The Week That Was...
Ian comments on the happenings in the world of cycling.
<?xml:namespace prefix = o /?> Jumping up to fourth place in the UCI rankings was Italian rider Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) after his recent hatrick of victories. Firstly beating cycling?s nearly man, Dutch rider Michael Boogerd (Rabobank), at Amstel Gold, he followed this with back-to-back wins in the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 /?>
Jumping up to fourth place in the UCI rankings was Italian rider Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) after his recent hatrick of victories. Firstly beating cycling?s nearly man, Dutch rider Michael Boogerd (Rabobank), at Amstel Gold, he followed this with back-to-back wins in the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 /?>
Still in a state of self-imposed exile from competition, French professional team Cofidis continues to be the subject of rider transfer rumors. Claudio Conti, Manager of Italian Saeco team, confirmed that should he become available, Scotsman David Millar is a rider whom he would be very interested in attracting across the
French climber David Moncoutie meanwhile confirmed that had no intention of leaving the team as previously reported. ?I don?t see myself going anywhere. I was never contacted by Mr.Bookmaker as was said,? he said in French daily La Depeche du Midi. ?It?s with Cofidis that I want to continue.? Looking back on what he described as ?the hardest week of my life,? recent recruit Stuart O?Grady went on to add on his personal website that, ?at the end of the day I think the team will come out bigger and better than before.? Only time will tell.
One rider walking away from the peloton is former Tour de France, Giro d?Italia and Vuelta a Espana stage winner, Jeroen Blijlevens (Bankgiroloterij). The Dutchman called it a day on his successful career after turning professional in 1994 with TVM. Spells with Polti, Lotto and Domo-Farm Frites followed before a spate of viral infections caused his career to loose direction. "I can look back on a beautiful career and I want to hold onto some honor," he commented.
Quick.Step-Davitamon this week confirmed that classic specialist?s Paulo Bettini and Tom Boonen have both signed contract extensions with the Belgian team. Italian Bettini commented that, "I had a fantastic year in 2003 with this team. I integrated myself with a very professional group, which has allowed me to work at my best. Working in this kind of environment is the first step to reaching very big results."
It was this week confirmed that the United States Postal Service would cease sponsorship of its Division one team after several successful years backing the leading