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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition News for February 16, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones & Chris Henry

War won't prevent Armstrong from riding the Tour

"I think I can win six"

A war between the USA and Iraq would not prevent Lance Armstrong from riding in this year's Tour de France, according to an interview with him by Het Laatste Nieuws' Roger De Maertelaere. During the detailed interview, Armstrong discussed life, children, cars and coffee, in addition to the heavier subjects of war, the Tour de France and his eventual retirement.

When asked, Armstrong indicated that the Tour 2003 could well be different to the others. "That depends on whether war comes or not," he said.

As a man who knows and has supported Bush, having met him "around twenty times", Armstrong had this to say about his country's president. "Bush is a hard man, cleverer than people think, but he is sometimes pretty rough in his dialogue. Bush is no banker from New York, and not a well-to-do man from California, he is a cowboy from Texas."

Despite voting for Bush in the last election, Armstrong was definite about one thing. "I am no fan of war. Also I'm no fan of a dictator such as Saddam Hussein and equally not of terrorism. But it is wrong to go to the front without support from the UN and Europe."

Do you speak now as an American living in Europe? "Definitely. If it comes to war, you have to make it with a billion Muslims. It's not sensible for the United States to stand alone in a conflict with such an important part of the world's population. Then every American citizen will also fear for their lives."

Still, a war would not stop Armstrong from riding the Tour de France this year. "It would give me extra headaches, but it would not prevent me from riding the Tour," he said.

Speaking about how many Tours he could possibly win, Armstrong is confident but, as always, realistic. "I think that I can win six Tours, but maybe I won't attain five because I have problems, or that there is someone better."

"Anquetil, Hinault, Merckx and Indurain [who have all won five]: I have a feeling that they are of another calibre. How will a young rider evaluate me in twenty years? I'd come very near to the neighbourhood of that club. But I don't want to obsess about it. For me the next Tour is not "The Fifth" that I want to win, it's just the Tour 2003."

That hypothetical situation in 2004 is getting closer: Lance Armstrong has won six Tours and can now happily retire, knowing that no-one has won more Tours than he has. "It sounds good, I like the story, the perfect finish," he said. "But it's certainly not assured that it will go that way for me. If I feel good, am ready for competition and am surrounded by the same people, with a good sponsor and great teammates, I will begin 2005 exactly the same way as I am doing now: to prepare to win the biggest f*ing bike race in the world."

"So long as I race, I have to win the Tour de France," he added, and presumably the reverse applies.

When he does finally retire, what will he do? "I've never thought of it," he said. "You can't, or it costs you too much in what's happening today. I realise that everything goes fast, but I have no idea of what I'll be doing after my career."

The man whose favourite pet is his cat, Chemo, (the dog Boone belongs to Kristen, he says) lives very much in the present, having successfully conquered cancer over five years ago. As he begins his long, calculated assault on this year's Centenary Tour, it's still impossible to say which rider will overthrow him from the top.

Savoldelli and Aerts injured in crash

Team Telekom's Paolo Savoldelli and Mario Aerts have been injured in a crash during the team's training camp in Tenerife on Saturday. The pair were involved in a collision with a motorbike, and both were seriously hurt.

Savoldelli broke his nose and jaw and suffered other facial wounds. He has been taken to Freiburg hospital in Germany for treatment. Aerts was also taken to hospital, after suffering bruises on his face and having skin off all over his body.

Amore e Vita must settle for Division III

After having its request to race in Division II rejected by the UCI, the Italian Amore e Vita team will more than likely end up in the third division. Although not on the list of Division III teams released by the UCI yesterday, Amore e Vita is left with little alternative other than to accept a demotion. Similarly, the Italian Index team may have to settle for Division III, having so far had no luck in gaining entry to Division II with the UCI.

The UCI's list numbers 34 teams, but there will likely eventually be more than this as can be seen in the Cyclingnews team database.

