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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

News for September 12, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones and Chris Henry

Stefano Garzelli responds to Patrick Lefevere

Former Giro d'Italia winner Stefano Garzelli was the subject of Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere's ire last week when the Italian rider turned down a contract offer to ride for the Belgian team, which will be the 2003 incarnation of the existing Mapei-Quick Step squad that features many Italian riders.

Garzelli, who is considered one of Italy's best stage race riders but was expelled from this year's Giro due to a positive test for probenicid, chose to sign for Tacconi Sport, after negotiations with Quick Step broke down. Lefevere was not all that happy about it, saying that "a word is a word" and let fly in the Belgian press.

Garzelli believed that Lefevere's comments needed clarification, and wrote the following open letter to Cyclingnews, which has been published in full here (see below). In the letter Garzelli also comments on the composition of Quick Step for 2003, which will not have the same proportion of Italian riders, nor have the stage race contenders as did Mapei this year, with Garzelli signing for Tacconi Sport and Cadel Evans joining Telekom next year.

"I read with amazement comments made by Mr. Lefevere concerning my decision not to join Quick Step, published on your Internet site as well as in the written press in Belgium. I believe that it is necessary for me to provide an explanation regarding this matter.

"It is true that a month ago I confirmed with Quick Step representatives that I was very interested in their proposal. What they offered was a type of contract, largely dependent on performances, such as podium places in the three Grand Tours. But I had also received assurances that certain riders whom I valued would be signed as well, and on these conditions I had accepted Quick Step's offer.

"On Monday, August 19, I met with Mr. Lefevere, who made an excellent impression. But at the same time, he told me that after further review, the contract as promised was not possible within the team's budget, and asked that I accept a reduced figure. I had also been told that [Andrea] Noé was not going to be included in the Quick Step team, although I had requested that he be signed. An appointment was made for the following Monday, the 26th of August. My manager - my brother Marco - went to represent me since I had been a bit ill and, expecting further communication, I chose not to participate in this meeting.

"At that meeting a new offer was proposed, which cut certain prize incentives in half and completely eliminated others. Certain technical components of the offer were unsatisfactory as well, as it appeared that Quick Step was signing other Belgian and Spanish riders, on the basis that the company has interests in those countries. I was also told that Mr. Lefevere was concerned about having too many Italian riders on the team, and there were already too many for a foreign team (we're talking about 5 riders).

"To that I asked myself: the team is to be based on two Italian leaders ­ Bettini and Garzelli ­ and yet there is a fear of taking on too many Italian riders? So, I realized that I needed to look out for my best interests, and thus asked my manager to listen to the proposals made by the other teams that had come knocking. I received a very interesting proposal from First Bike, the company which represents Tacconi Sport-Emmegi, run by Mr. Bordogna. The proposal was very much to my liking, but the only problem was the necessity to provide a response on a short deadline.

"I asked my manager to immediately contact the Quick Step representative to explain my dissatisfaction since the last meeting, and to suggest that a more favourable proposal be presented by Sunday evening - this was on Tuesday - five days away! Understanding how concerned I was, an appointment was offered for the next day. At that time a new proposal was made, increasing the contract among and including the riders I wanted. How? First, because Mr. Lefevere was certain he would sign me, and then could change the terms. This is not the way to conduct business. Therefore, I decided to sign with First Bike, whose representatives were clear from the beginning and consistent with what was said.

"This is the basic story, but there are also other things to clarify:

- Davide Bramati had signed before I told Quick Step that I was interested in their offer; I never said not to take Cassani.
- The masseur in question had never been suggested.
- I never requested that a specific mechanic be signed.
- Evans went to Telekom simply because Quick Step could not offer as much as the German team.
- I have no fear of riding with Virenque or any other Quick Step riders, obviously concerning the stage races, because I am stronger than any of them when it comes to the Grand Tours.
- I don't see what my relationship my positive test to probenecid has on this matter; things were said to me that were subsequently not maintained, and as a consequence I believe I have a sacrosanct right to change my mind following a change of the conditions of the initial proposal. Concerning my positive test I reaffirm what I've always said: I have never voluntarily taken probenecid for any reason."

Further reading: Garzelli signs with Tacconi-Sport, Lefevere's comments

Rumsas heard in Italy

Raimondas Rumsas has been heard in Lucca, Italy by Italian and French police, according to several French newspapers. Although he wasn't at home when the French police arrived, they found him at a friend's house and he agreed to accompany them to the local police station in Lucca, with Italian officers also present. During his interrogation, Rumsas reaffirmed that his "Tour was clean", and that he had no knowledge of a bag containing six syringes whose contents could not be identified by a Parisian laboratory. They are currently being tested elsewhere.

His wife, Edita Rumsas, remains in prison in France, where she has been since the end of July.

Ballerini: Cipollini will not be sole leader in Zolder

Italian technical director Franco Ballerini has said that Mario Cipollini will not be the team's only leader at the World Championships. "If he is the only leader in Zolder? That is far from certain. I hope that he, through these two stage wins, has convinced the other candidates for selection that they should ride for him. I also want a pair of protected riders in addition to Cipo."

