News for December 2, 1997

Contracts and Transfers

- A meeting of the new team Professional Team 'Bottecchia Northwave', directed by Stefano Giuliani and Franco Vona, was held yesterday at San Vito Chietino (Chieti). Fourteen riders will be attending: Caviglia, Chiurato, De Nobile, Fioroni, Giroletti, Manzoni, Paluan, Alessandro Pozzi, Ragnetti, Recinella, Scotti, Tebaldi, Tomi, Trombetta.

- 12 foreign Neo-professionals to join Italian teams: Anaya, Forero, Delgado and Brand (Col) with Kross-Selle Italia; Ivanov (Mol) with Brescialat-Liquigas; Ljunqvist (Sve) and Rittsel (Sve) with Cantina Tollo; Axelson (Sve), Douma (Ucr) and Glomser (Aut) with Scrigno-Gaerne; Morscher (Aut) with Saeco; Zviben (Slo) with Krka-Sintofarm.

- GS-II-Team PSV Cologne will change its name into ‘Team Gerolssteiner’ in 1998. Gerolsteiner produces mineral waters. Meanwhile, the Sportswear company Aitos which has been a sponsor of Team PSV Cologne, quit the contract. The negotiations between the sponsor and the team had been very hard. Aitos representative Harry Schmitz stated that they have stopped sponsorship because from each talk to another Cologne wanted more and more money and support . . .

- RDM and Cedico are negotiating the possibility of a fusion between the two teams. After the integration of Vosschemie with Tönissteiner-Colnage, Remi de Moor is negotiating the fusion of his team, RDM (with Etienne de Wilde and Matthew Gilmore) with Cedico. They expect the final conclusions next week.

- Changes in the team of EC/Bayer Worringen: New riders are Neo-pro Roman Joerdens (he has a contract with weight guidelines!), Neo-Pro Ralf Werner (Betzingen - 2nd of the German U 23 championships) and Patrick Koehler (Team Nurnberger). It’s also said that the team is negotiating with Torsten Schmidt (Ex-Roslotto). Dirk Mueller (goes to Team Telekom), Brian Dahlgaard Jensen and Geert Omloop (goes to the Belgian team of Gaspard van Peteghem) have all left the team.

- The first meeting for the new team, Vini Caldirola will occur in Venice today. There will be fourteen riders, under the guidance of Roberto Amadio and Enrico Maggioni. La Vini Caldirola, has signed the following athletes: Faustini, Sironi, Zanette, Murtas, Zanotti, Dante, Radaelli, Calzavara, Dalla Costa, Furlan, Simonetti, Trentin & Zanetti.

Dutch Drugs Scandal - Part 8

Riders to act against the FIOD

The Union of Professional Cyclists (VVBW) who are representing a number of professionals who were named by the FIOD (Government Tax Fraud Body) after their investigation into the drugs doctor Wim Sanders, will sue the FIOD - the tax department of the Ministry of Finance.

A number of riders including Danny Nelissen, Frank Ackermans, Roger Smeets and Roger Vaessen, will pursue the action. The riders were accused of knowingly receiving and taking banned substances to improve performances.

Lawyers for the riders say the State is answerable for the damage that the publicity has caused. The riders want to know how such damaging information was released.

Meanwhile the Member of Parliament Vos will pursue several Parliamentary questions over the affairs. He will ask the Ministers for Finance and Justice and the State Secretary of Health, Welfare and Sport several questions. Also he wants to know how the medical secrets have been allowed to become public.

He thinks the government has to develop rules against doctors who administer drugs that are a risk to public health or which are forbidden by sport's bodies. Eventually the Medical Disciplinary Boad and the NOC/NSF have to be concerned, proposed Vos. According to the President of the Professional Cyclists there is no sport with heavier drug controls than cycling: "There is nothing more to do to intensify the traps. You must go to the source. Make the supply more punishable."

Vos will further ask the leading government officials how it was possible that the information from the investigation of private professional medical records and the privacy of the patients was revealed publicly. "Medical records are nu openly discussed. That is not possible." Vos said. The drugs scandal involving the Geleen doctor came to light after an investigation by the FIOD for tax fraud.

"But other people implicated have not been subject to any tax suspicions, and that is a major point that has to be discussed."

Virenque to ride Giro

Richard Virenque is now living in Switzerland with his wife and daughter for tax reasons, although his 'home' and fans are really in France.

