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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Cycling News Extra for July 13, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Tour restarts in Poulidor country

Today's ninth stage of the Tour de France will set off from Saint-Leonard-de-Noblat, better known to cycling fans as the hometown of the "eternal second" Raymond Poulidor. "Poupou" was a professional in the 60's and 70's and achieved some excellent results in the Tour without ever winning it: three second places and five third places.

68 year old Poulidor is now employed by the Tour as a PR man for main sponsor Credit Lyonnais.

Health checks on rest day

42 riders were blood tested by the UCI on the Tour's first rest day in Limoges. The riders were from the following teams: Credit Agricole, Illes Balears, Liberty Seguros, Brioches la Boulangère and Rabobank. All were declared fit to start.

In addition, 33 riders from the US Postal-Berry Floor, CSC, Quick.Step and Ag2r teams were tested on Tuesday morning before the start of Stage 9, and no rider was declared inapt to start.

Hamilton still in the hunt

Tyler Hamilton (Phonak) spent the rest day in Limoges getting acupuncture treatment for his back and riding steadily for two and a half hours. Hamilton's back was injured in the mass pileup at the end of Stage 6, and although nothing was broken, it has given the tough rider from New England, Massachusetts a fair degree of pain in the last few days. That combined with a lot of punctures and equipment problems has made the Phonak team work harder in the first week than it would have liked.

"If I had to grade this past week, I'd grade it A-plus for teamwork, and C for luck," Hamilton was quoted by the Associated Press as saying. "In the team time trial we had four flat tires and a broken handlebar. Something like that almost never happens and to finish second is almost incredible."

Hamilton sits in 11th place on GC, 10'11 behind Voeckler and 36 seconds behind Lance Armstrong. "Right now, the time differences are really close between the contenders," he said. "I believe the upcoming stages will really show who is here to win the Tour de France."

Without giving too much away, Hamilton hinted towards a Phonak offensive in the coming mountain stages. "I'm the leader, but I have a guy to the right of me, Oscar Sevilla, who is riding incredibly well right now," he said. "He's dangerous for all the contenders. If he goes up there early it's going to force the other teams to chase."

Leipheimer on target

Last year, Levi Leipheimer (Rabobank) was out of the Tour almost before it started when he broke his hip in a crash during the first road stage. This time around the American is faring better, having survived the first week without any major crashes or time losses, and currently sitting 24th on the general classification, 10'43 behind Voeckler and 1'08 behind Lance Armstrong.

Despite this, Leipheimer doesn't consider himself lucky, as he told ANP yesterday in Limoges that, "I've lain on the ground three times, I don't call that lucky. This race is full of stress, two years ago it was nicer weather, there were less crashes and the race was much safer."

Like the rest of the GC riders, Leipheimer is looking forward to the mountains where he can show his talents and try to achieve a lifelong dream: to win a stage in the Tour.

As for his whereabouts next year, Leipheimer denied the possibility that he will return to Lance Armstrong's team. "I will not go to a team that only wants to put me in the Giro and the Vuelta. I would like to ride the Giro at least once, but the Tour is my race."

Voeckler to Athens?

French champion and current Tour de France maillot jaune Thomas Voeckler (Brioches la Boulangère) is a likely candidate for the French Olympic team, which will be announced next Monday. According to L'Equipe, the French selected has met with Voeckler, Laurent Brochard and Christophe Moreau, and these riders are considered to be on the short list for the Games.

Eadie lodges appeal over drug importing charge

Australian track sprinter Sean Eadie has lodged an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Sydney over the doping infraction notice he received the previous day from Cycling Australia and the Australian Olympic Committee.

He received the infraction notice for an alleged breach of anti-doping policy relating to an alleged event back in 1999. According to Cycling Australia (CA), the breach relates to a package of 16 tablets containing Anterior Pituitary Peptides sent through the mail in January 1999, addressed to Eadie and intercepted by the Australian Customs Service.

Anterior Pituitary Peptides were and still are a prohibited substance under the Anti-Doping Policies of both CA and the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), and the use or administration of APPs cannot be detected under the current testing regime. To date, Eadie has not tested positive to any banned substance.

Cyclingnews coverage of the French affair

Van Heeswijk continues

Dutch rider Max van Heeswijk will sign a two year contract with the new Discovery Channel pro cycling team, the successor to US Postal-Berry Floor. Van Heeswijk reached an agreement with team director Johan Bruyneel on Monday evening.

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