The Gossip World Headquarters will be closed from Thursday, 25 September until Sunday, 28 September. Please make a note of it. We regret any inconvenience. Yes, the computers will be turned off, the Gossip temporarily on hold, while the many employees here at the Headquarters take a little time off to well, goof off. Because that's what we do best. But we could not possibly leave without a brief Gossipy update. That would be far, far too cruel.
We begin today in France, where Tyler Farrar of Team Garmin won the first stage of the Tour international du Poitou-Charentes. Say that one ten times fast. C'mon, we dare ya. Farrar outsprinted Yohann Gene of Bweeg! and David Le Lay of Agritubel for the stage win. A long break survived until inside the final six kilometers, where the sprinters took over. Farrar also now takes over the jersey of race leader. Oh, and Farrar gives a very nice interview in French. The race finishes Saturday with a double stage, a time trial in the morning and a short road stage in the afternoon. Check out the official site for more info.
In transfer news, Servais Knaven will ride for Milram next season. The 37 year old Knaven, who won Paris-Roubaix in 2001, will ride as the road captain for the team. The contract runs one year. Voilà one more transfer mystery solved. Knaven joins Johannes Fröhlinger, Matthias Russ, Thomas and Markus Fothen, Fabian Wegmann (all from Gerolsteiner), Wim Stroetinga (Ubbink-Syntec) and Thomas Rohregger (Elk Haus-Simplon) in the mad dash to Milram.
Also in transfer news: Jeremy Hunt and Daniel Lloyd of Britain will ride for Cervélo Test Team next season. Lloyd previously rode for Sean Kelly's development team, while Hunt comes from Crédit Agricole. Irish rider Phillip Deignan will also join Cervélo after four years at the French team, AG2R. Deignan is currently 25 years old. The threesome joins North Americans Dominique Rollin and Teddy King among the team's new signings. We look forward to following all their adventures.
The American U23 team is ready for worlds. So says Peter Stetina, who recently wore the leader's jersey at the prestigious Tour de l'Avenir. He told cyclismag.com, "We are lining up a big team. We were only one or two teams to finish the Tour de l'Avenir complete. We are all like friends. So, we will work for one another." Tejay Van Garderen and Stetina will share the captain's role. Chris Barton, Chad Beyer, and Kirk Carlsen will also ride the road race in Varese. In mostly unrelated news, Dan Martin of Team Garmin will race as an U23 in Varese. Martin celebrated his first professional victory this season, winning the overall at the Route du Sud.
Franco Ballerini is not expecting too much of the Azurri in the men's crono at Varese. We will be far from the podium, he said. Such a vote of confidence for Marco Pinotti and Manuel Quinziato. No doubt Ballerini has much higher hopes for his road team. Said Ballerini of the road team, "We have done all we can do. We will try not to disappoint in any way."
A new team! We so heart new teams here at the Gossip. Max Radoni will direct a new team sponsored by Telteck and Team H20. TelTeck is a Canadian telecom company, while Team H20 is a non-profit focused on providing clean drinking water in Africa. The new team, registered in Monaco, is reportedly the destination of Paolo Bettini and Davide Rebellin. Both. We wonder how this dualism will do. Andrea Tonti is also reportedly on the way to Telteck-Team H20. The sponsorship agreement runs three years, and rumor claims that the new team will ride Colnago. Ooh là là! The sponsors will also devote a portion of the budget to supporting an international-level mountain bike team. A formal announcement is due this week from Varese, where Radoni has already been spotted. We eagerly await all the details. New teams are fun.
Though rumored also to join TelTeck-H20, Miguel Martinez has decided to end his career on the road. Again. Martinez previously retired from road racing in 2003. He returned, riding for Amore e Vita this season. The 32 year old Martinez will return to mountain bike racing full time in the marathon event. Describing himself as a "diesel," Martinez recently finished 8th in a 100km race in the dirt. "I was cold at the start, then, I was hot in the hills," he said. He was happy to finish so well on limited training.
French company, Look will reportedly equipe Cofidis next season. Look previously sponsored Crédit Agricole. They will replace Time at Cofidis, assuming the deal is confirmed.
Tony Martin of Germany suffered a training crash today in Varese, when he and a car tried to occupy the same space. Martin emerged uninjured. His bike? Not so much. Martin was riding his time trial bike at the time, and the bike was completely destroyed. He will ride Thursday's elite crono on a borrowed bike. Patrick Gretsch, who finished second in the U23 crono, will lend Martin a ride. Martin will be hoping it'll bring him a little luck.
The Tour of Japan has published its start list. And lookee there, a long-lost name. Ivan Basso will return to racing on 24 October. He will start in Japan for Team Liquigas.
Erik Zabel will announce his plans for the future on Friday in Varese. The 38 year old, a professional since 1992, has more than 200 wins to his credit. He currently rides for Milram, and has been debating for some time whether he would continue racing next year or retire from the sport. We hesitate to guess which way Zabel will go, though the results have come few and far between this season. Perhaps a turn in the DS car? We wouldn't be surprised.
Stefan Schumacher's picks for worlds? Alejandro Valverde and Paolo Bettini. So bold, that Schumacher.
Voilà, all the Gossip for this lovely Wednesday afternoon. See you next week, when surely everything will be completely different. À presto!