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Vuelta News forSeptember 4, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones & John Stevenson

Cipollini and Domina back in the Vuelta

Mario Cipollini at the Giro
Photo: © Sirotti
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The Domina Vacanze team is back in the Vuelta España, after World Champion Mario Cipollini changed his mind about attending the three week Spanish tour, in which he won three stages last year. The team arrived in Gijon last night and will be submitted to the compulsory medical tests before taking the start in the team time trial on Saturday.

"We did what we had to," said team manager Vincenzo Santoni in an official statement. "The final contract did not require [Cipollini's] presence in the Spanish stage race, but we had discussed it only in the initial phases, therefore morally we have an obligation to the organisers."

Cipollini's attitude was decisive, according to the team. "He assumed responsibility to represent the team to the best of his ability. He demonstrated that he is a true captain and a genuine World Champion. I thank him for this. Surely Cipollini will be more comfortable in this team after renewing his contract until 2005."

Santoni believes that "This rules mechanism needs to be reviewed. Paradoxically we had a lot of difficulty with the World Champion because all the organisers wanted Cipollini. However now we're thinking of the Vuelta. We aim to do well, we've contested the Spanish race since 1996 and we have always figured in it."

The director of the Vuelta, Enrico Franco, said that "In the case of Domina, keep in mind that they responded to the Vuelta after receiving an invitation from the organisation, after asking us to participate and facilitating a list that included Cipollini."

If Cipollini should do the unthinkable and abandon on the first stage, then Franco said that the Vuelta cannot exclude the team, but the UCI may take measures.

The full Domina Vacanze team consists of Mario Cipollini (Ita), Giovanni Lombardi (Ita), Gianpaolo Mondini (Ita), Miguel Martin Perdiguero (Spa), Kyrylo Pospyeyev (Ukr), Michele Scarponi (Ita), Francesco Secchiari (Ita), Filippo Simeoni (Ita) and Santos Gonzalez Capilla (Spa), with Giuseppe Petito and Enrico Paolini as directeurs sportifs.

US Postal fields "strongest ever" Vuelta team

US Postal has revealed the riders that will take part in the Vuelta a España which starts Saturday in Gijon.

Previous Vuelta winner Roberto Heras will lead the team, according to directeur sportif Johan Bruyneel. "[Heras] deserves to be the leader of our team at the Vuelta," said Bruyneel. "I think our team is probably the strongest we have ever sent to the Vuelta in our history. Roberto is fully recovered from the Tour de France and said he is ready to go for it."

Heras will be supported by his fellow Spaniard Jose Luis Rubiera, Canadian Michael Barry and Australia's Matt White, allof whom rode last year's Vuelta in which Heras finished second. They will be joined by Manuel Beltran of Spain, Americans George Hincapie and Floyd Landis, Luxembourg's Benoit Joachim and Max Van Heeswijk of the Netherlands.

"George and Floyd are two good riders who, due to other circumstances this season, have not yet reached 100 percent of their strength," said Bruyneel. "They both rode the Tour but still have lots of energy left for the rest of the season. These are riders who are still fresh to ride the whole month of September and that is the key. The most important thing is you have to have fresh and motivated riders - that is 50 percent of their performance in the month of September. If you have a rider who is motivated and fresh, that is a pretty good guarantee for good results. Floyd in particular is very motivated. He was already talking about the Vuelta during the last week of the Tour."

Bruyneel also said Heras has been feeling well the last month. "He took time off after the Tour, tested his feelings at the Tour of Burgos, left that race feeling good and has continued to work hard since."

ONCE for Vuelta

The ONCE-Eroski has announced the composition of the team that will start the Vuelta a España, which starts Saturday and runs until September 28.

Staying at 'home' for ONCE's swansong appearance in the Spanish national race will be Jose Azevedo (Por), Igor Glez. De Galdeano (Spa), Jan Hruska (Cze), Jörg Jaksche (Ger), Isidro Nozal (Spa), Mikel Pradera (Spa), Joaquín Rodríguez (Spa), Marcos Serrano (Spa) and Ángel Vicioso (Spa).

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