Vuelta News forAugust 28, 2003
Edited by John Stevenson
Cipo doubtful for Vuelta, but says yes to World's
Photo: © Sirotti
The chance that World Champion Mario Cipollini will ride in the Vuelta
a España is fairly slim, according to a report in La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"Mario has done no special preparation for a three week stage race," said
his team manager Vincenzo Santoni.
If Cipollini doesn't start, then the Domina Vacanze team could be excluded
by the Vuelta organisers. The team received a wild card invitation in
July on the basis that they would bring the World Champion. "In the coming
days, Mario Cipollini will look for a solution with the Vuelta organiser
and UCI president Hein Verbruggen," said a team spokesman.
Cipollini hasn't raced for three months, after crashing out of the Giro
d'Italia on Stage 11. In total, the World Champion has only raced 26 times
this year, excluding criteriums. He has won just four races: two stages
in the Giro and two in Tirreno Adriatico, a far cry from last year when
he notched up 14 wins including the World Championship, Milan-San Remo,
Gent-Wevelgem, six stages in the Giro and three stages in the Vuelta.
On the other hand, Cipollini has indicated that he will ride the World
Championships in Hamilton (as outgoing World Champion, he can start as
an optional 13th rider with the Italian squad). "I will put my experience
in the service of Italy to recreate the ambiance of Zolder," Cipollini
"Mario has a personality and human qualities that are very important
for uniting a team," Italian selector Franco Ballerini said. "Because
of that, his presence is invaluable."
One of Cipollini's key helpers last year, Paolo Bettini, has his eyes
on the rainbow jersey in Hamilton. "I would like to succeed Mario with
his World Championship win," Bettini told L'Equipe. "His charisma and
experience are precious."
Whatever happens, Mario Cipollini will probably ride in 2004 for Domina
Vacanze-Elitron, although he has yet to sign on the dotted line for the
Quick.Step for the Vuelta
The Quick.Step-Davitamon team has been announced for the Vuelta España.
Experienced riders Frank Vandenbroucke, Richard Virenque and Kurt Van
de Wouwer will be joined by Spaniards David Cañada and Pedro Horrillo,
German Patrik Sinkewitz, Dutchman Bram Tankink and Belgians Jurgen Van
Goolen and Tom Boonen. The team has Aurelien Clerc and Kevin Hulsmans
as reserve riders, with Luca Guercilena, Serge Parsani and Wilfried Peeters
serving as sports directors.
Vuelta adds 23rd team of former riders
Vuelta a España organizer Unipublic has announced a "23rd team"
for this year's edition: ten former riders who will be involved with the
Spanish Grand Tour providing "all their knowledge as reporters and collaborators".
The ten are: Abraham Olano, Melchor Mauri, Herminio Díaz Zabala, Neil
Stephens, Jesús Rodríguez Magro, Miguel Angel Iglesias, Jesús Cruz "Pantera"
Martín, Antonio Sánchez, Alberto Leanizbarrutia and José Enrique Cima.
The role of these former riders will be as ambassadors and intermediaries
between the organizers, the teams and the event's sponsors and guests.
Unipublic sources say the aim is for this "stars team to contribute to
the organization of the event with all their experience and at the same
time to come closer to the authorities, sponsors and guests. They will
also reinforce the relationships of the organisers with the different
teams so they don't have any problems in or out of the competition."
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