First Edition Cycling News for April 1, 2005
Edited by Jeff Jones & Anthony Tan
Armstrong in Italy
Lance Armstrong has made an impromptu visit to Italy on Wednesday of this week in order to discuss the Filippo Simeoni case with the judge in Lucca, Tuscany. Simeoni claimed that Armstrong intimidated him during a stage of the 2004 Tour de France, when he tried to bridge up to a breakaway and the American chased him down, virtually ordering him back to the bunch or he would make his team chase. The pair became rivals after Simeoni testified in the Dr Ferrari trial, and Armstrong subsequently called him a liar.
Armstrong raced in Paris-Camembert on Tuesday before flying to Italy. According to a report in la Gazzetta dello Sport, he met with judge Giuseppe Quattrocci in Lucca, Tuscany. No details of the meeting were revealed, but Armstrong did say that he was "very civilised, I think that he appreciated my goodwill."
In other Armstrong legal news, the Associated Press is reporting that the six-time Tour winner is engaged in a legal battle with his former personal assistant Mike Anderson, who has filed a court brief alleging that he found a banned steroid in Armstrong's Girona apartment in 2004. Anderson said he did not see Armstrong using the substance, nor did he take possession of it for the purposes of evidence.
Anderson was sacked in November 2004 after he asked for received a $500 per month pay rise. Armstrong then sued Anderson in December 2004, alleging that Anderson demanded $500,000 from him, along with assurances of future payments to assist him in starting a bike shop, and even a signed Tour de France jersey. Anderson launched a countersuit, claiming breach of contract, emotional distress and fraud.
Boonen ready to lead Quick.Step in Ronde
Tom Boonen is putting on a brave face in the lead up to the Ronde van Vlaanderen, despite crashing in stage 1 of the Driedaagse van De Panne and receiving three stitches in one of his fingers. "The injury is OK and is not bothering me too much," said Boonen at a press conference after the morning stage of the Driedaagse. "I still have pain when I'm on the cobbles, but not of the type that will stop me riding fast this Sunday."
Boonen will have to do without Paolo Bettini, as the experienced Italian wasn't able to train hard enough this week because of the after effects of the throat infection that forced him to pull out of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali. "I have recovered fully, but I am still too weak to take part in such a difficult race like the Ronde Van Vlaanderen," said Bettini. "It's a shame as I really like the race but I have no option as I need to be in top form for the second part of the classics."
Quick Step for the Ronde van Vlaanderen: Tom Boonen, Wilfried Cretskens, Kevin Hulsmans, Marc Lotz, Nick Nuyens, Filippo Pozzato, Servais Knaven and Bram Tankink.
Cruz in for sick Joachim
Antonio Cruz will substitute for Benoît Joachim in the Discovery Channel for the Tour of Flanders this weekend. Joachim was sick after the second stage of the Driedaagse van De Panne and was forced to pull out before the start of stage 3.
Backstedt readies himself for Roubaix
Paris-Roubaix champion Magnus Backstedt (Liquigas-Bianchi) has declared himself happy with his fitness as his early season objectives loom large - the most significant being the defence of his Roubaix title won last year.
After spending nearly three weeks off the bike suffering from flu and a stomach virus, the 30 year-old Swede has bounced back quickly after getting through Tirreno-Adriatico and riding a decent Milan-San Remo.
Backstedt has spent the last week training in Belgium, which included training on the new sections of the 2005 'Hell of the North' parcours. "Even though the new sections are quite early in the race, I feel they could be decisive," he said.
"The new cobbled climb could also hurt a few legs. The organisers have done a good job in replacing Arenberg [Forest], but I still prefer that historic section. The new sections of cobbles come in quick succession with no room to breathe and recover in between.
"I love the stones; since the first time I rode Roubaix, I knew I wanted to win it at some point in my career," said Backstedt. "I have and now I want it again! Getting close to them in training this week I got goose bumps! For me, the anticipation is like Christmas morning!"
Liquigas-Bianchi will send a strong team to back the Swede as he attempts to defend his title. After riding the Three Days of De Panne, which concluded today, the Italian-registered team will ride the Tour of Flanders, Gent-Wevelgem and then Paris-Roubaix.
"With just over a week to go I feel I am 100 percent focused on the goal of defending my Roubaix title."
