First Edition News for June 25, 2003
Edited by John Stevenson
Gorski moves on
Mark Gorski, CEO of Tailwind Sports, the management and marketing company that runs the US Postal Service team, has resigned from Tailwind to take up a new position as Executive Vice President of the Schupp Company, an advertising agency based in St. Louis, MO.
Gorski, whose lifelong involvement with cycling includes a gold medal on the track at the 1984 Olympics and the signing of the US Postal Service as sponsor for Tailwind's team, joined tailwind in May 1995. He will step down officially on July 1 and Tailwind Vice President Dan Osipow will become Interim General Manager for the both the company and the team. However, Gorski will assist with team operations through the Tour de France.
In a company statement, Gorski cited family considerations as the main reason for the move, adding, "I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished over the last eight years with the team. Lance Armstrong and the Team's success at the Tour de France since 1999 has been very satisfying and fulfilling, personally and professionally. To have helped Thom Weisel, Johan Bruyneel, Lance and the rest of the team attain such an incredible level of success makes me feel very fortunate."
Former Tour de Toona Director accused of embezzlement
Kirk Leidy, former director of the Altoona, Pennsylvania stage race now known as The International (formerly the Tour de Toona) is under investigation by state police on suspicion of embezzling between $200,000 and $300,000 from the race over a ten-year period, according to the Altoona Mirror.
Leidy allegedly over-billed for services to the Altoona Bicycle Club, the race organizer, provided by his company Photo Specialists, according to an affidavit of probable cause recently unsealed in the provision of a search warrant for Leidy's business.
Although Leidy claims he is innocent and the state attorney general's office has not filed charges, race promoter Rick Geist told police that Leidy has admitted some of the embezzlement.
Alleged discrepancies between work Leidy had done for the Tour and amounts billed came to light in late 2001. Susan Abbott, an employee of Photo Specialists and the club's finance director, noticed Leidy had cashed a cheque for $3,700 but had not done any recent work for the race.
After being reassured by Leidy that he "deserved" that payment, and would prepare "fictitious invoices" to cover a $10,000 charge for a minor change to a promotional video from the previous April, Abbott took her suspicions to Geist who ordered an audit of club finances.
The auditor presented the results to the club board, including Leidy, in November 2002 and the board discussed repayment of the missing money with Leidy. That's still all that the club wants, Geist told the Altoona Mirror, but after Leidy hired a lawyer it became clear that it wasn't happening.
Geist and Abbott went to the police in February 2003 and in March police searched Leidy's premises seizing computers, disks, photos, video tapes and documents.
Leidy's lawyer Steve Passarello said his client was "stunned" by the allegations and can make a strong defense if the Attorney General's office files charges.
Pantani entourage tight-lipped about clinic stay
Marco Pantani's manager Davide Boifava has confirmed that the troubled Italian star has checked into a clinic in Teolo, near Padua that specializes in the treatment of depression and nervous problems, as reported on Monday. But he and other members of the Pantani organisation aren't saying why.
Boifave told La Gazzetta dello Sport that Pantani had retreated to "a place far from indiscreet glances and from all pressure to gather himself in the company of some of his friends."
Pantani's communications manager Manuela Ronchi said she did not know where the rider was, adding, "I do not know anything, but I can say that he has been very stressed with personal issues and we are not going to make any other statements."
Pantani's decision to take a holiday from the world may have something to do with his imminent court appearance on charges arising from his expulsion from the Giro d'Italia on June 5 1999 after returning a haematocrit level of over 50 percent. Pantani is due to appear on July 19 at the court of Tione near Trento.
USA Cycling announces Pan-Am mountain bikers
USA Cycling has announced the three off-road riders that will complete its team for the Pan-American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, August 1-17. Mountain bikers Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, Jeremiah Bishop and Mary McConneloug will wear the stars and stripes in the cross-country events, joining previously announced riders such as Tanya Lindenmuth, Jame Carney, Chris Baldwin and Kimberly Bruckner on the team.
Horgan-Kobelski and Bishop were selected on the basis of being the top two US riders on the NORBA standings after the third round of the national series in Mt Snow, Vermont this past weekend. McConneloug is the top US rider in the women's standings and this past weekend won the NORBA pro cross-country at Mt Snow.
The addition of the mountain bikers brings the total number of athletes representing the USA in road, track, and mountain bike events at the Pan Am Games to 13.
Challenge for Vini Caldirola
The Vini Caldirola - Saunier Duval team has acquired Challenge tubulars as a new equipment sponsor for the remainder of 2003.
World of Difference adds riders, sponsors
The World of Difference team has added two riders to its roster of female cyclists and signed several new sponsors for the 2003 season. The new team members are 26-year-old New Zealander Johanna Buick and 28-year-old Allison Lusby of Boulder Colorado.
A climbing specialist who describes herself as a "mountain goat", Buick rode last year's HP Women's Challenge with the New Zealand team and the 2003 Vuelta de Bisbee and Tour of the Gila. Her program for the remainder of 2003 includes the Cascade Classic, the Murrysville Classic, the 'International', the Mount Washington Hill Climb, and the Green Mountain Stage Race. Buick will end her U.S. racing tour at San Francisco's T-Mobile Invitational.
In her first year of racing, Lusby was second behind Kimberly Bruckner in the 2002 Bob Cook Mount Evans Hill Climb, and will concentrate on racing in the Colorado area, as well as joining the team for Mt Washington and San Francisco.
On the sponsorship side, World of Difference has signed up Voler Team Apparel to provide racewear, including jerseys, shorts, and skinsuits; Rudy Project North America as eyewear sponsor and Central Pennsylvania three-store shop chain Mountainside Ski & Sport as the team's shop sponsor.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)