The Week That Was...

News & Results

01/5/2005| 0 comments
by Ian Melvin

The Week That Was...

Ian comments on the happenings in the world of cycling.

Winner of last year?s Giro d?Italia and the current UCI number one ranked rider, Damiano Cunego, will begin his 2005 season in Spain on February 27th at the Clasica de Almeria followed by the Vuelta a Murcia from March 2nd - ­March 6th.  The Italian rider will lead the new Lampre-Caffita team as he attempts to repeat his successes of 2004.


Co-leader of the new Lampre-Caffita team, Gilberto Simoni, has perhaps indicated which direction his career may take once he finally hangs up his wheels.  Simoni passed a Director Sportif training course held in Verona, Italy; the course was endorsed by the Italian Federation and allows him to direct a professional team.  Also completing the course with the former Giro d?Italia winner was Marco Battiston, Ermanno Brignoli, Davide Casarotto, Biagio Conte, Fausto Dotti and Massimo Strazzer.


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The new Discovery Channel professional cycling team last week announced their 28th signature for the 2005 season.  World U23 Time Trial Champion, Janez Brajkovic, has signed and will join his new teammates for the first time at the team?s Californian pre-season training camp beginning on January 11th.  Director Sportif, Johan Bruyneel, said, "We were looking to make another addition to the team and thought about taking a young rider.  I saw Brajkovic' results in the time trial at the World's and thought it was very impressive, as he beat the race favourite (Thomas Dekker) who seemed, at least on paper, almost unbeatable. We did some research on him and talked with some other people and then saw his test results, and found them to be very promising. He then came to Belgium today and we tested him ourselves and saw the same results.  I have a really good feeling about (signing Brajkovic). Today confirmed that I think he can become a good bike rider."  Brajkovic will return to his current team, Krka Novo Mesto, following the camp until 31st July after which the Slovenian will begin life as a professional bike rider


Discovery Channel team rider Manuel Beltran last week confirmed that he would compete in both the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana this year.  "The Tour is unsurpassed. It is a race that captures the interest of all the fans and I dream a lot of riding it. The Vuelta is the most important race in Spain and I hope that I can make the jiennenses [Beltr?n's local fans] as happy as I did this year by wearing the gold jersey for three days," said Beltran.  He continued saying that the Tour and Vuelta are, "the two most important races in the world where there are the best riders on the planet."



2003 World Champion, Igor Astarloa will ride for the British registered Team Barloworld in 2005.  Spanish newsagency EFE quoted Astarloa?s manager, Paolo Zanni, as saying "We are talking to the Valsir Company, the Italian sponsor of Igor Astarloa which will be the main sponsor of the team in Italy and the co-sponsor with Barloworld in the rest of the races. Next week, we will talk to Lampre manager Giuseppe] Saronni to reach an agreement and to break the contract that Lampre-Caffita had for 2005." Zanni admitted that the move to Barloworld was a tough choice, as it will take him out of a Pro Tour team.  "This is a step backwards, but there are times when it is important to take a step back in order to take another one forward. It's an operation with a future with a great director in Emanuele Bombini." Following an unhappy start to the 2004 season with the Cofidis team, Astarloa left to join the Lampre team where he finished third in the HEW Classic.


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Until next week,


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