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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for June 23, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Discovery's nine for the Tour

Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel)
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

Lance Armstrong will begin the final race of his career on July 2 in the 92nd Tour de France with a powerful Discovery Channel team behind him. The winner of six Tours already, Armstrong has shown recently that he is in the right form to peak for July, and in just over four weeks we will know whether he will take an amazing seventh Tour title.

Discovery Channel's team management Tailwind Sports named the eight teammates that will join Armstrong on the start line in Fromentine in 10 days: American George Hincapie, Spain's Jose Luis Rubiera, Manuel Beltran and Benjamin Noval, Pavel Padrnos of the Czech Republic, Portugal's Jose Azevedo, Italian Paolo Savoldelli and Ukrainian Yaroslav Popovych. Giro winner Savoldelli and Popovych, third in the 2003 Giro, are first year team members.

"I think we have fielded our strongest team ever with this formation," said Armstrong. "It has many consistent elements from years past, like the Spanish armada for the climbs, strong guys like George, Pavel and Benjamin, the Giro winner in Savoldelli plus a guy like Popo (Popovych) with a very bright future. I look forward to leading this team and attempting to give the great folks at Discovery a yellow jersey. I'm more motivated than ever."

The Discovery Channel team's sports manager, Johan Bruyneel, who has directed Armstrong to all six Tour victories, said the roster has great experience and familiarity to the Texan. "I wanted an experienced team for Lance's last Tour and that was the determining factor," said Bruyneel. "I want him to be surrounded by guys who have always been around him. It's a team with just two new riders with the rest returning from last year. All are ready or are getting ready.

"It wasn't difficult to choose. The group that rode at the Dauphiné Libere (Azevedo, Beltran, Hincapie, Noval, Popovych and Rubiera) showed me they are at a good level, while Paolo and Pavel did a great job in the Giro. Paolo was never in doubt (to ride the Tour), especially when he won the Giro, and is such a great rider. Pavel did a very good job in the Giro riding for Paolo and is very strong. For me, it was an easy selection."

Of the eight teammates, only Hincapie has raced alongside Armstrong for all six Tour victories. Next highest is Rubiera with four (2001-2004) and Padrnos with three (2002-2004). Beltran has taken part in Armstrong's last two Tour victories while Azevedo and Noval raced with the team for the first time last year.

"When making the selection, it's a matter of finding a balanced team," said Bruyneel. "I think we have guys for everywhere - the flats, those that will work in the hard stages and guys for the mountains."

Is this the best team behind Armstrong ever? "I'll confirm that on July 24," said Bruyneel. "On paper, it's a super team. But of course, we are missing (Viatcheslav Ekimov) - he would definitely be on the team if he was healthy."

Ekimov - a member of the last five Tour winning teams and possessing 14 Tour finishes - severely injured his back in training crash in late April and is hoping to race again before the end of the season. "I will miss Eki dearly this time around but I plan on riding the race with all the toughness he has shown over the years," said Armstrong.

T-Mobile supporting Ullrich with age and experience

By Susan Westemeyer in Bonn

The T-Mobile Tour team:
Photo ©: Mani Wollner
Click for larger image

Team T-Mobile has announced a mature and experienced team with which it hopes will help captain Jan Ullrich finally beat Lance Armstrong and win the Tour de France next month. "Ullrich is our clear number one," said Team Manager Walter Godefroot, clarifying a major question.

Ullrich will be supported by two former podium finishers, Andreas Klöden and Alexander Vinokourov, the latter who said, "The most important thing is that one of us wins yellow." In the mountains, Ullrich will be backed up by veteran Giuseppe Guerini and team newcomer Oscar Sevilla. Matthias Kessler, Tobias Steinhauser, Daniele Nardello and Tour-debutante Stephan Schreck complete what Director Sportif Mario Kummer calls "the best team we could bring." It is definitely not a young and inexperienced team - the riders average 30 years old and have ridden a total of 36 Tours de France.