Elk Haus Radteam Sportunion Schrems (Aut)
Quick Step-Davitamon-Latexco (Bel)
Miche (Bul)
Jet Fuel Coffee (Can)
AC Sparta Praha (Cze)
Credit Agricole Espoirs (Fra)
Team Maestro (GBr)
Team Endurasport.com-Principia (GBr)
Team Comnet-Senges (Ger)
Marco Polo Cycling Team (HKg)
Nippon Hodo (Jpn)
Team Ringerike (Nor)
Legia (Pol)
Servisco-Koop (Pol)
Team HSBC (RSA)
Team Barloworld (RSA)
Perutnina Ptuj (Slo)
Team Macandina-Kewa Rad-Vc Gippingen (Swi)
Saeco-Romer's-Wetzikon (Swi)
Team Mälarenergi (Swe)
Giant Asia Racing Team (Tpe)
7Up (USA)
Colavita Bolla (USA)
Health Net Cycling Team (USA)
Jelly Belly (USA)
Lemond Fitness-Blender (USA)
Ofoto-Lombardi Sports (USA)
Prime Alliance Cycling Team (USA)
Saturn Cycling Team (USA)
Sportsbook.com Cycling Team (USA)
Schroeder Iron Cycling Team (USA)
Sierra Nevada-Clif Bar Cycling Team (USA)
Webcor Cycling Team (USA)
West Virginia Cycling Team (USA)

Cyclo-cross World Cup finale

Sunday's World Cup race in Hoogerheide in the Netherlands, the fifth and final round, will bring the curtain down on the 2002-2003 series. Bart Wellens, crowned world champion in Monopoli, Italy, leads the World Cup standings ahead of fellow Belgian Mario de Clercq and Dutchman Richard Groenendaal. Belgium also leads the national standings, having each won each of the first four events, ahead of the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.

Wellens has won two of the first four World Cup events and holds 205 points, however the series win is not yet a done deal. Mario de Clercq trails by 15 points, while Groenendaal and Sven Nys sit 25 points back. Sixty points are normally awarded to the winner, although the final round of the series offers double point values, leaving the World Cup title up for grabs.

The Hoogerheide race, also known as the GP Adrie van der Poel, is run on a 2.9km circuit. The course features over 1km of pavement, 600 metres of meadow, and two pit zones. Four 15 meter hills throughout the course could help break up the field.

World Cup series standings after four rounds:

1 Bart Wellens (Bel) 205 points
2 Mario de Clercq (Bel) 190
3 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) 180
4 Sven Nys (Bel) 180
5 Ben Berden (Bel) 125
6 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) 102
7 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) 98
8 Jiri Pospisil (Cze) 93
9 Vaclav Jezek (Cze) 84
10 Gerben de Knegt (Ned) 83

LeMond Fitness-Blender Magazine Cycling Team

One of the 13 US Division III teams making the UCI list is the newly formed LeMond Fitness-Blender Magazine Cycling Team, run by New York club Kissena Sports. The team is based on the Kissena amateur squad, and features Bill Innes as team captain, Andy Crater, Marco Aledia and Sean Nealy as well as several antipodean riders such as Australian U23 TT champion Adrian Laidler, Nic Brown, and kiwi Joe Chapman. The team aims to concentrate on the U.S. National Racing Calendar, beginning with California's Pomona Valley Stage Race.

Kissena Sports will also maintain its amateur team, riders from which will race many of the same events as the pros in order to gain the experience. Both squads are currently attending a training camp in Tucson, AZ and will make their team debut at the Valley of the Sun Stage Race this weekend in Phoenix.

The team is sponsored by LeMond Fitness, providing financial, material and technical support as well as the experience of triple Tour de France winner and dual World Champion Greg LeMond. The team hopes to work together with LeMond to identify and nurture promising cyclists for possible careers as professionals.

The team's other main sponsor is Blender Magazine (entertainment genre). Executive vice president of Blender's publishing company, Lance Ford, said that "Rock n rollers have always enjoyed dressing in multicolored spandex, so the tie-in with a cycling team seems like a natural fit (excuse the pun). That and the fact we see cycling as an emerging sport, almost x-treme in some regards when you understand what it takes to ride up a mountain, then careen down the other side in a tight bunch of 200 riders, elbows and nobbly knees flying!"

The American-Italian Cancer Foundation (AICF) will be an Honorary Sponsor of the team. Benetton, USA is funding the team's efforts to assist the Foundation.

Team Roster

Pro Roster:

Bill Innes (USA) Team Captain
Marco Aledia (USA)
Nic Brown (Aus)
Joe Chapman (NZL)
Andy Crater (USA)
Eneas Freyre (USA)
Matt Hawkins (USA)
Adrian Laidler (Aus)
Sean Nealy (USA)
Leigh Palmer (Aus)
Brendan Shipp (Aus)

Amateur Roster:

Chris Beardsley
Breeze Keller
Keith Miller
Marc Lanoue
Anthony Taylor
Alex Weil

Team Advisor: Greg LeMond
Team Director: Greg Avon
Team Co-Director: Tym Tyler
Assistant Team Director: Alex Weil
Director of Operations: Suzanne Timmerman
Marketing Director: Keith Miller
Website: www.kissenasports.com

Sponsors

Lemond Fitness, Blender Magazine, American Italian Cancer Foundation (Honorary Sponsor), Mazza Consulting, King Capital, Aardvark Consulting, MAL Capital, Velocity, La Bicyclette Brasserie, Trilogy Capital, ComfortDirect.com, Passerelli Landscaping Services and R&A Cycles.

