News for November 28, 2000

Livingston to Telekom

The rider/team transfer circus is never short of surprises, even at the remote end of the season when most have finalised their contracts for 2001. In a somewhat ironic twist, former US Postal climbing domestique, Kevin Livingston has signed a two year contract with Team Telekom, home of Jan Ullrich, Lance Armstrong's biggest rival in the Tour de France.

The 27 year old resident of Austin, Texas made the announcement on Monday from the team's training camp in Dresden, confirming an earlier rumour that he would join the Telekom Train. "I had actually signed a preliminary agreement with the Linda McCartney team. But when there were financial problems, I made contact with Telekom boss Walter Godefroot," said Livingston. "I am looking forward to my new role. The Telekom team ranks among one of the best teams in the world."

Jan Ullrich said that "I am pleased that he is there. I believe he can surely help me with the Tour and will fit well in our team." Ullrich had just returned from a skiing holiday in Austria, and is preparing to go to South Africa in December for his pre-season training.

In addition to Livingston, the 25 member team have added Robert Bartko (Neo), Andreas Klier (Farm Frites), Torsten Hiekmann (Neo), and Roberto Sgambelluri (Cantina Tollo) to their ranks, while losing just two riders: Jorg Jacksche (ONCE) and Georg Totschnig (Gerolsteiner)

The team affirmed that they intend to participate in all three Grand Tours, as well as all ten World Cups, and certainly have the depth to do so at the highest level. It will be the first time since 1995 that they will contest the Giro d'Italia, and they will probably use it as Tour preparation for Jan Ullrich.

Their other goals are to become the world's number one team, and to try and improve on their 64 victories (52 UCI wins, 12 wins in criteriums and six day races) in 2001. With Eric Zabel the most successful rider at UCI level this year (18 wins), the team will certainly have a solid base.

Telekom 2001


Rolf Aldag (Ger)
Udo Bölts (Ger)
Alberto Elli (Ita)
Gian Matteo Fagnini (Ita)
Ralf Grabsch (Ger)
Giuseppe Guerini (Ita)
Jens Heppner (Ger)
Danilo Hondo (Ger)
Kai Hundertmark (Ger)
Matthias Kessler (Ger)
Andreas Klöden (Ger)
Giovanni Lombardi (Ita)
Andrei Mizourov (Kaz)
Jan Schaffrath (Ger)
Stephan Schreck (Ger)
Gerhard Trampusch (Aut)
Jan Ullrich (Ger)
Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz)
Steffen Wesemann (Ger)
Erik Zabel (Ger)

New riders:

Kevin Livingston (US Postal)
Robert Bartko (Neo)
Andreas Klier (Farm Frites)
Torsten Hiekmann (Neo)
Roberto Sgambelluri (Cantina Tollo)

Mapei meet

The world's number one team, Mapei-Quick Step commenced their team training camp today, with several members of their 39 rider squad having their first chance to meet the gang. Their major stage race rider acquisition for 2001, Stefano Garzelli, was not present as he was accepting an award in Florence (along with Michele Bartoli). Garzelli has yet to actually sign his contract, although an announcement is expected in a few days. He originally had a contract until the end of 2001 with Mercatone Uno, but broke this when the offer from Mapei came through. Although he may not find himself back with Pantani's band of buccaneers, his signature with Mapei has not yet been confirmed.

It would be somewhat ironic for Mapei if they were not to sign Garzelli, as their major goal in future is the big stage races. They let Pavel Tonkov and Chann McRae go to Mercury, despite Tonkov netting top 5 GC placings in the Giro and the Vuelta, and will certainly struggle to find someone to challenge Ullrich, Armstrong or even Pantani. However, since his Giro 2000 win, Garzelli has not come close to even the bottom step of the podium. Perhaps Mapei will simply increase Andrea Noé's role in the Grand Tours.

In the classics, the team looks to be fairly solid, despite losing Museeuw, Merckx, Rodriguez and Van Heeswijk to Domo. Michele Bartoli is coming back to his best form, Oscar Freire is quite formidable in one day races, while Paolo Bettini, Tom Steels, Stefano Zanini and Andrea Tafi are all highly accomplished riders. Who knows, Franco Ballerini might even pull off a dramatic victory in Paris-Roubaix 2001, his last official race?

The interest will be in the younger ranks, especially with espoir signings Michael Rogers, Fabian Cancellara, Evgeni Petrov, Graziano Gasparre, Patrick Sinkewitz and Bernhard Eisel. There are also the Spaniards Elio Aggiano, Pedro Horrillo and David Cañada who will further enhance the team.

The team will lose a few UCI points next season and maybe even their number one spot to Telekom, while the new Domo team will surely challenge them. However, Mapei are well known for getting the best out of their riders where other teams have not been so successful. Their reign is not over yet.

