Astarloa has a contract but no team, Tafi gets new team and prepares to retire, Shimano give their n
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Igor Astarloa is making a complaint to the International Cycling Union after his name did not figure among the 25 riders registered by the Lampre-Caffita team with the UCI for next season’s start of the Pro Tour. 2003 world champion Astarloa signed a contract with the Lampre team this season running through to the end of next season, but appears not to be in the team’s plans following the recent fusion with Saeco, the Basque rider’s team back in 2003. – Veteran Classics campaigner Andrea Tafi has signed a contract with the Spanish Saunier Duval team that will run through to Paris-Roubaix, when the 38-year-old Italian will retire. Winner of Roubaix in 1999, as well as the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Tours and the Tour of Lombardy, Tafi is a long-time friend of Saunier team manager Joxean Fernandez Matxin. Saunier are also negotiating to bring Tafi’s compatriot Giuliano Figueras into their squad following the departure of the Beloki brothers last week. – Having for many years provided top professional teams with their components and wheels, Japanese company Shimano will for the first time become the main sponsor of a professional road squad in 2005. The team, which will ride under the name Team Shimano-Van Keulen-Imabo Van Buren, will ride on Colnago frames with – you guessed it – Shimano components. Arend Scheppink, who has run the first division Dutch team Bankgiroloterij for a number of years, will be team manager. The Dutchman was keen to continue running a pro team having lost Bankgiroloterij as a sponsor at the end of this last season, while Shimano wanted to provide Japanese riders with the opportunity to experience European professional road racing. To this end, the team will be made up of both young Dutch and Japanese riders, and will ride in the UCI’s new European continental calendar.