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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

News for July 15, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Quick Step steps up

The current co-sponsor of the Mapei-Quick Step team will continue on as the head sponsor of the team next year, with an estimated budget of 8 million euros and a minimum three year involvement. There will also be a Belgian co-sponsor. Quick Step will thus take over the World Cycling package, including the existing contracts of 12 riders plus administrative staff, and there will be 25 riders in total.

The riders currently under contract are: Tom Steels, Fabian De Waele, Paolo Bettini, Laszlo Bodrogi, Luca Paolini, Fabian Cancellara, Allan Davis, Dimitri Muravyev, Aurelien Clerc, Gian Paolo Cheula, Kevin Hulsmans, and Andrea Noè.

Also according to Cyclingnews sources, Andrea Tafi wants to stay and ride another season, and Stefano Garzelli wants to come back, but his role would depend on the possible presence of Gilberto Simoni. However, it seems as though Saeco will not be involved with the team.

Ekimov until 2004?

Viatcheslav Ekimov would like to continue on for another two years to help Lance Armstrong win more Tours de France. The Russian Olympic time trial champion 'retired' late last year, spending some time as the team manager of Itera. But he came back as strong as ever in the Dauphine Libéré, and is currently racing in the Tour de France.

"Now I want to carry on until 2004. I still have to negotiate my contract and all those things, but I want to carry on and ride in the Olympic Games in Athens," Ekimov told Reuters newsagency.

"Last year was the first time I took some time off and it helped me recover and also helped me find the motivation to want to race again. I just like racing and I missed it so I started riding my bike again in mid-January and started serious training in March. By the end of May I was ready to race again."

Eki has ridden the Tour 11 times, and knows what it takes. He is the most experienced member of the team, and is a valuable asset. He also plans to ride to his best in Monday's Stage 9 individual time trial from Lanester to Lorient. "I'll be going full on because the rest day is the day after and so there is time to recover. The course of Monday's time trial suits me."

Braeckevelt may go abroad

Lotto's Flemish sports director Jef Braeckevelt may work for another team next year, possibly the French Cofidis squad. Braeckevelt has an offer from abroad, but has not yet decided to take it. His future in the Lotto team is undecided with the new Lotto-Domo merger. "After 15 years with Lotto I would be sorry to leave," he said to Gazet Van Antwerpen. "But if nothing else can be done then I will go."

Bjarne Riis wants to help Jan Ullrich

Jan Ullrich's former teammate Bjarne Riis, winner of the 1996 Tour de France and now director of the CSC-Tiscali team, believes he can help Ullrich come back to his best.

"Cycling cannot do without Jan," he said. I can help Jan find a successful specialist to fix his knee injury. But it's up to Telekom whether Jan is allowed to come to report to me."

Cipollini press conference on Monday

Mario Cipollini will give a press conference tomorrow (Monday, July 15) in Florence at 15:00 to explain the reasons for his retirement. The 35 year old sprinter made the shock announcement last week, citing his non-participation in the Tour as a major reason, as well as the lack of appreciation by his team Acqua e Sapone for his sacrifices.

Vale Dick Ploog

The Gold Coast CATS Cycling Club with deep sadness announces the passing of Dick Ploog, a life member of the club, and a man who devoted 50 years to the sport in Victoria and on the Gold Coast. Dick was diagnosed with leukaemia in December 2000, and after a hard fought battle he passed away peacefully, in the presence his immediate family, on July 14, 2002.

Dick was a champion cyclist, winning an Olympic bronze medal at the 1956 Olympics, Commonwealth Games gold medals in 1954 and 1958, World Championship bronze, and numerous Australian titles on the track. But his racing achievements are only a small part of Dick's involvement with the sport. He was also a coach of world champions, he was an administrator of the highest order, he was a race promoter, he was a man who lived and breathed cycling. He was a man who loved to ride his bike, even when battling the debilitating effects of his illness.

His life will be celebrated at two services during the coming week, to which his friends and all members of the cycling community are invited. His funeral service will be held at 2 pm on Wednesday July 17 at the Robina Uniting Church, 4 Greenwich Court Robina, Gold Coast, and a Thanksgiving Memorial Service will be held at 2 pm on Friday 19th July at St Johns Uniting Church on the corner of Mt Alexander Road and Buckley St Essendon, Victoria.

May you Rest In Peace Dick.


(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)