9 September News ...
Igor González de Galdeano announced his retirement yesterday, on the rest day of the Vuelta a España. The Liberty Seguros-Würth rider will finish his career at the end of this year's Vuelta. The 32 year-old plans to continue to be linked with cycling by continuing his studies at Estudios de INEF.
The Spaniard ends 11 years in cycling and many successes. "I have managed a podium of a grand tour, thanks to the 2nd in the 1999 Vuelta, I have conquered the most valuable jersey in cycling, the maillot jaune of the Tour de France [8 days in 2002], I have finished fifth twice in the Tour, I won the bronze medal at the Worlds TT in Belgium, and I've won the fastest stage in grand tour history [2001 Vuelta, at 55.18 K/hr]. In short, after 14 victories as a professional, I believe I have given all to cycling, and in return the sport has given me many of my greatest pleasures."
Igor continued, "I realized in the last Tour de France that I lost my motivation, but I still wanted to come here to the Vuelta in order to help the team, and to end my career in the best possible form ... I want to use my powers to help Roberto [Heras]." The rider from the Basque region thanked all of his past directors, and "Gabino Ereñozaga, who has been my masseuse along all these years, giving unconditional support during all of my career".
Did you really think that Lance Armstrong was going to retire? Dan Osipow, team manager for Discovery Channel, has confirmed that the 7X Tour de France winner will be taking part in the winter training camps. Armstrong is looking to retaliate at the French newspaper, L'Equipe, for the doping accusations they made against the American.
"While I'm absolutely enjoying my time as a retired athlete with Sheryl and the kids, the recent smear campaign out of France has awoken my competitive side," said the Tour champion. "I'm not willing to put a percentage on the chances, but I will no longer rule it out..." Maybe Armstrong will tackle the hour record and the Giro d'Italia? We keep dreaming, but all it is unlikely.
1997 Tour de France Champion, Jan Ullrich, was understandably concerned. "After the farewell parties in Paris, I don't think we will see Lance return in next year's Tour." Ulle, and all the other competitors, will have to wait until the spring of 2006 to really relax. Also, it is rumored that Ulle is asking for his farewell gift, an Audi A8, back.
Time is closing for Gilberto Simoni and Gianluca Ferretti to finalize their plans for the 2006 season. Gilberto Simoni has yet to decide where he will ride for the coming seasons, but a decision is expected soon. Currently Gibo is racing in the Vuelta a España, battling for a stage win after he lost time in the overall GC.
Fassa Bortolo Team Manager, Giancarlo Ferretti, has been in talks with Gibo, and he would like to have his signature soon. Ferretti needs a guarantee from the 2X Giro d'Italia winner so that he can start building a team structure. The currently Ferretti has the possibility of IKEA as a sponsor for 2006 and beyond.
Simoni does have other possibilities. Claudio Corti was key in guiding Saeco to success in 2003 and 2004, and he is considering forming a team with Caffita as the main sponsor. Currently Caffita is the 2nd sponsor of Lampre-Caffita. It is a possibility that Corti and Simoni will rejoin forces for 2006. Keep it locked into BiciRace.com for more information. (read: Lampre-Caffita Break-up The Band (10 August) and Ferretti and Simoni Join Forces (1 September))
The World Championship Road Race will be disputed in 17 days, Sunday 25 September in Madrid. The course is a circuit of 21.3K that will be repeated 13 times, a total of 276.9K. Each nation is allowed a 9-man squadra for the race.
Italy always has a slew of riders that want to race on the national team, the Squadra Azzurra. Two riders are for certain to be on the 2005 squadra: Alessandro Petacchi and Paolo Bettini. There are another six rides that are almost guaranteed, they are: Marco Velo, Lorenzo Bernucci, Fabio Sacchi (or Matteo Tosatto), Filippo Pozzato (or Luca Paolini), Daniele Bennati and Giovanni Lombardi. The final 9th spot could be from a number of riders: Alessandro Ballan, Paolo Valoti and Giovanni Visconti.
Toscano, Paolo Bettini, is currently slugging it out at the Vuelta a España. The Quick-Step rider has had a close look at the competitors for the upcoming World Championships. "We are not seeing the best Boonen, but he remains a serious threat. The course in Madrid is well suited for the Belgian," said Bettini. "Van Heeswijk won a great sprint stage, but at the first difficulties he has abandoned: maybe he was tired or thinking only of the Worlds? But one thing is for sure, all of the Holland team will race for him. Hushovd, he has retired, maybe he arrived here a little tired, after taking the green jersey at the Tour. The rider who is always there, on all types of finishes, is Erik Zabel. They say that he always arrives second or third, but we will be attentive that he does not trick us on the 25th."
7 September News ...