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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

News for October 26, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones & Chris Henry

Armstrong wants to do Paris-Nice

Armstrong and Merckx
Photo: © CN
Click for larger image

Next year will see a slightly different program for Lance Armstrong as he prepares for his assault on a fifth consecutive Tour de France. Armstrong was interviewed by L'Equipe while at the Tour presentation in Paris on Thursday, where he was quoted as saying that "I'm going to approach this Tour as if it were my first, and not a possible fifth victory in my palmares. It's historic, sure, but for me it's a new Tour with all of the usual dangers. I only have one regret: there's no Mont Ventoux. But I've already asked Jean-Marie Leblanc if he plans to include it in 2004."

Armstrong is not sure what his first race of the season will be, "Normally I do the Vuelta a Murcia, but this time I'd like to do Paris-Nice," he said. "It's a race I've always liked, and I know it's changed a lot since the last time I did it, it's refound its place. Plus, I'm very attached to the Côte d'Azur. It's a special place and I'd like to go back."

Also, there will likely be fewer classics on his program this year. Milan-San Remo is "very likely", but the Tour of Flanders is not on the agenda at the moment. "That's a race where you can't hide and where you have to be in good shape. Plus, it requires a lot of concentration to avoid danger."

He hopes to be in shape for the late April classics Amstel Gold, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Next year there won't be a conflict with the Ride for the Roses weekend, which has been moved to October 24-26, enabling Armstrong to stay in Europe in April.

"Everyone knows I love that region and to be able to return to the Flèche Wallonne really motivates me," said Armstrong. "I'm always very competitive in the end of April, to this opens some new horizons."

When asked about whether he would ride the 2003 World's, Armstrong was uncertain. "The more I think about it, the more I doubt I'll be there. Even though it's special this time because it's in North America, it's too late. To play any role there, you have to do the Vuelta or other races to stay focused after the Tour. That takes a lot of energy."

Milaneza hopes for a wild card

At the Tour presentation in Paris on Thursday, Manuel Zeferino, manager of the Portuguese division I team Milaneza-MSS showed enormous ambition and faith in the participation of his team at the Centenary Tour in 2003. To achieve that goal, Milaneza-MSS must get a wild card, and to get one the team must show its skills to the Tour Organisation and hope that sporting criteria are used to decide the selection.

So, Milaneza will participate at Paris-Nice as well as at the Criterium International, the Classique des Alpes and the Dauphine Libéré. The team has signed 16 riders, which is the minimum allowed by UCI for Division I teams, and will sign more if a third sponsor joins the pool.

Courtesy of João Cravo

Giro presentation in three weeks

The 2003 edition of the Giro d'Italia will be presented in three weeks' time on Saturday, November 16 in the Auditorium di Milano. It will be the 86th edition of the Giro, which first took place in 1909. The race will start on May 10 in Lecce and finish in Milan on June 1. Cyclingnews will be at the presentation to report on all the details.

Contracts for Danielson, Kluck and Barry

Tom Danielson (24), winner of the Mt. Washington Hill climb (beating Tyler Hamilton's record) and the Tour of China in his first year on the road, has signed with Saturn for 2003. Tom won several other races including the U.S. Collegiate mountain bike nationals last weekend in Angelfire, New Mexico.

Damon Kluck (25), who rode for Team Saturn in 2002, will join U.S. Postal Service in 2003. Finally, Canadian Michael Barry (26) has extended with U.S. Postal service through 2003. All three riders signed one year contracts.

Hamburger prolongs

Danish 32 year old Bo Hamburger has prolong his contract with Index Alexia for another year, according to news agency Ritzau in Denmark.

"It's no secret that I would have liked to have ridden for a bigger team. But there is a bit of a crisis in cycling today so it's a buyer's market. I got the best offer from Index-Alexia," he told Ritzau.

The 32 year old Dane had offers from a couple of other teams but apart from the money there was also a better position in the team at Index-Alexia.

"I'm promised that I will ride as captain in many races. As in any minor Italian team the Giro is the main event so my aim is to start next season in good form and be on top for the Giro," said Hamburger whose palmares include a stage win in the Tour in 1994, Flèche Wallonne in 1998 with one day in the yellow jersey in the Tour de France plus a silver medal at the World's road race the same year.

In 2001 he was tested for EPO after the Flèche Wallonne and found to have a too high a value. He was never suspended however due to irregularities with the analysis of the B sample. However he was suspended from his team for the whole season and also banned for life from the Danish National Team.

Final year at CA for Hushovd

Norwegian Tour stage winner Thor Hushovd will not prolong his contract with Credit Agricole after 2003 when his contract expires.

"I am not satisfied with the teammates and the domestiques in CA this season and if I want to win in the classics I must have some help. The classics are most important to me," he said according to Norwegian tabloid Verdens Gang.

Hushovd's adviser Birger Hungerholdt believes that many teams will compete for Thor's signature: "He is attractive after his stage win in the Tour de France this season. He is also relatively young and I know that several teams wants to secure him for the future."

Rabobank, Cofidis and Quick Step are on his list of preferred teams.

"There are other teams as well. I know I'm taking a risk by announcing that I'm shifting teams this early, Who knows, I might be injured or have a bad season next year, but I'm prepared to take that risk," said Hushovd who counts on at least another eight years in top cycling.

Mapei and Lampre in Japan

Tomorrow's Japan Cup Cycle Road Race will be the final race of the season for several teams, including Mapei-Quick Step, Lampre-Daikin and Saeco-Longoni Sport. Mapei is taking Hungarian Laszlo Bodrogi, Swiss Fabian Cancellara, Italian Luca Paolini, Australian Michael Rogers, and German Patrik Sinkewitz to contest the race, which will be the last hurrah for the world's top team.

Lampre-Daikin will take Rubens Bertogliati, Sergio Barbero, Massimo Codol, Alessandro Cortinovis, and Manuel Quinziato to Japan to finish their season, hoping to improve on Marco Serpellini's third place last year. The team will also contest the Firenze-Pistoia time trial on Saturday in Tuscany, with Raivis Belohvosciks, Marco Pinotti and Marco Serpellini the designated riders.

Irish Veterans meet

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

In recent years the upsurge in veterans activities such as the senior tours has added a new dimension to those who want to enjoy the activities associated with sport. One such organisation are the cycling veterans. On Sunday, the first annual general meeting of the Irish Veteran Cyclists Association Limited takes place. The venue is the Maples House Hotel, Iona Road, Glasnevin, Dublin at 2 o'clock.

According to Michael Manley, Secretary of the association "it's very important event for the Association and its members-the AGM is the forum through which the future direction of the Association is debated and developed."

There are 23 motions tabled for the meeting, which is item 12 on the agenda. Interestingly, the association with its vast membership saw fit to facilitate those who may not be in a position to attend by sending out a postal vote.

One of their most successful promotions, which has had a huge interest not alone in Ireland but further a field, is the "Wicklow 200". In their wisdom the Management Committee have listed as Motion number 23, "that the organisation and running of the Wicklow 200 be franchised out to interested parties in order to secure the future of the event."

Obviously the decrease in volunteerism has prompted this motion. Hopefully there will be a happy conclusion to this worthwhile promotion as it would be a tragedy for the effort that the initiative taken many years to stage such an event would be lost on their membership.

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)