By Andrew Hood
Division 2 Spanish team Cafés Baqué faces an uncertain future after losing title sponsor Orbitel. The Colombian telecom company told team officials it would no longer underwrite the team for the 2005 season.
Erkaitz Elcoroiribe, team manager of Cafés Baqué, said the team will search for a new co-sponsor to step up.
“What’s really sad about this situation is the marvelous team of riders, mechanics, massage therapists and other who could lose their job,” Elcoroiribe told the Spanish daily MARCA.
The team has brought several riders into the pro ranks and was headlined by Colombian climber Félix Cárdenas, winner of the KOM jersey in the 2003 Vuelta a España. The team promises to continue in the amateur ranks if they cannot find a new sponsor to stay in the elite levels of Spanish cycling.
Varese prepares world’s bid
Just weeks after Italy successfully hosted its second world’s in five years, another Italian community wants the honor of hosting the world championships as soon as 2008.
Officials from the northern city of Varese officially unveiled its plans earlier this week in a flash presentation that featured many of northern Italy’s heavy hitters. Team CSC riders Ivan Basso and Andrea Peron were on-hand to lend their support as well.
Varese hosted the 1951 world’s and would be held on a 15km circuit through the city center and hitting the 3km Ronchi climb with an average grade of 4.5 percent. UCI officials will visit the area over the winter ahead of the 2005 world’s in Madrid, when the host city will be named.
Saunier Duval boss pleased with first season
Saunier Duval officials say the team’s results were better than expected in the inaugural season for the Spanish squad. Already secured of a spot in the Pro Tour, the team is looking forward to new challenges in the future.
“To be frank, the season was better than we expected,” said team sport director Joxean Fernández Matxin on the team’s web page. “I was one of the most optimistic, but it’s one thing to be that and another thing to win 18 races.”
Fernández said he was pleased with the team’s performance in the Vuelta a España, but admitted things didn’t work out as hoped when the team brought on Joseba Beloki as a last-minute fill-in.
The team has signed on such riders as Chris Horner, Chris Dionne, Marco Pinotti, Manuel Quinziato and Ivan Ravaioli for the upcoming season.
“The entry into the Pro Tour has changed our mentality in our plans to sign riders,” he continued. “You have to realize that cycling will be much more something of central Europe, with a lot of one-day classics and the races in Spain won’t get as much attention as the three-week tours. We’ve looked for young riders with talent who are capable of improving quickly.”
Freire to race against horse and buggy
Reigning world champion Oscar Freire is set to take on a horse and buggy in a charity race this weekend in Spain.
The charity race will pit Freire and his bike against jockey Felipe Hernández and his horse and buggy over a criterium course in Valencia.
This is hardly anything new. In previous editions, rally driver Luis Climent faced Igor Astarloa and Gilberto Simoni last year while former Italian star Claudio Chiappucci squared off against a speed skater.