First Edition Cycling News for October 27, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones & Hedwig Kröner
An interview with Lance Armstrong
My way: Six and counting for Armstrong
At 33 years old, Lance Armstrong is still very much on top of his game, crushing the opposition yet again during the 2004 Tour de France to win an incredible six Tours in succession. Although his racing committments have dropped right off in the latter part of the season, Lance has not been inactive, recently taking part in the second Tour of Hope (www.tourofhope.org) in order to raise awareness for cancer research. While at home in Austin, Texas, Lance Armstrong took the time to talk to Cyclingnews' European Editor Tim Maloney about the ToH, Livestrong, his sixth Tour win, Discovery's line up for 2005, the Simeoni incident and much more in this two part interview.
Almost three months after winning an unprecedented sixth consecutive Tour De France, Lance Armstrong doesn't look that different. He looks a little tired from a recently heavy travel schedule and has a little stubble on his chin, but that laser-like focus is always there in his slate blue eyes. 33 just one month ago, Armstrong is widely regarded as the world's best endurance athlete who is now at the pinnacle of success as a Grand Tour riders. In fact, a recent Sports Illustrated fan poll voted Armstrong "All-Time Greatest Sportsman", ahead of Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali and many other great names from the world of sport.
Although some leading European cycling journalists have bashed the American for having focused only on the Tour De France in his career since his incredible comeback from testicular cancer in 1996, Armstrong's record-setting sixth consecutive Tour win bears testament to the fact that Lance has done it his way. Recently, Cyclingnews travelled to Armstrong's home town of Austin, Texas where we had a rare opportunity to sit down with the man the Tour de France peloton calls the boss, le patron, Big Tex for a face to face palaver.
It was a beautiful warm fall afternoon in Austin and Lance and his companion Sheryl Crow had just returned from Florida where Crow had played a concert in Florida with Bonnie Raitt. Armstrong was knocking around his new Austin home while Sheryl expertly wrapped a huge fifth birthday present for Luke. As we commented on Sheryl's packaging expertise with the Jimmy Neutron wrapping paper, the talented singer-songwriter explained that her first job at 13 was as part-time Christmas wrapper in a Missouri drugstore. Once Luke's package was done, complete with three big blue bows, Sheryl and Lance's mom Linda got together for a chat on the living room couch while Cyclingnews adjourned to Lance’s den for our interview.
Click here to read Part I.
An interview with Stuart O'Grady
The Year of Living Dangerously
From being down in the dumps at the height of the Cofidis doping scandal to a personal career-best victory in Athens, Stuart O'Grady has experienced the full range of emotions in what can only be described as a year of living dangerously. Story by Anthony Tan.
"Nothin' feels like coming home at the end of a long season... there's no place like Australia, really," says Stuart O'Grady with a sigh of relief, unable to avoid the cliche that is so often said when returning to one's homeland.
"It's just nice to come back and see the family and catch up with friends, kinda relax a bit, I guess," he says, although his voice's slightly hesitant, as if he's unsure whether he can relax.
Maybe that's because when we last spoke, O'Grady and his entire Cofidis team were embroiled in a doping controversy that threatened to reach Festina-like proportions, which reached full-throttle when his former team-mate David Millar admitted using EPO to fuel his world time trial championship win in Hamilton last year.
And now, when we speak again, the 'D' word rears its ugly head once more.
Today in Sydney, O'Grady and team-mate Matt White will speak about their season in a public forum, which he claims has been "completely misread" as a discussion on insights into doping and drugs in sport, despite the title: "Cycling - The Truth."
Click here to read the rest of the story.
Cunego's short trip to Japan
By Miwako Sasaki, Japan Cycle Sports
Damiano Cunego has come to the Japan Cup every year since 2002, but it was the most special trip for him this year. The Italian arrived in Japan last Thursday afternoon and was transferred direct to Utsunomiya where the Japan Cup was raced. He went to Tokyo for a TV interview on Friday morning, and also enjoyed doing some sightseeing and shopping there. Then he returned to Utsunomiya for the official press conference of the race in the evening.
Cunego was very busy on Saturday, the day before the race, because there was an event on the course for cycling fans, whereby amateur riders can ride with the big stars like Cunego. That took care of his morning and he then had to spend a lot of time being interviewed by TV, newspapers and magazines as they usually arrive in Utsunomiya on Saturday.
In particular, Cunego had to cooperate with a journalist from La Gazzetta dello Sport, who came to Japan follow him. Thus, La Gazzetta covered a Japanese race at last, and reported how Cunego went in Japan. A photocopy of the big, nearly full-page article, was posted up on the notice board in the hotel, to the surprise of many Japanese.
