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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for August 15, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Armstrong to ride with Bush

Seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong will join US president George Bush on a mountain bike ride at Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas this coming weekend. Armstrong, who retired from cycling three weeks ago, told ABC's This Week, "It's a dream scenario for me. Now that President Bush doesn't run anymore, he rides his mountain bike fanatically. People wonder why he stays at the ranch so long, it might be the mountain bike trails."

Armstrong cautioned that it wasn't likely to be a relaxing ride. "I know people who have ridden with him," said Armstrong. "I can tell you he's one very competitive guy. Very competitive, there's no talking. A few minutes of warmup time, a little chitchat, then you go."

Despite having connections with Bush and his Democrat rival John Kerry, Armstrong maintains that he is not going into politics, reiterating that the stress and the time away from his family would be too much. That aside, he did offer this comment on the money spent on the US's involvement in Iraq. "As a survivor, I think we would be better spending money on an illness like cancer," he said.

George Bush gave up running a few years ago due to a knee injury, but the 59 year-old likes to keep fit. He also rode with a group of journalists last Saturday, and told USA Today's Sal Ruibal, "I love exercise. Prior to learning about mountain biking, I was a jogger. And then, like a lot of baby boomers, my knees gave out. I believe that mountain biking is going to be an outlet for a lot of people my age. I'm 59, and people are going to realize you get as much aerobic exercise - if not more - on the mountain bike without being hobbled."

Bush added that by exercising in this way, he was trying to encourage overweight and unfit Americans to do the same. The cost of treating the USA's "obesity epidemic" is huge. "What it takes is organization and discipline and setting priorities," said Bush. "And I think exercise ought to be one of the top priorities for Americans."

Two year deal for Julich

By Shane Stokes

Riding this wave to the beach...
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
Click for larger image

Eneco Tour of Benelux winner Bobby Julich will continue for at least two more years after signing a new contract with Team CSC. The 33 year-old American transferred to the team from Telekom at the end of 2003, agreeing to ride with them for one season. A strong display last year saw Bjarne Riis offer him a contract for 2005 and 2006, but improving financial circumstances in the team, plus Julich's good rides this year, led the 1996 Tour de France winner to come up with a brand new offer.

"I did have a contract for next year, but Bjarne has since decided to open up the contract and basically make a new one for two more seasons," Julich revealed to Cyclingnews. "It's rewarding me for sticking with him when he was having money problems, and also for doing so well."

Had money been his sole motivation, Julich could probably have gone looking for a higher salary after his Olympic bronze medal and comeback 2004 season. However, he felt a strong sense of loyalty to Riis and Team CSC and chose to stay within the fold. This has now paid off. "I think I definitely have made sacrifices in relation to the results I have been getting, so it's great to get this deal," he said.

Riis had been chasing a bigger budget for some time and is now in a much stronger financial position. Ivan Basso's clear potential as a future Tour de France winner plus the excellent form displayed by Julich, Jens Voigt and the rest of the boys in red, white and black this year increased his bargaining power and, during the Tour, it was announced that the Computer Sciences Corporation would be sponsoring the team until 2009. With more money secured, the squad were in a position to sign Basso for four more years and also make the improved offer to Julich.

Following Saturday's Clasica San Sebastian, Team CSC has taken over from Phonak at the top of the ProTour team rankings. They now lead the Swiss team by one point. Julich is fourth overall in the individual classification heading into the Deutschland Tour today.

Vierhouten looking

Dutch rider Aart Vierhouten will not have his contract renewed with Davitamon-Lotto at the end of the year. The 35 year old domestique, who is in his 10th year as a pro, has ridden for two teams in his career: Rabobank and Lotto (in its various guises).

Cyclist dies in Norwegian Marathon MTB Championships

By Øyvind Aas

A tragic accident marred an other wise great race in and around Drammen, where the Norwegian Marathon Mountain Bike Championships were held in conjunction with the P4 Mountain Bike Race on the weekend.

The race was run in a three clover patterned course with riders entering the main square in Drammen three times. It was after the first lap that disaster struck. On a makeshift bridge built especially for the race, so that riders can pass over and under on their way in and out of the main square, a 37 year-old rider came off and landed on his head on the paving stones below.

