Tour of Aragon under threat, more success for Britain at Los Angeles World Cup, Popovych missing the
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Fears about the effects that the introduction of the ProTour might have on smaller races have surfaced in Spain, where the director of the five-day Tour of Aragon has said that his race is under threat. Pedro Garcia Villamayor, the director-general of sport in the regional government, has told the Todociclismo website that the event might not be organised for the next two years because of the expense involved and worries they might not be able to attract top level riders to what is now a continental event. “We’re not interested in having Alessandro Petacchi’s cousin on the start line,” commented Garcia Villamayor, who added that the Aragon government is considering putting its annual investment into youth cycling rather than a 42nd edition of its professional event. The race is due to take place on April 13-17. – More success for Britain on the final two days of the World Cup track meeting in Los Angeles this past weekend. Victoria Pendleton became the first Brit to top the podium at the meeting when she won the women’s keirin event, beating Australia’s Anna Meares into second place, with Natalia Tsyinskaya of Belarus third. Pendleton now leads the keirin standings after two legs of the four-event World Cup series. Emma Davies took two podium finishes over the weekend. On Saturday she finished second to Australia’s Katie Mactier in the 3,000-metre pursuit. On Sunday, Davies was third in the scratch race behind Russia’s Yulia Arustamova and Italy’s Eleonora Soldo. Former world points champion Chris Newton took third place in that event behind Russia’s Mikhail Ignatiev and the USA’s Colby Pearce. After last month’s Moscow round and the latest one in Los Angeles, Russia heads the overall standings with 213 points, with Holland second on 184, Germany third on 162 and Great Britain fourth on 146. The next round of the series takes place at the Manchester Velodrome on January 7-9. – The Datasport website in Italy is reporting that new Discovery Channel signing Yaroslav Popovych will ride the Tour de France next season. The Ukrainian, who has finished third and fifth in the last two editions of the Giro, is said to be missing that event next season. Discovery’s team leadership duties at the Giro are reported to be going to the 2001 race winner, Paolo Savoldelli, another of the American team’s new signings.