What's Cool In Road Cycling

Euro Trash – Thursday

All the latest news from Europe: Sponsor rumours from Spain: Jaksche to Gerolsteiner: Veuchelen For Vlaanderen: Nazon brothers change: Saeco For Upcoming Races: Ullrich: Botero: Bianchi: Virenque: Heppner: Volta a Portugal: Mattan: Van Moorsel and more …..

Sponsorship Rumours From Spain
Rumours are circulating in Spain that the giant textile company Inditex which is based in the Galician city of La Coruna could be considering coming into cycling and perhaps taking over the infrastructure of either the ONCE or iBanesto.com teams which are both pulling out of cycling at the end of this season. Inditex is run by multi millionaire Amancio Ortega and has an annual advertising budget of 550 million Euros, the annual budget for a top class team like ONCE is said to be around 7.5 million Euros, so no doubt the company has the financial clout to take on one of these teams. Jose Miguel Echбvarri and Manolo Saiz team managers of iBanesto and ONCE have refused to discuss any negotiations with potential sponsors.

Jaksche Looks Set For Gerolsteiner
It seems that 27 year old ONCE-Eroski rider Jorg Jaksche has reached a verbal agreement to sign for the Gerolsteiner team. Speaking at the Regio Tour on Wednesday Gerolsteiner team boss Hans Michael Holczer said, “Jaksche has assured me definitely that he wants to come to our team”. One stumbling block could be that Jaksche has a contract for 2004 with ONCE, but with that team pulling out of cycling at the end of this year, that should not be a problem. At 27 years old Jaksche is reaching the height of his powers, as he showed this year by finishing 4th overall at Paris-Nice, he was the top placed ONCE rider in the Tour de France at 17th overall and would have finished considerably higher had he not have had to stop and help team leader Joseba Beloki on the day that the Spaniard crashed out.

Veuchelen Joins Vlaanderen-T-Interim As A Neo Pro
Belgian Elite 2 rider Frederick Veuchelen will turn pro for the Vlaanderen-T-Interim team next season. 24 year old Veuchelen has been making a name for himself this season as a member of the Think Media Cycling Team, he won the 1.5 ranked Memorial Philippe Van Coningsloo on June 8th and was a double stage winner in the Triptyque Ardennais. Veuchelen has signed a two year deal with Roger Swerts’s team and joins cyclo cross rider Wesley Van Der Linden as a neo pro at Vlaanderen next year.

Nazon Brothers Change Teams
French sprinter Jean-Patrick Nazon (Jean Delatour) has signed a two year contract with AG2R. Jean Patrick has had four victories this season including the final stage of the Tour de France on the Champs Elysees. Meanwhile his brother Damien (Brioches Le Boulangerie) has signed a two year contract with Credit Agricole.

Saeco For Upcoming Races
Press Release from the Saeco team:
After the latest excellent performance last Sunday in Hamburg, Team Saeco is determined to keep their string of great World Cup results, standings (Mirko Celestino is fifth overall with 127 points) and leadership in the team competition going in Saturday’s San Sebastian.
Team Saeco will field an aggressive four some for the seventh round of the World Cup with one of the stars of last Sunday Igor Astarloa, again a leader of the team directed by Bruno Bontempi. The team will also have a good looking Danilo Di Luca second at the GP Camiaore on Wednesday, and Mirko Celestino and Italian champion Salvatore Commesso. They will be backed up by Spezialetti, Tonti, Sabaliauskas and Fuentes.

During August the team will also take part in the following races:

Subida Urkiola (Spain) 10 August
Team: Igor Astarloa, Danilo Di Luca, Juan Fuentes, Marius Sabaliauskas, Alessandro Spezialetti and Andrea Tonti.
Directeur Sportif: Guido Bontempi
Hotel 8-9/08: Hotel Palacio de Aiete, San Sebastian, tel. +34/943210071

Vuelta Ciclista a Burgos (Spain) 11-15 August
Team: Igor Astarloa, Giosuи Bonomi, Juan Fuentes, Alessio Galletti, Nicola Gavazzi, Igor Pugaci and Marius Sabaliauskas.
DS: Guido Bontempi
Hotel 10-14/08: Hotel Rice, Burgos, tel. +34/947222300

Due Giorni Marchigiana (Italy) 12-13 August
Team: Leonardo Bertagnolli, Antonio Bucciero, Danilo Di Luca (only for the 2nd day), Cristian Pepoli, Fabio Sacchi, Alessandro Spezialetti and Andrea Tonti.
DS: Giuseppe Martinelli
Hotel 11-12/08: Hotel San Crispino, Morrovalle Scalo
(MC), tel. 0733/8658212

Zuri-Metzgete (Switzerland) 17 August
Team: : Igor Astarloa, Leonardo Bertagnolli, Mirko Celestino, Danilo Di Luca, Fabio Sacchi, Alessandro Spezialetti, Andrea Tonti and Stefano Zanini.
DS: Giuseppe Martinelli
Hotel 17/08: Hotel Sonne Durnten, Durnten, tel. +41/552408576

GP Llodio (Spain) 17 August
Team: Giosuи Bonomi, Juan Fuentes, Alessio Galletti, Nicola Gavazzi, Igor Pugaci and Marius Sabaliauskas.
DS: Guido Bontempi
Hotel 16/08: Hotel NH Deusto, Bilbao, tel. +34/944760006

Ullrich To Receive His Fair Play Award On Sunday
Jan Ullrich will receive his fair play award from the German Olympic Commitee at the Sparkassen Giro in Bochum on Sunday. Ullrich was given the award after he waited for Lance Armstrong on the 15th stage of the Tour de France on the climb to Luz Ardiden.