Medics and an ambulance were quick to respond, but the rider died in hospital the night after the race.

"This is very sad and tragic to experience when we have done our outmost to ensure the safety of the riders." Race organiser Svein Bolsad said to Drammens Tidende.

Marius Meinseth was just behind the deceased rider when he crashed. "We came into the town at high speed. At the last edge of the bridge he jumped, but his rear wheel landed at an angle and he came off hard, face first," said a shocked Meinseth.

The organisers will now review the security of the race. Before the race, they were most concerned about how to protect riders from the traffic, but never expected anything like this could happen on the square.

534 riders participated in the 68km long race, that was held for the second time. The mountain bike race that takes in some of the best trails Drammen has to offer is highly regarded among the racers.

Comunidad Valenciana for the Vuelta

The Comunidad Valenciana team has named its line up for the Vuelta a España, which starts in Granada on August 27. The team includes Adolfo Garcia Quesada, who won the toughest stage of the Vuelta a Portugal, his brother Carlos, and former Vuelta winner Angel Luis Casero. The rest of the squad is by no means weak either, with Rubén Plaza, David Bernabeu, David Blanco, Eladio Jiménez, Javier Pascual Rodríguez and David Latasa rounding out the line up.

"We will start without a leader," said team manager Vicente Belda. "It will be the road that decides who is the strongest man."

T-Mobile set for Tour of Britain

The T-Mobile Team has announced its six rider line up for the Tour of Britain, which starts later this month. The squad is made up of four Germans and two Dutch riders, and includes classics specialist Steffen Wesemann. The 34 year-old has a career littered with big victories, including the Tour of Flanders in 2004 and the overall classification of the Peace Race four times (1996, 1997, 1999, 2003).

Wesemann will be supported by Eric Baumann and Bram Schmitz, who each won a stage on the 2005 Tour of Luxembourg this year, and by Tour de France rider Thomas Steinhauser. Bas Giling and Torsten Hiekmann complete the line up.

World records fall to Australians at EPC European Championships

Athens Paralympic triple gold medallist Chris Scott (36) claimed gold on Saturday in the 1km time trial for Division CP4 (Cerebral Palsy) in a world record time at the EPC European Championships in Alkmaar, The Netherlands. Scott, who also holds the world record for the 3km Individual Pursuit, is the first CPDiv4 rider to crack the 1'10 barrier, riding a time of 1'09.740 to better the mark of 1'10.058 he set in February at the Australian Championships in Adelaide.

As an Australian, Scott did not claim the European Champion Title which goes to Czech cyclist Jiri Bouska, who was second in a time of 1'10.840.

In Sunday's competition West Australian Jane Armstrong (47) broke the World Record for the 3km individual pursuit (LC3 + CP Division), posting a time of 4'36.333 in the qualifying round.

The EPC European Championships run until August 21.

New climbing record

Austrian Franz Venier has broken the world record for the number of metres climbed in 24 hours, according to an ANP/AFP report. The 42 year-old rode 79 laps of a 5.15 km circuit in Tirol that contained 245 metres of climbing per lap. That gave him a total of 19,355 metres of altitude gain in roughly 400 km. During his attempt, he was observed by a UCI commissaire. The old record was 18,091 metres, set by Marcel Knauss from Liechtenstein.

Celestino a dad

Italian Mirko Celestino (Domina Vacanze) has become a father for the second time, after his wife Manuela gave birth to baby Marika last Friday evening. Mirko was unable to be present at the birth as he was racing in the Clasica San Sebastian, but he was able to greet Marika via a videophone. The baby was born in the Alzano Lombardo hospital, weighing 3 kg and measuring 50 cm at birth.


The Vaude Highland Fling is go

Entries are now open for the Vaude Highland Fling, a 100km MTB Marathon race taking place in the Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia on November 13. Entry can be made by visiting, and the first 500 entrants will receive a Vaude Highland Fling daypack.

Participants have the option of competing in the Full Fling (100km solo), the Half a Fling (approx 55km) or the Flinging Threesomes (Teams of Three riding 27km, 44km and 29km respectively). Besides product prizes, there is $6000 cash up for grabs with $1000 going to each of the winning elite men and women.

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