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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for November 20, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Omega Pharma claiming 24 million for Quick.Step split

The split between Belgian pharmaceutical company Omega Pharma, which owns the Davitamon brand, and Unilin, which owns flooring manufacturer Quick.Step, has ended up in court with Omega Pharma claiming €24 million in damages from Unilin and Esperanza (Patrick Lefevere's managing company). The case was first heard in Kortrijk on Friday, where both sides presented their pleas, and a judgment is expected early next year.

According to Het Nieuwsblad, Omega Pharma is accusing Esperanza of a breach of contract, claiming that Esperanza/Quick.Step didn't have the right to pull out of the Quick.Step-Davitamon deal. Lefevere himself is being accused of lying and intellectual dishonesty in his communication with the UCI, including his denial that any relationship existed between the two Omega Pharma sponsored teams Quick.Step-Davitamon and Bodysol-Brustor.

Esperanza and Unilin are accusing Omega Pharma of non-payment of bills since March, and of staff poaching. But the counter-suit only amounts to €1.1 million compared with Omega Pharma's provisional damages claim of €7.5 million out of a total €24 million. "They thought we would tremble," said Esperanza's lawyer Mr. De Clercq. "Unfortunately for them, we are not afraid, we are Flandrians. Let them come."

Lampre-Caffita meets

The Italian ProTour team formed by the merging of Lampre and Saeco will hold its first meeting between November 29-December 1 in Castelnuovo, near Lake Garda in Italy. During that time, the riders will undergo medical assessments, try out their new equipment, discuss their race program and meet with the media.

Lampre-Caffita has a three year ProTour licence and will be managed by Giuseppe Saronni (Lampre) and Claudio Corti (Saeco), with directors Giuseppe Martinelli, Guido and Fabrizio Bontempi and Maurizio Piovani.

The current team roster is: Alessandro Ballan (Ita), Daniele Bennati (Ita), Giosuč Bonomi (Ita), Gianluca Bortolami (Ita), Salvatore Commesso (Ita), Damiano Cunego (Ita), Paolo Fornaciari (Ita), Enrico Franzoi (Ita), Juan Fuentes (Spa), Olexandr Kvachuk (Ukr), David Loosli (Swi), Marco Marzano (Ita), Samuele Marzoli (Ita), Andreas Matzbacher (Aut), Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita), Evgueni Petrov (Rus), Dario Pieri (Ita), Daniele Righi (Ita), Marius Sabaliauskas (Ltu), Michele Scotto d'Abusco (Ita), Gilberto Simoni (Ita), Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita), Gorazd Stangelj (Slo), Sylvester Szmyd (Pol), Andrea Tonti (Ita).

Ceramica Flaminia: A new Continental Team

An Italian Continental Team has been announced bearing the name Ceramica Flaminia. Managed by ex-pro's Massimo Podenzana and Simone Borgheresi, the team will be made up of the following riders: Krzysztof Szczawinski (Pol), Dmitri Gaynitdinov (Rus), Kirill Goloubev (Rus), Stefano Boggia (Ita), Francesco Cipolleta (Ita), Maurizio Varini (Ita), Massimiliano Martella (Ita), Stefano Guerrini (Ita), and neo-pro's Domenico Quagliarello (Ita), Mario Rovaletti (Ita) and Fabio Boccialoni (Ita).

The first meeting of the team will be on Saturday, November 20 in Civita Castellana, VT, Italy. The riders will sign contracts, get measured up for their bicycles and receive their race programs.

Few changes for Wiesenhof

German division II team Wiesenhof will undergo few changes next season when it becomes a Continental Team under the new UCI cycling reform. It will increase its roster to 14 riders, keeping nine of the current members, including Jens Heppner. New signings include sprinter David Kopp (Team Lamonta), sprinter Steffen Radochla (Illes Balears) U23 riders Andre Greipel (TEAG Team Köstritzer) and Daniel Musiol (Bianchi Rad-Team Berlin).

Team roster: Ralf Grabsch (Ger), Andre Greipel (Ger), Jens Heppner (Ger), Christian Knees (Ger), David Kopp (Ger), Roberto Lochowski (Ger), Martin Müller (Ger), Daniel Musiol (Ger), Rene Obst (Ger), Enrico Poitschke (Ger), Steffen Radochla (Ger), Björn Schröder (Ger), Sebastian Siedler (Ger) and Lars Wackernagel (Ger)

Superprestige in Gavere on Sunday

The fourth round of the Superprestige cyclo-cross series will take place in Gavere, Belgium on Sunday, November 21. The race will see the comeback of Bart Wellens (Fidea), who has taken two weeks off racing after abandoning the World Cup in Tabor and finishing well down in the Koppenberg 'Cross. Wellens is no threat to series leader Sven Nys (Rabobank), who currently holds a slim advantage over Sven Vanthourenhout (Quick.Step) and Tom Vannoppen (

