News for November 23, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones & Chris Henry
CSC Sponsorship: Riis still working to sign Ullrich
By Chris Henry
Since the announced withdrawal of Tiscali as a title sponsor of the Danish CSC team, the rumours surrounding team manager Bjarne Riis's quest for a replacement sponsor have been flying thick and fast. Seeking an update grounded in reality, Cyclingnews asked CSC team spokesman Brian Nygaard to discuss the latest story to emerge in the German and Italian press, linking the Mercatone Uno team of Marco Pantani with CSC.
Last week Mercatone Uno contacted Bjarne Riis to propose a possible joint venture or merger, largely in the interest of signing Jan Ullrich. Riis discussed the issue with the Italians, although as Nygaard explained, CSC for the moment has other avenues which it prefers to pursue in its efforts to secure a deal with Ullrich. Objectively speaking, CSC is open to any possibility for a new cosponsor within the existing team structure, but as Nygaard pointed out, "a joint venture (or merger) is a completely different thing than adding a cosponsor of an existing team."
While the absence of a major sponsor does prohibit CSC from signing Ullrich, Tiscali's withdrawal still affects the team's preparations for 2003. Without Tiscali, or a substitute sponsor, CSC will be unable to maintain a full 25 rider roster. At this point, the team is registered with the UCI for 18 riders, which allows CSC to keep its Top Club privileges. However, if in the end Riis is unable to secure the necessary finances to sign Ullrich, there may be enough residual budget to sign one or two less expensive riders. In the meantime, 18 riders will convene for a week beginning December 6 for the first team training camp.
Finally, one could wonder what the possibility of Ullrich's arrival at CSC could mean for Tyler Hamilton, who left US Postal to lead CSC at the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France. In the eyes of Riis and CSC, Hamilton has more than established himself as a leader for the team, and adding Ullrich would only be a benefit. "In cycling now, it's a big advantage to have several big riders," Nygaard commented. "It's proven not to be a disadvantage [to have two leaders]. It's still to be decided whether Tyler will focus on the Giro or the Tour next year - but he will be a major rider next year."
Botero hoping for smooth departure
Santiago Botero has explained a little more about his impending departure from Kelme to Telekom next season. In an interview with Radio EFE from Spain, he said that "It's normal that a Spanish rider in Kelme would be more marketable for advertising. It's understandable."
Botero added that Kelme would improve his contract "less than it would for a Spanish rider, it's going for the advertising, which is understandable... But when you achieve something important you would hope that it would be given its due importance." Kelme has reduced its buyout clause to 450,760 euros, but Botero is hoping it will be rescinded altogether. "There is willingness on both sides and what is still lacking is an agreement to rescind the clause, but what is important is to do it in such a way that it will be best for all", said Botero.
He still wishes "to wear the Telekom colours", and is still hopeful to sign with Telekom as soon as an agreement is reached with Kelme, which seems willing to reduce the buyout clause.
Botero wanted to make it clear that the "relationship with Belda and the riders of the team has been very good", and he thanked them for "the good job that everyone has done".
The Colombian cyclist is still hopeful to be one of the main protagonists in the Tour de France next year. "I know the Tour and I know I can do well, but many circumstances come into play. I hope to have a good year, train and race well, and be one of the best", concluded Botero.
Courtesy of Haroldo Camacho
Telekom hits the field
The Deutsche Telekom riders will gather in Munich next Saturday, the first call back to action for the 2003 season. This time it's a brand new Telekom team that will convene, a team that puts an end to an important chapter of its glorious history. The departure of Jan Ullrich from the team marks an important turning point. Ullrich will ride for a new team next season, possibly Bjarne Riis's CSC team, although no agreements have been reached. Nonetheless, Ullrich promises us that he'll be back to the level of 1997, the year he won the Tour and seemed ready to become the Indurain of the new century.
