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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, November 3, 2008

Edited by Laura Weislo and Peter Hymas

Armstrong tests himself in Tour de Gruene

Armstrong with a confident smile
Photo ©: Mike Gladu
(Click for larger image)

Lance Armstrong kicked off the Tour de Gruene's 25th anniversary celebration in Gruene, Texas with a dominating victory in the newly expanded two-day event's opening individual time trial on Saturday.

Armstrong, 37, finished with a race-best 33:14 for the 16-mile circuit, almost two minutes faster than his nearest competitor, Erick Benz, but he was still critical of his performance. "Overall I would say I was moderately pleased," Armstrong told the San Antonio Express. "I wasn't ecstatic."

"I wasn't really sure what to expect," Armstrong said. "Oh man, the crowds were super. It's hard suffering through the race but when you have people there being supportive, it makes the suffering a little more bearable."

Armstrong is no stranger to the Tour de Gruene having participated on two prior occasions under more trying circumstances: once in 1996 following his cancer diagnosis, partnered with the legendary Eddy Merckx and again in 1997, Armstrong's first ride after his cancer recovery, partnered with Cofidis teammate Kevin Livingston.

The previous 24 editions of the Tour de Gruene consisted solely of a two-man team time trial but this year's event increased to two days with an opening individual time trial. Armstrong will be partnered with long-time Texas friend John Korioth in the Sunday's 27.3 mile team time trial.

When asked about his plans for competing in the 2009 Tour de France, the seven-time Tour champion remained undecided. "I don't think it's a green light or a red light," said Armstrong. "There's no deadline [for a decision]. We're going to look at the season and [look at] two things: first, my international cancer plan and second, my season and preparation."

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of Lance Armstrong's comeback

January 18, 2009 - Armstrong announces start of Catlin's drug testing programme
January 8, 2009 - Armstrong impresses Carmichael prior to Tour Down Under
January 7, 2009 - Armstrong believes Team Astana can dominate Tour
December 10, 2008 - Merckx: Armstrong's return good for cycling and Giro
December 8, 2008 - Armstrong climbs Teide
December 6, 2008 - Rast on life with Armstrong
December 5, 2008 - Armstrong considers Tour of Ireland
December 5, 2008 - Armstrong: Contador is the best
December 4, 2008 - Horner unites with Armstrong despite past differences
December 3, 2008 - Armstrong and Contador ride separate paths towards Tour
December 2, 2008 - Armstrong surfs with Astana
December 2, 2008 - Armstrong plans to race Tour
December 1, 2008 - Armstrong's anti-doping testing program pending
November 23, 2008 - Media out of love with Armstrong?
November 22, 2008 - Andreu caught up in Armstrong fight again
November 19, 2008 - Armstrong concerned about Tour safety
November 17, 2008 - Armstrong to meet with ASO
November 9, 2008 - Armstrong racing in Texas again
November 7, 2008 - Exclusive Armstrong wind tunnel video
November 7, 2008 - Lance Armstrong speaks at Web 2.0 conference
November 6, 2008 - Carmichael dials in Armstrong's comeback training
November 5, 2008 - Armstrong looking for balance
November 5, 2008 - Photos from Armstrong's wind tunnel test
November 3, 2008 - Armstrong doubles up and heads to wind tunnel

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Lance Armstrong's comeback

Great Britain women sweep World Cup

By Laura Weislo

Lizzie Armistead rounds off a great weekend
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

The British were expected to dominate their home Track World Cup round, but in Manchester this weekend, the women pulled of an unprecedented coup - taking home the gold in every single event. Even more surprising was that they did it without Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Romero, and won the team sprint without Victoria Pendleton.

Beijing silver medallist Wendy Houvenaghel opened up proceedings with gold in the individual pursuit, but it was a group of freshmen who took home gold in the remaining endurance events. Elizabeth Armistead emerged as the country's long-missing mass start contender, and with her Team 100% ME teammate Katie Colclough in bronze and GB's Lucy Martin in silver, the British pulled off a never before seen sweep of the points race medals.

The next evening, Pendleton showed that she is a class above the rest with a win in the 500m time trial, while her young compatriots Anna Blyth and Jessica Varnish pulled of a stunning win in the team sprint.

On the final afternoon, Pendleton cruised to her third gold of the event in the women's keirin, while the depth of the British program could not have been better demonstrated than with a victory in the team pursuit with just one member of the world championship squad on the boards.

Young Jess Varnish leads Anna Blyth
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

Lizzy Armistead, Katie Colclough and Joanna Roswell went more than four seconds faster than the German team of the experienced Becker sisters Charlotte and Christian and Lisa Brennauer.

The men enjoyed nearly equal success, with Ed Clancy taking home the pursuit prize, Jason Kenny winning the sprint, David Daniell emerging as the next kilometre star and Chris Newton putting on a display of expertise in the points race. The British team also took home gold in the team pursuit and team sprint, giving up the win only in the Madison (to Germany), the scratch race (to Dutch rider Wim Stroetinga) and the Keirin (to Frenchman François Pervis).

See also, Procycling's Daniel Friebe wonders "When does brilliance become boring?"

Belgian wins Tour du Faso

Belgian rider Guy Smet completed his domination of the 22nd Tour du Faso on Sunday with a final stage victory to seal his overall win by 43 seconds over his teammate Laurent Donnay. The Belgians took the top three places on the final stage, a 86.5km trek from Kombissiri to Ouagadougou.

Not only did the Belgians seal the top two spots overall, they also took the points jersey thanks to Lionel Syne. Second overall Donnay also took the intermediate sprint competition and Donnay won the prize for best young rider.

Europeans took the win in all but one stage: Best African rider Sadrak Teguimaha won stage five from a breakaway. Ivory Coast rider Konté Bassirou took the prize in the UEMOA classification.

