By Andrew Hood
Kelme and Domina Vacanze will roll on as Division II teams for the 2004 season, according to the UCI, which on Friday released its official list of second-division teams for the upcoming season.
Earlier this month, both teams failed to meet UCI requirements for continuing in cycling’s first division, which gave them automatic berths in many of the sport’s top races.
Also confirmed among the 18 teams in Division II is the Navigators Insurance team. Four other teams are on a pending list and have until January 28 to provide more documentation.
Division II teams for the 2004 season:
Acqua & Sapone (I)
Cafés Baque (Sp)
Ceramiche Panaria – Margres (I)
Colombia – Selle Italia (Col)
Costa de Almeria-Paternina (Sp)
eD system – ZVVZ (Cze)
Elk Haus Radteam Sportunion Schrems (A)
L.A. / Pecol (Por)
Navigators Insurance Cycling Team (USA)
Team LPR (I)
Vlaanderen T interim (B)
Domina Vacanze (I)
Team Wiesenhof (G)
The registration of following teams is still pending:
Atlas Hoop-Polsat (Pol)
Flanders Afincom (B)
Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave (I)
Team Barloworld (RSA)
Museeuw: no change in retirement plans
Quick Step’s Johan Museeuw said there’s no changing his retirement plans, no matter what happens during his spring classics campaign, which will be the last for the 38-year-old legend.
At a training camp in Cecina Mare, Italy, with his Quick Step-Davitamon teammates, Museeuw said he’s entering what will be his final season like any other.
“I’ve already had 18 years and I will be 39 at the end of the season. It’s not old in a normal life, but it’s not young in cycling. Sometime you have to make the decision and I chose to stop after the classics,” Museeuw told VeloNews.
“I could decide to another year but not race so much and just race in the classics, but I found it’s difficult to train and motivate to stay in shape. It was a smart decision to finish right after the classics.”
Museeuw will make his season debut at Trofeo Mallorca early next month and race in the Ruta del Sol and most likely Paris-Nice to hone his form going into the classics. Scheldeprijs on April 14 will be his last race.
“I want to win either Flanders or Paris-Roubaix,” he said. “I want to be there, I want to be ready. I am preparing like any other year with the same motivation and the same desire to win.”
Once off the bike, Museeuw will move into one of the Quick Step-Davitamon team cars as a sport director.
Pozzato dreaming of MSR
Italian revelation Filippo Pozzato (Fassa Bortolo) is already dreaming of a strong spring-classics campaign. The 22-year-old has already put down 4500km of training as he’s set to join his teammates Monday in Principina Terra in Italy for the Fassa Bortolo training camp.
“I weigh three kilos less than last year and I’m dreaming about Milan-San Remo,” Pozzato told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I want to start the season strong, something I’ve always done.”
Pozzato, silver medalist in the 1998 junior road world championship, roared into the 2003 season, winning Trofeo Laiguelia as well as a stage and the overall at Tirreno-Adriatico before Milan-San Remo.
He’ll follow a similar racing schedule before Milan-San Remo, starting his season at Giro della Liguria, Trofeo Laiguelia, Giro di Lucca and Tirreno-Adriatico. He said he’ll skip the Giro d’Italia and instead race in the Tour de France with an eye toward earning a spot on Italy’s Olympic and road-world’s teams later in the season.
Pezzo begins Olympic comeback
Two-time Olympic champion Paolo Pezzo took her first formal steps toward Athens this week in Italy when she underwent testing required by the Italian Olympic committee.
Pezzo said the chance to win a third Olympic gold medal was an opportunity she couldn’t afford to miss.
“After the birth of my son, I decided to return to training and dream about winning another gold medal,” she told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I know it won’t be easy, but it’s also not impossible either.”
Pezzo said she will return to racing February 28 in a mountain-bike race in Brescia.