Botero Ends His Season
Telekom’s Santiago Botero has decided to terminate his 2003 season after being diagnosed with a bacterial stomach infection. Botero who abandoned the Tour de France on stage 18 while he was lying in 70th position has been having tests at the medical department of the University of Freiburg. The Colombian will miss the Vuelta a Espana in which he took a stage last year and the World Championships in Hamilton, Canada in which he would have been defending his time trial crown.

Bianchi On Look Out For One Day Riders
Team Bianchi director sportif Jacques Hannegraf says that the team is in a healthy financial position and is looking to sign riders who can do well in World Cup races. Bianchi have been looking something of a one man team this season with Jan Ullrich amassing over 1000 UCI points but the next best rider on the team is little known German, Raphael Schweda who has less than 200 points. Hanegraf’s announcement that the team is on a sound financial footing seems to contradict recent reports that say Bianchi have monetary problems and Jan Ullrich could be on his way back to Telekom.

FC Barcelona Show Interest In Starting U23 Team
The Barcelona Football Club have announced that they are interested in setting up an under 23 cycling team made up of Catalan riders. The idea would be similar to the Euskaltel team which consists entirely of Basques. A spokesman said that after two or three years at the U23 level the team may make the jump to full professionalism. The venture will start next March and ex Spanish pro and Vuelta a Espana winner Melchor Mauri looks set to be the technical director.

Virenque Extends With Quick Step As Pecharroman Is Courted
Richard Virenque has signed a one year extension to his contract with the Quick Step-Davitamon team and will ride for the Belgian based squad in 2004. Meanwhile team manager Patrick Lefevre is deep in contract discussions with Paternina team leader Josй Antonio Pecharroman whom he would like at the team. 25 year old Pecharroman has had a tremendous season with the Spanish second division team, notching up six victories which have included three stages and the overall at the Eukal Bikikleta and a stage and the overall at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. Lefevre also had talks with Alessio’s Laurent Dufaux on Tuesday about signing for Quick Step. 34 year old Dufaux a close friend of Richard Virenque recently finished 21st overall in the Tour de France and was second to the Frenchman in the Mountains competition.

One More Year For Heppner
German Jens Heppner will ride his fourteenth season in the pro peloton in 2004, he has extended his contract with the German second division squad Wiesenhof-Leipzig by one year. Heppner from Gera in the east of the country will be 39 year old at the end of this year, he is best known for his 11 season stint with the Telekom team where he took a stage in the 1998 Tour de France into L’Orient, he also wore the leaders pink jersey for ten days in the 2002 Giro d’Italia.

Volta a Portugal Threatened By Forest Fires
The Volta a Portugal which started yesterday (Wednesday) in the southern Algarve region could be threatened by forest fires which are raging in the central area of the country. Fridays and Saturdays stages in that region are threatened by a massive fire around the town of Serta about 180 kms north east of Lisbon which is blazing out of control despite the efforts of over 200 firefighters. More than 12 people have been killed in the blazes which started last week and the government has declared a state of emergency. The director sportifs of the teams involved in the race had a meeting on Tuesday prior to the event starting and a decision was made to leave the route unaltered at present but to be flexible enough to find alternative routes if needed. It has also been decided that the race will be donating some money to the victims of the catastrophe.

Kelme Hit By Sickness In Portugal
The Kelme-Costa Blanca team lost five of their eight man team during the first 50 kms of Wednesday’s first stage in the Volta a Portugal. According to team doctor Yolanda Fuentes, the five riders, Ignacio Gutiйrrez, Francisco Cabello, Robert Lozano, Jordi Riera and Constantino Zaballa all dropped out with sickness and diarrhoea which could have been caused by food poisoning or a virus. The Volta’s first stage between Albufeira and Tavira was won by LA-Pecol sprinter Candido Barbosa who won from Angel Edo (Milaneza) in a bunch finish.

Belgium Announce European U23 Championships Team
Belgian national selector Josй De Cauwer has announced his seven riders for the European Under 23 championships in Athens between August 15th and 17th. Steven Caethoven was the final name announced on Tuesday, Caethoven of the ABX-Go Pass team clinched his place with two victories in early July at the De Drie Zustersteden and the Grote Prijs Stad Geel. Caethoven joins Johan Van Summeren, Preben Van Hecke, Bart Dockx, Jurgen Van Den Broeck, Maxim Monfort and Jens Renders in the final selection.

Gerolsteiner Sign Krauss On A 2 Year Deal
The German Gerolsteiner team have signed 20 year old Sven Krauss on a two year contract which began on August 1st. Krauss has been riding for the Die Hofbrau Radler Stuttgart U23 squad this year and took a stage in the Internationale Thьringen-Rundfahrt at the beginning of May. Krauss rode as a stagiere at the back end of last season for Gerolsteiner making a sensational impact when he won Stage 5 in the Ster Elektrotoer in Holland just a few days into his trial with the German team. Gerolsteiner team manager Hans Michael Holczer commented, “Sven has the ideal physique to be a pro, he is an all rounder similar to Michael Rich”.

Nico Mattan Hopes To Continue 100% Record In World Cup
Nico Mattan (Cofidis) is down on the official start list for this Saturday’s Clasica San Sebastian World Cup race and he will be hoping to continue his record of starting and finishing every World Cup race so far this year. Mattan is the only rider who has completed every race so far this season, he finished 66th at Milan-San Remo, 5th at the Ronde van Vlaanderen, 19th at Paris-Roubaix, 61st at Amstel Gold, 64th at Liege-Bastogne-Liege and 33rd at last Sunday’s HEW Cyclassics Cup.

Van Moorsel Prepares For Hour Attempt At Altitude
Dutchwomen Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel who will attack the women’s world hour record in October has gone to Spain to train at altitude as preparation for the record attempt. She has been joined by team mates Mirjam Melchers and Miho Oki.

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