First Edition News for August 29, 2003
Edited by Chris Henry
Hamilton to end in October
Big year comes to a close
Photo: © Jon Devich
Team CSC's Tyler Hamilton has announced that he will end his 2003 season
in early October, thus opting out of the world championships in Canada.
Hamilton has had a stellar season, winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège,
the Tour de Romandie, and a stage in the Tour de France, along with his
fourth place overall.
"It looks as though a trip to the World Championships in Hamilton is
out of the question," he explained on CSC's web site. "I have pushed myself
to the limit this season under the circumstances, and will need to start
focusing on recovering for next year as soon as my schedule wraps up.
If you ride yourself completely into the ground it's hard to bounce back
100% for the next season."
In the meantime, Hamilton will tackle a number of single day races in
Belgium, Italy, and France, with a possible ride at the Giro di Lucca
stage race at the end of the month. "I'm hoping I can hold onto my form
though then, but it's been a tough year and have put my body through quite
a lot," he added.
Voigt to CSC
Germany's Jens Voigt has signed a deal with Bjarne Riis and Team CSC
for 2004. Citing financial reasons, Voigt will make the move to Denmark
from Crédit Agricole, his team since 1998. Voigt, a former yellow
jersey wearer in the Tour, was forced to abandon this year's race on the
roads to Toulouse.
"I gave Bjarne Riis my word and will ride with them for one year
for the present," Voigt told Germany's Sport1. The big and amiable
German reportedly turned down an offer from Gerolsteiner, and was also
in talks with US Postal Service before reaching an agreement with Riis
VDB Motivated for Vuelta and World's
Frank Vandenbroucke will enter the upcoming Vuelta a España with
great motivation, both for the three week stage race and the world championships
in Hamilton in October. The Vuelta will serve as important preparation
for Vandenbroucke, but the Quick.Step rider is also looking for results.
"I'm going with the dual ambition of finishing and winning a stage, at
a minimum," Vandenbroucke told La Dernière Heure. "The Vuelta offers
some real opportunities."
Already noted as a rider well-suited to Hamilton's hilly parcours, Vandenbroucke
has not hidden his eagerness to perform. "As for the route, I think it's
a real World's course," he noted. "Considering my characteristics, I couldn't
have asked for a better parcours."
Zabel marches on
Photo: © Elmar Krings
After another typically busy season, highlighted most recently by participation
in the Tour de France and the ENECO Ronde van Nederland (Tour of Holland),
Team Telekom's Erik Zabel will keep the motor running for the Vuelta a
España, also with an eye on the world championships in Hamilton.
Zabel, 33, has never been one to shy away from competition, and has found
plenty of success on the roads of Spain, including three stage wins in
2001 and the points jersey the year prior.
"I feel super," Zabel commented on the team's web site. The German national
champion will put his experience to good use, guiding the Telekom team
during the Vuelta as team captain. "Erik showed during the Tour of Holland
that he can still ride with the best," team spokesman Olaf Ludwig said.
Zabel joins the list of riders using the Vuelta to build strength and
fine-tune their form for the World's in Hamilton. For the moment Zabel
has taken advantage of some time between races at his second home on the
island of Majorca, though he will return to Germany this weekend for the
Rund um die Nürnberger Altstadt.
Durand out of FDJeux.com
The tireless man of the early breakaway, Jacky Durand, is now facing
a search for a new employer for 2004. The 35 year old Durand has not been
offered a contract renewal at FDJeux.com. Durand, a former winner of the
Tour of Flanders and Paris-Tours World Cup classics, has had a quiet season
this year and missed the Tour de France after being sidelined from a crash
in the Dauphiné Libéré. Team manager Marc Madiot
announced at the Tour du Poitou-Charentes that Durand would not return
with the team next year.
Lefevere's empire grows
Quick.Step-Davitamon manager Patrick Lefevere has reached an agreement
with Eric Van Lancker to include Van Lancker's Beveren 2000 team as a
satellite squad for the Quick.Step family. The young Beveren 2000 team
will form part of the development path to both Quick.Step-Davitamon and
the new Division II team Bodysol-Brustor, to be led by Belgian Nico Mattan.
Van Lancker's team will feature members of the Quick.Step Division III
and junior teams.
Lefevere has insisted that his involvement with Bodysol-Brustor will
be minimal, so as not to present a conflict with his management at Quick.Step,
however the relationship between the teams- and their sponsors- is firmly
in place and will serve to promote Lefevere's goal of guiding younger
riders through to the professional ranks.
"The purpose of this agreement is to develop professional riders who
will wear the colours of Quick.Step-Davitamon and Bodysol-Brustor teams
in the coming seasons."
Bodysol-Brustor will be directed by Herman Frison.
Ludewig extends with Saeco
Jörg Ludewig has decided to stay loyal to his Italian Saeco team,
despite possible offers from other teams, including Team Telekom. Ludewig
was instrumental in supporting Gilberto Simoni during difficult times
in this year's Tour de France, and is looking forward to promises of a
spot on Saeco's Tour team next year. For the moment he has agreed on a
one year deal with Saeco, and should sign the contract in the near future.
"We agreed and shook hands on it," Ludewig said. "I could have signed
a two year contract, but I didn't want to commit for that long right now.
That would have been safer, but I believe that I have yet to reach my
full potential. If I do even better in 2004, as I am hoping, I may be
able to negotiate a new contract."
Ludewig expressed his satisfaction with the Saeco team, and looks forward
to continuing another year. "I feel great at Saeco and I didn't want to
leave the team anyway," he said, adding that "I've got the word to be
in the Tour team next year."
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