So Cunego was a little tired on Saturday evening. Moreover he was surprised by the huge earthquakes that hit the middle part of Japan. There were many earthquakes that day, and they are still continuing. The first one was 6.8 on the Richter scale, quite large, even for Japan.
"I fear an earthquake because I rarely experience it at home (Verona)," said Cunego who was interviewed in the hotel just after the first big earthquake. He couldn't look away from the big window which shook very often due to the intermittent earthquakes. The young champion yelled "shaking!" over and over, like a little boy. "I will bring a bed from my room and sleep in front of the entrance of the hotel this night, so I can run away quickly, can't I?"
He was joking in the interview as he was finally relaxed in a situation that he hadn't experienced before. But he still couldn't sleep well that night due to the earthquakes. In the past, many top riders came to the Japan Cup with their wives or girlfriends, but Cunego couldn't bring his girlfriend Margarita because of her studies. "I'll tell her about the earthquake," he said, smiling as he talked about her.
It was a 23 year-old boy's face. Some Japanese journalists felt Cunego became Pinocchio after winning the Giro d'Italia, but in reality, he didn't change compared with last year. At first he said, "I don't want to talk for a long time, please be short." But in the end, he talked for over an hour to the Japanese magazines. It was not only about the race and the bike, but also about his hobby and his hair style. "It's like David Beckham, isn't it?"
After the interview, Cunego didn't go to dinner immediately, as he stayed there with his supporters who were waiting him for a long time and had their photo taken with him which he autographed for them.
He had to leave Japan in the early morning on Monday, just a day after the race, without a real holiday in the far east country. "I want more time here!" said Cunego after the race. Maybe he able to have more time next year in Japan...with his girlfriend.
Thus, the world number one rider's short trip to Japan was over.
Bouygues counts on French young guns
New pro cycling sponsor Bouygues Telecom, which will replace Brioches La Boulangère to back one of the four French Pro Tour teams next season, presented its team roster and management in Boulogne-Billancourt, France today. Bouygues (pronounced: "buig") will still be led by Jean-René Bernaudeau, team manager of Brioches La Boulangère, as well as four directeurs sportifs: Dominique Arnould (ex-cyclo-cross world champion), Christophe Faudot, Christian Guiberteau and Ismael Mottier. With 26 riders and a budget of €6-7 million, the squad wants to show that young, French cycling is up to the challenge.
"At the Pro Tour, we will have to match the best teams," said Bernaudeau. "But our goal is to prove that the French are as good as anybody else." Pointing out that three of his riders under 25 are within the World's top 50 classification, the manager stresses,"We have invested in the young."
Indeed, the team's young guns are promising: Thomas Voeckler (25) was a revelation at this year's Tour de France, and Jérôme Pineau (24) holds the most points in the UCI classification of all his fellow countrymen. With six neo-pros to join for next season, the average rider age at Bouygues will still be just under 26, even under the guidance of Laurent Brochard (36), France's most experienced rider.
The Bouygues Telecom team roster 2005 includes 25 French riders and one Spanish rider:
Walter Bénéteau, Giovanni Bernaudeau, Olivier Bonnaire, Franck Bouyer, Laurent Brochard, Anthony Charteau, Sébastien Chavanel, Mathieu Claude, Pierre Drancourt, Pierrick Fédrigo, Yohann Gene, Anthony Geslin, Maryan Hary, Christophe Kern, Laurent Lefèvre, Frédéric Mainguenaud, Rony Martias, Alexandre Naulleau, Mickaël Pichon, Jérôme Pineau, Anthony Ravard, Franck Renier, Didier Rous, Mathieu Sprick and Thomas Voeckler (all French), Unai Yus (Spanish).
David Plaza to Barloworld
The Spanish rider David Plaza will leave the Spanish team Cafes Baque to join Team Barloworld-Androni Giocattoli managed by John Robertson for next season. The winner of the Tour of Germany 2000 will be riding alongside Francesco Casagrande in the Division II team which currently numbers 19 riders:
Francesco Casagrande, Luca Celli, Paolo Longo Borghini, Stefano Cavallari, Gian Paolo Cheula, Giulio Tomi, Enrico Degano, Eddy Serri and Antonio Salomone (all Italian); Darren Lill, Jeremy Maartens, Rijan Cox, Tiaan Kannemeyer and Jock Green (all South African); Roger Beuchat (Swi); Tom Southam (GBr); Stefan Adamsson (Swe) and Sean Sullivan (Aus).
