What's Cool In Road Cycling

Euro-Trash Monday!

Due to unfortunate circumstances it’s Monday already. But never fear, my desk-bound amigos, for Eurotrash is here to give you a few geographically flawed Euro-snippets to brighten your day. First up, where are the Euro-dogs starting their season?

Rejoice! The season starts … Down Under!

The first big leg-stretch for the European peloton comes at the increasingly popular Jacobs Creek Tour Down Under, which begins tonight North American time. A strong field has made the energy-sapping trip to the Southern Hemisphere to get in some warm weather training and racing, and things look good for a competitive race.

The FDJeux.com team is one of the strongest, boasting Baden Cooke, Brad McGee and new Australian national champ Matt Wilson, but defending champion Mikael Astarloza (Ag2r) and fellow Spaniard Jose Antonio Pecharroman (QucikStep) will be big attractions. Stay tuned to PezCyclingNews for all the juicy details.

Fassa Bortolo unveil the Silver Machine

An uber-flash and hi-tech presentation launched the 2004 edition Fassa Bortolo team on an expectant press in Treviso, Italy, over the weekend. With all the big stars returning, barring CSC escapees Ivan Basso and Michele Bartoli, most eyes were on the team’s most controversial signing Frank ‘Franky Boy/VDB/add your own nickname?Vandenbroucke.

Watched like a hawk by big boss Giancarlo Ferreti, VDB said: “It’s time to show myself. It will be a tough year for me (Tour, Classics, Olympics on his programme) but I’m ready to go.?

With Petacchi ready to continue his phenomenal sprint success, Fassa will look to the likes of Aitor Gonzalez, Dario Frigo and Juan Antonio Flecha for wins, too, in 2004.

A new Brit in the peloton

Congratulations to Tom Southam who has become the newest British member of the pro peloton after inking a 2-year deal with the Italian TT3 squad Amore e Vita. The 23 year old will join one of the sport’s most spectacular underachievers (so far!) of recent years, Jamie Burrow.

Those with a good memory will recall Burrow spending an illness and injury hampered time with Big Tex at the US Postal ranch. Those with longer memories will remember a climbing uber-talent who would routinely smash records set by the likes of Marco Pantani on his way to the top of the espoirs category. Maybe having an English sidekick will give Burrow the boost he needs to get the results he’s capable of. Good luck for 2004 to both of them!

Rutkiewicz promotes “The Shaggy Defense?

Borrowing from the hit single of the same name, Marek Rutkiewicz, the ex-Cofidis rider caught in the latest French drugs scandal, has utilised Jamaican dancehall star Shaggy’s signature defense ?“It Wasn’t Me?

Out on bail after last week’s airport drug bust, the young Polish rider is being strung up like a chicken without having been tried for anything yet. Such is the way with sporting drug stories. Rutkiewicz said: “I’m not guilty. I’m being made a scapegoat? when speaking to newspapers in his native country, claiming he’d been carrying nothing more sinister than vitamins and minerals.

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