By Andrew Hood
Jorge Ferrío (Almería Paternina) won the one-day classic Vuelta a los Puertos on Sunday in the mountains north of Madrid that will play a starring role in next month’s Vuelta a España. Almería Paternina delivered a one-two punch in the 146km race that started and finished Guadarrama with teammate Ramón Golbano taking second.
The teammates opened up a two-minute gap on the mostly Spanish peloton on the lower ramps of the Alto de Navacerrada, which will see a summit finish in the Vuelta’s penultimate day. Ferrío and Golbano stayed away for the rest of the day, with Gustavo César coming through third.
Contract news: Bennati, Brochard, Merckx, PinoItalian sprinter Daniele Bennati will be heading back to Italy. After astint in the Phonak colors, the young Italian hope has signed a contractto rejoin Saeco for the 2005 season, giving the Italian team more juicein the sprintsAccording to a report in the Belgian press, recently crowned Olympic bronzemedalist Axel Merckx has backed away from interest from Discovery Channeland Bouygues Telecom, and has signed a two-year contract to ride for Belgianteam Omega Pharma-Lotto.Former world champion Laurent Brochard has sparked the interested of Jean-RenéBernaudeau, who wants to sign the veteran Frenchman to his new French teamBouygues Telecom for the 2005 season.Austrian climber Georg Totschnig, who enjoyed a fine Tour de France withseventh overall, has extended his contract with Gerolsteiner through 2006.Alvaro Pino, the Spanish sport director at Phonak, has signed a contractto lead the Swiss team for two more seasons.
Racing this weekThe Tour of Holland leads the action this week in Europe. Also called theEneco Tour, (NED 2.1), the race is this week’s major stage racefrom Aug. 24-28.In Italy, the Giro del Friuli (ITA 2.3) is set for Aug. 28, whilethe GP Kanton Aargau (SWI 1.1) andGP Ouest France-Plouay (FRA 1.HC), one of France’s most importantone-day races, are on tap for Aug. 29.