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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest News for September 4, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Armstrongs to divorce

It's official: Lance and Kristin Armstrong have announced their divorce, after five years of marriage. The couple separated in January this year, but started living together again and undergoing marriage counseling before the Tour de France in July, which Lance won for the fifth consecutive time. In mid-August they separated again, and are now living in different houses in Austin, Texas.

"We both have (legal) representation, and we're doing this peacefully," Lance was quoted in the Austin American Statesman. "The craziest thing is, we're closer now and better friends than ever before."

Kristin said that they will "maintain a good relationship, but not a marriage...We are making the best of it for the sake of our kids."

The couple have three children, Luke (3) and the twins Isabelle and Grace (22 months). Lance added that, "The kids are our first priority. We're also going to be respectful of each other. Neither of us wants to get in the situation where when we drop off the kids, we can't look at each other."

Museeuw's house searched by police

Belgian police have carried out raids on 21 different homes in Flanders on Thursday morning, including that of Johan Museeuw (Quick.Step-Davitamon). The searches were done as part of a large scale investigation into drug trafficking, focusing on growth hormones and possible doping use. It stems from a veterinarian from Oostrozebeke (West Flanders) who has allegedly being supplying pigeon keepers, horse breeders and top cyclists with animal and human hormones. Police in Kortrijk seized substances from all of the 21 houses searched, and that these are in the process of being analysed. It is uncertain yet what proportion, if any, of these are forbidden drugs.

Investigators visited the houses of Johan Museeuw, Chris Peers, Jo Planckaert and Mario De Clercq this morning. Museeuw was the only one home and submitted himself for questioning in Brugge. His computer was also seized by police. The other riders are racing in Germany and were told to present themselves to the police offices for questioning on Monday.

Lotto-Domo management has informed the press that no riders from their team were involved. It was also stressed by the prosecutor that neither Frank Vandenbroucke nor Nico Mattan were involved in this investigation.

Kim Andersen to CSC

Team fakta looks likely to scale down to a second division team next year, with the prospect of a big co-sponsor coming on board now rather remote. Following Kurt Asle-Arvesen's departure to Team CSC yesterday, it's been confirmed that Team fakta's sports director Kim Andersen has also left for Bjarne Riis' squad.

Last edition of Ster Elektrotoer in September

This year's Ster Elektrotoer (September 10-14, UCI 2.3) will be run for the last time in September. At the presentation yesterday in Eindhoven, the organisers announced that next year's race would take place in June, just before the European National Championships. The race is one of the toughest tours in the Netherlands, being concentrated in the hillier region of Limburg and typically making several excursions into the Belgian Ardennes.

The Ster Elektrotoer will start in Veldhoven on Wednesday with a 4.8 kilometre prologue time trial around a fairly non-technical circuit. Stage 1 takes the riders from Eindhoven down into the heart of Limburg, finishing in Nuth, with a number of climbs clustered in the latter half of the race. Stage 2 starts and finishes in Valkenburg, taking in the climbs of the Geulhemmerberg, Bemelerberg, and Cauberg, and several more besides.

These two stages merely serve as an aperitif to the 203 km third stage between Valkenburg and Verviers on Saturday. The Ardennes climbs feature heavily in this stage, including Haute Levee, Vecquee, Le Rosler, La Redoute, and Foret, and the winner should be determined here. The final stage from Sittard to Schijndel will give the sprinters something at last, with no climbs along the 186 kilometre parcours.

There will be 16 teams at the start, including Fassa Bortolo, Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, Gerolsteiner, Palmans-Collstrop, BankGiroLoterij, Mercatone Uno, Marlux, Flanders, Ed System VZZV. Rabobank TT3, AXA, Bert Story-Piels, Van Hemert Groep, Van Vliet and the Marco Polo Cycling team.

The stages

Prologue - September 10: Veldhoven ITT, 4.8 km
Stage 1 - September 11: Eindhoven - Nuth, 197 km
Stage 2 - September 12: Valkenburg - Valkenburg, 176 km
Stage 3 - September 13: Valkenburg - Verviers (Bel), 203 km
Stage 4 - September 14: Sittard-Geleen - Schijndel, 186 km

Leukemans stays with Palmans

Bjorn Leukemans has extended his contract with the Palmans-Collstrop team for at least another year, according to team management.

Gary Fisher backs 9 to 5 series

A new mountain bike series will take place in the U.S. early next year entitled the "9 to 5 Race Day Marathon Mountain Bike Series". To be held in the state of Florida between January and May, 2004, the schedule consists of five eight hour races run in a marathon format, which combines asphalt, dirt/grass and singletrack in the one race.

Backed by Mountain Bike TV and mountain biking icon Gary Fisher, organisers expect to announce the dates and venues in October. "I have faith in [organiser] Joe Stone to put on an incredible series," said Fisher. "I'm now working on putting a team together to compete in the 9 to 5 Race Day series." Fisher added that he would try to persuade dual Olympic gold medalist Paola Pezzo to cross the Atlantic for a round or two.

O'Loughlin in form for weekend

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

What a difference a year makes! Twelve months ago, David O'Loughlin had sustained a broken collarbone, which sidelined him for six weeks, missing out on the inaugural Gamuda Eagle Tour of Malaysia in August. He made his return for the Beechmount Cup and the Collins/Christle somewhat earlier than anticipated by many, but his physician gave him the green light. He won both races and went on for the remainder of the season to put in some strong performances, including finishing the elite road race in Zolder, Belgium.

This Saturday he returns with thirteen wins to his credit to Kilmessan for the Beechmount Cup, and he will also defend the Collins/Christle on Sunday.

David has just returned from the USA and he is hoping that he can add to his tally of successes this season. He has notched up the Bakers Dozen (13) and the fact that Dennis Lynch won the Under-23 title last week makes him the favourite. Two weeks ago, David won the Sheeffry Grand Prix in Westport, which was sponsored by the Atlantic Coast Hotel with Dennis in close attendance.

The Navan/Avonmore Club, promoters of by far the most open events on the Irish calendar, is promoting both events.

It is anticipated that the team travelling to the Tour of Hokkaido (Japan), which includes Paul Griffin, Philip Deignan, Brian Kenneally, Dennis Lynch will have a final workout in both events. In the past, Irish teams have done exceptionally well in Japan, including Griffin who has figured high up in the placings in the Orient. Overall victory has been achieved by Stephen Spratt ten years ago and more recently by David McCann.

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