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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, December 1, 2008

Edited by Sue George

Bettini back with Team Fuji-Servetto

By Gregor Brown

Italy's Paolo Bettini at the Milan Six Day
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

After only two months away from the sport, Italy's Paolo Bettini appears to be back. The two-time world champion met with Mauro Gianetti and Joxean Fernández Matxin Saturday in Chiasso, Switzerland, to discuss ownership of the Fuji-Servetto team, formerly Team Saunier Duval.

"We are talking with Bettini regarding a partnership. We are looking at it now; how his partnership will be with us. We are discussing a role for Bettini and maybe it could be a role in the society," said Gianetti to Cyclingnews Sunday.

Gianetti is the owner of GM Bikes, the managing company of Saunier Duval-Scott, which became Scott-American Beef in 2008. The team's next incarnation will be as Team Fuji-Servetto, in 2009. The team's ProTour licence, which was renewed for one more year last week, permits Gianetti to enter cycling's premier calendar races.

Bettini announced his own retirement on the eve of the UCI Road World Championships in Varese, Italy, his last official road event.

The exact extent of Bettini's influence over GM Bikes' operations is unknown; Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport suggested Bettini will buy Gianetti and Matxin out of their shares and become complete owner. There's merit to this argument, as race organisers may link the current management team to doping cases surrounding their former riders Riccardo Riccò and Leonardo Piepoli at this year's Tour de France. This could cause problems next season.

Gianetti refused to give more details until another meeting with Bettini. "My role? I want to do what I know how to do, like in the races," said Bettini. He explained that an alliance between teams could be possible. "It is better to have fewer teams but good ones."

A partnership could be forged between Palmiro Masciarelli's Acqua & Sapone continental team and the ProTour outfit. The experienced Italian would act as team manager and bring team riders and close friends of Bettini, Stefano Garzelli and Luca Paolini, across to the squad.

Vantornout breaks through to capture victory in fifth Superprestige

By Brecht Decaluwé

Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb)
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)

Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Projob) pulled off his best performance ever by claiming victory in the fifth Superprestige round of the season. The Belgian endured rain and snow through the soaked meadow in Gieten, The Netherlands.

With three laps to go, Vantornout led the race comfortably with a 20-second gap over Bart Wellens (Fidea) and Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Tönisteiner) when he suddenly lost traction and smacked into a pole. Wellens was the only one who exploited Vantornout's unfortunate blunder by bridging up to the leader before the start of the penultimate lap.

The race was eventually decided in a two-man sprint, which Vantornout won with a small margin over Wellens. Belgian champion and leader in the Superprestige series Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Tönisteiner) finished third and retained his lead in the Superprestige series, but Vantornout now only trails him by three points.

"This is why I'm racing. It's extremely hard to win a big race these days as the level is high. My goal this season was to be on the podium as much as possible, and I've already succeeded four times out of only five Superprestige races," Vantornout said. "This course fit me perfectly with its slightly uphill sections with deep mud."

When asked about the incident that almost took him out of contention for the victory, Vantornout explained that it was a nasty crash. "There were deep tracks, and I lost the good one. My back wheel slipped, and I crashed with my head and shoulder against a deeply grounded pole; I thought I was broken in two. Bart [Wellens] was able to come back, but luckily I had something left for the sprint," said winner Vantornout.

Runner-up Wellens was disappointed after losing the sprint against Vantornout. "Again, more was possible for me. Most of the time, I'm beating Klaas in the sprints, but I think I was in too big of a gear," said Wellens. "Possibly I lacked the necessary energy in the sprint after closing the gap on him."

Nys, the leader in the Superprestige series, wasn't complaining about his third place as he realized that it could've been much worse. "If you're having a bad day, and you're able to finish on the podium anyway, then one shouldn't complain. Today I simply was not as good as yesterday. When Bart joined me in the pursuit of Vantornout, I felt that I couldn't follow him either, and I decided to ride at my own speed in order to avoid a breakdown that would have allowed a comeback from the big group behind us," Nys said.

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the fifth round of the Superprestige series.

Sastre brings Gomez Marchante to Cérvelo

By Antonio J. Salmerón

The new Cérvelo Test team squad, led by the reigning champion of the Tour de France Carlos Sastre, is adding more Spanish cycling talent to its roster. José Ángel Gómez Marchante is leaving the team of Joxean Fernández Matxin after five seasons to join the newly-formed Cérvelo squad.

"I had the contract for one more year with the team of Mauro Gianetti and Matxin, but then the possibility of leaving for Cérvelo emerged. After having consulted about whether there would be any problem with breaking my contract, I signed with Cérvelo," Gomez Marchante told Cyclingnews on Sunday.

The 28-year-old Spanish climber offered words of praise for Sastre, the leader of his new team. "Sastre enabled me to sign with Cérvelo. For me, it is a big opportunity to be racing next to the last winner of the Tour de France. A great rider like Sastre will allow me to continue to gain experience and learn from him. I think it was about time for a change of scenery, and I expect that to happen."