Images by Martin McCrossan
Euskaltel Euskadi for the northern classics and PV
The Basque team Euskaltel-Euskadi has announced its lineups for the upcoming classics in Belgium and northern France, as well as for the Vuelta al País Vasco.
Tour of Flanders: Iker Flores, David Herrero, Iñaki Isasi, Iñigo Landaluze, Antton Luengo, Aketza Peña, Aitor Silloniz
Gent-Wevelgem: Iker Flores, David Herrero, Iñaki Isasi, Iñigo Landaluze, Antton Luengo, Aketza Peña, Aitor Silloniz
Paris - Roubaix: Iker Flores, David Herrero, Iñaki Isasi, Iñigo Landaluze, Antton Luengo, Aketza Peña, Aitor Silloniz
Vuelta al País Vasco: Iker Camaño, Gorka Gonzalez, Markel Irizar, Egoi Martinez, Iban Mayo, Samuel Sánchez, Haimar Zubeldia, Joseba Zubeldia
Duffy's baby: Meet the Discovery team bus
By Tim Maloney, European Editor
With advent of the ProTour, a well-equipped team bus has become almost as essential for any ProTour squad as new bicycles. It's a refuge for the riders, where you grab a pre-race espresso, a place to hang out until sign-on, or to decompress after a stressful race. And who knows, maybe after a big win, there's even a bottle of champagne in the fridge!
The Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team has a brand new bus and Cyclingnews recently managed to get a sneak peek at the inside, where Lance and his posse will chill during the next Tour de France. We spoke to Johan Bruyneel's right hand man, a.k.a. Geert Duffeleer, Discovery Channel's European Manager, about the big rig for the bigwigs.
Nicknamed Duffy, the likeable Belgian is a jack of all trades and the man who kept things organized behind the scenes for USPS in Europe since 1999. Duffy now takes care of business from soup to nuts at Discovery and smiled when he told Cyclingnews, "This bus is like my child... I've been working so hard to get it ready for the season."
Duffy was the go-to guy for Bruyneel last fall to bring the new Discovery Channel Cycling Team bus on the road. "Our goal was to get it perfect," began Duffeleer.
"Johan had already looked at all the different team bus designs and made notes on what he liked and what he wanted in our new bus. Then we sat down to design the floor plan, and found a coach builder to make it up." Disco's new road rig features a Volvo B40 chassis with a 430 horsepower engine. The 13-meter long Arrow 50 coach was built by Jonkceere in Roeslaere and usually accommodates 50 passengers, but has been reconfigured to take the team and key staff to and from the races and allow the riders to meet with team staff prior to the race.
Another new edition to the Discovery Bus is a new driver, the well know Valentin, who came over from Liberty Seguros and is also a team masseur. "This bus is like the one Rabobank and T-Mobile use", Duffy said proudly, "but it's been completely customized for us."
Images by Tim Maloney/Cyclingnews
Tory Thomas injured
By Mikkeli Godfree
Reigning Australian solo 24 hour MTB champion, Tory Thomas, is in hospital with a badly broken pelvis after being hit by a car on Wednesday evening whilst riding home from work. Doctors will operate today [Friday] but it won't be known whether or not Thomas will be able to ride again for quite some time.
Thomas' accident is the second road-related incident to upset the mountain bike community in Victoria in recent times with Dan Van Der Ploeg currently making a slow recovery after being hit by a car while out training near Mount Beauty several months ago.
Thomas, who recently took fourth in the national cross country championships in Eildon, had set her sights on the world solo 24-hour MTB championships later this year but this injury may put an end to her racing career.
Four amateurs arrested in Italy
Four amateur cyclists have been arrested and a further 24 search orders have been issued as a result of a NAS investigation into a drug ring in Umbria, Emilia Romagna and Tuscany. The charges range from criminal association, false prescription and administration of banned substances. The riders are A.S, a 28 year-old Perugian, and S.P.T., a 35 year-old captain of a team, as well as Rimini cyclists A.A. (55) and F.S. (45). 1000 items were confiscated by police, reportedly worth €200,000, and pharmacies in Costano and Castiglione del Lago were searched.
GP Wieler Revue cancelled
The GP Wieler Revue, the final race in the Dutch Topcompetitie, will no longer be run. The organisers were annoyed at the Dutch cycling federation for changing the format of the Topcompetitie to favour professional teams, as they had been assured that the format would not change from the old style.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)