Astarloa looking for new team?

Not a good start for the new Lampre-Caffitta set-up as Igor Astarloa offers his services elsewhere a

Not a good start for the new Lampre-Caffitta set-up as Igor Astarloa offers his services elsewhere a
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE 2003 world road champion Igor Astarloa seems to be on the look-out for a fourth team in little more than a year. Having won the world title for Saeco and then moved to Cofidis, the Basque rider moved on to Lampre in the early part of the 2004 season after Cofidis' self-imposed suspension from competition. With Lampre now joined by a significant part of the old Saeco set-up, including Damiano Cunego and Gilberto Simoni, Astarloa had been expected to be the team's one-day leader, but perhaps not. CSC team manager Bjarne Riis told Danish paper Politiken over the weekend that Astarloa had offered him his services, and, although interested, Riis had to turn down the approach because of lack of available budget. "I thought that Astarloa would stay with the new team that came about through the union of Saeco and Lampre," said Riis, "but it seems not. We would be very interested in him and he would fit in well at CSC, but I don't have the money to pay him unless some new sponsors spring up from somewhere." Riis also said that he had been offered the chance to sign Romans Vainsteins and Floyd Landis, who have both signed with Phonak. Riis turned down these options as well. - Relations between Simoni and Cunego show no signs of improving based on comments made by former Giro winner Simoni about his younger team-mate who took his title this year. Speaking in La Gazzetta dello Sport over the weekend, Simoni said of this year's Giro: "Damiano Cunego betrayed me at Bormio. Throughout my career I have won races and let other people win, but nothing like that had ever happened to me before. The 2005 Giro? I'm out to win it, but I don't trust anyone any more." Following the stage to Bormio, one of four won by Cunego, "ignoramus" was one of the more polite words used by Simoni to describe his team-mate.
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