News for December 4, 2002
Edited by Chris Henry
Mapei to continue with U23 and MTB next year
By Gerard Knapp
Despite its decision earlier this year to withdraw its sponsorship dollars from what was cycling's largest and most successful professional cycling team, the Italian firm Mapei will continue to be involved in the sport next year.
One of the most significant moves by Mapei chief Giorgio Squinzi is to maintain his company's support of the U23 squad selected by the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), who will continue to live and race in Italy next year. The AIS-Mapei U23 team is seen as one of the most successful models for pro rider development in cycling, with several riders from the squad signing contracts for 2003 with pro teams, despite the 'buyer's market' for riders which now exists in the sport following the withdrawal of high-profile sponsors.
Mapei will also maintain its involvement with a MTB team, which is planning to hire a pair of young Australian riders for 2003. Cyclingnews spoke to Dr. Aldo Sassi, director of the Mapei Sports Center in Castellanza, Italy, near Milano. Sassi is the former head man at World Cycling s.r.l., otherwise known as the Mapei cycling team.
"Mapei will only sponsor two cycling teams next year," Sassi told Cyclingnews. "No more sponsorship for teams like Grassi-Mapei or UC Trevigiani. The AIS squad and the Mapei mountain bike team are the teams that have the philosophy we believe in... Plus we'll have two new Australian members on the mountain bike squad for 2003: Sid Taberlay and Trent Lowe."
Later this week, the AIS will finalise its roster of eight riders who will be based in Italy next year and make up the AIS-Mapei team, said Brian Stephens, manager of the squad and brother of former Australian pro Neil Stephens. Stephens told Cyclingnews "we were doing cartwheels" when team management was informed that Mapei would stay with the AIS in 2003. "They want to continue with us next year," he said. "You could say it's a bit of a vote of confidence in us," he added somewhat understatedly. "At this stage it's for one year, but we're very happy."
"What we stand for is what he stands for in cycling," Stephens said of the Mapei boss. "We're anti-drugs, anti-supplements and all for a clean sport." Next year, Mapei will provide the team with accommodation, vehicles and medical facilities. Bianchi once again will be providing the bicycles, Santini the team clothing and in addition, the Mapei name helps attract smaller sponsors to cover incidentals such as race food and drinks. For its part, the Australian government-funded AIS covers the airfares of the riders and staff to Italy, as well as the salaries of the team management, while the riders receive a regular allowance to buy food. "It's not a wage that they can use to save for a house, but it's enough for them to get by," Stephens said. "They learn to budget, look for bargains and buy good food for cycling. Our aim is to develop the rider as an overall person, so that when they find a pro contract they know how to look after themselves and they are used to living away from home."
"When a team signs a young Australian pro, they will know how to look after themselves. I think they've got a reasonable reputation," he said. In fact, former AIS-Mapei riders such as Alan Davis, Michael Rogers, Scott Davis and Simon Gerrans have all signed contracts with pro teams for 2003. Next year's eight-rider squad will be made up of six road riders and two track endurance riders from the AIS, including Peter Dawson, a member of Australia's world record-breaking and 2002 world champion team pursuit squad.
Giant/Pearl Izumi Mountain Bike Team
As originally reported on Cyclingnews, Giant Bicycles and apparel company Pearl Izumi have teamed together to create the Giant/Pearl Izumi Mountain Bike Team.
Downhill phenomenon Dustin Adams returns to the 2003 racing program after finishing third overall in last year's NORBA Series. Dustin's new training and racing partner will be 21 year old Australian Jared Rando, who finished fourth in the 2002 NORBA Series. Both riders will contest the NORBA Downhill and MountainCross events, World Cup events, and both are expected to represent their home countries of Canada and Australia at the 2003 World Championships in Switzerland.
Former national champion Tara Llanes will compete on the MountainCross and Downhill courses. Tara has scored impressive results at NORBA, X-Games and World Cup competitions. Rounding out the Giant/Pearl Izumi Team will be cross-country and cyclo-cross star Adam Craig. Rising from the ranks of the Devo development squad, Craig is the current and two-time U23 National Cross-Country Champion. He is also the U23 Cyclo-cross Champion and will be defending his title on December 15th at the Domain Chandon Winery in Napa, California aboard a Giant TCX CycloCross frame.
Frank Trotter will return as team manager, and Matt Dunihoo will return as lead mechanic for the Giant/Pearl Izumi Racing Team.
Team cosponsors include Pearl Izumi Race and Casual Clothing and Shoes, Manitou Suspension, Race Face Components, Hayes Brakes, Mavic, Balance Bar, DT Swiss, Giro Helmets, 661 Protective Gear, Michelin Tires, Titec Components, WTB, Park Tools, Innovations, Finish Line Lubes, and Cycleops.
