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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for October 24, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones & Hedwig Kröner

No big deal for Valverde

...but a deal nonetheless

What was going to be the most expensive rider transfer in the history of professional cycling has now been downgraded to another high-priced transaction. Alejandro Valverde, whose Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme team had asked for €2 million buy-out for the Spanish rider, effectively driving away potential candidates like Fassa Bortolo, Rabobank, Phonak or Cofidis - has now officially been signed by Illes Balears-Banesto. And according to, the two Spanish regional government cycling sponsors have now agreed the price for Valverde should not exceed €600.000 - 720.000, a 66 percent reduction off the initial sum.

Valverde's move to Illes Balears, along with that of Kelme teammate José Cayetano Juliá, was confirmed by his new team today. However, José Luis Martinez, who was the other part of the Kelme "package" has not been signed by Illes Balears.

Lloyd goes uphill fast

By John Trevorrow on Mt. Baw Baw

Matthew Lloyd (Mitchell Supplies)
Photo ©: Shane Goss
Click for larger image

Australian Matthew Lloyd is 21 years old. He rode his first race in January this year and just demolished an international field to win the toughest stage of the Herald Sun Tour. The youngster from St Kilda is a natural born mountain climber who comes from a rowing background. His first race was a B Grade club event with St Kilda Cycling Club and his second was the Australian open road championships at Buninyong.

"I used to ride my bike as all youngsters do but I never tried racing until this year," said Lloyd. Matthew finished second up Mt Baw Baw in a much smaller event in April. "Yes I didn't catch one guy who broke away. I wasn't going to let that happen this time. I thought my best chance was to jump half way through the stage and catch the leader and it turned out to be the right move."

Matthew has been telling his Mitchell Supplies teammates that he would go well on the mountain and last night they jokingly told him to put up or shut up. "Yes they did say that I had to put it away or I would be hearing from them but they're pretty happy now."

Matthew Lloyd is a name that you are going to hear a lot more of in the future. "I would love to go to Europe and have a go at the big mountains over there." Look out Lance.

McKenzie not fast enough

David Mckenzie (BicycleSuperstore)
Photo ©: Shane Goss
Click for larger image

Dave McKenzie may have failed in his bold attempt to win his first Herald Sun Tour, but he certainly gained a few fans on the grueling slopes of Mt Baw Baw. The stage from Warragul to the summit is only 87 km but the climbing starts as soon as the flag is dropped and there is little respite. The category one climb is listed at 12 km but it is at the tollgate 6 km to go that the real monster bares its teeth.

"I went straight to the 29 cog as soon as we hit the gate and tried to keep it steady," said McKenzie, who finished 14th in the stage. "Ljungblad and Brooks got a 30 second gap straight away but I managed to hold it at close to that for about three kilometres, but then they started to pull away.

"I thought if I could keep them in sight until one kilometre to go then I would just sprint. But there was nothing I could do. I gave it 120 percent but it just wasn't enough. They slowly went out of sight and although I had guys to chase in front of me, I was on the limit."

An interview with Santi Perez

Santi Perez
Photo ©: AFP

While Roberto Heras' victory in the Vuelta a España came as no surprise, it was the phenomenal performance of 27 year-old Santiago Perez that brought people to their feet. Cyclingnews' Hernan Alvarez Macias spoke to one of the bravest riders in the peloton, who was relaxing in his home town of Asturias after a remarkable season.

"Santi" was never really considered a leader for the Vuelta. After all, the Phonak rider was a designated soldier for Tyler Hamilton, and even when he left, the Swiss team still had the Oscar Sevilla card to play. But when 'Baby Face' didn't have the luck or the form, it was a chance for him to take the reins.

He did so well, in fact, that he came close to winning the race; after three stage wins including the final time trial into Madrid - the latter hardly his speciality - 30 seconds was all that separated Heras and himself.

Possessing a calm heart that beats strongly but slowly, Santiago Perez has a natural ability to succeed in cycling. A calm nature was also needed when confronted with the death of his father when he was a child and the passing of his girlfriend two years ago after a horrific car crash.

Cyclingnews: You rode a great Vuelta a España, right?

Santiago Perez: Yes, no doubt about it. This Vuelta has been a springboard both for my personal life and my sporting career.

CN: Did you expect such good results like the what you accomplished?

SP: Every time one gets in a competition, he tries to do things the best he can. But my goals at the start in Leon were to try to win a stage and overall to help Tyler Hamilton and Oscar Sevilla in their chances for the overall victory in Madrid. I never thought of myself going for the final triumph.

Click here for the full interview.

Cunego tries to keep on top of the world in Japan

By Miwako Sasaki, Japan Cycle Sports

Recent Giro di Lombardia winner and the current leader of the UCI ranking, Damiano Cunego (Saeco), will ride the Japan Cup on Sunday. The race is classified as 1.3 and the winner will get 60 UCI points. Cunego was 6th last year, therefore he will lose 21 points after the race. As Cunego currently has 2245.4 UCI points while Paolo Bettini, who is placed second on the UCI rankings, has 2239 points, Cunego must place in the top eight in order to keep his number one ranking.

"I only think I'll finish my excellent season well tomorrow, even if I can't keep the top," said Cunego. But his team director Guido Bontempi has already confirmed the victory and said, "He will win the race."

