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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for July 19, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Basso, CSC extend until 2009

A happy CSC team manager Bjarne Riis was able to announce today that his star rider, Ivan Basso, and his main sponsor, CSC (Computer Sciences Corporation), have extended their contracts with him until 2009. CSC Global, based in El Segundo, California, has been reveiwing a four year deal with Riis Cycling to step up the level of sponsorship of the team, which includes signing Ivan Basso to a major 2 million a year contract that will keep the talented Italian under CSC colours for the next four years.

"Both personally and on behalf of the team I am very happy that the sponsorship agreement has now been finalized," said Riis. "Our partnership with CSC gives us the perfect foundation to create the absolute best team in the world. Now we have the right perspective for the future, and this gives us unique possibilities to develop in the right direction. We have come far in the last couple of seasons, and no one should have any doubts, that our ambitions are sky high!"

In recent months, Riis has been playing a Svengali role to Basso, firing his preparatore Luigi Cecchini and personally taking over Basso's training. "Ivan has not only lived up to our expectations, he has impressed me time after time with his will to improve and take responsibility for himself and his team. He has developed enormously. From being a talent and someone who constantly made the top 10 in many of the big races, he is now the future of cycling for the next couple of years. Ivan has never made a secret of the fact that he likes being on our team, and that means a lot to us all. With us he has the full support and a team, where he fits in well as a person. In Ivan we have a rider, who can one day win the Tour de France."

Ivan Basso, who has been courted by Johan Bruyneel, said that he was happy to stay with Riis. "Right from the start Team CSC has been the perfect team for me. Here I've found the best conditions to evolve both as a rider and as a person. I have a perfect relationship with Bjarne, and he deserves most of the credit for me having achieved, what I have during the last two seasons. The team provides me with the perfect support and here I feel like I'm a part of a family. I'm happy, that this is where I can show my full potential and aim for the big goals."

Papa Frigo: "My son is not a scoundrel"

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

Although Fassa Bortolo team manager Giancarlo Ferretti called Dario Frigo a "scoundrel with a capital S" in a hysterical TV interview with RAI-Sport-TV's Auro Bulbarelli last week, Frigo's father Rosello and sister Elga have stepped in to defend Dario. On July 12th, Frigo's wife Susanna was stopped by French customs police near Chambéry and when her car was searched, they found a thermos with what was alleged to be 10 vials of EPO under a layer of ice. Susanna Frigo was detained and the next morning, Dario Frigo was brought in for questioning by French gendarmes. That evening, Frigo and his wife were released on €30,000 bail and returned to their home in Monte Carlo, but the couple will have to return to France soon for pre-trial guarded custody at the house of French friends. Susanna Frigo risks three years in prison for trafficking illicit substances, while Frigo himself risks two years in the pokey as an accessory to trafficking.

In an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport on July 16th, Rosello Frigo explained his family's remorse, saying, "Dario has made a mistake and he should pay, but what was said (by Ferretti) about him is not right. I want to ask Ferretti is he understands what he said about Dario. Because if Dario is a scoundrel, what is Ferretti? Did he remember when doping products were found in the team vehicles? I'm convinced that Ferretti knows nothing about cycling..."

Frigo's father poignantly explained further, "We are not a family of monsters and Dario isn't a scoundrel like Ferretti says. (Dario's) a person with a weak character, he's a fragile person. I'm afraid for him...the bicycle is his life. Look at others, like Pantani, Jimenez...please, help us to help Dario. We're honest, respectable people and we're not stupid. Dario, I want to talk to you. Help me understand where we went wrong."

The same day as Rosello Frigo's interview with La Gazzetta, his sister Elga sent an open letter to the media along the same lines as her fathers points about Dario Frigo. Although Frigo has not yet spoken to his father, his agent Giuseppe Acquadro called Mr. Frigo Saturday to pass along a message from Dario to his family.

Hondo decision appealed by all parties

The Court of Arbitration for Sports announced today that Danilo Hondo has appealed the sentence handed down by the Disciplinary Chamber of the Swiss Olympic Committee. "Hondo requests CAS to annul the decision made by Swiss Olympic and to exonerate him from any sanction. The International Cycling Union (UCI) on one hand and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on the other hand have also brought the case before CAS. Both entities request an increase of the sanction." The court notes that "as a general rule" it releases in decisions within four months of an appeal being filed.

