News for November 14, 1997

Contracts and Transfers

- Here is the new Team Asics-CGA for the next season: Michele Bartoli (27), Paolo Bettini (23), Carlo Marino Bianchi (27), Christian Bianchini (22, neoprof), Enrico Bonetti (27), Alessio Bongioni (22), Federico Colonna (25), Michele Coppolillo (30), Diego Ferrari (26), Fabio Malberti (20, neoprof), Andrea Noč (28), Oscar Pozzi (25), Fabio Roscioli (32), Samuele Schiavina (26), Luca Scinto (29), Alex Shefer (26), Filippo Simeoni (26), David Tani (28), Alain Turicchia (22), Enrico Zaina (30).

Davide Boifava is the team manager. Sport directors will be Sandro Quintarelli & Serge Parsani.

The first team meeting will be on November 20th at Calcinato (Bs).

- Uwe Peschel, winner of the ITT Grand Prix des Nations 1997, has signed a 2-year-contract with the spanish team Estepona-Toscaf. After having badluck with his first team in 1997, Cantina Tollo, Pesechel left Cantina after a few month and started for the german GS-II-Team Schauff Oeschelbronn. Rumours say that Oeschelbronn will quit professional racing now.

Michele Bartoli Interview

We had left Michele Bartoli when he shook hands with Laurent Jalabert during the Giro di Lombardia, where they split the victories of the day: the race for Jalabert, the World Cup for Bartoli.

"I am recovering from all the fatigue, I have already gained 3-1/2 kilos". "For next season, I want to do well in the Spring Classics, therefore the preparation won't change, at least for first part of the season. Then we will see".

What about that: we will see?: For instance what about the Major Tours? "For the moment my program is only an outline. Yes, I could return to the Giro d'Italia. I have various choices: I could combine the Giro and the Vuelta or do the Giro only, or only the Tour. We will see: however I don't believe that racing la Vuelta is fundamental in order to dispute a good Worlds. For sure, there will be the Classics: as always in the last years".

There is a hunger to see again a man like Michele Bartoli at the Giro: in your 3 years of absence, you have built a solid reputation as a one day racer, yet amongst the people there is also the curiosity of seeing what you could do in a Major Tour.

"I must admit that I'm also curious. The thing is that in order to aim for a Major Tour, I would need to abdicate to the Classics, that is leave the certain for the uncertain. I would have to sacrifice all the Spring, start to pedal for Liege-Bastogne-Liege or maybe after. It is true that one year Berzin won Liege-Bastogne-Liege and then he conquered the Giro d'Italia, but these are things that happen once in a lifetime. The truth is that the men of the Major Tours can only be seen at the Major Tours".

The proof you need could be your performance at la Vuelta of '95, where you arrived ninth. Although it is true that it is a gigantic leap.

"The idea of racing a 3 week race is tempting, the problem is that I would need to change all my habits and above all that I could blow a whole seasom. I'm convinced that I can do well, but then if I don't come up to the level, it will be a complete failure. Perhaps the best solution could be to race a Major Stage race aiming for stages, but at the same time "listening to myself" in order to understand if I indeed could aspire one day to make the general classification. Surely the Vuelta of two years ago is a good signal: my curiosity also comes from that result".

What are Bartoli's main objectives for 1998? "The number one objective is the World Championship", he answers without hesitation. It is said that the Tuscan has an unresolved account with the World Championships after the disappointment at Lugano. "I lost a big opportunity there, the route was ideal for my characteristics, it wouldn't have been better if I had designed it myself".

What about your new team?: "My new managers are doing a good job, but I regret the departure of Baronti: because he's a friend, but above all because he is a good rider. I also feel that also Chiappucci will change teams and for this also I am sorry. Those are two men that I would have wanted by my side".

Michele Bartoli was born in Pisa on May 27, 1970 and lives in San Giovanni alla Vena (Pisa) with his wife Alessandra. He was an excellent amateur and became a Pro on August of 1992 with Mercatone Uno and started winning: In '93 la Settimana Siciliana; in '94 la Freccia del Brabante, the GP Cerami and the stage to Lienz at the Giro; in '95 the Three Days of La Panne.

Last year (1996) he rode for MG-Technogym and won the Tour of Flanders and finished third at the Worlds. This season he had seven victories, including Liege-Bastogne-Liege ahead of Jalabert, the World Cup and the GP of Frankfurt. The number three ranked rider in the world will ride for Asics-CGA in 1998.

Ullrich in Spain

German cyclist Jan Ullrich, arrived today at Lanzarote to start a training period in the installations of the sports tourist complex of La Santa Sport, located on the coast of the city of Tinajo. Sources from the hotel told EFE that Ullrich was in the company of a group of members from Team Telekom, who will participate in the exercises that will be run at the said location for the "Week of Cycling", which will occur in the coming days. Also participating at the "Week of Cycling" will be his compatriot Erik Zabel. Ullrich who came in from Germany will stay there until November 25th.

New Tour Plan for Western Australia

In an article from the daily newspaper, The West Australian, David Marsh writes that "several of the world's best road cyclists are expected to be invited to contest an international 5 day tour in WA next year.

Phill Bates, the promoter of the Commonwealth Bank Cycle Classic on the east coast, is negotiating with the WA Government's Events Corp to hold the race, most likely in the first week of November.

About 40 of the 70-person field are expected to come from overseas. They will be contracted to compete in the event after contesting either the Commonwealth Bank Classic (October 17-24) or the Herald Sun Tour in Victoria (October 8-18). These events are Australia's major international tours.

Cycling Australia's president Ray Godkin said the organisation of the Australian Road Championships in Perth over the weekend was outstanding and he had no doubt that a major international event in WA would be as successful.

The race will be known as the West Coast Classic.

"I envisage abour 60 per cent of the riders will be from overseas." he said yesterday (Monday). "We will be aiming for quality riders rather than quantity but I envisage there will about 70 riders in the race. I want the race to take place about a week after the finish of my classic."

The riders will be separated into trade teams of five, similar to the Classic. Bates said that he was confident of securing world-wide television sponsorship and was negotiating with other potential sponsors. Prize money is expected to be about $60,000.

The race will start and finish in Perth, then progress throughout the South-West and Great Southern via Bunbury, Manjimup and Albany. It will be the biggest cycling event isince the Griffin 1000 Tours which was last held in 1986. The Griffin ran for five years and attracted a number of world class riders.

Bates who has promoted the Comnonwealth Bank Classic since it was first held in 1982, had originally hoped that the West Coast Classic would be the culmination of a 3 race series, with riders able to compete in the Commonwealth Bank Classic, The Herald SunTour and the West Coast Classic.

"It won't happen next year", Bates said. Negotiations to change the dates of both major eastern States events were unsuccessful. As usual, next year will see an overlap of dates for Australia's two biggest races.

WA Cycling Federation president Jeff Leslie welcomed the news that a major tour is likely to take place in WA. "It will be excellent for WA cycling. But if the WA Government is putting money into the race, we want to have a strong contingent of WA riders in the event to improve their standard. Our standard in the last two years has improved remarkably and this will be another step in the right direction."