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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for July 28, 2005

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Armstrong's post-Tour life to be 'calm'

Goodbye Paris!
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
Click for larger image

While on his first holiday since breaking his own record of six Tour de France wins, Lance Armstrong is enjoying the beaches of France's Mediterranean coastline near Nice, where he used to live some years ago. In the company of his partner Sheryl Crow and his three kids, the living legend wants his life after being a professional cyclist to be 'normal, calm'.

Now that he has ended his career, the man whose favourite nickname amongst all those given to him is 'Mr. Millimetre', described himself as " a cancer survivor, an athlete that has had a fortunate and extraordinary career and who now goes in search of balance, of calm," in an interview published by Italian daily Gazzetta della Sport. "I expect busy days, but without stress," he added, reiterating his will not to give road racing another try.

"No, there’s no possibility of returning to racing with a number on my back," he said. "I won't be like Michael Jordan. I'll still ride my bike to stay fit and I could also participate in a few mountain bike races or ‘cross just for enjoyment, but no more road racing." Then again, Armstrong didn't rule out a little competition in his new life completely. Asked whether he preferred golf to a marathon now, he said, " No doubt: marathon. I would like to train to run under two hours and 30 minutes, and perhaps I will shoot for two hours and 15. I know that I will face my challenges on other roads of life - but not soon. In the end, winning, being the best was a necessity for me, almost an obsession. From now on I won't have that any more. I need a normal life. Of calm."

Nevertheless, it is hard to imagine Lance Armstrong chilling with his family for very long. What about the rumours of him having a go at politics, possibly running for Governor of Texas? "For the moment I don't have any type of political leanings or ambitions. I would like to face the post-racing life as quietly as possible," he replied, saying that both George W. Bush and John Kerry are "two friends". In the near future, Armstrong actually might assist Sheryl Crow in the pursuit of her career, just as she did for him, too - another indication that Armstrong can't sit still for long.

"To have Sheryl at the Tour gave me strength," he said. "Now it’s my turn. Certainly, I could follow her on a world concert tour. I am retired from the bike and I want to get back some good nights filled with rock n’ roll, good food, good wine. And if she needs it I could play guitar," laughed Armstrong, who was also seen having coffee with his friend Bono from U2.

Looking back on his career, clearly focused on the Tour de France, Armstrong admitted he felt as though some races were missing on his palmarès. "Perhaps a Spring Classic, a Tour of Flanders, a Roubaix. I think Flanders and Roubaix perhaps were suited to my racing style. Here, for that I have a little regret," he said. Asked which was the worst moment in his career, from a sporting point of view, he replied, "The time trial at Cap Découverte in 2003, by a long way. The chase to Morzine in 2002, another bad day." And the best? "From the technical point of view I would say Alpe d’Huez in 2001, when I broke away from Ullrich at the first hairpins, or Hautacam in 2000 when I left the Ullrich and Pantani on the slopes. But in terms of emotions, the victory at Limoges in 1995 remains insurmountable, beyond category."

And the all-American champ also addressed the problem of doping in the sport. "Doping has always existed, from the first Olympics. We can, actually, we must fight, we must have strict rules, but we must be aware that it will always exist. What bothers me personally is that the great champions, those at the top of their sport, will always be accused or suspected of doping. I know that is part of the game, but at the same time I can't take it any more. I don't support more doping tests and suspicions in general. And I am tired of continually putting my body at the disposal of doping controls of every type: UCI, WADA, USADA, Federations, French Ministry. There are no limits. At the Tour, in addition to the daily antidoping controls set out in the regulations, I was subjected to blood tests by the UCI and to seven other surprise controls, the better part of which wanted American samples," Armstrong concluded.

Prague Criterium without stars

Although about 18 international cycling stars such as Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile), George Hincapie (Discovery) and Gilberto Simoni (Lampre) were present in Czech capital Prague on Wednesday evening, the planned Criterium took only place aligning about 20 Czechs. The international top acts refused to take part in the 64 km-race as the organisers broke financial agreements.

"The cheques for start money aren't covered," said directeur sportif Thomas Franzl one hour before the start. "The bank won't pay out. The riders may receive their start money later." After several hours of negotiation with the organisers, nearly all of the international cyclists decided to call it off, as even the transportation costs couldn't be refunded. The event ended in a self-inflicted disaster of the organisers: Czech television cancelled its live transmission of the race soon after, and the parcours was shortened. In the end, the only famous rider to take the start was Gilberto Simoni, predictably winning the criterium in front of thousands of more or less disappointed fans.

