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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for August 30, 2005

Edited by Anthony Tan

"History will show cycling at two speeds" says Madiot

By Anthony Tan

When team manager of La Française des Jeux, Marc Madiot, was asked if the L'Equipe revelations signalled an end of a myth [that Armstrong won the Tour 'clean'], he said to Henri Haget of L' "It is not a great surprise."

"Armstrong crushed the Tour de France for seven years without the smallest failure, even momentarily. His method, immutable, was infallible: to strike his adversaries at the prologue and to close the race on the first mountain stage. If one believes the revelations of L'Equipe, it corresponds with the timing of catching [those who used] EPO. Armstrong was very strong: he transformed cycling into a mathematical equation."

A former winner of a stage in the Tour de France (1984) and double-winner of Paris-Roubaix (1985, 1991), Madiot continued by saying that this year's Tour was worst of all, in that not one rider bothered Armstrong in the slightest. "The race lasted 20 kilometres," he said, referring to the point when Armstrong caught perennial adversary Jan Ullrich in the opening time trial in Fromentine.

"Several times, I thought of asking my riders to start a stage five minutes behind the peloton. History will show cycling at two speeds. But it is complicated: the stakes are so high... "

Asked if the American's retirement brings about a new era in cycling, Madiot said he wasn't sure, adding that if changes are what is wanted, then it is necessary to start 'finding truths' with unexpected controls apart from periods of competition. "In-race controls are not enough. Besides, Armstrong was never declared positive."

It is worth noting that Armstrong was the subject of a number of out-of-competition tests during his time as a professional cyclist, with all declared negative.

Cyclingnews coverage of the L'Equipe allegations

June 27, 2006 - Carmichael defends Armstrong, Armstrong answers L'Equipe & LeMond
June 26, 2006 - LeMond: "Armstrong threatened my life"
June 19, 2006 - Armstrong calls for Pound's exit
June 18, 2006 - Lance Armstrong's open letter against Dick Pound
June 4, 2006 - UCI hits back at WADA
June 3, 2006 - WADA slams the Vrijman report
June 2, 2006 - L'Equipe stands by its story, UCI supports Vrijman's findings
June 1, 2006 - UCI, WADA and Armstrong react to Vrijman's report
May 31, 2006 - UCI lawyer asks for Armstrong's name to be cleared
May 14, 2006 - Two more weeks for Armstrong investigation

Click here for full coverage of the L'Equipe allegations.

McGee completes the collection

The new leader
Photo ©: Unipublic
Click for larger image

After a hard-fought second place on stage 2 of this year's Vuelta a Espana, Australian rider Brad McGee became the only Australian rider to wear the leader's jersey in all three Grand Tours. Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes spoke with a dazed but happy McGee after capturing the leader's gold jersey.

Bradley McGee made history after Sunday's stage of the Vuelta a Espana when he became the first Australian rider to hold the leader's jersey in each of the Grand Tours. McGee took Tour de France yellow when he won the prologue in 2003, the Giro d'Italia pink when he did likewise last season and took the missing part of that series on Sunday when he wrested the Maillot Oro off the shoulders of Saturday's winner Denis Menchov (Rabobank) with a strong ride on the second stage.

The 29 year old FDJeux rider was part of a select group which forged ahead of the peloton on the second category climb of the Alto de San Jerónimo. He made his move on the descent down to the finish in Cordoba, overhauling stage leader Leonardo Bertagnolli (Cofidis) with six kilometres to go, driving it hard towards the finish, but losing out on any chance of winning their sprint when he cramped close to the line. The two were caught right at the finish by a five-man chasing group, but Bertagnolli and McGee had just enough in hand to hold on for first and second on the stage. Somewhat dramatically, the latter collapsed 100 metres after the finish, his leg muscles in complete spasm. A soigneur had to work on them for several minutes before McGee could get to his feet, climb back on his bike and make his way towards the podium.

"My legs totally locked up with cramp with about two kilometres to go. I just couldn't pedal; I was faking it the whole way," he told Cyclingnews, while still lying on the tarmac. "I'm not surprised that was 44 degrees today. Even my handlebars were scorching. It may have been a little hotter at the Tour Down Under before, but it was still very, very hard out there."

Had McGee not cramped, he may have been able to win the stage. But his first priority was to get the leader's jersey after missing out by a very close margin on Saturday. Satisfied in doing that, he said yesterday evening that he hadn't too disappointed about the prologue result. "I was spewing up for half an hour after the race so I know that I couldn't have gone any harder. Okay, I didn't win, but I didn't mess up either. I gave it all I had."

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Stage 4 Vuelta preview: Hot, hard and heavy

Tuesday, August 30: Ciudad Real-Argamasilla de Alba, 232.3 km

Today, the 194 riders left in this year's 60th Vuelta a España face the longest stage of the race, a 232.3 kilometre journey from Ciudad Real to Argamasilla de Alba. With an undulating parcours, three intermediate sprints (km 22, km 49.5, km 87.1) and no categorised climbs, the peloton is likely to be controlled by the sprinters' teams, as well as the French outfit of maillot oro Bradley McGee (La Française des Jeux). A maximum temperature of 36 degrees Celsius is forecast, with the expected peak around 3pm CEST, and a slight northerly wind of around 10km/h. Cyclingnews' live coverage will begin at approximately 2.30pm CEST.

