Shorts: O'Grady, Gobbi, transfer latest

O'Grady to go for third Tour Down Under win, Gobbi remains in coma after crash, T-Mobile lose two ve

O'Grady to go for third Tour Down Under win, Gobbi remains in coma after crash, T-Mobile lose two ve


Adelaide's Stuart O'Grady has confirmed that he will be taking part in next January's Tour Down Under, which takes place in his home state of South Australia. O'Grady will lead the CSC team, currently ranked number one, which is the first confirmed team for next year's race. "We are thrilled that the winner of the inaugural Tour Down Under will be returning to the event with an all-star team," said tourism minister Jane Lomax-Smith. "I expect Stuart will have a home-town win on his mind as he sets out to defend his 1999 and 2001 Tour Down Under victories."

O'Grady could well be joined in the CSC team at the TDU by fellow Australians Luke Roberts and new signing Matthew Goss. CSC will have another Australian, Scott Sunderland, as their directeur on the race, while team owner Bjarne Riis is making the trip to South Australia with the team as a VIP guest of the race organisation.

- Michele Gobbi remains in a coma after crashing heavily during Sunday's GP Beghelli. Doctors have decided to keep the 29-year-old Italian in an artificial coma, although Gobbi is reported to be in a stable condition. "Gobbi reacted to certain stimuli which represents a favourable signal for the future and allows us to be cautiously optimistic," said Milram doctor Claudio Sprenger. CAT scans have revealed severe bruising to Gobbi's brain as well as small fractures. Further CAT scans are likely to be undertaken on the Milram rider in the coming hours.

- T-Mobile have confirmed that Steffen Wesemann is leaving them to join the German continental team Wiesenhof next season, where the 35 year old will help with the development of young riders. Wiesenhof team manager Jens Heppner has also made an offer to sprinter Olaf Pollack, who is also leaving T-Mobile at the end of the season. The departure of these two veterans has provided opportunities to other riders, and T-Mobile have announced the signing of Australian Adam Hansen (25) and New Zealander Greg Henderson (30). Hansen joins from the Austrian-based team Elk Haus, while Henderson comes from the American Health Net-Maxxis team.

- SweetSpot, the company behind the Tour of Britain, have secured the rights to stage the Tour of South Africa annually from November 2007. Hugh Roberts, CEO of SweetSpot commented: "I am delighted that we are able to launch a major cycling race in South Africa. We revived the Tour of Britain in 2004 and the response has been incredible, I am looking forward to working with the South African authorities to create a fantastic event."

SweetSpot will use the financial model of the Tour of Britain in developing the South African event, which will see it run as a not-for-profit organisation ensuring that money can be reinvested to benefit the wider community. A board of trustees will oversee the race and observe that it is run on a financially stable footing in a transparent manner. The UCI which has granted it a 2.2 classification.

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