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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Second Edition News for February 11, 2003

Edited by Chris Henry & Jeff Jones

Aitor Gonzalez remains in limbo

By Jeff Jones and Tim Maloney

The team status of Vuelta a España winner Aitor Gonzalez is still up in the air, according to the latest information obtained by Cyclingnews. Although Gonzalez has apparently been racing in a Fassa Bortolo jersey, he is still not registered with the UCI team, owing to a contractual dispute between him and Domina Vacanze boss Vincenzo Santoni.

During the first part of the 2002 season, Gonzalez (who was then riding for Kelme) signed an agreement with Santoni, who was then the manager of the Acqua e Sapone team. But after Gonzalez won the Vuelta in September, the bidding for him started again, with Fassa Bortolo finally claiming his signature. But Santoni maintains that Gonzalez still has a contract with him.

While decrying his team's exclusion from the Tour Méditerranéen, Santoni also updated Cyclingnews on the status of Aitor Gonzalez. "We understand that last weekend, Gonzalez rode in Spain [Six Hours of Euskadi] in a Fassa Bortolo jersey, but he's not signed up with that team," said Santoni. "It's strange that he's riding a race last weekend with a Fassa Bortolo jersey, because he's not officially registered with that team according to the UCI."

Santoni intends to pursue this matter further, pointing out that the UCI still hasn't received an original copy of the rescission contract that would free Gonzalez from his prior contact with Santoni's sporting group.

Aimar defends decision

Lucien Aimar, organiser of the Tour Méditerranéen, defended his decision to exclude Mario Cipollini- if not his entire Domina Vacanze-Elitron team- in Tuesday's edition of l'Equipe. Following Cipollini's announcement that he would opt out of the Tour Med due to insufficient fitness, an angry Aimar decided to exclude the entire team. "Last year I accepted him because he insisted, as a good will gesture," Aimar explained. "Cipollini is in mediocre form, but I've created 100km stages. What's more, it's been several days now that I've caught wind of his likely withdrawal but he waits until the last moment to warn me. I don't like to be taken for an fool."

Amore e Vita denied Division II

Following discussions with the professional cycling teams association (AIGCP), the UCI's Professional Cycling Council (PCC) has decided to deny Division II status for the Amore e Vita-Beretta team. The team's candidature was said to be incomplete. The rejection of Amore e-Vita-Beretta, directed by the often outspoken Ivan Fanini, comes on the heels of another team's denied entry in the Division II ranks, Index-Alexia.

Schleicher to U.S.C. Forno D'Asolo

German Regina Schleicher will ride for U.S.C. Forno D'Asolo this season, joining defending Grande Boucle winner Zinaida Stahurskaia for 2003. Schleicher, a feared sprinter, will help the team look for World Cup victories. The U.S.C. Forno D'Asolo team will total sixteen riders, including American new-comer Kristina Klass, Marina Kontchenkova (ex- Edilsavino) and young hopeful Ilenia Lazzaro (ex- Team 2002 Deia Pragma).

Italian National Championships schedule

Known as the Settimana Tricolore, the 2003 Italian National Championships will be held from June 24-29 of in three different locations in the eastern central regions of Emilia Romagna and Marche. Throughout the week eleven riders will be crowned as national champions. Five medals will be awarded in the first day of competition, when all time trial events will take place in Fano (Marche). The following day road racing begins in Corridonia for junior and elite women. Men's road races will take place in Saltara (Marche) and Rimini (Emilia Romagna).

The full championship program, and the winners of the 2002 edition, are as follows:

June 24:

Junior Women TT (Tatiana Guderzo)
Junior Men TT (Roberto Traficante)
U23 Men TT (Andrea Liverani)
Pro Women TT (Giovanni Troldi)
Pro Men TT (Dario Frigo)

June 25:

Junior Women RR (Monia Baccaille)
Pro Women RR (Rosalisa Lapomarda)

June 26: Junior Men RR (Vicenzo Nibali)

June 27: Elite Men RR (Dominico Quagliarello)

June 28: U23 Men RR (Paolo Bailetti)

June 29: Pro Men RR (Salvatore Commesso)

Courtesy of João Cravo

Yates still a TT force

Sean Yates showed that he's still a threat in a race against the clock, notching a victory in a 25 mile time trial put on by the Central Sussex CC. Yates, 42, covered the course in 54'05", beating the event's previous winner Tim Stevens by over two and a half minutes, according to the Yorkshire Post. This year Yates has joined Team CSC as a directeur sportif, but the ex-Motorola pro is keeping in shape, planning his next race in London at the Good Friday track meet in Herne Hill Stadium.

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)