News for December 12, 2002
Edited by Chris Henry
Cipollini & Pantani Coming Close
According to Vincenzo Santoni, team manager of Mario Cipollini's Acqua & Sapone team, a fusion between his squad and Marco Pantani's Mercatone Uno team is getting close. Quoted Monday in Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport, Santoni stated that "it's a marriage that we have to make." After a meeting in Milano at Action Agency, the marketing office of Pantani's manager Manuela Ronchi, the move of Pantani seems ever more likely. The new name of the team will be Mercatone Uno-Elitron, with Salumificio Portalupi coming in as a third sponsor.
Pantani will likely bring two key teammates along with him to Mercatone Uno-Elitron-Salumificio Portalupi: Fabiano Fontanelli and Spanish climber Danielo Clavero, who will join 16 riders of the former Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo team. Also joining the new formation will be sprinter Alberto Ongarato and possibly power rouleur Luca Scinto, currently without a contract.
"From our side, we are ready to finalize everything," explained Santoni. "Cipollini is ready to do this deal and, I believe, so is Pantani. Both athletes have already spoken and things are clear; they are happy to ride together so I don't see what the obstacles might be."
Ullrich: CSC or Team Coast
Despite recent talk of a possible transfer to Kelme, Jan Ullrich appears to favor Team CSC and Team Coast for 2003. According to Ullrich's manager Wolfgang Strohband, Team Coast is the backup of choice if Bjarne Riis and CSC are unable to find the sponsorship deal necessary to afford Ullrich.
"Coast is the first and only alternative," said Strohband. "For the moment these are the only two options. We've had good discussions, but nothing has been decided. We are trying to conclude the deal before the end of the year."
Andreu to leave US Postal
Frankie Andreu announced Wednesday that his employment as the American Directeur Sportif for the US Postal Service team will end as of December 31, 2002. This year marked the last year in a five year contract between Andreu and US Postal. Andreu rode with the team as a professional for three years prior to retiring at the end of the 2000 season. He then served as directeur sportif for US Postal's domestic racing program in 2001 and 2002.
"This comes to me as a surprise and is a sad ending to a wonderful job," Andreu said in a written statement. "I did receive an offer from the team to stay but felt the offer would not have allowed me to do the quality job that the USPS team deserved. I believe it would have sacrificed my self respect to hold onto to the position under the new terms."
Glud & Marstrand Horsens signs three
Glud & Marstrand Horsens has signed with three new riders for 2003. Returning to the team after the 2002 season will be Jan Jespersen. New recruits include 21 year old neo-professional Michael S. Larsen and Jimmy Hansen. Larsen joins from the Danish Elite 2 club ABC, while Hansen has ridden for Saturn and Team Bornholm.
Sierra Nevada/Clif Bar 2003
Team director Mike Neel told Cyclingnews that "Sierra Nevada/Clif Bar will have an 18 person roster for 2003, with six riders on the development squad and 12 on the elite squad. Our emphasis is on younger riders and building a solid foundation for the Sierra Nevada / Clif Bar team to grow into a top domestic pro team." Neel added that "We were fortunate to add Clif Bar as a major co-sponsor for 2003 and are also very happy to welcome Time as an equipment supplier (providing frames, forks, shoes & pedals as well as stems and seat posts)." Sierra Nevada/Clif Bar will also use Campagnolo components and Cane Creek Wheels with Hutchinson tires.
Preliminary 2003 Sierra Nevada/Clif Bar roster:
Andy Jacques Maynes
2003 Yeti Europe Race Team
After two successful seasons developing its downhill Race team in the UK, Yeti is pleased to announce a joining of forces with Evolution imports, racing in 2003 as the Yeti Europe Race Team.
For 2003 the team is hoping to build on its previous successes by maintaining its focus on rider development whilst helping to promote the products of its sponsors. The team's line up has been bolstered by the addition of Iain Cookson, Scottish National Points Series Champion and currently ranked No. 9 in the UK.
The team will have a full schedule in 2003, including the full World Cup circuit, full UK National Series and National Championships, Scottish National Series and Championships, and selected other national events in Europe, including some Maxxis and Avalanche Cup events. Members of the team will also attend selected regional events in the UK and a number of rounds of the NORBA series in the United States. The team will hold a training camp in the French Alps next summer, and will look to combine this with a number of additional races on the European continent if possible.
2003 Yeti Europe Race Team roster:
Dispute puts Wanganui track racing in jeopardy
By Alan Messenger
A dispute over rental charges for New Zealand's only wooden cycling track has put several major track meetings in jeopardy. When the gates to the Wanganui Velodrome were locked last week officials cited safety reasons, but it now appears that a dispute between the Cooks Gardens Trust Board who administer the facility and the Wanganui Cycling Club is behind the closure.