Equipment: Lemond Bicycles (Bicycles), Spinergy (Wheels), Profile (Bars and Stems), Northwave (shoes), Limar (Helmets), Rudy Project (glasses), DeFeet (apparel) and Nokian (tires). Coaching services will be supplied by Mirek Mazur (MazurCoaching.com)

GP Wallonie parcours announced

The route for this year's Grand Prix de Wallonie has been announced by the organisers. The race has undergone a date shift from May 9 to September 17, four days after Paris-Bruxelles. The race starts in Rik Verbrugghe's hometown of Chaudfontaine and finishes in Jambes, thus not on top of the Citadel of Namur this time. However the Citadel climb will still form part of the race, which also includes the Côtes de Theux, Malchamps, Basse Bodeux, Werbemont, d'Ermeton and Tienne Hinraut.

Kelly back to Belgium

Ireland's Sean Kelly may be making a return to his adopted home in Belgium. Kelly, who made his home in Vilvorde outside of Brussels, has been named the guest of honour for the Belgian national championships in June. According to the TV1, race director Jean-Marie Wampers has also asked Kelly to assist in the technical preparations for the nationals in Vilvorde. No decision yet from Kelly on whether he will be remain spectator or join the organisation.

Lehigh Valley Velodrome 2003 International Race Schedule

The Lehigh Valley Velodrome has announced the 2003 International Race Schedule. This year marks the 28th season at the velodrome, and will include four National Racing Calendar (NRC) events. This is the first year track cycling has been added to the NRC. This year's velodrome season has a total purse over $50,000 in cash.

Tickets for the 2003 International Race Season are available now by calling (610) 967-7587.

2003 International Race Schedule:

May 30: Legends of the Velodrome
June 6: Nicole Reinhart Women's Cycling Classic *
June 13: Bicycle Racing League Finals
June 20: Lehigh Valley Chamber Chariots
June 27: Red Robin Fastest Man on Wheels 10 & 5 Mile *
July 4: TBD
July 11: Bicycling Magazine Madison Cup *
July 18: Corporate Relays
July 25: Pennsylvania State Championship Finals
August 1: Pro Team Challenge
August 8: Nestor's Keirin Cup
August 15: Tandemonium!
August 22: Air Products Night / The Morning Call Rider of the Year
August 26-30: U.S. National Track Cycling Championships *

* National Racing Calendar event

Girvan Three Day Stage Race

The Girvan Three Day Stage Race has been confirmed as a part of this year's Premier Calendar Series. The South Ayrshire Council (Great Britain) confirmed that it would again be backing the race, which has been run for over 30 years. This year marks a resumption of backing by the South Ayrshire local authority, which had been suspended following the foot & mouth epidemic.

The race includes four stages held over three days, including the Saturday Night Crit around Victory Park. Teams interested in taking part in the Cycing Challenge Audax can contact organiser David Miller at david@wallacehill.freeserve.co.uk (for the race) and Ian Sinclair wiskids@ukonline.co.uk (for the cycling challenge).

Norco team rides for a cause

Norco has joined headline sponsor Symmetrics to start a new road team based in British Columbia. The team has a unique concept that targets fundraising for the BC Special Olympics foundation. Financial supporters will contribute cash directly to the Special Olympics organization based on the results of the Symmetrics/Norco team. That is, the more the team wins, the more funds they raise for the cause. The team is made up of staff rider Scott Goguen, as well as Min Van Velzen, Matt Usborne, Rick Minichiello, Tony Zarsadias and Eric Harvey. Norco has also partnered with Flash Five Energy Foods by sponsoring its Norco/Flash Five E.Z.UP Canada XC/Road team.

Full 2003 Norco Factory Team roster

GS Camerati for 2003

The G.S. Camerati team, founded in 2000 and based in Portland, Oregon, has announced its 2003 roster. The team begins racing this weekend at the Oregon Cherry Pie Road Race (not to be confused with last weekend's Napa, CA Cherry Pie Road Race), and will focus on events in the Pacific Northwest. The team will also contest regional mountain bike events and selected races in California.

Full team roster

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)