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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Cycling News Extra for July 8, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones and John Stevenson

Spanish armada happier

Euskaltel-Euskadi
Photo ©: Jon Devich
Click for larger image

After Illes Balears, Liberty Seguros and Euskaltel-Euskadi all placed in the top eight in yesterday's team time trial, there was more cause for happiness in the Spanish camps. Illes Balears, which had lost Menchov in the split on the previous day, finished third in the TTT and kept Francisco Mancebo in a good position (19th at 1'01 from Armstrong). "We can be satisfied," said team director Eusebio Unzue. "Particularly because the weather conditions were really not in our favour. US Postal also had some luck there. We rode 64 kilometres in the pouring rain, while Armstrong had dry weather in the finale."

Euskaltel's performance surprised many, starting first of the 21 teams but managing to hold the best time for quite a while before Illes Balears beat it. Thus instead of losing another 2-3 minutes to Armstrong, Iban Mayo only lost 1'20 today, and now sits 5'27 behind the American on GC. "The Spanish teams are happily no longer the cripples of the peloton in this discipline," commented Euskaltel's team manager Julian Gorospe.

Rabobank acquits itself well

Levi Leipheimer
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

Despite top man Levi Leipheimer crashing during the fourth stage team time trial, Rabobank finished in 6th place behind US Postal and expressed its satisfaction with the result. "It was good for the morale," said Bram de Groot to ANP. "[Leipheimer's crash] maybe cost us thirty seconds. With the exception of that, it went really super."

Leipheimer said that "I felt my front wheel slip and I went over. Don't ask me how it happened. I've no idea. About the race, I'm really satisfied. This weather was actually good for us, we have a team that can ride very well in the rain."

33 riders tested

After the end of the fourth stage, 33 riders from four different teams underwent anti-doping tests. Riders from Euskaltel-Euskadi, RAGT-Semences, Domina Vacanze and Lotto-Domo were tested, and all were given the OK to start today.

Stage 8 live on SBS

This Sunday, July 11, Australian free-to-air broadcaster SBS will televise the first of its four live stages of the Tour de France from Lamballe to Quimper, beginning at 10:25pm AEST. The stage is expected to suit the sprinters, but after more than a week of hard racing, a breakaway could well stay clear.

In addition to four live stages, SBS is also broadcasting highlights of the Tour in its usual 6:00pm spot, with late night repeats.

Thomas Dekker gains Olympic selection

The young Dutch time trial champion Thomas Dekker has been nominated to ride the Olympic time trial in Athens next month, gaining selection over his more experienced elder namesake Erik Dekker. The latter, who is the current Dutch road champion, was disappointed at national coach Gerrie Knetemann's decision. "I had the impression from him [Knetemann] that I could start the preparations for the time trial in Athens," wrote Erik on his website.

"I'm afraid that in this case I did not communicate things well," said Knetemann to ANP. "I told Erik on Tuesday that Thomas was my choice for the time trial. But according to me, that wasn't news."

Phonak interested in Landis

Tyler Hamilton's Phonak team is interested in US Postal's Floyd Landis for next season, according to De Telegraaf. Landis is currently Lance Armstrong's main domestique, but with nearly all the US Postal contracts coming up for renewal for the new Discovery Channel team, which is also interested in signing Levi Leipheimer, there will be a high demand for a rider like Landis.

Sijmens extends

Nico Sijmens has extended his contract with the Landbouwkrediet-Colnago team. The Belgian will ride another year for Gerard Bulens' squad.

Just hours to go for fantasy Tour - join now, last chance!

New prize: Win a Bikestyle trip to a Grand Tour

With entries for the Cyclingnews fantasy Tour de France closing by 10am tomorrow (Europe time), there's never been a better moment to pick your team or teams and sign up as a virtual directeur sportif in this year's Tour de France. The Tour sections most likely to cause an upset to the general classification - the trenches of Belgium and northern France, and the team time trial - are past and you can decide now which riders are unlikely to recover from the misfortunes of the last few days.

Neil Stephens & Lawrie Cranley of Bikestyle
Click for larger image

And as if the head-start of the last few days weren't enough, we're delighted to announce a terrific new prize: a ten-day trip with Bikestyle Tours to any of the 2005 Grand Tours. Travel to France, Italy or Spain is not included but once you're there, you'll be looked after by Lawrie and Natalie Cranley and their team of guides including former pros Neil Stephens, Patrick Jonker and Mike Wilson. Bikestyle Tours are famous for their friendly atmosphere, great riding, excellent hotels, good food and spectacular scenery.

Giant's new TCR Advanced
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The Fantasy Tour still offers a wealth of other great prizes too. The grand prize is a T-Mobile livery 2005 Giant TCR Advanced frame, the sophisticated new carbon fiber frame from Giant that weighs just 1250g for the frame, fork and built-in seatpost. The TCR Advanced uses a scientifically selected and custom made combination of several different special aerospace grade high strength high modulus fibres combined with a new nano resin to make the frame both lighter and stiffer than the existing TCR Composite.

Zero Gravity brake
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From Zero Gravity comes the super-light Ciamillo brakes - worth US$355 a pair. The CNC-machined, 7075 aluminium stoppers weigh just 96g for a rear caliper and 98g for a front.

CycleOps E-Trainer plus
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With the CycleOps Electronic Trainer Plus you can train on five different courses of varying levels or choose between interval sessions, tracking heart rate, power, calories, distance and speed on the handlebar-mounted console. The Electronic Trainer Plus comes with software and heart rate chest strap, and would usually cost US$799.

Bontrager has come to the party with two pairs of wheels - the high-zoot Bontrager XXX Lite OCLV carbon fibre tubular wheels worth US$1499 and the zippy Race X lites worth US$849.99.

Tyler's pedals - yours to win!
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Speedplay has joined the prize list offering a pair of Tyler Hamilton Signature Edition Zero Pedals and a pair of Team CSC Edition Zero Pedals.

Rudy Project Tour de France edition glasses
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As the official sunglass sponsor of the Tour de France, Rudy Project is once again part of the Cyclingnews Fantasy Game, this time with the special Tour de France edition glasses. Rudy Project is giving away 21 sets of glasses, one pair to the winner of each stage of the Fantasy Game.

Salsa has joined the Cyclingnews Fantasy Game and is giving away its Competidor™ six panel shorts. Five winners will receive a pair of these shorts. They have a Primero chamois, silicone leg grippers and are made from Literoubaix® fabric.

To take part this year all you need to do is pick a team of 15 riders to race and select 9 riders each day during the tour. You can join up until stage 6 begins. It's a great way to follow the tour. To register go to fantasy.cyclingnews.com . Good luck!

For more information on joining, see the rules section.

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