First Edition Cycling News for June 30, 2005
Edited by Jeff Jones & Hedwig Kröner
Godefroot: "Ullrich much better than in last years"
T-Mobile team manager Walter Godefroot, who has been known to speak quite frankly about the condition of any of his riders, has declared himself "full of enthusiasm", as far as the pre-Tour shape of Jan Ullrich is concerned. "Ullrich is much better than in the last years," the Belgian told his country's radio station Sporza. "His build-up has taken a long time and was not interrupted. Let's hope that his high level is of duration."
Asked whether he wasn't feeling nervous after the Tour de Suisse, where his team leader wasn't yet on top, he replied, "No. Iban Mayo peaked too soon last year [when he won the Dauphiné Libéré, then did not perform well at the Tour - ed.]. Ullrich will be fit just in time."
Tour 2004 runner-up Andreas Klöden, meanwhile, "will be a helper again", Godefroot said. "He's not up to the pressure yet. As for Alexandre Vinokourov, his abilities in the mountains and in the time trials aren't as good, but he makes up for it through his aggressive riding."
Mixed feelings at Liquigas
Expectations and hopes for the Tour de France are quite varied for the Italian Liquigas-Bianchi team. Three days before the first stage time trial in Fromentine, Garzelli, Cioni, Pellizotti and Bäckstedt have spoken about their aims and ambitions for the Wold's biggest cycling race.
Stefano Garzelli, who abandoned the Giro d'Italia on the difficult mountain stage 13 to Ortisei, has no particular aspirations for this year's Tour de France. "I can't pinpoint a precise objective for this Tour," he said. "I won't be a man for overall classification, since there will be riders who have been training solely for this race while I'm back from abandoning the Giro d'Italia - I will have to perfect my condition during the first week and hope to be competitive in the last eight or nine days."
Dario Cioni, on the other hand, is feeling confident about his form. "After the Giro d'Italia [where he finished 13th - ed.], I feel quite ready. In this phase I've particularly worked my time trialling position," said Cioni, who made a very good appearance at the Italian Time trial Championships, where he placed third. "I've made the final refinements to my form," he concluded.
Tall Swede Magnus Bäckstedt will be lining up in Fromentine feeling especially ambitious. "Every stage in the first week will be like a World Championship to me," he said, explaining, "I haven't won this year yet and I really want to make amends. I've worked hard since Paris-Roubaix, and I felt very good in the team time trial in Eindhoven. I'm quite hopeful."
Finally, Franco Pellizotti feels confident especially since his teammate Garzelli will also participate, which he sees as an asset in the mountains. "The presence of Garzelli makes me serene: we will help each other," he said. "If I win one stage, it will already be a wonderful Tour. If I achieve a good overall result, even better!"
Quick.Step to control first week
The Belgian Quick.Step team sees itself as the squad who will largely control possible mass sprint finishes during the first, flat week of the Tour de France. As team director Patrick Lefévère told the official site of the Tour, letour.fr, Tom Boonen will be the squad's leader until the race gets to the mountains, which also brings about responsibilities inside the peloton.
"In fact, it is a setback for us that Petacchi won't be there," Lefévère said, contrary to the thought that his absence would mean one rival less for Boonen. "Fassa Bortolo is a team that takes its responsibilities when it comes to leading the peloton to catch breakaways. They are good companions on the road. This year, however, I'm afraid we will be forced to work alone and it will be very hard to control the race if the others don't play ball." Lefévère, who confirmed that Boonen will be a "serious candidate" for the Green jersey if he's in top form, added that the squad's ambitions nevertheless included the time trials, as well as the mountain stages.
"Michael Rogers has ambitions of his own," he continued. "He is the reigning time trial world champion and he intends to show that he deserves that title. The first stage should suit him well, as 19 km is the right distance for specialists like him. What's more, he showed on the Tour of Switzerland that he could perform on several types of terrain. He's a rider who can be very consistent and he has a role to stick to in this Tour de France."
Rogers will also lead the team over the mountains, together with young German Patrik Sinkewitz, winner of the "very tough" 2004 Tour of Germany. "He's a young rider with bags of ambition who likes to attack. Sometimes he even overdoes it a little, but that's better than being the other way," Lefévère concluded.
Breukink: "Menchov can aim for top five"
Rabobank's team manager Erik Breukink believes his rider Denis Menchov to be ready to aim for a top five placing at the upcoming Tour de France. Menchov had won the Best Young rider classification at the Tour in 2003, and has been designated the squad's leader for general classification this year. "I feel that with the qualities and maturity he has acquired, he now has reason to aim for a top five placing. That's how good he is," Breukink said. "While he may not have finished [the Tour] last year, that whole season was a bit of a non-starter for him," he added.
