First Edition News for September 2, 2003
Edited by Jeff Jones
Hamilton and Phonak's new guard
The Swiss Phonak Hearing Systems team has pulled off what it called a "major coup" by signing CSC's top rider Tyler Hamilton for the next two seasons. Rumours have been circulating for the last six weeks that Hamilton was to switch teams, and it finally became official today. In addition to Hamilton, Phonak also signed Slovenians Tadej Valjavec (Fassa Bortolo) and Uros Murn (Formaggi Trentini), and Italian Daniele Bennati (Domina Vacanze) for next season.
"I'm excited about joining the Phonak team and look forward to riding for winning positions in 2004," said Tyler Hamilton about his new team.
In an official statement, the Swiss team said, "Phonak Cycling aims to be up with the very best on the circuit in the coming season and the objectives are clear: with its new, strengthened team, Phonak is aiming for places among the first three in all the Tours and World Cup races. With Tyler Hamilton as its captain, the Phonak Hearing System team is looking forward to a lot of excitement and some fantastic results at the next Tour de France, especially."
The team intends to ride with a full squad of 25 cyclists next season, and thus there is room for four more riders in its roster. "Phonak is negotiating with other top riders as part of its objective to assemble a balanced team capable of lifting the sport's top honours. Achieving this aim means having specialists for the key discipline - the team time trials - to complement the Swiss team during the big tours."
Phonak also announced that it would not be renewing the contracts of Denis Bertolini, Roger Beuchat, Iker Camano, Stefan Kupfernagel, Miguel Martinez, Benoît Salmon and Massimo Strazzer. Thus, the provisional line up for 2004 is as follows:
Name 2003 Team UCI Points Contract Michael Albasini (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems 23 2004 Niki Aebersold (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems 96 2004/2005 Gonzalo Bayarri (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 27 2004 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Domina Vacanze 204 2004 Oscar Camenzind (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems 448 2004 Cyrill Dessel (Fra) Phonak Hearing Systems 99 2004 Juan Carlos Dominguez (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 498 2004 Martin Elmiger (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems 417 2004 Marco Fertonani (Ita) Phonak Hearing Systems 90 2004 Fabrice Gougot (Fra) Phonak Hearing Systems 76 2004 Bert Grabsch (Ger) Phonak Hearing Systems 148 2004 Tyler Hamilton (USA) Team CSC 1403 2004/2005 Alexandre Moos (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems 535 2004/2005 Uros Murn (Slo) Formaggi Pinzolo 396 2004 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 452 2004/2005 Santiago Perez (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 105 2004 Gregory Rast (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems 83 2004 Daniel Schnider (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems 277 2004 Alexandre Usov (Blr) Phonak Hearing Systems 229 2004 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Fassa Bortolo 476 2004/2005 Alex Zülle (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems 214 2004
Ullrich happy to retire with a Tour win
In his last UCI race of the season yesterday in Nürnberg, Jan Ullrich revealed that had he won the Tour de France this year, it could have been the end of his cycling career. "With a Tour victory I would have probably retired," he was quoted by DPA. "Then I would have achieved everything in life. Actually I am completely satisfied that I was second - that means I can ride for another year."
In any case, this retirement condition remains hypothetical until July next year, when Ullrich wants to front up to his seventh Tour with ambitions of beating Lance Armstrong, who has won the race for the last five years. And if Ullrich does win, who knows whether he will change his mind?
For the next few months Der Kaiser is concentrating on reality, with holiday plans and time with his partner Gaby and daughter Sarah Maria high on the agenda. Jan and Gaby plan to get married at some stage, but that will be "spontaneous" according to Ullrich. Training for 2004 will begin in November, by which time the future shape of his Bianchi team should be known.
The team's immediate concern is a new co-sponsor to help push up the budget towards the €10 million mark. According to DPA an announcement could come this week with a "top German company" in the picture. If Team Bianchi has the necessary cash, then riders like Jörg Jaksche, Oscar Sevilla and Michele Bartoli are on its wish list. As for Ullrich, he said that he would gladly continue with Bianchi, "But that is dependent on the budget."
Latest UCI men's and women's rankings
At this time of the season, UCI points become rather more important as riders bargain with prospective teams for future contracts. A Division I team needs points to make it into the "Top 10 Club" of teams, which gain access to all the major races of the season. Similarly a Division II team needs points to earn promotion to Division I.
The top 10 in the men's rankings are fairly well established at this stage of the year, with the Vuelta and the World's the main races that are likely to change things. Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step) is in the number one position with 2,353 points, and looks set to hold that ranking until the end of the year, as his nearest rivals are around 400 points behind him. Erik Zabel (Telekom, 2nd) has a chance to consolidate his second spot, while Gilberto Simoni (Saeco, 3rd) has called it quits for the season.
The situation in the women's rankings is a little different, as UCI points are not really necessary for teams to gain invitations to the major tours, as there is only one division in women's professional cycling. However points are still useful bargaining tools for contracts next season. Susanne Ljungskog (Powerplate-Bik) still holds down the number one ranking with 662 points, compared with Mirjam Melchers' 608 points which has her in second place. Nicole Brändli (Prato Marathon Bike) has moved down to third on 584 points, while the biggest movers up the rankings are Regina Schleicher (USC Chirio, 10th - 8th), Arenda Grimberg Farm Frites-Hartol, 26th - 16th) and Nürnberg World Cup winner Diana Ziliute (Acca Due O, 39th - 20th).
