CSC 2004: The New Team
The deals are done and silly season is but a faded memory – it’s time to face the public and present your new team! PEZ was live and in person at the Team CSC presentation in Lucca Italy on January 17th.
“In this team nobody is more important than another, everybody is on the same level. To me nobody is special but everybody is special. Everybody has a job to do, there are those who have to chase, those who have to attack, those who get the bottles and protect the guys who are those who are there to win. The guy who wins will get the headlines but he is no more special than the others as he would not have got there without them. We talk a lot and do everything together, teamwork is the key and teamwork starts from the very beginning, involving everybody from the riders to the massage guys to the PR. We are a team.”
– Bjarne Riis at the 2004 Team CSC presentation in Lucca.
In a time in Italy when all the Italian newspapers are talking about Inter Milan Soccer Team’s lack of spirit and teamwork, it was so refreshing to go down to the Tuscan city of Lucca for the presentation of the powerful cycling team that Bjarne Riis put together for the Classics and the TDF, and hear this softly spoken man say these things.
CSC has lost Tyler Hamilton but gained Ivan Basso and Michele Bartoli in a Danish Team that is speaking ever more Italian. Our friend Andrea Peron opened the way then was followed by Tafi last year, this year he has been joined by Guidi, Basso, Bartoli and Sciandri, who has a GB passport but is from Tuscany. A complete team for every occasion. There are young and old (experienced!) and the objectives are clear and talked about with ALL the team.
Riis on Peron: “He is our captain. He is the one that gels the team together during the race. Respected and liked by everybody. A great communicator, and a great professional. He is also the “Administrator” for the team, he divides and gives out all prize money and bonuses”.
Peron on the team: “It’s even stronger this year than last, I’m looking forward to it. I want a good TDF and then hopefully earn a place on the Olympic National Team – 12 years after my silver medal in the ’92 Olympics ( Note: He has already been listed as one of 20 hopefuls, and with Bartoli as the possible National Team Captain he has a good chance of doing both the TT and Road race. Today (Jan. 20) he is in Rome with Ballerini doing a fitness test.)
Riis on Frank Hoj: “He is the joker of the team. Always smiling and ready to give and not scared of having a go. A perfect classics rider. Great fun”
Hoj on the Team: Arriving arms in the air shouting “I’M A STAR”!!! ” I’m here to help the team in any way. I’m told I’m a good classics rider… I want to tell you that this year the Pairs-Roubaix IS MINE!!!!!!” We’ve been warned!
Riis on Julich: “A great rider that got a little lost in the last few years. He is on the team’s short list for the TDF and I hope I can help him get back what he needs to express his full talent. This is a new type challenge for me.”
Julich on the Team: It’s great here. I’m a little older but still believe that I’ve got a lot to give a team. Riis is what cycling needs. He isn’t old hat style. In a sport that is ever changing you need someone like him to change with the times. He is a gentleman who talks to the riders with respect, he doesn’t shout from the other side of the room as I’ve experienced in other teams. He has faith and I hope I can pay that faith back to him.”
Julich on Armstrong: “He is a fellow American and is with no doubt the cyclist of the moment. He has achieved everything that I would have liked to have achieved.”
Riis on Bartoli: ” You can talk all day about him. He has been a top cyclist for many years and even after many injuries and set backs keeps coming back to impress.”
Bartoli on the Team: “It wasn’t easy leaving Fassa Bortolo but I liked the way Riis went about things and liked his attitude. I obviously want to do well in the spring classics and maybe the Paris-Roubaix but also a stage win at the Tour would be nice.”
Bartoli on Ballerini, the Worlds and the Olympics: ” I’m always pleased to be on the National team. The course for both races I like but let me get through the start of the season then I’ll start thinking about the Worlds and Olympics.”
Ballerini on Bartoli: “Michele is a great rider and is obviously a choice for the National team. The Worlds is a course that would suit him, the Olympic course is for a type of rider with individual qualities as the team will only consist of 5 riders. He has these individual qualities so I will watch him throughout the year as I’ll watch the others. As for the Paris-Roubaix, it’s a risky race and not only that, Hoj has already claimed himself this year’s winner!!!”
Ballerini on the team: ” Balanced, Organised and Complete. I like it and the way it is run. They will have a great year.”
Ballerini on his Christmas and New Year “I was in bed ill all the holidays… Dunc as was all my family.”
Riis on Goussev: “He is a real talent – The Russian National TT Champ and we are pleased he is starting his pro life with us. He is without a home at the moment so he is staying in the team’s hotel but is looking for a house here in Lucca.”
Guidi on the team: “Pleased to be here after 2 years that weren’t the happiest. It’s a solid team that gives everybody consideration. I like it.”
Riis on Basso: “He is young and already an established rider. Let’s see if we can get him on the podium of the TDF!”
Basso on the team: “Coming away from Fassa Bortolo is not easy but Riis is different and he is the way forward. Andrea Peron is a major factor in getting me involved in a team which has many qualities.
Basso on the TDF Podium: “Mention Armstrong and Ulrich. These are two names that make you scared. Powerful cyclists that make winning the TDF hard. I’m working on my TT as it’s where I lose most and I’m forever improving my climbing. A podium finish is my aim.”
With a Team Manager that wasn’t a slouch at TT, Basso is in the right company, then add CSC d.s, Sean Yates who won a long TT stage in the TDF in 1988 setting a new record for the fastest stage in the race’s history, then you can believe that Basso can only improve his Time Trailing.
A little note on Sean Yates. When I’ve been blaming my ever slowing swim times on my age I get a message saying that on Jan 1st, Sean Yates won a 10mile TT in England. When asked about it, he confirmed that he won the Southbourgh and District Wheelers 10 in a time of 21mins 57secs!!!! Not bad eh. Now Sean goes out with the team in the team car, but when the team is back in the Hotel he jumps on his bike and off he goes on his training ride. He looks in great shape and his TT time shows that he is!! You’re a man to admire Sean.
So that was my weekend down in the lovely city of Lucca, which is well worth a visit . It is a home for cycling, not only is it Mario Cipollini’s home town but many pro cyclist’s have made it their home base, including Bjarne Riis. It is one of the few cities in the world to preserve it’s enclosing walls intact. It is fascinating and an important part of Lucca’s history. I can strongly recommend a little Hotel in the centre called Casa Alba www.casa-alba.com https://www.casa-alba.comthat as the name indicates is very much like being at home. Alba is a very pleasant lady with perfect English – give her a ring!
The CSC Rider Roster
Thomas Bruun Eriksen
Visit the Team CSC website at www.Team-CSC.com
Ciao For Now.
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