courtesy Lampre Caffita .
Simoni to Saunier Duval?
The day started with early excitement that Simoni would sign for ambitious Unibet. Team Manager Koen Terryn was very optimistic about the future of his team : 'If we manage to sign the Quesada brothers and Gilberto Simoni (they're in negotations with Unibet) we will at once hand in our dossier for the Pro Tour. I believe we'd be the favorites for the last spot, as I can't see there being 5 (!) French teams and only 2 Belgian ones in the PT. ' While DS Hillaire Van Der Scheuren commented :'Apart from our negotiations with the Quesada bros and Simoni we already signed big names like Cooke and Dominguez. Zanotti signed yesterday too, and don't forget about my trump: VdB!'
However Saunier Duvall, who have already made some exciting signings with Giro d'Italia stage winner Koldo Gil (Liberty Seguros) and Luciano Pagliarini (Liquigas), are now looking red hot favourites to seal a Simoni deal.
They first contacted Simoni on Saturday, after the Tour of Lombardy.
Mauro Gianetti came up to Gilberto Simoni and made him a proposal: "come and race with us". The proposal was firmed up yesterday, Gianetti made his (move?) and now Simoni and his two agents, the brothers Alex and Johnny Carera, have take a couple of days of reflection to evaluate all the proposal and select the best. "We really hope he accepts the proposal - said Mauro Gianetti, team manager of Saunier Duval- because with Simoni our team would surely make an important step up in quality".
Saunier Duval- Prodir finished seventh in the Pro Tour rankings this season. The list was as follows: 1. CSC 2. Phonak 3. Rabobank 4. Davitamon-Lotto 5. Liberty Seguros-Würth 6. Gerolsteiner 7. Saunier Duval-Prodir 8. Discovery Channel 9. Crédit Agricole 10. Illes Balears-Caisse d´Épargne
The team who have lost three top men at the end of this season (Juan Manuel Garate, Constantino Zaballa and Chris Horner) have made their intentions for the Tour de France very clear by courting David Millar who will return to racing in June. It would seem certain they would allow Simoni to concentrate of the Giro d’Italia.
Di Luca Stays Celeste
Danilo Di Luca, winner of the ProTour, has extended his contract for two years with Liquigas.
The “Killer” will stop in Celeste until the end of 2007, and he has made the Giro his big objective for next season.
« I've fought with all my strength for conquering this edition of the Pro Tour, the first one. Now I have other objectives : however if I have at chance to get a second white jersey, I will try not to let the opportunity slip, of course. But it isn't one of my main goals: in 2006 I will aim at the Giro d'Italia and World Championships».
courtesy Bianchi .
Christian Werner Retires
T Mobile rider Christian Werner will end his career on December 31. This was announced by the 26-year-old in an interview with the German daily Wiesbadener Tagblatt. His contract with the T-Mobile Team, which he joined in 2003, was not extended.
"The curtain has fallen“, the newspaper quotes Werner. He had offers by second-rate teams, but these were no option for him. Werner: "That would be a career set-back I’m not willing to take. It’s either riding at top level or calling it quits.”
The Hessian now embarks on a job in his parents' business. He will be involved with customer care and “occasionally drive the lorry“, he told the daily. (courtesy T Mobile)