Fassa line-up for HEW Cyclassics

Italian team Fassa Bortolo have announced its team roster for the HEW Cyclassics ProTour one-day race in Hamburg on July 31. Will participate at the event: Fabio Baldato, Lorenzo Bernucci, Fabian Cancellara, Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni, Kim Kirchen, Alessandro Petacchi, Matteo Tosatto and Marco Velo.

Rhodes and Yaxley recovery 'amazing'

After the terrible accident which involved members of the Australian women road cycling team last Tuesday in the state of Thüringen, Germany, South Australian cyclist Alexis Rhodes, 20, has started physiotherapy as part of her rehabilitation and Tasmanian Louise Yaxley, 23, is recovering well from surgery in the University Clinic in Jena. Australian Institute of Sport Director, Professor Peter Fricker, said the pair remained in intensive care but doctors say they are very happy with the progress of both women.

"Alexis has done some walking and some cycling on a stationary rehabilitation bike," said Prof. Fricker. "It's pretty amazing progress for a girl in intensive care but she's determined. The surgery on Louise went very well," he continued. "Doctors changed the fixator device in her right elbow to allow more flexibility and they also operated on her left wrist.

"She has also undergone skin grafts on both arms," he said. "She will need to have some pins removed at a future date but she is doing well mentally and has recovered from the anaesthetic and surgery very well."

Meanwhile, Sydney's Kate Nichols, 20, has been out and about in Jena and will be heading home in the next week or so while Queenslander, Lorian Graham, 27, has started physiotherapy and rehabilitation including cycling with one leg. "She is mentally very strong and enthusiastic about her rehabilitation," said Prof. Fricker.

Katie Brown, 21, has begun weight bearing exercise on her left leg but work on her right leg will have to wait until the fracture bones knit.

The five injured teammates of Amy Gillett, who died instantly at the tragic accident, have sent back a message to be read on their behalf at the memorial service on Friday, August 29. A second memorial service will be held at Adelaide's Super-Drome on Friday August 5.

Meanwhile, the German government has announced a donation of $8000 to the Amy Gillett-Safe Cycling Foundation established by Amy's family and Cycling Australia. The organisers of the Thüringen Rundfahrt event have also created the Amy Gillett prize to a team or individual for outstanding fairness and exemplary sportsmanship during the Tour.

People wishing to donate to the Foundation should visit the Cycling Australia website at and follow the links from the home page.

Condolences and tributes

Cyclingnews has now published four pages of tributes from cyclists and supporters from around the world who've been affected by this tragedy. Please see: Amy Gillett: Tributes, 1976-2005, Part 1, and Part 2, Part 3 (posted July 21) and Part 4 (posted July 22).

Cycling Australia has also established an email link for people who wish to send condolence messages to the family of Amy Gillett or to pass on their thoughts and wishes to those injured. Go to Cycling Australia's web site and follow the link on the home page.

Related stories:
July 24: Yaxley improving, Rhodes still unconscious
July 21: AIS head 'optimistic' about recovery; 'Brownie' tries his best
July 19: Unprecedented carnage in Germany
July 18: Amy Gillett dead after crash in Germany

National U23 team announced for Tour of Britain

As Great Britain bathes in Olympic fever, its national U23 cycling team has confirmed its line-up for this year’s Tour of Britain, starting August 30 in Glasgow. With two 20 year-olds, Mark Cavendish and Ed Clancy, the team also includes two current world champions.

In his first senior year on the professional tour, Cavendish has flourished into the elite class with sensational success, winning both the World Madison Championship that was held in Los Angeles and also becoming the European Point Champion. Ed Clancy is also a World Champion in the Pursuit Team event.

Joining them on the roads of Britain this summer are Geraint Thomas, a World Junior Scratch Champion, Kieran Page, returning to the UK after two years successful road racing in Europe, as well as Thomas White and Matthew Brammeier. The Tour of Britain will feature six stages and end in London on Sunday, September 4, 2005. Other confirmed participating teams include T-Mobile and Quick.Step.

Re-opening of Herne Hill

Messages of thanks and congratulations have been flooding into British Cycling since the announcement that successful negotiations between British Cycling and The Dulwich Estate have secured the reopening of Herne Hill Velodrome, which stands in a new light since the announcement of London as host city of the 2012 Olympics.

To celebrate, British Cycling is planning a formal re-opening of Herne Hill Velodrome on Friday, August 5, with the handover of the keys from The Dulwich Estate to British Cycling in the presence of senior GB Cycling Team riders, British Cycling South East Division Officials, development riders and Velo Club de Londres, the new resident community club at Herne Hill.

A host of other officials, stars of cycling (past and present) and representatives will be in attendance. The event starts at 1.00 pm until 3.00 pm.

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