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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News for November 7, 2007

Edited by Gregor Brown

Nicolás Mateos: Escobar hopes to renew and Sánchez likely

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Escobar on the track in 2005
Photo ©: Matthew Moses
Click for larger image

Newly re-formed Professional Continental Team Grupo Nicolás Mateos-Murcia, headed by Ginés García, will select its members this week for the 2008 season. Sergio Escobar, leader of the Continental level team during the last two seasons, is still waiting for news with a certain amount of despair, while other riders are confirmed.

"I know that there is some interest, and I hope that an agreement will be finally reached," the former pursuit World Champion explained to Cyclingnews. "I have a unique opportunity to attract media for the team in Beijing, where I hope to win a medal. Really, I have been very happy in this squad, and although there is a change in management, I hope they value my achievements."

Escobar, who won the a bronze medal at the last track World Championships in Palma de Mallorca, stated that in his 2008 programme he will continue his focus towards the Olympics. "I have to give some priority to the World Cup, the national championships and the Olympic Games in Beijing."

Julián Sánchez, who started his career with Fassa Bortolo in 2004 and raced with Relax-GAM in 2007, has made a verbal agreement with the Nicolás Mateos for 2008 according to sources consulted by El Faro de Murcia. The Spanish newspaper noted two neo-pros to join: U23 Team Würth's Ruben Reig and Sergio Dominguez (U23 Time Trial national champion). José Herrada Lopez and Rafael Rodriguez, from Continental Team Viña Magna-Cropu, are also slated to arrive. However, it is not known if young promising Murcian local Javier Chacon will join.

Andalusian Manuel Vázquez confirmed his move – as anticipated by Cyclingnews – in a press note. "The proposal of the Grupo Nicolas Mateos-Murcia exceeds the conditions that I had," he stated. "The team, formed by Ginés García, will be very competitive, and I think we can expect to race in the Vuelta a España."

Ludewig signs with Sparkasse

By Susan Westemeyer

Jörg Ludewig hammers during the 2007 season
Photo ©: Andrea Hübner
(Click for larger image)

Jörg Ludewig announced his retirement from professional cycling in August and said that he had accepted a position with a German sports equipment firm, but he has since decided that he is not quite entirely ready to turn his back on the active sport altogether. The German Continental Team Sparkasse has announced that he has signed with them for the coming year.

"That was a consideration to involve myself a little in a team, to help a sponsor to stay with our great sport, which has been so badly portrayed lately, and to keep fit. Unfortunately, I haven't been successful so far," he told Cyclingnews.

"But even if I am officially listed in a Professional Continental Team or Continental Team in 2008 – my real professional career is over. As of January 1, my new motto will be 'Lightweight by Carbonsport.'" Carbonsport is a German firm which manufactures high-end-sports equipment, such as carbon frames and wheels. Its newest line of products is called "Lightweight."

"After 15 years devoted to cycling, I think it is a good idea to wind things down slowly this way," he concluded.

Ludewig, 32, rode for EC Bayer-Worringen (1997-1998), Gerolsteiner (1999), Saeco (2000-2004), Domina Vacanze (2005) and T-Mobile (2006) before joining the Professional Continental Team Wiesenhof-Felt for 2007.

A letter he wrote in 1997 inquiring into the availability of doping products came back to haunt his later career, even though he says he never followed up on the letter. It was published while he was with T-Mobile, and the team announced during the season that he would not ride any more races for them. This year, the Wiesenhof team management did not nominate him for the Deutschland Tour, eventually saying that it was because of his "past."

Milan velodrome ready for roadies

Alessandro Ballan and Filippo Pozzato (r)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Italian professionals will line up in exhibition races starting tomorrow on the 200-metre temporary velodrome at the 65th Milan bicycle trade show, EICMA. Fourteen truckloads of wood arrived last week to construct the track used as part of – Bikes4Show – a four-day event held inside the trade show's halls. Paolo Bettini, Filippo Pozzato, Alessandro Ballan, Yaroslav Popovych and Danilo Napolitano are some of the top 'roadies' expected to compete.

"Mamma Mia. It is better not to look," said Alessandro Ballan to La Gazzetta dello Sport when observing the banking of the short track. "Let's say, for a velodrome, it would be enough if I only rode the one at the end of Roubaix. Anyway, I will try to better myself – at least I hope."

Ballan, winner of the Ronde van Vlaanderen, will pair with Filippo Pozzato in the track events. "While we have come here we can still say 'Look, we still have not signed; there is still time to go home...,'" joked the winner of this year's Het Volk. "When you see the photos in the paper [the banking] does not seem so steep!"

