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 International and USA Racing Results and News

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1999 Bike Racing News

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Day One results - World Cyclo-Cross - Dunalp Fifth in Inaugural Championship

Hanka Kupfernagel of Germany led from start to finish in the 13.5 kms race on a flat 2.6 kms circuit based on a golf course at St. Michielsgestel, The Netherlands to capture the inaugural Women's World Cyclo-Cross Championships Saturday.

Three-time defending national champion Alison Dunlap (Colorado Springs,  Colo.) was among her early pursuers but fell back as Daphny van den Brand and Laurence Leboucher took over, along with Kupfernagel. Then Louise Robinson of Great Britain caught the two chasers, and attacked on the last lap as her only rival van den Brand changed bikes.

"Hanka, the girl from Holland (van den Brand) and I were in the lead. We then hit a muddy section, and Hanka accelerated through and took over the race and pulled away. I just did not have good power today," said Dunlap, who is ranked second in the UCI world cross-country mountain biking rankings.

"I did not have that raw power you needed to ride through the thick mud. It was like riding on a sponge. If the race course been dry and fast, I know I could have done better."

Dunlap returns to action at the Redlands (Calif.) Bicycle Classic in early March.

Meanwhile, Carmen Richardson, also of Colorado Springs, posted an eighth-place finish in her world championship debut. Meanwhile, Ann Grande (Seattle, Wash.), who finished third at the Wetzikon a week earlier, placed 12th. Ruthie Matthes (Durango, Colo.) and Shari Kain (San Jose, Calif.) finished 13th and 24th, respectively.

Dunlap, Matthes and Kain are candidates for the 2000 Olympic mountain bike squad.

"I came over for Wetzikon last week (finished seventh) and then put in the final preparation I am glad to compete at Wetzikon because it helped me get ready for the race," said Richardson, who was making her world championship debut.

"I think the whole team would have performed better with a drier course. The rain had big impact on course.

"I had not planned on making cyclo-cross a big part of year. The original plan was to compete in a few, but since I was in competition with Ann (Grande) for the SuperCup title, I wanted to try to even things up in Chicago. After that race, I focused on nationals, and the world championship was a great finish for the season and a kick-start for the 2000 mountain bike season.

The American espoir (under-23) men struggled, as all four U.S. competitors made their World Championship debut. They started in middle of pack, and had a difficult time remaining with the leaders. Bart Wellens led the Belgian sweep of medals. They placed four riders among the top five. The  Americans top chance was 1999 world bronze medalist Tim Johnson. However, the Middleton, Mass. resident was sidelined following a broken collarbone earlier in January. A year ago, Johnson became the first U.S. cyclo-crosser to medal in the 50-year history of the World Cyclo-Cross Championships.

Wellens has earned two gold and two silvers in the past four years hails  from St Michielsgestel, the site of the world championship. "It's like home to me, so this victory is special." He lives in Antwerp, less than an hour down the motorway from the circuit.

The Americans return to action Sunday with the junior and elite men competing. Walker Ferguson (Durango, Colo.) hopes to repeat Matt Kelly's feat of a year ago when he became the first American to win a world junior cyclo-cross championship. Like Kelly, Ferguson won the Wetzikon Cup in  Switzerland, the pre-world championship competition. Bart Bowen (Albuquerque, N.M.) and reigning national champion Marc Gullickson (Boulder, Colo.) headlines the elite men's roster.

1. Hanka Kupfernagel (Germany) 42 minutes and 10 seconds; 2. Louise Robinson (Great Britain) 57 seconds behind; 3. Daphny van den Brand (Netherlands) @1:16; 4. Laurence Leboucher (France) @2:03; 5. Alison Dunlap (Colorado Springs, Colo.) @2:30; 6. Corine Dorland (Netherlands)  @2:55; 7. Alla Epifanova (Russia) @3:14; 8. Carmen Richardson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) @3:15; 9. Inge Velthuis (Netherlands) @3:36; 10. Chantal Daucourt (Switzerland) @3:57; Other USA competitors - 12. Ann Grande (Seattle, Wash.) @4:18; 13. Ruth Matthes (Durango, Colo.) @4:21; 24. Shari  Kain (San Jose, Calif.), @6:57

1. Bart Wellens (Belgium), 53 minutes and 32 seconds; 2. Tom Vanoppen (Belgium) @44 seconds behind; 3. Davy Commeyne (Belgium) @1:04; 4. David Derepas (France) @1:36; 5. Camiel van den Bergh (Belgium) @1:38; 6. Steffen Weigold (Germany) @1:39; 7. Sven Vanthourenhout (Belgium), same time; 8. Wilant van Gils (Netherlands) @2:15; 9. Thijs Volker (Netherlands) @2:24; 10. Roel van  Houtum (Netherlands) @2:29. USA Competitors: 42. Jed Sheckler (Olympia, Wash.), @6:55; 43. Ben  Jacques-Maynes (Berkeley, Calif.), @7:11; 50. Andy Jacques-Maynes (Berkeley, Calif.), one lap behind.


