Euro Trash – Monday
September 1st is the official start of the transfer season and it kicks off with Tyler Hamilton signing for Phonak while Ivan Basso quits Fassa Bortolo to go CSC to replace the American: In other news: Beloki gives deadline: Vuelta Presented this Thursday: GP Merckx Affected by Fire: Ullrich and Vino out of Worlds: Jan would have quit: Cipo Vuelta Start Uncertain: Schaal Sels
Hamilton Signs For Phonak
Tyler Hamilton (CSC) has announced Monday morning that he will definitely be leaving the Danish CSC team at the end of this season and will be signing a two year contract with Phonak. September 1st sees the official start of the transfer season and Tyler and the Phonak management have played it by the book by waiting until this date to announce he is quitting Bjarne Riis’ team and signing for the Swiss team who will guarantee themselves a Tour de France starting spot in 2004 by signing the man from Marblehead, Massachusetts. The American has already ended his highly successful 2003 racing season following injuries sustained in the Ronde van Nederland in August. This season has seen Hamilton take victories in Liиge-Bastogne-Liиge, a stage and the overall in the Tour of Romandie and a memorable breakaway victory in the Tour de France Pyrenean stage between Pau and Bayonne.
Basso Signs For CSC
Ivan Basso (Fassa Bortolo) will sign for the CSC team as an instant replacement for Tyler Hamilton. The Italian who finished seventh overall in the Tour de France will sign a three year contract with the Danish team who last week secured the services of Jens Voigt from Credit Agricole.
Beloki Gives Antуn and Saiz Weekend Deadline
Joseba Beloki (ONCE-Eroski) has told Spanish daily Dairio As, that he will sign for a foreign team if ONCE manager Pablo Antуn and director sportif Manolo Saiz cannot find a new sponsor to replace ONCE by this coming weekend. Beloki is wanted by four non Spanish teams, namely Rabobank, Gerolsteiner, CSC and Phonak. Beloki also announced that he will return to training on the road this week after his fall in the Tour de France on July 14th in which he suffered injuries to his wrist, elbow and femur. The Spaniard has spent the last three weeks training on the rollers but he has now received clearance to return to the bike after having a protective cast taken off his right arm. In other news concerning ONCE, Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano is reportedly wanted by Rabobank for next season after the Dutch team missed out on signing Juan Pechorroman.
Moreni Extends with Alessio
Italian rider,Cristian Moreni, of the Alessio team has signed a one year extension to his present contract to take him to the end of the 2004 season. Moreni has had an excellent season so far taking two victories in the second half of the season: a stage in the Regio Tour and then victory in the highly ranked Giro del Veneto on August 23rd. Moreni is set to ride the Vuelta a Espana and will be looking for stage wins.
Vuelta Presented this Thursday
The 2003 edition of the Vuelta a Espana will be presented this coming Thursday in the Molinуn de Gijуn which is the football stadium of Sporting Gijуn. All the participating riders will be presented in the ceremony.
GP Merckx Affected by Fire
Yesterday’s (Sunday’s) Grand Prix Eddy Merckx duo 45 kms time trial had to be stopped and re-started with an alternative route because a fire broke out on the course at the Hubo do-it-yourself store in the centre of Merchtem, 15 kms north west of Brussels. The organisers eventually used a 26 kms course starting and finishing at the King Boudewijn Stadium in Brussels. The fire broke out at 3.30 pm local time and half the participants had already started on the course. The race was eventually won by the Gerolsteiner pair of Michael Rich and Uwe Peschel.
Ullrich and Vino Will Not Ride Worlds
Team Bianchi boss Rudy Pevenage confirmed on Sunday that Jan Ullrich would not be competing at the World Cycling championships in Hamilton, Canada between October 6th and 12th. “We sat and reached this decision on Friday evening”, said Pevenage, “Jan will ride two small stage races in September (probably the Internationale Hessen-Rundfahrt and the Internationale Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt) and then go on holiday in October with his family. He will start preparing for the 2004 season at the beginning of November, he also needs special physiotherapy on his knee which was operated on last year”.
Third placed rider in the Tour de France Alexandre Vinokourov will also not be present at the World Championships. Telecom manager Walter Godefroot said, “the battery is empty, however he is planning to ride the T Mobile International in San Francisco on September 14th”.
Ullrich Would Have Retired Had He Won Tour
In an interview with the German Sьdwest TV station this weekend, Ullrich made the startling declaration that he would have retired immediately if he had won this years Tour de France, the 29 year old said, “With a victory I would have had to stop because it would have meant people expected me to win every race, finishing second means at least one more year”
Cipo Vuelta Start Uncertain
Domina Vacanze Team Manager Vicente Santoni has stated this weekend that Mario Cipollini will be on the start line for this coming Saturday’s Vuelta a Espana. However the rider himself is unwilling to bend to team pressure and start the race. Cipollini says that his form is not good enough and a World Champion should not be forced to start a grand tour if he cannot do himself justice. The rider is concerned however about the possible disqualification of Domina Vacanze from the race if he does not take part and is involved in discussions with the organisers over this issue. Cipollini has only appeared in the odd criterium since crashing out of the Giro d’Italia in May, Vuelta organisers Unipublic had stated that the Domina Vacanze team would be prevented from competing if Cipollini was not in the starting line up.
Meanwhile Vicente Santoni announced on Sunday that Mario Cipollini has signed a two year extension to his contract with the team to take him to the end of 2005.
Pantani’s Wages are Reportedly Stopped
Marco Pantani has been out of the news for some time but reports from Italy say that his team Mercatone Uno have stopped paying his wages because of his lack of racing for the team. “We do no know where he is and the team feel they do not need him” said a spokesman. Pantani has not raced competively since finishing 14th overall in the Giro d’Italia and entered a clinic for treatment for depression in June of this year. Meanwhile team manager Davide Boifava wants to set up a second division team comprising mainly of young riders for 2004 with present secondary sponsor Scanavino as the main backer.
Schaal Sels – Merksem
The 78th edition of the Schaal Sels – Merksem race takes place tomorrow (Tuesday). The UCI 1.3 race takes place in the Antwerp province of Belgium and for the first time takes in a route which goes through the far north of the province and into the polder region. Race organiser Ben Simons is hoping that the race will be elevated to UCI 1.2 status in 2004 and is in negotiation with potential sponsors in the Antwerp diamond industry to bring in extra backing for the event. Tuesday’s race will include Peter Van Petegem, Tom Steels and Ludo Dierckxsens.
Zijlaard-Van Moorsel Out of Netherlands Ladies Tour
Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel did not start the Netherlands Ladies Tour which began in Kampen, Holland today. A spokesman for the Farm Frites-Hartol team said that doctors had advised the triple Olympic champion to rest in preparation for her attempt on the women’s world hour record in October.