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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for July 1, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Spotted glory: Who will claim the red and white?

He won the polka dots seven times.
Photo ©: Caroline Yang
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After the departure of Monsieur Virenque, the Tour's Mountain King at the end of 2004, there'll definitely be a new king of the mountains crowned in 2005. Jeff Jones looks at the riders who could take home the maillot à pois.

The polka-dotted mountains jersey (maillot à pois) has a long history in the Tour, with the competition being initiated in 1933, making it 20 years older than the points jersey. It has always carried a good deal of prestige with it, although in recent years, most of the really good climbers have chosen to ignore it and focus on the yellow. With one or two exceptions.

Past winners of the spotty jersey include Fausto Coppi, Federico Bahamontes (six times), Charly Gaul, Eddy Merckx, Lucien Van Impe (six times), Bernard Hinault, Luis Herrera, Claudio Chiappucci, Laurent Jalabert, and Richard Virenque. The latter has claimed the jersey a record seven times, but has now retired and the competition is wide open this year. Like the green jersey, the mountains jersey also requires consistency, but not in the same way. Most of the time, a rider wanting the dots will get in a breakaway on one of the first big mountain stages and win most of the points. The defense of it usually requires another long breakaway, but polka dot contenders don't have to concentrate on every single bonus like the sprinters do, because the big climbs are worth so much more than the small ones.

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Armstrong puts extra money into anti-doping

When Lance Armstrong retires at the end of the Tour de France, he will leave behind an impressive legacy as a cyclist, with his six (or seven) Tour de France victories at the top of the list. He will also be well known for his work in the cancer community, exemplified by the millions of LiveStrong wristbands that he has sold to raise money for cancer research. A more infrequently reported fact, although one that is by no means a secret, is that he has helped the UCI over the years in its fight against doping, by donating money to the cause. "I am a huge advocate of WADA, USADA, drug controls, random controls, out of competition controls," said Armstrong in an interview with Cyclingnews last year. "I have donated money to the UCI over the years to increase [drug controls]."

Dutch TV 2 aired a program on Lance Armstrong on Thursday evening hosted by Mart Smeets, who interviewed Hein Verbruggen, who confirmed that Armstrong sponsors UCI anti-doping investigations. One of the last things he did was to pay for the UCI's new Sysmex blood testing machine, which measures the proportion of haemoglobin and reticulocytes in a rider's blood to determine whether they have been artificially manipulating their red cells.

"I know Lance didn't want me to talk about this, but now he his career is coming to an end I said to him that I should make it public," said Verbruggen. "He didn't like that, but I think everybody has to know it."

Lance is the most tested rider in the peloton. "Journalists said Lance used a lot of medicines after his cancer, and that he should have a long list with legal drugs. But he has nothing on a list," Verbruggen noted, also taking offense to any suggestion that the UCI would turn a blind eye if Armstrong ever tested positive. When a journalist asked him about this yesterday, Verbruggen told AD that he responded, "'Get the hell out of here, idiot!', I told him. Luckily I could restrain myself a bit, otherwise I would really let fly. I'm not good with such people. This initiative deserves nothing but praise and respect."

Health checks OK for Tour peloton

All 189 riders in the Tour have been given the green light to start tomorrow in Fromentine, according to the Tour's medical report. Each rider was subjected to medical controls, including complete blood tests, on Thursday between 7:30 and 14:30. None were declared unfit to start.

€2 million in prize money up for grabs

This year's edition of the Tour de France will feature a total prize purse of €2 million, making it the richest event on the cycling calendar. Of this, the overall winner will get €400,000, and the runner-up €170,000. Each stage win is worth €8,000, while the green and polka dot jerseys are worth €25,000 apiece. The winner of the teams classification will earn €35,000.

Schumacher had a note from his mother

By Susan Westemeyer

Stefan Schumacher can easily explain how the doping product cathine came to be in his body: he took it in an allergy medication prescribed by his mother, Dr. Christine Schumacher. In a press conference on Thursday, his lawyer, Michael Lehner, said that the Schumachers had reason to believe that the medication was not on the list of banned substances, and that he expects the charges against his client to be dropped.

According to Lehner, Schumacher has suffered from allergies and allergic asthma since his childhood. His mother, a practicing doctor, prescribed for him the drug Antiadipositum X 112 T, which contains the substance norpseudoephedrine (cathine), a stimulant which is on the list of banned drugs. Lehner claims, however, that both Dr. Schumacher and the Shimano team doctor, Dr. Jansen, studied the list of banned medications and could not find norpseudoephedrine on that list. They allegedly also asked the Dutch Antidoping Agency (NeCeDo), which said that the drug was not forbidden. Schumacher was given the medication only after this research was completed, in the full belief that it was allowed, Lehner said.