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 14, 2000) - The United States Cycling Federation announced Friday that the 2000 USCF Masters National Road and Track Cycling Championships have changed dates.

The city of Indianapolis will host both national championship events. The EDS Masters National Track Cycling Championships are scheduled for July 19-24, while the USCF Masters National Road Cycling Championships will now be staged July 25-30.


COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. (Jan. 14, 2000) - USA Cycling announced Friday that Downers Grove, Ill. will host both the 2000 United States Professional Road Organization (USPRO) and United States Cycling Federation (USCF) National Criterium Championships.

The USPRO National Criterium Championship is slated for August 20, while the USCF Elite National Criterium Championship will be held on August 19-20. This marks the first time that both events will be held in conjunction with each other. The USCF event will be for both men and women. On August 19, two heats will be held for the men, and the finals are slated for August 20. Meanwhile, the women's finals are slated for August 19.

"We are excited to have combined our national criterium championships into one event," said Evan Call, USCF Managing Director. "This allows many of our top elite riders to get the opportunity to run elbows and learn from our top professional road cyclists, which should only benefit them in the future."

"Chicago Special Events Management (CSEM) is very proud to be awarded the USCF Elite Criterium Championships for men and women in conjunction with the USPRO Criterium Championships," said Ken Carl, CSEM race director.

"We look forward to presenting the elite championships on the same course as the USPRO Criterium. This will be a unique opportunity for the nation's best elite racers to measure their championship abilities on the same course, same day as their professional counterparts.

"I have always believed that criterium racing defines the American style of bicycle racing. Fast, hard, exciting with a touch of danger. Here it comes down to one day in August where the best finish first."

Downers Grove has hosted the past seven USPRO Criterium Championship events (1993-99). Last year's USCF Elite National Criterium Championship was held in Cincinnati, Ohio.

USA Cycling is the national governing body for the sport of cycling in the United States, and has more than 90,000 members. The USCF is the cyclo-cross, road and track cycling association within USA Cycling.


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 14, 2000) - The United States Cycling Federation announced Friday that the 2000 USCF Masters National Road and Track Cycling Championships have changed dates.

The city of Indianapolis will host both national championship events. The EDS Masters National Track Cycling Championships are scheduled for July 19-24, while the USCF Masters National Road Cycling Championships will not be staged July 25-30.


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 13, 1999) - USA Cycling announced that it has nominated to the United States Olympic Committee Jim Ochowicz as the men's road cycling coach for the 2000 Olympic Games, September 15- October 1, in Sydney, Australia.

"Jim is very highly respected by professional riders in the U.S. and around the world. He has a great rapport with the cyclists, and with his knowledge and expertise of the sport, we are honored to have him associated with our program," said USA Cycling Director of Athlete Performance and Team Leader for cycling's 2000 Olympic Team Sean Petty. "I wanted to have someone who has the respect of the athletes and can rally the professional men's road team to success in Sydney. Jim's role will be a little different than some of the other coaches. He will coordinate efforts between the professional men's teams, manage the support team for the riders and develop race strategy for the Olympic road race. This role is what a team's "director sportif" or team manager would do for a professional road team."

A two-time cycling Olympian (1972, 1976), Ochowicz was the founder, general manager and coach of the prestigious 7-Eleven Cycling Team from 1981 through 1990. The 7-Eleven Cycling Team was the first U.S. professional cycling team to participate at the Tour of Italy (1985) and Tour de France (1986). It is considered one of the premier American cycling teams in the history of the sport after winning the 1987 Tour of Switzerland, 1988 Tour of Italy, multiple Tour de France stages and several World Cup titles.

He also served as founder, general manager and coach for the Motorola Cycling Team (1991-96), where the team also won numerous World Cup championship, Tour de France stage races and the World Professional Road Cycling Championships.

Ochowicz is married to 1972 Olympic gold medal speed skater Sheila Young and they have three children (Katie, Elli and Alex).

Presently, Ochowicz is a financial advisor for Robert W. Baird & Company, Inc. in Waukesha, Wis.

He has been a member of the USA Cycling Board of Directors since 1996, and was inducted into the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame three years ago. He also serves on the Union Cycliste International (UCI) Elite Road Cycling Commission.

Vandenbroucke leaves Cofidis for ONCE

LILLE, France, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Belgian cyclist Franck Vandenbroucke has resigned from French team Cofidis to join powerful Spanish outfit ONCE, Cofidis team chief Alain Bondue said on Wednesday.

Vandenbroucke, who won the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic and two Tour of Spain stages last season, fell out with Cofidis after being suspended for more than two months when he gave evidence in a doping controversy.

The Belgian rider was cleared of any wrongdoing in the case of a charged dope dealer.

Vandenbroucke, considered one of the most gifted riders in the world, was under contract with Cofidis until 2001 and Bondue said Cofids might consider legal action against him.

