News for October 29, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones
Fassa Bortolo expects an answer from Gonzalez soon
Giancarlo Ferretti, the manager of Fassa Bortolo, is expecting an answer from Aitor Gonzalez about his future contract with the team by Tuesday evening, October 29 at the latest. The Vuelta winner has already indicated that he is "99 percent certain" to ride for Fassa next season, with just a few more details to be worked out. The two parties have a verbal agreement after meeting in the team's headquarters in Treviso, Italy recently.
Importantly, Gonzalez is not contracted to Kelme next season, although he did have a preliminary agreement with Vincenzo Santoni, the manager of the Acqua e Sapone team. However when he won the Vuelta, he received offers from several other teams, including Fassa Bortolo, Kelme and Quick Step-Davitamon. When Santoni couldn't guarantee to pay Gonzalez's salary, as he was not sure of his own team's sponsorship status next year, Fassa Bortolo stepped up to the plate.
"We do not want to be viewed as a team that steals riders from other teams," said Giancarlo Ferretti to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "If Gonzalez wants to come to us, he must guarantee that he is free from other engagements."
"We wanted Gonzalez because he could become our top rider for the stage races," added Ferretti. "It's still too early to make programs, to talk about using him for the Giro and the Vuelta, but this year he has shown what he can do."
Ferretti also commented about Dario Frigo (Tacconi Sport), who will return to Fassa Bortolo, the team which sacked him in the 2001 Giro d'Italia, to race for them in 2003. "His return to Fassa Bortolo is not with a view to the grand Tours. His difficulties in the third week make him a rider for stage wins, and not a man for the classification."
Godefroot: It's up to Kelme
Team Telekom manager Walter Godefroot has left the door open for the possible transfer of Colombian Santiago Botero from Kelme to Telekom. As reported yesterday, Botero is very interested in riding for the German team, although he is still under contract for another year with Kelme.
"We have offered him a verbal proposal," said Godefroot to German newsagency SID. "Now it's up to him and Kelme to make his transfer possible. He told us that he would love to race with us."
"Normally we don't make offers to riders with contracts," added Godefroot. "But Botero has objected to irregularities in his salary payment in Kelme. For that reason we have made an exception."
Botero will turn 30 this Sunday, and is coming off his best ever season. This year he won two stages in the Tour de France and finished fourth overall, a stage in the Vuelta España, a stage in the Dauphine Libéré, the Classique des Alpes and the World Time Trial Championship. He is ranked 15th in the world with 1,131 UCI points.
He would be an attractive catch for Telekom, which has revamped its lineup this year, losing Jan Ullrich but gaining Paolo Savoldelli, Cadel Evans, Daniele Nardello, and Mario Aerts. Telekom will focus its top riders on the Tour de France and Botero has certainly proved himself in this race.
Escartín closer to retirement
34 year old Spanish rider Fernando Escartín could be the third top Spanish rider to retire this season after Abraham Olano and Melchor Mauri. Former Swiss pro Tony Rominger, who now manages riders, said that he would try hard over the next few days to find a team that could offer Escartín what Team Coast wasn't able to. But the chances of us seeing Escartín battling in the mountains next season are very slim indeed.
"I committed myself with Tony to wait for a few more days, and for that reason I have not yet made the final decision, although it is 90 percent sure that I will retire", said Escartín, who wants to race for another year.
If he does retire, the traditional "Criterium de la ACP" - the event organised by the riders association that ended the Spanish season last Sunday - will have been the farewell race for three great Spanish champions.
No contract for Peter Riis Andersen
Danish rider Peter Riis Andersen will no longer be riding for MTB Team T-Mobile, which recently signed Bart Brentjens, next season, after his contract was not prolonged. Andersen was Danish National Elite Champion and European Championships Bronze medalist in 2001, however his 2002 season was a disappointment. He did improve his best placing in a World Cup from 23rd to 16th.
Chausson to Commencal, Pruitt to Luna Chix
10 time World Champion Anne-Caroline Chausson will ride for Commencal bikes (France) next season. Commencal bikes owner Max Commencal was one of Chausson's first team managers at Sunn BMX and MTB. Chausson rode for Volvo-Cannondale this year, but that team is folding.
In other MTB team news, Kathy Pruitt (Santa Cruz) will race for the Luna Chix team next season. Pruitt is a previous Junior World Champion.
Two Spanish neo's to Portugal
Following on from José Luis Guillamon, Santiago Perez, Oscar Pereira and more recently Francisco Gutierrez, Portugal remains a very interesting professional testing ground for many of the best neo-pros out of Spain. Spaniards Jordi Berenguer (Valência-Sodexho) and Javier De La Torre (Cropusa), winner of the Vuelta a Cartagena 2002, have both signed contracts with the Portuguese Division III team Ovarense/Pepolim & Irmaos.
Courtesy of João Cravo
Book review: Day of Glory or Day of Pain
Written by La Voix du Nord journalist Laurent Watiez, "Day of Glory or Day of Pain" is a 120 page collection of stories from 20 legends of cycling. Riders featured include Rik Van Steenbergen, André Darrigade, Rik Van Looy, Raymond Poulidor, Eddy Merckx, Jan Janssen, Gianni Motta, Roger De Vlaeminck, Bernard Hinault, Stephen Roche and Sean Kelly. Each rider recounts a particular anecdote from one or two of their most memorable races, describing the joy of winning, and/or the pain of defeat. The stories are often amusing and provide an interesting insight into the world of professional cycling over the years.
The book has been published in French and Dutch, but has now been translated into English. It's illustrated with some fantastic black and white photos, including a memorable one of Rudi Altig putting Jan Janssen and Eddy Merckx in difficulty during the 1967 Paris-Roubaix.
Day of Glory or Day of Pain: Hardbound, 120 pages, 100 photos.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)