Tour de France News for June 22, 2004
Edited by Chris Henry
Court setback for Armstrong
A French judge has rejected the request by Lance Armstrong's lawyer to
force the publisher of "LA Confidential" to include in each copy of the
book a statement by Armstrong denouncing the book's accusation that he
has engaged in doping during his career. The book by Pierre Ballester
and David Walsh hit shelves a week ago, and Armstrong's legal team reacted
immediately, beginning legal proceedings in France and the United Kingdom
against the authors and publishers.
"By ruling against Mr. Armstrong, the judge has understood perfectly
that Armstrong has attempted to respond through the courts to the journalists'
questions he previously refused to answer," commented Arnault de Montbrial,
lawyer for the book's publisher, Editions de la Martinière.
With this initial setback, Armstrong must pay each author and the publisher
a symbolic fee of 1 euro each for "abuse of procedure" and 1,500 euros
to cover court expenses.
"This decision guards the right of journalists to engage in serious investigations,
and reminds us that a person who is object of such an investigation cannot
use his refusal to answer questions to have a judge impose censure," de
Pierre Ballester, one of the book's co-authors, said simply "we're pleased
that the judge considers this is a question of investigative journalism
and not sensationalism."
Meanwhile, Armstrong's lawyer Christian Charrière-Bournazel has
entered an appeal to the decision.
"I'm very upset and I don't share the opinion of the court," he told
AFP, adding that he and Armstrong were not seeking the suppression
of the book, rather a chance to provide the statement to readers asserting
Armstrong's denial of the most serious charges.
Quick.Step names Tour team
The Quick.Step-Davitamon team, thus far the most successful team of the
2004 season, has named its roster for the Tour de France. Juan Miguel
Mercado and Michael Rogers will be the team's primary men for the general
classification, while Paolo Bettini and Tom Boonen will fight for stage
wins. Richard Virenque has targeted a seventh polka dot jersey of best
climber, which would make him the absolute record holder. Supporting these
riders will be Davide Bramati, Laurent Dufaux, Servais Knaven (stage winner
in 2003), and Stefano Zanini. Two riders held in reserve are Laszlo Bodrogi
and Pedro Horrillo.
Rabobank names Tour team
Rabobank has announced its team for the Tour de France, which in spite
of the absence of sprinter Oscar Freire should still be a very competitive
one. Team directors Erik Breukink and Frans Maassen have selected Michael
Boogerd, Erik Dekker, Karsten Kroon, Bram de Groot, Marc Lotz, Michael
Rasmussen, Levi Leipheimer, Marc Wauters and Grischa Niermann. South African
Robert Hunter, who won two stages in the Tour de Suisse, has been appointed
as first reserve.
"For the line up of our team, we have looked at the qualities of Rasmussen,
Leipheimer and Boogerd for the mountain stages plus an attacking way of
competing in the other stages," said Erik Breukink. "Now that we're missing
Freire, unfortunately, we're out for the bunch sprints, but for the other
stages we have the qualities."
In terms of the general classification, Breukink added, "We will try
to bring Leipheimer and Rasmussen as far as possible."
Of the team, Rasmussen is the only rider never to have ridden in the
Tour. All the others have 42 Tour starts between them, with 31 finishes.
Past yellow jersey wearer Marc Wauters is the most experienced of the
team and is starting his 12th Tour, while Erik Dekker is ready for his
10th. The members of the squad have also accumulated eight stage wins
between them, namely Dekker (4), Boogerd (2), Kroon (1) and Wauters (1).
T-Mobile's (unofficial) Tour squad
Botero in Tour team
Photo ©: Franklin Tello
Although the German team's nine member Tour de France team will be officially
presented in Bonn this Friday, Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws
has reported that, "Manager Walter Godefroot has set the nine names on
paper that will start in the Tour on July 3."
Apart from the obvious presence of Tour de Suisse winner Jan Ullrich,
according to HLN the team will contain Tour of Austria winner Cadel
Evans, Giuseppe Guerini, Andreas Klöden, Matthias Kessler and Daniele
Nardello to help Ullrich in the mountains. Santiago Botero will be employed
as an all round helper, with the team time trial foremost in mind, while
sprinter Erik Zabel will have Rolf Aldag as a lead out man.
T-Mobile will miss having Alexandre Vinokourov, who finished third in
the Tour last year, in the team after his crash in the Tour de Suisse
left him sidelined for three weeks with a shoulder injury.
(Update: The latest news from Cadel Evans is that he has been selected
as a "first reserve" for the TdF and is not among the first group of nine.)
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)