What's Cool In Road Cycling

Tour Trash – Wednesday

Loads of news from Europe and the Tour: Simoni and Pieri extend: Euskaltel budget increased: Transfer news on Hondo, Casper, Mattan, Moreau: 2004 TDF stage speculation: De Cauwer to give youth a chance: Telekom name change: Postal retain four: Big guns for Zurich: Dekker’s back: Jan lauded: Beloki unwell: Manx International: Sachsen Tour starts: and quite a bit more ….

Simoni And Pieri Extend With Saeco
Both Gilberto Simoni and Dario Pieri have extended their contracts with Saeco today: The team issued this press release:

While the Tour de France is coming to an end, Team Saeco are working hard on the future of the team. The first step in the last few days was the confirmation of Gilberto Simoni as one of the team’s key riders for 2004 and 2005.
“With Gilberto we’ve formed a partnership which is more than just about major results, we’ve also created a extremely positive atmosphere in the team – team manager Claudio Corti said We’ve got a very strong and united team which we intend to consolidate and develop. The satisfaction of our sponsor Saeco of the company president Sergio Zappella are a confirmation of our good work.”
The team has also renewed the two-year contract of Dario Pieri who rode incredibly well to finish second in the Paris-Roubaix World Cup in April.

Moreau Longer With Credit Agricole
32 year old Christophe Moreau currently lying eighth overall in the Tour de France and the best placed Frenchman has extended his contract with the Crйdit Agricole team for a further two years. Moreau has had three victories this season, two stage wins and the overall in the Four Days of Dunkirk.

Euskaltel-Euskadi Budget Boosted By 1.2 Million Euros Annually
More news on the Euskaltel sponsorship situation came today (Wednesday), following Monday’s announcement that mobile phone company Euskaltel will continue sponsorship until 2006, it was announced today that three of the Basque regional institutions, namely Vizcaya, Guipъzcoa and Gobierno Vasco will contribute 901,500 euros each annually to give the Euskaltel team an annual budget of 6 million Euros until 2006 which is a yearly increase of 1.2 million euros . With this increase in budget the team must be hopeful of hanging on to Tour de France stars Iban Mayo and Haimar Zubeldia.

Hondo To Gerolsteiner As Team Expand
29-year-old Telekom sprinter Danilo Hondo will switch to the Gerolsteiner team next season, the transfer between the two German teams was confirmed at Pau on Tuesday during the Tour de France rest day. Hondo began his pro career in 1997 with the Agro Adler team where he won stages in the Peace Race and the Tour of Poland before switching to Telekom in 1999; he was a double stage winner in the 2001 Giro d’Italia. Hondo feels he needs to leave Telekom to come out of the shadow of Erik Zabel.

More news from Gerolsteiner is that the sponsors have pledged their support to the team until the end of the 2005 season and have increased the budget allowing the team to expand from the current 22 riders to 24 or 25. The contract of Davide Rebellin will be extended in the near future: more news of this when it is confirmed. It has also been confirmed that elite 2 rider Sven KrauЯ of the Die Hofbrau Radler Stuttgart team who won a stage in the Thьringen-Rundfahrt in May will ride as a neo pro for the team next year

Speculation Begins Over 2004 Tour Route
Sources in Spain are speculating that there will be a Tour de France stage in 2004 starting in Andorra and passing through Barcelona to be part of the Fуrum de Barcelona Sporting Festival which will take place next year between May and September. Jordi Oliveras director general of the Festival is certain that the stage will happen although Jean Marie Leblanc recently said that there is only a sixty- percent possibility of it taking place. Other programmed events of the Fуrum include a meeting of the International Olympic Committee and the passage of the Olympic flame through the city.

Casper To Sign For Cofidis
It seems certain according to the French press that Jimmy Casper (FDJ.com) will sign for the Cofidis team for next year. Casper is at the end of his contract with FDJ.com and feels it is time to move on, as he is no longer the principal sprinter in the team with the presence of Baden Cooke and Bernhard Eisel. Casper himself has confirmed the rumours saying, “Nothing is signed but the probability is very strong it will be difficult to find a better team than FDJ.com but it is results that count in a career and also I know the Cofidis doctor Dr. Menuet very well”.

De Cauwer To Give Youth A Chance
Belgian national selector Josй De Cauwer wants to give the younger Belgian pros a chance at the World championship road race at Hamilton on October 12th. Speaking in Brussels on Tuesday he said that four of the 12 places available in the Belgian team would go to riders such as Jurgen Van Goolen (Quick Step) who was runner up in the Belgian championships, Vlaanderen’s Steven Kleynen who won the Circuito Montanes stage race and double stage winner in the Tour of Austria Nico Sijmens (Vlaanderen). De Cauwer said that the poor performance of Belgian riders in the Tour de France had given him little indication of his selection for Hamilton but he hoped that the August classics would show which riders were coming into form.

Telekom To Become Team T-Mobile
It has been announced from Pau that the German Telekom team will be known as “Team T-Mobile” from the start of next season. The change of name does not mean any change of sponsors, Telekom just wants to advertise it’s mobile phone business more. The Bayern Munich football team has been carrying the logo this past season.

Postal Extend Contracts For Four
More news from the rest day in Pau is that US Postal-Berry Floor have extended the contracts of Guennadi Mikhailov, Pavel Padrnos, Victor Hugo Pena and Benoit Joachim until the end of 2004.