The Cycling Club's season opening carnival scheduled for last Saturday (December 7) was cancelled, and apparently the club's premier meeting of the year, the International Night of the Stars in February, is also in doubt. Other major meetings due to be held at Wanganui are a round of the North Island Track series and the New Zealand Masters Games in February.
The Cycling Club and the Trust Board agree that a dangerous gap between the track and its concrete apron has to be fixed, but the Board has also increased the Club's rental from $3,000 to $9,000 per annum, and the Club says it just cannot afford that. The Club, with a total membership of ninety, but only about fifteen active track riders, says that it cannot pay the increase.
Trust Board Chairman Noel Gudsell said that the amount of the increase is not negotiable. "They pay what the Trust believes is a fair rent or they don't use the facility; there's no grey area here," Gudsell said. Meanwhile, New Zealand Cycling is without its only wooden track and the country's track cyclists are the losers. Down in the deep south of the country, Cycling Southland is reported to be close to starting work on the country's second wooden velodrome at Invercargill.
South Bank International Criterium
Australia's Cyclist of the Year, Robbie McEwen, will once again be the man to beat on Sunday when one of the best fields in Australia lines up for the grand finale of the Summer Cycling Series, The South Bank International Criterium. Fresh from his victory at last weekend's Gold Coast race, McEwen is keen to complete the double, but acknowledges that new tactics will likely be employed by his rivals. This week the FDJeux.com duo of Brad McGee and Baden Cooke will be eager to produce better form to confirm their status as two of the world's best riders.
"I'm keen to win both races in Queensland, being born and bred in Brisbane, and to have the same preparation and racing results as I did last domestic season which set me up for the year of my life," McEwen said. "Everyone has had an extra week's training so I know it's going to be a tough race."
The venue at South Bank has been hailed as one of the best in the country for holding a criterium of this caliber, with the backdrop of Brisbane City and its setting in the beautiful parklands adjoined by cafés and bars.
The program begins on Saturday with a new concept in cycling. Riders will compete in a series of Straight Line Sprints down Little Stanley Street beginning at 3:00pm. Riders race off, elimination style, down to the final five. The five will then race to find a winner, and the competition will determine grid positions for the following day's criterium.
Sunday kicks off at 9:00am with the increasingly popular Corporate Race, followed by the always hard fought B Grade Event at 9:50am. The main race will start at 11:00am. It will be held over one hour and three laps with Adina Sprints every ten minutes during the race to keep the action fast and furious. Total Prize money will be $7,500.
On the start line will be one of the best ever assembled fields, with local hero Robbie McEwen, winner of the green jersey at this years Tour de France, Brad McGee, World Champion and Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist in the Individual Pursuit, Baden Cooke who was 9th at this year's World Road Championships, US Postal's Matt White, winner of the 2002 Noosa Criterium, Henk Vogels from Mercury, Nick Gates, who will join Lotto Domo in 2003, Matt Wilson (FDJeux.com), and a host of Queensland born professionals including Nathan O'Neill from Panaria, Jason Phillips, young guns including Allan Davis of Once, Mark Rowlands and David Betts of Team Down Under and Jon Cantwell.
VIP tickets are available for Sunday, and $20, will buy a marquis near the finish line with beverage available for the duration of the program. Anyone interested can contact Alison Emery on 0407 908 665.
2003 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under "Club Tour"
Want the best seats in the house for the 2003 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under?
At just $169 (Aus) per person, Club Tour members receive a polo shirt, cap and official pass, exclusive viewing facilities at stages 1 & 6, Club Tour Bar at the Hilton Adelaide, drink vouchers, 'happy-hours', giveaways, chances to meet the teams, 15% off official race merchandise and more! Plus, all Club Tour members are automatically entered into a draw to win a ride in the Doctor's Car for an entire stage.
Act now, because the Club Tour is limited to 100 members. To book, log-on to www.tourdownunder.com.au or call +61 8 8463 4702.
Quick Step-Davitamon website
The 2003 season has yet to begin and the powerful new Quick Step-Davitamon Professional Cycling Team has yet to pound a pedal in anger, but squad's genial PR manager Alessandro Tegner told Cyclingnews that "we have just implemented an important new step in our communications area; as of Wednesday, for all the fans of Museeuw, Bettini, Boonen, Vandenbroucke, Virenque and their teammates, our new internet web site will be online at www.quickstep-davitamon.com."
The website will be available in four different languages: Dutch, French, English and Spanish. It will not only offer the team roster, but daily team updates, other technical and general information regarding the team and its racers, the 2003 race calendar, and sponsors' and technical suppliers' links. The site also offers a new "Fan Zone" in the "Shop" section, where fans can purchase on line the team's technical and casual wear, as well as and other Quick Step-Davitamon items.
Look for a full report from the Quick Step-Davitamon team launch in early January from Belgium on Cyclingnews.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)