News

Tuesday’s Euro-File: Gonzalez weighing offers; Peloton looks to Zolder

The recent winner of the 2002 Vuelta a España is certainly the man of the hour. According to reports in the Spanish press, Aitor Gonzalez is now considering offers from six teams including Telekom, Saeco, Acqua & Sapone, Quick Step, Kelme and iBanesto.com. Gonzalez earned $54,000 this season with Kelme and is said to be seeking an annual contract worth an estimated $600,000. Gonzalez said he’s interested in being the sole captain of a team. “I’m not interested in a team like U.S. Postal Service because they already have Lance Armstrong. Kelme is difficult because there are three leaders

By Andrew Hood

Aitor may have been thinking of his bank balance when he celebrated in Madrid.

Aitor may have been thinking of his bank balance when he celebrated in Madrid.

Photo: AFP

The recent winner of the 2002 Vuelta a España is certainly the man of the hour. According to reports in the Spanish press, Aitor Gonzalez is now considering offers from six teams including Telekom, Saeco, Acqua & Sapone, Quick Step, Kelme and iBanesto.com.

Gonzalez earned $54,000 this season with Kelme and is said to be seeking an annual contract worth an estimated $600,000. Gonzalez said he’s interested in being the sole captain of a team.

“I’m not interested in a team like U.S. Postal Service because they already have Lance Armstrong. Kelme is difficult because there are three leaders and that makes things complicated. I still don’t know where I will end up, but I want to be on a team where I will be the captain and I can build a team around me.”

Vuelta on top
Enrique Franco, the general director of the Vuelta a España, told Spanish television that “Spanish cycling today is the best in the world. Spanish cycling has improved a lot.”

Franco insisted the race organization is still seriously considering changing the Vuelta format to include as many as 36 teams, adding a “playoff” system where two pelotons would race back-to-back over the same course and the teams would be reduced to 18 for the final half of the race.

“I believe the big teams have fear of this idea because they have much too lose to the smaller teams,” he said. The 69-year-old Franco also said he would retire next year, but hasn’t announced a date.”

Spanish champions comment on Gonzalez
Five-time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain said Gonzalez “is a complete rider, with good characteristics for three-week tours. He’s a cyclist who can defend well in the mountains without being a pure climber and who can do well in the time trials. I still believe it’s a little early to think that he can win the Tour de France. Not because he doesn’t have the abilities, but because the Tour requires experience and knowledge. Before he can win the Tour, he needs to go there and learn.”

Tour winner Pedro Delgado said Gonzalez “has given us hope in this Vuelta and demonstrated that the Tour de France is possible, because he is strong in the time trial and climbs the mountains well enough. Without Ullrich and with Heras on his team, Lance Armstrong has no rival. I see Gonzalez as the only rider who can rival Armstrong. His inexperience in the Tour de France doesn’t seem to me to be very important because riders like Felice Gimondi won the Tour in their first try. Aitor’s shown something more important, that he can finish a three-week tour with strength. Now all he has to do is find the right team to fight for the Tour.”

Federico Bahamontes, the first Spanish winner of the Tour de France, said Gonzalez “is a grand roller, who dominates the time trial and doesn’t climb too poorly. He has great qualities, and if he’s watched for carefully, he can do great things. But to win the Tour de France, he has to be given some space. To win the Tour he needs more experience. We have to see next year if he can defend well in the major cols.”

”Little Mig” going Phonak
Miguel Martinez, the 2000 Olympic mountain bike champion, will race next year with the Swiss Phonak Hearing Systems team. Martinez finished his Tour de France debut this year and was a big hit with the French media. Martinez raced with Mapei this year on the road, but also competed at a few mountain bike races, namely the world championships in Kaprun in August.

New asphalt at the Zolder Circuit
At the request of Tom Steels, the last chicane in the direction of the finish line (the chicane was named after Jacky Ickx) was straightened out last year. That’s so say, a shortcut, an additional asphalted strip in the grass zone along the car circuit, was created. The final hundred meters that were suddenly interrupted by the double 90-degree curve now are reconverted into a ‘long straight line with a small buckle’. A change that will undoubtedly increase the safety as well as the fairness of the World Championships.World teams announced
Here are starting lists for some of the European nations competing in the world championship next week:FRANCE:

men’s road
Jimmy Casper (fdjeux.com)
Jacky Durand (fdjeux.com)
Frédéric Guesdon (fdjeux.com)
Nicolas Vogondy (fdjeux.com)
Franck Rénier (Bonjour)
Didier Rous (Bonjour)
Emmanuel Magnien (Bonjour)
Andy Flickinger (AG2R)
Ludovic Turpin (AG2R)
Pierrick Fedrigo (Crédit Agricole)
Christophe Moreau (Crédit Agricole)
Cédric Vasseur (Cofidis)
Médéric Clain (Cofidis)
Laurent Jalabert (CSC)
Nicolas Jalabert (CSC)
Richard Virenque (Domo)
Patrice Halgand (Jean Delatour)
Laurent Brochard (Jean Delatour)

