Liberty Seguros Thinking Big
Further to our report yesterday that Manolo Saiz's new team Liberty Seguros
was looking to sign a big talent to the team before year end, today Todociclismo
reports that this big rider might be Roberto Heras of US Postal-Berry Floor. The
Spanish cycling news site states that Heras has one year left on his contract
with Postal but negotiations would go forward to satisfy the Postal contract so
that the reincarnated ONCE team could secure Heras as its captain. Marca reports
it slightly differently - that the 2003 Vuelta winner wants to move to Liberty
Seguros and is negotiating the recission of his contract.
The site also reports that Liberty Seguros' interest in Alejandro Valverde
may have waned in recent days, due to negotiation difficulties with Kelme,
Valverde's present team, but negotiations are still ongoing. Again, Marca
reports slightly differently, quoting Valverde as saying, "There is a 98
percent possibility that I will remain with Kelme. I am only hoping that the
agreement of sponsorship with the Community of Valencia is signed."
Valverde also commented on the departure of Sevilla from Kelme: "It is sad
that he has left because he is a great companion on and off the highway, but if
he is better for it, then I welcome it".
Unipublic's World Championships 2005
Unipublic, organizer of eight major Spanish races including the Vuelta
Espana and the Spanish Championships, is also the organizer of the 2005
World Championships. The organizaiton today unveiled details of the Madrid
events to take place in late September 2005. The UCI must still approve the
courses, which will run around the city of Madrid, avoiding heavy congestion
spots. The Vuelta Espana 2005 will wind up in Madrid on the 18th of September,
allowing the riders an additional chance to "test" the Worlds circuit, and should be interesting due to its nearness in date to the Vuelta.
Tuesday, 20 September 2005: Inaugural Ceremony
Wednesday 21 Sept.: Women's Individual Time Trial (23 kms) and U23 Individual
Time Trial (23 kms)
Thursday 22 Sept: Elite Men's Individual Time Trial (47 kms)
Friday 23 Sept: Rest
Saturday 24 Sept: Women's Road race (120 kms), U23 Road Race (160 km)
Sunday 25 Sept: Elite Men's Road Race (approximately 275 kms - 13 laps on a
21.3 km circuit). (Todociclismo)
Vuelta 2004 Details Revealed
The formal presentation of the 2004 Vuelta Espana will take place on 17
December, but in the meantime, a new climb is mentioned today - the 2168 meter
Calar Alto will be featured. The climb is in the Sierra de los Filabres, in the
Almería province, and on its peak is the German-Spanish Astronomical Centre
observatory. This climb (29 km of ascent over 1,410 meters), much of it bare and
subject to winds, promises to be another piece of other-worldly landscape
for a grand tour, as the photo below shows.
The region will also host a portion of the Vuelta a Andalucia. Says regional
representative Marca Juan Megino of the Vuelta stage: "It is going to be a
spectacular stage. Almeria is known for its beaches and plastics, but also we
have three natural mountain ranges and four parks. So that the Vuelta caravan
arrives in perfect condition we must asphalt 2 kilometers of highway." (Marca)
Courtesy All the Sky.
Beloki - When in France...
Joseba Beloki will make his Brioches la Boulangere racing debut
in France, riding the traditional French season opener Grand Prix d'Ouverture La
Marseillaise on 4 February 2004. Beloki says, "I signed with a French team,
therefore I want my racing to begin here."
The Spaniard is expected to ride the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, the
Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia, the Critérium International as well as Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Paris-Nice may fall in
favor of Murcia - Murcia ends 7 March, while Paris-Nice begins that same day.
Michael Boogerd Double Good News
Rabobank's Michael Boogerd has been recognized as the best Dutch
rider of 2004, receiving the Gerrit Schulte Trofee ahead of Servais Knaven and
Gerben Löwik. The most promising rider of the year is Thomas Dekker and best
female rider is Leontien Van Moorsel (it is her ninth such award)
Boogerd was ranked 9th in the UCI on 9 November with 1441
points. This is his fourth consecutive honor by the magazine Wieler Revue (based
on reader polls) and will make his upcoming annual Fanclub Day (13 December)
even more special.
More great news for Boogerd is that he will become a father in
June 2004 - if you wish to send congratulations to Nerena and Michael Boogerd on
their upcoming addition, please visit Michael's website
here; his guestbook is
Information on his fanclub day is
here. (Thanks Michael Boogerd, Rabobank and Velo Club du Net)
Charly Wegelius Cleared
De Nardi Colpack's Charly Wegelius was found unfit due to high
hematocrit levels at the Giro di Lombardia in mid-October, but the De Nardi
website has announced that he has
satisfied the UCI examiners by medical certificate that his natural hematocrit
level is high (52%). He has been declared a rider in good standing.
