The Week That Was...
Last week, unknown Czech rider Ondrej Sosenka of the Acqua e Sapone team shocked the cycling world as he set a new one-hour World Record in
The current Czech Time Trial champion rode the event with a special 3.2kg wheel and extra long, 190mm cranks. Together they proved difficult at first to get up to speed but once there proved easier to maintain.
Perhaps we might see Sosenka moving onto bigger and better things within the pro peloton in the coming months and years.
At the beginning of the week, T-Mobile confirmed the worst kept secret in pro cycling, Alexander Vinokourov was leaving the T-Mobile Team as of the end of the season. Commenting shortly after the Kazakh?s victory in the Tour?s final stage, Team manger Olaf Ludwig said, "Alexandre wants the chance to win the Tour as captain of a team. We are sorry for his decision, but understand his reasoning."
It was rumoured that several leading teams were courting the 31-year old signature, including Cofidis, Credit Agricole and Ag2r. Discovery Channel were also rumoured to be interested but Director Sportif, Johan Bruyneel, denied that, "We want someone who can win the Tour. Vinokourov isn't one of them," he said.
It was however confirmed yesterday that leading Spanish team, Liberty Seguros-W?rth, has signed Alexandre Vinokourov for next three seasons. Joining him will be fellow T-Mobile teammate Sergei Yakovlev.
Team manager Manolo Saiz explained his reasons behind signing Vinokourov in a team statement. ?Throughout his career, he has demonstrated a mentality that coincides perfectly with that of my team. Vinokourov, besides a leader, will be a teacher for the youngsters in the next three years.
"Together with Roberto Heras, he will form a good tandem that will allow us to have enough leeway not to pressure the youngest riders, who will have to rest in future. Vinokourov does not come to substitute anybody, but to complement and strengthen Liberty Seguros-W?rth both in the grand tours and in the classics, another area where he has demonstrated that he is a master."
Fellow T-Mobile rider, Erik Zabel, is still to decide whether to accept the new offer made to him by his team to ride next year. Zabel was deeply hurt by being omitted from the Tour de France squad this year and is unsure what future there is for him with the German outfit. The new deal is rumoured to be a small pay cut over two years with a third year as a press officer for the team.
Speaking on German TV while commentating at the Tour, Zabel explained that he had also received another offer, slightly better than that from T-Mobile. It is suspected that offer is from Domina Vacanze who have also just confirmed the signing of Italian fast man, Alessandro Petacchi. La Gazzetta dello Sport said last week that a deal had been struck between Petacchi and Gianluigi Stanga, manager of Domina Vacanze, for a reported ?3 million per year; ?2 million per year for Petacchi and the rest for his lead-out men, Marco Velo, Fabio Sacchi, and Matteo Tosatto.
Unfortunately, the departure of Petacchi does mean the end for his current team, Fassa Bortolo, as team manager Giancarlo Ferretti has been unable to find a replacement sponsor without the sprinter. "It is with great regret that I communicate the conclusion of the Fassa Bortolo team at the end of 2005," said Ferretti in a statement. "The team started in 2000 and had planned, for some time, to finish after six years. It has achieved some great successes, it has always ridden at the top of international cycling, and it has seen the birth of a champion loved and admired by all in Alessandro Petacchi."
Because of Fassa Bortolo?s departure, Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara has agreed to sign for Team CSC. The strong time trial rider is expected to help boost Ivan Basso?s chances of victory in the Tour next year.
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Until next week?