Pantini says 2000 Giro easier than this year

MILAN, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Marco Pantini, disqualified from the 1999 Giro d'Italia cycle race after failing a blood test when he was within sight of victory, said on Saturday next year's Giro looked easier than this year's.

Speaking shortly after the route for the 83rd edition of the race was unveiled, Pantani described the 2000 Giro route as ``not as hard as the previous year.''

``But it's useless to talk about the descents and the ascents,'' he added in a statement released by his Mercatone Uno team. ``It's the riders who decide the outcome of the race.''

Pantani was sensationally kicked out of this year's race after failing a blood test on the morning of the penultimate stage. He held a lead of five minutes 38 seconds and was almost certain to add the title to his 1998 Tour de France victory.

The shaven-headed rider, one of Italy's most popular and recognisable sports personalities, was not at the gala presentation of the route for next year's race.

``We waited for Marco until 1:00 p.m. (1200 GMT) but he's not very well,'' explained Mercatone Uno sporting director Giuseppe Martinelli. ``He's got flu.''

``I'm sorry for everyone here but that's how it is. The important thing is that Marco will be at the start of the Giro.''


The race, which covers 3,707 kilometres from May 13-June 4, starts in St Peter's Square at the Vatican to mark the Holy Year which Pope John Paul has called for 2000.

``We wanted to live this experience as it was lived years ago,'' said Candido Cannavo, director of Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper which organises the race.

``In 1974 Pope Paul VI received the Giro and we had the idea (to start the race at the Vatican next year) straight away.''

``It's fitting that in a year in which there is this reference point for humanity, for a large part of humanity, that the Giro, which has such popular roots, should mark the event.''

From the Vatican the route takes the riders southwards before looping north towards the Dolomites and the Alps where the race is often decided.

The 14th stage is a tough 205 km haul between the Alpine ski resorts of Val Gardena and Bormio and the final time trial on the penultimate day finishes in Sestriere, high in the Western Alps on the French border.

The final day takes the competitors from Turin to Milan.

``The stage to Bormio looks tough and then there are the three final stages which will be difficult,'' said Ivan Gotti, winner of last year's race.

``A winner certainly won't emerge until after the time trial to Sestriere.''

Stages in next year's Giro d'Italia

ROME, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Stages in the 83th Giro d'Italia cycle race announced on Saturday (May 13-June 4, 2000, total length 3,707 km) 

May 13 prologue Vatican and Rome six km
May 14 1st stage Rome to Terracina 125
May 15 2nd Terracina to Maddaloni 225
May 16 3rd Paestum to Scalea 177
May 17 4th Scalea to Matera 233
May 18 5th Matera to Peschici 232
May 19 6th Peschici to Vasto 170
May 20 7th Vasto to Teramo 171
May 21 8th Corinaldo to Prato 255
May 22 9th Prato to Abetone 140
May 23 10th San Marcello to Padova 257
May 24 11th (time trial) Lignano to Bibione 45

May 25 Rest day 

May 26 12th Bibione to Feltre 191
May 27 13th Feltre to Selva Val Gardena 195
May 28 14th Selva Val Gardena to Bormio 205
May 29 15th Bormio to Brescia 171
May 30 16th Brescia to Meda 102
May 31 17th Meda to Genoa 224
June 1 18th Genoa to Pratonevoso 176
June 2 19th Saluzzo to Briancon 177
June 3 20th (time trial) Briancon to Sestriere 32
June 4 21st Turin to Milan 198

France, Germany in control at world championships

By Martin Ayres

BERLIN, Oct 22 (Reuters) - France and Germany continued their monopoly of the world track cycling championships on Friday.

After three days of competition, the gold medal tally stands at four for France and two to Germany. No other nation has succeeded so far in breaking the stranglehold.

On Friday, sprinter Felicia Ballanger and pursuit rider Marion Clignet both won for France, while Germany's men took the 4,000 metres team pursuit title.

Ballanger made cycling history by winning her fifth consecutive sprint title - then declared she had ridden her last world championship.

``I will ride the Olympic Games in Sydney then I will retire,'' said Ballanger 28, who defeated Michelle Ferris of Australia in the final.

She added: ``There are no easy world championships, I'm in good shape but you also need determination and concentration.''

Clignet, regaining the 3,000 metres pursuit title she last held in 1996, overwhelmed Germany's Judith Arndt in the final, winning by nine seconds.

Germany 's four-man pursuit team included newly-crowned individual pursuit champion Robert Bartko and the man he beat for the world title Jens Lehmann.

United in the national cause, they steered Germany to a national record of 4:01.144 for 4,000 metres to defeat France in the teams' final.

Roared on by a partisan Berlin crowd in the Velodrom stadium, the German quartet eased up on the final lap to acknowledge the cheers and missed breaking the world record held by Italy by just 0.186.

Bartko said: ``I'm getting a taste for these victory ceremonies - I hope they continue, it's a great feeling.''

