News for December 19, 1999

Banned Dane gets reprieve

By Tomas Nilsson, correspondent

Danish rider Claus-Michael Møller has successfully appealed against his one year suspension imposed by the UCI, after the international sports court, CAS, shortened the suspension to seven months.

This means that he can start racing for the Portuguese team Maia/MSS from April 1 2000, although in his native Denmark he will still be banned until August 5 in the following year.

Navigators 2000 'strongest-ever'

"This is the strongest team that we have assembled in our seven years," said Navigators' team director Ed Beamon at the launch of the US squad in New Jersey yesterday.

The twelve-man roster includes nine returning riders, plus three new additions: Adham Sbeih and Burke Swindlehurst (both from Saturn), and Franky Van Haesebroucke (Collstrop). In addition to all the major US races, their schedule will also include select events in Europe, South America, and Oceania.

The team is backed by New York-based Navigators Insurance Group, one of the largest marine insurers in the world and co-sponsored by Somerset Insurance, Ltd. of Bermuda, an affiliate of Navigators. The team uses Litespeed Titanium frames with Reynolds Composite forks and Cane Creek wheels.

2000 Navigators Roster:
Chris Baldwin
Vassili Davidenko
Jonathan Hamblem
Elliott Hubbard
Matt Koschara
Todd Littlehales
Paul Martin
Adham Sbeih
Burke Swindlehurst
Franky Van Haesebroucke
Brendan Vesty
Mark Walters 

Aluminium for Mercury

Australian manufacturer Ti Sports Australia has scored a deal to build 150 Team Issue Sc7000 road frames plus 85 custom made (Fuji) frames for the Mercury road team in the US.

The agreement with Fuji USA/Advanced Sports has seen the first of 50 frames leave Australia last week and "we are now commencing to build the 85 frames for the Mercury Team this week", said Ti Sports owner Peter Teschner.

Mercury Juniors & U23s - Lechuga to return from cancer

Next year's Mercury/Fuji Junior and U23 elite programs have been announced, and should include Ernie Lechuga, currently recovering from testicular cancer, the same form of the dreaded "C" which afflicted Lance Armstrong.

This is the second year of the junior squad being sponsored by the US car maker. The five juniors in the 1999 team included Will Frischkorn, Rashaan Bahati, Devon Hoff-Weekes, Sterling Magnell and Dustin Rademacher. For 2000, John Wordin Sports has come in to bridge the junior program and the professional team.

He would like to see the day when a rider makes his way through from the juniors to the under-23s, and then on to the pros. "Every year I'm going to need new talent," he said. "Will [Frischkorn] is going to be the first one that completes all of those stages. Most other European Teams have similar programs."

In 2000, Frischkorn will be joined on the Mercury under-23 team by Derek Wilkerson and Justin Spinelli "both of whom rode with Mercury as stagiaires late in 1999 and rode the Tour de l'Avenir.(teammate Floyd Landis became the 3rd American ever to wear the Yellow Jersey)" and Ernie Lechuga, who continues his recovery from testicular cancer.

"Ernie is down in Mexico training, He's riding a lot, which is good. I think it'll take him most of the year to get back into it, but he's coming back."

The junior program will continue as well, with Bahati and Magnell returning and being joined by Junior National Champions Jon Retseck and Ang Sheldrake.


Jay's sweetest win?

Australian sprinter Jay Sweet and New Zealand rider Jacinta Coleman - who met at the Commonwealth Games at Kuala Lumpur in 1998 where Jay won the road race - are to get married.

Their relationship developed in Europe this year when they could meet during their respective heavy racing programs.

Jay popped the question on an island off the coast of New Zealand during a recent visit and they plan to marry after the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Helping the cycling couple celebrate at his home in South Australia were assorted mates from the peloton, such as Stuart O'Grady, Magnus Backstead, Alan Iacone and David McKenzie.

From Graham Fowler