The host country of Burkina Faso had to be content with the award for most aggressive rider, won by Simon Peter Kiba.

Flexpoint merger off

The women's cycling squad, Team Flexpoint, has withdrawn from a proposed merger with the fellow Dutch team Vrienden van het Platteland. In a press release, Team Flexpoint stated that the negotiations between the management of both teams had been in the last stages, but they could not agree on the details.

Bernard Sainz appeal date set

Frenchman Bernard Sainz was informed this week that he would have to wait until next April to be heard in his appeal of an 18-month prison sentence he is currently serving for providing doping products to cyclists.

Sainz, a former horse breeder turned soigneur, was found guilty in April of practicing medicine illegally and administering banned substances. He appealed the decision in hopes of gaining a shorter sentence.

The court of appeals set his hearing date for April 9, 2009.

Washington riders hold rally for Farrar

The Washington cycling community came together in support of Dr. Ed Farrar, the father of Garmin-Chipotle rider Tyler Farrar, who was critically injured last week. Tyler Farrar will lead the ride, to be held November 9, 2008 at the Wenatchee Center downtown at 9:30 AM.

Since Farrar was injured in a head-on collision with a car, there has been an outpouring of support from the community. Farrar worked to promote cycling as a sport and a healthy lifestyle, and as an orthopedic surgeon, he helped others recover from injury. His family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the cycling club, Wenatchee Valley Velo, at: Wenatchee Valley Velo P.O. Box 1991 Wenatchee, WA 98807.

The driver who caused the collision, Andrew Sandoval, was cited for second degree negligent driving, which is a civil violation requiring no jail time and a $500 fine. Dr. Farrar remains in serious condition with a spinal injury since the collision which occurred on Skyline Drive on October 23, 2008.

Road rage leads to disaster in K2 race

An impatient driver has been accused of causing a serious crash which left one rider in the hospital with spinal injuries in the K2 Classic on New Zealand's Coromandel Peninsula Saturday. Witnesses described a utility truck honking and then passing on a blind curve, forcing riders to swerve out of the path of an oncoming milk tanker. The action caused a chain-reaction crash which sent Auckland resident Brett Burton into the path of the tanker. According to the New Zealand Herald, Burton, 43, was airlifted to the Auckland City Hospital where he was in stable condition.

A police inspector raised the hackles of cyclists by accusing the riders of "using the road as if they owned it", but told the paper that he was concerned about the behaviour of the group. "One officer followed a bunch for 10 to 15 minutes out of Whitianga and they were on both sides of the road," said inspector Earle McIntosh.

According to the report, the officer he did not know if that was still the case at the time of the accident, but said it would have been no excuse for dangerous driving by any motorists.

McIntosh said the police were assessing the reports of witnesses and the statement of the utility truck driver. "His actions may or may not have contributed to the crash, but as far as initial investigations would indicate, he was quite a distance away from the crash scene when it occurred - ahead of the crash."

First SA Amy's ride draws 1800

Amy Gillett
Photo ©: Nisa Schebella
Click for larger image

Amy Gillett's parents led the way for over 1800 cyclists riding to pay tribute to their daughter at South Australia's inaugural Amy's Ride on Saturday morning. Olympian Amy Gillett was tragically killed three years ago in a road accident in Germany while training with five members of Australia's women's team. An 18-year old driver lost control of her car and careened into all six riders.

Cycling enthusiasts, Amy's parents and friends filled the Southern Expressway this morning for the ride to McLaren Vale. Her parents, Denis and Mary Safe, were warmed by the amount of people who had turned up to share in the memory of their daughter.

"It's quite humbling to see this many people come out for this first-time event," Mrs Safe said according to The Advertiser. "We are all buoyed up by seeing people come out to address safe cycling and remember Amy."

The event's message to the community was to share the road and be respective of all road users, she said. The Amy Gillett Foundation was established to promote and encourage mutual awareness and respect of bike riders and motorists on our roads. Money raised from the event will go towards Amy Gillett Foundation's Road Right Program for learner drivers and the launch of AustCycle, a program to teach cycling skills, next year.

Each year, an average of 35 cyclists are killed and over 2500 are seriously injured on Australia's roads.

New book details Jeanson's sordid career

A new book about disgraced former Canadian cyclist Genevieve Jeanson will reveal a disturbing account of parent-backed doping, according to the CBC. Alain Gravel, the author of the book L'Affaire Jeanson: L'Engrenage (The Case of Jeanson: The Spiral), first interviewed Jeanson for a television broadcast in 2007.

Gravel was the first person to gain a public account of Jeanson's troubled career, which included an affair with her trainer, André Aubut, that began when she was just 16. Jeanson insists that the relationship was consensual.

The book also reveals that Jeanson's parents were aware of her use of EPO, which she began using at the age of 16 and continued to use up until she was ejected from the Hamilton World Championships in 2003 with a too-high hematocrit.

Also included is a photo of Jeanson with a black eye, said to have been given to her by Aubut after he was unhappy with her performance at the 2004 Redlands Classic in California, and other details about her life.

The book will hit the shelves on November 6.

Irish duo begin circumnavigation of globe

By Shane Stokes

Heading a charity ride from the Dublin suburb of Blackrock to Greystones, Simon Evans and Fearghal O'Nuallain set off on Sunday for the first-ever Irish circumnavigation of the globe by bicycle.

The duo intend to clock up over 30,000 kilometres, passing through 30 countries on the projected eighteen month trip.

Evans and O’Nuallain will encounter extremes of terrain and climate in that time, carrying their own gear and food and riding without support vehicles. One of the main goals of the journey is to raise funds for the depression charity Aware.

They have secured some backers but welcome more sponsorship for the expedition. Details – and blogs – can be found on the web site

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