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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for July 29, 2005

Edited by Anthony Tan

Quick.Step's post-Tour plans

Quick.Step-Innergetic GM Patrick Lefevre
Photo ©: Anthony Tan/Cyclingnews
Click for larger image

Quick.Step-Innergetic general manager Patrick Lefevre went into the 2005 Tour de France with high ambitions. What he wanted was a few stage wins and overall victory in the green jersey competition from his star rider Tom Boonen, as well as a top-10 finish in Paris with Michael Rogers - but the end result was that his team realised only one of out three objectives. Cyclingnews' Anthony Tan talked to him about what went wrong, and finds one of cycling's wise old men is still incredibly motivated by thoughts of a rainbow jersey.

Every once in a while, a rider comes along which Patrick Lefevre just can't let go. Once, it was Johan Museeuw. Then it was Paolo Bettini. Now it's Tom Boonen.

"Well, I think I can say that even though I don't have such a big budget anymore, the image of my team, Quick.Step-Innergetic, is still one of the three best in the world - and that's important," said Lefevre to Cyclingnews, speaking about the difference between his time at the helm of super-team Mapei in the 90s and today.

"We are very professional and we have charismatic riders; I had until last year [Richard] Virenque, I had [Johan] Museeuw, and now I have Boonen and Bettini... people like our team."

While he was reminiscing about the good old days, we felt it was a good time to ask a man who has seen Lance Armstrong come, grow, win and now leave the sport on the highest of high notes, what it means.

Said Lefevre: "I understand his decision; I have a lot of respect for Armstrong the athlete, because coming back after his illness was not so easy. I can only say that I have a lot of respect for the way he did it - he took cycling to a higher level and professionalism, and I wish him a good life after his career."

Though for 24 year-old Tom Boonen, his career's only just getting started.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

ProTour leader back in Hamburg

Despite being fresh from success after his post-Tour criterium victory in Denmark and a two-month break from racing, ProTour leader Danilo Di Luca is going into this Sunday's HEW-Cyclassics with caution.

"We were very competitive," said Di Luca about his 'win' at the GP Arriva last Wednesday. "There were some local neo-professional riders who rode as if it was a World Championship.

"But I haven't competed in a [road] race for two months and I'll race again only one week after the Tour de France. The riders back from the Grande Boucle will be favourites; I'm well aware that I won't be able to be competitive in Hamburg, also because the route doesn't suit me very much," he said.

Regardless, his Liquigas-Bianchi team is fielding a strong line-up for this weekend's ProTour event in Germany. Along with 'il Killer di Spoltore', the team will send Michael Albasini, Italian champion Enrico Gasparotto, Mauro Gerosa, Marcus Ljungqvist, Nicola Loda, Marco Milesi and Marco Zanotti, with Stefano Zanatta acting as direttore sportivo.

Added Di Luca on his intentions: "I would just like to score some points and find the race rhythm again. I have other goals; I'd like to be in peak condition in the middle of August and defend my title at the Giro di Lombardia [Tour of Lombardy]. I'm aiming more at performing consistently well rather single wins to secure final success in the ProTour."

Gerolsteiner to LUK Challenge & Hamburg

Gerolsteiner will field the following line-ups at the LUK Challenge Chrono Bühl and HEW-Cyclassics-Cup this weekend.

LUK Challenge Chrono Bühl (July 30): Markus Fothen, Sebastian Lang, Uwe Peschel, Michael Rich
HEW-Cyclassics-Cup (July 31): René Haselbacher, Heinrich Hausller, Andrea Moletta, Davide Rebellin, Ronny Scholz, Fabian Wegmann, Markus Zberg, Thomas Ziegler. Directeur-sportif: Christian Henn

Illes Balears, Quick.Step to Hamburg

Spanish ProTour team Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne takes with them the following eight men to Sunday's HEW-Cyclassics-Cup: J.L. Carrasco, Imanol Erviti, Iván Gutiérrez, Joan Horrach, Cayetano Julià, Pablo Lastras, Mikel Pradera, Vicente Reynés. Directeur-sportif: Alfonso Galilea

Quick.Step-Innergetic will field a particularly strong line-up in Germany, comprising: Paolo Bettini, Tom Boonen, Kevin De Weert, Kevin Hulsmans, Nick Nuyens, Luca Paolini, Filippo Pozzato, Bram Tankink. Directeur-sportif: Wilfried Peeters

Davitamon-Lotto for Benelux Tour

Davitamon-Lotto will field a strong line-up of eight rouleurs for the upcoming Eneco Tour of Benelux, which begins next Wednesday, August 3. The team will comprise Serge Baguet, Bart Dockx, Koos Moerenhout, Bert Roesems, Gert Steegmans, Tom Steels, Peter Van Petegem and Aart Vierhouten, with Hendrik Redant as directeur-sportif.

Selle Italia-Colombia for Camaiore

The team of Giro mountains classification winner José Rujano, Selle Italia-Colombia, will send the following riders to the UCI 1.1GP Città di Camaiore next Thursday, August 4: Mariano Giallorenzo, Marco Gili, Raffaele Illiano, Leonardo Scarselli, Philippe Schnyder, Russell Van Hout, Trent Wilson.

Young faces make a Quick.Step to the big time

Along with the recent two-year signings of Steven De Jongh (ex-Rabobank), Kevin Van Impe (ex-Chocolade Jacques) and Matteo Tosatto (ex-Fassa Bortolo), two young Italian riders have also been recruited to Quick.Step-Innergetic for the next three seasons.

21 year-old climber Ivan Santaromita comes from the Velo Club Mendrisio, while Davide Viganò, also 21, joins the team from Androni Giocattoli - 3C Casalinghi, a well-known amateur outfit managed by Davide Boifava. Both riders will make their first race debut at the GP Camaiore in Italy on August 4.

In addition, Kevin Neyrinck and Jasper Melis (cousin of Tom Boonen), both from the Beveren 2000 Team, will be riding for Quick.Step as stagiaires from August 1.

Damon to play Armstrong?

UK newspaper The Guardian reports that Oscar-winning actor Matt Damon is currently negotiating a role to star in film based on Lance Armstrong's first biography, It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life. US television channel ESPN 2 also said Damon was Armstrong's preferred choice for the role, with the 35 year-old apparently a cycling enthusiast and keen to shape up for the part.

Described as a 'method actor', Damon lost over 40 pounds (18 kilograms) for his role in the film Courage Under Fire (1996), and as shown in The Talented Mr. Ripley and The Bourne Supremacy, he's more than adept at playing other people - so being Lance Armstrong for a few months shouldn't pose too great a hurdle for him.

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