One of the main criticisms of the Italian team at the World Championships in recent years is that they have 'too many chiefs and not enough Indians', meaning that none of the top riders are willing to sacrifice their own chances of a win, especially if they are helping someone from another trade team. If Cipollini is allowed to bring three or four of his Acqua e Sapone train to the World's, then that would effectively solve that problem should the race come down to a bunch sprint. It also leaves seven or eight spots open for other top riders.

Full US team for the World Road Championships

USA Cycling has announced the full team to contest the 2002 World Road Championships in Zolder, Belgium from October 8-13. Thirteen discretionary nominations join the group of automatic athlete nominations announced on Friday to complete the team.

The selection criteria included winning national road titles this season and "consistent, outstanding results in international competition."

The elite men's road race team has the largest contingent at seven riders, although this falls well short of the maximum of 12 qualified for the road race. Led by Fred Rodriguez, the team includes Acqua e Sapone's Guido Trenti, who is an Italian based rider who normally works as part of Mario Cipollini's lead out train. The other men are Chris Horner (Prime Alliance), Dylan Casey (USPS), Mike Sayers (Mercury), Antonio Cruz (USPS), and Jeff Louder (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago). Casey and Horner will also contest the time trial.

The women's team consists of Kimberly Bruckner (Saturn), Amber Neben, Mari Holden, Dede Demet-Barry (Team T Mobile), Laura Van Gilder (Trek Plus) and Tina Mayola-Pic (Diet Rite), with Bruckner and Neben to ride the time trial.

Jessica Phillips (Boulder, Colo.), who had earned an automatic nomination to the World Championships team, has declined to accept the nomination.

The full selection is as follows:

Junior Men Road Race: Josh Kerkhoff (Fort Worth, Texas), Tyler Farrar (Wenatchee, Wash.), Nathan Mitchell (Allentown, Pa.), Oliver Stiler-Cote (Arundel, Maine)

Junior Men Time Trial: Zak Grabowski (Lafayette, Colo.), Tyler Farrar

Junior Women Road Race/Junior Women Time Trial: Megan Long (Oklahoma City, Okla.), Larssyn Staley (Beaverton, Ore.)

U23 Road Race: Mark Fitzgerald (Norfolk, Va.), Jonathan Retseck (Doylestown, Pa.), Shawn Milne (Gloucester, Mass.), Mike Creed (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Will Frishkorn (Boulder, Colo.)

U23 Time Trial: Mike Creed, Will Frishkorn

Elite Women Road Race: Kimberly Bruckner (Boulder, Colo.), Amber Neben (Santa Ana, Calif.), Dede Demet-Barry (Boulder, Colo.), Laura VanGilder (Cresco, Pa.), Tina Mayola-Pic (Dahlonega, Ga.), Mari Holden (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

Elite Women's Time Trial: Kimberly Bruckner, Amber Neben

Elite Men's Road Race: Freddy Rodriguez (Emeryville, Calif.), Chris Horner (Bend, Ore.), Dylan Casey (Walnut Creek, Calif.), Mike Sayers (Sacramento, Calif.), Antonio Cruz (Long Beach, Calif.), Jeff Louder (Salt Lake City, Utah), Guido Trenti (Natick, Mass.)

Elite Men's Time Trial: Chris Horner, Dylan Casey.

Panaria minus three in San Francisco

The Panaria squad due to compete in the GP San Francisco this weekend will have to leave three of its riders at home after the American Embassy in Rome did not issue them with the necessary visas. Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio, Vladimir Duma, and Yaugeny Seniushkine will all have to stay at home, even after the team presented the Embassy with the invitation from the organisers.

The return to racing for Perez Cuapio is therefore scheduled for the Giro del Lazio on September 21, where the team will debut a new stagiaire: Fabio Gilioli, who will also ride professionally for Panaria in 2003. Australian sprinter Graeme Brown will be competing at the World Track Championships in Denmark at that time, and will not contest the Giro del Lazio.

The Panaria team to ride in Giro del Lazio, Prato, Coppa Sabatini, Emilia and Milano-Vignola is as follows:

Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio
Volodymyr Duma
Yaugeny Senyushkine
Stefano Guerrini
Nathan O'Neill
Matteo Cappe' (Stagiaire)
Claudio Bartoli (Stagiaire)
Fabio Gilioli (Stagiaire)
D.S. Roberto Reverberi

Marco Polo Cycling Club for Hokkaido

The Marco Polo Cycling Club has arrived in Kushiro, Hokkaido with a strong line up for the Tour de Hokkaido (September 11-15). The team, some of whom are coming directly from the altitude race Qinghai-Tibet, will go for the overall victory. This season the Marco Polo teams have been fighting for this in almost every stage race they have ridden in, and with the second spot in the Chinese Qinghai Lake race (Glen Chadwick) and the lead in the Tour de Korea (Cory Lange), they where really close a couple of times. The goal of the team, winning four UCI stage races, just like year, will be hard to reach if they can't win Hokkaido. This will not be an easy job, with strong competition from Japanese teams, Ireland and the remodeled Jura Suisse - Nippon Hodo team.