History was against France who have never won the team pursuit title. Silver medallist Francis Moreau said: ``I am not disappointed. The Germans were a bit stronger and they were riding in front of a home crowd. That was a plus for them.''

Armstrong says 2000 Tour is well balanced

By Francois Thomazeau

PARIS, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Reigning Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong said the 2000 itinerary for the world's best-known cycling race, which was unveiled on Thursday, was well balanced.

``I cannot compare with last year because I only discovered the route in May. But it looks well balanced to me,'' said Armstrong, speaking from his home in the United States.

``I remember climbing the Ventoux, it's a very special, very difficult climb,'' said Armstrong about the key item on next year's menu.

``I cannot remember riding the Izoard though. But I will train like I did last year and inspect the Alpine stages first because one single stage in the Pyrenees will not make a big difference.''

The Izoard pass will crown the 14th stage from Draguignan to Briancon and is seen by many riders as the most demanding on the route.

Frenchman Richard Virenque, who took part in this year's Tour thanks to a decision by the International Cycling Union after organisers had ruled him out on doping charges, said he liked the itinerary.

``It's a Tour with character. There are some stages I know well from winning there, like in Courchevel or Lourdes-Hautacam.

``Some say there are no Pyrenees this year but they will remember this Hautacam stage. With the Ventoux and the Alps, it's a fine mixture,'' he said.

Virenque may be at the centre of more controversy when the Tour start on July 1 as he is facing trial in the Festina doping case some time next year.

``I have been charged in the case. But if they let me do my job properly, if they let me prepare, I'll be among the favourites,'' he said.

Spanish climber Fernando Escartin, who was third last July, said the Alps would be his only chance to challenge time trial specialists such as Armstrong or German Jan Ullrich. But he said he did not fear the Ventoux.

``The Ventoux stage is too short. There won't be a huge gap betweeen the favourites,'' he said.

Futuristic Tour turns to the past

By Francois Thomazeau

PARIS, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Oddly enough for a race starting from the futuristic theme park of Le Futuroscope, the 2000 Tour de France will look to the past.

The race itinerary unveiled on Thursday will bring last year's winner Lance Armstrong and his rivals back to a historic finish at Le Mont Ventoux, the gruelling climb on which Briton Tom Simpson died in 1967.

The last time a Tour stage finished up the mountain dubbed ``the giant of Provence'' was in 1987 when Frenchman Jean-Francois Bernard won an individual time-trial.

The climb is so demanding -- the heat is usually intense and the landscape arid -- that there have been only five stage finishes there in almost 100 years of Tour history.

The list of winners at Le Mont Ventoux speaks for itself. Before Bernard, Luxembourg's Charly Gaul, one of the best climbers in history, won in 1958, followed by French favourite Raymond Poulidor in 1965, Belgian Eddy Merckx, the best rider ever, in 1970 and double Tour winner Bernard Thevenet in 1972.

For the first time in five years the Tour will include a team time-trial, between Nantes and St Nazaire on July 4.

The decision to bring it back points to a wish by the organisers to favour all-round riders in this 3,640-km race after two Tours perhaps a little more designed for climbers.

Solid, powerful riders are required to win a team time-trial, whereas mountain specialists need a squad of diminutive climbers to help them in the ascents.

However, the organisers have decided to stage just one long individual time-trial on July 21, which is the only good news for climbers.

Apart from Le Ventoux the route looks reasonably lenient, without some of the classic mountain finishes, such as L'Alpe d'Huez.

This year the Alps, on the last week of the Tour, should prove more decisive than the Pyrenees, where there will be only one high-altitude finish at Lourdes-Hautacam on July 10.

Climbs to the ski resorts of Courchevel and Morzine are not among the most impressive in the French Alps, especially as the riders will have one of two rest days between those two main Alpine stages.

The Tour stopped in both resorts in 1997, the year German Jan Ullrich won in Paris.

The decisive individual time-trial of the race will start in Freiburg, in Germany, and end in Mulhouse, on the other side of the border, on July 21.

That appears to indicate that, in the minds of the organisers, Ullrich, the recent time-trial world champion and Tour of Spain winner, will be the man to beat.

The start in Freiburg is only a few kilometres from Ullrich's home.

Postal adds five for 2000

By U.S. Postal Service
press release

The United States Postal Service Pro Cycling Team, coming off its victory in the Tour de France this summer, has announced the addition of five riders to its roster for the 2000 cycling season. 

Joining the U.S. Postal Service team in 2000 will be C�dric Vasseur of France, Russian Viatcheslav Ekimov, Patrick Jonker of Australia, American Levi Leipheimer and Steffen Kjaergaard of Norway. 

The five new riders will join a team led by the American contingent of Tour winner Lance Armstrong, Frankie Andreu, Dylan Casey, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Marty Jemison, Kevin Livingston and Christian Vande Velde, along with New Zealander Julian Dean and Luxembourg's Benoit Joachim. The team will finalize its complete roster shortly after the conclusion of the Tour of Spain. 

