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News for June 30, 2000
Tonkov aims for the Games
Left out of the Mapei Tour team after his 5th place in the Giro, Russian Pavel Tonkov has set his sights on the rest of the season. He is back in Moscow at the moment, and gave a recent interview with Reuters where he outlined his goals.
"It is quite simply too hard to race the Tour and the Giro in the same year," he said. "I also think that the Vuelta a España, two weeks before Sydney, would be more appropriate preparation for the Olympic games."
Although Tonkov managed to win the Giro in 1996, he has not been able to repeat that performance in a Grand Tour, being always susceptible in the mountains. Although his Giro this year wasn't a disaster, he was beaten by teammate and supposed domestique, Andrea Noé. Coming fifth in a race where you are the protected Mapei rider is not good form for the World's number one team.
Tonkov rode the Tour last year, although he was not in a winning position at any moment. He unfortunately had to abandon due to a death in his family, three stages from the end.
Vestøl and the McCartneys' performance
Also hoping for an Olympic spot is Linda McCartney's Bjornar Vestøl. Bjornar picked up his second silver medal in the Norwegian Championships, when he added a road race 2nd to go with his time trial result. "I'm pleased to get a medal, but I would have liked to have won," he said.
In the British championships, Matt Stephens did everything he could to win, but was unable to shift three riders, who each beat him to the line. John Tanner retained his champion's jersey by narrowly defeating former McCartney favourite Jonny Clay, with Cofidis Tour de France hope David Millar in third. Matt was philosophical about 4th place: "I don't know what else I could have done really. I knew I wouldn't be able to outsprint them so I just kept attacking, but I didn't have enough to leave them behind."
Max Sciandri wasn't able to come to terms with the vagaries and intricacies of British cycling quickly enough, and he climbed off with two laps remaining. "I tried to go across the gap to Matt's group, but there were about ten guys sitting on my wheel. I said 'Come on, let's work together and we'll get on,' but not one of them wanted to help, so I just sat up. Maybe I should have just put my head down and gone anyway," he said.
Tchmil and Verbrugghe back for another run
1999 World Cup Champion and winner of this year's Ronde Van Vlaanderen, Andrei Tchmil will race professionally for Lotto in 2001, according to an announcement from his team. The 37 year-old veteran of the classics has no intention of stopping his career yet, and by his results this year, he is ready for another crack at the pavé. In addition, time trial specialist Rik Verbrugghe has signed for another two years.
Van Lancker to lead Farm Frites
The choice of leader for the Farm Frites team in the Tour of Bohemia in the Czech Republic this month has been decided today. While the main leaders, Jacques Hanegraaf and Johan Capiot will be part of the Tour de France squad, Eric van Lancker has been drafted to lead the remaining Frites in Bohemia.
Van Lancker, an ex-teammate of Jacques Hanegraaf is currently the director sportif of the amateur team Beveren 2000. "I can't refuse this offer. I have ambitions to work with a professional team. So this is a chance to show what I can," he said.
Vanderaerden for Mapei
Former classics star, Eric Vanderaerden has been recruited to take on the role of a team director for Mapei in anticipation of Patrick Lefevre's retirement. Vanderaerden was one of Belgium's best performed classics riders of the 80's, and his since been managing smaller teams. He said that he felt honoured by the nomination, and will likely take on the position.
Wadecki to Domo
Belgian team Domo is upping its rider list, signing some strong riders from the Eastern European ranks. Chief among these is dual Polish national champion and 2000 Peace Race winner, Piotr Wadecki (Mroz), who will join with Czech rider, Tomas Konecny (Wüstenrot-ZVVZ) in the team next year.
Spanish contract news
ONCE's "next in line for chief buyer", David Etxebarria may not be riding for the team next year, after he has had offers to join Festina and Euskaltel-Euskadi next season. However, ONCE have signed the Spanish U23 road race champion David Arroyo for the next three seasons, as they continue their commitment to developing young riders.
Euskaltel's Alberto López de Munain will ride for at least another year with them, and the Euskadi U23 road and ITT champion Iñaki Isasi (Olarra - Ercoreca) will also ride for the Basque team for the next two seasons. Euskaltel will probably lose Mikel Artetxe though, who is transferring to the Portuguese Maia - MSS team.