The Week That Was...
Former winner of the Tour de France Green jersey, Baden Cooke, has confirmed his departure from the French FDJeux.com team. 26 year-old Cooke and fellow Australian, Matt Wilson, confirmed they would be a part of the newly named Belgian Unibet.com team, formerly MrBookmaker.com. Despite struggling to recapture his form of 2003, his new employers hope that Cooke?s reputation and hopeful return to good form will help them gain entry to ProTour events.
Italian starlet, Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Caffita) has been left looking for answers after disappointing end of season results. Having shot to stardom with victory in last year's Giro d?Italia, Cunego has struggled to re-find that form after contracting mononucleosis at the end of last season. On Sunday he finished 37th in the Coppa Sabatini.
Speaking to Italian website tuttobiciweb.com, Cunego?s Director Sportif Giuseppe Martinelli said that, ?I insisted that he didn't abandon, I wanted him to finish the race, also out of respect for the guys that had worked for him from the start of the Coppa Sabatini. At the end, however, Damiano did not have the legs and didn't get into the group of 21 that played out the race."
Cunego is expected to continue until 23rd October when he competes in the Japan Cup.
In light of the bad press that cycling has had to endure in recent months and years, French daily, L?Equipe, requested that the French research institute, Ipsos, conduct a survey into the credibility of professional cycling amongst the general public. Research was conducted in four European countries:
Findings from the survey include:
? 79% of those interviewed associated doping with the sport of cycling
? 97% of French people interviewed believed that cycling is the sport which is most infiltrated by doping
? 62% of German people interviewed believed that cycling is the sport which is most infiltrated by doping
? 48% of French people interviewed believed that the majority of the professional peloton using doping products in competition.
? 12% of German people interviewed believed that the majority of the professional peloton using doping products in competition.
? 50% of German people interviewed believed that only a few professional riders were using doping products
? 67% of all those people interviewed believed that retroactive testing of samples is a good thing
? 50% of all those people interviewed believed that it was impossible to do well in the Tour de France without using doping products.
? 71% of French people interviewed believed it wasn't possible to achieve a high placing in their Grand Tour without the help of doping products
Pat McQuaid, recently appointed President of the UCI, commented on the results of the survey when interviewed by L?Equipe for his comments on the findings of the survey. "Most of the people who thought that cycling wasn't credible anymore were French (66%) - so I think there is a correlation between the media and public opinion, which is influenced." Perhaps if publications such as L?Equipe are demanding a cleaner, more honest sport, perhaps we as fans should demand a more honest and trustworthy style of reportage from the media that covers our sport.
Finally, congratulations to Erik Zabel following his win in yesterday?s Paris-Tours race. The event is Zabel?s final appearance for the German outfit before he joins the new Italian-German team Milram. "Magnifique! It's a very good day for me and my team manager Walter Godefroot, as well as for Frans Van Looy. It's the last race this season for them, and also for Aldag and myself, so to finish it with a victory here on Paris-Tours is wonderful! Of course, after 13 years of a lot of victories and emotions with Telekom and later T-Mobile, this is a very precious moment." Let?s hope for their sake that the Germans have not made a mistake by letting the aging sprinter leave. After all, it wouldn?t be the first transfer faux pas involving this team over the years ? dare we mention Cadel Evans, Santiago Botero and Paolo Salvoldelli? Discuss in our forums.
Until next week,