First Edition Cycling News for January 25, 2004
Edited by Chris Henry
Saunier Duval-Prodir seeks success for first season
By Tim Maloney, European Editor
Tim Johnson's ready
Photo ©: T. Johnson
El Grande Hotel Puente Viesgo in Spain's northwestern Cantabria region
was the site of the Saunier Duval-Prodir 2004 team presentation Friday.
Team manager Mauro Gianetti has teamed up with the Iglesias family, father
Félix and son Roberto of Saunier Duval Spain, long-time sponsors of the
sport, to put together the Iberian Peninsula's eighth pro squad for 2004.
Saunier Duval makes state of the art home heating systems, while Prodir
makes high quality Swiss pens used for promotional purposes. Saunier Duval-Prodir
will start 2004 in Division I and the team has put together an interesting
team roster with a 3.5 million euro budget.
General manager Gianetti, who split from the Vini Caldirola team last
year has taken two of the best sports directors in cycling with him to
head up his technical staff. Joxean Fernández Matxin, at 33 the
youngest d.s. in the peloton, and Vittorio Algeri (joined by his brother
Pietro and nephew Matteo Algeri) will guide the 20 man formation this
season, but no particular rider will rule the roost.
"Since we are primarily a Spanish team, the Vuelta is important for us
and we'll have Joaquin Rodriguez as our leader there," said the likeable
Matxin, who was formerly a well regarded d.s. with Mapei's TT3 team. "Plus
we want to win at least 10 races this season."
Formerly of ONCE-Eroski, the promising 24 year old Rodriguez had two
important wins last season with stages of Paris-Nice and the Vuelta a
España, where he was 26th. Other key riders for the Saunier squad
are experienced Swiss powerhouse Fabian Jeker, Spaniards Juan-Carlos Dominguez
and David Canada, and interesting Colombia climber Javier "Chepin" Gonzalez
who comes across from 05 Orbitel. The team has also reached an agreement
with ex-Kelme rider Constantino Zaballa after extended negotiations.
The Italian contingent at Saunier Duval-Prodir consists of sprinters
Massimo Strazzer and Alberto Loddo, miniscule pocket climber Leonardo
Piepoli, as well as talented neo-pro Manuele Mori.
Swiss-italian wonderboy Rubens Bertogliati will be seeking some confirmation
in 2004, while the lone American (and Cyclingnews diarist), 26
year old Tim Johnson from Middleton, Massachusetts, looks to his debut
in the European peloton with excitement after several years at Saturn.
With Gianetti and his crack technical staff and an ambitious, talented
young team, look for Saunier Duval-Prodir to perform well right away in
Duval-Prodir 2004 roster
Vasseur remains calm
Photo ©: AFP
Following his near 48 hour detention by French drug police for questioning
about the ongoing drug trafficking surrounding the Cofidis team, Cédric
Vasseur spoke out in a press conference near Lille, France. Vasseur was
apprehended along with teammate Philippe Gaumont upon the team's return
from its Calpe, Spain training camp last week. Both riders were released
without being charged, however while Gaumont confessed to his own use
of banned substances such as EPO, Vasseur maintained his innocence.
"That would be an unpleasant surprise," Vasseur said Saturday, referring
to any eventual proof of an organised drug trafficking ring within the
Cofidis team. "After the Festina affair, a passage was spread through
the peloton. We know the rules, and we've all signed contracts stating
that we'll be fired in the event of any positive controls."
Cofidis soigneur Bogdan "Bob" Madejak is suspected by police to be at
the center of an organised system of trafficking from eastern Europe,
and ex-Cofidis riders Marek Rutkiewicz and Robert Sassone have also been
arrested, suspected of their own involvement in the affair.
"They asked questions about me and about members of the team, how the
team functions, and the relationships between various members," Vasseur
said of his interrogation. "I don't know what they have on any other riders,
but I do know that they have nothing on me.
"It's true that when I started in this career, giving up my engineering
studies, I never would have imagined 48 hours in questioning," he noted.
"But I feel distanced from all of this, I feel calm."
Valverde confirmed to 2007
Eager to keep Alejandro Valverde in its ranks, despite a drop to Division
II this season, Kelme and new title sponsor Comunidad Valenciana have
reached an agreement to keep the rider through 2007. A substantial buyout
clause, reportedly 2.5 million euros, was attached to Valverde's contract,
but the team also had good faith measures in mind to keep him satisfied
and nip any potential move to rival Spanish team Liberty Siguros (whose
manager Manolo Saiz had expressed in Valverde) in the bud.
