Shorts: Gomez, Stars auction bikes
Young talent Gomez leaves Phonak for Saunier, Van Hyfte calls it a day, bid for Cunego, Cipo, Freire
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Jos Angel Gomez has opted out of the two-year contract he signed just a few weeks ago with Phonak and taken up an offer from the Spanish Saunier Duval team. Gomez, 24, finished eighth at the Vuelta at the end of his first pro season riding for the Costa de Almeria-Paternina team. The move to Saunier Duval will guarantee the young climber from Madrid a ride at the ProTour events next season, and also gives his new team some stage racing talent following the loss of Joseba Beloki to Liberty Seguros. – Former CSC and Lotto rider Paul Van Hyfte has announced his retirement after 11 seasons at the top level. The 32-year-old Belgian rode for the Vlaanderen-T Interim team this season, which ended prematurely for him when he broke his hip in September. Van Hyfte said a lack of motivation was behind his decision to retire. – Anyone still looking for Christmas presents little more than a week before the big day might want to consider the prizes being offered in an online auction to benefit the European Institute of Oncology. Paolo Bettini, Mario Cipollini, Damiano Cunego, Igor Astarloa and Oscar Freire have all donated their team bikes to the auction, which is being used to raise funds for research into prostate cancer. Giro champion Cunego has also signed 100 pink jerseys from that event which will be given to the first 100 people who pledge 350 euros to the appeal. Bids for the five team bikes start at 5,000 euros and can be made up to December 24th. For more details go to the EIO’s website at www.ieo.it where further information can be found in both Italian and English.