Latest: No Unibet at RCS races; Dierckxsens to return; Liquigas at Tour of Med
Unibet.com is being shut out of all races organised by RCS Sport, and they’re calling on the UCI to
PIC BY UNIBET.COM No Unibet at RCS races Unibet.com has been ignored again by one of the grand tour organisers. This time it’s Giro d’Italia organiser RCS Sport, which announced its team lists for the Giro, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo on Monday. RCS nominated 22 teams for the Giro, including 19 of the 20 ProTour teams, with Unibet the odd one out. ProTour team Astana is being considered a wild card by RCS and the other grand tour organisers, even though it has a ProTour licence and had been invited to all the major races so far. In addition, three ProTour teams – Caisse d’Epargne, Gerolsteiner and Rabobank – have been given the opportunity to decline their invitation, as long as they do it by February 16. On that date, RCS wants to finalise its Giro wild cards. The situation is similar for Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo. 18 ProTour teams plus Astana have been granted automatic entries, with another eight given wild cards. Those eight are: Acqua & Sapone-Caff Mokambo, Barloworld, Ceramica Flaminia, Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Selle Italia, Team LPR, Tinkoff Credit Systems and Tenax-Salmilano (only Milan-San Remo). “Unibet is not welcome for sporting and economic reasons,” said RCS in a communiqu. “This is not a hate campaign.” But so far, Unibet.com has not received an invitation to any event organised by one of the grand tours, after ASO and Unipublic also snubbed it. It has also faced problems racing in France because it’s illegal to advertise online gambling in that country. It will have to rely on the muscle of the UCI to ensure that it gets starts in the races that it is entitled to, according to ProTour rules. Team manager Koen Terryn told Sporza, “We’re the victim of the conflict between the UCI and the organisers of the grand tours. This is a costly farce. If we are systematically refused from the ‘big races’, then this could mean the end of our team. Who is still crazy enough to invest in a team that can only ride around the church [ie, a kermis team]? We signed riders for the grand tours. Expensive ones. But what’s the point if we aren’t allowed to ride them? “We could take legal action, but where? The UCI? That’s about the only authority that is still helping us. I really hope that the UCI finds a solution as quickly as possible. It can’t go on like this.” Dierckxsens to return 42 year-old Belgian Ludo Dierckxsens is planning a comeback to racing, according to Cyclingnews.be. The popular rider, who turned pro when he was 30 and retired at the end of 2005, said in a statement that he has never lost the cycling bug. “After a period of one and a half years, I got back on the bike myself,” he said. “Why am I doing this? A few months ago I signed with a brand new team. In this team, I want to give one hundred percent. I will be supported by a few other top athletes and big players from the business world.” Dierckxsens will announce his new team at the end of the week. Liquigas at the Tour Mediterranen The Liquigas team will field a squad for the Tour Mediterranen, which takes place between February 14-18. Team directors Mario Chiesa and Dario Mariuzzo will take 20 year-old Roman Kreuziger and the team’s veteran Andrea No, along with Leonardo Bertagnolli, Francesco Chicchi, Francesco Failli, Matej Mugerli, Roberto Petito and Alessandro Vanotti. Got a comment? Discuss this in the Procycling forum. What else is new? Check out the Procycling blog.