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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for November 25, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

T-Mobile presentation sans Ullrich

Team T-Mobile (Telekom) was presented to the media on Monday in Cologne, or more accurately on a boat on the Rhine river in Cologne. Only 24 of the 25 members of the team were present, with new signing Jan Ullrich a no show on account of the contractual dispute between himself and Team Bianchi. On the other hand, ex-Team Bianchi rider Tobias Steinhauser was present in at T-Mobile's presentation in Cologne, having cleared it with his former team first.

After 13 years as Telekom, the team managed by Walter Godefroot is changing its name to T-Mobile next year. The German telecom giant will continue to support the squad until at least 2006, with next year's budget approximately €12 million. It's main goal is no secret: to win the Tour de France with Jan Ullrich. "We have one of the best teams in the world," said Godefroot. "There is Armstrong and there is Ullrich, but I think that we have more depth."

Jan Ullrich has already started training for next season, and hopes to make his debut in the Tour of Mallorca in February. His main goals are the Tour and the Olympics, but the Giro d'Italia is not on his program as T-Mobile will likely forego it.

Erik Zabel is focusing on the Tour de France next year too, and said at the presentation that he will avoid the most of the spring classics save for Milan-San Remo and the Amstel Gold Race in order to keep his energy for the rest of the season.

In addition to Ullrich, T-Mobile boasts this year's third place Tour finisher Alexandre Vinokourov, along with top sprinter Erik Zabel, time trial specialist Santiago Botero, Giro winner Paolo Savoldelli, Championship of Zurich winner Daniele Nardello, and promising Australian Cadel Evans. The team has also added Serguei Ivanov (Fassa Bortolo), Bram Schmitz (Bankgiroloterij), Tomas Konecny (Ed'system ZVVZ), Tobias Steinhauser and Andre Korff (Team Bianchi) and Eric Baumann (Team Wiesenhof). This year, without Ullrich (and effectively without Savoldelli and Evans), Telekom finished third in the world rankings. Next year it hopes to improve on that.

Team Bianchi's chances diminish

The chances that Team Bianchi will continue next season are diminishing, according to an ANP report. After the departure of Jan Ullrich to T-Mobile and the consequent withdrawal of Bianchi's sponsorship, the team managed by Jacques Hanegraaf has basically collapsed.

"The likelihood that the team remains in existence is quite small," Hanegraaf told ANP. "I go from there to say that the end is nigh. It is disappointing, most of all for the ten riders who have still not found a team for next year."

The team is still in discussions with the lawyers of Jan Ullrich about his unpaid salary since August.

Prudhomme takes Baal's place in A.S.O.

French television journalist Christian Prudhomme has taken over Daniel Baal's position as "Director of Cycling" in the Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.), the group that runs the Tour de France and other big races. Daniel Baal, who at one stage was seen as Jean-Marie Leblanc's successor, announced his resignation in September after nearly two years in the job, but A.S.O. did not wish to make it public until it had found a replacement.

Baal will not leave his post until January 31, 2004, while Christian Prudhomme will take up his role on January 1. "His competence regarding cycling and the passion that this sport inspires in him convinced the directors of the A.S.O. that Christian Prudhomme would be a valuable asset for the cycling races that it organises each year," the A.S.O. said in a statement.

Valverde's manager doesn't want Casero in Kelme

Kelme cyclist Alejandro Valverde's manager, Gorka Arrinda, has indicated that things would be "difficult" in Kelme should it sign Angel Casero. Although Valverde has a four year contract with Kelme, his manager told Euro pa Press that had they known Kelme was interested in Casero, they would not have renewed Valverde's contract.

"At no point has Valverde looked for another team, but the sporting project has changed. The commitment from the director Vicente Belda and the boss Pepe Quiles was the continuation of Sevilla, Quique Gutiérrez and Tauler, and the acquisition of another leader, but if he told us that this was going to be Casero we would not have renewed," said Arrinda.

"The spirit of this team was exactly what [Valverde] wanted and if this was broken, Valverde would not have been interested in it. The sporting credibility is worth more than the economic aspect, and Kelme's philosophy would lose its guarantee with the arrival of Casero."

Bettini awarded Giglio d'Oro

The world's number one ranked cyclist, Paolo Bettini, has been awarded the Giglio d'Oro in Pontenuovo di Calenzano, Italy in recognition of his achievements this year. In accepting the award, the Italian who won three World Cup races as well as the World Cup itself, announced his major goals for next season. "I want to win one of the northern classics," said Bettini. "Then I'll ride the Tour and, more than the World's in Verona, the objective will be the Olympics."

Gilberto Simoni, the winner of the 2003 Giro d'Italia, was also awarded in Pontenuovo di Calenzano. "I'm aiming for the Giro triple and in the Tour I want to give Armstrong problems," said Simoni.

In other awards, Damiano Cunego was given the Memorial Gastone Nencini for being the revelation of the year, while Alessandro Petacchi, with his 15 victories in Grand Tour stages, took home the Trofeo Gino Bartali, and Giovanni Visconti, the U23 Italian and European champion, was also recognised. Finally a special prize was given to Francesco Moser, who won an incredible nine "Gigli d'Oro" during his impressive career.