Celestino wins as Tchmil clinches title

BERGAMO, Italy, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Mirko Celestino led an Italian sweep of the top three places in the Tour of Lombardy on Saturday while Belgian veteran Andrei Tchmil clinched the overall World Cup title.

Celestino came from the back of a group of five riders to win the sprint finish in six hours 21.50 minutes.

Compatriot Danilo Di Luca was clearly dissapointed with his second place, thumping the top of his handlebars with his fists in disgust after he crossed the line a fraction of a second behind Celestino.

Saeco rider Eddy Mazzoleni took third, former road race world champion Oscar Camenzind finished fourth and Russian Dmitri Konyshev came fifth, 11 seconds ahead of the chasing pack.

Tchmil, carrying a 60-point lead into the 10th and final round of the World Cup series, rode an understandably cautious race and finished 14th, just ahead of his only rival for the overall title, Michael Boogerd of the Netherlands.

Tchmil, riding for Lotto, ended his campaign on 299 points to 238 for Rabobank captain Boogerd.

Tchmil's compatriot Frank Vandenbrouke held onto third spot on 214 points despite withdrawing injured before the start of Saturday's race.

Newly-crowned road race world champion Oscar Freire Gomez made the first decisive break and built up a lead of over a minute from the pack after the descent from the Selvino pass, the high point of the course at 962 metres.

But the pack tracked him down and as the riders came through the narrow cobbled streets of Bergamo it was Camenzind who triggered the dash for the finish line.

The Italian riders and Konyshev followed the Swiss rider when he launched his sprint and Di Luca looked set for victory until Celestino swept past him in the final metres.

Tchmil's overall victory was just reward for his consistency over the season. He started it with a victory in Italy in the Milan-San Remo race and was the only rider to take points from all the subsequent nine races.

It also made amends for his previous World Cup setbacks. The 36-year-old, who has Belgian nationality, Italian residency and family roots in Russia, Ukraine and Moldova, was third overall in 1994 and second in 1995.

Tour of Lombardy results/standings

BERGAMO, Italy, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Leading results from Saturday's 262-km Tour of Lombardy World Cup cycle race: 

1. Mirko Celestino (Italy) Polti 6 hours 21.50 seconds
2. Danilo Di Luca (Italy) Cantina 
3. Eddy Mazzoleni (Italy) Saeco 
4. Oscar Kamenzind (Switzerland) Lampre 
5. Dimitri Konyshev (Russia) Mercatone all same time 

6. Marcus Zberg (Switzerland) Rabobank 6:22.01 
7. Marco Serpellini (Italy) Lampre 
8. Marco Velo (Italy) Mercatone 
9. Paolo Bettini (Italy) Mapei 
10. Christophe Moreau (France) Festina all same time 

Final World Cup standings: 

1. Andrei Tchmil (Belgium) 299 points
2. Michael Boogerd (Netherlands) 238 
3. Frank Vandenbroucke (Belgium) 214 
4. Peter Van Petegem (Belgium) 153 
5. Marcus Zberg (Switzerland) 145

6. Johan Museeuw (Belgium) 138
7. Paolo Bettini (Italy) 137
8. Zbigniew Spruch (Poland) 131
9. Leon Van Bon (Netherlands) 123
10. Marc Wauters (Belgium) 107

Results from Tour of Piedmont cycle race

TURIN, Italy, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Leading results from the 198-km Tour of Piedmont cycle race on Thursday:

1. Andrea Tafi (Italy)  four hours 26.25 minutes
2. Marco Serpellini (Italy)
3. Sergio Barbero (Italy)
4. Lars Michaelsen (Denmark)
5. Stefano Cattai (Italy)  all same time

6. Roberto Conti (Italy)  4:26.45
7. Sebastien Demarbaix (Belgium) same time
8. Fred Rodriguez (U.S.)  4:27.05
9. Rolf Huser (Switzerland)
10. Nico Mattan (Belgium) both same time

Results from Milan-Turin cycle race

TURIN, Italy, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Leading results from the 202-km Milan-Turin cycle race on Wednesday:

1. Marcus Zberg (Switzerland)      four hours 24.55 seconds
2. Paolo Bettini (Italy)
3. Jan Ullrich (Germany)
4. Niklas Axelsson (Sweden)
5. Andrea Noe (Italy)

6. Chann McRae (U.S.)
7. Dimitri Konyshev (Russia)
8. Max Sciandri (Britain)
9. Francesco Casagrande (Italy)
10. Jean Cyril Robin (France)   all same time

Armstrong's Wife Has Son

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Kristin Armstrong, the wife of Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, gave birth early Tuesday to their first child, a son.

Luke David Armstrong, weighing 7 pounds, 9 ounces, was born 13 days ahead of his expected arrival date.

``What a joy it is to hang out with this little guy,'' Armstrong said. ``I can't wait for him to wake up so I can play with him. He's just awesome.''

Kristin Armstrong got pregnant using in vitro fertilization with sperm her husband stored in October 1996, before starting chemotherapy for advanced testicular cancer.