The agreement adds nearly a million euros per year to Valverde's contract,
and also outlines his primary season objectives, including the Vuelta
a España, the Olympic Games, and the World Championships, according
to a Marca report. With the young Valverde secured, the team seeks
only to finalise its contract with its other designated leader, Angel
Moreau's pre-season hex
It seems there's a hex on Crédit Agricole team leader Christophe
Moreau. Once again, Moreau has seen his early season compromised by injury,
delaying his start to the 2004 racing season. Moreau has twice suffered
a broken collarbone in the opening days of racing (l'Etoile de Bessèges
in 2000, GP Marseillaise in 2002), and last year upon his return from
the Tour Down Under in Australia, Moreau contracted a virus which put
him out of action as well.
This year it seems things are no different. At Crédit Agricole's
pre-season training camp in Hyères, France, Moreau injured his
knee and will now likely have to delay his return to racing until March.
"We had barely ridden twelve kilometres when my front wheel touched the
rider in front of me," Moreau explained in l'Equipe. "I made a
move to avoid crashing, and the movement caused a cracking sound in my
As it turns out, Moreau managed to damage several ligaments in his knee,
although the prognosis is not too serious. He hopes to slowly restart
training indoors within the next two weeks, with the goal of racing in
March at Tirreno-Adriatico.
CSC Set for first races
Team CSC, although concentrating on major early season stage races like
Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico, is nonetheless eager to test its new
recruits in the first races of the season. One team will head to the Challenge
de Mallorca, while others will tackle the French season openers. Directeur
sportif has declared himself satisfied with the team's results at the
Lucca, Italy training camp, and he himself will head to Mallorca for the
February 1 opener.
"All riders have worked very hard, even though it's been almost too cold
these last couple of days," Yates said. "Now they have to rest for the
upcoming races, which as a starting point will be used as training for
the big races such as Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico."
Several new riders will gauge their early season form at the Tour Méditerranéen.
"For this race we bring in riders like Basso, Bartoli, Jaksche, Voigt
and Blaudzun, who have all shown excellent form at the training camp here
in Lucca," Yates continued. "We hope to keep up in the first stages and
then make a good team time trial, which could decide the overall win."
O'Brien lands freeride racing deal
By Shane Stokes, Irishcycling.com
Irish downhill rider Glyn O'Brien has finalised a deal to compete on
the freeride circuit with Cove Bikes, a North Vancouver-based manufacturer.
O'Brien has raced strongly for several years in downhill races, but took
perhaps his best result to date last Autumn when he finished third in
the Red Bull Rampage in Utah.
The two day free-ride race saw 27 contestants compete against each other
in the red hills near Zion National Park, choosing a variety of racing
lines from the 1,500 foot high starting point. They were judged according
to their style, racing line, fluidity and the tricks they pulled off on
the way down, and O'Brien's fine performance against some of the top names
in the sport highlighted his blossoming talent.
The deal is a big boost for the Northern Ireland rider and should help
him to continue to gather fine results this season. He will also conduct
research and development for Cove Bikes.
Lehigh Valley Velodrome 2004 schedule
The Lehigh Valley (Pennsylvania) Velodrome released its 2004 International
Race Schedule Saturday with a new prize purse of $58,000 and the announcement
of the $20,000 USA Cycling Fastest Man on Wheels, a post-Olympic Games
gala September 3-4.
The 29th Velodrome season will include five major events and a prize
list of $58,000. Highlights of the season include:
June 4: Nicole Reinhart Women's Cycling Classic & Tandemonium
July 9: Bicycling Magazine Madison Cup
July 30: Nestor's Keirin Cup & Velodrome Hall of Fame Night
September 3-4: USA Cycling Fastest Man on Wheels
September 16-18: Penn State Lehigh Valley Collegiate National Track Cycling
For more information and the full racing calendar, see www.lvvelo.org
or call (610) 967-7587.
Northwest Juniors Racing Series
Organisers in Seattle, Washington announced the 2004 Cascade Bicycle
Club Education FoundationNorthwest Juniors Racing Series, which is presented
by Bicycle Paper and the Washington State Bicycle Association and is part
of the Lance Armstrong Junior Olympics Race Series. The all-criterium
race series is comprised of 11 races in the Seattle area.
Continuing on last year’s success, the 2004 series will run on many of
the same courses. Five new venues have been added to this year’s line
up, including three new courses in the Seattle area. Juniors race start
times have been moved from early in the morning to "prime time," and are
now scheduled to run just before the top senior categories later in the
The series will continue with the successful age and gender-based junior
categories: A (17-18); B (15-16); C (13-14) and D (10-12).
A series-long points system will run for male and female racers in each
age group. Final series category winners will be awarded "2004 Series
Winner" yellow jerseys and all series final podium finishers will be awarded
Junior Olympics medals.
The series begins April 4 with the Recycled Cycles Boat St. Criterium
in Seattle. For the full series calendar, and for more information, www.auroracyclingclub.org.
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