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Mapei fires Bartoli and hires Martinez

Citing “a breakdown in trust,” the Italian cycling team Mapei has fired former world number one Michele Bartoli on Monday. In an apparently unrelated move, the team also announced that it had signed mountain-bike star Miguel Martinez to a three-year road contract. In a statement faxed to news agencies around Europe on Monday Mapei's general manager Giorgio Squinzi said that "it would be advisable for Bartoli to negotiate with his future team right now." The parting of the ways comes at a time when speculation was running high that Bartoli was planning to join Fassa Bortolo. Squinzi

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By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright AFP2001

Martinez is hanging up the fat tires.

Martinez is hanging up the fat tires.

Photo: VeloNews File

Citing “a breakdown in trust,” the Italian cycling team Mapei has fired former world number one Michele Bartoli on Monday. In an apparently unrelated move, the team also announced that it had signed mountain-bike star Miguel Martinez to a three-year road contract.

In a statement faxed to news agencies around Europe on Monday Mapei’s general manager Giorgio Squinzi said that “it would be advisable for Bartoli to negotiate with his future team right now.” The parting of the ways comes at a time when speculation was running high that Bartoli was planning to join Fassa Bortolo. Squinzi neither confirmed nor denied that rumor, but added “Michele Bartoli can race for who he wants to, that includes Fassa Bortolo.”

Squinzi added that there had been a total breakdown in trust on both personal and professional levels with the 30-year-old former team leader, who started the season in good form winning the Het Volk Classic.

Mapei team manager Alvaro Crespi added: “The relations with Michele Bartoli have never been easy.”

Crespi said Bartoli, from Pisa, had refused to run in several races and had recently excused himself from duty with laryngitis, certified by a doctor who was not authorized by the team.

Mapei also announced that the team had signed France’s Olympic and world mountain-bike world champion Martinez to a three-year contract.

Martinez will switch to road-racing with his new team.

Copyright AFP2001