Ever since Viatel officially withdrew its co-sponsorship in June, the Mercury team has been searching for another co-sponsor in order to continue and fund the salaries of several riders, in particular the Belgians (Peter van Petegem, Geert van Bondt, Wim van Sevenant) and the Dutch (Jans Koerts and Leon van Bon).
Earlier this week, Alain Gallopin, the director sportif of Mercury, told Belgian TV1 that the team was in financial problems. After the withdrawal of co-sponsor Viatel, the team has reduced its program, withdrawing from several programmed races. "It seems as though we will not make it to the end of the season," said Gallopin.
He admitted that the situation is difficult, especially since the team wasn't invited to the Tour de France. "In the USA, cycling is synonymous with the Tour," said Gallopin.
Despite these problems, team manager John Wordin told Cyclingnews that Mercury will start in the Tour de la Région Wallonne (Aug. 3), Mi-Aout bretonne (Aug. 9-12), Clasica de San Sebastian (Aug. 11), HEW Cyclassics (Aug. 19) and several more races in August.
The rumours are becoming quite strong now that Festina will withdraw sponsorship of its cycling team at the end of the year, unless a last minute partner can be found with enough funds to form a combined team. According to Het Nieuwsblad, the Andorran based clockmaker will remain sponsoring cycling events (timing) for a few years, but not the cycling team. Festina will wait until the end of the Tour de France before making an official announcement.
The GAS Sport Team celebrated a significant victory earlier this month when current World Champion Zinaida Stahurskaia won the women's Giro d'Italia. The 30 year old Bielorussian rider won three stages en route to her 32 second defeat of Nicole Brandli (Edil Savino) in the final general classification. She dedicated the win to her 14 year old daughter, Sveta, with whom she remains in close contact with despite living in separate countries.
Sveta already races on her road bike in Vitebsk, Belarus, closely followed by the same trainer that helped Zinaida enter the international circuit. Sveta has already won her first race, showing promise as a top climber.
The team won another four stages with super sprinter Greta Zocca, who has won nine races already this year, and will be wedded in September in her hometown church near Vicenza.
The women's version of the Tour de France (known as La Grande Boucle Féminine) represents the next important challenge for the GAS Sport Team ladies from Chiuppano, Italy. La Grande Boucle starts off in Bilbao, Spain, a few kilometres from the hometown of last year's winner Joane Sommariba, and finishes fourteen stages later on August 19th in Paris. It should be a difficult Tour with a 42 km. time trial that includes a second category climb. Also mountain stages finishing at the Tourmalet in the second stage and the renowned Izoard during the penultimate stage with an uphill finish line ending in Vayjany.
The team taking part in La Grande Boucle will be led by French national team rider Severine Desbouys, who wore the green jersey at the Giro for three stages, as well as the extremely strong Zinaida Stahurskaia, Greta Zocca, Alessandra Cappellotto, Gabriella Pregnolato and Roberta Bonanomi. The team is similar to the Giro d'Italia lineup but Ilenia Lazzari and Kettj Manfrin will make way for Tania Belvederesi and Silvia Parietti.
Severine Desbouys is the team's favorite for the Tour. She has recovered from a fall in May and missed the last week at the Giro due to dehydration forcing her to stay in a Trento hospital. Now she is back to training in France at over 3000 meters, in order to prepare for the mountains, all under the watchful eye of her trainer and former Tour de France winner Dimŕ. The lady from Marseilles is back on track for a well-needed victory.
GAS clothing president Claudio Grotto, (main sponsor and enthusiast of the team), took the opportunity at the press conference to reinforce the company's official reaction to the anti-doping measures taken by the authorities during the past Giro.
"Doping is the disease of the 21st Century, they had to eliminate it. Cycling remains an important advertising vehicle and we all have to fight this disease so that the image of cycling remains intact. If in fact this anti-doping battle does not continue, then the situation would not be in line with our corporate philosophy and I would immediately pull out of professional cycling sponsorship."
Laurent Jalabert (who should become the King of the Mountains in this year's Tour de France; to go with his 1992 and 1995 points jerseys) will do four criteriums in the Netherlands after the Tour (Boxmeer, Stiphout, Heerlen and Roosendaal).
Cycling manager Gerrie van Gerwen is still talking with Jan Ullrich about one or two appearances in the Netherlands.
It's certain that Erik Zabel will do the race in Boxmeer.
Erik Dekker (leader in the World Cup) will do only Roosendaal, Surhuisterveen and Emmen.
Marc Wauters (stage winner and yellow jersey wearer in the Tour) will probably not ride the Aalst and Peer criteriums, but will ride in Wateringen.
Lotto's Fabien de Waele, who had the bad luck to fall in the prologue of the Tour de France, causing him to abandon the race, will recommence his season in the Ronde van Nederland (August 28-September 1). He fractured a hip bone in his fall, and hopes to start light training at the end of this week.
Two young riders, Frenchman Christophe Laurent and Ukrainian Youri Krivtsov, will join the Jean Delatour team next season, the team announced today. "The team will be composed of 18 riders," said manager Michel Gros.
Christophe Laurent (24) comes from La Creuse club, home of former world champion Luc Leblanc.
