First Edition Cycling News for November 3, 2005
Edited by Jeff Jones
Matt White to Discovery Channel
By Jeff Jones
Australian Matthew White has become the next rider to be saved from the Sony-Ericsson disaster, landing on his feet back at Johan Bruyneel's Discovery Channel team. White rode for US Postal between 2001 and 2003, but left the team to join his friend Stuart O'Grady at Cofidis, where they enjoyed two successful seasons together. But the pair left the French team at the end of this season, and when the opportunity came up to ride for Giancarlo Ferretti at Sony-Ericsson, it seemed too good to be true.
As it turned out, it was, and both O'Grady and White were among a number of ProTour riders without a contract for next year. O'Grady recently signed for Team CSC, while White will join Discovery Channel, both riders getting 12 month contracts. Although the money won't be as good as what they were on, that all-important spot in a ProTour team will keep the doors open for 2007. What's more, both CSC and Discovery are considered two of the best teams in the world. It's not a bad way to end up from a potentially disastrous contract situation.
Cyclingnews spoke to White in Sydney, not long after he had reached a verbal agreement with Bruyneel for next season. "I left US Postal in good terms," White emphasised of his departure from the team in 2003. "I got on well with everyone, but I was chasing goals that I obviously wasn't achieving, like riding the Tour de France. I was happy to go to Cofidis and ride for Stuey."
When he knew he was leaving Cofidis, Discovery came back into the picture. "I was in contact with Johan in August, tossing up options. I rang him two weeks ago, but he had no money. Then they've had a sponsor change in the last couple of days, with a new one coming in. There was a bit of surplus money and I got a message from him. We started chatting, and we just came up with an agreement.
"I'm pretty happy. Obviously the situation with myself and Stuart was mind-boggling. I was pretty rattled for the last few weeks. You leave Europe with a two year deal with one of the great directors in the sport, and you come back to Australia, switch the phone on and find that it's fallen through. It's been a pretty hard two weeks mentally, especially after having one of my best years. At the end of October, it's a pretty frightening situation to be in. I contacted all the ProTour teams and there was a lot of interest, but it couldn't have come at a worse time. Either they'd filled their last two places on that day or there was no budget left. I didn't really want to go back to a continental team. Three week races suit me better.
"I think I'm the first person to go back to Postal [Discovery] that has previously left. I never had a problem with them; they're a good group of guys. Going from Postal to Cofidis, I appreciated what I had at Postal. The logistics, management...all the little things."
White has no idea of his program for next season, as the deal is not even inked. "For sure I won't be starting in Australia," he said. "I'd like to throw my hand up for the Giro. Whether I do the Tour...? This year I proved I can do both. I'm always good in May. If they need me for July, I'm old enough and strong enough to do two grand tours. If they need me for the classics or whatever, I can do those. That's one thing that Johan knows: I'm a versatile rider."
White is a little disappointed that he couldn't stay with O'Grady. "We certainly worked well as a combination. We tried asking a couple of teams to take us as a pair, but when we realised how bad it was, we had to look after ourselves. Who knows, in 12 months time, we might be back together?"
The Sydneysider certainly doesn't know yet. "I'm happy with it. We'll see how we go. I might finish off my career [with Discovery], I don't know."
Schumacher to Gerolsteiner for three years
24 year-old German Stefan Schumacher has signed a contract with Team Gerolsteiner that will take him through until the end of 2008. "Gerolsteiner is a big deal, it's really a dream that it has worked out," said Schumacher. "I really hope that I can already be successful next year for the team. I train often with Volker Ordowski and Matthias Russ, who are already on the team."
"Stefan fits well into our young team," said Gerolsteiner team manager Hans-Michael Holczer of his new acquisition. "He has a lot of potential, as a rider for the classics as well as for tours. The boy has the talent as well: 10 seconds behind the winner in 15th place in the Amstel Gold Race is no fluke."
