Shorts: Paternina, Voigt, Phonak
Strain in Spain as Paternina near the edge, Voigt is voted CSC’s rider of the year, and Phonak appea
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE After the news earlier this week that the Cafs Baqu team is set to withdraw from backing a pro team, there are more bad tidings from Spain, where Marca is reporting that the Costa de Almeria-Paternina team is on the verge of folding. Wine-makers Paternina are hoping to persuade politicians in the Almeria regional government to back the team for another season, but hopes are not high. Ironically, Baqu and Paternina did recently have conversations about jointly sponsorship a team but the talks came to nothing. Now it seems possible that both marques may be leaving the pro side of the sport. – Still in Spain, the furore over the future of national coach Paco Antequera shows no sign of abating after the new Spanish cycling federation president, Fulgencio Sanchez, announced that he would be replacing Antequera, who backed a rival candidate in last weekend’s presidential elections. Antequera, who has overseen four world road race wins in the past six seasons, says he found out he is set to lose his post through the press. “The president confirmed it, but he has said nothing to me officially.” With Antequera seemingly out of a job, former Mapei, Festina and Coast team manager Juan Fernandez has issued a come-and-get-me plea to the new president. Fernandez, who won three bronze medals at the Worlds as a rider, said during the Vuelta presentation: “Nobody has called me yet but I know my name has been put forward as the national selector. It’s a post I would like because I’ve been drawn to the Worlds since my time as a rider.” Fernandez said he would definitely accept the position if offered it. – CSC’s fans have voted Jens Voigt as their rider of the year. Members of CSC’s official fan club, Cykel Support Danmark, gave Voigt a slight edge over Ivan Basso and Jrg Jaksche. “I’m very honoured having been voted rider of the year in my first season on the team. I’m sure it was a close race, as we had so many highlights during the season, and other riders also deserved this title. I’ll definitely work very hard next year to live up to the expectations,” said Voigt after receiving flowers and wine from Ajo Nielsen of Cykel Support Danmark. Voigt had 49 top 10 finishes this year, including seven victories. – Phonak have made an appeal against their rejection from the ProTour to the Court for Arbitration in Sport (CAS) in Lausanne. According to a statement released by the Swiss team: “The appeal concerns the decision made by the ProTour licensing commission of the world cycling association UCI. Regardless of the CAS decision, the complete Phonak Cycling Team, which was assembled for the ProTour, will start the 2005 season. At the first get-together last weekend in Regensdorf all of the riders signed the proposed contracts for the 2005 season. “[Team management company] ARcycling hopes to obtain various wildcards with this team, especially one for the Tour de France.” The UCI has been given 20 days to respond in writing to the appeal by the CAS. A decision will be given on the case before the end of January. – Malaga will host the start of the 2006 Vuelta it was announced on Wednesday. The Mediterreanean resort previously hosted the race’s start in 2000, when Alex Zuelle won a time trial there.