December 3/03 8:19 am - Heras to Seguros, Wegelius Cleared, Tomlinson a Goddess
Posted by Editor on 12/3/03
Heras to Leave US Postal
There has been considerable speculation in the past couple of weeks that Roberto Heras would leave Lance Armstrong's US Postal squad to lead another team. Until the last 24 hours, everything was speculation, but now it appears to be official, with US Postal Directeur Sportif Johan Bruyneel quoted in a Spanish newspaper as saying, "A few days ago his (Heras') lawyer told us that he wanted to leave the team. Apparently he has received an offer of a three-year contract to lead another team."
The team in question is the new Liberty Seguros team being put together by former ONCE directeur sportif Manolo Saiz. Saiz needs to get a team leader, and has been turned down by both Joseba Beloki (to La Boulangere) and Worlds silver medallist Alejandro Valverde (re-signed with Kelme).
The loss of Heras will certainly be a blow to Armstrong's ambitions to become the first rider to win 6 Tours, and could result in a bidding war for top lieutenants by both Postal and Seguros.
Heras has won two Vuelta's, and there has been past criticism of the relative lack of support he has received from Postal (and particularly Armstrong) in his previous bids to win his national Tour. It will be interesting to see how well he makes the transition to being team leader.
British rider Charly Wegelius, who rides for the Italian De Nardi-Colpak team, has tested negative for banned substances, after recording a hematocrit level above the permitted 50% on October 18 just prior to the Tour of Lombardy. Wegelius' supporters have stated that he has a naturally high hematocrit level, the result of having his spleen removed after a motorcycle accident.
Lesley Tomlinson - Sports and Adventure Goddess
The current issue of Outside magazine features "25 Sports and Adventure Goddesses Who Rule". Canadian Lesley Tomlinson, a 2-time mountain bike Olympian, former road racer, X-Terra competitor and the 2-time defending TransAlp Challenge champion is one of those Goddesses.
"I'm in pretty amazing company . . . I certainly don't feel worthy."