Virenque has been thinking about his future. His sports director, Bruno Roussel, has sent him the schedule of the Giro d'Italia by fax, and Virenque is considering whether he will join his new teammate, Alex Zülle in the Pink Race. Virenque has been thinking about it for almost a week: Giro yes, Giro no. Giro yes, Giro no. "I want to tell the Italians that before the end of my career, I will race in at least one Giro", says Virenque. "I will race the Giro to show that I'm not only a rider of the Tour, but of all the Major Stage Races. My wife is Italian and I have already tried to win in Italy, when I was an amateur, at Valley of Aosta, a stage race where Ivan Gotti won. I know the Classics: San Remo, Sabatini, Emilia, Piedmont, Lombardy. But I don't know anything about the other races: if they are difficult or impossible, if there is nervousness or not. I want to ride the Giro: I still don't know if it will be next year. We will see. Certainly the fact that it departs from Nice which is close to my birthplace and that it will be raced in some French roads is interesting".

"The Tour 1998 will have fewer mountains and more time trial kilometers. So I'm calmly appraising it: it is an idea. If in the past there was zero possibility that I would race the Giro, now there is at least 20% possibility, because the Tour has been moved a week later than usual so there will be more time to recover. If I go to Italy it will be to be a protagonist". We will know more before Christmas.

Is Bruno Roussel surprised by Virenque's interest in the Giro?

"No, because the 1998 Giro follows the classic structure of the Tour, to which Virenque is used to: a slower start and a tough finish. Also because of the World Cup Soccer, next year the Tour will start five weeks after the Giro: better for recuperation".

-What about the people at Festina, are they interested in Virenque riding the Giro?

"They will not pressure him. I will not ask hom to make a quick decision: he has to decide his major objectives. Virenque can take all the time he needs to think about this. But the 1998 Giro's structure suits him well".

- With Alex Zülle disputing the Giro for sure as the leader and with Virenque wanting to be a protagonist, how will the team face this difficulty?

"We will follow the example of Jan Ullrich and Bjarne Riis: where both had the chance to win the Tour... it won't be a problem. When speaking of Virenque and Zülle, we are looking at sensible fellows who can talk calmly".

- When will you answer the question of Virenque at the Giro?

"We will meet at Hyeres, sometime between December 14 and 20: first with World Champion Laurent Brochard, with Gianluca Bortolami and the other riders for the World Cup Classics; afterwards with the riders for the Major Stage Races: Virenque, Zülle e Dufaux".

Richard Virenque is of French nationality, but was born in Casablanca, in Morocco. He has been a professional since 1991 and has accumulated thirty wins and is considered one of the best climbers in the world. In 1994 he won the Silver medal (behind compatriot Leblanc) at the Worlds in Agrigento and in the last four years he has won the King of the Mountain Jersey competition at the Tour de France. In the last edition of the Tour, he won the great stage of Courchevel and finished second overall behind German Jan Ullrich. In 1992 he wore the Yellow Jersey for one day at the Tour.

More on the Sciandri Accident

Maximilian Sciandri was seriously hurt in an accident that occurred during a training ride in the center of Montecatini. Yesterday afternoon, the Italo-English was crossing through the 'Thermal' city in the company of Luca Scinto and Stefano Giraldi, when he was hit by a car that was coming in the opposite direction, hitting his head violently against the pavement. Sciandri, who lost consciousness was transported to the Hospital in Pescia. Maximilian Sciandri was found to have a violent trauma to his head, distortion of the vertebrae, multiple body injuries and a broken tooth. The prognosis is about 20 days. Today to make sure that there is no further damage he will undergo a Magnetic Resonance Test (MRI).

Rebellin and Luc Leblanc at Polti Team Meeting

The 19 Team Polti riders will be meeting on Wednesday at the Hotel Castello in Clanezzo (Bologna). Davide Rebellin is returning to Polti after spending a season in France. He had a bad Tour but had splendid World Cup victories (San Sebastian & Zurich).

Missing from the meeting will be: Axel Merckx, who will be traveling in North America; Silvio Martinello, who will be riding the Six Days of Zurich and Fabrizio Guidi.

Guidi, from Tuscany, will undergo an operation to remove a metal plate that was installed because of a collarbone operation in 1997.

Ullrich to ride Bremen 6-Days

Jan Ullrich will start the Bremen Six days, beginning January 8, 1998. It will be his only apperance at a sixday race. He will just do an ‘lap of honour’ on the track, and will not take part in the race. There had been some hard negotiations between the organisers in Bremen, Ullrich’s manager Wolfgang Strohband and Telekom boss Walter Godefroot. In the beginning of January, Telekom will be attending a training camp in Mallorca. Now, Ullrich will be flown to Bremen on January 8 to start the sixdays and then he’ll fly back the next morning

Tour of Germany

It’s very well possible that the ‘Tour of Germany’ for Professionals - which was originally planned for the year 2000 - might be started one year earlier in 1999. The organisers seem to be getting the event together quickly.