The Week That Was...
Ian comments on the happenings in the world of cycling.
The fall-out from the ill-fated Sony-Ericsson squad has continued this past week. Riders have continued to try to negotiate last-minute contracts after many teams had already confirmed their roster for 2006.
Having allegedly left his previous employer, Cofidis, under somewhat of a dark cloud, Australian road sprinter Stuart O?Grady is close to completing negotiations with the new Unibet.com team. Having signed for Giancarlo Ferretti's squadra along with fellow Aussie, Matt White, the Olympic champion last week learnt he had to search out a new employer for 2006. If O?Grady does end up with the new Belgian team, he will join fellow Aussies Baden Cooke and Matt Wilson.
Unibet.com was last week chasing former winner of the Giro d?Italia, Gilberto Simoni. Team Director, Koen Terryn, said in a press release that the teams? management company was currently in negotiation with several riders. " In particular with Gilberto Simoni, two time champion of the Tour of
and second this year, plus the Quesada brothers who took eight victories in 2005 and an impressive fifth place in the final classification of the Vuelta. These are our favourites ."
The concern for Unibet.com is the lateness of their application for a 2006 ProTour license. They are hoping that through the signing of several key riders, it will provide the advantage necessary to be granted the 20 th ProTour license.
Terryn went on to add that, " I cannot believe that could offer five licenses to
"Unibet.com is a European company quoted on the stock exchange, which is active in 11 countries. The accounts of the companies are audited, as are those of the cycling team. I believe that these are things which the UCI hold in high regard ."
"At the moment we are waiting for the signature of Simoni and the Quesada brothers to apply to the UCI. Don't forget that we already have such big names as Baden Cooke, previous winner of the green jersey, as well as 2005 Tour of
Unfortunately, for the Belgian team, Simoni later announced his signing for the Spanish Saunier Duval-Prodir. "I am looking forward in joining this team. I really like its positive atmosphere and great motivation ."
The Spaniards have already signed British rider, David Millar, currently serving a two-year ban for doping offences.