Hondo tested positive for the stimulant carphedon at the Vuelta a Murcia in March. The German sprinter, who lives in Switzerland, was given a two-year ban, with one year on probation.

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Pevenage to extend with T-Mobile?

Rudy Pevenage will apparently extend his contract with T-Mobile as the personal trainer for Jan Ullrich. "I haven't signed anything yet, but we are agreed for the 2006 season," he said. Pevenage was not welcomed back to the team by team manager Walter Godefroot, but thanks to Ullrich's intervention received a two-year contract from the team as Ullrich's personal trainer in 2004.

Pevenage noted that his work with the team this year is easier than last year, although he is still not allowed to ride in the team car during the Tour. "As compared to last year, I don't have the feeling of being unwished for this year when I meet with Jan at the T-Mobile hotel," he said.

He explained Ullrich's racing plans for after the Tour: a criterium in Prague on July 27, the HEW ProTour race a week later, and the Deutschland Tour, starting August 15. "We still have to talk about what will come after that."

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

2005 Tour de Georgia economically positive

By Mark Zalewski

Savvy North American cycling fans already know that the Tour de Georgia has a gigantic impact on cycling on this side of the pond, but the positive effects are not always as clear. A recently released impact analysis conducted by the Community Policy and Research Services division at Georgia Tech's Economic Development and Technology Ventures revealed that the 2005 Tour de Georgia generated $36.2 million in economic impact for the state of Georgia and local communities.

Further, the report stated that nearly 800,000 people made the trip to the Peach State to watch Lance and Co. in person. Over half of these spectators either visited the ten communities that hosted official start or finish lines and festivities of the event or watched the race pass by at twenty additional locations, which hosted King of the Mountain or Sprint Line sites for the race. In addition to huge crowds who watched the race and participated in community festivals along the way, the Tour de Georgia attracted over 500 media members from across the U.S. and abroad, 4,000 volunteers for the week and 550 people in the official entourage, including 300 event staff and 250 athletes/support staff.

"Since its creation three years ago, the Tour de Georgia has become a major tourism event catapulting the state into the forefront of the world cycling scene and showcasing the way Georgia can rapidly transform a vision into reality," said GDEcD Commissioner Craig Lesser. "The race brings long-lasting economic energy to Georgia, as fans take home the story about their memorable experiences in our communities."

Heading up the study, William Riall, Ph.D. from Georgia Tech's Economic Development and Technology Ventures, utilized information from 1,386 intercept surveys in the report. In addition to the $36.2 million economic impact number, the impact analysis also showed that 43% of respondents were visiting Georgia from another state. When asked why both in-state and out-of-state visitors were visiting that part of Georgia, 65% said they had traveled to that community specifically to watch the race.

"The Tour de Georgia brought considerable resources into the state's economy in addition to the national publicity and the introduction of Georgia to many who perhaps knew very little about our state," said Riall. "This study does not include economic impact from the visitors along the route, which could be as high as $41 million." The $36.2 million, Riall explained, reflects the level of economic output that is considered to be the total business revenues generated by the new resources brought into the state by the visitors.

The positive results in this study should become another arrow in the quiver for future major North American races - particularly when people want to know why their driveway will be blocked for twenty minutes on a Tuesday afternoon.

Cunego to return in Brixia tour

Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Caffita) will return to racing at the end of this week, leading the Lampre-Caffita team in the Brixia Tour (July 22-24). The young talent has been out of action for nearly two months after he was diagnosed with mononucleosis in the spring, which destroyed his chances of winning the Giro d'Italia for a second time.

"When they told me I would come back to racing I immediately went to check my bike," said Cunego. "I'm so happy, at the beginning of June I was even able to do more than 2 hours training. Only in July I started to feel better and improve the quantity and the quality of my training."

Cunego is returning to competition a few days earlier than expected. Team manager Giuseppe Martinelli said, "The doctor of the team, Carlo Guardascione, told me the virus was OK, so I decided he could race the Brixia Tour. It is a short race of three stages, particularly suited to the characteristics of Damiano. The mountain time trial will be important to see how he is reacting at the moment. The Brixia Tour will be a good test to determine how his real condition is before this very busy end of season."