Lehner submitted written statements from both doctors, and said that, "In this case there must be a quick acquittal. I have already asked that the case be dismissed."

Sinkewitz signs with T-Mobile

Patrik Sinkewitz will be riding for T-Mobile in the coming years. Olaf Ludwig, T-Mobile manager, confirmed that the team has signed a three-year contract with the 24-year-old German who currently rides for Quick.Step. Sinkewitz is preparing to ride his first Tour de France. In a interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) before the signing was announced, Sinkewitz said that he was negotiating with T-Mobile, but not just about money. "It also has to do with my position in the team, my athletic perspective, my personal development. I also want to have my freedom and be able to use it now and then."

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Simms to trial with Landbouwkrediet

Australian cyclist Michael Simms, currently riding for continental team Profel in Belgium, has signed a stagiaire contract with Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, and will be riding with them from August 1, until the end of the season. Simms has had three wins and three second places along with numerous top ten places in the first half of the season.

Steels and Roesems in wind tunnel

Davitamon-Lotto riders Tom Steels and Bert Roesems will undergo wind tunnel testing as part of the Investigation Program for Technology Transfer of the European Space Organisation (ESA). The testing will be carried out on July 7 in the Karman Institute in Sint-Genesius-Rode, home of Belgium's biggest wind tunnel, and both riders hope it will lead to an improvement in their results.

Del Puppo fired

Italian rider Nicola Del Puppo has now been fired from the Marchiol-Ima-Famila team after failing an out of competition blood test (Australian protocol) conducted by the Italian cycling federation (FCI). Del Puppo was due to participate in the Mediterranean Games in Spain, but has now earned himself a 45 day suspension from the FCI and dismissal from the team, which had suspended him on a provisional basis yesterday.

Another rider from Team Marchiol-Ima-Famila, Alex De Bastiani, has also been suspended after failing a health check, but the team will wait to verify his blood values before firing him.

Fantasy Le Tour is nigh!

Click for larger image
The Trek Madone 5.9
©: Zapata Espinoza
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A very Bontrager-esque front end
Photo ©: Zapata Espinoza
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Discovery Channel Giro helmet
©: Giro
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There are only hours left before the third Fantasy Le Tour game begins here at Cyclingnews. It's looking like an exciting game this year with more prizes than ever before, improved gameplay, more chances to win and score points. Have a look at what's on offer

Grand Prize

We are pleased to confirm that TREK will be offering the lucky winner of this year's Fantasy Le Tour a Madone 5.9 team Discovery bike worth US$7,700.

When Lance Armstrong challenged TREK to create their fastest bike ever, they answered with the Madone. The Madone family combines TREK's Tour-proven road geometry with the Time Trial aerodynamics to create the ultimate performance package. It's a fantastic prize packed with some of the best features that will be featuring in this year's Tour bikes:

New Runner-up Prizes

Giro has confirmed it will be providing nine of its team issue Atmos helmets! Giro has offered us three of each from the Discovery, Rabobank and Fassa Bortolo teams.

You can begin building your teams now! There will be over 39 opportunities to win prizes in this year's game. Be a professional team manager for the 2005 Tour de France. Based on the live racing action, you will take up the challenge of using your knowledge and tactical skill as a race team manager to compete with managers from around the world. Follow the races live and use your skill and knowledge to win prizes. For more info go to the fantasy site.

Prize list

As well as the first prize TREK Madone Discovery Team bike detailed above, the following great prizes have been confirmed, with more to come.

Stage by Stage Prizes : Specialized - 21x pairs of sunglasses

Runnerup Prizes:

Bontrager - 2x pairs Bontrager Race X-Lite Aero wheels, 1x Race X Lite OS handlebars, 1x Race XXX Lite OS carbon stem, and 1x Race X Lite Pro saddle.
DMT - 3x pairs of Flash shoes
Speedplay - 4x pairs of CSC pedals
CTS - Signature coaching package
fi'zi:k - 5x Team issue Arione saddles
Giro - 9x Atmos Helmets in Discovery, Rabobank and Fassa Bortolo team colours

New Rules

In conjunction with feedback and suggestions from players of the game over three years, we have developed a new points system for the Tour games. We've awarded more points to a greater number of riders and given back more emphasis to GC placings. Thanks to all of you who helped us develop the new points system. Have a look for yourself in the points section.

How to Play

You can begin creating your team/s now. You can play the first 8 stages for FREE! We will be adding additions to the startlist on a daily basis. The Tour games are easy to play, all you need to do to manage your own team is select 15 riders from the live start list then select 9 of these riders to race each day throughout the Tour. You score points according to how well each of the riders place each day in the Tour. So try your team today and see if it's for you. It's a great way to follow the Tour. Create your teams now at

Good luck!

The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team

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