Mother and baby were expected to be released from the hospital on Wednesday.

Freire Gomez snatches world road title

VERONA, Italy, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Spain's Oscar Freire Gomez took the favourites by surprise to win the elite world road race cycling title on Sunday.

Freire Gomez caught his nine main rivals off guard as they eyed each other in the finishing straight of the 260-kms championship.

He finished four seconds clear as a jostling sprint behind ended in Marcus Zberg of Switzerland snatching silver with Frenchman Jean-Cyril Robin taking the bronze.

In the minor placings were defending champion Oscar Camenzind of Switzerland and German Jan Ullrich who followed his Tour of Spain triumph with a world time trial gold on Wednesday.

Pre-race favourite Frank Vandenbroucke of Belgium was seventh behind Camenzind with Ullrich eighth.

Spain started the seven-day road championships without their No 1 Abraham Olano, world road race champion four years ago.

He fractured his ribs during the Tour of Spain two weeks ago, but Spain still claimed two golds through Freire Gomez and Jose Gutierrez who won the under-23 time trial title last week in Treviso.


Pucinskaite wins elite women's title

VERONA, Italy, October 9 (Reuters) - Edita Pucinskaite won the 113.75 women's elite road race on Saturday, to keep the world title in Lithuania.

She raced clear of a group of 16 on the seventh and final climb for a 10-km solo run for the gold which compatriot Diana Ziliute took last year.

Australian Anna Wilson snatched her second silver of the championships, outsprinting the chasing group. Ziliute took the bronze medal.

The group had foiled a bid by Jeannie Longo to claim a medal in her 20th championship year. The Frenchwoman, who won her fifth world road race title four years ago, escaped with Italian Valeria Cappellotto and Ukrainian Tatiana Stiajkina in a vain chase to reach Pucinskaite.

World championship junior men's road race results

VERONA, Italy, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Leading placings in the junior men's world road race championship over 130 kms on Saturday:

1. Damiano Cunego (Italy) 3 hours 14 minutes 36 seconds
2. Ruslan Kaiumov (Russia)          five seconds behind
3. Christophe Kern (France)                  37 secs
4. Filippo Pozzato (Italy)                   same time
5. Bernhard Eisel (Austria)                  38

6. Kevin de Weert (Belgium)                  39
7. Andri Lebedev (Estonia)
8. Antonio Bucciero (Italy)
9. Alexander Bayenov (Russia)
10. Christian Knees (Germany)         all same time


Italy triumph again in under-23 world championships race

VERONA, Italy, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Leonardo Giordani gave hosts Italy their third under-23s world road race cycling title in four years when he held on to win by eight seconds on Friday.

With Luca Paolini finishing second it was Italy's day to celebrate. Their first medal had come earlier in the day with Noemi Cantele taking third in the junior women's road race.

German Matthias Kessler snatched the under-23 bronze as Giordani's pursuers sprinted in to finish the 178.7 km race.

A Bike Race Worthy of Shakespeare

By Samuel Abt International Herald Tribune
VERONA, Italy - Where is everybody? Laurent Jalabert of France, the world's top-rated rider, is not here for the world bicycle championships. Neither is Abraham Olano of Spain, who did not defend his time trial championship. Another absentee is Lance Armstrong of the United States, king of the Tour de France.

Marco Pantani of Italy, Fernando Escartin of Spain, Erik Zabel of Germany, Mario Cipollini of Italy, Richard Virenque of France, Michele Bartoli of Italy? Missing, one and all.

Some stars have valid excuses: Armstrong is awaiting the birth of his first child; Olano, Bartoli and Escartin are all injured physically. Pantani is injured psychologically by the drug charges against him in the Giro d'Italia in June, his last appearance in competition. His left knee also hurts, he says.

Zabel and Cipollini decided that the short but sharp Torricelle hill that the riders will have to climb nearly 20 times midway through each circuit of the all-day road race Sunday is not their type of terrain. Virenque and Jalabert were not invited to join the French national team, Jalabert because he did not take the prescribed medical - read drug - test at the start of the season, Virenque because he's Virenque, an outcast in the wake of the Festina Affair that disrupted the Tour de France last year with drug charges and admissions, if not his.

So nobody is around and the road race will be lackluster? As Speed - you could look it up - says in Shakespeare's ''The Two Gentlemen of Verona,'' no need ''to weep like a young wench that had buried her grandam.''

Oscar Camenzind, for one, is here. The 28-year-old Swiss surprised everybody last year by winning the elite road race and then the Tour of Lombardy, a one-day World Cup race the following weekend. Since then, nada, like the rest of his career, but he's said to be in fine shape.

