Latest News for February 27, 2003
Edited by Chris Henry
Team Coast under the microscope
Following claims by a number of riders that Team Coast did not pay their
full salaries in 2002, the UCI has been keeping tabs on Coast's financial
activity this year. The UCI granted Team Coast entry to Division I on
a 'controlled administration' status, meaning the Professional Cycling
Council (PCC) has been checking the monthly payments by the team to its
Already in February some issues have arisen. La Gazzetta dello Sport
reports Thursday that some riders' salaries were paid by bank cheque rather
than by wire transfer, as required under agreements with the UCI. The
next check by the UCI is likely to come in the first week of March, and
could determine whether Team Coast will be able to maintain its Division
Ullrich's contract not yet registered
Another dynamic of the Team Coast situation is that the UCI has not yet
received the team's contract with Jan Ullrich. Team Coast is reportedly
awaiting the arrival of some new sponsors which will help cover Ullrich's
salary, though those arrangements have not been finalised. This means
that the potential exists for Ullrich's season to be further destabilized
should his new team's finances come into serious question. If Coast is
unable to meet its obligations, Ullrich could conceivably find himself
back on the market, where other teams remain interested in his signature,
notably Saeco and Mercatone Uno-Scanavino.
Rumsas doubts Lampre invite to Tour
Raimondas Rumsas expressed his doubts concerning an invitation for his
Lampre team to race in this year's Tour de France. Rumsas, who finished
third in the 2002 Tour, came under heavy suspicion for doping following
his wife Edita's arrest at the French border on the last day of the Tour.
Mrs. Rumsas was stopped by customs officials with a number of banned substances
in her car, which both she and her husband denied were ever used by the
cyclist. Raimondas Rumsas had not tested positive for any controlled substances
during the Tour, but nor could he escape the suspicion of wrong-doing.
"My guess is that Jean-Marie Leblanc won't invite Lampre to the Tour
de France, but that will be his doing and not mine," Rumsas commented
in Vélo Magazine. The Lithuanian started his 2003 season with Lampre
at the GP Costa degli Etruschi in Italy, and notes that he has no concerns
about racing in France, although his current schedule does not include
any French races. "For my part, I still have a job and I'm happy," he
Rumsas may be happy, although Lampre directeur sportif Pietro Algeri
is not thrilled with the situation, having openly declared that he does
not believe Rumsas' story. "I don't accept that [my other riders] get
mixed up in this, that their image, and mine too, get tarnished," Algeri
said frankly. "I don't have the proof that he cheated, but I've told him
all this because I think being frank, even if it hurts, is beneficial."
Algeri was not keen on keeping Rumsas in the team following the events
of 2002, but team owner Mr. Galbusera sought to keep Rumsas in the fold.
Rumsas continues to maintain his innocence, and remains proud of his podium
place in the 2002 Tour. "I have nothing to hide, and I don't lie," he
argued. "During the Tour de France I passed all of the controls; I was
never positive. The products [in Edita's car] were not for me. I finished
third in the Tour de France and it's the highlight of my career. I'm still
New complications for Savoldelli
Team Telekom's Paolo Savoldelli, injured in training February 15, will
be on the sidelines for longer than originally suspected. Savoldelli suffered
a broken nose and thumb in a head on collision with a motorbike, two injuries
which were thought to only delay his season by a few weeks. However, while
the nose and thumb are healing as expected, Savoldelli's latest MRI revealed
that his 6th and 7th cervical vertebrae were broken in the accident as
well. Consequently, Savoldelli will probably not return to racing for
at least two months. He will be wearing a collar for three weeks, a new
setback for the 2002 Giro d'Italia winner.
Cycling Australia suspends Kersten
Cycling Australia announced Thursday the imposition of a three month
suspension on Woollongong cyclist Ben Kersten, 21, for misconduct. Cycling
Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) conducted a joint
investigation into a report submitted by the team management after the
recent Track World Cup round in Moscow. The federation did not specify
the nature of Kersten's misconduct.
"The investigation found that Ben's behaviour contravened the Cycling
Australia athlete Code of Conduct and was unacceptable for a member of
an Australian team," said Mike Victor, Cycling Australia President. "As
a result, Cycling Australia has imposed a three month suspension which
will end on May 27th."
Kersten and team officials were interviewed in the course of the investigation.
The cyclist has the right to appeal the decision. As it stands, the suspension
means that Kersten will not be able to compete in the Australian Track
Cycling Championships in Sydney in April.
"Cycling Australia and the AIS have offered support and counseling for
Ben during the period of his suspension," said Victor. "After the three
months has elapsed Ben will be eligible to rejoin the Cycling Australia
High Performance Program."
Kiwi cyclist Sarah Ulmer on track for Athens
By Alan Messenger
Kiwi Track Cyclist Sarah Ulmer has her sights fixed firmly on the Athens
Olympics and her campaign virtually starts next week with the New Zealand
National track Championships at Dunedin. "It's a concrete track so I'm
not looking to do any fantastic times down there, it's all training really,"
Ulmer told cyclingnews.
The Commonwealth Games Pursuit Champion raised a few eyebrows when she
rode the Tour of Wellington recently as a member of an invited women's
team, but from now on her focus will be on the track. "I'll be riding
the World Cup meeting at Mexico later in March and also the Sydney World
Cup meeting in July," she said.
In the meantime, Ulmer took time out from her own training to be at Taupo
this weekend as a member of the backup crew for partner Brendon Cameron
in the New Zealand Ironman event. Cameron, a former member of the Kiwi
track teams pursuit squad, is competing in the Ironman event for the second
time. He recently set a record on the bike in the Te Awamutu Summer series
but is looking forward to just finishing the Ironman.
Manfred Donike dead at 41
Manfred Donike, a high ranking commissaire for the German cycling federation,
has died at the age of 41. Donike served as chief commissaire for the
UCI at the Moscow Track World Cup events. Donike, who has also served
as a jury member for the Tour de France, is said to have died of heart
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)