Click here for the full report and photos

T-Mobile notes

Alexander Vinokourov, whose contract expires at the end of the season, confirmed that he has "a number of offers from other teams," with rumors circulating that he has already decided on Cofidis. He is flying back to Kazahkstan for the national championships this weekend, a decision greeted by team management with little enthusiasm. "It's a long trip," says T-Mobile spokesman Luuc Eisenga, shrugging his shoulders.

Jan Ullrich will not be competing in the German championships. "With 200 riders, the risk of crashing is too high," he notes. Andreas Klöden will be riding the road race this weekend, although the flat course is expected to favor a sprinter.

Bettini out of Italian Championships

Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step) will not be taking part in the Italian Championships next Sunday due to gastric problems that have worsened. Bettini has been bothered by them since the beginning of the season and was recently forced to pull out of the Tour de Suisse. The Olympic Champion will be undergoing tests over the next few days to try and ascertain the origin of the problems and to resolve them once and for all in time for the second part of the season.

"I am really sorry that I'll not be able to take part in the 'Tricolore' on Sunday," Bettini said. "But to be honest, my main objective is to resolve this problem that has been dragging me down for the last few months. There is still plenty of time left in the season and I've got lots of objectives to meet. It looks like I'll be watching the race on television from home cheering my teammates on."

Cyril Dessel in hospital

Cyril Dessel (Ag2r) was operated on on Wednesday morning for appendicitis in the Centre Hospitalier in Saint Chammond, France. He is expected to be out of hospital by Friday, but he will have to miss the French championships this Sunday, according to his team. In addition, team director Vincent Lavenu said that Dessel's participation in the Tour de France is "in doubt".

David Young out of hospital

U.S. cyclist David Young, who recently lost his leg in a motorcycle accident, has now left hospital and is back home in Kenosha, IL. Young is reportedly doing well, getting around by using crutches and a walker at the moment, but expects to be driving soon. David and his friends have been blown away with the financial support he has received from around the world in the form of pledges to assist him in his hospital expenses, and his Vision Quest, LLC team is planning a David Young benefit night soon.

More information: www.visionquestcoaching.com/DavidYoung.asp

U.S. triathlete dies of a heart attack

Patrick Bell, a U.S. triathlete, has died suddenly of a heart attack on Sunday, June 19, shortly after competing in a triathlon in Ashland, MA. He had just placed 11th in the Ashland Lions MetroWest Triathlon at the Warren Conference Center, which included a 1 mile swim, a 26 mile bike ride, and a 6 mile run. Patrick was on the Vortex Racing Triathlon Development Team, a national racing team, and was competing for a spot in the next Olympics. Since his 2004 graduation from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst with degrees in computer science and computer systems engineering, Patrick was employed as a computer software engineer for the EMC Corp. of Southboro.

Funeral services will be held Friday, 6/24 at 10 am from the Kostanski Funeral Home, 220 Federal Street, Greenfield, MA, followed by a Liturgy of Christian Burial at 11 am in Holy Trinity Church on Main Street in Greenfield. Burial will follow in Calvary Cemetery. Calling hours at the funeral home will be Thursday, 6/23 from 4-8 pm.

Memorial contributions may be made to Deerfield Academy Scholarship Fund, Main Street, Deerfield, MA 01342 or to the Holy Trinity Church Renovation Fund, 133 Main Street, Greenfield, MA 01301.

Thorburn and Webcor continue to lead Women's Prestige Cycling Series

The organizers of the U.S. Women's Prestige Cycling Series have released the current standings following the Series' second round at Minnesota's Nature Valley Grand Prix. Christine Thorburn (Webcor Builders) continued her winning ways, successfully defending the Series lead that she had established at the Redlands Bicycle Classic by claiming the overall win at the Nature Valley GP. She established her position early by winning the first two stages in Saint Paul and Mankato and then she and her team successfully defended the jersey in the three that remained. The win, her second in the two Women's Prestige Cycling Series events held thus far, gives her a commanding lead in the Series.