Verge NECCS rounds 2 and 3 in Massachusetts
The Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series continues its rounds 2 and 3 with the Michelob ULTRA Gran Prix of Gloucester, Massachusetts on October 30-31. Riders will be contesting the overall standings of two series at once, as the Verge Series loans both races to the Crank Brothers U.S. Grand Prix of Cyclo-Cross.
The Men's Elite races will feature former World Champion Daniele Pontoni (Selle Italia-Elite), former National Champions Marc Gullickson (Redline) and Todd Wells (Mongoose/Hyundai), and last weekend's two winners, Barry Wicks (Kona) and Ben Jacques-Maynes (Sierra Nevada Cycling). They'll be fiercely challenged by a whole host of riders, including Mark McCormack (Clif Bar/Colavita Olive Oil), who finished second in each of last weekend's races, Adam Craig (Maxxis-Giant), who defeated Pontoni in Tacoma two weeks ago, Jonny Sundt (Maxxis-Giant), Ryan Trebon (Kona), Jackson Stewart (Clif Bar Cyclo-Cross), Jesse Anthony (Cyclocrossworld.com), and Matt White (NCC/BikeReg.com), Tyler Johnson (CYBC-Richard Sachs) and Ben Turner (TIAA-CREF/Clif Bar).
In the Women's Elite race, Louise Robinson (Pedros/ECV), silver medal at the inaugural Women's World Cyclo-Cross Championship in Zolder in 2000, will be giving the American riders a run for their money, while Olympian Mary McConneloug (Seven Cycles), Gina Hall (Missing Link), Anne Knapp (Kona), and teammates Barbara Howe and Christine Vardaros (Velo Bella) face each other for the first time this season. Lining up alongside them will be Maureen Bruno (Cyclocrossworld.com), Anna Milkowski (Rona), Marianne Stover (Independent Fabrication), Mackenzie Dickey (Team Bicycle Alley), and Sinead Fitzgibbon (CRCA/Aquafina).
Following the two races in Gloucester, the Verge NECCS will resume with a pair of races on November 13 and 14: the C2 Chainbiter 6.0 Cyclo-Cross (Farmington, Conn.) and C1 14th Annual Cycle-Smart International Presented by Steve Lewis Subaru (Northampton, Mass.).
Coonamessett Eco Cross on, Mike Wiley Memorial Cross Race off
People Cycle has announced the 2nd Annual Coonamessett Eco Cross, again held at Coonamessett Farm in Massachusetts, USA on November 7. On a mere 7 acres, the race offers a technically based course with two or more running sections, including one through a Buzzards Bay Brewing Tent.
People Cycle has also announced the cancellation of the December 12 Mike Wiley Memorial Cross Race. To register or learn more go to: www.racelistings.com
Snow Wilson Memorial Cycling Open
At next Saturday's (November 6) Annual Randwick Botany Cycling Club Snow Wilson Memorial Cycling Open, held at Heffron Park, Robey Street, Maroubra, Australia, over 120 junior and senior riders will compete in the eight event program starting at 8.30am. Several riders will travel from Victoria and the USA to race. All races will be handicapped except for the Elite Men's A-Grade race at 1.00pm, which will be 60 minutes plus 3 laps. A 12 rider pennyfarthing race will be a feature of the programme.
Local cyclists will be well represented at the 2 km Heffron Park circuit by the Randwick Botany Cycling Club including juniors Luke Davison, Ben Elliott, Tom Patton, Adriano Maradini and Emma Jones. Senior riders include James Dalton, Michael Fantin, David Gardiner, Saxon Johns, Jeff Jones (from cyclingnews.com), Patrick Jones, Matthew Lucas, Chris Reynolds, Jerzy Sowa, John Hadley, Andrew Hall, Patrick Naugton, Dean Preddy, Julian Robertshawe, Crispin Arnell, Karl Bellamy, Frank and Rocky Fortuna, Mark Murdoch, club president John Buckton, Neil Morris and Dale Rockell. Late registrations will be accepted on the day from affiliated riders for the Elite Men's race.
The event is part of the NSW Cycling Federation 2004 Road Racing Programme. The annual event is held in honour of Snow Wilson who joined the 100 year-old club in 1917 and was club secretary from 1934 until 1968. He is the longest serving club secretary.
The event is scheduled as follows:
8.30 U9/U11 3 lap Handicap
Bahati wants riders
Former Saturn rider Rahsaan Bahati is forming a professional team together with Mitaka Sports. The team is looking to complete its roster and is now accepting resumes and portfolios. If you are a pro, ex-pro, or a cat 1/2 rider, please contact Rahsaan at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O Box 7506, Torrance, Ca 90504, USA.
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