News for May 7, 2001

Recent results and new features

Mark Gorski talks to Cyclingnews.

by John Stevenson

US Postal Service team General Manager Mark Gorski spoke at length to Cyclingnews recently, and in a wide-ranging interview talked about the team's recent sponsorship renewal; the profile and salary of Lance Armstrong; the team's aims; the business relationship with US Postal Service; and the Tour wildcards. The full interview will be posted later today, but in the meantime here are some extracts:

On the wildcards: "The Société du Tour de France people are in a difficult position but I am disappointed not to see Marco Pantani and Cipo in the race, they've brought drama and colour to the Tour. David Etxebarria is very colourful in the way he wins and Euskaltel will surprise people."

On the exclusion of Mercury: "Without a doubt it will keep the focus of the American media on our team, but in the big, big picture it's probably not good for American cycling because it's not going to be very encouraging for the Lincoln-Mercury division of the Ford Motor Company which is investing a lot of money in that team. I want to see more American companies involved in the sport of cycling, so while it'll keep the focus on our team I'm not applauding the fact that they are not in. I didn't ever see that Mercury a threat to Lance and the yellow jersey, they would have been more focused on stage wins."

On the team's benefit to the Postal Service: "It's part of our sponsorship deal that we have to bring new business to the Postal service that is worth four times the sponsorship fee and we have achieved that ever year since 1997."

On criticism of the Postal Service for sponsorship while it's making a loss: "The average American doesn't want to have to pay more taxes in order to subsidise the US Postal Service if the USPS is incurring large losses, but the Postal Service is legislated to break even, doesn't get tax dollars, and there's a cycle of profit and loss based around rate increases. [Postal's management] look at the cycle, not just single years."

The Tour: "The Tour is our focus, because that's the primary focus of the American sports media. What are the objectives of our sponsors and our team? There has not been a lot of need for tremendous exposure in Europe for the Postal Service."

On Heras: "Bringing in Roberto Heras was a big move for us. He really believes in Johan and in our team's ability to help him move to the next level in the sport. One of our aspirations is to win the Vuelta and the Tour."

On George Hincapie and the Classics: "I feel his frustration, in not having more support in the last few k's of Paris-Roubaix and we are going to try to bring some support for George to the Classics to give him a rider or two that can be with him in the final against the machine that Domo is."

On the size of the team budget: "I think the average American probably does not know that professional cyclists based primarily in Europe, including lance Armstrong, make salaries in the millions of dollars per year"

On Lance: "Lance's comeback from cancer has really magnetised the American public and the awareness level among the American public is so enormous. When Lance won in 1999 it was on the cover of ever newspaper, on television, in magazines… Lance and our sponsors are in your home almost every day of the year and the sport of cycling has been the beneficiary here in America."

Tour de Romandie: Ullrich in doubt

Tour de France hope, Jan Ullrich (Telekom) is uncertain whether he'll start in the six-ay Tour de Romandie, which starts on Tuesday, May 8. The Olympic champion pulled out of today's GP Kanton Aargau in Gippingen, Switzerland.

Team director, Rudy Pevenage said after the race today that "he has complained for the last few days about muscular pain. He will be examined on Monday in the University of Fribourg-en-Brisgau medical clinic to see whether he is OK. I suppose that he will be at the start [of the Tour de Romandie]."

Ullrich said that his abandonment was from the riding too hard in the last few days.

Pantani gets wet & still wants to ride the Tour

Today's 74th edition of the Giro di Toscana was remarkable in that only 22 of the 122 starters finished the 194 kilometre race. The primary reason were the appalling weather conditions, with torrential rain forcing the abandonment of many riders. Included amonst these was Marco Pantani, who for once didn't arouse any controversy by pulling out of a race.

"My retirement was a measured choice," he said. "I rode 100 kilometres then I decided to quit in order to avoid any risks in the heavy rain."

He added that he "still hasn't lost hope for the Tour," and there have been some reports that Lampre-Daikin want him to ride as a guest in their team in July. However, the UCI won't allow this.

"The Tour and the Giro are the races which mean the most to me, and I have planned my season around. At the moment, I am in 80 per centof my best condition, and hope to give a good account in the Giro d'Italia."

Dekker resumes in Midi Libre

World Cup leader Erik Dekker (Rabobank) will start competing again on May 22 in the Midi Libre stage race. The winner of the Amstel Gold Race will take some well earned rest after a solid classics season. As preparation for the Tour de France, Dekker will do the Tour of Sweden and the Route du Sud.

Michael Boogerd does the same schedule, and will start in the Tour of Germany on May 29.

First Union series: Teams announced

Seven first division, four second division and six third division UCI teams will be among those competing for the cash and UCI points on offer in the First Union Series that runs from June 5-10 in the USA. With a total of $US220,000 in prizemoney up for grabs, it is not surprising that such a large number of top rank teams are coming.

The racing culminates on June 10 with the First Union USPRO Championships and the First Union Liberty Classic (women's World Cup), both in Philadelphia, PA. Crowds are predicted to be upwards of 750,000 on this day, to watch a quality field of international riders compete over 250 km (M)/116 km (W).

The First Union Series is managed by Threshold Sports, who also promote the US Pro Cycling Tour.

First Union series races

First Union Invitational Lancaster, PA - June 5, 2001
First Union Classic Trenton, NJ - June 7, 2001
First Union USPRO Championship Philadelphia, PA - June 10, 2001
First Union Liberty Classic Philadelphia, PA - June 10, 2001


Mercury Viatel
Domo Farm Frites
Mapei Quick Step
CSC World OnLine
Mroz Supradyn
IBM Lotus
Net Zero
Prime Alliance
DeFeet Lemond
Jelly Belly
Reality (formerly JetFuel)

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