What's Cool In Road Cycling

Tour Trash – Friday

Latest news from Europe and the Tour: Patrice Halgand goes to Credit Agricole: Lastras Triple: Mayo negotiates: Postal interested in Basso: Vuelta teams: Omloop: Sevilla back: Villafranca de Ordizia: Lovatt takes Manx.. and much more …

Halgand Signs For Credit Agricole
Patrice Halgand (Jean Delatour) has signed a two year contract with Credit Agricole. 29 year old Halgand is the latest rider to leave the Jean Delatour team which looks like pulling out of cycling at the end of this year. Credit Agricole boss Roger Legeay commented, “Patrice is good in both one day and stage races”. Halgand is without a victory this season, he finished third in the recent French championships.

Other news concerning Credit Agricole is that Gene Bates, a product of the Australian Institute of Sport is to join the team as a stagiere (triallist) from September 1st. Bates finished fifth in the Australian road race championships back in January and has been racing in Italy with the Australian U23 squad this summer. Credit Agricole currently have two Australians on their books in Stuart O’Grady and Corey Sweet

Lastras Completes Triple
By winning Fridays stage in the Tour de France iBanesto.com’s Pablo Lastras completed the triple of winning stages in all of the three major tours. Lastras was a double stage winner in last years edition of the Vuelta a Espana and he took a stage in the 2001 Giro d’Italia. He is now a member of quite an exclusive club.

Euskaltel Begin Negotiations With Mayo
Preliminary negotiations have started between Euskaltel team manager Miguel Madariaga and Iban Mayo’s agent Sabino Angoitia. Initially money was not mentioned, just the offer of a three year contract. However after Mayo expressed disappointment at the lack of a concrete offer, Madariaga reportedly made him an offer of 800,000 Euros per year. Angoitia has said that one of the criteria for Mayo stopping with the team would be the signing of two or three riders to strengthen the squad in the team time trial. Madariaga is now waiting to hear Mayo’s reaction to the offer but he has already said that he can not match what is being offered by big foreign teams such as Quick Step, Saeco and Phonak. Euskaltel have 17 riders out of contract at the end of this season but Madariaga is confident of re-signing most of them.

Postal Interested In Basso
Latest transfer rumour involving the US Postal team is that Lance Armstrong has been so impressed by the performance of 25 year old Ivan Basso (Fassa Bortolo) who is currently lying 7th in the Tour de France, that he has made it plain to the Italian that there is a place for him at the American team next year. Basso’s contract with Fassa Bortolo finishes at the end of this season.

Botero Abandons In Bordeaux
Santiago Botero (Telekom) did not start Friday’s Tour de France stage between Bordeaux and Saint-Maxent (203.5 km). Botero has had a very disappointing Tour and was in 70th place overall on Thursday evening, he finished 9th in the prologue and 10th in the stage 12 individual time trial between Gaillac and Cap’Dйcouverte.

22 Teams In Vuelta
22 teams will start the Vuelta a Espana in Gijon on September 6th. It was initially thought that race organisers Unipublic would only allow 20 squads to enter the race. 14 teams qualified by right for the Spanish tour while eight teams received wild cards to make a total of 22. The participating teams are: Fassa Bortolo, U.S Postal., Team Bianchi, Cofidis, Once-Eroski, iBanesto.com, Rabobank, Team CSC, Telekom, Kelme-Costa Blanca, Alessio, Vini Caldirola, Saeco, Lampre, Euskatel Euskadi, Colchon Relax Fuenlabrada, Paternina-Costa Almeria, Labarca 2-Cafes Baque, Phonak, Milaneza, Quick Step-Davitamon and Domina Vacanze-Elitron.

Omloop Re-signs For Palmans-Collstrop
Belgian road race champion Geert Omloop re-signed for another year with the Palmans-Collstrop team on Thursday. Apart from winning the national championships in Vilvoorde, he won the Omloop van het Waasland in mid March. Meanwhile Palmans manager Hilaire Van der Schueren is disappointed that the team did not get one of the last four wild cards announced this week for the Vuelta a Espana. Palmans will be the only division one team who have not ridden one of the three major tours this season. He said his team are ready to take part if any squad pulls out of the Spanish tour or a decision is made to allow an extra team in the race.

