First Edition TdF Cycling News for June 23, 2005
Edited by Jeff Jones
Discovery's nine for the Tour
Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel)
Photo ©: AFP
Lance Armstrong will begin the final race of his career on July 2 in
the 92nd Tour de France with a powerful Discovery Channel team behind
him. The winner of six Tours already, Armstrong has shown recently that
he is in the right form to peak for July, and in just over four weeks
we will know whether he will take an amazing seventh Tour title.
Discovery Channel's team management Tailwind Sports named the eight
teammates that will join Armstrong on the start line in Fromentine in
10 days: American George Hincapie, Spain's Jose Luis Rubiera, Manuel Beltran
and Benjamin Noval, Pavel Padrnos of the Czech Republic, Portugal's Jose
Azevedo, Italian Paolo Savoldelli and Ukrainian Yaroslav Popovych. Giro
winner Savoldelli and Popovych, third in the 2003 Giro, are first year
"I think we have fielded our strongest team ever with this formation,"
said Armstrong. "It has many consistent elements from years past, like
the Spanish armada for the climbs, strong guys like George, Pavel and
Benjamin, the Giro winner in Savoldelli plus a guy like Popo (Popovych)
with a very bright future. I look forward to leading this team and attempting
to give the great folks at Discovery a yellow jersey. I'm more motivated
The Discovery Channel team's sports manager, Johan Bruyneel, who has
directed Armstrong to all six Tour victories, said the roster has great
experience and familiarity to the Texan. "I wanted an experienced team
for Lance's last Tour and that was the determining factor," said Bruyneel.
"I want him to be surrounded by guys who have always been around him.
It's a team with just two new riders with the rest returning from last
year. All are ready or are getting ready.
"It wasn't difficult to choose. The group that rode at the Dauphiné
Libere (Azevedo, Beltran, Hincapie, Noval, Popovych and Rubiera) showed
me they are at a good level, while Paolo and Pavel did a great job in
the Giro. Paolo was never in doubt (to ride the Tour), especially when
he won the Giro, and is such a great rider. Pavel did a very good job
in the Giro riding for Paolo and is very strong. For me, it was an easy
Of the eight teammates, only Hincapie has raced alongside Armstrong
for all six Tour victories. Next highest is Rubiera with four (2001-2004)
and Padrnos with three (2002-2004). Beltran has taken part in Armstrong's
last two Tour victories while Azevedo and Noval raced with the team for
the first time last year.
"When making the selection, it's a matter of finding a balanced team,"
said Bruyneel. "I think we have guys for everywhere - the flats, those
that will work in the hard stages and guys for the mountains."
Is this the best team behind Armstrong ever? "I'll confirm that on July
24," said Bruyneel. "On paper, it's a super team. But of course, we are
missing (Viatcheslav Ekimov) - he would definitely be on the team if he
Ekimov - a member of the last five Tour winning teams and possessing
14 Tour finishes - severely injured his back in training crash in late
April and is hoping to race again before the end of the season. "I will
miss Eki dearly this time around but I plan on riding the race with all
the toughness he has shown over the years," said Armstrong.
T-Mobile supporting Ullrich with age and experience
By Susan Westemeyer in Bonn
The T-Mobile Tour team:
Photo ©: Mani Wollner
Team T-Mobile has announced a mature and experienced team with which
it hopes will help captain Jan Ullrich finally beat Lance Armstrong and
win the Tour de France next month. "Ullrich is our clear number one,"
said Team Manager Walter Godefroot, clarifying a major question.
Ullrich will be supported by two former podium finishers, Andreas Klöden
and Alexander Vinokourov, the latter who said, "The most important thing
is that one of us wins yellow." In the mountains, Ullrich will be backed
up by veteran Giuseppe Guerini and team newcomer Oscar Sevilla. Matthias
Kessler, Tobias Steinhauser, Daniele Nardello and Tour-debutante Stephan
Schreck complete what Director Sportif Mario Kummer calls "the best team
we could bring." It is definitely not a young and inexperienced team -
the riders average 30 years old and have ridden a total of 36 Tours de
for the full report and photos
Alexander Vinokourov, whose contract expires at the end of the season,
confirmed that he has "a number of offers from other teams," with rumors
circulating that he has already decided on Cofidis. He is flying back
to Kazahkstan for the national championships this weekend, a decision
greeted by team management with little enthusiasm. "It's a long trip,"
says T-Mobile spokesman Luuc Eisenga, shrugging his shoulders.
Jan Ullrich will not be competing in the German championships. "With
200 riders, the risk of crashing is too high," he notes. Andreas Klöden
will be riding the road race this weekend, although the flat course is
expected to favor a sprinter.
Fantasy Tour de France is go!
The Fantasy Cyclingnews team is pleased to confirm that TREK will be
the main sponsor for our third Tour de France Fantasy game. TREK is giving
away a Madone Discovery Team bike to the lucky winner of this year's game.
More details of this and many other prizes will be announced soon.
A provisional start list for the Tour de France has been uploaded to
the game site, and that means that the Tour de France game is officially
Thanks to a number of suggestions from players of previous games we
will be changing the rules slightly for this year's game. In short we
plan to return the game to focus more on the GC points (similar to last
year's games model) but open up the field a little more so lesser known
players become more important in points scoring. The Rules section of
the site will be updated soon to reflect these new changes.
Create your teams now at: fantasy.cyclingnews.com
Previous News Next
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)