The Week That Was...
The fall-out from the ill-fated Sony-Ericsson squad has continued this past week. Riders have continued to try to negotiate last-minute contracts after many teams had already confirmed their roster for 2006.
Having allegedly left his previous employer, Cofidis, under somewhat of a dark cloud, Australian road sprinter Stuart O?Grady is close to completing negotiations with the new Unibet.com team. Having signed for Giancarlo Ferretti's squadra along with fellow Aussie, Matt White, the Olympic champion last week learnt he had to search out a new employer for 2006. If O?Grady does end up with the new Belgian team, he will join fellow Aussies Baden Cooke and Matt Wilson.
Unibet.com was last week chasing former winner of the Giro d?Italia, Gilberto Simoni. Team Director, Koen Terryn, said in a press release that the teams? management company was currently in negotiation with several riders. "In particular with Gilberto Simoni, two time champion of the Tour of
and second this year, plus the Quesada brothers who took eight victories in 2005 and an impressive fifth place in the final classification of the Vuelta. These are our favourites." Italy
The concern for Unibet.com is the lateness of their application for a 2006 ProTour license. They are hoping that through the signing of several key riders, it will provide the advantage necessary to be granted the 20th ProTour license.
Terryn went on to add that, "I cannot believe that could offer five licenses to
"Unibet.com is a European company quoted on the stock exchange, which is active in 11 countries. The accounts of the companies are audited, as are those of the cycling team. I believe that these are things which the UCI hold in high regard."
"At the moment we are waiting for the signature of Simoni and the Quesada brothers to apply to the UCI. Don't forget that we already have such big names as Baden Cooke, previous winner of the green jersey, as well as 2005 Tour of
Unfortunately, for the Belgian team, Simoni later announced his signing for the Spanish Saunier Duval-Prodir. "I am looking forward in joining this team. I really like its positive atmosphere and great motivation."
The Spaniards have already signed British rider, David Millar, currently serving a two-year ban for doping offences.
Having already signed two of the leading sprinters in the sport, Erik Zabel and Alessandro Petacchi, Team Milram announced that they would also sponsor a new Continental team. The Nordmilch-Konzern announced that the team would be based in
and will be made up of German and Dutch riders. The team hopes they will prove to be a springboard for their leading riders up to the new ProTour team. Gera, Germany
As the 2005 season ends, Italian Alessandro Petacchi has finished the year with four more victories than the next best rider has, Robbie McEwen. Among Petacchi victories were wins at Milan-San Remo, Trofeo Luis Puig, GP Costa Degli Etruschi, the Vuelta a
The leading team was the Bjarne Riis led Team CSC. The Danes won 53 races in 2005.
Victory list for 2005
1 Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) 27
2 Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) 23
3 Tom Boonen (Quick.Step) 19
4 Ivan Basso (CSC) 16
5 Candido Barbosa (
6 Jens Voigt (CSC) 9
7 Ruben Bongiorno (Panaria) 8
7 Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile) 8
7 Murilo Fischer (Naturino-Sapore di Mare) 8
10 Oscar Freire (Rabobank) 7
10 Jose Rujano (Colombia-Selle Italia) 7
10 Nico Eeckhout (Chocolade Jacques) 7
10 Bobby Julich (CSC) 7
10 Danilo Napolitano (LPR) 7
10 Nick Nuyens (Quick.Step) 7
Did the right man win? Discuss in our forums now!
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Until next week,