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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for November 9, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

An interview with Johan Bruyneel

Keeping the spirit alive: Confident about Discovery & 2005

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

Next season, a newly renamed team will join Jacques Anquetil's St.Raphael team, Eddy Merckx's Molteni squad and Bernard Hinault's La Vie Claire outfit as one of the top Tour de France formations of all time as a new partner, Discovery Communications, takes the place of US Postal as title sponsor for 2005 and beyond. Cyclingnews recently sat down with master tactician Johan Bruyneel to discuss the transition to the Discovery Channel Cycling Team in 2005.

Armstrong and Bruyneel: two of a kind
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

As the team manager who has masterminded Lance Armstrong and the United States Postal Service teams wins in the last six Tours de France, Johan Bruyneel is cycling's equivalent of the manager of the New York Yankees baseball team.

A forty year-old Belgian who lives in Madrid, Spain, with his wife Eva-Marie and ten month-old baby daughter Victoria, Bruyneel enjoyed a solid 12 year career as a pro cyclist with teams like O.N.C.E. and Rabobank, retiring in 1998. Bruyneel then teamed up with Armstrong, taking over the reins at USPS in 1999.

Armstrong told the Washington Post's sports columnist Sally Jenkins that "Johan Bruyneel is the first person who put Lance Armstrong and the Tour de France in the same sentence," while Bruyneel recognized Lance's possibilities even before he was officially on board as USPS director six years ago this month.

Click here for the full interview

Jan not happy with fewer time trials

German Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) has criticised the Tour de France organisation for reducing the number of individual time trials in next year's edition to just two: Stage 1 (19 km) and Stage 20 (55 km). "Of course I'm pleased that with Karlsruhe and Pforzheim, there are German towns [on the race] again," Ullrich told Berlin's Tageszeitung newspaper. "I'm less delighted with the fact that we are missing a time trial this year."

Ullrich's strength has always been the time trial, but he can take comfort from the fact that the overall time trialing kilometres have only been reduced by 2.6 km in 2005 compared to this year's race. In addition, there is no mountain time trial, and that should probably work in Ullrich's favour.

Ullrich also commented on the suggestions that his greatest rival, Lance Armstrong, may skip the 2005 Tour in favour of other goals. Armstrong and his team director Johan Bruyneel have both specified that Lance's Tour participation is up in the air at the moment. "It's all the same to me whether Armstrong comes or not," said Ullrich. "If you want to win a race, you still have to go quicker than all the rest. It doesn't concern me who is there or who isn't."

Asked if he will be able to maintain his physical shape and weight during this winter, Ullrich replied,"At the moment I don't have any problems. I'll begin training at the end of this week, and will travel to a training camp in South Africa with some team-mates at the end of November. I'm happy to start again!"

T-Mobile's manager Walter Godefroot believes that Armstrong will be on the start line of the Tour in Fromentine on July 2. "I'm not convinced that Lance Armstrong will miss the Tour in 2005," said Godefroot. "He doesn't want to put any pressure on himself now."

Family and friends farewell Knetemann

Approximately 2000 family and friends of Gerrie Knetemann turned out to pay tribute to the deceased champion in the Dutch city of Alkmaar on Monday morning. Knetemann died of heart failure, aged 53, while out mountain biking on November 2 and his death was a shock to the cycling world.

Guests at the service included the presidents of the UCI, Hein Verbruggen, and of the Dutch cycling federation, Joop Astma, who said of Knetemann: "He would find it fantastic if it was full here to the last chair. Like today. Only, 'de Kneet' is not here. That will take some getting used to."

Museeuw accepts suspension

Retired Belgian cyclist Johan Museeuw will not be appealing his two year suspension for his involvement in the Landuyt-Versele doping affair, his lawyer has confirmed. Museeuw is thus not permitted to race or become a team director until October 8, 2006. Of the other two cyclists who were given two year suspensions by the Belgian cycling federation, Chris Peers has also decided not to appeal the decision and is now the owner of a café, but Jo Planckaert has said that he will take the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Aernouts in Belgian World Cup team

This Sunday's World Cup cyclo-cross race in Pijnacker, the Netherlands, will see young Belgians Bart Aernouts (Rabobank) and Tim Van Nuffel (Saey-Deschacht) in action for the Belgian team. Aernouts had been considering changing his nationality to Dutch in order to ride the World Cups, as there didn't seem to be any room among the Belgian squad. But with the decision of Mario de Clercq to take himself out of the national selection for the time being, Aernouts was given an opportunity to race by national coach Rudy de Bie.