Schumacher, from Großbettlingen, rode a great first half of the season in the Shimano-Memory Corp colours, winning several races and taking over the lead in the European Continental Tour. His successes included the overall win in the Ster Elektrotoer, Niedersachsen-Rundfahrt, and three stage wins in the Rheinland-Pfalz-Rundfahrt. But a positive drug test for cathine (norpseudoephedrine) in the Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt brought everything to a halt, until Schumacher was able to explain that he took the drug for a pollen allergy while under the impression that it was legal, on the advice of several sports federations.
Arndt to change teams
By Susan Westemeyer
Judith Arndt, 2004 world champion, will leave Team Nürnberger Versicherung at the end of the season. She needs new challenges, she said in an interview with dpa, the German press agency. She did not say where she would go to, but it is thought that she will change to a team in the Netherlands or the US, specifically the T-Mobile women's team.
"It has not yet been totally settled, where I will change to," she said. "That will be decided in the next few days. Motivation is an important part of sport to me. I have been with Equipe Nürnberger for three years now and in the end everything was repeating itself. It is time for me to do something else. Petra Rossner will definitely not be on the same team with me in the coming season. Her decision has nothing to do with my decision."
Luperini and Bronzini moving teams
Italian women's star Fabiana Luperini is switching teams from Team FRW to Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo next season. Luperini, winner of four Giri d'Italia femminile and three Tours de France Féminin will be joined by Tatiana Guderzo, silver medalist at the World's in Verona in 2004.
In other Italian women's contract news, sprinter Giorgia Bronzini will leave Chirio Forno d'Asolo for Team FRW next season. Finally, Daniela Fusar Poli (Nobili) will join Safi-Pasta Zara-Manhattan.
Health Net/Maxxis Reloading for 2006
By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
The top men's team of the National Racing Calendar the past two years announced its roster for the 2006 season, and with quite a few changes . Like the Yankees in baseball, Health Net/Maxxis faces the success paradox - producing winning riders who rightfully demand top dollar the following year. For the team that won both USPRO jerseys, that top dollar skyrocketed, and both bearers of the stars and stripes jersey have left for new opportunities. This left Jeff Corbett with the crucial task of retaining the riders he could and signing new talent, all the while keeping within a budget.
Well Corbett is at it again, and has put together another strong roster that should challenge in any of the major North American races in 2006. Returning to the team are a host of strong, veteran riders, including sprinters Gord Fraser and Greg Henderson. 2005 NRC champion Scott Moninger also returns to defend his title, with Mike Sayers alongside him.
The new signings to the team should produce a well-rounded attack. Tim Johnson comes from Jittery Joe's as a general classification contender, while a trio of Navigators Insurance riders, Nathan O'Neill, Kirk O'Bee and Jeff Louder, will help in a variety of roles. Australian Karl Menzies is cashing in on his breakthrough season in 2005 with the Advantage Benefits/Endeavour team, bringing with him the young Garrett Peltonen. European neo-pro Alberto Tibero comes across the pond from the Swiss LPR continental team, after getting a taste of U.S. racing in the 2005 Tour de Georgia.
Gord Fraser, Canada
Aaron's Women's Cycling Team going pro
One of the top U.S. amateur women's teams in 2005 is moving up to the professional ranks in 2006. The team will be captained by criterium specialist Shannon Hutchinson, winner of the Athens Twilight and podium finisher at the criterium nationals. The team will compete in many of the NRC races in 2006.
"We are very excited about sponsoring an elite women's team that will represent Aaron's across the nation," said Ed Quinones, President of Aaron's Corporate Furnishings, "The development of this team is a part of our continued commitment to the exciting sport of cycling."
The Aaron's Cycling Team will also include a men's regional elite team and a club team (L5Flyers) based in Atlanta, Georgia. Spin Sports Inc., the same team management company that runs the Jittery Joe's-Zero Gravity team out of Athens, GA, will manage the women's elite team. Micah Rice will serve as the General Manager of the team, while Jeremy Krupat will act as Director.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)