Euro Trash – Thursday
News from Europe: Popovych stays: ONCE future still uncertain: Grande Boucle Fйminine: Mayo Closer To Euskaltel: Changes At Credit Agricole: Cipo Returns In Crit: And Quite A Bit More ……..
Popovych To Stay At Landbouwkrediet For 2004
Landbouwkrediet’s Yaroslav Popovych has told journalists at this weeks Tour de la Rйgion Wallonne that he will remain with the team for 2004. Popovych has received several offers from big teams after his third overall in the Giro d’Italia but has decided to spend at least one more year with the Belgian team. 23 year old Popovych will have Ludo Dierckxsens, Johan Verstrepen, Bert De Waele, Ludovic Capelle, Tomas Vaitkus, Mikhail Timochine, Yuri Metlushenko and Ruslan Grishenko at the team next year as they all have another year to run on their contracts. Negotiations are taking place with the other riders who are out of contract including Tom Steels.
ONCE Rumours Still Circulate
Rumours are re-surfacing in Spain that ONCE may still pull out of cycling sponsorship this year and not at the end of 2004. Stories came out in June that ONCE were to end it’s backing of the team this year but these were soon scotched by sources in Spain who said that ONCE would continue in the sport until the end of the 2004 season. However Spanish daily Marca is carrying a report on Thursday that says ONCE which is the national charity for the blind in Spain and has been backing a cycling team since 1989 may be ready to pull the plug at the end of this year. Team boss Manolo Saiz said that he had not heard these stories but would be meeting with the hierarchy of ONCE in the next few days to discuss the future. ONCE had a poor Tour de France with Jorg Jaksche the best finisher at 17th overall while the team had no stage wins.
Grande Boucle Fйminine
This coming Sunday (August 3rd) sees the start of the 12th edition of la Grande Boucle Fйminine, the female version of the Tour de France. The race lasts two weeks and consists of 17 teams of 6 riders over 1500 kms. The race is starting on the island of Corsica and after transferring to the mainland will work itself northwards crossing the Alps, the Massif Central, the Pays de la Loire, Normandy and the Ile de France before finishing in Paris on Sunday 17th of August.
Some of the top women cyclists in the world will be on view at the race including world champion Susanne Ljungskog (Bik Powerplate), Fabiana Luperini (2002 Aurora), Judith Arndt (Nurnberger), Joane Somarriba (Bizkaia Panda), Nicole Brandli (Prato Marathon) and Edita Pukinskaite (GS Michaela Fagnini).
Mayo Closer To Euskadi And Gets Hero’s Welcome
Even though six foreign teams are after his signature for next season, Iban Mayo seems to have taken an important step in re-signing for the Euskaltel-Euskadi team for next season. Quick Step, Phonak, Rabobank, Cofidis, Saeco and Domina Vacanze have all shown an interest in signing the Basque rider who has had a fantastic season which was capped by finishing sixth at the Tour de France. However after a meeting yesterday (Wednesday) at the Euskaltel company headquarters at Derio just outside Bilbao between team manager Miguel Madariaga, director sportif Julien Gorospe, Mayo and his manager Sabino Angoitia all parties left contented with Angoitia saying the offer from Euskaltel was “good”.
Meanwhile Mayo received a hero’s welcome back in his home village of Igorre on Tuesday, Mayo received several plaques from the towns people and thanked them for their support throughout the Tour de France. Present at the occasion were several prominent cyclists from the region including Mikel Zarrabeitia, Marino Lejarreta and Jose Ramon Uriarte.
Javier Otxoa Wants To Ride Paralympics
Javier Otxoa the former Kelme rider who was seriously injured in February 2001 when he was hit by a car while out training is to return to the bike with the goal of participating in the cycling events at the Athens Paralympics next year. The 28 year old who lost his twin brother in the same accident commented, “I am going to prepare for the event, I don’t know the levels of fitness that my rivals will have, it will not be easy but I will try my best”. Otxoa won the stage to Hautacam in the 2000 edition of the Tour de France.
All Change At Credit Agricole
AG2R’s Alexandre Botcharov will be riding for Credit Agricole next season, Botcharov who finished 24th overall at the Tour de France has signed a two year contract. It has also been confirmed that Benoit Salmon will be joining the team from Phonak for next year. Meanwhile Jens Voigt may be leaving Roger Legeay’s team as he is in negotiations with Gerolsteiner. Also the futures of Thor Hushovd, Chris Jenner, Mads Kaggestad, Anthony Morin and Yann Tournier seem to be in doubt. Husvodt, who finished fourth in the points competition at the TDF has had some contact with the Rabobank squad about next year.
Savoldelli For The Vuelta
Paolo Savoldelli (Telekom) was due to return to racing this week at the Tour de la Rйgion Wallonne after his stomach problems that kept him out of the Tour de France. In the end he did not appear on the start line in Wallonne, however, Telekom did confirm that Savoldelli will be riding the Vuelta a Espana in September and along with Cadel Evans will be one of the team leaders.
Knaven Wins as Cipo Returns At Acht Van Chaam
Servais Knaven (Quick Step) won the Acht van Chaam criterium on Wednesday evening. The Dutchman won the sprint from Alexandre Vinokourov (Telekom). The winning pair were a few seconds in front of a group of chasers who were led in by Alessandro Petacchi followed by Rudi Kemna, Steven de Jongh and Jeroen Blijlevens.
Mario Cipolli (Domina Vacanze) returned to competition in last nights Acht van Chaam criterium in Holland. It was Cipo’s first competitive race for more than two months since he fell in the Giro d’Italia on May 21st. Cipollini will also take part in the Nacht von Hannover in Germany on Friday night along with team mates Mario Scirea and Giovanni Lombardi. Erik Zabel and Jan Ullrich are also in the star studded line up.
Rebollo Breaks Wrist
30 year old Spaniard Jose Rebollo (Relax-Fuenlabrada) has been knocked off his bike while out training near San Sebastian in the north of the country and has broken the scaphoid bone in his wrist. Rebollo was hoping to participate in the Vuelta a Espana for the Spanish second division team but will now miss the rest of the season as the injury will take some time to heal. Rebollo’s best result this season has been 17th overall in the Semana Catalana although when with the ONCE team in 1999 he took the overall at the Trofeo Majorca.
Post Tour Criteriums
Lance Armstrong took the Altstad Kriterium in the Austrian city of Graz on Tuesday night. The American finished the 60 kms race in front of top Austrian riders Bernhard Eisel (FDJ.com), Rene Haselbacher (Gerolsteiner) and Georg Totschnig (Gerolsteiner) in a time of 1 hour, 34 minutes 40 seconds. Jan Ullrich won the criterium in Stiphout over 100 kms in Holland on Tuesday evening.
Rebellin with Asthmatic Problem
Davide Rebellin has been diagnosed with asthma, the Gerolsteiner team leader attended the University of Florence medical department to find out why he had performed poorly and finally had to abandon in the Tour de France. The medical department stressed the difficulty in curing the problem and have told Rebellin he must take certain precautions to prevent attacks. Rebellin commented, “I must learn to live with my asthma, I will have problems during stage races because I will not be able to recover properly, I will perform better in one day races.