Click here for more stage descriptions, maps & profiles.

Breakaways in La Vuelta: Four or more

In line with Liberty Seguros team manager Manolo Saiz's comments about the heat being a determining factor in this year's Vuelta a España, CSC directeur-sportif Kim Andersen also had a few words of advice for his charges along the same vein. "Jakob Piil was very active at the beginning of the stage and was part of a couple of breaks, but he wasn't given the chance to escape. I've said to the riders, if they go with a break it has to be a group of at least four riders, otherwise it's unrealistic with the tremendous heat down here," he said on At one point in yesterday's third stage to Puertollano, the outside thermometer on the CSC car indicated a reading of 45 degrees Celsius (113° Fahrenheit).

Tour of Britain stage-by-stage

Stage 1 - Tuesday August 30: Glasgow - Castle Douglas, 184.2 km

By Shane Stokes

The Tour of Britain gets underway today with a 184.2 kilometre race running from Glasgow, the hometown of former Tour de France King of the Mountains Robert Millar, to Castle Douglas. The race departs from George Street at 10.30 and heads over some rolling terrain on the way to early sprints at Cumnock (53.1 km) and Kirkconnel (73.9 km). Then, twelve kilometres after the feed, the 96 man peloton will head up the first categorised climb of this year’s race, the third category Clonehead (106.5 km). Once over the summit they will descent to Dumfries (131.1 km), the site of the day’s third hot spot sprint, before some more lumpy terrain takes them to the third category climb of Craignair (175.8 km). With just 6 kilometres between the summit and the finish line some riders will try to get clear of the bunch, but the most likely scenario is a bunch sprint into Castle Douglas.

Click here for more stage descriptions, maps & profiles.

Phonak's big three searching

With Phonak Hearing Systems unsure of its continued involvement in cycling beyond 2006, top guns Santiago Botero, Floyd Landis and Oscar Pereiro are said to be searching for a new employer for the coming season, according to website Although the trio have contracts lasting till the end of next season, they have a clause in their contract to leave the team before then, presumably based upon extension of the team's sponsorship.

World Champ Wolff to ride in Sydney in November

By Les Clarke

The Sydney Thousand track carnival gathered more momentum today with the announcement that sprint world champion Rene Wolff and countryman Mathias John will race at the Dunc Gray Velodrome on November 27. Promoter John Scott has touted the race against Olympic champion Ryan Bayley as 'the match race of the century' and on paper it's a prospect to savour.

Scott made the announcement today at the Sydney Cricket Ground, home of the original Sydney Thousand races dating back to the beginning of last century. Cycling NSW representative and NSWIS head coach Gary Sutton was also at the SCG for the announcement, believing that the Sydney Thousand "will be the biggest and best track cycling carnival in New South Wales, without a doubt. It will rival the big carnivals in Melbourne and Tasmania," he said.

German rider Wolff won his sprint crown in Los Angeles in March this year, and is sure to give Bayley a run for his money. They're similar types of riders, not afraid to contest the race at close quarters in a fast and physical style that should draw big crowds. Wolff will also have the support of Mathias John, ranked number two in German track racing - the two sure to ride as a team against a field of strong Australian riders.

Added Sutton, "You have the current Olympic and world sprint champions against each other, with quality riders such as Graeme Brown possibly racing - it's going to be big." Speaking of the possibility Olympic Madison champion Brown will be riding, Sutton said: "Graeme's got to have some minor surgery for a lower back problem, but he really wants to race in Sydney for this carnival. We'll also have Joel Leonard, who's a very capable rider - so it's a quality field."

With Kilo specialist Ben Kersten already a starter, and racing for a trifecta of wins at Australian track carnivals, he's certain to be motivated and ready to put on a good show. Veteran Shane Kelly will hit the boards also and can't be discounted as a genuine contender. Both Scott and Sutton, however, were most enthusiastic about Ryan Bayley's preparation and approach leading up to the November 27 carnival in Sydney, with Sutton saying, "He's racing in Europe right now, then goes back to a training block on his return; he should be in top form by the time this race comes around and ready to do very well."

Bayley has said on numerous occasions to "bring 'em on" after spending much of 2005 injured and out of competition, so now it looks as though he's got his wish, and with his motivation levels high and the desire for victory strong, he'll be hungry for success against the world's best. With carnivals such as this in New South Wales, track racing looks to be undergoing a much-needed revival after recent controversies have shifted attention away from the strong performances of riders.

Tickets for the Sydney Thousand meet will go on sale tomorrow, with 600 back and front straight seats released to the public. Contact Cycling NSW on their website or on (02) 9738 5850 for more details.

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