News for January 28, 2001
Jean Delatour interested in Virenque
Jean Delatour team directeur sportif Michel Gros has confirmed that the squad is interested in hiring Richard Virenque, and has a Swiss sponsor lined up to fund his place in the team. However, Gros stressed that "nothing will be done before the Court of Arbitration in Sport rules on Virenque's fate."
Gros denied French newspaper reports that if funds from the new sponsor come through he would hire four new riders including Laurent Roux and Joona Laukka, who are currently without contracts.
If the deal is concluded, I am indeed thinking of adding a rider in addition to Virenque," Gros said "but I can't tell you whom. It could not in any case be Pascal Herve who does not figure in the sporting plans of the team. I do not have anything against him but it is out of the question to reconstitute what I knew at Festina."
Carry On Kappes
Confusion continues to surround the future of German track racer Andreas Kappes. Kappes has been racing the Six-day circuit this winter but some Six-day organisers have admitted feeling uncomfortable about including Kappes while his doping case is still pending appeal. Berlin Six organiser Heinz Seesing put it carefully: "Kappes is a free man, and we made sure there would be no judgement before the end of our race." Kappes Telekom team-mate Rolf Aldag also defended Kappes, saying he is a victim.
Kind words aren't enough for Kappes, however. Missing four of the season's Sixes means a six-figure loss of income for Kappes and he is considering suing the manufacturer of the food supplement that is blamed for producing the second positive dope test of his career.
Kappes was acquitted of doping charges last year after a laboratory report found banned substances in a food supplement Kappes claimed he had taken. German Cycling Federation president Manfred Boehmer said at the time that the federation would appeal the decision, on the grounds that Kappes had tested positive on both the A and B tests and Kappes acquittal would render the fight against doping absurd.
Linda McCartney saga draws to a close
More details from Julian Clark
Julian Clark, former boss of the Linda McCartney Team, has issued what may be his final word on the accusations and counter-accusations that have been flying around since the team's demise earlier in the week. Clark's side of the story is a tale of hope and optimism prevailing wrongly over common sense and caution. He claims to have been made all sorts of promises by potential sponsors, none of which eventuated, and he also claims the team's contract with Linda McCartney still has a year to run, although the level of financial support is low.
In an email to Cyclingnews, Clark said, "I have not dissapeared. Since arriving from France I have been staying with a doctor friend of family as I was not in the best of shape. Not quite a heart condition as I think was reported on your site. I will be back in contact after the weekend."
Clark also claimed that "the contract with Linda McCartney Foods was not just to use the logo. The contract included a set amount of money per season, although I hasten to add not a large amount. Yes we were led to believe that Heinz were coming on board, but only last week were told by them that the team does not reach their target audience, we have too much of a strong vegetarian image. "Confused" - well so am I."
In his most recent release Clark added: "It has been said that the contract with Linda McCartney Foods ended last year. This is untrue. The current contract to provide cash sponsorship ends at the end of 2001. It had been agreed that the contract would be extended for another three years. We were told that further contracts were going to be drawn up."
Clark also rebutted claims that his imminent court appearance had anything to do with the Linda McCartney Team situation. "The charges I will answer, refer to an entirely separate issue from 1996 — about which I will be given the opportunity to state my case for the first time next month, and I will be cleared of any charges against me. Articles in the press have implied there is a legal issue relating this to the Linda McCartney Team. This is categorically not the case."
Clark claims he acted in good faith in attempting to keep the team going, negotiating with existing and potential sponsors throughout December and early January. "At all times in the lead up to the preparation for the 2001 season, I sincerely believed that there would be sufficient funds to support the team. It was on this basis that OC Racing continued to manage and promote the team in the build up to the planned Trafalgar Square launch, despite further increasing my own and my wife's personal debt."
iBanesto.com team launch
The 27-strong iBanesto.com squad was launched in Spain in Friday with eight newcomers and five returnees to the erstwhile Spanish powerhouse team. Head Directeur sportif Jose Miguel Echávarri said the team would not have a single firm leader this year, but despite the team's name change and new jersey, the objectives would be the same: stage wins in the Grands Tours and satisfaction for the team's long-running sponsor, Spanish bank Banesto.
The lack of a named team leader would give confidence and incentive to the team's younger riders, Echávarri said, though riders like Jose Maria Jiménez, Piepoli or García Acosta would continue to have responsibility for specific objectives. The larger team meant more days of racing, and iBanesto.com will ride more in Portugal, France and Italy in 2001, as well as the complete Spanish calendar, he added.
Santiago Blanco returns to the team, "full of hope. I don't intend to let the team down, but to repay the confidence they have shown in me with many victories.
Jose Maria Jiménez,one of the team's veterans, said "I hope to have more luck than last year and to present some important surprises. As in all years I don't lack motivation, but the road will decide."
Eladio Jiménez was the only rider missing from the team launch. He is still recovering from crushed vertebrae sustained in an accident last year.
Grundy to Coach Global Racing
UK's Orange tops supplier list
The Global Racing downhill team, managed by former UCI MTB honch Martin Whiteley and home to the talents of Missy Giove, has taken on international coach Damian Grundy, best known for coaching Cadel Evans and Mary Grigson and as Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) MTB coach. Grundy is no newcomer to downhill coaching, however: he coached his wife Rachel to an Australian national championship a couple of years ago.
Grundy will the team's Senior Coaching Consultant and will oversee team training sessions at the AIS, which has a facility in the Australian ski resort of Thredbo. He will be backed by Assistant Team Coach, Rolf Woodward of the UK.
Global Racing also announced its supplier list for 2001, headed by Orange. Not the mobile phone company, but the small British mountain bike manufacturer based in the North of England. Global Racing is at pains to point out that these are the products the team has chosen to use, rather than paying sponsors, so choices like Shimano components and Michelin tyres are hardly surprising, but what's a company from Halifax, Yorkshire that sells a few thousand bikes per year doing there?
Global Racing's Greg Minnaar had considerable success for Animal/Orange in 2000, taking fifth at the Vail World Cup and finishing the season 13th in the UCI rankings. Bike reliability is a crucial factor in downhill racing, so Global Racing Head Mechanic Patrick Griessen visited Orange's factory. Orange owners Lester Noble and Steve Wade have been backing racing in one form or another since the company's birth in the late 80s, and Griessen pronounced himself very impressed indeed. Orange will be making Global Racing's new bikes for 2001, presumably based on the Mr O, Minnaar's 200 bike, and there will be a whole new model developed with input from Missy Giove.
Those Global Racing 2001 official suppliers in full:
Bikes: Orange Mountain Bikes
Mobilvetta goes on line, almost
Italian division II team Mobilvetta-Formaggi Trentini has announced a comprehensive website that will allow fans and journalists alike to keep in touch with the team's activities in the 2001 season. According to the press release, there will be diaries from team members, and everyone associated with the team will have email addresses for fan mail and media enquiries, from manager Stefano Giuliani (firstname.lastname@example.org) and rider Rodolfo Massi (email@example.com) to mechanics like Romeo Santoferrara (firstname.lastname@example.org). While most of the site will be in Italian, Tim Jones will write his section in English.
Excited by the prospect of "unknown facts of professional cycling, an indiscreet eye in the caravan, personally, without filters, cameras or intermediaries," we trotted off to the website at www.kaspar.it to find, er, not much. This, to be exact:
is a protected area of
Somewhat disappointed we dug through the rest of the release and discovered it's not due to go live until the Tour of Langkawi, which starts February 6. Anyway, it's a brave idea, we wish Mobilvetta well with it.