Latest Cycling News for June 2, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones
Indurain: Armstrong faces tough challenge
For five time Tour winner Miguel Indurain, the 2004 Tour de France will be Lance Armstrong's toughest one yet to win. "With Armstrong, all the others are there with sharp teeth because last year they saw failure and this year they will look this year to see if he fails or not," he was quoted by AS as saying. "I believe that he is good now, working hard, but in the Tour everything can leave you. In 21 days, like what happened to me, if you have a bad day then the whole Tour is bad."
Indurain judged Armstrong to be "meeting his objectives now, then there's Ullrich, who always is a little bit off, and the Germans. It also remains to be seen how Beloki is after his serious injury, Sevilla and Heras, who will be the leader of Liberty, and there are others who are always there like Mancebo."
On the recent rise of Damiano Cunego, Indurain was very impressed. "He is very good, defends himself well in the sprints and in the mountains, the only thing that's a little bit lacking is the time trial...I believe he has a very encouraging future, above all for Italy which has passed a very bad season. To have a new idol is very good for the tifosi."
Riis: Ullrich needs to work harder
Voigt: Armstrong will win the Tour
Bjarne Riis, CSC team manager and former teammate of Jan Ullrich, has said that Ullrich still has a lot of work to do if he is to get into the right condition to win the Tour de France. Speaking to German newsagency DPA, Riis said, "Of course Jan surprised me also with his strong time trial performance in Karlsruhe, but by the Tour, he has to lose another five kilos."
CSC's Jens Voigt commented that "Ullrich's second name should be 'Phoenix' - because he always comes back again," but was firm in his opinion that "Lance Armstrong will win the Tour...Lance has solved his marriage problems; he has not had to cope with a heavy fall like in the previous year in the Dauphiné; and he is becoming as strong and motivated like never before."
Three riders fail hematocrit tests at Euskal Bizikleta
Three riders have been prevented from taking the start of the Euskal Bizikleta today in Eibar after recording hematocrit levels of greater than the UCI limit of 50 percent. The cyclists David Etxebarria (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Alberto Hierro and Unai Elorriaga (both Cafés Baqué) were all not allowed to start and will have to take a 15 day break from competition according to UCI rules.
Four Spanish squads ask for Pro Tour admission
Four of the five current Spanish division I teams have requested to be part of the UCI's Pro Tour, which will kick off next year. According to Marca, Liberty Seguros, Illes Balears, Euskaltel and Saunier Duval registered themselves as candidates for the new league by yesterday's June 1 deadline, however there remains considerable opposition to the project from several fronts, especially the Italian teams. A petition has been sent by the Italians to the Spanish Association of Sporting Groups (AEGD), but the Spanish did not want to wait.
"We can't wait for the Italians to make a decision, we want to be part of the Pro Tour and therefore we have sent the documentation," said Euskaltel's team manager and AEGD president Miguel Madariaga. The AEGD will debate that Italian letter next week at its meeting in Madrid.
As the Pro Tour stands at the moment, a total of 18 teams will be allowed to take part in it. Spain is limited to three spots, thus one of the four teams named above will have to miss out. This is likely to be Saunier Duval, although its team director Matxin said that he has met all requirements so far and prefers to have his foot in the door for the future.
Rochelle Gilmore: I felt my collarbone snap
While competing in the women's points race at the recent World Track Championships, Australian cyclist Rochelle Gilmore (Team S.A.T.S) came to grief near the end of the race and crashed, breaking her collarbone. Gilmore described the grisly experience of the crash and breaking her first bone in her latest diary entry: "It did not look like I moved up, nor did it look like the Dutch girl moved down - there were no rapid movements. I certainly can't blame anyone but myself for the fall, I just wish I could explain/understand how it happened!"
After spending a night in hospital where she had an operation to place a pin in the bone, Gilmore returned home to Sydney for a couple of days but will fly out to America on Thursday in order to compete in this Sunday's Wachovia Liberty Classic in Philadelphia. "It's amazing what the doctors can do these days," said Gilmore of her miraculous operation. "The only way is 'UP' from here!"
Alexia dedicates song to Pantani
Italian singer Alexia has dedicated a song to the deceased Italian cycling star Marco Pantani, to appear on her new album Gli occhi grandi della luna. The song, entitled Senza un vincitore [Without a Winner] is one of 11 tracks on the album.
20 riders selected for Tour of Hope
A team of 20 riders has been selected for the Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope, a week long charity ride across the USA to raise awareness for cancer. Almost 1,200 people involved in the cancer community applied for a spot in the team, which will between October 1-9 ride 3,500 miles from Los Angeles to Washington, DC. Joining them will be cancer survivor and five time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.
Among the tam members are cancer researchers, nurses and physicians, caregivers and cancer survivors. In addition to oncology nurses and physicians, team members include a firefighter, an architect, a retired Air Force colonel, a veterinarian, and two teachers.
"I consider myself a cancer survivor because of the people before me who participated in clinical trials and paved the way for future cancer survivors," said Lance Armstrong. "The Tour of Hope team members are incredible and each of them is an inspiration to me. Together we will spread the message that without clinical trials, no new medicines would be available today, or will be available for patients in the future."
Tour of Hope Team members:
Kristen Adelman, 34; Elkridge, MD
More information: www.tourofhope.org
Six Days of Rotterdam is back
For the first time since 1988, the Dutch city of Rotterdam will host a Six Day track race early next year. The race was announced at a press conference on Tuesday in Rotterdam and will take place between January 6-11. The velodrome used will be a temporary 200m track that will be built in the coming months. The Rotterdam Six will form the first event of the Rotterdam Sportjaar 2005, as Rotterdam has been named the European Capital of Sport in 2005.
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