Gent Six with 13 teams

The 64th edition of the Six Days of Gent will run between November 23-28 on the tight track in Gent's Kuipke, located in the Citadelpark. This year's edition will see 13 teams in action - one more than in previous years. At the presentation of the event, race director Patrick Sercu said that the increased budget allowed for an extra team to take part, as well as providing more backup in case a team has to withdraw.

The big attraction will be defending champion Matthew Gilmore, who is coupled with Frank Vandenbroucke - a combination that is certain to draw the crowds. There are also top teams such as Bruno Risi/Kurt Betschart (Swi), Franco Marvulli/Alexandre Aeschbach (Swi), Robert Slippens/Danny Stam (Ned) and Scott McGrory/Luke Roberts (Aus).

Full team list

1 Matthew Gilmore/Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel)
2 Scott McGrory/Luke Roberts (Aus)
3 Bruno Risi/Kurt Betschart (Swi)
4 Robert Slippens/Danny Stam (Ned)
5 Franco Marvulli/Alexandre Aeschbach (Swi)
6 Martin Liska/Jozef Zabka (Svk)
7 Andreas Kappes/Gerd Dorich (Ger)
8 Marco Villa/Franz Stocher (Ita/Aut)
9 Matthé Pronk/Wouter Van Mechelen (Ned/Bel)
10 Jimmy Madsen/Robert Hayles (Den/GBr)
11 Iljo Keisse/Andreas Beikirch (Bel/Ger)
12 Steven De Neef/Jean-Pierre Van Zyl (Bel/RSA)
13 Dean Downing/Russell Downing (GBr)

Blijlevens breaks thigh

Retired Dutch cyclist Jeroen Blijlevens has broken his thigh...while playing football. Blijlevens had already scored twice in the match that his team won 13-1, but when he fell on his knee it was all over. Blijlevens said that it was his first broken bone, despite having ridden a bike for the last 25 years. He was taken to hospital where he will be operated on next Monday morning. He still intends to be present at his farewell party on November 16 and also still has his sights set on the world speed record.

Leblanc at Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under

Jean-Marie Leblanc, race director of the Tour de France and Deputy Head of the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), will pay a visit to Australia next January as a guest of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under. JCTDU race director Mike Turtur commented, "Having confirmation that Jean-Marie Leblanc has accepted an invitation extended by the Minister for Tourism to attend our event and be a special guest is testament to the strong reputation our event has internationally."

Leblanc will also be a special guest at the JCTDU's Legends Night Dinner, which will be held on Saturday January 22, 2005.

For more information, visit www.tourdownunder.com.au

Texas deer charges into riders

Texas based Team Data Pro held an informal training ride last Sunday in the Hill Country near San Antonio, Texas, USA. Out of a brushy area a deer charged across a five foot high fence, and caught two riders in the middle of the group. Matt Seagrave from Austin and Pablo Sollenberger from McKinney were on the receiving end of the deer's fierce tackle. Weighing more than either rider, the deer hit Pablo on the right upper chest bringing him and Matt down. Pablo sustained a broken collarbone, bruises, and some lost skin, while Matt sustained some bruises, and a stiff neck. The deer was apparently unharmed, and barely slowed down.

Westmead Children's Hospital fundraising night

The Westmead Children's Hospital Burns Unit is holding a cycling themed fundraising dinner at Coogee-Randwick RSL in Sydney, Australia on Friday, December 3. Special guests at the dinner include cyclists Matt White, Kate Bates and Stephen Wooldridge. The aim is to raise $10,000 for the Children's Burns Unit, and tickets for the buffet dinner, auction, and various entertainment will cost $50 a head.

For more information: www.hert.com.au

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