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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest News for October 24, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Dauphiné doubtful for Armstrong en route to Tour

Armstrong and Virenque at presentation
Photo: © AFP

Next year's Dauphiné Libéré will probably not feature on Lance Armstrong's program in his lead up to the Tour de France, where he will be trying for a record six straight victories. Armstrong has ridden the Dauphiné (which takes place in June) prior to four of his five Tour wins, the only exception being in 2001 when he rode the Tour de Suisse. He has won the race twice in 2002 and 2003, but admitted yesterday at the Tour presentation that he was "a little superstitious" about it, pointing to Miguel Indurain's impressive victory in the Dauphiné in 1996 before he cracked and lost the Tour to Bjarne Riis. Up until then, Indurain had won five Tours in a row and looked impossible to beat in his sixth.

Should Armstrong defy tradition and win his sixth Tour, then there are no immediate thoughts of retirement. "We'll see in Paris what happens," he was quoted by the Associated Press. "But I have a hard time imagining I'll be a retired athlete in just a few months."

Armstrong's contract with US Postal ends in 2004, but he said that he would not likely race for another team. "You can never say never," he cautioned, while pledging his full loyalty to team director Johan Bruyneel.

Discussing this year's Tour, where he beat Jan Ullrich by 1'01, his narrowest victory margin by far, Armstrong said that his mistake was "taking the race for granted...I was angry with my performance. I had never been on the limit like that and quite frankly it was an experience I would not like to repeat. It was too close, too difficult, too stressful, too emotional. We were all worried every night that the Tour would be lost."

Now 32, Armstrong admits that does not have the same strength as he did three or four years ago when he first won the Tour. "I have to be prepared to lose, but at the same time I'm more motivated than I've ever been."

Classic shape for Stage 3

The Tour de France's third road stage between Waterloo and Wasquehal is shaping up to be an interesting affair, combining elements of two of the great classics, Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix. The 195 kilometre stage will pay a visit to the Ronde's finishing town of Ninove-Meerbeke en route to Geraardsbergen, where the Tour peloton will tackle the famous Muur, the top part of which is being resurfaced this year. After that it will head back to Walloon territory via Lessines, Franses-lez-Anvaing and Tournai, before crossing the border into France. The finish is in Wasquehal - quite close to Roubaix - and few pavé sections will be on the menu.

Jeanson's urine test negative

Astarloa and co. cleared as well

A urine test carried out on Canadian cyclist Geneviève Jeanson has come back negative for any banned substances, including EPO according Canadian newspaper La Presse. The test was taken after Jeanson was prevented from starting the World Championships road race on October 11 due to a high hematocrit value (greater than 47 percent). At the time, Jeanson said that her hematocrit was due to her use of an altitude tent, which is meant to stimulate red blood cell growth without the necessity of living and training at altitude.

The same source reported that the urine tests carried out on four elite male riders - including Spaniard Igor Astarloa - at the World Championships - were also negative for banned substances.

Mountain Bike World Cup for 2004

The UCI has ratified the Mountain Bike World Cup calendar for 2004. The series will consist of seven Cross Country rounds, with the first in Madrid (Spain) on May 22, and will finish in Livigno (Italy) on September 19. There will also be six Downhill/Four X rounds, starting in Fort William (Britain) on June 5 and ending in Livigno (Italy) on September 19.

MTB World Cup 2004

World Cup XC #1: May 22-23, 2004 - Madrid (Spa)
World Cup XC #2: May 29-30, 2004 - Houffalize (Bel)
World Cup XC #3/DH/4-X #1: June 5-6, 2004 - Fort William (GBr)
World Cup DH/4-X #2: June 12-13, 2004 - Sestrière (Ita)
World Cup XC #4/DH/4-X #3: June 19-20, 2004 - Schladming (Aut)
World Cup XC #5/DH/4-X #4: June 26-27, 2004 - Mont-Sainte-Anne (Can)
World Cup XC #6/DH/4-X #5: July 3-4, 2004 - Calgary (Can)
World Cup XC #7/DH/4-X #6: September 18-19, 2004 - Livigno (Ita)

Saiz confirms he has a sponsor

ONCE-Eroski team director Manolo Saiz has confirmed that he has a sponsor to take over his team next season. At the Tour presentation in Paris yesterday, Saiz indicated that the team will still be Spanish, "although with a little more international flavour". The name of the sponsor has yet to be revealed, although Saiz is confident that the negotiations are a long way advanced.

Saiz believes that next year's Tour route will offer "more tactical possibilities" and will suit strong teams rather than individual riders.

Where to now for VDB?

After officially splitting from Quick.Step-Davitamon yesterday, Frank Vandenbroucke has given himself a couple of weeks before deciding on a new team. Although Chocolade Jacques is interested in having him, Vandenbroucke also indicated that he has an offer from Fassa Bortolo to consider. "I want a big team where I feel good," he said. "Ferretti would be very good for me."

Vandenbroucke will make his decision on November 5 after returning from vacation in Mauritius. It will be his seventh team in his 10 year career.