A new brand Telekom, indeed. Gone are the old gentle lions Jens Heppner (Wiesenhof) and Udo Bölts (Gerolsteiner), as well Kevin Livingston (retirement), amongst others of less fame. Telekom will welcome the winner of the 2002 Giro d'Italia, Paolo Savoldelli (Saeco), the winner of the 2002 Flèche Wallone, Mario Aerts (Lotto), and one of the most promising young riders, Cadel Evans (Mapei). Also joining the team are Daniele Nardello (Mapei) and Christian Werner (Team Nürnberger), and probably Santiago Botero (Kelme). As Deutsche Telekom also sponsors the soccer team Bayern Munich, riders and footballers alike will be gather together next Sunday to exchange stories from both fields.
Courtesy of João Cravo
The Italian Lampre team will hold its first pre-season training camp between December 2-5 in Salice Terme, Italy. There the new riders, such as Francesco Casagrande and Wladimir Belli (Fassa Bortolo), Eddy Ratti (Mapei), Daniele Righi (Index-Alexia) and Francisco "Patxi" Vila (iBanesto.com), will meet with the existing team members, with Raimondas Rumsas' presence in the team still to be finalised. The riders will also have medical tests and meet with sponsors at this pre-season camp.
The team's casual wear will be Angelo Nardelli 1951, and the riders and staff will be dressed by Italian tailors ITN. As far as their cycling clothing is concerned, Asics will supply that. As has already been reported on Cyclingnews, popular brand Wilier Triestina will replace Fondriest as the team's bike sponsor.
Unofficial 2003 team roster
Sergio Barbero (Ita)
Chechu Rubiera predicts six Tour wins for Armstrong
How long will Lance Armstrong continue cycling as professional? One answer to that question was given by his team mate José Luis Rubiera during the Jornadas de Ciclismo y Desarrollo Riosa 2002 (Cycling & Development Workshop) currently being held in Asturias, Spain. Asked about how many times he though Armstrong would win the Tour, Rubiera stated the number six.
Given that Lance has won the Tour four times and that he has said on several occasions that the Tour is his life, one might guess the number of years before Armstrong leaves the route du Tour to future candidates. Two years is a guess that might give hope to many riders in the pro peloton.
Courtesy of João Cravo
UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup
The opening round of the 2002/2003 UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup will be the GP Frankfurt in Germany this Sunday, November 24. This season's World Cup is comprised of five rounds, taking place in Frankfurt, Kalmthout (Bel), Liévin (Fra), Wetzikon (Swi), and Hoogerheide (Ned).
The best 'cross riders in the world will be taking part in the series, despite the grievances of the Belgians, who are the outright favourites. With World Champion Mario De Clercq, Sven Nijs, Erwin Vervecken, Tom Vannoppen, Bart Wellens and Sven Vanthourenhout, the Belgians will have the strongest team in the race, even if some of them will have to start near the back.
The Dutch squad of Richard Groenendaal, Gerben De Knegt, Maarten Nijland, Wilant Van Gils and U23 World champion Thijs Verhagen is also expected to put up a strong challenge, however the depth is not quite the same.
2002/2003 Cyclo-cross World Cup
Round 1 - November 24, 2002: Frankfurt, Germany
Indurain awarded Aigle trophy
Miguel Indurain has been awarded the Aigle trophy, given by the international association of race promoters (AIOCC) following a meeting of the general assembly at the Centre Mondiale du Cyclisme. Tour de France director Jean-Marie Leblanc currently serves as president of the AIOCC. The trophy is to be formally presented to Indurain on the eve of next year's Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The AIOCC also awarded a trophy to Belgian commentator Theo Matthy, in honour of his service in support of cycling.
Bankgiroloterij to remain in Division II
For the Dutch team Bankgiroloterij, the difficulty wasn't to be promoted to Division I, but simply to accept the promotion. After finishing second in Division II behind the Danish team EDS-Fakta, and therefore automatically earning the right to ride in Division I, the team was forced to renounce it due to financial reasons.
The new riders Matthé Pronk (Rabobank) and Jans Koerts (Domo-Farm Frites) will thus find themselves riding in a Division II team accompanied by 10 others.
