Vuelta News forAugust 29, 2003
Edited by Jeff Jones & Chris Henry
Vuelta to Domina Vacanze: Cipo or nothing
Photo: © Sirotti
Vuelta a España organiser Unipublic has let its intentions be
known concerning the status of the Domina Vacanze team: bring world champion
Mario Cipollini to Spain, or don't come at all. The team, one of the wild
card selections for the Vuelta, was invited based on the expected participation
of Cipollini, who has not raced since the Giro d'Italia, apart from a
few criteriums after the Tour de France. The team once again finds itself
on the verge of missing out on a grand after it failed to earn a spot
in the Tour de France.
"If Cipollini doesn't come, don't bother coming to Gijón," Unipublic's
Víctor Cordero said to Domina Vacanze in Friday's Marca. The Vuelta
organisation has left its options open as to whether it would invite a
replacement team for Domina Vacanze or start the race with only 21 teams.
Domina Vacanze's manager Vincenzo Santoni, feeling slighted once more,
has asked UCI president Hein Verbruggen to intervene. However, being a
discretionary invite for the Vuelta, Domina Vacanze has little chance
of a helping hand from the UCI.
Unipublic noted that it wishes to avoid a situation similar to last
year, when the Italian Alexia team was invited solely for the purpose
of including 2002 Giro d'Italia winner Paolo Savoldelli, who retired early
from the race - along with several teammates - after a sub-par start to
his Vuelta. Cipollini has confirmed that he plans to race the world championships
in Hamilton, Canada in October, but unlike last year Cipo appears unlikely
to use the Vuelta as preparation.
Pecharromán will start
José Antonio Pecharromán, winner of this year's Bicicleta
Vasca and Volta a Catalunya, will start the Vuelta a España. The
Paternina-Costa de Almeria rider, who recently signed a contract with
Patrick Lefevere's Quick.Step-Davitamon team for 2004, has not been in
the good graces of his team director since his decision to leave. Paternina
had threatened not to give Pecharromán a start in the Vuelta, noting
also his lack of racing and results in the past months, but ultimately
he has been given his place on the team.
"I can't think of the podium with my current level [of fitness]," Pecharromán
told Marca, "but I hope I can race for a stage win."
Phonak for Vuelta
Photo: © C.Henry/CN
The Swiss Phonak Hearing Systems team will send a team to the Vuelta
a Españ, ostensibly built around two-time Vuelta winner Alex Zülle
(1996, 1997). The Swiss veteran has made the Vuelta a key objective, having
noted that without a competitive performance, he will likely retire from
cycling, despite having a contract with Phonak through 2004.
Up and coming Spaniard Oscar Pereiro, third place in this year's Tour
de Suisse, will also give Phonak a shot at a position in the general classification,
while Alexandre Usov will be the team's man for the sprints.
The full Phonak roster includes Zülle, Niki Aebersold, Gonzalo
Bayarri, Cyril Dessel, Juan Carlos Dominguez, Bert Grabsch, Oscar Pereiro,
Santiago Perez, and Alexandre Usov.
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Photo ©: Sirotti