Because of the non-participation of Oscar Freire, who would have been a major player for sprint finishes in the first week, Breukink remodeled his strategies to aim for the hillier stages. "For the intermediate stages, where the breakaways can sometimes lead all the way to the finish, we have several possibilities with Erik Dekker and Karsten Kroon, for example, who are very experienced Tour riders. Another option, once we reach the mountains, will be to let Michael Rasmussen take his chances, as he is truly a good climber," he explained to letour.fr.
Click here to see the full Tour de France team roster start list.
European Track Championships behind Derny
The European Track Championships behind Derny will get under way in the velodrome of Dalmine, Italy on July 3, 2005. The organisers of the event have announced the list of participants, which includes famous Six Day track cyclists Marco Villa, Matthew Gilmore and Iljo Keisse.
Participating will be: Corrado Serina, (Ita), Giairo Ermeti, (Ita), Marco Villa (Ita), Matthew Gilmore (Bel), Iljo Keisse (Bel), Steven De Neef (Bel), Lars H. Thomsen (Den), Michael Berling (Den), Andreas Muller (Ger), Christian Grassmann (Ger), Reiner Honig (Ned), Patrick Kops (Ned), Ivan Kovalev (Rus), Sergey Kolesnikov (Rus), Alexey Shmidt (Rus), Martin Liska (Slo), Jozef Zabka (Slo), Peter Jörg (Swi) and Giuseppe Azeni (Swi).
Axel Merckx gets second daughter
Axel Merckx's wife Jodi gave birth to the couple's second daughter Athina Grace just before the Davitamon rider left Belgium for the Tour de France. The mother and daughter are fine.
South African Juniors for MDonnelly Junior Tour
By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent
The YCA squad for the forthcoming M. Donnelly Junior Tour of Ireland gives a clear indication of just how seriously the South African team's management is taking the tour, which is also regarded as one of the high points of the Irish cycling year. The JT will now be based in Castlebar for the duration of the six days, and with the support of the Connacht region it should be a success.
South Africa will be fielding three junior teams, which comprise the following riders: the members of Team 1 are all first year juniors and they include Dana Minne, Neal Corbett - who has been to Ireland twice before as an U 16, and participated in the Kerry Youth Tour, Wouter Staats, and Tshepo Marumo. Team 2 is a mixture of first year juniors, Kyle Joseph and Siphiwe Sowela, plus Louwtjie Janse Van Rensburg, who is on loan from the Dimension Data Team, and Werner Van Onselen, who are both second year juniors. Team 3 includes: Frank Janse Van Rensburg, who has been to Ireland twice before as an U 16, and participated in the Kerry Youth Tour; Jaco Muller, who has been to Ireland once before as an U 16, and also participated in the Kerry Youth Tour; David Berkowitz and Dayne Levinrad. The first three riders in this team are first year juniors and the final rider is a second year, while Frank Janse Van Rensburg is the current Central Gauteng Road and Time Trial Champion.
Hamilton at Pedro's Mountain Bike Festival
The 11th annual Pedro's Mountain Bike Festival will return to the Berkshires, Massachusetts, from August 5-7. The largest mountain bike festival in America, "Pedrosfest" is a rendezvous for cyclists of all ages, types, and abilities. This year will feature special rides led by Olympic gold medalist Tyler Hamilton, as well as the Mavic Lymphoma Research Foundation Marathon fundraiser held Saturday morning. The festival features a large selection of demo bikes offered by leading manufacturers, as well as a big selection of components, clothing, and accessories in the expo area.
For more information visit www.pedrosfest.com
Tour Fantasy game: Rider list update
The latest Tour de France rider list has been uploaded to the Fantasy game site. Build your team now by registering at Fantasy Cycling News.
There will be over 25 opportunities to win prizes in this year's game. Be a professional team manager for the 2005 Tour de France. Based on the live racing action, you will take up the challenge of using your knowledge and tactical skill as a race team manager to compete with managers from around the world. Follow the races live and use your skill and knowledge to win prizes. Follow the races live and use your skill and knowledge to win prizes. For more info go to the fantasy site.
As well as thefirst prize TREK Madone Discovery Team bike detailed above, the following great prizes have been confirmed, with more to come.
Stage by Stage Prizes : Specialized - 21x pairs of sunglasses
- 2x pairs Bontrager Race X-Lite Aero wheels, 1x Race X Lite OS handlebars,
1x Race XXX Lite OS carbon stem, and 1x Race X Lite Pro saddle.
In conjunction with feedback and suggestions from players of the game over three years, we have developed a new points system for the Tour games. We've awarded more points to a greater number of riders and given back more emphasis to GC placings. Thanks to all of you who helped us develop the new points system. Have a look for yourself in the points section.
How to Play
You can begin creating your team/s now. You can play the first 8 stages for FREE! We will be adding additions to the startlist on a daily basis. The Tour games are easy to play, all you need to do to manage your own team is select 15 riders from the live start list then select 9 of these riders to race each day throughout the Tour. You score points according to how well each of the riders place each day in the Tour. So try your team today and see if it's for you. It's a great way to follow the Tour. Create your teams now at fantasy.cyclingnews.com.
The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team
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