Youri Krivtsov (22) is a dual Ukrainian champion in the Under 23 category: time trial and road race. He dropped off the current top ranked UCI espoir, Yaroslav Popovych with 7 kilometers to go at the National championships in June.
He's also a member of the French club Nantes 44. In two years racing in France as an amateur, he has won 24 races, including 14 time trials, which are his speciality. It was a big disappointment for him last year when the Bonjour team decided not to include him in his roster despite a contract signed at the end of the year 1999 for the 2001 and 2002 seasons.
"I've been watching the Tour de France closely this year and I think Jean Delatour is a very good team for me," Krivtsov said after meeting directeur sportif Michel Gros in Pau on Monday during the rest day. Krivtsov will enter his new team in December during the first pre-season training camp.
Courtesy of Jean-Francois Quenet
Estonian road race champion Janek Tombak will stay with Cofidis, after he signed a 2 year contract.
Jaan Kirsipuu has not yet signed a contract with Ag2r, but will probably do so. He received a good offer from CSC Tiscali, but prefers to stay with Ag2r.
Courtesy of Jaan Martinson
Major Races and Events
September 7-29, 2002: Vuelta a Espańa (GT) - Preview, stage list
May 11-June 2, 2002: Giro d'Italia (GT) - Preview, stage list, photos
July 6-28, 2002: Tour de France (GT) - Full preview & official route details
December 8: Superprestige Rd 5 (Cat. 1) - Erwin Vervecken
November 29-December 4: Six Days of Noumea (6D) - Sassone/Neuville victorious
November 26-December 1: Six Days of Zurich (6D) - Day 6 - McGrory/Gilmore/Schnider win
December 1: Melbourne Cup on Wheels (IM) - Scott Moller, Keirin, Sprint, Support races
December 2: Cyclo-cross World Cup #2 (CDM) - Sven Nijs again
November 24-December 3: Juegos Deportivos Centroamericanos (JR) - Final results
December 8-9: Frankfurter Rad-Cross (Cat. 2) - Alex Mudroch, UK National Trophy Series #4 (Cat. 3) - Roger Hammond, Grote Prijs Industrie Bosduin - Kalmthout (Cat. 1) - Bart Wellens, Int. Radquer Obergösgen (Cat. 2) - Björn Rondelez, Trofeo Mamma e Papa Guerciotti (Cat. 3) - Enrico Franzoi, Premio Egondo (Cat 3) - David Seco, Irish cyclo-cross championships - Robin Seymour
Results: local racing
Australia - CycleWest Promotions Omnium Series #2, Eastern Suburbs Summer Criterium Series, Carnegie Caulfield Tuesday criterium, Southern Cross Junior Track Open & Madison Cup, Manly Warringah CC, George Town Track Carnival, Carnegie Caulfield CC, Randwick Botany CC, Gold Coast CATS CC, Caesar's Illawarra CC, Caesar's Illawarra (track)
Denmark - Danish cyclo-cross Post Cup #3
Italy - Gran Premio Cittŕ di Bassano
Luxembourg - GP De Kopstal
New Zealand - Cyco Criterium series
Spain - Elorrio cyclo-cross
USA - Georgia Cross Series Championship, Chimborazo Grand Prix cyclo-cross, Boulder Cross Rd 6, New Mexico State Cyclo-x Champs, Sorrento Cyclo-x & California State Champ's, Boulder Cross Rd 5, Verge New England series, Northampton CC Cyclo-cross Championships, Chris Cross International CycloCross
Recently on Cyclingnews
Latest Photos - Olympic Armstrong, Boulder & California 'cross, More Pan-Am, Canberra, Boston & REI 'cross (December 13)
Cyclingnews survey - Reader Poll 2001 - Vote for your favourite riders
Letters - VDB, Lance, Boring Tour, Coastal Post, Respect (December 13)
Cyclingnews Interview - Ryan Bayley - the KFC-fuelled world champ (December 13)
Cyclingnews Interview - David McKenzie - Macca's back (December 12)
Cyclingnews Interview - Laurent Jalabert - Jalabert looks ahead (December 11)
Cyclingnews Interview - Charly Wegelius - A coffee stop with Charly (December 8)
Cyclingnews Interview - Sven Montgomery - Moving up in the world (December 6)
Cyclingnews Interview - Rochelle Gilmore - Road scholar (December 6)
Tales from the Peloton - 12 Hours of Oleta - MTB endurance race in Miami (December 6)
Tales from the Peloton - Tony Cruz - back to his roots (December 7)
Marco Polo Diary - Tour du Faso - Part II - Nathan Dahlberg's report (December 3)
Tech maintenance - Wheels - how to keep them true and tight
Tech letters - Headsets, Pegoretti, Carbon cage, gloves & tubes (December 10)
Tech news - Navigators power-tap, Headsets, Carbon cages (December 7)
Tech- Recycling - How to protect your chainstay for free
Tech Reviews: Egg Beater pedals; Park Tool belt; Shimano shoes; Speedplay
Breaking the Chain - Dope planning and testing - From Willy Voet's book
|Home Search Survey Contact us|