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Two USA squads make UCI Division 1 list

The Union Cycliste Internationale on Friday released the names of the 22 Division I trade teams for 2001 season. The U.S. will have two Division I trade teams in 2001: The U.S. Postal squad of Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and the new Mercury-Viatel squad, featuring former Giro d'Italia winner Pavel Tonkov and classic's star Peter Van Petegem. The Mercury-Viatel match represents the combination of two programs headed by Mercury's John Wordin and Viatel's Greg LeMond. The merger was a deal that almost didn't happen as a last-minute snag developed when the teams

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The Union Cycliste Internationale on Friday released the names of the 22 Division I trade teams for 2001 season. The U.S. will have two Division I trade teams in 2001: The U.S. Postal squad of Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and the new Mercury-Viatel squad, featuring former Giro d’Italia winner Pavel Tonkov and classic’s star Peter Van Petegem.

The Mercury-Viatel match represents the combination of two programs headed by Mercury’s John Wordin and Viatel’s Greg LeMond. The merger was a deal that almost didn’t happen as a last-minute snag developed when the teams couldn’t iron conflicting bike sponsorships for the upcoming season. Mercury had an agreement to continue its relationship with Fuji for the upcoming season and Viatel was obligated to ride LeMond bikes. Wordin said Thursday that he would make an announcement “soon” regarding the resolution of the matter.

The 22 Division I teams include the 16 teams with the highest UCI points accumulation as of November 30, the highest-ranked Division II squad from the 2000 season — in this case, Spain’s Euskaltel-Euskadi — and five more teams that have moved into the rankings based on UCI points, as of December 20.

The U.S. Postal team held a secure spot, 11th in the rankings. Mercury, however, was among several teams actively recruiting at the end of the 2000 season to fill out their respective rosters with top-rated riders. In addition to Tonkov, Mercury also recruited Mapei-Quick Step’s Chann McRae and then added Van Petegem with the signing of the Viatel deal.

The UCI’s 22 Division I teams for 2001:

1. Mapei-Quick Step (I)

2. Deutsche Telekom (G)

3. Fassa Bortolo, (I)

4. Lampre – Daikin, (I)

5. Kelme – Costa Blanca, (Sp)

6. Rabobank, (Nl)

7. Tacconi Sport – Vini Caldirola, (I)

8. O.N.C.E, (Sp)

9. Ibanesto.Com, (Sp)

10. Festina, (F)

11. U.S.Postal, (USA)

12. Liquigas – Pata, (I)

13. Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone, (F)

14. Lotto – Adecco, (B)

15. Saeco Macchine Per Caffe, (I)

16. Mercatone Uno – Albacom, (I)

The number-one Division II team based on UCI classification as of November 30, 2000:

Euskaltel – Euskadi, (SP)

Five additional teams selected based on their accumulated points as of December 20, 2000:

1. Domo – Farm Frites, (B)

2. CSC – World Online, (Dk)

3. Mercury – Viatel (USA)

4. Team Coast (G)

5. Credit Agricole (F)