Elite starters: Bart Wellens, Sven Nys, Ben Berden, Erwin Vervecken, Tom Vannoppen, Sven Vanthourenhout, Wim Jacobs, Richard Groenendaal, Wilant van Gils, Maarten Nijland, Camiel van den Bergh, Petr Dlask, Martin Zlamalik, Vaclav Jezek, John Gadret, Christian Heule, Enrico Franzoi, Dariusz Gil, Tadeusz Korzeniewski, Jonathan Page, Peter Van Santvliet, Davy Commeyne, Bart Aernouts, Tim Van Nuffel, Björn Rondelez, Jan Verstraeten, David Meys, Jorn Van der Veken, Ronny Poelvoorde, Geert Vandaele, Steve Gruwier, Gert De Vos, Jan Van Doninck, Nicky David, Freddy De Meester

Current standings

1 Sven Nys (Bel) Rabobank 42
2 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Quick.Step 40
3 Tom Vannoppen (Bel) MrBookmaker-Palmans 39
4 Ben Berden (Bel) Saey Deschacht 36
4 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) Rabobank 36


Novices: 10:15
Elite Women: 11:00
Juniors: 12:00
U23/Espoirs: 13:15
Elite Men: 15:00

De Knegt supported by Bejan

Dutch cyclo-crosser Gerben de Knegt has signed a deal with Bejan, a Dutch building consultancy firm, which will sponsor him next season. In cyclo-cross races, De Knegt will race for Bejan-AA drink, while in mountain bike events he will ride for Bejan-Moser.

Cycling Ireland AGM

By Shane Stokes,

Cycling Ireland will hold their sixteenth AGM at the Keadeen Hotel, Newbridge on Saturday, November 20, where the current CI president PJ Nolan will stand down from the position. The Meathman had been due to serve one more year but due to other commitments, he feels that he will not be able to give the time required. Miceal Concannon is set to take over at the helm, moving from his current role as a director of CI. Four other positions will be filled: Jack Watson will go again as secretary, Peter Thornton as treasurer, while Barbara Connolly and Philip Collins will stand as directors.

Nolan steps down at a time of mixed fortunes for CI. His tenure saw a vastly improved relationship with the Irish Sports Council and a concomitant increase in funding, and this has helped advance the high performance end of things. The 2004 season featured a number of strong performances from Irish riders, including Ciarán Power's 13th place in the Olympic road race, Mark Scanlon's participation in the Tour de France, David McCann and David O'Loughlin's strong showing in the FBD Milk Rás and other international events plus the promising displays of Philip Deignan, Nicolas Roche plus their VC La Pomme teammates Paídi O'Brien and Tim Cassidy. Ireland looks set to have at least seven professionals next season (Scanlon, Power, O'Loughlin, McCann, Deignan, Roche and Stephen Gallagher) and the future is certainly looking brighter. The women's road scene is also developing too, with some strong performances at home and abroad.

There have been some encouraging performances in other areas. CI riders performed strongly off-road (Ben Reid's 4th in the junior world championship, Peter Buggle's 4th in the world MTB masters championships and Robin Seymour's 31st in the elite championships, to name but three), and also in the velodrome during 2004. Four riders (Power, Scanlon, Seymour and Jenny McCauley) competed in the Olympic Games.

The gain in membership is another plus; CEO Stuart Hallam's AGM report states that membership is up 15.2% to 3,099, the first time it has crested 3,000 since 1992. However, an area of very real concern is the continuing low participation of young riders. Despite the work of the youth development officers, the numbers of underage and junior participants remain below what Nolan and his team set out to achieve several years ago with their Strategy Document. Growth in this area is crucial for the long-term development of the sport and so the current situation is a worrying one.

CI's ongoing financial deficit poses another problem for the federation. According to the board of directors report, the accumulated loss is roughly the same in real terms as it was four years ago. The deficit for 2003 was €105,000 - due mainly to overspending on insurance and high performance - while the 2004 total will also see CI make a loss. This is clearly another area which will be discussed in some detail at the AGM.

The Keadeen Hotel will also be the venue for the Champion's Night awards and CI's annual equipment stock clearance sale. A selection of ex-Team issue Merlin bikes, wheels and team clothing will be available for sale at reduced prices.

2nd Sonoma Valley Cyclocross

Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA, USA, will host the second annual Sonoma Valley Cyclocross on Saturday, November 27. The 1.5-mile course will be laid out behind Turn 2 on the Raceway and will include a variety of terrains and elevations, as well as barriers and stairs. More than 175 cyclists turned out for the inaugural event last year, with San Anselmo's Rachel Lloyd and Nevada City's Jason Moeschler emerging as the winners in the women's and men's elite races, respectively. The event will start at 10:00 am and finish at approximately 3:00 pm.

A portion of the proceeds from the event will go to the Dillon Family Fund, which benefits Ross Dillon, a Sonoma County cyclist who suffered severe brain injuries as the result of an accident in 2002. Dillon will attend the event on November 27.

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