Road World Champion Paolo Bettini
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Two-time Road World Champion Paolo Bettini will pair with his partner from last winter's Grenoble Six Day, Marco Vila. "Guys, at least we could put mattresses in the centre of the track. I have to say to my sponsor, Innergetic, that the slogan is ready: 'The mattress that saves the lives of trackies,'" he stated.

The track cost €300,000 to rent and construct, and the organizers think that the event will prove to be a success. The riders may be joking now but they will be professional as always when they suit up.

Danilo Napolitano, who twice has competed in the Worlds' scratch event, will use the test on his way to the 2008 Olympics. "It is really a beautiful track; it will be spectacular, you will see," said the Lampre-Fondital rider. "At the start of 2008 I will concentrate on the road, but thoughts of the Beijing Games will not leave my head."


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Roberto Bettini/

Kio-Ene-DMT builds with Sacchi and Commesso – Honchar expected

Fabio Sacchi at the start of Milano-Torino
Photo ©: Davide Tricarico
(Click for larger image)

Kio-Ene-DMT has added Italians Fabio Sacchi and Salvatore Commesso to its line-up for 2008 according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The Italian Continental Italian team of Marino Basso has also confirmed Mattia Gavazzi for an additional two years and is expecting the signature of Serhiy Honchar.

33 year-old Sacchi leaves the side of Alessandro Petacchi, who he has led-out for the past four years, including the last two years at ProTour Team Milram. He started his career in 1997 at Team Polti. 32 year-old Commesso leaves Professional Continental Tinkoff Credit Systems, where he rode during the 2007 season. He started his career with Saeco in 1998, riding alongside Sacchi during the seasons 2001 through 2003. (For more on Commesso read Finding support in Tinkoff.)

24 year-old Gavazzi turned professional last year. He won five races while riding for Kio in 2007, two stages in the Jadranska and three in the Tour de Normandie.

Honchar, 37 year-old, was released this past June by T-Mobile for irregular blood values in out of competition controls. The Ukrainian would allow Kio in more prestigious races, even if his signing could be considered controversial

Kuyckx renews with Landbouwkrediet

By Susan Westemeyer

Jan Kuyckx solo in De Panne
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

Jan Kuyckx has extended his contract with Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner for an additional year, the team has announced. The 28 year-old Belgian won the climber's jersey in the Three Days of De Panne and finished second in the GP Vichte this season.

The Belgian Professional Continental team now has 17 riders for the 2008 season. Returning are Bert De Waele, Nico Sijmens, Andy Cappelle, Filip Meirhaeghe, Kevin Neirynck, Steven Kleynen, Wouter Van Mechelen, Rob Peeters, Frédéric Amorison, Bert Scheirlinckx, Jan Kuyckx, Paul Manning, Ed Clancy and David Boucher, while newcomers are Sébastien Delfosse, Dirk Bellemaekers and Tom Steels.

The team will hold a training camp and get-together from December 6 to 8 in Spa, Belgium. All riders are expected to attend except Steels, who will be riding in a track World Cup in Beijing.

Hamburger admits EPO use in new book

By Susan Westemeyer

Bo Hamburger has confessed to having used EPO in the 1990s. In a book which was released today, he admitted to having used the drug from 1995 to 1997. In his book, Den storste pris – en cykelrytters bekendelser ('The Greatest Price – Confession of a Cyclist'), the 37 year-old Dane said, according to the dpa agency, that all of the top riders were using the substance.

Hamburger was one of the first riders to test positive for EPO under a new test in 2001 at the Flèche Wallonne. He was fired by Team CSC at that time, but the charges were ultimately dropped against him. The A-test was positive, as was one B-test, but a second B-test was negative. The Court of Arbitration for Sport finally ruled in his favour.

He started his professional career with the Dutch team TVM for which he rode from 1991 to 1997. He then rode for Casino (1998), Cantina Tollo (1999), CSC (2000-2001), Index Alexia (2002), Fromaggi Pinzolo Fiavè (2003), Acqua & Sapone (2004-2005) and Miche (2006), before retiring. He won a stage in the 1994 Tour de France, was second in the World Championships in 1997, won the Flèche Wallonne in 1998, wore the maillot jaune for one day in the 1998 Tour de France, and was Danish national champion in 2000.

2007 BMX Worlds declare bankruptcy

The Victoria BMX 2007 World Championship Society – organizer of this year's world championships in western Canada – declared bankruptcy. In the middle of last month, local newspaper Victoria Times Colonist had an announcement of the declaration that was on October 17 according to

A creditors meeting was expected to be held last week.

Organizers apparently owe over $100,000 CAD (€74,000) to local services providers and another $15,000 CAD (€11,100) to the Canadian Cycling Association (CCA).

"They were just not able to attract the level of corporate sponsorship that they had forecast," noted CAA CEO Lorraine Lafreniere.

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