LeMond still eager to form team
Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond is still eager to create a new professional team, according to comments made by friend and former USCF president Mike Plant. LeMond ventured into team sponsorship with Mercury-Viatel, bringing in Viatel's sponsorship in addition to providing LeMond bikes to the team, but was frustrated when Viatel's financial collapse quickly soured the relationship. However, it was always LeMond's intent to form his own team, and it appears the fire still burns.
Perque to the amateur ranks
28 year old World Madison Champion Frank Perque is back to the amateur ranks after being dropped by FDJeux.com. Despite an offer from MBK-Oktos-Saint Quentin, Perque opted to ride on French Elite 2.
Perque, who partnered Jérôme Neuville to gold in Copenhagen this year, is looking forward to the Olympic Games 2004 and will receive financial support from the French Cycling Federation. In this way, Frank Perque leaves the professional scene where he made his debut in 1998.
Jeune quits too
Another rider is leaving the professional peloton. The 27 year old CSC rider Raphaël Jeune is retiring from cycling altogether and will be seen at the races as a sales representative for LOOK from now on
Courtesy of João Cravo
Kayaba-Yema MTB team stops
The professional MTB team Kayaba-Yema has folded, after it lost its main sponsor. The team manager, Jüri Savitski is currently searching a new sponsor in order to create a new team.
Cycling Ireland CEO to stand down
By Shane Stokes, Irishcycling.com
In a press release issued last evening, Cycling Ireland has confirmed the unexpected decision by CEO Eamon Duffy to resign from the post he accepted in March of 2001. Duffy will stand down from the position once a successor has been appointed in the next few weeks, thereafter adopting a more marketing-based role within the governing body.
Speaking on the matter this evening, Duffy said that he had planned to make his decision public during his address at Saturday's Cycling Ireland AGM, but that reports leaked on Thursday had prompted an earlier disclosure. "I had planned to explain this on Saturday but as some people had already heard the news, we had to bring the announcement forward."
Asked as to the reason for his decision, Duffy pointed towards the rapid expansion of CI and the escalating workload he has faced in recent months. "I have had to devote an increasing amount of time to sponsorship negotiations, working closely with our title sponsor and others, and it was getting harder and harder to do everything that the CEO role requires. I also feel that as Cycling Ireland grows and becomes bigger, there is a need to bring it to a higher level with regard to the area of administration. I realise that it is time for me to stand aside and let somebody else take up the position who is more qualified in this area," he said.
"I have had a good time working as CEO, continue to have an excellent relationship with the board and the Sports Council, but recognise that Cycling Ireland and the sport of cycling will be best served by this restructuring. I plan to stay on as part of the organisation, working closely with the title sponsor Hibernian Insurances and on fundraising and publicity ventures, which is what I do best."
Since Duffy started as CEO, CI has secured the biggest sponsorship arrangement in its history, with Hibernian agreeing to a three-year deal worth an estimated half million euro. It also ran the first National Bike Week and brought about an increase in its membership including, crucially, a significant jump in the numbers of underage riders. CI has also made serious inroads into overcoming the considerable budget deficit of recent years, with director Ciarán McKenna predicting the accounts should be in the clear within the next few weeks.
However the period has also seen some difficulties, with administration and communication problems hampering the efficiency of the governing body and leading to frustration both within the CI office itself and with its members. The planned restructuring is clearly an effort to address these issues, with Duffy's strengths likely to be better exploited in his future position and a new CEO being able to dedicate his energies to the other important tasks.
Quoted in the CI press release issued, President PJ Nolan explained that "the administration, marketing and communication of cycling has become a very big task. The board of Cycling Ireland has agreed to devolve responsibility in to key areas and this will ensure the delivery of our four-year strategy plan. The delivery of increased resources is central to our plan, and this was identified by Eamon Duffy in the past six months. The board of Cycling Ireland are in agreement with Eamon that this (restructuring) strategy will be the best way to deliver our plan as approved by our members."
CI director Ciarán McKenna was similarly in agreement, highlighting Duffy's hard work in securing the sponsorship of Hibernian Insurance and also in driving the areas of fundraising and publicity forward this year. "Eamon has done some fantastic work since become part of Cycling Ireland and will be very well suited to the new role. It will ensure he can devote all his energies to doing what he does best."
