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News for January 5, 1999Nicolas Leroy, who usually sends lovely photos he takes of professional racing in Europe, has sent me this list of 1998 professionals who are currently without team.
Cofidis - Goubert
Collstrop - De Neef, Heyndrickx, Lenears, Vereecke
TVM - Asmaker
Agro Adler - Diers
Estepona - Cerioli, Jarque, Miranda, Moratilla, Verziagi
LA Pecol - Teixeira
Ericsson - Jolidon, Steiner
Asics - Bonetti, Colonna, Roscioli
Mroz - Charapov
Navigators - Eyk, Laurent, Spangenburg, Ventura,
Linda McCartney - Gmable, Hayton, Taylor, M. Tomkins, S. Tomkins
Rodolfo Massi injured by carRodolfo Massi was taken to the intensive care centre at the Sanatorio Español Hospital in Mexico City. He's condition has been described as "delicate". His Italian coach Oscar Saturni said he is now recuperating from the injuries that he suffered and will leave intensive care in the next few days. He added that Massi has started to eat solids and that next week he would be moved to another area, for observation at Sanatario Español.
Massi was run over on Friday while he was training for the 1999 Ruta México, which begins on February 22. Massi, a member of French Team Casino, arrived here on December 8th to finalize his preparation for the Mexican race.
The 33 year old Italian cyclist, is one of the veterans of the international peloton, he began his professional career in 1987 and achieved five wins last season, including a stage at the Tour de France.
Two neo-pros prefer Portugal to SpainPedro Delgado and Miguel Indurain planted the seed for many young aspiring cyclists to attempt a professional career. But the problem is that there are not enough professional teams in Spain. Twenty six Spanish riders have been able to make the jump to the professional rankings, but half of them had to emigrate to foreign countries. The most favoured country to give young Spanish professionals a job is Portugal, where 12 of them have found teams. The rest have found jobs with the French team Festina.
Until recently, it was common for smaller teams to start out with modest budgets and a host of younger riders on their books. Conditions in Spain continue to be suitable for this trend: there are plenty of young riders and publicity studies show that cycling remains a good sport for advertisers. But curiously, three attempts to create new teams this year (Costa Almería, Brepac and Detec) all failed.
"We are lacking in marketing", admits one of the managers that tried to start a new team. "Maybe we need to leave everything in the hands of an advertising agency, which have modern methods of reaching possible sponsors. That is how Javier Mínguez was able to create the successful link with Vitalicio". Another example is Unipublic, which is never lacking in sponsors for the races they organize, or the team that their affiliate Deportpublic manages.
Without these modest teams, the young riders have a tough time gaining a start in professional cycling. The big teams have the disincentive to hire them because of the rule that they must offer a neo-professional a two year contract. They tend to only sign small numbers of riders with outstanding credentials. This year Banesto hired none, Vitalicio Seguros and Kelme-Costa Blanca hired one and ONCE two.
According to the experts, the 1998 harvest has been plentiful, though not particularly of high quality. There are a couple of stand-out riders in the 26 new professionals who start out in 1999. The experts are pointing to Ramón Medina and Pedro Jiménez, who took first and second place in the Trofeo Federación (Federation Trophy). Medina is the son of a cyclist from the 1970's, of the same name. His strengths are his innate sprinting ability and his good finishing tactics and his weakness is in the mountains. The exact opposite of Pedro Jiménez from Madrid, who is a pretty good all-rounder.
It isn't a surprise that 12 young Spanish riders have left for Portugal. Portuguese cycling is in expansion, with plenty of teams and a revitalised Vuelta a Portugal due to the input from Unipublic. This year Banesto, Kelme, ONCE and even some Italian teams will compete in the Vuelta. For the young Spanish neo-professionals, Portugal represents the only way they can get back to Spain.
In addition, ONCE has an agreement with Benfica to sign their riders. There are already three Spanish Pros at the Lisbon team: Melchor Mauri, David Plaza and Oscar López Uriarte.
Until now, Italy was the country where most of Spanish riders were absorbed. Some of them made their careers in Italy: Coque Uría and Toni Tauler, who last year rode for Ros Mary, will return to Spain to ride with Kelme. Last year Jon Odriozola came back when he signed with Banesto, after a good season with Gewiss and Ginés Salmerón, came to Vitalicio after riding with Saeco.
Year 2000 Jubilee in ItalyWith the departure of "ForzArcore", which had been a sponsor for the last three years, the jersey of Italian team "Amore e Vita" will now 'advertise' the "Giubileo 2000". Ivano Fanini, president of the managing team is close to signing a twenty six year old Polish sprinter by the name of Artur Krzeszowiec. It is unconfirmed as of yet but a contribution could come from the Vatican. Fanini said: "It's a contribution that we didn't request but we welcome any help, which will be accepted. On the occasion of such an important event and since we have been linked to the Holy See since 1989, we have decided to add to the jerseys the slogan "Giubileo 2000".