Marchante has not yet had the opportunity to hear the opinion of his former director Joxean Fernández Matxin. "I have not called him nor has he called me. There will be time to talk. I hope he will accept my decision. I had contacts with Cérvelo before I knew whether Gianetti and Matxin would be able to continue their team." His old team's future was in question after both Scott and American Beef declined to continue sponsorship into 2009; however, the team announced earlier this week that it would become the Fuji-Servetto team.

Gomez Marchante was also optimistic that his health problems are now under control. "Last week I had an operation to address two problems: a fistula and a few hemorrhoids. After being weighed down for a long time by health issues, my results should soon improve."

The Spaniard will be present at the Cérvelo team's gathering set for this coming week.

Cavendish injures self with "Wii" game

Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia)
Photo ©: John Pierce
(Click for larger image)

Mark Cavendish is a two-time track World Champion and had the most victories of any rider in the peloton in the 2008 season, but he has come to woe in the off-season because, of all things, of a computer game.

He was playing a snowboarding game on his Nintendo Wii console when he fell from the board and hurt his calf muscle. "It's a pain, but it's a minor injury in the off-season and not a huge problem," Cavendish told

The 23-year-old sprinter still plans to join his Team Columbia teammates at a training camp on the island of Mallorca this week, where he will no doubt be the subject of jokes and comments.

Bruno-Roy and Driscoll win in Bay State

By Dave McElwaine in Sterling, Massachusetts

Maureen Bruno-Roy (MM Racing) is elated
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

Maureen Bruno Roy (MM Racing) and Jamey Driscoll (Cyclocrossworld/Cannondale) won the Bay State Cyclo-cross, round number seven in the Verge New England Cyclo-cross Series (NECCS) on Saturday in Sterling, Massachusetts. The pair took their respective wins using two different approaches.

Bruno Roy put it in cruise control and easily pulled away from her competitors on a typical November day in New England. Rebecca Wellons (Ridley) looked especially strong on the flat sections of the course and rolled to second place alone. Sally Annis (NEBC/Cycle Loft/Devonshire Dental) rode one of her strongest races of the year to take third.

In contrast, Jamey Driscoll (Cyclocrossworld/Cannondale) slipped a pedal at the start and had to work his way back through many riders before taking the lead and staying out front until the finish. Once Driscoll worked his way to the front of the race, he found himself in a group of five. It appeared that just as Driscoll assumed second wheel, Nick Keough (Jittery Joe's) counter-attacked. Only Driscoll was able to follow, and eventually was able to go around Keough.

"I had to ride cross-eyed to shake him (Keough) off my wheel," said Driscoll.

Matt White (Bikereg/ Joe's Garage) and Justin Spinelli (Richard Sachs/ RGM Watches) were locked in a battle for second place until a downhill crash by Spinelli relegated him to third.

The Verge New England Championship Series wraps up next weekend in Warwick, Rhode Island. Going into the final, Wellons and Driscoll are leading the series.

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the elite men's and elite women's races at the Bay State Cyclo-cross.

Ceramica Flaminia - Bossini Docce holding team camp

Italian Filippo Simeoni and his Ceramica Flaminia - Bossini Docce teammates will meet up in Civita Castellana, Italy, for a team training camp beginning December 9 and running through December 18.

During the camp, the 17 riders will undergo medical checks and take to the streets of the province of Viterbo for some training under the direction of Massimo Podenzana and Pino Petito

"There is a great enthusiasm in the team," said Team Manager Roberto Marrone. "We have grown enormously in 2008, and now we are a team of reference. We are ready to confirm the excellent performances achieved during the past season and to further increase the stature of the racing team as a whole. We have acquired riders that will offer us opportunities in all situations, and now directors will help them integrate into our already very competitive team."

Fuji-Servetto signs clothing sponsor

The newly named Fuji-Servetto team has signed an Italian firm as its official clothing supplier the team announced on Sunday. Marcello Bergamo Apparel will provide clothing to the Spanish ProTour team. The company is owned and directed by Marcello Bergamo, a former professional cyclist who competed in the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France and won victories in the Tour de Romandie and the Tirreno - Adriatico.

"Henninger Turm" to be held in 2009

One of the many threatened German races has announced the good news that it will be held again in 2009. "Rund um den Henninger Turm" will run again on its traditional May 1 date, with new sponsors, a new name and a new route. reported that the cities of Eschborn and Frankfurt and the Messe (convention center) Frankfurt will be the race's new sponsors. The race will start in Eschborn and end at the Frankfurt convention center.

The race was formerly sponsored by the Henninger Brauerei, which announced it would stop its sponsorship after 2008.

Now online: 2008 Cyclingnews reader poll

(Click for larger image)

It's that time of year again... the 2008 Cyclingnews reader poll is now online. Each year, we give you the chance to select the riders, teams, races, moments, equipment and photos that have really stood out from the pack in the last 12 months or so. To keep things simple, we'll be asking you to vote from a fixed selection in each category, as well as some 'free text' fields, so the survey should take you less than 10 minutes to complete.

As an incentive, we'll be giving away a pair of Zipp's 81mm deep 808 tubular wheels on the new 88/188 hub to one lucky entrant... So if you want to fly Fabian Cancellara this Christmas, let us know your thoughts on the rider of the year!

(Additional editorial assistance by Susan Westemeyer.)

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