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In the peloton since 1993Sponsors: Mapei: chemical building products; Quick Step: laminatedflooring
Budget: $6.9 million
Manager: Alvaro Crespi
Directeurs sportifs: Roberto Damiani, Fabrizio Fabbri, SergeParsani, Eric Vanderaerden, Jésus Suarez-Cueva, Matxin Fernandez
BODROGI Laszlo (Hun), December 11, 1976
DE WAELE Fabien
FREIRE Oscar (Sp), February 15, 1976
HORRILLO Pedro (Sp), September 27, 1974
HUNTER Robert (SA), April 22, 1977
MARTINEZ Miguel (F), January 17, 1976
STEELS Tom (B), September 2, 1971
TAFI Andrea (I), May 7, 1966
TRAMPUSCH Gerhard (A), August 11, 1978
A better season
Mapei can thank Oscar Freire, a fantastic competitor and world champion,for its 2001 season. In this new season, this diverse squad should offerits media-friendly boss some victories to match the level of his investments.The season started well, and the number of victories is already impressive.Tafi took a masterful victory in the Tour of Flanders, and Paolo Bettiniclaimed Liège-Bastogne-Liège. On this team, as Stefano Garzelliis racing only the Giro d’Italia, there is no rider with the ability togo for the general classification at the Tour. But a few stage victoriesmight satisfy those previously mentioned, along with Tom Steels, the sprinter.A final season
Just 10 days before the start of the Tour Mapei announced plans toend its sponsorship of cycling at the end of the current season, bringingto a close nearly a decade of successful involvement with the professionalpeloton.”The Mapei group have decided to end their sponsorship of (the) sportsteam at the end of the current season,” a statement released from the teamsaid Wednesday three weeks after the drug-tainted Giro d’Italia.Mapei chief Girogio Squinzi said the sport was finally beginning toget its house in order but not enough was being done to convince him thatMapei’s continued links with the sport was a viable operation.”We are starting to see signs of changes, which are indispensable togive cycling back the credibility that it’s popularity and history deserve,”said Squinzi. “But there’s not enough being done, progress against theserious issues in cycling is slow and basically it doesn’t justify ourcontinued commitment.”Although measures to stamp out doping have been taken by the Union CyclisteInternationale (UCI) and big race organizers, such as the Tour de France,cycling has taken a knock, mainly at the past two editions of the Girod’Italia where a number of riders tested positive, including the Mapeisquad’s team leader Stefano Garzelli, winner of the 2000 Giro d’Italia.Last year’s Giro winner Gilberto Simoni, who rides for Saeco, testedpositive for cocaine this year and was also thrown out. Days earlier, Garzelliwas also ejected from the race after he tested positive for a banned diuretic.
FREIRE: World championship; Tour of Germany, one stage; Tourof Burgos, one stage.
BODROGI: Tour of the Ligurian Riviera, overall and one stage;Tour of Alentejo, overall and one stage; Tour de l’Avenir, two stages.
ZANINI: Tour of the Ligurian Riviera, one stage; Setmana Catalana,one stage.
NARDELLO: Tour du Haut Var; Tour of Austria, one stage.
PAOLINI: Lugano GP.
GARZELLI: Tour of the Basque Country, one stage; Tour of Switzerland,one stage.
STEELS: Tour of Germany, one stage; Tour of Sweden, two stages.
CIONI: Tour of Minho, overall and one stage.
TAFI: Tour of Burgos, one stage.2002
TAFI: Tour of Flanders.
BETTINI: Liège-Bastogne-Liège; Tour of the LigurianCoast, overall and one stage; Tirreno Adriatico, one stage.
ROGERS: Tour Down Under, overall and one stage.
HUNTER: Tour de Langkawi, three stages.
FREIRE: Majorca Challenge, two stages.
EVANS: Tour Down Under, one stage.
BODROGI: Paris-Nice, prologue.
ZANINI: Three Days of De Panne, one stage.
DE WAELE: Flèche Brabançonne.INTERVIEW
Alvaro Crespi, manager:
“The team is strong, and our early-season results prove it. But thetruth is, the Tour de France is a special race where anything can happen.With Steels and Bettini, there will be stage victories to go after in thesprints. We are also looking toward the general classification, with, whynot, a spot in the top 10. But it will all depend on the conditions, theracing’s level of toughness, and above all, the first section, which promisesto be very harsh. The team management will also be a determining factor,as everyone will have to come out of the first week — with its team timetrial and individual time trial — in good shape. Anyone who is not mightpay dearly for it in the Pyrénées. In the first week, theleaders will have to recover very quickly, and so, before the mountains,we will have already seen who is in shape and who isn’t.”