Contracts and Transfers
Mapei riders goes positiveStefan Girschweiler tells me that in the Swiss Press, it has been reported that the Mapei rider Valentino Fois has tested positive during last year's Tour de Suisse. The positive test came on the stage where he took (or now "stole") the leader's jersey from Swiss rider Oscar Camenzind.
The Dutch have reported that he tested positive after a urine test for anabolic steroids. The Anti-Doping Commission of the Italian Olympic Committee has suspended Fois for only 6 months. They also fined him 2500 guilders (around $US1400).
The 24-year old Italian's contract with Mapei was not renewed this season. Instead he was to have ridden for the Italian team Vini Caldirola.
Wim de Vos ends his seasonDutch Cyclo-crosser Wim de Vos has fallen during training on Wednesday and was taken to hospital in Oosterhout (Netherlands). He has a fracture at the base of the skull. He has been released from hospital and is resting at home. He has been told to have complete rest for at least a week and so it means that his competitive 1997-98 season is over.
Dutch National Team Reserve Gerben de Knegt, who is currently away overseas with an MTB team, will replace De Vos in the World Championships in Denmark in two weeks. Next Sunday De Vos will be replaced by Wilfred Veldkamp in the last World Cup race in Heerlen (Netherlands).
Ferrigato and Vitalicio Seguro already working hardThe 22 riders for Vitalicio Seguros, the new Spanish team guided by Javier Minguez and Domenico Cavallo, have been working out since Tuesday in Yavea, a location not far from Alicante, on the east coast of Spain. Two Italians will be part of the team: Andrea Ferrigato and Elio Aggiano. Ferrigato said: "Everything is going very well, the team is very well organized and us Italians have entered the group easily. The team is very friendly. I have spent a good Winter, training, pedalling about 4000 km and I anticipate that I will be ready for Milano-San Remo. I will start my season in the beginning of February at Mallorca and will start in Italy at Laigueglia". The highlight of Ferrigato's season will be the Giro d'Italia, where he will be supported by Rincon, Buenahora, Zintchenko, Aparicio, Juan Carlos Dominguez, Clavero, Steinhauser and Gonzalez Heredia.
Gontchar in hospitalRussian Sergei Gontchar (Cantina Tollo-Alexia Alluminio), winner of the individual time trial at the Giro '97 in Cavalese, has had a successful operation for a nose problem at the Cittadella Hospital.