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Wednesday’s Euro-file: Hincapie aims for San Fran’; Armstrong visits Hein; Sevilla rumors continue

George Hincapie was forced to skip Sunday’s Meisterschaft von Zürichand the Tour of Holland this week as the U.S. Postal Service rider is stillaching from injuries suffered during a fall in the Clasica San Sebastianon Aug. 10.Hincapie, however, says he still hopes to defend his title at the GPSan Francisco next month. “I’m trying to recover and be able to race there,”Hincapie told VeloNews on Tuesday from his European base in Girona,Spain. “I’m riding now a couple of hours a day. I just need to take iteasy and make sure it heals up right.”Hincapie put the rest of the 2002 season in doubt when

By Andrew Hood

George Hincapie was forced to skip Sunday’s Meisterschaft von Zürichand the Tour of Holland this week as the U.S. Postal Service rider is stillaching from injuries suffered during a fall in the Clasica San Sebastianon Aug. 10.Hincapie, however, says he still hopes to defend his title at the GPSan Francisco next month. “I’m trying to recover and be able to race there,”Hincapie told VeloNews on Tuesday from his European base in Girona,Spain. “I’m riding now a couple of hours a day. I just need to take iteasy and make sure it heals up right.”Hincapie put the rest of the 2002 season in doubt when he crashed onthe descent down the Jaizkibel climb at the Clasica and actually slid undera metal guard rail. He hit the back of his legs on the rail, suffered badcuts and scrapes and could barely walk for nearly a week. The back of hisleft leg remains swollen, but Hincapie said at least now he can walk andride his bike.“I can ride now a little bit, but if I hit some bumps, it hurts,” hesaid. Hincapie said the “road rash has healed up pretty good, faster thanI had hoped” and is undergoing special rehab with the hopes of being atthe GP San Francisco start. “I’m getting lots of special massage. I canat least walk around now,” he said.Hincapie said his season in Europe is finished and will be returningto South Carolina sometime later this week.Armstrong visits UCI in Switzerland
Lance Armstrong met for two hours with UCI president Hein Verbruggenon Tuesday during a visit to the cycling federation’s headquarters.Armstrong and Verbruggen spoke at length about several issues, includingthe fight against doping, according to Armstrong’s web page. Armstrongalso visited with local youth cyclists, UCI staff and toured the facilities.Armstrong returned to his European home base in Girona, Spain, wherehe will prepare for the GP Eddy Merckx, his final race on the continent.Armstrong will race in the two-man time trial event with ViatcheslavEkimov – the pair won the event in 2000 – before returning to the UnitedStates to wrap up his season at the GP San Francisco.Wednesday’s Euro race briefs
Laurent Jalabert (CSC-Tiscali) won Wednesday’s 56th Cope Agonstiniin Italy. Jalabert won the 198-km race after beating Gianni Faresin(Gerolsteiner) in a sprint. Massimo Giunti (Acqua & Sapone)finished third at 56 seconds back.Dutch rider Steven de Jongh (Rabobank) won the second stage ofthe Tour of Holland, finishing ahead of Julian Dean (CSC-Tiscali)and U.S. Postal Service’s Tom Boonen. Telekom’s Erik Zabel finishedfourth in the main bunch to retain the overall lead.French rider Christophe Rinero (Saint-Quentin) won a sprint inthe second stage of the Tour of Limousine while Patrice Halgand(Jean Delatour) retained the overall lead.Rumor de Jour; Sevilla to ONCE
Oscar Sevilla has one year left on his Kelme contract, but thelatest transfer news hitting the Spanish press is that “El Nino” will beheading to Spanish powerhouse ONCE next year.Sevilla, who abandoned this year’s Tour de France, has been linked tomoves to iBanesto.com and Telekom, but has publicly insisted he’ll finishhis contract with Kelme.Angel Vicioso – winner of the GP Miguel Indurain and ClasicaPrimavera in April — was quoted on Spanish radio on Tuesday saying thatSevilla will likely join him at ONCE next year, where Vicioso recentlypenned a three-year deal.On Wednesday, Vicioso retracted his statement, simply saying he hopedhe could once again race on the same team as Sevilla, a good friend andtraining partner. Vicente Belda, the outspoken director of Kelme, toldthe Spanish daily AS that he intneds to hold the rider to his contract.“Sevilla has another year with us and we don’t owe him one peseta,”referring to the back-log of payments owed to Kelme riders earlier thisseason. “Also, there is a pact between the Spanish teams and he cannotbreak his contract to go to ONCE. For this, I say to Vicioso, I don’t givea (expletive deleted.)”