Shorts: Rumsas, Saunier, Cofidis

r & Mrs Rumsas in French court on Thursday, new Spanish continental team announced, Cofidis pair ta

r & Mrs Rumsas in French court on Thursday, new Spanish continental team announced, Cofidis pair ta


Raimondas Rumsas and his wife Edita are set to appear before a court in the French town on Bonneville on Thursday on a charge of illegal import of medical products designed to be used for doping. The charge stems from Edita Rumsas's arrest on July 28, 2002, following the discovery of a number of medical products in her car on the day her husband finished third in the Tour de France.

Edita Rumsas claimed that most of the products, which included the blood-booster EPO, were for the use of various members of her family, but prosecutors are contending that the products found do not correspond with the ailments said by Edita Rumsas to be afflicting those family members.

Raimondas Rumsas was sacked by his Lampre team after testing positive for EPO at the 2003 Giro.

- A new Spanish continental team has been announced that will act as a feeder squad for the Saunier Duval ProTour team. Backed by the Murcia-based Nicolas Mateos construction group, the team has signed the experienced Javier Benitez (Relax) and Alberto Benito (Barbot), but will focus on the development of younger riders with the aim of advancing the best of them into the Saunier team.

- Close friends Rik Verbrugghe and Thierry Marichal, who are set to be reunited at Cofidis next season, have told their team-mates at a pre-season gathering that their goal next season is to ride in all three major tours. "It was done for publicity," Verbrugghe told La Dernire Heure. "We spoke to the management about it and they weren't against the idea. From the physical point of view riding the three major tours isn't as hard as riding lots of other medium-length stage races, the difficulty is more psychological."

Marichal said he felt motivation would be the least of their problems. "It must be easier at the end of the season to motivate yourself to ride the Vuelta than to go to the Tour of Poland or to other races like Aartselaar, Fourmies and Isbergues."

The pair are also certain to ride the Giro, where Verbrugghe won the prologue in 2001 and which next year starts in Belgium, and Tour. Verbrugghe said they will then see how their form is before tackling the Vuelta. The 31 year old is also hoping to make his debut in the Tour of Flanders in what sounds like it could be quite a season.

- Cofidis have been ordered to pay former rider Massimiliano Lelli 50,000 euros by a court in the French town of Tourcoing, which ruled that they had illegally broken Lelli's contract when they sacked him in November 2004. Lelli was implicated in the Cofidis affair, notably by allegedly supplying David Millar with EPO.

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