Cunego's upcoming program will be:

July 22-24: 5th Brixia Tour Brescia- Italy
August 4: GP Città di Camaiore - Italy
August 6: Giro del Lazio - Italy
August 8-9: Due Giorni Marchigiana - Italy
August 13: Clasica di San Sebastian - ProTour- Spain
August 16: Tre Valli Varesine - Italy
August 17: Coppa Agostoni- Italy
August 20: Giro del Veneto - Italy
August 24: Gp Nobili Rubinetterie- Arona - Italy
September 1: Trofeo Melinda - Italy September 3: Coppa Placci Italy

She's back! Paola Pezzo wins Italian MTB Championship

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

12 years after her last Italian cross country mountain bike title, Paola Pezzo rode to her third career maglia tricolore in Sarentino, just north of Bolzano. Riding for U.C. Saccarelli, her victory was the 39th career win for La Pezzo. The 35 year-old mountain biker, who will be 36 on August 1st, must have the 2008 Olympics in Beijing on her mind already. It could be Pezzo's fourth participation in the Olympics should she be selected for the squadra azzura. Local lass Eva Lechner (Colnago Arreghini) was the winner in the Italian Women's U23 Cross Country title. Marco Bui took the Italian Men's Elite Cross Country title in Sarentino for Full Dynamix, beating runner-up Martino Fruet by 1'08" to pick up the title.

Across the Alps in Bourg-d'Oisans, France, Julien Absalon has won the French Elite Cross Country championships for the fourth straight year. The 25 year old Bianchi-Agos rider, who was Olympic and World MTB champ last year cruised home 0'40 ahead of Lapierre's Jean-Christophe Peraud. Scott-Les Deux Alpes's riders François Bailly Maître and Séverine Hansen respectively took the U23 and Elite Women's Championships in Bourg-d'Oisans.

Kemna retires

Dutch rider Rudie Kemna will retire at the end of this season, his Shimano-Memory Corp team has announced. Kemna, 37, started his professional career in 1999 with BankGiroLoterij, and stayed with that team until it folded at the end of 2004, riding with Shimano-Memory Corp this season. Among his 30 plus career victories are stage wins in the Tour of the Netherlands (1999), Tour of Poland (2001), Ster Elektrotoer (2001, 2002) and the Tour of Rhodos (2003). He has also finished on the podium in the Dutch Championships several times, including winning it in 2003.

This year, apart from being the team's sprinter, Kemna also mentored the younger riders, advising them about living and racing as a professional. In the coming months, Kemna will race in the Sachsen Tour, the Eneco Tour, and several one day Dutch and Belgian races. After he retires, he will stay active in cycling, and may become a member of staff of the Shimano-Memory Corp team next year.

Micro-fracture of the knee for Corioni

Fassa Bortolo's Claudio Corioni, who had to pull out of the Tour de France on Stage 8, has been diagnosed with a microfracture of his left knee by Professor Terragnoli in Brescia. The team's doctor, Massimo Besnati, said that "Corioni will have to have anti-inflammatory therapy and should rest completely for three weeks. He risked breaking the tendon in his knee if Claudio had kept riding."

Untitled Document

The Tour de France of give-aways and competitions

Don't miss out at Tour time!

Resident freebies expert, Rufus Staffordshire, sniffs out some competitions where up to $1 million in prizes are on offer as manufacturers clamber for your eyeballs. Woof!

Lucky 7 Sweepstakes'
Photo ©: Trek
Click for larger image

The Tour de France is not only a reasonably popular bike race, ahem, it's also a great opportunity to win an incredible range of prizes and competitions on offer from manufacturers, publishers and distributors.

Many of our sponsors are offering Cyclingnews readers a schwag-fest of give-aways during the lap-around-France. The prizes on offer range from Volkswagens and vaccuum cleaners through to trips to Paris for the 2006 TdF, as well as actual kit being ridden by top pros in the Tour - including top bikes from Trek, Cervelo, and Avanti.

So that you don't have to go hunting around the Internet for all these goodies, we've assembled the Cyclingnews complete guide to Tour freebies and competitions.

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