Mattan To Ride For Bodysol-Brustor In 2004
Nico Mattan (Cofidis) has an agreement to ride for the new division 2 team Bodysol-Brustor set up by Patrick Lefevre for 2004. Mattan is not having his contract renewed at Cofidis for whom he has ridden since 1999 and will be one of twelve riders in the new team. Sebastian Rosseler who has had eight wins for the Quick Step development squad this year will also be joining Mattan at the new squad as a neo pro. Ex Lotto rider Herman Frison looks set to be director sportif for the team.

Armstrong And Ullrich To Ride Zuri Metzgete
A provisional start list has been issued for the Zuri Metzgete World Cup race on the 17th of August and Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich are the team leaders for US Postal and Team Bianchi respectively. The 90th running of the event which has previously been known as the Championship of Zurich and the Grand Prix Suisse will also see Virenque, Bettini, Freire, Camenzind and Rebellin on the start line. Armstrong finished third in the race last year while Ullrich grabbed second place in 2001.

Dekker Returns To Training
Rabobank’s Erik Dekker is back on the bike as he got the go ahead from team doctor Geert Leinders to resume training, Leinders said, “The first part of the rehabilitation is over, he is not getting any more pain and we are now working towards his re-entry into the peloton”. Dekker has had a miserable season by his high standards with victory in the GP Erik Breukink in mid March as his only high point, he has had knee problems since injuring himself at a training camp in February, however he now hopes to be on the road to recovery. In other news from Rabobank, Dutch sprinter Steven de Jongh and Australian Mathew Hayman, have extended their contracts until the end of 2005.

UCI Test 28 Riders On Tuesday
28 riders from the Tour de France were subject to blood tests on Tuesday morning, these included the first six placed riders on the general classification, namely Armstrong, Ullrich, Vinokourov, Zubeldia, Mayo and Basso. The other 22 riders tested were from the Telekom, Bianchi, Euskaltel, US Postal, ibanesto.com, Rabobank and Fassa Bortolo squads. All 28 have been declared fit to continue in the race.

Ullrich To Receive Fair Play Award
Jan Ullrich is to receive a sporting fair play award from the German Olympic Committee (DOG) after waiting for Lance Armstrong after his fall on the climb of Luz Ardiden on Monday. DOG President Hans-Joachim Klein said, “If a top class sportsman behaves like this in one of the most important events of his career it is a fine example for young people coming into sport”.

Gilberto Gives Thanks
Gilberto Simoni spent part of Tuesday’s rest day in Lourdes giving thanks for his Pyrenean stage win. His mother had asked him to give thanks in Lourdes if he won a stage and Gilberto along with other team members kept his promise by laying flowers at the feet of the statue of the Madonna in the French town.

Beloki Back To Clinic
Joseba Beloki who was discharged from the La Esperanza clinic in Vitoria on Monday afternoon was back at the clinic at 10 o’clock at night as a precaution after feeling unwell at home. However Mikel Sanchez who performed the surgery on Beloki after his fall in the Tour could not find anything wrong with Beloki although he remained at the clinic on Tuesday for observation.

Dekkers Promoted To Full Rabobank Squad
Dutch news agency ANP reported earlier this week that 21 year old Dutchman Hans Dekkers of the Rabobank Espoirs (development) team will be promoted to the full division one team next season. Dekkers from Eindhoven has had an outstanding season taking six victories so far including two stages in the Tour of Normandie and three in the Olympia’s Tour.

Lochowski And Contrini early winnners in Sachsen Tour
German Roberto Lochowski of the Wiesenhof-Leipzig team took Wednesday mornings Prologue in the Sachsen Tour International in Dresden. Lochowski won the 3 kms test in a time of 3mins 33.43 secs beating defending champion Oscar Camenzind (Phonak) by three tenths of a second. Daniele Contrini (Gerolsteiner) took Wednesday afternoons first road stage between Dresden and Crimmitschau over 131 kms and took over the races overall lead.

Manx International (UCI 1.5)
The Manx International (UCI 1.5) takes place on the Isle of Man on Thursday (July 24th). UCI ranking races are quite rare in the UK and the Manx International is the biggest race in the Isle of Man International Cycling Week. The race takes place over three laps of a tough 37-mile course. Amongst the favourites are former Vuelta a Espana green jersey winner Malcolm Elliot who at 41 years old is in the middle of a successful comeback. Elliot who rode in the US towards the end of his career for Chevrolet-LA Sheriffs has never won the race but he did win the British RR championships on the same course in 1993. Former winners David McCann, John Tanner and Matt Stephens are sure to make a strong showing as is powerful climber Mark Lovatt. A four man Great Britain team consisting of Keiren Page, Kristian House, Russell Anderson and Owyn Wallace were entered into the race at the last minute.

Riders from outside the UK come from France, Belgium, Italy and Japan. Frenchman Arnaud Labbe who won the Prix des Flandres Francaises in April is a strong rider while compatriot Sebastien Minard rides for the highly ranked Nogent sur Oise CC. The Italian Finauto Sport team includes Australian criterium specialist Daniel Mackay as well as Giovanni Visconti, Cristian Benanati and Gianluca Mirenda. The Japanese division three team Bridgestone Anchor bring Yasutaka Tashiro, Shinichi Fukushima, Ken Hashikawa and Junichi Shibuya to the race; Shibuya earned UCI points by finishing 8th at the Rund um Duren race in Germany in April.

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