men’s time trial
Christophe Moreau (Crédit agricole)
Jacky Durand (fdjeux.com)

women’s road

Sophie Creux (Dauphiné Savoie)
Delphine Guille (Pays de Loire)
Magali Le Floc’h (Champagne Ardennes)
Sandrine Marcuz-Morreau (Midi-Pyrénées)
Catherine Marsal (Lorraine)
Virginie Moinard (Dauphiné Savoie)

women’s time trial
Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (Ile-de-France)
Catherine Marsal (Lorraine)
Edwige Pitel (Provence)

ITALY

men’s road
Paolo Bettini (Mapei)
Daniele Bennatti (Acqua&Sapone-Cantina Tollo)
Gianluca Bortolami (Tacconi Sport-Tonello)
Davide Bramati (Mapei)
Mario Cipollini, (Acqua&Sapone-Cantina Tollo)
Danilo Di Luca (Saeco)
Giovanni Lombardi (Acqua&Sapone-Cantina Tollo)
Daniele Nardello (Mapei)
Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo)
Luca Scinto (Mapei)
Fabio Sacchi (Saeco-Longoni Sport)
Mario Scirea (Acqua&Sapone-Cantina Tollo)
Matteo Tosatto (Fassa Bortolo)
Lorenzo Bernucci (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago)

men’s time trial
Manuel Quinziato (Lampre-Daikin)
Filippo Pozzato (Mapei)

women’s road
Giorgia Bronzini (Top Girls)
Noemi Cantele (Accadue-Lorena)
Alessandra Cappellotto (Powerplate-Bik)
Alessandra D’Ettorre (Forestale)
Sara Felloni (GS Edilsavino)
Katia Longhin (Accadue-Lorena)

women’s time trial

Giovanna Troldi (Bee on Bike)
Alessandra Cappellotto (Powerplate Bik).

HOLLAND

men’s road
Michael Boogerd (Rabobank)
Steven de Jongh (Rabobank)
Bram Schmitz (Bankgiroloterij-Batavus)
Jan Koerts (Domo)
Karsten Kroon (Rabobank)
Bobbie Traksel (Rabobank)
Stefan van Dijk (Lotto)
Bart Voskamp (Bankgiroloterij-Batavus)
Aart Vierhouten (Lotto).

SPAIN

men’s road

Oscar Freire (Mapei)
Pedro Horrillo (Mapei)
Rafael Díaz Justo (ONCE Eroski)
Mikel Pradera (ONCE Eroski)
Joseba Beloki (ONCE Eroski);
Oscar Sevilla (Kelme Costa Blanca)
José Enrique Gutiérrez (Kelme Costa Blanca)
Antonio Tauler (Kelme Costa Blanca)
Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel Euskadi)
Igor Astarloa (Saeco)
José Vicente García Acosta
Pablo Lastras (iBanesto.com)
Luis Pérez (Coast)

men’s time trial
Aitor González (Kelme Costa Blanca)
Igor González de Galdeano (ONCE Eroski).
Cycling on TV
Now that the Vuelta is over, cycling fans won’t have the daily dose of action from the European peloton, but there is still plenty of cycling left on the Outdoor Life Network.10/3 –  NORBA: Cross Country, Durango, CO – 8-9pm
10/10NORBA: Downhill & DS, Mount Snow, West Dover, VT- 8-9pm
10/172002 Paris Tours – 8-9pm
10/24 2003 Tour de France Route Announcement – 8:30-9pm
10/312002 Road Cycling World Championships – 8-9pm
10/31World Cup Mountain Biking: Cross Country, Les Gets,France – 9-9:30pm
10/31World Cup Mountain Biking: Downhill & 4x, Les Gets,France- 9:30-10pm
10/31NORBA: Cross Country, Durango, CO – 10-11pm
11/7 –  2002 Road Cycling World Championships – 8-9pm
11/7 –  World Cup Mountain Biking: Cross Country, LesGets, France -9-9:30pm
11/7-  NORBA: Downhill & DS, Mount Snow, West Dover,VT – 10-11pm
11/142002 Road Cycling World Championships – 8-9pm
11/14World Cup Mountain Biking: Season in Review – Cross Country-9-9:30pm
11/14World Cup Mountain Biking: Season in Review – Downhill,4X – 9:30-10pm
11/14NORBA: Cross Country, Mount Snow, West Dover, VT -10-11pm
11/212002 Track Cycling World Championships – 8-9pm 11/21- 2002 Tour du Faso – 9-10pm
11/212002 Tour de France Review Show – 10-11pmAll times for Eastern U.S. – Times and events subject to change