Lampre's withdrawal from tour leaves Wu in limbo

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 June, 2006, 12:00am

Promising rider Wu Kin-san has to put on hold his dream of riding competitively for Lampre after the Italian outfit withdrew from July's Tour of Qinghai Lake.

The 21-year-old was supposed to start his first tour for the ProTour team in the northwest China event - one of only two hors classes events in Asia - but that plan had been scrapped, said Frederick Chan Chun-hung, general secretary of the Hong Kong Cycling Association.

'We were informed that Lampre will not be taking part in this year's Qinghai Lake tour, which means Wu will have to wait for another chance to ride for them,' said Chan, who is also the chief commissaire for the tour, which offers prize money of over $3 million.

'But Wu's plan to join the Italian side will not be affected. He will leave for Italy later this month as scheduled and start training with his new team. Lampre will then decide what he will do in the next couple of months, but I am sure there will be chance for Wu to start in a race.'

Wu, who is currently training in Zhejiang, China, with the Hong Kong team, became the first Hong Kong rider signed up by a ProTour side when he was offered a short-term contract by the Italian side in April for this summer till September. ProTour teams can sign new riders on a temporary basis with a view to identifying potential talent for the future.

Lampre are now fifth out of 20 teams in the overall ProTour standings after the Giro d'Italia and their rider Alessandro Ballan is fourth in the individual standings, which act as a guide for the world rankings.

Chan said they had earlier considered putting Wu back in the Hong Kong team for the Tour of Qinghai Lake, but dropped the plan as that would probably interrupt the rider's training with Lampre. 'We have already informed Lampre that Wu will need to come back to ride for Hong Kong at the Asian Championships in early September and if we get him back for the Qinghai event that may create a lot hazards for Wu and his team,' added Chan.

Wu currently ranks 10th on the UCI Asia Tour and has been tipped to replace veteran Wong Kam-po as the riding star of the new generation.