Engels to BankGiroLoterij

Addy Engels (Rabobank) will ride for Dutch division II team BankGiroLoterij next season. The 26 year old turned pro with Rabobank four years ago and finished 24th in the Giro this year.

Koerts to Chocolade Jacques

Dutch sprinters Jans Koerts (BankGiroLoterij) is the latest rider to be named in the new Chocolade Jacques-Passage Fitness First team, joining current teammates Gerben Löwik, Rik Reinerink, Jan van Velzen and Bert Hiemstra in the squad.

Van Dongen-Cools and Coene to Team Ton van Bemmelen Sports

Team Ton van Bemmelen Sports has completed its roster for 2004, signing 26 year old Belgian Veronique Coene and Dutch TT champion Jolanda van Dongen-Cools this week. They will join Olga van Velzen, Caroline Slikker, Suzanne de Goede, Christa Pirard, Yvonne Hijgenaar, Nathalie van Katwijk, Jaccolien Wallaard, Kornelia and Josephine Groeneveld and Frederika van der Wiel.

Van de Vijver to Keukens Redant

Belgian Heidi Van de Vijver will leave the Vlaanderen-T Interim team this season for Keukens Redant Cycling Team, according to Het Nieuwsblad.

Marco Polo 2004 takes shape

The Division III Marco Polo Cycling Team will be travel the world again in 2004, participating in many races all over the globe. The European program is becoming increasingly important for the team after its successful campaign in 2003.

All riders on the team will be able to stay. For the Hong Kong riders, the Hong Kong Cycling Association will make the choice again, although Hong Kong's star rider Wong Kam Po will stay. World Wide Cycling is still looking for one or two new riders that will have to bring an obvious added value to the team.

New sponsors include Setpoint Men's Fashion and JP Print for the Dutch program, Gazelle bikes (service course), Lake shoes and Nikon cameras. All other sponsors have indicated that they want to prolong the cooperation, including Avades, Universal, Born Sportscare, Tacx, Limar, Decca, Selle Italia, Sigma, Axley USA, Pazzaz, Keywin and Vredestein. The team will be riding on the distinctive Marco Polo bikes again in the blue jerseys with Japanese/Chinese 'Sure Win' characters.

Next to the team, the program of the Marco Polo Cycling School (talented riders from non-traditional cycling countries) will be increased. Talents that are not ready for the Trade Team yet, can get the opportunity in this cycling school to train and especially race in Europe, under the guidance of experienced trainers. The Marco Polo Fund and subsidies should make it possible for riders from poor countries to also benefit these programs.

Federations interested in sending riders to the Marco Polo cycling School should contact the World Wide Cycling organisation at or tel/fax +31 24 3606301.

With the bigger focus on the Cycling School, the amateur program will be decreased and go back to its roots, with a more open program and no all year Adventure Team membership any more. For the 1000+ members of the club, World Wide Cycling will work on offering more interesting travels, open to everyone.

More information:

Wiggins in town for first Revolution event

The first of the new "Revolution" track cycling events in Great Britain will begin on November 29 at Manchester Velodrome. Bradley Wiggins, Britain's only reigning Track World Champion has announced that he will be riding at the event, and will be pitting his talents against fellow continental pro and track star Rob Hayles.

Hayles and Wiggins will both be fresh out of the Gent Six, and will be ready to impress the home crowd for the first time since the Olympic Trials and the World's respectively. Rob, who is nearing the end of his Cofidis contract, has expressed his delight at the concept of a new track series for the UK

"It's just what track cycling needs in the UK, I think people have become complacent about supporting the sport at home - they will happily travel to Gent for the six days or to France to see the Tour but they won't come to Manchester, it seems crazy. Hopefully Revolution will get people to the track and back into the sport."

For more information about Revolution see

Rostrevor 'cross preview

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

The cyclo-cross season got off to a flier last Saturday in Lurgan. The organisers were happy with the turnout, which was above expectations. In all there were 60 starters and Roger Aiken from the Banbridge Cycling Club was the impressive winner. The top prize was up for grabs right up to the penultimate lap, when Aiken went into overdrive. Roger is all set for round two of the cross series of six, which takes place between now and the end of November.

The favourite for the series, Robin Seymour was an absentee last weekend because of a little matter of picking up ranking points in Greece, which he did successfully. Robin will make his debut in Forest Park, Rostrevor on Saturday, where it is expected that the handicapper will make him the sole scratch competitor, thus opening up the event.

Robin's stature as a 'cross and mountain biker is unique, being the current Irish champion in both disciplines. No doubt he'll want to peg back some of the points which Roger Aiken accumulated last week. Barring any unforeseen circumstances Robin should win, but the Banbridge competitor is sure to get amongst the points to retain his lead.

The event gets under way in Rostrevor at mid-day with under age being catered for. The senior event is planned for 1:00pm. Again, please note, that mountain bikes are permitted, but will not qualify only for League Points.

Orwell Wheelers have embarked on a sponsorship drive. They are selling tickets for €150 in which the first three tickets out of the drum will afford the winners two year sponsorship of the club. Further information from: Eddie Lynch-087.2562909 or David Tansey-01.2981485.

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