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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

News for November 6, 2002

Edited by Chris Henry

Botero back in the fold?

While making no secret of his desire to sign with a new team for 2003, most likely Team Telekom, Santiago Botero has indicated that he may be compelled to remain with Kelme for one more year. Botero confirmed that a meeting was held in Spain between Kelme owner Pepe Quiles, and the main representatives of the team.

"In the meeting they concluded that Kelme-Costa Blanca will not waive the release clause for my contract, " Botero told the Colombian press, "although we already knew that it was going to be difficult to insist. That leaves me two choices: to leave (and pay the buyout fee), or to look for a legal termination of my contract."

Botero, presumably not keen on paying his own way out of a contract, conceded that staying with the team for another season might necessary. "I believe the most logical option at this point is to stay with Kelme next year and finish my contract," he explained, "because a lawsuit could compromise my season, and that is the one thing I don't want. But I don't deny that I am looking for another way out of the current situation."

Gonzalez management claims buyout

Although Acqua & Sapone insists that it has a contract with Aitor Gonzalez, the rider's managers, Angel Buenache and Luis Sanz point to a 50,000 Euro indemnification paid to the team to release Gonzalez from his initial agreement. Spanish daily Marca reports that Gonzalez renegotiated his agreement with Acqua & Sapone manager Vincenzo Santoni during the 2002 Giro d'Italia, and the payment was made in the final days of the Vuelta a España. Santoni denies any such agreement, although Gonzalez's managers have reportedly sent the UCI documentation of the payment, which they claim legally releases the rider from his agreement with A&S.

Vandenbroucke looks ahead

Frank Vandenbroucke is once again looking forward to a new beginning, thinking now of the 2003 season and his objectives in the single day classics. Vandenbroucke's latest setback came after a bad crash in this year's Paris-Tours, where he broke his collarbone and elbow. On the mend from his injuries, VDB appears anxious to restart his training with an eye on being competitive in 2003.

"The collarbone is no longer a problem," VDB explained in an interview with La Dernière Heure. "As for the elbow, there's still a fracture, but it's healing well." Vandenbroucke hopes to get the green light from his doctor in the coming week to get back on the road. As for his return, only a training camp for the new Quick Step team is a certainty at the moment, beginning November 29.

One thing VDB won't be aiming for is the 2003 Tour de France. "The Tour de France has been the domain of the specialists, with Armstrong coming out the winner," VDB explained. "The Texan has found the right formula with riding the spring classics not so much to win but to get the kilometers in with an eye on the summer. I'm too hungry for victories in the one day races to have to focus exclusively on the Tour de France. Besides, I don't wish to be compared to Armstrong. Just like I haven't wished to be compared to Merckx before!"

One race that does interest Vandenbroucke is the 2003 World's in Canada. "It's very similar to Lugano in 1996, where Johan Museeuw was the winner," he noted. "That is, there's a nice hill in the finale. A hill that could favor the classics riders like me."

Team RONA signs Marsal

Team Rona has announced that Catherine Marsal (Fra) will join the team for 2003. Marsal rode this year for Saturn-Timex, with whom she had planned to retire. "Leaving Saturn was not an easy decision for me", said Marsal. "Saturn is a great team. But RONA gives me an environment to fulfill myself as a competitive cyclist. André (Aubut, Team RONA's manager) and I agreed that I can contribute to the team and still pursue personal goals. I'm very excited to have the opportunity to race with Geneviève (Jeanson), she's an outstanding competitor."

Marsal was junior world road race champion at age 16, junior world pursuit champion at 17, elite world road race champion at 19, and team time trial world champion in 1991. In all, she has been on the World's podium ten times in her career. Marsal has also found success in stage races, winning two Tours de l'Aude, one Giro d'Italia, one Etoile Vosgienne, one Grand Prix de la Mutualité, two Tours of Texas, one Tour of Norway, one Tour of the European Community. Marsal also held the world hour record in 1995 and has been a member of four French Olympic teams.

"Cathy is a fantastic addition to our team," said team manager Aubut. "She's not only a strong rider and a versatile racer, but she brings racing experience that our young team still lacks. She's been at the forefront for a dozen years, she knows both the European and the North American environments. It's barely an overstatement to say that she's more experienced than all the other RONA women added together!"