Giro d'Italia winner Cunego spent a lot time with the Japanese media that wanted to interview today, and Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport has even followed him to Japan to report his race. Thus, he was a little tired, but he doesn't have a strong rival on Sunday. Sergio Barbero, who is a three time winner of the Japan Cup is absent this year. Barbero's Lampre team will by led by young talent Marco "the post pirata" Marzano and Manuel Quinziato. German Patrik Sinkewitz (Quick Step-Davitamon), who was second last year, is one of the favourites, and the experienced rider Fabian Jeker (Saunier Duval-Prodir) is in form now. He was 14th in 1996 when the Japan Cup was part of the World Cup series, and also finished sixth in 1997.

Cunego isn't afraid of these rivals though. One of his big fears is an earthquake of the type that happened yesterday evening in Japan, the like of which Cunego has never experienced in Italy.

Teams and principal riders

Lampre: Alessandro Ballan, Paolo Bossoni, Marco Marzano, Marco Pinotti, Manuel Quinziato

Saeco: Damiano Cunego, Mirko Celestino, Leonardo Bertagnolli, Juan Fuentes, Sylvester Szmyd

Quick.Step-Davitamon: Davide Bramati, Kevin Hulsmans, Patrik Sinkewitz, Bram Tankink, Jurgen Van Goolen

Saunier Duval-Prodir: Fabian Jeker, Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero, Francisco Jose Ventoso, Juan Jose Cobo

Brioches la Boulangère: Walter Beneteau, Anthony Geslin, Jerome Pineau, Franck Renier, Giovanni Bernaudeau.

Action ATI: Bartosz Huzarski, Kazimierz Stafiej, Adam Wadecki, Krzysztof Krzywy, Marcin Osinski

Team Nippo
Team Bridgestone Anchor
Shimano Racing
Aisan.Ind Racing Team
Miyata - Subaru Racing Team
You can-Specialized

Lefevere: Davitamon owes money

An angry Patrick Lefevere, team manager of the Quick.Step-Davitamon team, has claimed that one of the team's co-sponsors, Davitamon, has not paid its share of the money into the team since July. In an interview with Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday, Lefevere explained that the problems started when Quick.Step asked Davitamon to contribute more. "In one and a half years, Quick.Step had increased its budget twice and asked Omega Pharma (the mother company of Davitamon), that in the beginning had to pay 50 percent of the sum of Quick.Step, to contribute a little more to come into the scope of the still bare-bones Pro Tour," he said. "Omega Pharma refused to pay any more, but in the meantime will start next year with a Pro Tour team. That looked to me like a coat-pocket to trouser-pocket operation. After that it quickly got out of hand."

Lefevere (as Esperanza bvba) and Omega Pharma applied for separate Pro Tour licences, and at the time, the outside world thought that the two managing companies wanted a stranglehold on Belgian cycling. But that was not the case, as the disagreements had already started between the two. Now, Omega Pharma has taken the case to the court of commerce and trade in Kortrijk, which has not pleased Lefevere at all. "There exist more elegant ways to separate from each other," he said. "Since the end of July (i.e. the bill for June), co-sponsor Davitamon has not paid one euro more to the financial structure of the cycling team. That means that I will soon be short one million euros of planned income. On the contrary, Omega Pharma is suing for damages in court."

The case will be heard in mid-November, and if Lefevere loses, he said he will have to take out a loan to pay his riders. In that case, he will take the matter to the UCI to try to recover the money via the team's bank guarantee. "Maybe such claims are the usual way in which big business operate, but here we are firstly interested in sport. They should understand that sport, although it's becoming big business, is not really business in the sense of the word. There is also something such as emotional value."

Cofidis denies Cipo offer

A report on the Cofidis team being interested in signing Italy's Lion King sprinter Mario Cipollini has turned out to be merely a rumour. French website spoke to Francis Van Londersele, directeur sportif of Cofidis, who denied the information. He said he had been offered the rider by his agent Battaglini at the Milan Cycle Show, but that no further action was taken after that.

Apparently, Cipollini wants to change teams for what might be his last season in the pro peloton. The current financial difficulties at Domina Vacanze are likely the main reason for him wanting to leave the squad.

On the Cofidis side, Van Londersele is said to have "good contacts with high standard riders" to complete the Cofidis roster for next year's Pro Tour season. Asked if Domina Vacanze's Michele Scarponi would be of interest for him, he confirmed a contact to his management.

Glud & Marstrand Horsens continues

Danish division III team Glud & Marstrand Horsens will continue as a Continental team in 2005 and 2006. The first rider to sign for the team is 25 year-old Jacob Nielsen. Glud & Marstrand Horsens expects to sign 10-12 riders for the coming season.

Jittery Joe's signs co-sponsor

The Jittery Joe's Cycling Team announced today that Atlanta-based Kalahari will be the co-title sponsor of the team in 2005. Kalahari is a US based manufacturer of Authentically South African products.

The Iron Duke Halloween 'Cross

SpeedRiver CyclingClub in Ontario, Canada presents the Iron Duke Halloween 'Cross on - obviously - Sunday, October 31. The racing will be held in Kelso in the Conservation Area, starting at 11 am. All competitors must have a valid UCI or/and OCA citizen permit. Best Halloween costume gets a prize!

For more information and directions, got to

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)