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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

News for July 1, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Squinzi's response to Verbruggen

By Tim Maloney and Jeff Jones

Mapei boss Dr Giorgio Squinzi has responded to Hein Verbruggen's open letter that was published in the June 28 edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport. In it, Verbruggen strongly criticised the man who had invested around US$100 million into the sport over the past decade, accusing him of profiting from cycling to promote his "previously unknown brand" of industrial chemicals, and of "destablising the [cycling] market by signing up every talented young rider."

Dr Squinzi is currently President of Federchimica, the Italian association of chemical manufacturers, and is head of one of the world's biggest and most successful chemical companies. Verbruggen had insinuated that Squinzi and Mapei were nothing before they came into cycling, which Squinzi strongly refutes. In fact, Squinzi and Mapei have been recognized by none other than the Wall St.Journal as a model of entrepreneurial success while maintaining a strong sense of corporate responsibility. Mapei's chemical plants are known as being rigorously in line with strict EC ecological regulations governing chemical manufacturers.

Furthermore, Mapei has effectively used cycling to gain publicity and brought other sponsors into the sport through their business model such as Quick-Step and Fassa Bortolo.

Finally, in addition to sponsoring the world's number one division I team, Mapei has also been heavily involved in sponsoring young rider programs, both at the professional and amateur level. There are several developmental teams in Italy, Belgium, Spain and Australia, to name a few. The effects of Mapei pulling out of cycling will be felt globally.

The full text of Dr Squinzi's letter follows:

I have read the succession of articles published in the Gazzetta dello Sport, on 26 June 2002 (written by Angelo Zomegnan), 26 June 2002 (written by Candio Cannavò) and the open letter Hein Verbruggen of 28 June 2002 with the note from P. Cal. (Pietro Calabrese, director of the Gazzetta dello Sport).

I will not reply directly to the contents of these articles, not because there are assumptions and reactions to insinuations and heavy judgments that have been expressed about my personal situation and that of the Mapei team, but because I think that these type of comments and reactions are the best confirmation of the wisdom of the decision taken to leave this cycling. Therefore I'll stop myself here.

My attorneys tell me that the use of gratuitously offensive phrases and insinuations, which go beyond legitimate criticism or sporting controversy is technically called defamation. I'll leave it to them any further appraisal with respect to possible responses.

Personally, I am now going to dedicate myself to consolidate the optimal business results of my company, that has gotten from cycling (besides having given abundantly) a lot of notoriety and attention.

I cannot, moreover, forget that MAPEI S.P.A., first of all owes its fame to the person who started the company (my father) in 1937 and that it owes its reputation to the hard work and dedication of the staff during over 65 years of activity in the building industry, a company, therefore, Mapei that was anything but "unknown" (as Mr. Verbruggen said) before its entry into cycling, and was already world-wide leader in its field at the end of the 1980's.

Best Regards,
Dott. Giorgio Squinzi
Mapei SPA
Milan, 29 June 2002

Landaluze and Blanco injured in Spanish championships

A crash in the finale of the Spanish road championships has taken out Euskaltel-Euskadi's Inigo Landaluze, who was selected in the team for the Tour de France. However his injuries, which include a dislocated shoulder, will prevent him from starting in Luxembourg next Saturday.

Santi Blanco ( is in hospital after suffering a head trauma from the fall, he is conscious but under observation, at least until tomorrow. His Tour de France start is highly unlikely.

Bartoli back

Nearly seven weeks after he was injured in a crash at the end of the first stage of the Giro d'Italia, Fassa Bortolo's Michele Bartoli is riding his bike again. Last Wednesday and Thursday he did two one hour riders, and now begins on the road back to full fitness. He expects to return to competition in August but will not race in anything too difficult at first. His objectives for the rest of the season include the Giro di Lombardia, Giro del Lazio, Paris-Brussels, and Paris-Tours, but he is less enthused about the World Championships in Zolder, saying that the "parcours doesn't excite me."

Ullrich leaves clinic in Tegernsee

Jan Ullrich has been given the all clear to leave the clinic in Tegernsee where he has been undergoing rehabilitation for his knee injury, that has all but destroyed his season. That means that he will be able to start cycling on the road again this week, after having been restricted to ergo training for two hours a day.

