The Week That Was...
British rider Bradley Wiggins has signed a two-year contract with the Cofidis team. This will be the third French team for Wiggins having already ridden two seasons for both Francaise des Jeux and, more recently, Cr?dit Agricole. Wiggins? greatest success came at the Athens Olympics where he won the gold medal in the individual pursuit final against his long time track nemesis, Bradley McGee.
Speaking to Britishcycling.org.uk during the recent World Championships in
"Now, I want to try and concentrate on the things I am good at and try and win Tour prologues and things like that. This team is willing to help me do that and that's it. It's a step up taking on the roll of targeting specific races through out the year. I learned a lot from this World Championships and know I can target races at this level."
"Certainly 2007 (Tour de France Prologue), in
Speaking exclusively to German website Radsport Aktiv, Jan Ullrich provided further proof of his new and improved attitude towards the 2006 season. Ullrich said that 2005 was, ?long and hard. Moreover, I've been actively involved in the planning of next season. And it's very important that I stop sooner in order to start the preparations sooner, too!"
He added that he had begun work with the Medical Parks Clinic in
Welcomed back into the fold at T-Mobile is Ullrich?s personal coach, Rudy Pevenage. "It's very important for me that Rudy is part of the team again. He's one of the best team directors in the world. I'm very happy that we can take advantage of his experience and that there is a clear direction."
Leaving the T-Mobile fold is current Director Sportif, Walter Goodefroot. At 62 years of age, many expected the Belgian to relax in his retirement but some are suggesting that he could in fact take over the role of Belgian national coach. The current coach, Jos? de Cauwer, is moving on and with a new World Champion in Tom Boonen to call on, the job could prove too much of a temptation for Goodefroot. "Never say never," Goodefroot told Belgian media. "You know that I've been national coach before? In 1982, during three months, for Women and Juniors," Goodefroot, added, "But the person that will become national coach shouldn't think that it's a end-of-career job. Am I able to cope with the stress, critics and pressure??
Third place finisher in this year?s Vuelta a Espana, Carlos Sastre, has agreed to stay with Bjarne Riis? Team CSC. The signature of Sastre proves to be another important coup for Riis following the recent confirmation that title sponsor, CSC, had extended their sponsorship deal.
"Carlos and I have had a good dialogue about the new contract, and I truly feel he belongs with us. Carlos is a world class rider and tremendously important to our team. I'm very happy that we've now succeeded in sealing this deal. There's no doubt, Carlos is an attractive rider to a number of teams, and it means a lot to me that he decided to stay with us in the end. Here he has the opportunity to make some results of his own as well as playing a major part in the mountains during the Tour.
"The new contract is for one year, but I'm not saying we won't extend even further, when we've made the final decisions regarding the team for next season," Riis added.
Congratulations this week to Danilo Di Luca from the Liquigas - Bianchi team who at the weekend confirmed his victory in the inaugural ProTour series with 4th place in Championship of Z?rich behind winner, Paolo Bettini. Di Luca has been a stand-out performer throughout the season and deserves the accolades from us all.
Finally, this week, from a personal point of view, I would like to send my condolences to the family of former British pro John Ibbotson. I had the pleasure of growing up with Ibbo, racing together through the Junior ranks. At just 27, he collapsed at home last week where paramedics were unable to save him. Events like this should make us all stop to think, to not take anything we have for granted. As fans and participants of our wonderful sport, we have much to be thankful for so get out there and ride, ride until you can ride no more.
Until next week,