Madrid 2005: News in brief

Latest transfer news, Worlds organisers make last bend on circuit easier to deal with, riders agree

Latest transfer news, Worlds organisers make last bend on circuit easier to deal with, riders agree
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM MADRID - Saunier Duval, linked earlier this week with David Millar, have signed Brazilian sprinter Luciano Pagliarini and Christophe Rinero, winner of the King of the Mountains title in the 1998 Tour de France, who has had something of a resurgence in form this season with the RAGT team. - Jos Antonio Pecharroman, winner of the Bicicleta Vasca and Tour of Catalonia in 2003, has signed a one-year deal with Comunitat Valenciana after being released by Quick Step. Pecharroman has rarely shown any form for the Belgian team and has been the subject of frequent criticism by team manager Patrick Lefvre. - The decision to change the final corner of the Madrid road circuit has been greeted with unanimous relief. Instead of switching back 180ø at the bottom of the fast run down the Paseo de la Castellana boulevard, the organisers have added a much more curved loop around to the bottom of the final straight, allowing riders to maintain a significant amount of speed going around the corner. - The talk of Sunday's men's road race being a surefire bunch sprint finish is dissipating, particularly within the host nation's team. Not surprisingly, their nine riders were bigging up their prospects during a visit to the offices of sports daily Marca on Friday, with Alejandro Valverde saying that having ridden the circuit he thought it was "a continuous leg-breaker" and adding that he thought that it would suit Italy's Paolo Bettini more than Alessandro Petacchi. Team-mates Igor Astarloa and Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero felt that the circuit would suit them more than the pure sprinters. All 500 riders taking part in this weekend's road races were given the chance to ride the circuit on Friday - bringing widely reported traffic chaos to the centre of the Spanish capital in the process - and many expressed surprise at the toughness of the 21km course. Although fast, the circuit has only a few very short sections that could be described as flat. "It's up, then down, turn to the left, then to the right, after 220km it will cause a lot of damage," said Valverde. I don't think there will be a mass sprint." Team-mate Juan Antonio Flecha predicted another problem for the riders in this weekend's events. "Because of the contamination in the air which you always find in big cities, riders' throats will dry out quicker. So, as well as the circuit itself, there will also be other problems to deal with," said the Fassa Bortolo rider.
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