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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for July 22, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones & Shane Stokes

Petacchi to Domina Vacanze

Fassa Bortolo stops

Italian super sprinter Alessandro Petacchi will ride for Domina Vacanze for the next three years, reports Friday's La Gazzetta dello Sport. Petacchi, his agents, Gianni and Alex Carrera, and Domina Vacanze manager Gianluigi Stanga held a telephone meeting recently, the outcome of which was a verbal agreement to a €3 million per year deal. Petacchi will receive €2 million per year, while the remaining €1 million will go to Petacchi's lead out men Marco Velo, Fabio Sacchi, and Matteo Tosatto.

Petacchi's future bike sponsor Ernesto Colnago told Cyclingnews' Tim Maloney this morning, "We're very happy that Petacchi will race with our bikes in 2006. He used our bike when he was an amateur and we know him well. He's a great rider."

Petacchi, currently with Fassa Bortolo, had offers from T-Mobile and other big teams, but wanted to stay in Italy with an Italian team. Similarly, Fabio Sacchi had an offer to go back to Lampre, but decided to stay with Petacchi. The man behind the move was Ernesto Preatoni, the boss of Domina Vacanze, who got a lot of satisfaction from having Mario Cipollini in his team, and saw that as a good reason to sign the world's top sprinter over the last two and a half years.

Unfortunately for Fassa Bortolo team manager Giancarlo Ferretti, Petacchi's departure will spell the end of his team, which was losing its main sponsor at the end of the season anyway. With his top rider gone, Ferretti has not been able to attract another backer to replace Fassa, and the team will fold completely.

"It is with great regret that I communicate the conclusion of the Fassa Bortolo team at the end of 2005," said Ferretti in a statement. "The team started in 2000 and had planned, for some time, to finish after six years. It has achieved some great successes, it has always ridden at the top of international cycling, and it has seen the birth of a champion loved and admired by all in Alessandro Petacchi."

Ferretti added that at nearly 64 years old, he did not know whether he would try to manage another team of this size. "In the meantime, I wish all of 'my boys' good luck in continuing in the world of cycling."

Ferretti and Fassa Bortolo's departure from the scene will open up another ProTour licence spot, and several teams are already vying for that, including Acqua e Sapone and Ag2r-Prevoyance.

Big changes at T-Mobile

T-Mobile looks set to undergo considerable change in 2006, in terms of the composition of the team and the management structure itself. Alexandre Vinokourov has already confirmed that he will leave the German squad, most probably to Cofidis, Credit Agricole or to Ag2R-Prévoyance. The latter seemed the least likely due to the fact that they lacked a ProTour licence, but with Fassa Bortolo folding the odds are improving that Vincent Lavenu can nab the slot.

Signing the Kazakh champion would considerably help Lavenu’s case, as well as giving the French team the leader it has been lacking this year.

Jan Ullrich will stay with the team for at least one more year but it is not certain that another magenta regular, Erik Zabel, will continue in their colours. The sprint specialist was greatly frustrated to be left out of their Tour squad but has been offered a new deal which would see him work with T-Mobile both during and after his career. The decision whether or not to accept this deal will be announced by Zabel on Monday.

A total of 13 contracts end this season, just under half of the 27 rider squad. Others considering their options are Giuseppe Guerini, Daniele Nardello and Matthias Kessler. There is a big change at the helm, too, with long-time team manager and licence holder Walter Godefroot handing over the reins to former press spokesman Olaf Ludwig. Godefroot announced his intentions early and took Ludwig under his wing this year to give him a year's experience.

Three new riders have already been signed, although none of them are seen as immediate replacements for the loss or potential loss of key riders. Before the Tour, it was announced that Patrik Sinkewitz and Michael Rogers would leave the Quick-Step team and join TMO next year. Both are young, potential GT contenders, although neither has shown much in this year's Tour. However, they could both be used as helpers in next year's Tour de France, where Jan Ullrich hopes to finally win in Paris in the absence of his arch rival Lance Armstrong.

Another new signing was announced Thursday, and again the team has raided its rival German team Gerolsteiner. 24-year-old Thomas Ziegler will transfer to TMO at the end of the season, and apparently celebrated his signing by winning the day's stage in the Sachsen Tour. Ziegler turned pro in 2003 with the German GS2 Team Wiesenhof, and joined Gerolsteiner in 2004. Last year he placed second in the Lucca Tour.

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Remembrance ride for Amy Gillett

Riders from the Ballarat-Sebastopol Cycling Club will hold a remembrance ride in tribute to the late Amy Gillett tomorrow (Saturday). The 29 year old Mt Helen rider was tragically killed in Germany this week when she and five of her AIS team-mates were hit by a car. Gillett was a member of the club.

Club president Gary Gullock said the route for tomorrow's ride had yet to be finalised but would begin outside the Ballarat Town Hall at 7.30am. "We normally go out for a training ride on Saturday morning's but this weekend's ride will be in memory of Amy," he told the Ballarat Courier newspaper. "It will probably include part of the Australian Open Road Cycling Championship Course which Amy did so well on last year."

Gullock agreed with her coach, John Beasley, who felt the former rower was a medal contender for next year's Melbourne Commonwealth Games. "She was certainly on track this year (to win a medal)," he stated. "Everybody at the club is still devastated at her death. A lot of people knew Amy and will remember her for a long time because she was held in such high regard as both a person and rider."

"I've heard some mention of dedicating a leg of the Herald Sun Tour to Amy but the club wouldn't want to do anything without discussing it with her husband Simon first.

"We'll obviously be guided by the family as to what Amy's wishes may have been, if any."

Amy Gillett's funeral is expected to take place in Ballarat next Friday. Her team-mates remain in hospital in Germany. Alexis Rhodes, 20, and Louise Yaxley, 23, were yesterday still in a critical condition while Kate Nichols, 20, Katie Brown, 22, and Lorian Graham, 27, were listed as stable.

Three big names confirmed for Newport World Cup

Reining Olympic Champion Sara Carrigan (Ton Van Bemmelen), World Champion Judith Arndt (Nürnberger), and the current holder and World Cup series leader Oenone Wood (Nürnberger) have confirmed they will ride the eighth round of the UCI Women's Road World Cup in Newport, Wales, on August 20. It's the first time that a round of the women's World Cup has been held in Great Britain.

Joining the formidable trio in Newport will be Suzanne De Goede (Ton Van Bemmelen) and teammate Katherine Bates, and Commonwealth Champion Nicole Cooke, who will be riding in front of her home crowd and hoping to put the disappointment of the women's Giro behind her with a win.

Oenone Wood, who will be racing in the UK for the first time at the World Cup said, "I've heard rumours that the course is fairly tough, so I am looking forward to seeing it first hand. The race is pretty important to the overall standings of the World Cup so my Nürnberger team will be motivated for a win. We might have a bit of competition though, especially from British riders looking for a result on home territory."

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