What's Cool In Road Cycling

Euro Trash – Thursday

The latest news from Europe: Tis the season for contract extensions and transfers: As Europe swelters Kashechkin signs for CA: Senjens And Mutsaars Extend: Phonak tempt Beloki: Colombians for Labarca: Amsterdam Six Day: Also news on Ullrich, Athens, Simoni, CSC, Dekker, Cipollini, Omloop and Verheyen

Kashechkin Becomes Sixth Signing For Credit Agricole
Third year pro Andrei Kashechkin (Quick Step) will switch to Credit Agricole for the 2004 season. The 23 year old Kazakhstan rider turned pro in 2001 and has previously ridden for Domo-Farm Frites before switching to the new Quick Step team at the beginning of this year. He finished 20th at Ghent Wevelgem at 10th at the Tour of Luxembourg this season and becomes the sixth new recruit to Roger Legeay’s Credit Agricole team following the arrivals of Sebastian Joly, Patrice Halgand, Benoit Salmon, Alexandre Botcharov and Damien Nazon.

Senjens And Mutsaars Extend With Rabobank
Second year professionals with the Rabobank team Ronald Mutsaars and Roy Sentjens have both signed one year extensions to their contract to take them to the end of the 2004 season. Both riders graduated from the Rabobank amateur squad at the end of the 2001 season, Rabobank team boss Jan Raas commented that he was slightly disappointed with the progress shown by both riders and for that reason they had only been offered one year extensions to their contracts. Sentjens was the surprise winner of the highly ranked Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne at the beginning of March while Mutsaars has only 6th in the Essent Ronde van Drenthe to show as his best result this year. “Places in our team are exclusive and both riders must really show something next year to get a contract renewal after 2004, we have some outstanding riders coming through our development squad who will force their way into the team for 2005 and with an imposed maximum of 25 riders all pros must prove their worth”, concluded Raas.

Ullrich To Ride In Nuremburg
Jan Ullrich (Bianchi) will ride the 13th edition of the Rund um die Nьrnberger Altstadt (UCI 1.3) on the 31st of August. Ullrich’s management gave the pledge on Wednesday evening much to the joy of race organiser Juergen Thielemann.

Phonak Tempt Beloki
It looks as if the Phonak team are becoming favourites to sign ONCE’s Joseba Beloki. Phonak are looking for a big name stage race rider to ensure entry into the 2004 Tour de France, they have already sounded out CSC’s Tyler Hamilton with no apparent success and have now made a big contract offer to Beloki which the Spaniard is considering. Phonak have a Spanish director sportif in Alvaro Pino and five riders from that country. Cofidis have also shown interest in signing Beloki.

Amsterdam Six Day Signs Stars
The organisers of the Amsterdam Six Days track event have managed to contract three world champions for the event which takes place between the 20 and the 25th of October. Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain), Franz Stocher (Austria) and Bruno Risi (Switzerland) have all signed deals to appear in Amsterdam. Risi will be paired with his regular Six Day partner Kurt Betschart while Wiggins and Stocher’s partners are still unknown. Dutch track stars Danny Stam and Robert Slippens are certain starters as are compatriots Matthй and Jos Pronk.

Labarca Sign Colombians
Spanish second division team Labarca 2-Cafes Baquй have signed the Colombian riders Hernбn Buenahora and Felix Rafael Cardenas from the Colombian team 05 Orbitel. Both riders are have a fair amount of experience of riding in Spain (they have both formerly ridden for Kelme) they will join the squad immediately and will appear in the Vuelta a Espana. Cardenas has had a very good season being a double stage winner in both the Vuelta a Rioja and the Vuelta a Colombia as well as winning a stage in the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon. Buenahora has had a less productive year however he took third place overall in the Vuelta a Asturias.

Dress Rehersals For Olympics
The European Under 23 Cycling Championships which start in Athens, Greece on Friday will be seen as a testing ground for many of the cycling facilities for next years Olympic Games. Friday’s time trial is along a course based on Athens’ coastal suburb of Vouliagmeni. The organisers of the Olympics have chosen a spectacular course for the road race in the centre of Athens which takes in several circuits of the Acropolis and goes through the narrow town streets and this is the route that will be used for Sunday’s U23 road race. On Saturday afternoon, certain roads in central areas of Athens will be closed to traffic from 5 to 7 p.m. for the riders to practice on the course. On Sunday, traffic will be halted completely from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. along the race route, which begins at Omonia Square. Athens is a city famous for it’s traffic congestion, so how the Greek public will react to these restrictions will be interesting.

Among the favourites for this weekend’s European U23 Championships are Ukraine’s Denis Kostiuk, Alexandre Bajenov (Russia), Sebastien Rosseler (Belgium) and Germany’s Marcus Fothen.

Heat Wave Continues In Europe
The temperatures continue to soar here in Europe, with the opening stages of the Tour de l’Ain run off in excess of 39 degrees Celsius. FDJ.com’s Bernhard Eisel commented, “The hotel we were staying in did not have air conditioning it was still 37 degrees at 11 o’clock at night making it almost impossible to sleep”.

Simoni Spends Monday With EC President
Saeco’s Gilberto Simoni (Saeco) spent Monday with European Commission President Romano Prodi on a 70 kms training ride around the city of Bologna, Italy. Prodi had invited Simoni to ride with him in June when presenting an award to him. Saeco director sportif Flavio Miozzio and ex rider Maurizio Fondriest were also present on the day. Simoni commented, It was a very pleasant and friendly occasion, Prodi complimented me on my determination during the Tour de France, I was very honoured”. After finishing 84th overall at the Tour and winning a stage Simoni has been riding criteriums, he will return to competitive racing at the Trofeo Melinda in his home region of Trento on August 28th.

Riis Names Six For Vuelta
CSC team manager Bjarne Riis named six definite starters for the Vuelta a Espana on Wednesday, Carlos Sastre, Peter Luttenberger, Nicki Sшrensen, Manuel Calvente, Bekim Christensen and Thomas Bruun Eriksen will all be on the start line in Gijon on September 6th while a final decision has not been made about Michael Sandstшd, New Zealand sprinter Julian Dean is hoping to get one of the remaining three places after winning the Tour de la Region Wallonne at the beginning of this month.

Omloop Confirms With Palmans
Belgium road race champion Geert Omloop has signed a one year extension to his contract with the Palmans-Collstrop team. Omloop has has a verbal agreement to stay with the team for several weeks and finally put pen to paper on Tuesday. Kristof Trouve has also had his contract extended for one more year with the team.

Dekker Back To Racing On Sunday
Erik Dekker returns to racing at this coming Sunday’s Dwars door Gendringen (UCI 1.3). Dekker has had knee problems for most of this season and resumes racing just in time to participate in next Tuesday’s ENECO Tour of Holland, a race which Dekker has won twice (1997 and 2000) and finished as runner up in last year.

Cipollini Says He Will Be In Hamilton
World road race champion Mario Cipollini has stated that he will be in Hamilton, Canada to defend his rainbow jersey. However he will only be appearing out of respect as the reigning champion as he says he has no chance of retaining his title on the hilly course. “I will only go to Canada out of respect, I will probably only ride the first 100 kms of the race”. Stated the Italian.

Verheyen Becomes A Father
Geert Verheyen (Marlux) became the father of a baby daughter on Monday, however he was unable to attend the birth as he was away at the Tour of Burgos in Spain.

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