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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

Cycling News Extra for September 8, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones & Hedwig Kröner, assisted by Sabine Sunderland

Baguet explains

"I just don't kiss arse, so this good old dog didn't sign"

By Sabine Sunderland

Serge Baguet
Photo ©: Sabine Sunderland
Click for larger image

Serge Baguet has lifted the veil on his transfer from Lotto-Davitamon to QuickStep in the various Belgian media. Contacted by Cyclingnews, the Belgian National Champion confirmed what appeared in the Gazet Van Antwerpen on Wednesday morning.

"It's true that even after I won the Belgian National Championships, my manager Paul De Geyter got the clear message from the team management that I was more than welcome to leave," said Baguet. "That was a hard pill for me to swallow. I was treated with little respect, even after being true to the squad for all these years. Now the PR manager sings a different tune in HNB yesterday, but that comes as no surprise.

"It is a fact that the team thought I would sign a ridiculous contract - little money and for one year - with Davitamon. It was laughable, and Peter Van Petegem told me immediately he thought I should accept the better offers I was getting from other teams. Because of the respect I felt when talking to Patrick Lefevere, I didn't have to ponder my options for long. The management from Davitamon-Lotto team knew I had different teams interested; they were free to increase their bid. They thought I'd come back with my tail between my legs and were probably a bit surprised that this good old dog didn't sign."

The usually very quietly spoken Baguet is driven by more than disappointment though, and feels he has to speak out for once: "I'm sorry I have to leave the Lotto people disappointed. Apparently they really were in favour of keeping me. I've also got mixed feelings about leaving my trusted teammates; especially Peter is sad I'm going. But you know, it's not really about the money, nor the one-year contract. There's different things which I didn't really understand working with Davitamon these last couple of years."

Like the pyramid reward/bonus system? "That's one of those things. It was supposed to be a fair system, looked great in theory. But fact is that the division of the bonuses raises a lot of question marks. It's got the riders set against each other at the moment. The way it worked out is not ideal. The different team directors have to report to managers Sergeant and Coucke. They decide without giving any stats on who they think deserve the bigger pieces of the bonus cake. It's not surprising that those riders kissing arse with the right people get the most. At the moment, I'm still waiting for my bonuses, including the one I deserved by becoming National Champion. I don't know if I'll see those; I'll keep you posted on that.

"If Coucke and Sergeant thought I have no ambition left, they're wrong. I'm 36, but that is not too old. I'm not wasted and know that I can enjoy another two to three solid seasons. That's what I told Patrick Lefevere. He gave me his word that if next year is good, he'll be giving me a contract for the next season without hesitation. It was good to hear that he does believe in me," conluded Baguet.

Singh files third complaint with IOC

A third complaint has been filed with the Ethics Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the electoral process of the next International Cycling Union's (UCI) president. After former German cycling federation president and member of the UCI Management Committee Sylvia Schenk started the action by doubting that presidency candidate Pat McQuaid would actually be eligible the Spanish Cycling Federation continued just recently, by complaining about the secrecy surrounding the candidacy of current president Hein Verbruggen on behalf of its candidate, Gregorio Moreno.

Now, the Malaysian aspirant for the position, Darshan Singh, has submitted yet another complaint on September 6, concerning the modification of the Asian voting delegates. These had been voted on January 3, but again changed by the UCI in May. "There was a manipulation by Mr. Verbruggen," Singh said. "A new list was sent, without reason, with nine names on it. We had to vote yes or no by mail - which is prohibited by the rules - without having the possibility of changing one single name. That's inadmissible. Asia represents 22 percent of the voting delegates for the president. This can turn around the vote; therefore it's treachery."

Another point of his complaint is the inaccessibility of the list detailing all the names and contact details of the voting delegates, as well as Verbruggen's open support for Irishman Pat McQuaid as his successor.

Cyclingnews coverage of the UCI elections

September 24 - Spain's perspective on UCI election result
September 24 - Darshan Singh retires
September 23 - A wonderful moment for McQuaid
September 23 - McQuaid wins UCI presidential election
September 22 - IOC rejects complaints; Election to go ahead as planned
September 21 - World's opens, Spanish federation explains
September 20 - UCI committee exits Madrid
September 18 - Conflict between Schenk and UCI goes on
September 15 - Moreno not a Grand Tour stooge
September 8 - Baguet explains, Singh files third complaint
September 6 - McQuaid still UCI choice
September 3 - Verbruggen candidate for UCI presidency again
August 31 - Verbruggen nominated for UCI president
August 25 - UCI Ethics Commission meets
August 17 - Darshan Singh protests against UCI elections
Interview with Pat McQuaid: Next in line? Part II
Interview with Sylvia Schenk: Continuing her quest for Law & Order. Part II
August 6 - Moreno aims for presidency role
July 31 - UCI attacks Sylvia Schenk
Interview with Pat McQuaid: ProTour & Phonak, New teams & the UCI succession. Part II

Lefevere not happy with De Cauwer

QuickStep manager Patrick Lefevere, in favour of a direct approach, told Het Nieuwsblad that he is not happy with the decision of national coach to keep everyone in the dark about the selection for the World Championships.

