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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for February 12, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Armstrong says seven, but when?

Those wanting an answer on whether Lance Armstrong will ride this year's Tour de France will have to wait a little longer, after his appearance together with partner Sheryl Crow on The Oprah Winfrey Show today. Although Oprah did ask, "Are you going to go for number seven?", Armstrong's simple reply of "Yes" didn't disclose whether it would be this year or next.

Although Armstrong's focus this year does appear to be on the classics and the Hour Record, his decision on whether to ride the Tour is still up in the air.

Gilbert angry at blunder

Philippe Gilbert (La Francaise des Jeux)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

Belgian Philippe Gilbert, winner of the second stage of the Tour of Med and nearly winner of the GP La Marseillaise a week and a half ago, has sent a letter to the UCI expressing his frustration at being sent the wrong way in La Marseillaise. Gilbert was in the lead with Wim Van Huffel when the pair was misdirected with 4 km to go, losing their likely winning 44 second margin and having to finish with the bunch.

"I haven't spoken about any scandal," said Gilbert in L'Equipe. "But last week I sent a letter to the UCI to say that it is below everything. I don't expect a sanction, no. But if you train 5,000 km in winter in the snow and the wind, then it is unacceptable that a win is stolen like that. They must understand that."

Guidi to Phonak

Italian rider Fabrizio Guidi has reached an agreement with his current team CSC to ride for Phonak for the rest of this season. "Fabrizio had a clause in his contract which made it possible for him to sign with another team, should he receive a better offer," said team director Bjarne Riis. "It is not possible for us to match the offer from Phonak, so we have to let him go. Fabrizio has worked well in our team, and we would have liked to keep him, but it was not possible. We wish him all the best and good luck with his new team."

Scirea in the team car for the first time

Mario Scirea, who retired at the end of last season, will have his first experience as team director for Liquigas-Bianchi at the 42nd Trofeo Laigueglia next Tuesday, February 15. Scirea, a well known gregario and one of Cipollini's best friends, is ready to throw himself into this new adventure. "I'm excited, I can't hide it," he said. "After 16 years of professional cycling I'm about to start all over again offering my experience to the team, specially to the young riders. I quit cycling just a few months ago and I already miss the bike. That's why I have decided to join the staff of an important team like Liquigas-Bianchi."

The Liquigas-Bianchi team will be led by Franco Pellizotti and Andrea Noé, with Patrick Calcagni, Kjell Carlström, Daniele Colli, Mauro Gerosa, Oscar Mason and Matej Mugerli completing the squad.

Visconti breaks collarbone

Domina Vacanze neo-pro Giovanni Visconti has broken his collarbone while training with a group of friends on Friday near Fucecchio in Tuscany. Visconti was taken to the nearby hospital in Lucca where he will be operated on today by professor Castellacci.

Strong line up for NZ women's tour and World Cup

Retired top Dutch sprinter Jean-Paul Van Poppel will be bring his Buitenpoort-Flexpoint team to Wellington for the March 2-4 Women's Tour of New Zealand and March 6 World Cup, headlining a very strong field for the second race in the series. Van Poppel, who won the green jersey in the 1987 Tour, will direct the team led by his wife Mirjam Melchers, with two-time world road champion Susanne Ljungskog, Tanja Hennes-Schmidt and Dane Linda Serup completing the line up.

Race director Jorge Sandoval was full of praise for Van Poppel and his team. "To have someone like him in New Zealand is really neat and a real privilege," Sandoval said. "Even though he stopped racing 10 years ago he's still very famous. He was a hero to a lot of cyclists and now he's running this team which he partly owns. It'll be great to have him here."

Apart from Buitenpoort-Flexpoint, the field will also include World No. 1 Judith Arndt and her equally powerful Nürnberger team. Arndt confirmed her entry earlier this week, and will certainly be among the favourites. In addition, Sandoval announced that national teams from Japan, Germany and Indonesia have confirmed their participation for next month's races.

Merced ready for McLane Pacific Cycling Classic

The opening race of the U.S. national calendar is the McLane Pacific Cycling Classic, which will run over the March 5-6 weekend. Once again, the small town of Merced in California will host the racing, which is always well received by local cycling enthusiasts.

Ben Jacques-Maynes from Mountain View, California, was 2004 Nature Valley GP champion, and is a returning rider to McLane for the newly combined Ofoto/Sierra Nevada Pro Cycling Team. "For me, the McLane Pacific Foothills Road Race is the epitome of the spring season," said Jacques-Maynes. "Merced offers a great course, the best competition in the country, and good community support. I'm looking forward to the opening of the season - and it all starts in Merced." Four-time returning rider Kate Maher, of Ford-Basis Cycling Team recognises the good chemistry that exists between the riders and a racing town like Merced. "The support from the town is just amazing," says Maher, who just completed her PhD program in geo-chemistry at UC Berkeley. She is even applying for post-graduate work at UC-Merced, based on her positive experiences at McLane Pacific in years past.

The racing will begin on Saturday, March 5, with the Downtown Grand Prix. This will pit the sprinting elite against one another on a fast loop in downtown Merced. The Foothills Road Race on Sunday, March 6 will provide the battleground for the first NRC competition of the year.

More information:

Full Dynamix ready for a big 2005

Professional mountain bike team Full Dynamix will approach 2005 with a lot of confidence after winning 28 races last year and a World Championship (Marathon). The team will again focus on the cross country and marathon events, with Marco Bui going for the World Cup, European and World Championship in the XC, and Dario Acquaroli, Massimo De Bertolis and Mauro Bettin concentrating on the marathons, culminating in the World Championship on August 20 in Lillehammer, Norway.

Full Dynamix will add three new riders to its roster: Tommaso Manfredini, 24, who is also a student and races in the Sportman category; Thomas Paccagnella, 20, in the U23 category; and Achilea Francesca, who last year won the Italian championship in the cadets category. Francesco Cingolani and Manfred Steiner will be leaving the team.

The team's website is

TW Classic sponsors amateur team

Belgian ex-professional Ludwig Wijnants and concert promoter Herman Schueremans will sponsor a new Belgian amateur team by the name of TW Classic (a big music festival in Torhout-Werchter). The team existed 20 years ago as a professional squad, and Wijnants won a stage of the Tour de France in TW Classic colours. But neither Wijnants nor Schueremans will direct the team, as both have other jobs.

"It's not that I want to come back to the cycling world per se," said Wijnants to "In the first place, it's to help a former employee of mine who needs it. The guy started a team, signed riders but suddenly saw his sponsors vanish. There he stood then. I put it to Herman Schueremans whether he would be interested in springing into the breach. He did that as a favour for me. You should know that Herman and I always get on really well with each other. Even before the stage win in the Tour. We have remained comrades." Cycling Team presented by Bike Doctor

Transrapid International-USA, Inc. will sponsor a new USCF elite men's team for the 2005 racing season. The Cycling Team presented by Bike Doctor has a roster of five cyclists: John Semmelhack (Category 1, Virginia), Craig Snydal (Category 1, Maryland), Reed Tanger (Category 1, Virginia), Nils Dennis (Category 2, Maryland) and Dan Underwood (Category 2, Virginia). The team's 2005 schedule includes top road events along the Eastern seaboard as well as a selection of National Racing Calendar (NRC) events across the U.S.

Click here for the full announcement team launch

The club and team launch will be held on Saturday, February 26 in the historic grounds and buildings containing Midhurst Sports and Cycles, River Ground Stables, Cowdray Park, Midhurst, Sussex West, GU29 9AL, Great Britain, starting at 11:00 and finishing at approximately 15:30.

Those interested in attending should contact Gary Kristensen MBE on

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