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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for November 7, 2004

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Armstrong still in doubt

Lance Armstrong continues to fuel the mystery around his 2005 racing schedule as he told French sports daily L'Equipe in its November 6 edition that he still wasn't sure of participating in the Tour de France 2005.

"Honestly, I don't know if I'll be at the start," he said. "There are many other victories I would like to achieve in cycling before retirement. I've won six Tours and made history. Now it's time to move on to something else."

In the light of these statements, Armstrong's start at the next 'Grande Boucle' seems more and more unlikely. According to the newspaper, the American Tour champion would like to concentrate on the Spring Classics, amongst others Paris-Roubaix, which he finds " very exciting". The hour record is also reported to be a possible goal of the cancer survivor next season, as well as the Vuelta a España and the World Championships in Madrid. By deciding not to participate in the upcoming Tour de France, Armstrong would leave the race open for other contenders, as well as allowing himself to possibly add victories of other important races to his pro cycling career - an argument his critics have often raised against him.

Whatever his choice, the cycling community might have to wait for it a little longer. Cyclingnews' Tim Maloney spoke to Discovery Channel's sports director Johan Bruyneel at the Tour presentation in Paris ten days ago, where he hinted that Armstrong is in no hurry to make up his mind. "He may do [the Tour] if he can motivate himself and there’s also a real chance he doesn't ride," Bruyneel said. "Lance has gone through six years of a lot of stress and a lot of dedication to the race and to do that another year is difficult. So we're going to let the season start and see how he feels," Bruyneel added.

Zabel's dream apprentice

An interview with Allan Davis

Allan Davis wins the fifth stage of the Tour of Germany, one of five wins in 2004
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

He may be only 24 years old and he may be from the other side of the world, but Aussie Allan Davis has just enjoyed his best season ever and has caught the eye and attention of one of the greatest modern day riders, who has a dream of taking him under his wing and becoming his lead-out man.

"One of my dreams is that [Walter] Godefroot, the manager of our team, takes Davis, Allan Davis under contract, and I will be his lead-out man for one or two years more to help him to be one of the best sprinters."

"You think he has got class?" replied our slightly bemused Cyclingnews correspondent Martin Hardie to Erik Zabel on the eve of the final time trial at this year's Vuelta a España, unwilling to let the German's bone-dry humour get the better of him so soon.

"When he comes [to Europe] in February, every year he is in good shape from the races in Australia, and then in Vuelta of Majorca he is nearly unbeatable," said the now quite clearly serious Zabel, after being beaten by Davis this year at the aforementioned Challenge Illes Balears races. Twice in four days, in fact. "I think with very good lead-out men and with a little more experience, he will be like Tom Boonen in the sprints," he predicted.

Assured he was no longer kidding, our correspondent went on to say: "I heard a few days ago from someone close to the Australian team that he actually thinks Allan Davis could win [the World Road Championships] in Verona... "

To which Zabel replied: "Why not?"

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Six Day stars for Revolution 6 Madison

The second event of this season's track cycling Revolution Series, to be held at Manchester Velodrome on December 4, will also host a number stars from the Six Day scene. After the disappointment of having to withdraw the Madison from Revolution 5, the organisers have confirmed that several Six Day teams will participate in the Madison at Revolution 6.

Confirmed are Belgian pairing Matthew Gilmore and Iijo Keisse, the pair finishing 11th at the Olympic Madison in Athens. Gilmore is a very experienced Six Day rider who won the Ghent Six in 2002 with Bradley Wiggins.

While more international teams are to be announced by the organisers, British pairings Newton and Gibb already have a strategy in mind: "It's going to be a shorter Madison than usual so it will suit my style," said Newton. "Tony and I will look to take the race to everyone and will be going for laps."

Under-23 riders Mark Cavendish, Matt Brammeier, Ed Clancy and Tom White will also race. Brammeier and Cavendish recently won their category's competition at the Dortmund Six Day. Clancy and White have proved their talent by winning the Madison Time Trial at Revolution 5 beating Olympic Stars Bradley Wiggins and Rob Hayles.

Latest rider information updates and tickets are available at: www.cyclingrevolution.com

Hushovd to race Tour and Vuelta in 2005

While visiting his team and friends in Paris for the French Cup victory ceremony on Thursday, November 4, Crédit Agricole's top sprinter Thor Hushovd said that he would like to race the Tour de France as well as the Vuelta a España next season. The Norwegian revealed that one of his goals in 2005 will be the World Championships in Madrid.

"I know that the course of the world championship in Madrid next year will be pretty flat and it will suit me," Hushovd said on his website, www.thor-hushovd.com. "That's why I want to prepare for it in the best possible way and that will be the Vuelta." The rider will begin training two weeks after undergoing sinus surgery on November 22.

Leclercq leaves Swiss Cycling

Ex-pro Jean-Claude Leclercq will leave the national federation Swiss Cycling at the end of this year. The winner of the Flèche Wallonne and French national champion has been working as a technical director for the cycling federation since 2001, just recently accompanying the Swiss team to the Athens' Olympic Games and the World Championships in Verona, where his coaching had been criticised by the riders. His successor is yet to be designated, according to manager Lorenzo Schläfli.

Walker in the wings

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

Leinster Provincial Council will stage their first cyclo-cross event in Kilcullen Centre, Co. Kildare, Ireland on Sunday, November 7. Heading up the organisation is Liam Walker who has been instrumental in establishing ‘cross events in the last number of years with his colleagues in the Ulster area. "Yes, we have a come along way in the last while," said Walker.

"The sport was more or less just trudging along. I think it just survived for the staging of a national championship, year in, year out. Thankfully, that has changed, but we are only just getting into gear and we have long way to go. This season should be good, as many of the road cyclists intend getting involved. Also, they have invested in ‘cross bikes, which will bring the sport up a grade."

Walker was asked about the problems that were pertaining in the Province and stepping aside as Chairman due to rregularities that have surfaced vis-a-vis appointments to races in the region.

"Yes, I have the support of the Province in my stance. I want Cycling Ireland to address the problems at their upcoming AGM later in the month and until that I am happy! I'm prepared to wait the outcome of the deliberations at that juncture. It is gratifying that the Province are behind me, but as of now I'm in the wings," he said. Hopefully this blip can be sorted out, as the volunteerism is a diminishing factor in many organisations. It’s like the blazer brigade cannot see the wood from the trees.

The Kilcullen cyclo-cross gets under way at 11.30 with under-age racing. Making his seasonal debut will be the national champion, Robin Seymour, but Roger Aiken with a winning debut last week in Banbridge could offer a token resistance. Racing for the seniors gets underway at midday. The location in Kilcullen is ideal and the course builder has come up with some novel ideas that should see a true sporting event.

Sakonnet strengthens development programme for 2005

The New York City based Sakonnet Technology cycling team has announced its full roster for the 2005 season. The squad numbers 12 riders, including nine current riders and three new additions. Returning riders include Andy Guptill, Robbie Giannini, Chris Kuhl, Lee Rosenthal, Luis Perez, Stephen Badger, Robert Weyman, Lee Sossen and Joao Correia (all USA). Peter Horn (G.S Ciao), Johnny Hayes (Krystal) and Alex Ferrero (People Cycles) join the U25 Programme in 2005.

"I am very pleased with the addition of these three strong riders to our development programme," commented team manager Basil Moutsopoulos. "We've bulked up the U25 team to have the personnel available for an expanded European and South American racing schedule in 2005."

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