Looking Back at ONCE
A few photos from the great ONCE-Eroski
Azevedo on the Tour of Germany podium after winning the queen stage
David Etxebarria at Pau (Tour´99)
Zülle and Indurain, maximum rivals at the 96 Tour
The Yellow Serpent on the roads of France - 2002 Team Time Trial
Hamilton Commemorative Calendar
Our kind neighbors to the north at Canadian Cyclist inform us of
a unique commemorative issue with over 100 photos from the 2003 Cycling World
Championships in Hamilton, Ontario - 40 pages of full colour images by Rob
Jones, Greg Descantes, Chris Redden and other international photographers
provide a day-by-day memento of this rare event. Order now for delivery before
Total cost, including shipping and taxes, is $12.79 Canadian per
copy ($14.55 Canadian for U.S. orders). This is a limited edition calendar and
orders must be placed by December 5th. There are two ways to order - by printing
off and faxing the attached PDF order form, or by ordering online through our
Canadian Cyclist is also conducting its Canadian Cyclist of the
Year poll - read about it
On the Lighter Side - What they say ...(and what they think)
This bit of satire from
Tick at Cycling4Fans - Haven't you
ever wondered about all those "nice" interviews? Nice questions, nice answers --
and boring as hell! Here's a look at what really goes on the minds of riders
Question: How does it feel to be the first rider to win the Tour
de France umpteen times in a row?
Answer: Fantastic, just fantastic! (What an INCREDIBLY stupid
question!) And I'd like to thank my teammates (the lazy bums, I was lucky to win
in spite of them), my sporting director (he still doesn't know I turned my radio
off and didn't hear one single world he said the entire Tour), and, of coure, my
wonderful wife! (Not to mention my even-more-wonder girlfriends!)
Q. How does it feel to finish second in the Tour for the
A. Oh, I'm just thankful to have done so well (I can't believe I
lost -- AGAIN!!!!) and it's no shame to lose to such a great rider (that $§$%&
Q. What is your stand on doping?
A. I think it's terrible! (Great!) Why would anyone want to risk
future health problems? (I'll worry about that when I retire.) I can't imagine
resorting to such illegal methods in order to win. (Gimme a break, how else do
you expect me to accomplish anything?) I would never use any drugs! (And if you
believe that, you're even stupider than I think you are!)
Q. What do you think of your new team jerseys? A lot of people
don't like them!
A. I'm proud to represent my sponsor, and we riders don't think
about such things as much as the fans do. (As long as they pay me I'll wear any
damn thing they want me to!)
Q. What is your schedule for the first part of the season?
A. I'll do some of the early Spanish races (I can't stand those
mountains!), ride a couple of the spring Classics (my S.D. hates me, he hopes
I'll wipe out on the mud and cobblestones), use the Tour de Suisse as a warm-up
(if I survive that long), and then I'll be ready for the Tour! (where I'lll
probably finish dead last!)
Q. What do you expect to do at the Tour?
A. I expect to place well and win at least one stage! (I expect
to carry exactly 17,438 water bottles.)
Q. How do you feel about your team hiring a new captain who will
come in and take your place?
A. It doesn't bother me at all! (In a pig's eye! I'm so angry I
could spit nails!) He and I have always been good friends. (He can never even
remember my name!) It will be an honor to ride in support of him. (But only if
they double my salary.....)
Q. How does it feel to mentioned as an equal with Merckx,
Indurain and the other greats?
A. It's a real honor, although I know I'm not at all worthy of
it! (Ha! I'm a hundred times better than any of those old guys were!)
Q. Were you shocked to hear that your teammate tested positive?
A. Oh yes, absolutely! (That damned team doctor, he swore we'd
never get caught!)
Q. After your horrible crash last year, you have recovered from
your broken bones, other injuries and multiple operations. How do you think
you'll do this season?
A. Oh, I'm top fit again! (Yeah, I can walk three whole feet
without pains!) I'm ready to take up again right where I left off. (I'm lucky if
I can ride 10 km, and they expect me to win races?!?)
Q. We've heard your team is hving financial troubles. How does
this affect the riders?
A. We know our team manager is doing everything he can.
(Everything he can to line his own pockets, that is.) We trust him (just about
as far as we can throw him). We don't worry about it, we just concentrate on
riding. (My God, I haven't been paid in three months, the bank is threatening to
foreclose on the mortgage, my wife is pregnant again ...... what the hell am I
going to do?)
Q. Erik, I have some questions for you, but first let me ask you
A. Sure, no problem! (AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)