Racing News:

Salomon Goes for the Win

MMCmicro Salomon Team Includes Five of the Top Skaters From 2005

By Robert "Just the Factoids" Burnson

Salomon is serious about winning the World Inline Cup this year.

It announced a team today that appears (at least on paper) to be the strongest anyone has put together in years.

Topping the roster are Massimiliano Presti and Luca Saggiorato, who finished first and second (respectively) in last year's World Cup. (Between them they won eight Cup stages.)

Rounded out the roster is Francesco Zangarini, who finished sixth is last year's World Cup; Max's brother, Luca, who finished seventh; and Pier Davide Romani, who finished 10th.

Romani is the only holdover from last year's team, which finished third in the 2005 standings.

Early Favorite to Win the WIC

The impressive assemblage of proven skaters makes the MMCmicro Salomon World Team the early favorite to win the 2006 World Cup.

At this point, the only real challengers appear to be Rollerblade World and the new Powerslide team.

Rollerblade Without Contin

Rollerblade finished first in last year's World Cup. But it has yet to announce its 2006 roster.

It appears that most of last year's members will be returning to the team, with the exception, apparently, of Alexis Contin, who is reportedly going to Powerslide. Contin was Rollerblade's third-ranked skater last year. He finished fifth in the World Cup rankings.

The Dark Horse

The team Powerslide is putting together looks promising but is full of question marks.

The team includes the highly touted, but unproven, newcomer Fabio Francolini, an Italian national champion.

It also includes two former members of the Salomon team (Pascal Briand and Thomas Boucher) and world champion sprinter Kalon Dobbin.

U.S. champions Chad Hedrick and Joey Mantia also skate for Powerslide. But it is unclear how much of a contribution they will make to the team.

Hedrick only skated a couple of World Cup races last year for Powerslide, finishing back in the pack in both events.

Mantia, who won the marathon at last year's World Speed Skating Championships, says he only plans to skate in a few World Cup races this year.

(posted on Jan. 13, 2006)

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Copyright © 2005 by Robert Burnson

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