First Edition TdF Cycling News for July 1, 2005
Edited by Jeff Jones & Hedwig Kröner
Lance Armstrong's final pre-Tour press conference
Big Tex Armstrong ready for super seventh Tour de France challenge
By Tim Maloney, European Editor in Challans, France
Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel)
Photo ©: Anthony Tan
Lance Armstrong was visibly at ease as he faced the assembled media
circus at for the traditional pre-Tour de France press conference in Challans,
France. Commencing his sixth consecutive pre-Tour press conference, Armstrong
said he was feeling "relaxed...I was more nervous last year...up against
the demon of being the first to win a sixth tour. It was an incredible
burden to get rid of. This year, I'm not chasing history, a legacy, I'm
just here to enjoy the Tour and have a good time."
Earlier in the season, Armstrong had an inauspicious 2005 debut in March
at Paris-Nice, but remained focused on his preparation for the Tour de
France. "I had a lot of doubts as I suffered through the first few stages
of Paris-Nice, but I never panicked about my Tour preparation. I knew
I couldn't waste a day but I'm now at the place I need to be."
for the full story
Challenge the wind
Armstrong and Discovery Team tests Tour stage 1 TT course
By Tim Maloney, European Editor in Nantes, France
The boys are back in town:
Photo ©: Tim Maloney
Thursday morning at 11:45, the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling team departed
from their hotel in Nantes, the French city where Lance Armstrong clinched
his 2003 Tour win. It must have felt familiar to the Texan, as the variable
weather with periods of rain interspersed with rain and powered by a strong
northwest wind off the Atlantic Ocean was much like the lousy, rainy day
almost two years ago of the Pornic-Nantes TT.
Later that afternoon, after a four hour ride where the Discovery Channel
riders tested the Stage
1 TT course, Armstrong spoke about the Saturday's opening stage to
Noirmoutier en l'Isle, evaluating the opening time test in his race in
his usually incisive manner. "This stage is much different than most years;
it's like 2000 (in Futuroscope) and it doesn't feel like a 20km time trial.
That's because it's a point to point stage. And the entire race will have
a headwind...there's one bridge, five roundabouts and hardly any turns.
So it actually feels like a 30km time trial...long enough to make some
serious time differences. So (I) will try and take some time out of my
Photo ©: Tim Maloney
Armstrong will tackle the Fromentine-Noirmoutier Stage 1 TT aboard his
new Trek TTX time trial prototype bike, and according to Scott Daubert
of Trek, the Texan will use the same 38mm narrow profile Bontrager TT
bars that he used two years ago in that very same Pornic-Nantes TT. "With
the strong head and cross winds, Lance wants to keep a narrow profile
to cut down wind resistance", explained Daubert. As defending Tour Champion,
Armstrong will start last at 6:48PM and according to the TDF time schedule,
his ride is expected to last 24 minutes over the 19 km course.
The Maillot Vert Contendahs!
Cyclingnews' chief online editor and canal sprint wannabe
Jeff Jones reviews who's likely to be banging shoulders all the way to
Paris in the 2005 Tour.
One of the many duels
Photo ©: Olympia Photo
The green points jersey, or maillot vert competition was introduced
in 1953, and has become the Tour's second most prized jersey after yellow.
It's considered the sprinters' jersey, but it doesn't necessarily go to
the best sprinter in the Tour, but the most consistent...and one who can
survive the mountains. Many of the Tour's sprinters pack their bags as
soon as the halfway point is reached and the road goes up above the treeline.
There's also the need to fight out every bonus sprint along the road,
because every point is important for the green jersey, and on more than
one occasion, it has been decided in the finishing sprint on the Champs
Past winners of the green jersey include Eddy Merckx, Freddy Maertens,
Sean Kelly, Djamolodine Abdujaparov, Laurent Jalabert, Robbie McEwen,
and Erik Zabel, the latter having won the green tunic a record six times
in a row between 1996 and 2001. Zabel has always coloured the green jersey
competition, and although he has lost out to Robbie McEwen and Baden Cooke
in the past few years, he has made them work hard for it. But his T-Mobile
team decided that it didn't want to take him to the Tour this year in
order to focus completely on Jan Ullrich and the yellow jersey. It was
a bitter pill to swallow for the world's former number one sprinter, but
in cycling, you are only as good as your last race.
for the full story
Phonak out for a collective win
Phonak at Eindhoven TTT, led by
Photo ©: Christine Grein
The Swiss Phonak team has set its goals for this year's Tour de France.
Manager John Lelangue has established three criteria to be met at the
upcoming race: one rider to place top five on GC, offensive riding in
general, and adding further points for the Tour team classification as
well as the UCI team ranking. Lelangue is convinced his team can live
up to these challenges, and refuses to put any further pressure on the
riders. "We will always make the best out of every situation," he said.
"If you exert a lot of pressure and the demands cannot be met, it's bad
for motivation and doesn't breed a good atmosphere."
A lot of emphasis is put on the team time trial, where Lelangue is expecting
a top three finish. 67.5 kilometres will have to be raced collectively
against the clock on Tuesday, July 5, and Phonak's American rider Floyd
Landis is not afraid to throw a ball: "Our goal is to win it," he told
L'Equipe on Thursday. The team reconnoitred the time trial course
from Tour to Blois yesterday. "We had been told that the last little climb
10 km before the finish was difficult," said Nicolas Jalabert, "But in
fact it's not even three percent gradient."
"It's not dangerous," his teammate Landis continued. "There's no tight
curve, only a few roundabouts. That's fortunate, as the rigid time trialling
bikes are very difficult to control if it rains." The parcours (Click
here for map and profile) doesn't feature any particular difficulties,
and the squad that placed second in the Eindhoven ProTour team time trial
is ready - even if they know that competition will be tough.
"Apart from a little narrower roads in the end, with rough, dead tarmac,
the route isn't difficult so I'm sure that the times will be fast," said
Robert Hunter, who will be the team's lead-out on Tuesday, the first off
the starting block to set the pace for his team. Phonak's rotating order
will be: Hunter, Grabsch, Pereiro, Botero, Moos, Gutierrez, Jalabert and
Zampieri, each rider taking a leading turn not exceeding 30 seconds. "Above
that," explained Jalabert, "you spend too much energy and pay for it in
the end - especially if you've lost some men or if some can't take a turn
TTT training for Liberty
The nine riders of Spanish Liberty Seguros-Würth team went out training
for the second time since their arrival in France. Team director Manolo
Saiz advised the riders to work their team time trialling skills on the
parcours of stage four, to be raced on July 5. Despite the risk of rain
in Northern France, the Liberty train practised different alternatives
to optimise power output for three hours. Finally, the rain did start
and the team returned to its hotel.
Tomorrow, the team will undergo medical check-up before training again,
and attending the official presentation of the Tour de France 2005 in
French weather forecasts have announced an improvement of the bad weather
for the weekend, just in time for the start of the Tour de France. While
local temperature in Noirmoutier averaged 18° Celsius on Thursday, it
should increase above 20° Celsius on Saturday as skies are predicted to
be less cloudy, the risk of rain diminishing.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)
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