Cyclocross RoundupFrance, Beuvry, Cyclocross, Cat 3, January 3:
1. Sébastien Loigerot (Fra) 2. Peter Willemsens (Bel) 3. Björn Rondelez (Bel) 4. Geert Vandaele (Bel) 5. David Willemsens (Bel)
Luxembourg, Hesperange, Cat 3, January 3:
Belgian cyclocrosser Nico Clarysse won the race in Hesperange (Luxemburg) after attacking on the second of 8 laps. The parcours was extremely muddy and he held of 4 Luxembourgers in the top 5.
1. Nico Clarysse (Bel) 2. Kim Kirchen (Lux) 0.44 3. Claude Michely (Lux)
Chiapucci at an end?The cycling career of Italian hero Claudio Chiappucci (35) looks to be at an end. Chiappucci has offered himself to 14 Italian teams in search of a new contract for one more season. But the team leaders, who only a few years ago were queueing up for his signature do wish to take advantage of his services next season.
If Chiappucci does not continue, it will mean that he is the third Italian champion rider who has quit in a short period. Gianni Bugno and Maurizio Fondriest have already announced their retirements.
Chiappucci made his name in the period from 1990 to 1995. As a relatively unknown rider he began his career under the shadow of several high profile riders in the peloton: Greg LeMond, Pedro Delgado, Bugno and Moreno Argentin were the stars. Chiappucci was not intimidated by this. Instead he brought attention to himself by his attacking riding in the peloton.
For Italian cycling his approach to racing was a breath of fresh air and he had crowds coming out to wathc him. In 1990, his name became the first mentioned by people when Italian racing was mentioned. In the second part of Stage 1 of the Tour de France Chiapucci mounted a monster attack with Ronan Pensec, Steve Bauer and Frans Maassen and gained more than 10 minutes on the rest of the field. Maassen won the stage into Futuroscope. He later took over the yellow jersey after Steve Bauer had held it for several days. He was the first Italian in 15 years since Francesco Moser to wear the yellow jersey . He ultimately ceded the race leadership to Greg LeMond but his name was now at the forefront of the Tour stars.
Chiappucci had really bad luck in the sense that he was in the same generation of riders as the mighty Miguel Indurain. Against the brilliant tempo riding of the Spaniard, and clearly inferior to him in the time trials, Chiappucci had to try to make up ground in the mountains. But Indurain was unassailable in those years and in the most important race on the cycling calendar, Chiappucci came second twice and third once.
In 1995, it was clear that his team gave him a bad program. He had to ride as support to Marco Pantani, who was 7 years younger than he and a better climber. For two years, Chiappucci did not do very well in this type of environment. He came back into the news again in 1996 when he was forced to stop racing because of excessive hematocriet values just before the Tour of Romandy (Switzerland) and again before the World Championships at Lugano. He never really raced well again.
Carnegie-Caulfield Criteriums, Melbourne, January 3With both Metropolitan and Country track Championships running over January 2-3, the Sunday morning criteriums were missing the junior riders, many of whom had spent the week before competing in the Christmas track carnivals in country Victoria.
Thrilling sprints were the order of the day. AIS team-mates Stalder and Iacuone took VIS rider Walters along when they split the leading bunch of A graders in the dying minutes of their race. Iacuone led out from the last corner, Walters came round him with barely 10 metres to go and Stalder had to use an extraordinary throw to secure the win.
B grade saw the best of our local women up against the hard men that race at this level. With ten minutes to go 1996 Paralympic road race Champion Peter Homann was away with Marcus Sarto, they worked well together and appeared secure in a 200 metre lead. With three laps to go five riders leapt from the bunch including a very aggressive Anna Wilson (Saturn), at two to go it was seven away but the bunch behind were closing and the escapees efforts came to nought. In a gutter to gutter finish the art of throwing the bike again decided the race. Wilson managed fourth against some very experienced male sprinters. AIS women Liz Tadich and Geraldine Denham spent the day among the wheels keeping Kathryn Watt (Giant) company. With a women's field for the Bay Classic Criteriums, which start Wednesday, January 6, of around 60 including the Great Britain National squad, State Institute riders and the AIS, the women's competition will be fierce.
Of note in the C grade race was the win of 15 year old Mark French fresh from his wins in the sprint and 500m TT at the Metropolitan track Champs. The attacking manner in which this race was run presented a challenge to a lad riding restricted gears, however he succeeded in another hotly contested field sprint.
A Grade, 1 hour plus 3 laps: 1. Andrew Stalder 2. Jerone Walters 3. Alan Iacuone 4. P. Redenbach Started: 30 B Grade, 1 hour plus 3 laps: 1. M. Godfree 2. C. Salisbury 3. A. Blackmoor 4. A. Wilson Started: 42 C Grade, 45 mins plus 3 laps: 1. M. French 2. D. Cathie 3. A. Salibury 4. I. Johnstone Started: 35 D Grade, 45 mins plus 3 laps: 1. A. Niew 2. D. Barton 3. L. Brown 4. S. McCarthy Started: 18