News for May 11
Cassani and Sergeant To Retire
Davide Cassani (It, Saeco) is to retire with immediate effect and will join the
technical staff of the Saeco team. Cassani, 35 years old, is in his 14th
pro season and has notched up 27 victories, including a stage win and the
overall in the Tour Mediterraneen 1994, a stage win in the Tour of the
Basque Coutry 1994, and the Coppa sabatini and Giro d'Emilia in 1995. He
suffered a complex fracture of an arm after crashing while training for
the Tour Mediterraneen at the beginning of the season and the fracture has
not mended cleanly.
Marc Sergeant (Bel, Lotto), aged 37, is to retire by the end of June at the
latest because of persistent back problems. The injury to his team leader
and friend Wilfried Nelissen also seems to have been a factor in his
decision. Marc Sergeant's palmares included a Belgian
national championship jersey and a stage in the Tour de France, both in 1987.
Financial Woes: ForceSud
Christophe Bassons is in limbo. Recently a member of the ForceSud team, he
learnt an hour before the start of the Quatre Jours de Dunkerque that he
would be unable to start in his new Festina colours until the UCI had
chewed over his case. Bassons has demanded that his contract with ForceSud
be declared invalid, enabling him to join Festina, because
he has not been paid since the beginning of the season -- four months' salary.
ForceSud says the salary question will be settled soon, but until some
part-payments were made last week, most of the team had not been paid since
the start of the season. The ForceSud management's explanation of this is
that the team has not received the full payments expected from the small
sponsors in the Marseille region who support it.
The team promoter, Gilles Gallais, who has attracted the wrath of the
team's riders and other staff has promised that the matter will be resolved
by the end of the week.
Financial Woes: San Marco Group
The 19th-ranked Division 1 team San Marco Group managed by Flavio Giupponi
is on the brink of extinction. Slow to get started at the beginning of the
season because of financing problems, it has still failed to solve these.
The team has been given four days to find a sponsor who can sort out its
problems -- otherwise it will be dissolved, leaving top-class riders such as
Missaglia, Leoni, Podenzana, Perini and Vanderaerden without employment.
Paolo Lanfranchi has already been given permission to ditch his San
Marco contract and is joining Mapei-GB.