Tina Pic and teammate Annette Buetler (Quark Cycling) are tied for second, with Pic taking the tie breaker (best result in the most recent Series event). Kim Baldwin (T-Mobile) slipped from third to fourth while youngster Erinne Willock (Webcor Builders) rounds out the top five.

Willock continues to dominate the Best Young Rider category in the Series, taking an impressive fifth overall at the Nature Valley Grand Prix. Her performance was capped by a very close second in Nature Valley's very tough Stillwater Criterium. Aubrey Lemieux (Quark Cycling) and Stefanie Graeter (Webcor Builders) have equal points, with Lemieux taking the tie breaker. They're followed by Alisha Lion (Ford-Basis) and Kathleen Billington (Diet Cheerwine).

Ina Teutenberg (T-Mobile) is clinging to a diminishing lead over Laura Van Gilder and Tina Pic (Quark Cycling) in the Series sprint competition. Teutenberg finished third in the Nature Valley Grand Prix's Freewheel Sprint Competition, possibly because of a crash in the Mankato Road Race. Thorburn leads a three-way tie for fourth.

Webcor Builders continues to lead the Series team competition. However, their second-place team finish at the Nature Valley Grand Prix has begun to erode that lead, with their margin dropping from 270 points after Redlands to 220. Quark and T-Mobile remain within striking distance, with Ford-Basis and Colavita / Cooking Light rounding out the top five.

The Series began at the Redlands Bicycle Classic (March 31-April 3) and continues at the Tour de Toona/International (July 25-31) before finishing at the Bermuda Grand Prix (September 22-25).

Series standings after round 2

Individuals
 
1 Christine Thorburn (Webcor Builders)     440 pts
2 Tina Pic (Quark Cycling)                 264
3 Annette Beutler (Quark Cycling)          264
4 Kimberly Baldwin (T-Mobile)              253
5 Erinne Willock (Webcor Builders)         187
 
Young rider
 
1 Erinne Willock (Webcor Builders)         440 pts
2 Audrey Lemieux (Quark)                   231
3 Stefanie Graeter (Webcor Builders)       231
4 Alisha Lion (Ford-Basis)                 209
5 Kathleen Billington (Diet Cheerwine)     132
6 Zoe Owers (Team Lipton)                  132
7 Rebecca Larson (Colavita/Cooking Light)  132
 
Sprinters
 
1 Ina Teutenberg (T-Mobile)                341 pts
2 Laura Gilder (Quark)                     330
3 Tina Pic (Quark)                         257
4 Christine Thorburn (Webcor Builders)     165
5 Lara Kroepsch (T-Mobile)                 165
6 Annette Beutler (Quark)                  165
 
Teams
 
1 Webcor Builders                          942 pts
2 Quark                                    722
3 T-Mobile                                 574
4 Ford-Basis                               218
5 Colvita / Cooking Light                  148
 
More information: www.womencyclists.com

Dwars door Gendringen cancelled

The Dutch one day race Dwars door Gendringen, planned for August 21, will not take place this year. The organisers have been forced to cancel the 10th edition for financial reasons, saying that there is a budgetary shortfall of €30,000. "We don't see any possibilities to make up that deficit in the short term," said Otto Albers, the chairman of the organising committee, to ANP. It is intended to run the race in 2006.

The race has a history daying back to 1937, when it was known as the Ronde van Gendringen, but became the Dwars door Gendringen in 1996. Its past winners include Stefan Van Dijk, Alessandro Petacchi, Ivan Quaranta, Jeroen Blijlevens, and Servais Knaven.

Fantasy Tour is go!

The Fantasy Cyclingnews team is pleased to confirm that TREK will be the main sponsor for our third Fantasy game. TREK is giving away a Madone Discovery Team bike to the lucky winner of this year's game. More details of this and many other prizes will be announced soon.

Thanks to a number of suggestions from players of previous games we will be changing the rules slightly for this year's game. In short we plan to return the game to focus more on the GC points (similar to last year's games model) but open up the field a little more so lesser known players become more important in points scoring. The Rules section of the site will be updated soon to reflect these new changes.

Create your teams now at: fantasy.cyclingnews.com

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