Oscar Sevilla To Return At San Sebastian
Oscar Sevilla who has had his season ruined by injury returned to training on July 18th as he recovers from a bad saddle sore which hindered his preparation and in the end kept him out of the Tour de France. Sevilla will return to competition at the Clasica San Sebastian world cup race on August 9th to begin his build up to the Vuelta a Espana where his priority will be to take stage wins, “At least I will arrive fresh at the Vuelta, however because of my lack of competitive racing my priority will be stage wins”

Ullrich And VDB Could Ride Vuelta
Speaking at Thursday’s Tour depart in Dax, Team Bianchi boss Rudy Pevenage said it is possible that Jan Ullrich may ride September’s Vuelta a Espana as preparation for the World Championships in Hamilton, Canada. Ullrich rode the 2000 Vuelta as preparation for the Sydney Olympics, he received some criticism for abandoning the race while in 4th position. Frank Vandenbroucke is also talking of using the Vuelta as preparation for the worlds. This is something of a change of mind as Frank had said before the Tour de France that he is no longer interested in three week stage races.

Three Stagieres For FDJ.com
As reported last month, it has been confirmed that Australian Mark Renshaw will ride as a stagiere for FDJ.com from September 1st. However he will be joined at Marc Madiot’s team by two other trialists, namely, Arnaud Gйrard the 2002 junior world champion and Pierre-Bernard Vaillant, of the Jean Floc’h-Morйac 56 squad.

Mayo And Zubeldia For Karlsruher GP
Iban Mayo and Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel) will ride the Karlsruher Versicherungs GP (UCI 1.2) two up time trial in Germany on Saturday August 2nd. Lance Armstrong will ride the 72 kms event paired with Vlatcheslav Ekimov. Jan Ullrich will not be taking part, he will ride the Hamburg World Cup race on the following day.

More Police For Paris Finale
This Sunday’s final stage of the Tour de France will see 3,200 policemen on duty to provide security for the race, this is compared to the 2,000 officers that were used for the Prologue.

Valverde Takes GP Villafranca de Ordizia (UCI 1.2)
Alejandro Valverde of the Kelme team took Friday’s GP Villafranca de Ordizia in northern Spain, it was Valverdes’s sixth win of the season.

Result
1 Alejandro Valverde (Spain) Kelme 3:47:39
2 Antonio Colom (Spain) Relax Fuenlabrada st
3 Gorka Gerrikagoitia (Spain) Euskalte st
4 Eladio Jimйnez (Spain) iBanesto.com st
5 Jon Bru (Spain) LA Pecol at 50 secs

Preview
Today (Friday) sees the 80th running of the GP Villafranca de Ordizia (UCI 1.2) over 160 kms in the Basque region of northern Spain. Twelve teams will be on the start line, seven from Spain and five from abroad. Amongst the prominent names down on the starting list are Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (ONCE) who begins his first race since fracturing a collar bone in the Deutchsland Tour at the beginning of June. His team mate Mikel Zarrabeitia will also be there as the defending champion. Last years podium was made up by Vladimir Karpets who is currently riding the Tour and Oscar Pereiro (Phonak) who showed his good form by finishing third at the Tour de Suisse and will start the race as one of the favourites, he will be backed up by team mate and veteran Alex Zulle. Volta a Catalunya winner Jose Pecharroman will be on the start line as will Aitor Osa (iBanesto.com) as they begin their preparation for the Vuelta. The Marlux team’s new signing Florent Brard will be making his debut for the team. The twelve teams in the race are: ONCE: Ibanesto.com: Euskaltel-Euskadi: Relax-Fuenlabrada: Kelme-Costa Blanca: Paternina-Costa de Almerнa: Labarca 2-Cafes Baquй: Phonak: Palmans: Marlux: LA-Pecol: Carvalhelhos.

Mark Lovatt Wins Manx International
Mark Lovatt of the Life Repair Road Team won the Manx International (UCI 1.5) on Thursday. Lovatt is a regular winner on the British circuit, earlier this year he won the Lincoln Grand Prix and the Five Valleys Road Race as well as taking 4th overall in the FDB Milk Rбs in Ireland. Second over the line was 24 year old Frenchman John Gadret of the VC Roubaix club. Endurasport.com-Principia’s recent signing David McCann finished third.

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