There are a host of more serious contenders. Speed again: ''These are the villains that all the travelers do fear so much'' - Jan Ullrich of Germany, winner of the Vuelta a Espana last month and the time trial championship Wednesday; Frank Vandenbroucke of Belgium, primed to wipe out the ignominy of his suspension in a drug case in May after he easily won the testing Liege-Bastogne-Liege race and ranked atop the World Cup standings; Michael Boogerd of the Netherlands, a ghostly presence in the Tour de France after he finished fifth the year before; Johan Museeuw of Belgium, still trying to prove that a nearly fatal knee infection last year did not halt his winning ways, and Laurent Brochard, a Frenchman who wore the world champion's rainbow-striped jersey two years ago and wound up in the slammer in the Festina Affair.

Add the unpredictable East Europeans, such as Dimitri Konyshev of Russia, Roman Vainsteins of Latvia, Jaan Kirsipuu of Estonia, Alexander Vinokourov of Kazakhistan and Slava Ekimov of Russia.

Finally, the Italians will surely be looking for an exploit on home territory. Without Pantani and Bartoli, two men the course was tailored for, they will bank on a team effort, not always an Italian virtue. The object of their affections should be Andrea Tafi, Davide Rebellin or Francesco Casagrande, all the sort of workhorses the course should favor.

The Italians admit that they have no grand favorite, like Vandenbroucke, Ullrich or Boogerd, but say they will compensate with tactics. ''I have a plan,'' says Antonio Fusi, the director of the national team. ''We'll have to be original, anticipate attacks and disorient the favorites. Above all, we can't wait for the end of the race to attack.''

Sounds exciting. Who needs Jalabert, Pantani and Armstrong? As the French say, the absent are always wrong.

World championship results

VERONA, Italy, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Results of the junior women's world road race championship over 65 kms on Friday:

1. Genevieve Jeanson (Canada) one hour 47 minutes and 16 seconds
2. Trixi Worrack (Germany)      eight seconds behind
3. Noemi Cantele (Italy)                        3:33
4. Magdalena Sadlecka (Poland)                  3:34
5. Anna Skawinska (Poland)                      5:05

6. Patricia Roel (Spain)
7. Liane Bahler (Germany)
8. Veerle Ingels (Belgium)
9. Sonja Traxels (Switzerland)
10. Beata Jasinska (Poland)                  all same time

Ullrich wins elite time trial

TREVISO, Italy, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Germany's Jan Ullrich won the elite men's time trial at the world road championships on Wednesday, covering the 50.6 kms in one hour 28 seconds.

The silver medal went to Michael Andersson of Sweden, who was 14 seconds slower, and the bronze to Briton Chris Boardman, who was 58 seconds behind Ullrich.

France's Marsal handed six-month ban for doping

PARIS, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Former world road cycling champion Catherine Marsal of France has been suspended for six months for failing a dope test, she told a French newspaper published on Wednesday.

Marsal, who won the world title in 1990, said she had taken diuretics for medical reasons, but the French cycling federation (FFC) did not accept her explanations.

The FFC were not available for comment on the case.

``I have a medical certificate. I did not think I would be so heavily punished,'' Marsal told regional newspaper Le Dauphine Libere.

Marsal, 29, ended her season prematurely last month, opting not to enter the world championships currently taking place in Italy.

van Moorsel retains time trial crown

By Mike Price

Treviso, Italy, October 5 (Reuters) - Dutchwoman Leontien van Moorsel fought back from anorexia to re-establish herself as a world champion last year and retained her title on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old kept her elite time trial crown but admitted it was tougher this time.

``I had all the pressure on me because I was the champion, so it was more difficult and I was more nervous.

``Last year I was coming back so if I won it was unexpected, but today I had to win otherwise it would have been seen as failure.''

Australian Anna Wilson made life difficult for the Dutch woman in the final kilometres of the 25.85 km circuit before van Moorsel beat her by four and a half seconds.

``My husband, Michael, told me to keep pushing and give everything because the race was so close,'' said van Moorsel who six years ago had two world road race titles and a world track title to her credit.

As she recovered from her illness she met Michael Zijlaard. They married and she changed to a more easy-going life-style.

``I gave myself time to go shopping if I wanted rather than train constantly.''

Last year on home ground at Valkenburg she also took silver in the world road race championship, but has yet to decide if she will contest Saturday's championship at Verona.

Wilson, who eight days ago clinched the women's World Cup road racing series in Switzerland, came to the championship as Commonwealth Games time trial champion.

The 27-year-old barrister turned the championship into a duel by completing the circuit in 32 minutes and 36 seconds.

That left Elita Pucinskaite to give the home fans a bronze medal to cheer. Although she is Lithuanian Pucinskaite has lived in Treviso for three of her four years in Italy.

Olympic champion Zoulfia Zabirova of Russia and three-times world champion Jeannie Longo of France finished in the medallists' wake.

The Russian, who has taken the world silver for the past two years, missed the bronze by six seconds.

Longo, 41 at the end of the month, was ninth, 54 seconds off the pace.

