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
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
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
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
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
Federations interested in sending riders to the Marco Polo cycling School
should contact the World Wide Cycling organisation at email@example.com
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: www.marcopolocycling.com
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 www.cyclingrevolution.com.
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
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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