An interview with Anthony Geslin

By Stéphanie Langlais, translated by Chris Henry

Ready for another Tour
Photo: © Stéphanie Langlais
Click for larger image

Brioches La Boulangère's Anthony Geslin is part of the new generation of French professionals - young, hard-working, and eager to fulfil his dreams as a pro cyclist one step at a time. For Geslin, his second year as a pro was a year of ups and downs: solid race results, a commendable performance in his first Tour de France, and the shock of friend and teammate Fabrice Salanson's death on the eve of the Tour of Germany.

After some time off the bike at the end of the season, Geslin sat down with Stéphanie Langlais to talk about how things are going so far, the magic that is the Tour de France, and where his career can go from here.

Cyclingnews: Anthony, what brought you to cycling?

Anthony Geslin: Without doubt it was my family that gave me a taste for cycling. My father did cyclo-touring rides and my uncle raced. When I was around 10 or 12 years old I went to watch him race. I enjoyed it, and I got my license with the club in Damigny, next to Alençon [where he lives-Ed]. I stayed there four years before moving to Rouen, where I was with Team Péan until 1999. I started to win some big races, including the French national junior time trial championships in 1997 and 1998.

At that point I realized that I was going to devote my life to cycling, since many previous winners of that event had gone on to successful careers. Everything followed after that: I joined the junior national team and the Vendée U team before turning pro in 2002 with Bonjour. I made the decision to stop my studies after high school with a diploma in sports education.

CN: Does cycling's history interest you?

AG: I have to admit that knowing what happened in the 1972 Tour de France doesn't really interest me. I'm more interested in the present. On the other hand, I do have one idol: Laurent Jalabert. He's somebody that I admire, for the career he had and for his simplicity. I had the chance to meet him at the world championships in Zolder last year. [Geslin was an alternate for the French national team in the road race] He's very accessible and very nice. Plus, deciding to retire while still at the top... that's class.

CN: In the end, what is cycling to you? What does it do for you?

AG: First of all it's a passion that's inspired me since I was very young. For me the sport is about solitary effort, at the same time anchored in a group context. I came to understand the importance of the team and of working for a leader little by little. In the beginning I thought about the individual side before everything else.

Cycling is also about camaraderie and being together after the races. I like the sincerity that exists within the sport. On the other hand, what I can't stand is hypocrisy: those who put their own interests ahead of the team's. But in most cases the riders who behave like that quickly gain a reputation and it doesn't go unnoticed in the eyes of their directeurs sportifs.

To read the full interview, click here.

Mayo to help Colombian charity

Basque cyclist Iban Mayo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) will lend his support to one of the charity projects of the ONG Kainabera de Elorrio in Colombia. Mayo, winner of the Alpe d'Huez stage in this year's Tour de France, will gather with several other top sportsmen in Bilbao, Spain on Tuesday to unveil the project, which aims to create five communal dining rooms to feed over 2000 women and children in southern Bogota.

Journalists beat cyclists in football benefit

Multi-talented Bettini
Photo: © Olympia
Click for larger image

A team of Tuscan journalists has beaten a team of cyclists in a football benefit match held on Sunday, November 22 in the stadium of Cecina. The final score line was 5-4, with Paolo Bettini scoring a couple of goals for the cyclists. The match helped to raise money for the victims of the recent Nassiriya bomb attacks, which killed a number of Italians, and the humanitarian organisation Emergency.

Saeco signs Loosli and Matzbacher

Team Saeco has added two more riders to its line up, which now numbers 23. David Loosli from Switzerland, who rode with the team as a stagiaire this year, and Austrian Andreas Matzbacher, the current Under 23 Austrian champion, will join Eddy Mazzoleni, Gabriele Balducci, Sylvester Szmyd, Evgeni Petrov and Gorazd Stangelj as the new additions to Claudio Corti's squad. The existing riders are: Gilberto Simoni, Danilo Di Luca, Mirko Celestino, Dario Pieri, Salvatore Commesso, Gerrit Glomser, Alessandro Bertagnolli, Antonio Bucciero, Damiano Cunego, Paolo Fornaciari, Juan Fuentes, Jörg Ludewig, Marius Sabaliauskas, Alessandro Spezialetti, Andrea Tonti and Giosue Bonomi.

"We're fully satisfied with the line up of the team even if we can't rule out the possibility of a further two signings, especially for our Tour de France team," Team manager Claudio Corti said.

Team Saeco will meet between November 25-27 in Coccaglio near Brescia for its first technical team briefing. This first session will be dedicated to the planning of training and race programs, rider testing and the study of clothing and equipment (both components and clothing).

Mercatone Uno riders to Barloworld

South African Team Barloworld is aiming for second division with the signing of half a dozen Italians, mostly from Mercatone Uno, along with two unnamed Spaniards plus Team Bianchi's Swedish sprinter/classics rider Stefan Adamsson, according to Norwegian website Syklingens Verden.

Australian Sean Sullivan and South Africans James Perry, Ryan Cox and Tiaan Kannemeyer are staying on the team that will also sign their South Africans Jock Green and Darren Lill from HSBC.

As has already been reported, Alberto Elli will become a directeur sportif within the team.

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