Latest Cycling News for August 30, 2004
Edited by Chris Henry
Aitor Gonzalez: I'll be back
By Hernan Alvarez Macias
He was the surprise package at the 2002 Vuelta a Espaņa. Everything seemed ready for an Oscar Sevilla victory, but Kelme team-mate Aitor Gonzalez had other ideas: Gonzalez audaciously attacked his team leader on some key stages, and after winning the final time trial, it was Gonzalez who wore the final golden jersey in Madrid, beating Sevilla and Roberto Heras.
His victory surprised many people, and his performance bore nicknames including "Speedy" and "TerminAitor".
After a few quiet seasons, the TerminAitor is back, showing his great versatility by winning Stage 14 at the 2004 Tour de France. He is superb in time trials, can hold his own in the mountains and smart enough to get in a breakaway and attack at the right moment, as he demonstrated that day in Nimes.
In a few days from now, another Vuelta a Espaņa will begin. And Aitor Gonzalez will be among those most-watched. As a former champion, he will always be a candidate for the overall win.
Cyclingnews: How was your Tour de France?
Aitor Gonzalez: I don't think I performed at the level I hoped. But I won a stage and this is something that is always important. I wasn't able to get in the top positions on the general classification, but that stage victory is like a little candy to lessen the bitterness of not being with the leaders in the mountains.
CN: Why did this happen?
AG: I don't know. I would like to know why it happened.
CN: But did you think about the reason for the bad performance? Maybe it was because you didn't train well or you didn't prepare yourself well for the race?
AG: No - the truth is that now I am doing some medical tests because it was rather weird. I had felt very good during the first week and then suddenly it was like I lost all of my energy. I felt very weak. It wasn't normal.
It happened to me with less intensity on previous occasions, but I hadn't paid much attention to it. It is very usual to have a day when you can not pedal and it's not a thing you should worry about. But when you cannot pedal almost every day, one thinks that something must be wrong. As I said, as soon as I ended the Tour, I started doing medical tests to see what happened.
CN: I guess you were happy with your stage win though. You've now won at least one stage in each of the three Grand Tours.
AG: Yes. I was able to win one stage in the three tours and that's something very few riders have been able to achieve. And look, I'm one of them!
Click here for the full interview.
Didier Rous, winner of Sunday's Grand Prix Ouest France in Plouay announced that he will carry on his career with team director Jean-René Bernaudeau for two more years. Rous, who has been with Bernaudeau on the Bonjour and Brioches La Boulangère teams, will move into the next incarnation when Bouygues Telecom takes over as title sponsor in 2005.
Exodus from RAGT
A number of riders will be on their way out of the French RAGT Semences-MG Rover team at the end of the season. Bruno Thibout and Jérôme Bernard have both decided to retire from racing, while Mickael Buffaz and Christophe Laurent are expected to join the Agritubel team. Pierre Bourquenoud, Gilles Bouvard, Frédéric Finot and Klaus Mutschler are also said to be on the move, according to a l'Equipe report.
RAGT Semences-MG Rover, a Division I team this year thanks to its continuation from the Jean Delatour team of 2003, will not figure among the initial entries in the UCI's Pro Tour.
Austrian Georg Totschnig (Gerolsteiner) suffered a fractured collarbone in a crash in Sunday's GP Kanton Aargau/Gippingen. Seventh overall in the Tour de France and in good form in recent rounds of the World Cup, Totschnig will likely miss the World Championships in Verona, Italy at the end of September.
Walters injured in Binghamton
Former Canadian national champion Mark Walters (Navigators) was involved in a heavy fall during a pile up at the Chris Thater Memorial in Binghamton, New York on Sunday. Initial reports indicate Walters may have broken his elbow and suffered internal damage, but the full extent of the injury has not been revealed. Walters and another rider were taken to the hospital on stretchers following the accident.
Team CSC for Vuelta
Danish Team CSC has announced its roster for the Vuelta a España, which begins Saturday with a team time trial opener in León. Carlos Sastre will be the man for the general classification, alongside Paris-Nice winner Jörg Jaksche, who missed the Tour de France due to another in a series of crashes which complicated his spring/summer season. Completing the team are Thomas Bruun Eriksen, Manuel Calvente, Vladimir Gusev, Frank Høj, Peter Luttenberger, Fränk Schleck, and Brian Vandborg.
Fassa Bortolo for Vuelta & Tropheo Melinda
Aitor Gonzalez, Vuelta a España winner in 2002, will head the Fassa Bortolo team in September, along with sprinter Alessandro Petacchi. Dario Cioni, who rode a superb Giro d'Italia this year, will be another rider for the general classification. The remainder of the team includes Volodimir Gustov, Alberto Ongarato, Fabio Sacchi, Julian Sanchez, Guido Trenti and Marco Velo.
Fassa Bortolo will also take on the late summer Italian classics, sending the following riders to the Tropheo Melinda on Thursday: Marzio Bruseghin, Massimo Codol, Tom Danielson, Luca De Angeli, Mauro Facci, Dario Frigo, Gustav Larsson and Roberto Petito.
Phonak for Italian trio
Phonak Hearing Systems will send one team to Italy for three upcoming classics, the Trofeo Melinda (September 2), Coppa Placci (September 4), and Giro della Romagna (September 5). Sprinter Alexandre Usov will be backed by Michael Albasini, Niki Aebersold, Cyril Dessel, Marco Fertonani, Uros Murn, Daniel Schnider, and Johann Tschopp.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)