The Week That Was...

News & Results

12/14/2004| 0 comments
by Ian Melvin

The Week That Was...

Ian comments on the happenings in the world of cycling.

This week?s fascinating contiki tour of the professional peloton begins in the beautiful country of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
where during the annual tuttoBICI awards last week, World Cup winner Paolo Bettini said that one of his major goals for the new season was his home tour, the Giro d?Italia.  "Being Italian, I've been missing the Giro for too long and I would like to return.  With the team, we'll discuss it during our next meeting in
. At the moment, we have the schedule ready only until Li?ge-Bastogne-Li?ge." When questioned about which race he would most dearly like to win in 2005, Bettini continued, "There are so many races. Milan-San Remo for example, my third Li?ge, the Tour of Flanders. I'll try to do something good. And in my heart there's always a place for the World's, although on paper this one seems to suit the fast men more. We'll see!" <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>


Former stage race contender Francesco Casagrande last week voiced his concerns at the new Pro Tour competition.  Although Casagrande has signed for the South African registered Baloworld Team in 2005, he still believes he has the ability to play a major role in the Giro although his new team is certainly not guaranteed a start. ?I chose to continue because I could not retire peacefully while I can still be a stage protagonist in the Giro.  The UCI should come up with a system of just ten teams," said Casagrande. "Offering a four-year license to twice as many teams prevents smaller squads from growing and automatically deters some sponsors. Also the function of small teams as a 'nursery' is nullified and that is a shame because they are the first to discover great riders."


Following the rather public spat between Franco Ballerini and leading one-day rider, Davide Rebellin, before the 2004 World Championships which ultimately led to the rider seeking citizenship away from his native country, Rebellin it seems has had a change of heart.  With rumours persisting that Ballerini will leave the post in the New Year, Rebellin it seems now fancies his chances again of pulling on that famous Azura jersey.  According to Tuttosport, Rebellin confirmed that, "I am no longer going to change my citizenship,? however he maintained his disappointment by adding that "I missed two magnificent opportunities to represent my country."


After delaying his trip by a week due to a heavy cold, German star Jan Ullrich last week flew out to South Africa to join team mates Matthias Kessler and Andreas Kl?den and former Telekom riders Danilo Hondo and Jens Heppner.  Ullrich?s manager, Rudy Pevenage, told DPA that "He is healthy again and will fly out tomorrow.?  Ullrich will remain in
South Africa
until Christmas before returning home to
.  He will then travel to
Majorca on 6th January for a three-week T-Mobile camp.


With rumors continuing about will he or won?t he go for number seven, Tour de France Champion Lance Armstrong is saying nothing.  At the teams annual ?get to know the boss? training camp in
Austin, Texas,


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