The team is as follows: Nathan Dahlberg (NZL), Michael Carter (USA), Rasmus Madsen (Den), Bert Dekker (Ned), Kay Kermer (Ger). Team director: Allan Wolhuter (RSA).

The Elite selection of the Marco Polo Cycling Club will next year be a Trade Team 3, with riders from all over the world and a global racing program.

More info at:

Circuit Franco-Belge preview

The 62nd Circuit Franco-Belge takes place this year from September 26-29. Starting in Vloesberg with a 221 km stage to Lichtervelde, the race will visit Komen, Moeskroen, Mons, Neuville-en-Ferrain Teteghem and Doornik during its four days.

Lotto's Robbie McEwen and Peter Van Petegem are on the preliminary start list, as are Danilo Hondo (Telekom), Tom Steels (Mapei), Tom Boonen and Viatcheslav Ekimov (US Postal).

The stages

  • Stage 1 - September 26: Vloesberg - Lichtervelde, 221 km
  • Stage 2 - September 27: Komen - Moeskroen, 172.5 km
  • Stage 3 - September 28: Mons - Neuville-en-Ferrain, 172 km
  • Stage 4 - September 29: Teteghem - Doornik, 172 km

Univest GP teams announced

Sparta Cycling has announced the roster for the upcoming 2002 Univest Grand Prix. The UCI-sanctioned 1.6 race, scheduled for Saturday, September 21, 2002 will be contested by the top amateur squads in the United States, as well as teams from Canada and Europe. The European contingent includes teams from Belgium, which will be sponsored by Etta Mae's, France, sponsored by Alderfer Auction, Holland, sponsored by Team Moes-Win, Team Jura Suisse from Switzerland, and Simpatico/Jet Fuel of Canada. The last two teams, Jura Suisse and Simpatico are Division III trade teams.

There are a number of American teams that will challenge the Europeans for dominance in this race. West Virginia's GoMart team is the hottest amateur team in the country, having won both the National Road Race and Criterium Championships. Nipping on their heels is New England's Wheelworks/Cannondale team. The ABC-AITOS team is a squad of Americans living and racing in Belgium. They'll have the experience of competing head-to-head with Europeans and a knowledge of the US peloton on their side.

John Eustice believes this could be the best Univest thus far. "We've very excited about the UCI status of this year's Univest Grand Prix. The levels of the team attending the race reflect this. The Univest Grand Prix is the first 1.6 race ever held in the United States and we hope to be setting standard for the ones to follow."

Team roster

1 Belgium/Etta Mae's Antiques Company (BEL)
2 France/Alderfer Auction Company (FRA)
3 Kissena Cycling Team (USA)
4 Wheelworks/Cannondale (USA)
5 West Virginia -Gomart Cycling Team (USA)
6 Team Jura Suisse-Nippon HODO (SUI D3)
7 Team Moes-WIN/Holland (NED)
8 Alderfer's Bologna Company/Pennsylvania Allstars (USA)
9 ABC-AITOS cycling-team (USA)
10 CCB/Volkswagen (USA)
11 Homeland Communities/ (USA)
12 Bianchi/Grand Performance (USA)
13 Ideal Tile/Brielle Cyclery (USA)
14 Ready Pac-KMK Sports Cycling Team(USA)
15 Saturn Development Cycling Team (USA)
16 GS Mengoni (USA)
17 CRCA/Think Racing (USA)
18 High Gear/Navigators (USA)
19 Beans/Lite Bites (USA)
20 CRCA/ReMax (USA)
21 WebCor/Alto Velo (USA)
22 Team Suburban Home Sales/Wolverine Sports Club (USA)
23 T.E.A.M. Fuji (USA)
24 Sympatico-Jet Fuel Cycling Team (CAN D3)
25 Hartford Hospital/Pig Iron Sports (USA)
26 UMPC/Fuji (USA)
27 Toga Bike Shop (USA)

UCI World Masters Track Cycling Championships

The eighth World Masters Track Cycling Championships will take place in Manchester from September 15-21 and riders from 18 countries will converge on Manchester Velodrome in Sport City for the Cycling Extravaganza.

The event, the official World Championships for over 30's, is well established on the International Calendar and over 50 World Champions will be crowned during the 7 days of competition. With strong representation from the home country, Great Britain will be attempting to wrestle the top spot on the medals' table from the United States.

Racing starts at 3pm on Sunday (15th) with finals in the individual time trials, then every weekday evening the finals commence at 7pm each day (qualifying rounds in the morning). The final day, Saturday 21st, has the qualifying for the Olympic Sprint from 10am with finals in the Olympic Sprint and Points Races at 1pm. The Championships finish off with the famous Muratti Cup (Race of Champions) when some of the top riders from the week ride this 10 mile race to join the long line of winners of this world famous cup race first fought for in Manchester in 1899.

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