"We still don't know if our staff should remain in Spain with the team truck after the Vuelta finishes," an annoyed Lefevere lashed out. "De Cauwer is taking care of his own PR and plays some fine cinema but he doesn't communicate at all with Tom Boonen, supposedly his team leader for the World's, nor with me. In fact he doesn't ask us anything.

"Maybe it is because Davitamon is sponsoring the Belgian National Federation? In Overijse I had to run after him to get a couple of minutes of his time. After that I haven't heard boo yet. I'm disappointed about that."

Lefevere has got a different opinion on who should be selected for the team: "De Cauwer needs five men from our team; Boonen has to have the right people to prepare the sprint for him: Verbrugghe, Cretskens, Hulsmans and De Weert... who else can do that? A Gilbert, Wauters, or a good Van Petegem..."

"I'm in the midst of organising the last practical details," was De Cauwer's reaction. "We've already talked about the selection: Lefevere wants five QuickStep guys. We agreed on four of them."

Freire's season over

World Champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank) will most likely not compete in any further races this season. That he will be missing his favourite competition, the World's, has already been announced, but it now looks like the chances of seeing him back in a race this season are almost down to zero.

Freire still has saddle sore problems despite his operation in June. "Oscar rides his bike, but can't train yet," Rabobank team manager Erik Breukink said. "That says it all. Maybe he can ride some event in October, but I won't put him in a roster if his condition isn't perfect. It depends on how it evolves these next weeks."

Ullrich leads T-Mobile in Nürnberg

Jan Ullrich leads his German T-Mobile team on Sunday, September 11 at the 15th edition of the "Rund um die Nürnberger Altstadt" criterium inside the old town centre. The former Tour de France winner will count on the support of Sergey Yakovlev, Torsten Hiekmann, Christian Werner, Olaf Pollack and stagiare Robert Bengsch.

Both Jan Ullrich (1998) and Olaf Pollack (2001) are former winners of the Bavarian race. And last year, another T-Mobile rider, André Korff, placed third here. "This year again, we will be riding flat out to get a result here," DS Mario Kummer said.

Kummer is not counting on Pollack to grab a podium place, however. Following a surgical operation in July and a subsequent lay-off, the sprinter attempted a race comeback only last week at the Hessen-Rundfahrt, but things didn't go quite as well as hoped - Pollack abandoned during the second stage. Sunday's race is another chance for the 31 year-old to save his season.

"Olaf needs to get race miles into his legs, but shouldn't overdo it," emphasised Kummer, and Pollack agreed. "You shouldn't expect too much from me just now. I need time, as it's not so long since the operation," he said.

The demanding 156 km race (UCI Cat. 1.1) will take the peloton over rolling parcours in and around Nürnberg. Last year over 100,000 roadside spectators turned the event into something of a folk festival. In total, 18 teams have registered for the race, including four ProTour teams: T-Mobile, Gerolsteiner, Domina Vacanze and CSC. Race favourite Jan Ullrich will have high profile company with Tour de France runner-up Ivan Basso.

Davitamon-Lotto in mourning

Belgian Davitamon-Lotto has announced that Dirk Van Steelant, one of the team mechanics, passed away on the evening of Tuesday, September 6, after long illness. On stage 12 of the Vuelta a España tomorrow, the team will wear black armbands to commemorate Van Steelant, whose last mission with the squad was the Tour of Qatar at the beginning of the season.

Manchester Revolution returns

In its third season, the Manchester Track cycling Revolution Series in the UK will begin again on October 15, 2005, with teams Great Britain and Holland competing against each other. Further events are scheduled for November 19, 2005, January 21, 2006 and February 18, 2006.

This year, Junior Track World Championships contenders Andy Tennant, Adam Blythe and Matt Rowe will also participate alongside the Elite riders, and the league format will be introduced to the Women's races.

Details of the upcoming season, hospitality and advance tickets are available online at www.cyclingrevolution.com

Fundraiser for Lance Armstrong Foundation

Will Swetnam, a 14 year cancer survivor, avid cyclist and member of the Lance Armstrong Foundation Peloton Project is holding a raffle to raise funds for the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF). Entries are made through a $100 donation (tax deductible for US residents) directly to the LAF, with 250 tickets available.

The prize list includes the official Tour de France Photographer's vest that Graham Watson wore during the 2003 event, signed by both Graham and Lance as well as a 1999 Mapei/Quick Step jersey signed by the team.

For more information, go to www.MyPelotonProject.com.

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