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Galvez repeats, Tyler’s schedule, Banesto begins its swan song
By Andrew Hood
Spanish rider Issac Galvez (Kelme) pulled off a repeat in Sunday’s European season opener, edging double world champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank) in the Trofeo Mallorca. Galvez, winner of last year’s race, profited from brilliant work by teammate Alejandro Valverde to snag victory in the first race of the 2003 European racing season. Freire, making his debut with Rabobank, crossed the line fourth in the 82km stage in Palma de Mallorca. The International Challenge of Mallorca continues with Monday’s 64km Trofeo Cala Millor, featuring a category-two and a category-four climbs.
Results, Trofeo Mallorca (1.3), Feb. 2, 2003:
1. Issac Gálvez (Sp), Kelme, 82 km in 1 hour, 35 minutes, 2 seconds (51.7 kph); 2. Allan David (Aus), ONCE, same time; 3. Alejandro Valverde (Sp), Kelme, s.t.; 4. Oscar Freire (Sp), Rabobank, s.t.; 5. Sven Teutenberg (G), Coast, s.t.; 6. Sven Vanthourenhout (B) QuickStep, s.t.; 7. Erik Zabel (G), Telekom, s.t.; 8. Vicente Reynes (Sp), La Pecol, s.t.; 9. Jans Koerts (Nl), Bankgiroloterij, s.t.; 10. Miguel Martínez (F), Phonak, s.t.
Hamilton’s racing schedule
Tyler Hamilton’s 2003 racing schedule is taking shape, with the Tour de France being the top focus for the American leader of the Danish CSC team. Hamilton finished second last year in the Giro d’Italia, but this year Hamilton and team manager Bjarne Riis are putting the season emphasis on the Tour and taking on Lance Armstrong. Armstrong and Hamilton, of course, were teammates for Armstrong’s first three Tour victories. Hamilton left U.S. Postal Service, the only team he’d ever raced with, to join Riis at CSC in 2002 and delivered a stellar season. According to Hamilton’s Web page, he’ll make his season debut at the Vuelta a Valencia later this month.
Feb. 25 – March 1, Vuelta a Valencia, Spain
March 9-16, Paris-Nice, France
March 29-30, Criterium International, France
April 5, GP Miguel Indurain, Spain
April 7-11, Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, Spain
April 13, GP Primavera, Spain
April 23, Fleche Wallone, Belgium
April 27, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Belgium
April 30-May 5, Tour of Romandie, Switzerland
Hamilton’s May and June racing schedule is not finalized yet.
July 5-27, Tour de France
Banesto enters swansong season
One of cycling’s most revered names is calling it quits at the end of the 2003 season. Banesto, the Spanish bank that supported the golden Indurain era, is ending its sponsorship and unless the team’s management can secure a new sponsor, one of cycling’s illustrious stories will come to an end.
“I would do anything to keep this team going,” said Eusebio Unzue, Banesto’s sport director at the team’s season presentation last week in Spain. “But we’re not going to be nostalgic. While we don’t have any stars, we’re going to fight in every race to win.”
Jose Maria Echavarri brought Reynolds into the team’s sponsorship in the 1980s and rode to glory with Pedro Delgado. It was the arrival of Miguel Indurain, however, that earned Banesto its place in history. Indurain won five Tours, a record that’s in danger of being tied by Lance Armstrong this summer.
The team had trouble trying to fill Indurain’s shoes, who retired at the end of the 1996 season. Abraham Olano won the Vuelta a Espana in 1998, but faltered in the Tour. Alex Zulle gave Banesto a second-place finish at the 1999 Tour, but the team could never return to the glory days of the Indurain era.
Last year, Banesto –- now iBanesto.com — enjoyed a solid season, winning the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco and stages in the Vuelta, The team also dominated the spring Spanish racing calendar.
The team is made up mostly of Spanish riders, with the exception of budding Russian stars Denis Menchov and Evgeni Petrov, and Italian vet Leonardo Piepoli. The team picked up Petrov from Mapei this season; gone are Santi Blanco and the uncertain figure of Jose Maria Jimenez, the star climber who struggled through psychological problems in the 2002 season. Francisco Mancebo and Juan Miguel Mercado will lead the team in stage-races while Menchos, Pablo Lastras, Jon Odriozola and the Osa brothers will take chances when they can.
Echavarri says there are “people interested in the team,” but for now the team is focusing on making the 2003 season count.
Team roster (Spanish unless otherwise noted): José Luis Arrieta, Juan Antonio Flecha, José Vicente García Acosta, José Ivan Gutiérrez, Eladio Jiménez, Vladimir Karpets (Russian), Pablo Lastras, José Antonio López, Francisco Mancebo, Rafael Mateos, Denis Menchov (Russian), Juan Miguel Mercado, Jon Odriozola, Aitor Osa, Unai Osa, Javier Pascual Rodríguez, Evgeni Petrov (Russian), Leonardo Piepoli (Italian), Rubén Plaza, Xabier Zandio.
Spanish cyclist enters politics
Spanish cycling star Dori Ruano is in the running for municipal elections in her hometown Salamanca in May. Ruano, 33, the first Spanish woman rider to win a road world’s medal (she took bronze in the 2001 world’s), is running on the national Socialist ticket in the local elections.
Bodrogi injured in spill
Hungarian time trial specialist Laszlo Bodrogi was injured in a fall in Sunday’s third stage of the Tour of Qatar. The 26-year-old Quick Step-Davitamon fell about 5km from the finish-line and X-rays later revealed a fractured pubic bone. Team officials said Bodrogi will return to Europe for further exams where doctors will have more information about how long he’ll be sidelined.