Ferretti dream team appears doomed
Ferretti's proposed new team is looking increasingly unlikely to happen
PARIS, France -- Plans for a new cycling team - run by Fassa Bortolo manager Giancarlo Ferretti - appear to have crumbled after it was reported he has been misled by a representative of the mooted new sponsor.
Ferretti, who had signed up a host of stars - including Australia's Stuart O'Grady - was in tears when told of the news.
The new sponsor had never been officially announced, although it was widely rumored that Sony-Ericsson were about to pump millions into the new venture.
Ferretti said: "I was supposed to have a definite answer and I didn't receive one."
A statement on the company's website, www.sonyericsson.com, confirmed the bad news for Ferretti and a number of top riders: "
There have been a number of press reports across Europe speculating that Sony Ericsson will sponsor a cycling team.
"Sony Ericsson can confirm that these reports are not true and we have no intention to be involved in sponsoring such a team."
Ferretti is one of the most successful team managers of the past few years thanks mainly to his star sprinter Alessandro Petacchi - but was left searchiong for a new sponsor after Fassa Bortolo revealed they were pulling out of the sport at the end of the season.
He had hoped to launch his new outfit in the UCI Pro Tour series next season, with O'Grady leading the team's one-day classics campaign and former Tour of Italy winner Gilberto Simoni spearheading their Giro bid.
Around 15 riders had already signed contracts with the team which, according to the report, included the name of Sony-Ericsson.
O'Grady said he was hoping that Ferretti could emerge with some positive news from meetings with company representatives in Stockholm.
"It's very disappointing. All we can do is wait for confirmation but at the moment it doesn't look good," said O'Grady, who left French outfit Cofidis to join Ferretti.
O'Grady had also secured a deal for his compatriot and friend Matt White, while up and coming young Australian Chris Sutton had also inked a deal.
Ferretti had reportedly been dealing with a middle man who had proposed a sponsorship deal to the tune of 10 million euros for the 2006 season.
The Italian branch of Sony-Ericsson responded to the reports by contacting Ferretti to try and clear up the matter.
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