UCI rankings as of August 31, 2003
Men 1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step-Davitamon 2,353.75 pts 2 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Telekom 1,973.75 3 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Team Saeco 1,955.00 4 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 1,771.00 5 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 1,764.00 6 Iban Mayo Diez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 1,735.00 7 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Team Telekom 1,728.50 8 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal-Berry Floor 1,542.00 9 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Lampre 1,476.00 10 Robbie Mcewen (Aus) Lotto-Domo 1,394.00 11 Tyler Hamilton (USA) Team CSC 1,363.20 12 Jan Ullrich (Ger) Team Bianchi 1,258.00 13 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Team Saeco 1,224.00 14 Aitor Gonzalez Jimenez (Spa) Fassa Bortolo 1,199.00 15 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank 1,160.00 16 Dario Frigo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 1,145.00 17 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 1,109.50 18 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Domina Vacanze-Elitron 1,103.20 19 Roberto Heras (Spa) US Postal-Berry Floor 1,085.25 20 Laurent Brochard (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 1,049.40 Women 1 Susanne Ljungskog (Swe) Bik-Powerplate 662.50 pts 2 Mirjam Melchers (Ned) Farm Frites-Hartol Cycling Team 608.00 3 Nicole Brändli (Swi) Prato Marathon Bike 584.00 4 Judith Arndt (Ger) Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung 536.50 5 Joane Somarriba Arrola (Spa) 469.00 6 Sara Carrigan (Aus) Bik-Powerplate 464.30 7 Nicole Cooke (GBr) Ausra Gruodis-Safi 409.00 8 Regina Schleicher (Ger) USC Chirio Forno d'Asolo 390.00 9 Zoulfia Zabirova (Rus) Prato Marathon Bike 366.10 10 Edita Pucinskaite (Ltu) S.C. Michela Fanini Record Rox 332.00 11 Anita Valen (Nor) Bik-Powerplate 326.50 12 Olivia Gollan (Aus) 269.50 13 Olga Slyusareva (Rus) 247.40 14 Lyne Bessette (Can) Saturn Cycling Team 238.00 15 Alison Wright (Aus) Road Runner-Guerciotti 216.00 16 Arenda Grimberg (Ned) Farm Frites-Hartol Cycling Team 195.00 16 Petra Rossner (Ger) Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung 195.00 18 Zinaida Stahurskaya (Blr) USC Chirio Forno d'Asolo 192.00 19 Debby Mansveld (Ned) Vlaanderen-T-Interim Ladies Team 189.00 20 Diana Ziliute (Ltu) Acca Due O Pasta Zara Lorena Camicie 176.00 Men's Division I Teams 1 Fassa Bortolo 7,160.75 pts 2 Team Saeco 6,833.00 3 Quick.Step-Davitamon 6,750.75 4 Team Telekom 6,530.50 5 Gerolsteiner 5,115.00 Women's Teams 1 Bik-Powerplate 1,523.10 pts 2 Prato Marathon Bike 1,181.30 3 Farm Frites-Hartol Cycling Team 886.00 4 Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung 839.00 5 USC Chirio Forno d'Asolo 685.00 Full rankings: Men, Women, Teams, Nations
Pantani suspended by team
Marco Pantani has been suspended by his Mercatone Uno team because they do not know where he is, according to Het Nieuwsblad. "We don't know where he's hanging out," said team management. "Then there is no need for us anymore."
Moreni renews with Alessio
Cristian Moreni, recent winner of the Giro del Veneto has renewed his contract with the Alessio team for 2004. Moreni will be an important part of the team for the one day classics. "I'm happy to be continuing for a third season with Team Alessio," said Moreni. "In this team I have the right amount of space, and I hope to give more satisfaction to the brothers Celeste and Andrea Alessio."
Saturn Development team named after Nicole Reinhart
The Saturn Development team will be renamed the Nicole Reinhart Development team, in memory of Nicole Reinhart who was a professional rider with the Saturn team. The team is a place for U23 riders to make the bridge between elite amateur and professional cycling. The name change will take effect for the 2004 season.
"Pam and I are proud to honour Nicole with a team in her name and we're especially proud that this team is about equity, something that Nicole cared about," said Mike Reinhart, President of the Nicole Reinhart Memorial fund and one of the teams sponsors. "The team will have the same number of men and women athletes and if we find a super angel, we'll be able to offer health insurance to the athletes as well. We're about half way to our financial goal for the team and we're confident we'll make the target by our deadline."
Nicole Reinhart died at the age of 24 on September 17, 2000, after a tragic cycling accident at the end of the BMC Software Tour of Arlington, in Arlington, Massachusetts. Following Nicole's death, the award money was donated to her family to establish a memorial fund. The family has continued to raise money and the team was created with support from Saturn, the team for which Nicole rode.
For information on the Nicole Reinhart Development Team please visit www.nicolesbench.com.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)