Two men race for the Italian presidency

Forget Bush vs. Gore, this is the real thing. The presidency of the Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) is up for grabs, with the election to take place on February 17, 2001. Two men are vying for the top position: current president, Gian Carlo Ceruti, and new candidate, Francesco Moser. The presidential term will be for four years, and Moser has only recently announced his candidature which will officially take place on Tuesday.

The two were at a convention in Pieve di Soligo, near Treviso, where Ceruti tried to downplay any talk of an election war. "I do not talk about duels: with Moser it cannot be one, and moreover there could be other candidates," he said. "The majority of people in the Federation will surely support me continuing the job that I have carried out in the last four years."

Moser commented that, if elected, he wants to "re-establish the relationship with the base, because it seems that the contact between the riders and the public has been lost," he said. "My candidacy has been helped along by many current and former riders, and this is an engagement which I want to follow until the end, with the help of those who pushed me to make this step. Evidently, the people want a former rider at the head of the Federation."

Moser also stated his position on doping. "We must find a way to exit from this impasse and finish this chapter together. It seems that doping is synonymous with cycling, and does not plague other sports. We must buy back our credibility and our good image," he said. "However, I believe that to eliminate all medicine from the sport is practically impossible."

Casagrande, Bartoli and Garzelli awarded

World number one, Francesco Casagrande was presented with the "Giglio d' Oro" today in Florence. This is one of the oldest and most prestigious of cycling prizes in Italy, and it is the third time that Casagrande has won it. Casagrande scored 700 points to beat Davide Rebellin (500), Michele Bartoli and Paolo Bettini (490), and Gilberto Simoni (480).

Giro d'Italia winner, Stefano Garzelli was present to accept a special prize, and commented that "In 2001 I will no longer be in the same team as Pantani, but in an opposing one," indicating that his return to Mercatone Uno is highly unlikely. Michele Bartoli was also awarded a special prize, saying that "In 2001 I will aim for the World Cup, but I will also participate in the Giro d'Italia."

Pezzo's plans

Dual Olympic MTB champion, Paola Pezzo, has been awarded a prize by the Gruppo Sportivo Cicloturisti-dell'Oasi, to celebrate 14 years of the club's activity. In accepting the award in Conselve (Padova), Pezzo said that in future she will only participate in big races. "At the moment I have not decided, but will be more precise in the next few weeks. Now I want to continue to enjoy my Olympic triumph," she said.

Armstrong's book awarded

Lance Armstrong's autobiographical book, "It's Not About the Bike", co-written with Sally Jenkins, has earned the authors a British literary prize. The £10,000 ($US 14,000) William Hill Sports Book of the Year prize was awarded to the book ahead of five other finalists in London today. In addition to the £10,000, the prize also carries a £1,000 free bet with the well known bookmakers. It is thus commonly termed the "Bookie Prize".

"Nobody should be surprised about who I am going to be backing for next year's Tour de France with my free bet," said Armstrong in a message sent via the book's editor Rachel Cugnoni. "Winning an award for pushing pedals is one thing. Winning one for pushing a pen is another."

The book is largely an account of Armstrong's successful battle with testicular cancer, although it does contain a chapter on his 1999 Tour de France victory. It was judged by a panel that included broadcasters Frances Edmonds and John Inverdale, and ex-rugby player Cliff Morgan. The five runners up (£1,000 and a £750 free bet) were: "Brilliant Orange" by David Winner; "Mystery Spinner" by Gideon Haigh; "Night Train" by Nick Tosches; "Peak Performance" by Clive Gibson, Mike Pratt, Kevin Roberts and Ed Weymes; "The Great Olympic Swindle" by Andrew Jennings.

No operation for Van der Poel

Adri van der Poel's accident on the weekend that left him in intensive care in hospital with a damaged kidney and rib, will not result in an operation. He is able to leave intensive care, but will have to stay for some days in the hospital in Brasschaat.

Bolivian to France

Following his success in the Doble Copacabana, where he won two stages and finished 4th overall, Bolivian Cid Martinez has accepted an offer to ride for French elite team, CPU Chateauroux next season. His compatriot, Alvaro Montano will join him there, along with other French riders, Nicolas Crosbie, Sebastien Bouchet, Cédric Drouet, Jerome Bonnace and possibly Christophe Gauthier.

Desbouys says yes to GAS

Despite delaying her signature and prompting doubt as to whether she would sign for the GAS Sport Team next year, Severine Desbouys has made an affirmative decision to ride for the Italians. Her manager Cyrille Guimard, will continue to assist her training program, which will involve a lot of racing in Italy and other countries. Although she will not race a lot in France, she is expected to be a team leader in La Grande Boucle Feminine.

However, her friend Cathy Marsal will not be following her across to GAS, although she was prepared to take a pay cut in order to do so. Desbouys will make her first contact with her teammates during a four week training camp in Sardinia in January.

Courtesy of Velomania