Elliot Memorial to continue under Bray Wheelers
By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent
It was confirmed last evening that the Bray Wheelers Cycling Club will again a promote single day Union Cycliste Internationale event. Scheduled for next May, it is the intention of the club to make a number of significant improvements that would enhance the standing of the event worldwide.
At the Annual General Meeting of the club, the outgoing chairman, Brendan O'Leary made it crystal clear that for the event to make an impact, significant sponsorship would be the order of the day. It is the intention to support the Shay Elliott with the 1.5 ranking that the UCI has allocated to the event.
"With a name to hang to the sponsorship on, the Elliott Memorial is the one that can attract a major backer," said Brendan.
In the past the club have had very interesting sponsorships. They are no strangers to organising top class events. Since the mid-seventies the roll of honour is like a whose who when it came to attracting blue chip sponsors who lent their name to events, i.e. Coca Cola Grand Prix, Guinness Series of races, Coors Grand Prix, Waterford Crystal and the Lucozade Shay Elliott to name but a few. The Lucozade sponsorship was one of the longest sponsorships in the club's history.
The new man at the helm after the AGM is Herbie Monks. Regarded as a safe pair of hands, the onus will now rest with Herbie in motivating the strong membership of the club into securing sponsorship.
"We have to cater for all the facets of the club and this will mean that its incumbent on all of us to make every effort to raise the profile of the club and that will mean securing extra revenue," said Herbie.
Earlier in the proceedings of the AGM, Herbie along with John Dunne were singled out for the work that they did in dotting the i's and crossing the t's when it came to the promotion of the Elliott this year.
He did confirm that negotiations were at an advanced stage in relation to the "Elliott" and invitations. "There is an urgency to secure an attractive sponsor who will get a return for his investment," said Herbie.
It was also confirmed that the 'Christmas Novelty Event' would now take place on the 22nd of December to avoid a clash with the "Hamper" event in Carrick-on-Suir the previous Sunday (15th).
Redline Cup 'cross round 2: Soldier Hollow
On Saturday, November 23rd, Soldier Hollow, the Nordic Skiing venue of the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics will play host to Round 2 of the Redline Cup, a UCI category 3 cyclocross event.
Confirmed starters include the Mongoose duo of Marc Gullickson and Todd Wells, Northwest rival Johnny Sundt, and recently-crowned Northern California champion Justin Robinson. Utah native Bart Gillespie (Team Biogen) will be the locals' best hope to challenge for a top spot after a strong 7th place in the Portland UCI event several weeks ago. The Elite Women's race will most likely be a showdown between the Clif Bar team of Gina Hall and the Kona Kenwood team of Anne Grande, with Christine Vardaros possibly acting as the spoiler.
2004 Olympic Games Benefit for Garth Blackburn
US track sprinter Garth Blackburn is travelling to Germany to work with Gerd Müller and a select group of sprinters, staying there until the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Team SpinCycle in his home town of Houston is hosting a fundraiser to help with the costs. It will be held on Sunday November 24 in the Saint Arnold Brewing Company (2522 Fairway Park Dr.) between 1:00-4:00pm, featuring live music and good food.
Inaugural Collegiate Cycling World Grand Prix
Quantum Sports & Entertainment LLC and the City of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, have announced the first annual Collegiate Cycling World Grand Prix. The event, to be held May 30-June 1, 2003 in historic Bethlehem, will have a minimum prize list of $35,000 and is expected to draw more than 500 competitors from up to 200 American and international schools.
The Collegiate Cycling World Grand Prix will kick off Friday night with street sprints in the South Side business district of Bethlehem. Road race heats will take place on Saturday, with the finals for men and women on Sunday. The road race will consist of a 6-mile loop that starts and finishes in historic downtown Bethlehem. The course includes the South Side business district, a one-mile climb through Fraternity Row in Lehigh University, and a turn around loop through the campus of Moravian College.
For more information on the 2003 Collegiate Cycling World Grand Prix, please contact Quantum Sports and Entertainment CEO, Jack Simes at 610-298-3255 or Quantum@betcycling.com.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)