Quick Step previews
Servais Knaven, who joins the new Quick Step-Davitamon team from Domo-Farm Frites, has kindly provided a sneak peak at both the team's new jerseys, as well as the Time bikes Quick Step will ride in 2003. Additional photos are available on Servais' site, www.servaisknaven.com.
CA Mantes-la-Ville 78 drops women, adds men
The only French women's pro team in the peloton this year, CA Mantes-la-Ville 78, will shift its focus in 2003, dropping its support for the women. Facing financial difficulties, the team has opted to switch its focus to a men's team, beginning at the DN2 level in France. The team will carry 11 men, including three elite 2 riders. The team roster includes the following ten riders, with an eleventh to be named soon:
Stéphane Bonsergent, Frédéric Mille, Yann Buiron, Antony Hue, David Dacosta, Yohann Simon, Jérémie Dauphin, Hermann Terryn, Laurent Motte, Nicolas Vinouze.
Stéphane Bonsergent was the first to represent the team in competition at a cyclo-cross event in Sedan lats weekend.
Dufaux sticks with Alessio
Despite being announced as another rider to retire at the end of the 2002 season, Laurent Dufaux will in fact stay in the professional peloton for at least one more year. Dufaux, 33, extended his engagement with his present team, the Italian Alessio squad. The Swiss rider will target the one-day races, starting with the Ardennes classics next spring, although the centenary Tour de France is also on his mind.
Courtesy of João Cravo
Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series Finals
The final round of the Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series will take place in Merrimack, New Hampshire on Sunday, December 8. Promoted by Tim Lucia and the Northeast Bicycle Club, the day will conclude with a Verge Series awards ceremony scheduled to begin at 4:30pm, following the Elite Men's race. Riders must be present to receive their awards. In addition to the series awards, the ceremony will include raffles and drawings for various prizes, and will serve as a New England pre-nationals pep rally. Spectators, competitors, and friends are encouraged to stick around for the festivities.
Series leader Marc Gullickson (Mongoose) is undefeated in the 2002 Verge Series, and is the top ranked US cyclo-crosser in both the national and UCI rankings. "The Verge Series overall title is important to me, and I want to make sure I'm there to try and win it in the final round", said Gullickson.
Johannes Huseby (Independent Fabrication) won Verge Series round 5 in Rhode Island, and will be keen on proving he can compete with the likes of Gullickson & Page when he is on his best form. Mechanical and physical problems have cost 2001 Verge Series overall winner Mark McCormack (Saturn) placings at the last two rounds, but the defending champion enters the series finals as the only rider mathematically capable of beating Gullickson in the series.
While Mary McConneloug (Seven Cycles) clinched her Verge Series win at Round 5 last Sunday, travel plans preclude her attending the final round. US Masters Champion Jodi Groesbeck (Putney/West Hill) and former Canadian national champion Shauna Gillies-Smith (SRP/GearWorks) look to be the co-favorites for the win in New Hampshire. These two competitors are also still vying for the 2nd and 3rd spots on the 2002 Verge Series podium, so both will be looking for their best performance of the season this Sunday.
The American Express Financial Advisors Cyclo-Cross gets underway at 10:00am at Wasserman Park in Merrimack, NH. All Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series races can be registered for on-line courtesy of BikeReg.com. For more information, log on to www.necyclocross.com.
Rocky Mountain extends relationship with Tomlinson
Mountain bike racer Lesley Tomlinson has taken on additional responsibilities as Rocky Mountain's director of sponsorship, events and media communications.
Tomlinson will be responsible for team and sponsor recruitment as well as communication relating to the Rocky Mountain race and freeride teams.
The two-time Olympian will continue to represent Rocky Mountain on the professional mountain bike circuit next year. Tomlinson will defend her titles as the 2002 Trans Alp Challenge Champion and World 24-Hour Solo Champion. She also will compete in marathon events and select North American races during the season.
Armstrong joins celebrity call for aid to Africa
U2 front man Bono and other AIDS activists took to the stage of the Lied Center for Performing Arts Sunday night in Lincoln, Nebraska. The topic at hand was World Aids Day, and a call for increased U.S. aid to fight AIDS in Africa. Tour de France winner and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong said Bono convinced him in a single phone call to attend the event. Armstrong said Africans lack the hope of first-rate medical care, which he had when fighting cancer. "There's something wrong with that," he said.
Source: Lincoln Journal Star
Pfluke battling cancer
American masters rider Lillian Pfluke, 43, is battling breast cancer. An American living in France, she is consistently a top finisher in the Masters World's in cyclo-cross, the time trial, and on the road. She won a gold medal, a silver medal, and two bronze medals at the World Masters Games in Melbourne a few weeks before her diagnosis. Pfluke has a successful surgery behind her already, and now faces chemotherapy and radiation treatment, as well as possible further surgery. She's determined to beat the cancer and be back on the bike as soon as possible.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)