Latest News for June 24, 2003
Edited by Chris Henry
Team Telekom for the Tour
German powerhouse Team Telekom has announced its roster for the Tour de France. Perennial green jersey favourite Erik Zabel will joined by a strong team, which has been reshaped following the departure of former winner Jan Ullrich.
Along with the in-form Alexandre Vinokourov, Telekom will feature new recruits Santiago Botero and Paolo Savoldelli looking for success in the general classification. "We want to attack everywhere, wherever we get the chance," explained directeur sportif Mario Kummer. "We want to make life as hard as possible for Lance Armstrong."
Belgian Mario Aerts has also received his ticket to France, after some early anxiety over his chances for selection. The full Team Telekom includes Mario Aerts, Rolf Aldag, Santiago Botero, Matthias Kessler, Andreas Klöden, Daniele Nardello, Paolo Savoldelli, Alexandre Vinokourov, and Erik Zabel.
Lotto-Domo picks seven
Seven of the nine riders for the Lotto-Domo Tour de France team have been selected. The final two slots will be filled following the Belgian national championships. The team will be headed by last year's green jersey winner Robbie McEwen, while Axel Merckx and Rik Verbrugghe will be looking for stage victories in addition to protecting McEwen. The initial team selection includes Serge Baguet, Christophe Brandt, Robbie McEwen, Axel Merckx, Koos Moerenhout, Leon Van Bon, and Rik Verbrugghe.
Rogers on a roll
Michael Rogers (Quick.Step-Davitamon) continued his winning ways at the stage 3 time trial at the Route du Sud. Rogers clocked the best time over the 33 km course, beating French national champion Nicolas Vogondy (FDJeux.com) and taking over the leader's jersey with just one stage to race. The time trial win was the Australian's fourth of the year, and follows stage race successes at the Tours of Belgium and Germany.
"The parcours of the time trial was tricky without even one metre of flat," Rogers said. "The roads were very narrow and dangerous, making it quite easy to make mistakes. I was very careful and thankfully everything turned out well."
Today's final stage from Montrejeau - Barousse finishes a mountaintop finish of 15km, as well as two climbs in the middle of the stage. "I will really have to give my all to defend my title," he noted. "I just hope that it won't be too hot [Tuesday]."
Le Mevel up and then down
After a strong showing in stage 2 of the Route du Sud, where he featured in a late stage breakaway and ultimately finished second behind Ludovic Turpin, Crédit Agricole's Christophe Le Mevel saw his fortunes reversed in Monday's individual time trail when he hit the ground just 300 metres from the finish line.
"There was gravel in the road, and once my front wheel slid I knew there was nothing I could do," he told l'Equipe. "I hadn't fallen since my crash in the Four Days of Dunkerque last year, and I was really afraid this was going to be worse. Plus, in rolling up my shorts to see if the cut was bad, I found a nail!"
Le Mevel finished the stage nearly eight minutes behind winner Michael Rogers.
Pereiro sticks with Phonak
Oscar Pereiro, winner of stage 6 of the Tour de Suisse, has reportedly been offered a two year extension of his contract with Swiss formation Phonak. Pereiro gave Phonak an important win on home soil Sunday, salvaging the dashed GC hopes of team leader Alex Zülle.
Poulidor, Jalabert honoured
Two stars of two generations of French cycling, Raymond Poulidor and Laurent Jalabert, were honoured Monday morning at the French presidential palace, the Palais de l'Élysée. President Jacques Chirac presented the two with medals of the Legion of Honour at a small ceremony in Paris. Chirac praised Poulidor as "one of the greatest French champions of all time, with extraordinary talent, a rare longevity, and enduring popularity."
Jalabert, who retired from competition at the end of 2002, was complimented on his spectacular breakaways, and his stage win on Bastille Day in 1995, which Chirac said delighted the French public. Jalabert was joined by his wife and children, as well as his grand mother, who at age 85 had never been to Paris.
More than 800 cyclists will descend on Fitchburg, Massachusetts Thursday to begin the Fitchburg-Longsjo Classic stage race. First held as a single day race in 1960, Fitchburg-Longsjo has evolved into one of the major races on the U.S. calendar. This year's event features once again an all-star field for both men's and women's competitions, as Saturn's Chris Horner looks to defend his 2002 title.
The four day race begins on Thursday, June 26 with the Royal Plaza Time Trial. Stage 2 continues with the Aubuchon Hardware Circuit Race, followed by stage 3 at the summit of Wachusset Mountain and the final stage in downtown Fitchburg, the Worker's Credit Union Criterium. For more information on the Fitchburg- Longsjo Classic, see www.longsjo.com.
Tour de France on SBS TV
Australian television network SBS will once again broadcast the Tour de France, including live coverage of three stages for 2003. Coverage will run from July 6-28 with nightly coverage at 6pm and late night rebroadcasts. Stages 8, 14, and 20 will be broadcast live on July 13, 20, and 27, respectively at 10:50pm. Race commentary will provided by Phil Liggett, while SBS' Michael Tomalaris will be reporting on the ground in France.
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