Shorts: McQuaid, VDB, Willems, Hondo
Four meetings in a busy day for McQuaid in Madrid, Vandenbroucke gets an ultimatum from his team bos
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid had a busy time when he visited Madrid on Wednesday. The Irishman started by calling in on Spanish minister of sport Jaime Lissavetzky to discuss the repercussions of the recent Operacion Puerto doping affair and to work out ways to take the fight against doping forwards. From there McQuaid moved on to lunch with former Liberty Seguros team president Manuel Pi¤era, ex presidente del Liberty, who stepped down from that post last December in the wake of the positive EPO test delivered by Roberto Heras. Pi¤era is among those adamant that Astana (formerly Liberty Seguros) team boss Manolo Saiz should step down. “If he does that there will be much more chance of saving the team as a whole,” said Pi¤era After lunch McQuaid headed for the offices of the Spanish federation for a meeting with their president, Fulgencio Sanchez. Both men committed themselves to assisting each other in dealing with the fall-out from Operacion Puerto. And then it was on to the HQ of Vuelta organisers Unipublic, with whom he discussed proposed revisions to the ProTour and, of course, the latest doping affair. – Frank Vandenbroucke’s future with the Unibet.com team is looking shaky once more. The controversial Belgian has not ridden for his team since abandoning the Amstel Gold Race on April 16, since when he is reported to have been troubled by a viral infection. This has meant him missing a string of races, including the Tour de Vende, the Tour of Belgium and the Tour of Luxembourg. On Wednesday, Unibet directeur sportif Hilaire van der Schueren selected Vandenbroucke for the Halle-Ingooigem race on June 21 and said there will be serious consequences if he does not appear. “My patience is running out,” said Van der Schueren of VDB, who is reported to be more interested in breeding dogs than training. – Still in Belgium, Chocolade Jacques’ Frederik Willems, winner of the Etoile de Bessges in February, has been signed by Liquigas for next season. Also approached by Bouygues Telecom, Willems opted for Liquigas as their Belgian subsidiary Primagaz will be cooperating on the sponsorship side next season. – After receiving his latest clearance to ride again this season, Danilo Hondo wasted no time getting on the winning track as he won a criterium in the Swiss town of Michelstadt.