying fifth consecutive Tour de France victory in July. His post-Tour schedule is still uncertain, through he typically races in such events at the Clasica San Sebastian and the GP Zurich.
Armstrong has already said he is not likely to race in the world championships in Canada in October.
Armstrong’s 2003 schedule (through July):Vuelta a Murcia, Spain (March 5-9) Milan-San Remo, Italy (March 22 – maybe)Setmana Catalana, Spain (March 24-28)Tour of Flanders, Belgium (April 6 – maybe)Circuit de la Sarthe, France (April 8-11)Amstel Gold Race, Holland (April 20)Fleche Wallone, Belgium (April 23)Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Belgium (April 27)Classiques des Alpes, France (June 7 – maybe)Dauphine Libere, France (June 8-15)Tour de France (July 5-27)
Canada fractures armDavid Canada, a Spanish rider on the Quick Step-Davitamon team, fractured the head of the radius of his left arm after slipping on icy roads during a training ride near his home in Zaragoza, Spain, on Friday. Canada underwent X-rays, but is not likely to face surgery. He’s expected to be out about six weeks.
Start list for GP Marseillaise (1.3), France, Feb. 4Lotto-Domo: 1. Robbie Mc Ewen 2. Eeckout Nico 3. Gates Nick 4. Baguet Serge 5. Van Impe Kevin 6. Van Petegem Peter 7. Vansevenant Wim 8. Vierhouten Aart Alessio: 11. Baldato Fabio 12. Brognara Andrea 13. Casagranda Stefano 14. Cassani Enrico 15. Ferrigato Andrea 16. Furlan Angelo 17. Moreni Christian 18. Vinale Alberto Team Fakta : 21. Arvesen Kurt-Asle 22. Johansen Allan 23. Hoj Franck 24. Modin Fredryk 25. Sunderland Scott 26. Skelde Mickael 27. Rittsel Martin 28. Reihs Mickael Crédit Agricole: 31. Fedrigo Pierrick 32. Fragnière Cédric 33. Hervé Cédric 34. Jegou Lilian 35. Ljunqvist Marcus 36. Moreau Christophe 37. Voigt Jens Jean Delatour: 41. Halgand Patrice 42. Martin Ludovic 43. Edaleine Christophe 44. Seigneur Eddy 45. Bouvard Gilles 46. Krivtsov Yuriy 47. Joly Sébastien 48. Thibout BrunoAg2r Prévoyance: 51. Brochard Laurent 52. Botcharov Alexandre 53. Loder Thierry 54. Oriol Christophe 55. Portal Nicolas 56. Scanlon Mark 57. Turpin Ludovic 58. Putsep Erki Big Mat – Auber 93: 61. Saugrain Cyril 62. Auger Ludovic 63. Brouzes Niels 64. Liboreau Nicolas 65. Meunier Nicolas 66. Sivakov Alexei 67. Lamouller Loic 68. Stoianov Plamen Cofidis: 71. Farazijn Peter 72. Flammang Tom 73. Gaumont Philippe 74. Mattan Nico 75. Peers Chris 76. Planckaert Jo 77. Sassone Robert 78. Tombak Janek Vlaanderen: 81. Demeyere Geoffrey 82. Kleinen Steven 83. Peeters Jef 84. Schoonacker Jehudi 85. Sijmens Nico 86. Vandewalle Jurgen 87. Vanhuffel Wim 88. Willems FrédéricFdjeux.com: 91. Cooke Baden 92. Eisel Bernhard 93. Fritsch Nicolas 94. Lhuillier Régis 95. Durand Jacky 96. Vaugrenard Benoit 97. Pichon mickael 98. Wilson Matthew Brioches la Boulangère: 101. Beneteau Walter 102. Bouyer Franck 103. Charteau Anthony 104. Hary Maryan 105. Pineau Jérome 106. Renier Franck 107. Chavanel Sylvain 108. Salanson Fabrice Marlux: 111. Capelle Andy 112. Coenen Johan 113. Dekkers Johan 114. Konyshev Dimitri 115. Poos Christian 116. Ruskys Saulius 117. Stevens Christophe 118. Verheyen Geert Palmans Collstrop: 121. De Smeet Andy 122. De Waele fabian 123. De Wolf Steve 124. Hammond Roger 125. Leukemans Björn 126. Omloop Geert 127. Roesems Bert 128. Daelman Danny Landbouwkrediet – Colnago: 131. Bernucci Lorenzo 132. Timochine Mikhail 133. Streel Marc 134. Dierckxsens Ludo 135. Capelle Ludovic 136. Verstrepen Johan 137. De Waele Bert 138. Steels Tom MBK Oktos: 141. Gabriel Frédéric 142. Gabrowski Ivailo 143. Koehler Philippe 144. Le Boulanger Yoann 145. Lembo Eddy 146. Pencole Franck 147. Sweet jay 148. Templier Vincent Flanders Iteam Nova: 151. Cornelissen Bjorn 152. Deliens Youri 153. Scheirlinckx Bert 154. Scheirlinckx Staf 155. Gremelpont Geoffrey 156. Lepron Jérome 157. Perras Dominique 158. Mc Cauley Gordon