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Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News for August 1, 2005

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

UCI & Grand Tour organisers move closer to accord

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

Two recent meetings between the UCI and the Grand Tour organisers over the last weeks may have resulted in some progress towards an agreement that will bring both parties together for 2006. On July 26 in Aigle, Switzerland, and then on July 29 in Paris, meetings between Mr. Martin Desprez, Vice Chairman of Editions Amaury and Patrice Clerc, President of A.S.O., which represented Groupe Amaury, RCS and Unipublic, as well as Hein Verbruggen, President of the UCI, have resulted in the following points, which now have to be reviewed by the ProTour teams before moving forward to a final agreement. But now after a year of conflicts between the UCI and the Grand Tour organisers over the ProTour, various elements have evolved from these recent discussions that look promising.

1) From 2006 on, there will be only one calendar, for elite "UCI ProTour", and no trademark or brand will be attached to the UCI ProTour calendar. This UCI ProTour calendar will be made up of race organisers who have current ProTour licenses as established in 2004, as well as associated organisers. Grand Tour organisers will now be included in the UCI ProTour as associated organisers, as soon as an agreement is made with the ProTour teams.

2) UCI ProTour associated organisers will:

A) Allow their races to be part of the UCI ProTour and via their national federation, will enrol their races in the UCI ProTour, with the dates remaining as they are in 2005.

B) The Grand Tour organisers will be solely responsible for the organisation of their events.

C) The Grand Tour organisers retain all rights to their brands, and this encompasses the rights of the organisers to exclude any ProTour team, but within the context of the UCI’s action against doping or any UCI regulations.

D) The Grand Tour organisers will determine the brands that will appear on the four leaders jerseys in each of their races.

E) The various brands of each associated Grand Tour organiser can not just be used by anyone. The participation in a program marketing is not obligatory and no pooling of commercial and TV rights of the associated Grand Tour organisers is envisaged.

F) Grand Tour organisers have requested of the UCI to consider the need for promoting a spirit of entrepreneurship which is at the origin of cycling, and to better associate all the key players in the process.

G) ASO, RCS and UNIPUBLIC will willingly work with the UCI and the various families of cycling on the development of cycling in general and the UCI in particular, with the following elements: A gradual return to a maximum number of 18 teams having a UCI ProTour license, limited to 3 years with the creation of a system where licences can change year to year. A reorganisation of the UCI ProTour classification so that the best teams of the continental circuit can gain access the UCI ProTour (so a 19th ProTour licence could be given to the winner of the European Continental circuit).

3) The Grand Tours want to have 4 wild card teams included in their races (or 3 wild card teams if a 19th team has a one year licence).

ASO, RCS and Unipublic are ready to find an agreement before the end of 2005 with the UCI and the ProTour teams on current communiqué. Next steps are to have the ProTour teams review the proposed changes in the UCI ProTour, which may be adopted as soon as late September at the World Championships in Madrid, Spain.

Zabel Petacchi's teammate soon?

Erik Zabel (T-Mobile) chatting with his new teammate before the start in Hamburg?
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

As reported in Cyclingnews' last edition of News, Erik Zabel will no longer ride in T-Mobile's team colours next season. In a press conference after the HEW Cyclassics race in Hamburg yesterday, Zabel announced his decision to leave the squad, but did not yet tell the attending journalists which team had succeeded in signing him. "I needed a new sporting perspective. I'm leaving T-Mobile, and will announce where to on the 1st of September at the latest," the 35 year-old declared.

According to Zabel, his new contract would last for another three years and gave him a guarantee of starting at the Tour de France. And although the German was determined not to disclose the name of his new team yet, rumour is getting louder that the it might be the same squad his colleague Petacchi is leaving Fassa Bortolo's director Giancarlo Ferretti for: Domina Vacanze. The Italian travel company is reported to get support in its sponsoring the cycling team by German travel company giant TUI, according to website Radsportnews.

If this holds true, Zabel would certainly not replace any of Petacchi's best lead-out men, but share the racing schedule with the Italian: Petacchi would ride the Giro d'Italia, Zabel the Tour de France. And just as 'Ale-Jet', who agreed to his contract proposal only under the condition that Marco Velo, Fabio Sacchi and Matteo Tosatto were also signed, Zabel is reported to take two of his teammates with him to his new team - probably Jan Schaffrath and Rolf Aldag.