Lampre-Daikin wants to keep Rumsas

Although still waiting for French authorities to decide whether or not to bring charges against Raimondas Rumsas, the Lampre-Daikin team remains supportive of the rider. Team manager Giuseppe Saronni told Alessandra Bacchetta of Bloomberg News, "Rumsas already has a contract option with us for next season. We are close to him morally and humanly." Teams have until November 15 to submit their rosters to the UCI.

Rumsas remains under scrutiny following the arrest of his wife Edita by French customs officials on July 28 with a collection of banned substances in her car. Mrs. Rumsas spent 11 weeks in prison, although to date Raimondas has not been officially linked to the substances. Rumsas has denied any drug use, and maintains that his third place in this year's Tour de France was clean. He did not test positive for any banned substances during the Tour.

Cofidis completes roster

The French Cofidis team has finalized its roster for 2003. Marek Rutkiewicz of Poland has extended his contract with the team to complete the 25 rider. Jean-Michel Tessier (Fra), whose contract had been in negotiation, will not remain with the team.

Operation for Cipollini

World Champion Mario Cipollini underwent an operation Tuesday to remove a cyst from his groin, said by his doctors to be a common problem among cyclists. Cipo was under total anesthesia during the procedure, performed by plastic surgeon Stefano Pera. Evidently the cyst had been present for several years, but had become aggravated recently. Cipollini is expected to be discharged from the hospital Wednesday and should be back on the bike in 15 days.

Giro presentation rescheduled

The presentation of the 86th Giro d'Italia, originally scheduled for November 16, has been postponed until November 30 due to a planned strike by Italian journalists on that day. The presentation will still be held in the Milan Auditorium.

FIAC introduces National Points Series

The Federation of Independent Associations for Cycling (FIAC) will introduce a National Points Series (NPS) competition in the United States in 2003. FIAC was formed in 1999 and is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit incorporated in Colorado. Its mission is to lead and support the development of bicycle racing in the United States.

Riders participating in the NPS will earn points toward overall national titles in the following classes: Elite Women, Elite Men, Senior 3 Men, Junior Men, and Master Men 35+. Race organizers who would like to have their events considered for inclusion are invited to read the NPS description at . The deadline for submitting 2003 events is November 30, 2002.

FIAC has also welcomed California Bicycle Racing (CBR, based in Southern California) as a new member association. There are now five such associations with a total of roughly 9,000 individual members, each of whom has access to the events of all member associations. Other member associations are American Bicycle Racing (ABR, based in the Chicago area), American Cycling Association (ACA, based in Denver), Northern California-Nevada Cycling Association (NCNCA) and Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA).

Finnish UCI board member dies

Finland's UCI board member Simo Klimscheffskij has passed away at age 68. Klimscheffskij devoted 54 years to service in cycling in Finland and internationally.

Klimscheffskij started racing in 1948 at age 15 and moved to Italy in 1959 to train with the pro team Molteni as a preparation for the Olypmic Games in Rome the following year. Klimscheffskij was struck with stomach cancer, which put an end to his Olympic hopes. He survived the cancer, and with his competitive career behind him, focused on new pursuits.

"I first met him at the Scandinavian Junior Championships in 1960 and this started a life long friendship," recalled Swedish cycling journalist Thure Petersson.

Klimscheffskij was chairman of the Nordic (Scandinavian) Cycling federation 1974-78 and 1984-2001 and was elected honorary president following his retirement. In 1978 he was appointed member of the amateur branch FIAC of the UCI and in 1983 he took a seat in the UCI board, which he still held at the time of his death.

"Simo was a linguistic genius speaking fluent German, English, Italian and Swedish as well as Russian and French. A couple of days before the World's at Zolder he was taken to hospital and flown home to the hospital in Turkku, his home town where he also had been mayor for several years. So he was not able to witness Finland's first World Championship medal ever by Jukka Vastaranta in the junior's road race, a moment all his friends would have wanted him to share," said Thure Petersson

Simo Klimscheffskij leaves wife and two sons. He wil be buried in Turkku November 19.

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