Troubles for Jose Ramon UriarteJose Ramón Uriarte, ex-rider for Banesto, told the Spanish press today, that he is surprised by the lack of offers from teams for the 1998 season. "I can't believe that I don't have a team. Not only that, but I haven't had any offers", said Uriarte, who participated in the last five Tours and also the three Giros.
Uriarte said that he had been in contact with all the Spanish teams and some foreign teams and that their initial response was 'no'. "At the beginning of the year I didn't think that I would have problems finding a team, but in September I was shocked by the fact that I wasn't wanted by anyone. Because it wasn't until August that we were told that we were let go. Both Carmelo Miranda and I are without a team", explained the 30 year old rider.
For Uriarte, the situation that he's going through would be "even logical" if he was 35 or 34 years old. "But at 30 years old... I think that I'm valuable for any team. I know that I'm not a Jalabert, that I don't win races, but I do my thing. If somebody from the street doesn't understand, OK, but the lack of understanding by sport directors is a bit difficult to comprehend". The Vasque rider didn't want to reveal the reasons for his exit from Banesto, where he has ridden all his professional career. "I know them, but I'm not going to talk about them. You would have to ask them, although I would like to think that it has been due to professional reasons, since I haven't had any personal disagreements", he assured.
Precisely the fact that he has been with the same team for all his career might be the reason for the lack of offers. Another reason might be the lack of FICP points, something that might have kept some teams away. Uriarte denied that the money might have been a decisive reason. "People may think what they want, but if they talk to me they will know if I'm expensive or not. But they are not even talking to me", he said. In any case Uriarte is without a team and his professional future looks bleak at just 30 years old.
Hennie Kuiper new National Coach for Dutch Women?The KNWU is talking with Hennie Kuiper about an agreement as National Coach for the women's road team. If Kuiper is engaged the smart money is that Ingrid Haringa will become his assistant.
Giro to start in Grongingen, NL?The Giro d'Italia organization will visit Groningen, which is in the north east of the Netherlands in the spring of 1998. A delegation from Groningen had a meeting with Giro director Castellano on Friday in Milan to discuss the possibility of the Giro starting in their city in the year 2002.
Castellano was impressed about the Groningen plans. The decision about the starting place for 2002 will be made at the end of 1998.
Groenendaal to stay with RabobankCycle-crosser Richard Groenendaal, who has an agreement with Rabobank until the end of 1998, has signed for another 2 years (until the end of 2000). Team Manager Jan Raas said: "He's a world class rider and he's getting stronger and stronger". Last weekend, Groenendaal (26) won his 7th race of this new cycle-cross season.
He said: "Cycle-cross will remain the most important discipline for me although I will also race the MTB too. In one or two years i want to start in a World Cup MTB race. Maybe then I will be able to get selection for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney!"