It therefore appears that the differences which led to the split between Zabel and T-Mobile were of sporting nature. "I want to sit in the saddle for another three years," Zabel said, commenting on his decision not to take T-Mobile's offer, which apparently included a position within the team management. "However, I could imagine a return to the team after that," he added, alluding to the possibility of becoming a directeur sportif. 'Ete' has also made his first experience as TV commentator with German broadcaster ARD recently at the Tour de France. "To see cycling from another perspective was very interesting; I enjoyed it a lot. I could imagine doing that in the future, too, after I finish my career as a professional," he concluded. But that moment seems now at least three years away - Zabel will then be 38 years of age, almost as 'old' as Mario Cipollini was when he decided to quit.

Petacchi still to Eneco Tour, Lequatre out for a while

At yesterday's HEW Cyclassics one-day ProTour race in Hamburg, Germany, Italian supersprinter Alessandro Petacchi came to a fall and broke the little finger of his right hand. It happened with only 15 kilometres to go before the finish line, as the Fassa Bortolo rider was crossing the main difficulty for the day, the Waseberg, for the last time. His chain slipped and he crashed, causing him to abandon the race. Petacchi was immediately taken to a Hamburg hospital for x-rays, where his broken little finger was diagnosed.

Nevertheless, the Italian will still be able to take the start in the Eneco Tour of Benelux - formerly known as the Tour of the Netherlands - beginning Wednesday August 3. His team announced that, contrary to previous reports, Petacchi did not need to undergo surgery at the German hospital, where his nail was treated and the finger placed in a special, rigid bandage, with which he will return to racing on Wednesday.

In the same crash, which caused a split in the main bunch at the race in Hamburg yesterday, Geoffroy Lequatre (Crédit Agricole) suffered substantial injuries to his face. The Frenchman is reported to have several facial fractures and will not be able to return to racing for some time.

Beltrán run over by motorcycle

After a crash during training in Spain, Manuel Beltrán (Discovery Channel) is uncertain to race the upcoming Vuelta a España (August 27-September 18). "Triki" Beltrán as well as three other riders out of a group of ten were run over by a motorcycle near Jean in the South of the country yesterday, Sunday July 31, Spanish Marca reported. The Discovery rider suffered skin burns on his thigh and a swollen elbow as his bike was caught by the motorcycle and dragged further across the tarmac.

"At this moment, I don't know if I'll be able to take part in the Vuelta", the 34 year-old said, although his injuries were confirmed to be only minor at the hospital later. "I'm trying to assess what happened. The risk of crashing is part of the job, but what's important is that I'm in good condition. It's logical that this accident means a setback to my preparation for the Vuelta a España." Beltrán finished the Tour of Spain 2003 in sixth position on GC.

Rabobank youngsters move up

Dutch ProTeam Rabobank has announced the signing of two of its development squad riders, Marc De Maar and Kai Reus. De Maar, 21, has won seven races this season, whereas Reus, 20, counted three victories amongst which the GP Cerami and the final classification of the Tour de Normandie.

Konyshev set for another year

Dimitri Konyshev, 39, will be adding one more year to his career as a professional cyclist. His contract with Italian team LPR was prolonged for another season, the team announced yesterday. Konyshev will therefore be the oldest rider in the peloton next year, if Vjatcheslav Ekimov (Discovery Channel), born just two weeks before his fellow Russian Konyshev, chooses to retire alongside his team captain Lance Armstrong.

US Junior rider badly injured

Joe Trujillo, a 15 1/2 year-old Junior rider and one of the Reno Wheelmen's rising stars, was badly injured when he struck a tree during a 3/4/5 support race at the NorCal/Nevada Masters Championships. Injuries include a torn liver, bruised lung, broken jaw and wrist, along with facial fractures. Joe is currently in the pediatric ICU unit at Washoe Medical and faces a long road to recovery. Encouragement e-mails will certainly be appreciated and can be sent to:


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