Shorts: Casa, Cunego, Jan
Casagrande gets a new team, Cunego set to start in Almeria, Ullrich extends his training stint in So
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Italian veteran Francesco Casagrande has signed a deal to ride with the Naturino-Sapore di Mare team that is being set up by Vincenzo Santoni, boss of this year’s Domina Vacanze outfit. Casagrande had been expected to ride with the Barloworld team, but will now aim to make a final glorious bow at the Giro in what is likely to be his last professional season. Casagrande, 34, has not ridden since being released by Lampre after delivering an elevated red blood cell count prior to the Vuelta in September. – Damiano Cunego, team leader at the new Lampre-Caffita team, is set to make his 2005 debut at the Almeria Classic on February 27. Cunego is then set to ride the Tour of Murcia the following week. – Also set to be in Murcia is Jan Ullrich, who is already working hard in South Africa on his challenge for next year’s Tour. Speaking on T-Mobile’s website, Ullrich said of his South African sojourn: “Training at temperatures of 30 up to 35 degrees is perfect. I will extend my stay here until December 29 in order to make up for the week I lost to a cold, as well as to bridge the gap to the start of the next training camp on Majorca at the beginning of January.” Ullrich and training partner Andreas Klden skipped the traditional Christmas spent with their families. “I very much welcome his decision to stay on longer in South Africa. Jan cycles up to five hours a day. His weight is right for the time of the year. When he comes back, he will have the first 2,500km in his legs”, said his personal adviser, Rudy Pevenage.