According to his website, he will discuss his training program on Monday with Peter Becker. "When I can race again, is not yet known," he says.

Heppner, Bartko and Grabsch looking for jobs

Team Deutsche Telekom will not renew the contracts of Jens Heppner, Robert Bartko and Ralf Grabsch for 2003, according to team spokesman Olaf Ludwig. Ludwig made these comments at the German championships in Bühl this weekend, also announcing that Rolf Aldag, Torsten Hiekmann, Andreas Klier, Stephan Schreck and Steffen Wesemann will get theirs extended. The team's top stars Erik Zabel and Jan Ullrich already have contracts through until the end of 2003, while other riders such as Udo Bölts and Kai Hundertmarck will most likely get theirs renewed.

The timing of the announcement means that the riders are free to look for a new employer at the upcoming Tour de France, where a lot of contractual negotiations take place.

The happy couple
Click for larger image

Gaggioli married

On Saturday afternoon, June 29, in his hometown of Vinci, Italian Roberto Gaggioli, winner of 206 races in his professional career (more than any other active pro), married Lynn Brotzman, a new American professional cyclist who competed last weekend at Giro del Trentino and will race next week in the Giro d'Italia Donne.

Doping in Gran Fondo

EPO and growth hormones seized before Maratona delle Dolomiti

Members of the NAS and Guardia di Finanzia have carried out raids similar in style to those in the 2001 Giro d'Italia, before the Maratona delle Dolomiti, a large Italian granfondo (cyclosportif) event that attracted 7,000 cyclists this year. Police, acting on instructions from Paduan magistrate Paola Cameran, raided hotels on Saturday night in Alta Badia, uncovering a variety of banned substances including EPO, testosterone, growth hormone and amphetamines. No-one was prevented from starting the amateur race this morning.

Vansweevelt gets lifelong driving ban

Former cyclist Ronny Vansweevelt has been banned for life from driving by a court in Hasselt. Vansweevelt was caught in November 2000 by Belgian police with quantities of amphetamines and other doping substances in his car. The investigation that ensued found that he was not the principle supplier of the doping products, although the court declared that he should not be allowed to drive a car again [Note: during the chase in 2000, police shot 13 bullets into his car until he lost control and hit several other cars].

Vansweevelt was also involved in a doping affair with Belgian coach Jose De Cauwer, that forced De Cauwer to temporarily step down from his position.

2K2 Sasch Kulmine Cycling Team withdraws from Giro femminile

The 2K2 Sasch Kulmine Cycling Team directed by Gianfranco Miele, will not participate in one of the most important tours on the women's calendar, the Giro d'Italia femminile, which starts on July 5. The managers of the team met with the sponsoring company and decided that due to the organisational confusion surrounding the event, it would be best not to start. Instead, 2K2 will concentrate on other races in the coming months. They hope that things will be organised properly in advance next year.

Vermeersch recovering

24 year old Belgian Nicky Vermeersch, who passed out during a race last Friday and had to be resuscitated by paramedics, was able to leave hospital after spending the night there. It is still not clear what exactly happened to him during the race.

Tommy Simpson's daughter to ride Mont Ventoux

Johanna Simpson, the daughter of deceased professional cyclist Tommy Simpson, has left Gent for a cycling pilgrimage to Mont Ventoux, where Tommy died 35 years ago. Johanna will climb the last five kilometres of the legendary mountain a day after the Tour stage finishes there.

3rd 4 Bridges of Elgin International

The 4 Bridges of Elgin International on July 7 is the only race of its kind in North America for U23 riders, featuring the largest prize list ($10,000) in the world for a UCI U23 race. Past winners include Charles Dionne and Danny Pate, both of whom have had success as young professionals.

The 2002 4BE could be the best yet. Darby Thomas the 2002 Collegiate National Champion with Wheelsworks / Cannondale will be part of an anticipated 20 team field. Currently 14 teams are registered including USA U-23 team, Canadian National Team, Ontario Provincial, T.E.A.M. Team Mexico-Tecos, Fuji, Saturn Development, Sierra Nevada,, and ISCorp.

Other featured races at the 4 bridges of Elgin include the USHF Handcycle National Championships, and USCF Women and Masters races. Race day is July 7 2002 in Elgin Illinois.

For more, see: or call Chicago Special Events Management, 773 868 3010 ext 234

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)