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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

News for January 20, 2003

Edited by Chris Henry and Jeff Jones

Spanish riders give Coast until the end of the month

Team Coast's Spanish riders, Angel Casero, Manuel Beltran, Luis Perez, Jaime Hernandez, David Plaza and Francisco Lara, have given their employer a deadline until the end of January to finalise salary payments that they claim are owed to them from 2002. If Team Coast doesn't agree, then the riders will take their case to the UCI and demand that the bank guarantee be drawn on. Two riders, Fernando Escartin (retired) and Aitor Garmendia, have already done this, and the team could well face a mutiny.

The problem appears to deal with too much tax rather than non-payment of salaries. According to a report in AS, Coast claims their riders are self-employed, and are thus subject to a 16% tax before they see their paychecks. However they are also taxed at normal rates in Spain, on the assumption that what they receive from Germany is a gross figure.

Being taxed twice doesn't make for happy cyclists, but Team Coast maintains that this was a stipulated part of their contracts. Escartin and Garmendia have it worse, as they were also subjected to the 16% tax in 2001.

"After thirteen years suffering like a dog on the roads, I've run into this in the last year of my career," Escartin told AS. Escartin says that he is effectively owed four months salary over two years. "All of the lawyers that I've spoken to told me that I have a reasonable case, and that makes me calmer."

With Jan Ullrich signing a three year contract last week for approximately 5 million euros, the aggrieved Spanish riders want what they believe to be their correct salaries paid.

Groenendaal soldiers on

Despite suffering from a hamstring injury earlier this week that threatened to end his cyclo-cross season, Dutchman Richard Groenendaal took the start in Wetzikon on Sunday for the fourth round of the World Cup. Although he lost his World Cup lead to Bart Wellens, Groenendaal still managed to finish in 6th place, after not being able to train this week. With the World Championships only two weeks away, Groenendaal is hoping for a rapid recovery in order to finish the season on a positive note.

Tour du Qatar assured

With rising tensions and threat of war in the region, organisation and racers alike might wonder what could come of the second annual Tour du Qatar, to be held January 31-February 4. The race is run by the Amaury Sport Organisation, owners of the Tour de France. Philippe Raimbaud, director of the Brioches La Boulangère team, wondered aloud, "if a tank runs over a rider, will the insurance pay?"

It's not your everyday question concerning the hazards of pro cycling, but Raimbaud found the answer, if not the one he might have been looking for. "Insurers of sports teams do not cover the risk of war," he confided.

"We're attentive, but there's no real sense of worry," Tour de France director Jean-Marie Leblanc told Le Monde. "I just spent a week in Doha, where they recently held a marathon, and I could see that normal life continues."

All of the fifteen selected teams have confirmed their attendance in the race, which offers five states of racing centred on the city of Doha. The prize list for the Tour totals €106,810. Three jerseys are also on offer, including the overall leader, the points classification, and the best young rider. A prize for the best team will also be awarded.

The following teams will contest the Tour:

Brioches La Boulangère
Team Coast
Credit Agricole
Team CSC
Quick-Step - Davitamon
Saeco-Longoni Sport
Vlaanderen-T Interim

Source: Le Monde

Paolo Fassa remembers Denis Zanette

The presentation of the Fassa Bortolo team for 2003 was marked by the sadness of Denis Zanette's death. Paolo Fassa took the occasion to remember Zanette, looking forward to the coming season but marking the sadness of the year's beginning. He offered the following statement:

"Talking about cycling and our team, as we do every year on this occasion, is very difficult today for me and for the whole team. Denis Zanette's death has left a great void. We miss him as an athlete and as a man.

His best friends have described him in these days in a very touching way. We agree with that portrait, since we had the opportunity to know him and to appreciate this great rider each single day. He was a true professional rider, with a fighting spirit, always ready to attack and to break through, with a strong will to achieve good results. Moreover he was also a sensitive man, very devoted to his family, generous with his team-mates and always the first to help the group.

After his death we are forced to start the new sporting season with a strong emotive penalization, but at the same time with a new stimulus. In fact all our riders will devote each single race, effort and victory to him. What we have to do now is to start again, as every year. Unfortunately this year without Denis, but with a particular thought to his family, to his wife and the little daughters Anna and Paola. They are and will always be in our hearts."

Gutiérrez tries the two contract approach

The ongoing dispute surrounding Aitor Gonzalez's contract obligations has a sister story, that of Spaniard Francisco Gutiérrez, runner up in the U23 World's road race in Zolder last year. Gutiérrez is listed by the UCI as a member of the Portuguese Division II formation Boavista, despite the rider's also signing a contract with Labarca 2-Baqué. Sound familiar?

The Labarca 2-Baqué management have expressed confidence that an agreement will be reached with Boavista, however the issue remains unresolved at this point. The UCI will grant Gutiérrez the move to Labarca 2-Baqué so long as the two teams reach an agreement, however the contract signed with Boavista prior to the World Championships remains in effect until that point.

Team West Virginia-GoMart

Team West Virginia-GoMart has formally presented its roster for the 2003 season. The top-ranked amateur squad in the United States boasts a strong lineup as it goes pro for the coming year.

Team director Craig Slaughter, who has guided the group for the last eleven years, said "after winning four national titles in the last two years, it was time to take the program to the next level. There was not much left for most of these guys to achieve as amateurs, and they wanted to stay with the program."

Team West Virginia will focus on the 2003 National Racing Calendar (NRC) and Pro Tour events. Beginning the year on an ambitious note, the team's stated goals include podium appearances at the inaugural Tour of Georgia and the San Francisco Grand Prix, as well as a top-five NRC ranking.

The Team West Virginia-GoMart roster for 2003:

Jim Baldesare
Jacob Fetty
Jonathan Hamblen
Tim Henry
Conor Hurley
Mike Jones
Patrick O'Donnell
Wes Seigler
Benjamin Sharp
Scottie Weiss
David Wenger

2003 Healthy Choice/Guru's Cycling Team

The Logan Race Club announced today the team's sponsorship agreements for 2003, introducing the Healthy Choice/Guru's Cycling Team.

The 2003 sponsorship agreements come after the Logan Race Club Elite Team emerged as Utah's number-one ranked cycling team. As a result of last year's success, the team has signed four new riders, hoping to make its mark on the national racing scene while maintaining local and regional dominance.

2003 Team roster:

Allan Butler
Kirk Eck
Gardie Jackson
John Osguthorpe
Sandy Perrins
Bryson Perry
Joel Peterson
Jessie Westergard
Marc Yap

Team Sponsors for 2003 include: Healthy Choice Foods, Guru's Restaurants, A-Shed Custom Shed Builders, Cache Valley Electric, Sipple Investment Solutions, and Pepsi of North America. The team's equipment suppliers are Giant Bicycles Louis Garneau (clothing and helmets), Lake Shoes, Profile Design, Kool-Stop (brake pads), Pro-Bar Nutrition, Sports Instruments (heart rate monitors and cyclocomputers), LIN Manufacturing and Design (apparel), Smith Eyewear, Xtreme Energy Gel.

Inaugural CapTech Classic

CapTech Ventures, Inc. will sponsor a new international cycling event and festival planned for Richmond, Virginia this May. The inaugural CapTech Classic, a criterium on the National Racing Calendar (NRC), will take place on May 30, 2003 and will feature pro men's and women's events with more than $12,000 in total prize money. The course is a hilly, 0.9 mile circuit course in downtown Richmond. The race will be the first major road cycling event since the Tour DuPont.






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