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Liberty Seguros directeur sportif Manolo Saiz is set to become the leading shareholder in the Active Bay company that owns the team after former team president Manuel Pi¤era announced his desire to abandon his links with the squad. Pi¤era was reported to have wanted Saiz to move 'upstairs' from his current hands-on managerial role to a position more concerned with long-term planning in the wake of the furore created by Roberto Heras's positive test for EPO. Saiz will now share the management of the company with team manager Pablo Anton.
- It seems even retirement can't keep Mario Cipollini out of the news for long. The 38-year-old former sprinter was taken to hospital in Lucca over the holiday period after colliding with a tree while skiing and breaking his kneecap. Cipollini had to lifted off the slopes at the resort of Abetone by helicopter and is said to be recovering well after an operation on his damaged knee.
- Former GAN team manager and Tour de France press chief Claude Sudres died on Sunday at the age of 74 after struggling for some time against the effects of cancer. Sudres, always hard to miss in the Tour press room with his cravat and constantly lit cigarette, oversaw the GAN team in the early 1970s when it was headed by the by then veteran Raymond Poulidor and the emerging Joop Zoetemelk. In recent years, Sudres produced the highly respected International Dictionary of Cycling and was instrumental in the establishment of the International Association of Cycling Journalists.
- Filippo Simeoni's new year is set to start with the considerable honour of riding with the Olympic torch through his home town of Latina. The torch is passing through the town on the afternoon of January 1 on its way to Turin, venue for the Winter Olympics in February. "It's an honour for me to carry the Olympic torch," said Simeoni, who is currently embroiled in a legal dispute with seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.
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