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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest News for August 7, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

ONCE and iBanesto seeking new sponsors

Where to for Lastras?
Photo ©: Sirotti

José Miguel Echávarri (iBanesto) and Manolo Saiz (ONCE) have not given up hope of finding sponsors for their teams by next season, with around €7.5 million required by each to run at the same level as this year. According to reports in the Spanish press, the two teams have approached Inditex, a textile company owned by multimillionaire Amancio Ortega, which produces several globally marketed clothing brands.

Neither Echávarri nor Saiz would confirm the rumours that they had approached this company, which reportedly has an advertising budget of €550 million. "I'm not going to enter into the game to make my contacts public each time there is a rumour," said Saiz. "The companies would be pressured and pursued if their names appear in the press. Better to leave them be. If some day we do arrive at an agreement, we'll leave it to the sponsor to communicate it publicly."

Echávarri was less forthcoming: "I am not going to say anything about the negotiations. It wouldn't be honest."

Bianchi deny any problems

Bianchi still on two wheels
Photo ©: AFP

Team Bianchi has countered rumours that it is experiencing financial difficulties, after concerns arose about the team's future next year. Team manager Jacques Hanegraaf told DPA that, "We have absolutely no problems, otherwise we would not have our licence. For 2003, everything is in order."

Hanegraaf added that the team is still looking for a new co-sponsor to help make up the hoped for €10 million budget for next season. "We are having some very good negotiations, but it makes no sense to announce a new sponsor for 2004 now."

Team Bianchi wants to strengthen its lineup for next season with three to four more riders under one captain for the spring classics and World Cups. In July, the team will aim for a Tour de France win with Jan Ullrich. The team was interested in signing ONCE's Jörg Jaksche, however he has already gone to Gerolsteiner.

Ullrich's next big appointment will be the GP Zurich on August 17, and after that he will decide whether to race the Vuelta or not.

Vandenbroucke hopeful for good end of season

Frank Vandenbroucke (Quick.Step-Davitamon) has solid hopes for the rest of the season, despite not racing in the Tour de la Region Wallonne and HEW Cyclassics due to a throat infection. The Belgian was in action on Wednesday at a derny festival in Antwerp, telling TV1: "I feel very good, great even. I've been sick for a while, but the last few weeks I've been able to train a lot. On Wednesday I did a test in Leuven and that was one of my best for a long time."

"I'm aiming now for the autumn and above all the World Championships. I don't know whether I can win there, but it will be close. Bettini is perhaps the favourite, but I am not afraid of anyone. What he can do in one day, so can I."

Kelme's woes continue in Portugal

The Kelme team hasn't had the best of it in the last few days. The news on Wednesday morning that Kelme rider Javier Pascual Llorente tested positive for EPO during the Tour de France was followed by the abandonment of five of the eight riders on the team in the first stage of the Tour of Portugal.

The team management blamed gastrointestinal problems, although they couldn't pin down the cause. "Yesterday five of our riders went training and shortly after coming back they began to feel bad," said directeur sportif José Luis Laguia. "We thought it would pass but they had big problems during the night, with vomiting and diarrhoea. They still started, but they weren't in good physical shape and ended up abandoning."

"Honestly we don't know what happened, and we don't think it was a problem in the hotel, because there were more teams staying there who didn't have any problems. We don't know if it was dehydration during training yesterday or some bad water that they drank. Now the riders will return to Spain and there we will look for an explanation as to what has happened. We only know it was related to gastrointestinal problems."

Jaksche to Gerolsteiner

German cyclist Jörg Jaksche (ONCE) has quickly managed to find a new team, after the premature collapse of ONCE at the end of this year. Jaksche, who was contracted until the end of 2004 with ONCE, has signed a two year deal with German division I team Gerolsteiner. The 27 year old finished 17th in the Tour de France this year.

Marty Nothstein to ride in Nestor's Keirin Cup

Marty Nothstein
Photo ©: Jon Devich

The winner of last Sunday's New York City Cycling Championships, Marty Nothstein, will turn his attentions to the track again this Friday, for the Nestor's Keirin Cup at the Lehigh Valley Velodrome. The keirin will be the highlighted event for the evening, with top riders from the U.S., Australia, Argentina, Scotland and New Zealand expecting to compete alongside Nothstein.

Other top contenders include crowd favourites Australian Jeff Hopkins, and Andy Lakatosh, 2002 Junior World Silver Medallist. On the women's side top female cyclists Sarah Uhl, 2001 Junior World Champion, Ashley Kimmet, 2000 Junior World Silver Medallist, and Becky Conzelman, 2002 U.S. World Team Member will be in attendance.

Along with the keirin racing riders will also compete in the men's and women's miss-and-outs, women's 5-mile scratch, and men's 10-mile scratch. On hand from 6-7pm will be blues musician Illinois Slim, the Lehigh Valley Classy Cruisers Club and a host of other displays and games.

UCI pre-World's race for Juniors/U23s

A UCI sanctioned race will be held on Sunday, October 5 in Thorold, Ontario, just a few days before the World Road Championships in Hamilton. The Nella/Cramaro World Cycling Grand Prix organised by St.Catherines C.C. will start at 12:00 noon, and will be run over a technical and hilly 25 km loop. Juniors will complete the course five times for a total of 125 km, while the U23 riders will do seven laps for 175 km.

For more information please contact rdmtn_bike@ hotmail.com.

Illawarra Cyclists to Tahiti

On Friday, August 8, three Illawarra cyclists will set off to represent Australia in the 10th Tour de l'Amitie in Tahiti. This trio will be Australia’s only representatives in the tour.

The team will aim to produce results across the board. As a strong climber and time trialist, Guy Mathiske will lead the team in his seventh appearance in the race. A stage winner last year and a holder of the yellow jersey, Mathiske will aim to challenge for overall honours.

Stephen Franklin is a talented all rounder who on his day can produce results on all terrains. His attacking style could see him vying for stage honours when the opportunity arises. Peter Jones is the team's fast man, who is aiming to win stages including the opening prologue time trial. Although chasing his own goals, Jones will be there to support Mathiske on the climbs and by doing this could himself be looking at a high overall position putting him in good stead for the Best Young Rider classification.

The Tour de l'Amitie (Tour of Friendship) starts on August 9 with a 4.4km prologue to decide the initial jersey wearers. The first of the road stages starts on Sunday with 100 km around the West Coast of Tahiti. On Monday the race will travel to the island of Moorea with two ascents of a 3km climb in the middle of a section of dirt road followed by the decisive climb of the Belvedere. The race then returns to Tahiti until the split stage 5 back on Moorea which will again test the riders' time trialing as well as their ability to back up, with a short rest period before a sharp 87km stage. The tour ends on Saturday August 16 after eight days, nine stages and 692km.

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