Tour de France News for June 20, 2003
Edited by John Stevenson
Botero hopes to be ready for Tour
Santiago Botero (Telekom) is still not in his best condition, with just
over two weeks to go until the Tour de France. Botero is currently riding
in the Volta a Catalunya,
where he is 58th on GC at 38'45 down, having been active in several long
breakaways without success.
"I hope be ready, that is the aim," he told AS. "But I don't yet have
the sensations. I hope to find them and that's why I've come to Catalunya."
Botero added that he has been suffering from a virus that has impeded
Botero believes that Roberto Heras is strong enough to be on the podium
in the Tour de France. "I have no doubt about that, he looks very good,"
said the Colombian, who also commented on the performances of Jose Antonio
Pecharroman, the climbing revelation of the season. "He is impressive.
He has already taken a great leap forward among the best riders in the
peloton. I hope that it can be maintained for a number of years. It would
be a great thing for cycling."
Aerts looking better
Mario Aerts (Telekom) is looking like a good candidate for Telekom's
Tour de France team, after his performances in the Volta a Catalunya so
far. Aerts is currently lying in 23rd position at 7'59, and finished in
the leading group in yesterday's tough mountain stage.
Team director Frans Van Looy commented in Het Laatste Nieuws that "[Aerts]
convinced me in yesterday's stage. I'm only giving advice, Godefroot is
the boss, but for me he's going to the Tour."
More doping controls in Tour
This year's Tour de France will see more doping controls than ever,
with an expected 148 tests to be carried out during the course of the
race, in addition to surprise controls, which are usually done on the
rest days. In up to 90 of the controls, EPO will be tested for.
At the pre race medical checkup on July 3, riders will undergo a full
blood screen, including the usual haemoglobin and hematocrit tests. Haemoglobin
and hematocrit will also be controlled for in any pre-stage health checks.
Between eight and nine UCI doctors will be present on the race, in addition
to a delegation from the World Anti-Doping Agency. The latter will have
to be permitted by French law, which doesn't allow for a third party to
receive the results of the controls.
Gerolsteiner announces Tour team
The Gerolsteiner team, competing in its first Tour de France, has named
its nine riders. Veteran Udo Bölts will be there of course, along with
Italian Davide Rebellin, Austrian climber Georg Totschnig and sprinter
René Haselbacher, Swiss Markus Zberg, and Germans Olaf Pollack, Torsten
Schmidt, Uwe Peschel and Michael Rich.
Quick.Step Tour team getting close
According to Belgian sources, seven of the nine riders in the Quick.Step-Davitamon
team have been selected for the Tour: Paolo Bettini, Laszlo Bodrogi, David
Cañada, Kurt Van De Wouwer, Richard Virenque, Piotr Wadecki and Michael
Rogers will all take part, with two more to be decided after the Tour
Seven certain for ONCE
The ONCE team for the Tour has seven of its nine riders in place as
follows: Joseba Beloki, Angel Vicioso, Mikel Zarrabeitia, Jose Azevedo,
Jan Hruska, Jörg Jaksche and Rene Andrle. The remaining two will be picked
from Marcos Serrano, Mikel Pradera, Isidro Nozal, Angel Castresana and
Rafael Diaz Justo.
Kelme have eight
The Kelme-Costa Blanca team has eight certainties at the moment for
the Tour, with Javier Pascual Llorente, Toni Tauler, Ignacio Gutierrez,
Jesus Manzano, Isaac Galvez, David Muñoz, David Latasa and Ivan Parra.
Durand out of Tour
Jacky Durand has confirmed that he will not start this year's Tour de
France as a result of the injuries he sustained in a fall at the Dauphine.
Durand has a fractured hip and will be off the bike for 45 days. He will
also miss the French National Championships.
Saeco scopes out the Alps
Team Saeco has spent the last couple of days reconnoitering the three
Alpine stages of this year's Tour de france as part of Gilberto Simoni's
effort to put the hurt on Lance Armstrong in this year's race.
Not surprisingly, Gibi has pronounced the legendary climb of l'Alpe d'Huez
as the hardest. "The stage to Morzine is hard but is only a warm-up for
the following day to L'Alpe d'Huez. That's the most difficult stage of
all and it's where I think there will be big time gaps. The stage over
the Izoard is not as tough but with heavy legs it could still hurt," said
Simoni in a team statement.
Simoni and team-mates Di Luca, Sacchi and Pugaci rode the last 120km
of stage seven to Morzine on Wednesday, paying particular attention to
the final climb, the Col de la Ramaz. Directeur sportif Giuseppe Martinelli
said, "[It's] a really tough climb, which I didn't know and so was vital
to see." Simoni and Sacchi then did an extra 40km to round out the day's
Thursday was spent driving the approach roads to the climbs of stage
eight, then riding the final 110km, including the climbs of the Telegraphe,
the Galibier and l'Alpe d'Huez. Before heading back to Italy Simoni and
Martinelli also studied the final part of the Col de Lautaret which is
part of the ninth stage to Gap. They also rode the Izoard before a quick
trip to see the last two short climbs.
Pronouncing the sunny two-day whistle-stop tour of the Alps "excellent",
Simoni said, "I felt good and was pedalling well. We did the climbs and
descents without worrying about the speed, the most important thing was
to study the key points of the stages and memorise them."
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