World championship results

TREVISO, Italy, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Leading results from the cycling world championships on Tuesday:

Elite women's time trial (25.85 kms):

1. Leontien van Moorsel (Netherlands) 32 minutes 31 seconds
2. Anna Wilson (Australia) 4 seconds behind
3. Elita Pucinskaite (Lithuania) 31 secs
4. Zoulfia Zabirova (Russia) 37
5. Hanka Kupfernagel (Germany) 49

6. Judith Arndt (Germany) 50
7. Clara Hughes (Canada) 51.3
8. Diana Ziliute (Lithuania) 5l.8
9. Jeannie Longo (France) 54
10. Kathy Watt (Australia) 1:08

11. Marion Clignet (France) 1:10
12. Elizabeth Emery (U.S.) 1:18
13. Emily Robbins (U.S.) 1:24
14. Dori Ruano (Spain) 1:27
15. Tracey Gaudry (Australia) 1:37

16. Yvonne McGregor (Britain) 1:39
17. Solrun Flataas (Norway) 1:40
18. Mari Holden (U.S.) 1:44
19. Valentina Polkhanova (Russia) 1:45
20. Lyne Bessette (Canada) 1:59

Junior men's time trial (25.85 kms):

1. Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) 30:36
2. Rouslan Kaioumov (Russia) 42 seconds behind
3. Christian Knees (Germany) 49
4. Dario Benenati (Italy) 56
5. Maurizio Biondi (Italy) 1:16

6. Vasil Kiryienka (Belarus) 1:19
7. Jean Zen (France) 1:27
8. Alexandr Sabalin (Moldova) 1:36.2
9. Darren Rolfe (Australia) 1:36.9
10. Lukasz Bodnav (Poland) 1:41

Wauters breaks through with Paris-Tours win

TOURS, France, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Cycling underdog Marc Wauters of Belgium burst into the limelight on Sunday when he surprised the favorites to win the 254.5 kms Paris-Tours classic.

The thirty-year-old Belgian, a teammate of Dutch Rabobank leader Michael Boogerd, tried his luck 50 kms from the finishing line to win the most prestigious victory in his career.

``I can't believe it. This is by far my greatest victory,'' said Wauters, who had only minor wins to his credit until Sunday.

The rider from Hasselt, who won the Tour of Britain this year, followed Gianni Faresin when the Italian Mapei rider attacked.

``He made a wrong move in a curve, and I decided to go. I gave it all I had,'' Wauters said.

Faresin was strong enough to hold the main bunch at bay to take second place.

Like last year, pre-race favorite Jan Kirsipuu of Estonia had to be content with outsprinting the main pack for third place.

It was the second year in succession that sprinters, usually at their best on the long stretch to the finish line in Tours, were denied victory.

Ukrainian-born Belgian Andrei Tchmil strengthened his lead in the World Cup standings by finishing ninth. The Lotto team leader is on 287 points with Boogerd, who failed to score, second on 222.

Belgian Franck Vandenbroucke lies third on 214. Vandenbroucke, who will be favourite to win the last World Cup race of the season, the Tour of Lombardy, was in action in the last kilometres, attacking on the last climb behind the two breakaways.

He was soon caught but his move allowed Faresin and Wauters to take a decisive lead as the bunch relaxed after chasing Vandenborucke.

Wind and rain had earlier split the main bunch, ruining the hopes of favorites like Dutchman Jeroen Blijlevens or Frenchman Laurent Brochard.

The best riders in the world are now gearing up for the world championships in Verona in two weeks.

Leading Paris-Tours placings

TOURS, France, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Leading placings in the 254.5-kms Paris-Tours cycling classic on Sunday:

1. Marc Wauters (Belgium) Rabobank Six hours nine min 54 sec
2. Gianni Faresin (Italy) Mapei ten seconds behind
3. Jan Kirsipuu (Estonia) Casino 14 secs
4. Fabrizio Guidi (Italy) Polti
5. Marco Serpellini (Italy) Lampre

6. Ludovic Capelle (Belgium) Home Market
7. Fabio Baldato (Italy) Ballan
8. Leon Van Bon (Netherlands) Rabobank
9. Andrei Tchmil (Belgium) Lotto
10. Aart Vierhouten (Netherlands) Rabobank

11. Franck Vandenbroucke (Belgium) Cofidis
12. Nicolay Bo Larsen (Denmark) Home Jack and Jones
13. Lars Michaelsen (Denmark) Francaise des Jeux
14. Paolo Bettini (Italy) Mapei
15. Markus Zberg (Switzerland) Rabobank all same time

Leading World Cup standings (after nine of 10 races):

1. Andrei Tchmil (Belgium) Lotto 287 points
2. Michael Boogerd (Netherlands) Rabobank 227
3. Franck Vandenbroucke (Belgium) Cofidis 214
4. Peter Van Petegem (Belgium) TVM 153
5. Johan Museeuw (Belgium) Mapei 138

6. Zbigniew Spruch (Poland) Lampre 131
7. Leon Van Bon (Netherlands) Rabobank 123
8. Paolo Bettini (Italy) Mapei 117
9. Markus Zberg (Switzerland) Rabobank 113
10. Marc Wauters (Belgium) Rabobank 107

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