First Edition News for August 6, 2003
Edited by Jeff Jones & John Stevenson
Ullrich wants to stay with Bianchi
Search on for co-sponsors
Jan Ullrich has expressed a strong desire to stick with the Bianchi team that helped propel him to his sixth Tour de France podium spot this year, but has told the German press that the team urgently needs a co-sponsor. "If the basic conditions are right, I will ride again for Bianchi next year," the 29-year-old told Das Bild, "however we absolutely must strengthen [the team]."
Ullrich's manager Wolfgang Strohband has said that potential co-sponsors were "standing in line" after Ullrich's spectacular and unexpected performance at the Tour de France, but these negotiations take time. "It's a job for the management, said Ullrich. "I am carrying on as though the team will exist in 2004."
Ullrich's popularity in Germany is still immense. An estimated 1.1 million spectators turned out for the HEW Cyclassics World Cup round in Hamburg on Sunday, and it seems most of them were there to cheer on the 2000 Olympic champion and 1997 Tour winner. Ullrich's fans have also been buying Bianchi team merchandise in substantial amounts since the Tour, and that hasn't hurt the bottom line.
Nevertheles, Bianchi needs a total of about 10 million Euro per year, and without a co-sponsor the Italian bike manufacturer will have to stump up some four to five million Euro itself. Bianchi was rumoured to be about to present a co-sponsor at the HEW Cyclassics, but Strohband denied this had ever been planned, telling Die Welt, "This date was an invention of the media. We never spoke about a date."
Meanwhile Bianchi is rumoured to be running into cash-flow difficulties once again, with some riders having to wait for their salaries. Ullrich has taken a reduction in salary to help keep the team's situation. "I made an investment in the future and wanted to keep the team going," said Ullrich about his financial restraint.
Ullrich himself says he would like to take a holiday, "but there are many more important races to come." Between his post-Tour commitments, Ullrich has managed to spend a couple of days with his girlfriend Gaby and new daughter Sarah Maria.
Bodysol-Brustor takes shape
Patrick Lefevere's new Division II team Bodysol-Brustor is gradually fleshing out its roster, although not many contracts have been signed yet. "We've spoken with Preben Van Hecke, Sebastien Rosseler and Johan Vansummeren," said team director Herman Frison to Het Nieuwsblad. "It's only a matter of waiting for their signatures. Bart Dockx, Wim De Vocht, Dimitry Muravyev and Jeremy Yates will come into the picture shortly. We're also interested in Nico Sijmens and James Vanlandschoot (Vlaanderen-T Interim), Andy Cappelle (Marlux), Niels Scheuneman and Joost Posthuma (Rabobank)."
Tim Jones to Domina Vacanze
Zimbabwean rider Timothy Jones is changing teams from Amore e Vita-Beretta to Domina Vacanze-Elitron. He will ride his final race with A&V in the GP Camaiore, before joining Domina Vacanze for the Clasica San Sebastian this weekend.
Milaneza expected to dominate shorter Volta a Portugal
By Jeff Jones
For its 65th edition, Portugal's national tour is shorter this year, in accordance with UCI regulations that limit it to a maximum of 11 stages. The Volta a Portugal will thus be run over 12 days (with one rest day) and 1669 kilometres from August 6-17.
The race starts in Albufeira in the south of Portugual, with a 175 kilometre stage to Tavira. It then gradually winds its way north via Loule, Castello Branco, Coimbra, Covilha, Gouveia, Joao Da Madeira, Fafe, Mondin De Basto, Favaios and before finishing in Viseu with a 36.7 km time trial. The longest and toughest stage is the fifth from Figueira Da Foz to Covilha (Torre) over 208 kilometres, finishing with the Cat. 1, 1990m climb of Torre. The riders have to tackle this climb again on Stage 6, but this time it features with 50 km to go in the stage.
The only other uphill finish is on Stage 10 from Mondin De Basto to Favaios, which ends with a Cat. 3 climb. The final time trial in Viseu is fairly flat.
Last year's race was dominated by the Milaneza-MSS team, which occupied the podium with Claus Møller, Joan Horrach and Rui Sousa. Milaneza will be back again this year, with Møller, Edo, Jeker and Horrach all keen to do well again. Their main competition will likely come from the other eight Portuguese teams entered, rather than the seven foreign squads, which include Lampre and Kelme as the only division I teams.
Milaneza - MSS
Stage 1 - August 6: Albufeira-Tavira, 175.6 km
Australians demand apology over Italian slur
Cycling Australia head coach, Shayne Bannan, has demanded an apology from Italian Cycling Federation president, Giancarlo Ceruti, over comments published in yesterday's edition of the Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta Dello Sport.
"Mr Ceruti has directly and through cowardly innuendo questioned the integrity and sportsmanship of the entire Australian cycling programme," said Bannan. "His comments are offensive and invalid and have been made by a man with no knowledge of the way in which we conduct ourselves.
"I am insulted and disappointed that a person in such a position as his would make such unwarranted and unsubstantiated comments and, on behalf of my staff and riders, I demand an apology," said Bannan.
Mr Ceruti told the newspaper that he could not understand the results of the Australian and British pursuit teams at the recent Track World Championships in Stutttgart saying, "On the road they are normal riders and on the track they become phenomena." The Australians smashed their own world record and the British team claimed silver.
"He obviously has no idea how a successful track program is run and should confine his comments to things he knows something about," said Bannan. "The success of our cycling programme didn¹t happen overnight and is in fact the result of many years of hard work.
"The Australian Institute of Sport track programme started in 1987 on the basis of a long track cycling tradition in Australia," said Bannan. "In recent years our road riders have also made their mark and instead of separating the road from the track we work with our professional road riders to include them in our track endurance programme.
"The combination of this, along with the technical and physiological expertise and knowledge of our staff, has proven to be a winning formula and any suggestion we would take short cuts and risk the health of our cyclists is outlandish to say the least," said Bannan. "There is no question we have always had the talented riders but now we have a structure in place that makes better use of our professional road riders and encourages younger riders to stay in the sport and realise their potential."
Italy failed to claim a single medal in Stuttgart and Bannan believes this has prompted Mr Ceruti to search for excuses to justify his failures.
Perhaps Mr Ceruti needs to read this Cyclingnews article that reveals some of the Australian team's techniques.
Swiss victory snatched from the jaws of disaster
How Switzerland's golden Madison world's pair came to be
By Nick Rosenthal
An unusual aspect of the recent track world championships was that Swiss six-day star Bruno Risi rode the Madison without his usual partner, Kurt Betschart. Normally, Risi and Betschart are inseparable. The top Swiss duo grew up together in a small Swiss village, and they are on record as saying they prefer not to race with different partners. Teamwork is crucial in Madison racing, and the "Alpine Express" pairing have an intuitive understanding of one another in a race situation. More than one six-day organiser has tried pairing Risi and Betschart with different partners, only to meet with a polite refusal from the otherwise easy-going Swiss stars.
However, what was unusual at Stuttgart was not that Risi was not paired with Betschart, but that he was riding at all. The Swiss team was supposed to be two-times points race champion Franco Marvulli and his regular six-day partner Alex Aeschbach. But the Swiss team's plans had to be changed at the last minute when Aeschbach got into a tussle with a bus while out training just before the championships started. The team asked Bruno Risi to step into the breach, and he jumped at the chance.
At 34, Risi has won a string of world titles in the points race, but he has never won the Madison crown. Both Risi and Marvulli were clearly delighted with their win, snatching victory from what had just a week earlier looked like disaster for the Swiss squad.
And this win confirms big Franco Marvulli as Seriously Hot Property in the six-day scene.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)