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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

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
Click for larger image

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 and CSC.

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

Still going...
Photo: © Elmar Krings
Click for larger image

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

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 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."

Courtesy: Radsport-News

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