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Tour de France News for July 1, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

US Postal announces Tour team

The US Postal-Berry Floor team for the Tour de France has been finalised, with Floyd Landis taking the ninth available spot. That means that seven of the eight teammates that helped Lance Armstrong win his fourth Tour last year will be back again as Armstrong aims for a record equalling fifth straight Tour win.

Joining Armstrong will be Russian Viatcheslav Ekimov, Spaniards Roberto Heras, Manuel Beltran and Jose Luis Rubiera, Americans George Hincapie and Floyd Landis, Pavel Padrnos of the Czech Republic and Colombian Victor Hugo Peña. Beltran, a mid-season addition to the team, replaces Luxembourger Benoît Joachim from last year's Tour roster.

"In my opinion, he's at least as strong as last year," said the team's director sportif, Johan Bruyneel of Armstrong. "His last race, the Dauphine Libéré (June 8-15), was a confirmation that he's on track. He did a strong time trial and defended in the mountains.

"This is more or less the same team as last year, except for Beltran replacing Benoît. It's a real shame for Benoît because he's been displaying great condition now and certainly deserved his place on the team. The choice between him and Floyd was very difficult, but I'm confident that this year's team is our strongest possible line up," added Bruyneel.

Both Landis and Hincapie overcame injury and illness to make the Tour de France roster. Landis broke his hip in a January training ride fall near his home in southern California while Hincapie suffered from a severe viral and respiratory infection that took him out of many early season events, including the Classic and World Cup races. Landis returned to racing in April while Hincapie rejoined the team in mid-May.

"After missing the spring due to illness, George has come back very strong and showed us at (the Tour of) Catalunya (June 16-22) that we can count on him," said Bruyneel. "Floyd is in the same situation as George. He was out for the spring with his hip fracture, worked extremely hard and proved at the Dauphine that his form is still improving."

Bruyneel added that Heras is "back on the same level as last year" and is ready for the Tour following a second place finish at Catalunya. Beltran and Rubiera will join Heras and assist Armstrong in the mountains, while Ekimov, Padrnos and Peña "have the experience and proved at the Dauphine that they are ready for the job."

Ludewig gets Saeco's last Tour spot

German Joerg Ludewig has been selected as Saeco's ninth man for its Tour de France team, getting the nod over sprinter Ivan Quaranta and Andrea Tonti. "I'm sorry for Quaranta," said team manager Claudio Corti. "But this time it was purely a technical decision. After the results of the Giro d’Italia and considering the ride Gilberto Simoni could do in the Tour, we have decided that it is the right choice. It is not that Quaranta has been overlooked. We still feel he is one of the strongest sprinters in the world and we will make sure he gets other chances to show what he can do."

The full team is: Gilberto Simoni, Danilo Di Luca, Gerrit Glomser, Paolo Fornaciari, Joerg Ludewig, Fabio Sacchi, Stefano Zanini, Salvatore Commesso, Leonardo Bertagnolli

Wadecki out of Tour

Piotr Wadecki (Quick.Step-Davitamon) will not be taking part in the Tour de France this year. The Polish rider has had to pull out of the Grande Boucle after contracting bronchial pneumonia. "During the last few days, Wadecki has been taking a course of antibiotics in the hope that he'd be able to recover in time for the Tour, but unfortunately this hasn't been the case," said team manager Patrick Lefevere. "Davide Bramati, number one reserve, who has already taken part in Tour de France four times, will be taking his place."

More Tour teams, Tour team preview: Part I

Young cyclists debate and parade on Tour

To commemorate the centenary of the Tour de France, and on the eve of the European Year of Education through Sport 2004, the European Commission, France's Ministry of Sport, ASO, the Tour organisers and the International Cycling Union (UCI) have invited young amateur cyclists to Paris for two days of discussions on the practice and values of sport and questions relating to professional cycling, and for a parade on the streets of Paris on the eve of the start of the 2003 Tour. This event, bringing together current and future champion cyclists, will take place between July 2-4.

"At a time when the Convention on the future of Europe has just been proposed, including sport in the future European constitution, and with 2004 being the European Year of Education through Sport, the European Commission wishes to demonstrate, through this action involving young European sportsmen and women, that it is in favour of sport as a carrier of educational, social and citizenship values and promotes a European sporting model based on solidarity between professional and amateur sport", said Viviane Reding, the European Commissioner responsible for sport.

The team of young cyclists will comprise two representatives from each participating country (one boy and one girl), i.e. a maximum of 56 young amateur cyclists aged between 18 and 20. They have been selected by the national federations, coordinated by the UCI. Their programme will include two events:

The Debate

The young people will discuss the practice and values of sport in general and cycling in particular, and the problems linked to the changeover from amateur to professional. The themes will be: health and working conditions; education, training and professional reintegration; expectations and responsibilities for young cyclists in relation to the world of professional cycling.

This will take place on Wednesday July 2 from 15.30 at the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF, 1 avenue Pierre de Coubertin, Paris). It will be preceded by an official opening by representatives from the CNOSF, the European Commission, the UCI, ASO and France's Ministry of Sport, at the CNOSF from 14.00.

The same themes will be discussed on the following day by young people with professional cyclists, including French champion Félicia Ballanger and former Belgian champion Stan Tourné.

The conclusions of the debates will be presented at a press conference on July 3 at 12:15 at the Tour Village Parc des Expositions "Hall 6" Porte de Versailles, in the presence of the team of young European amateur cyclists, Viviane Reding, Jean-François Lamour, France's Minister for Sport, and the director of the Tour de France, Jean-Marie Leblanc.

The Parade

A team comprising some of the young amateurs will take part in the parade and in the official presentation of the Tour teams, which will take place in the streets and in front of Paris's town hall in the late afternoon on Friday 4 July.

It's 'Full Speed Ahead' in the Cyclingnews Tour de France Fantasy Game

Photo: © FSA
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Leading component manufacturer Full Speed Ahead has joined our roster of great prize sponsors in the 2003 Tour de France Fantasy Game, with a Carbon Pro Team Issue crankset, a K-Force road handlebar and an OS-115 stem on offer to all those budding directeurs sportif who want to put together their own dream team.

The super-lightweight products from FSA join an impressive range of prizes on offer, with the Major Prize being a limited edition Giant TCR 100 package valued at 10,000 euros.

FSA is one of the world's leading manufacturers of composite components. The Carbon Pro Team Issue crankset (as used by the CSC squad) weighs only 555 grams and features patented carbon composite crank arms, one-piece crankarm/spider, precision CNC machined 7075/T6 chainrings that are ramped and pinned for great shifting. The cranks are also available in a wide range of crank lengths to suit riders of all sizes - including 170mm, 172.5mm, 175mm, 177.5mm or 180mm.

The composite stem features carbon fibre construction, an alloy internal spine for reliability, titanium fasteners and is designed for 31.8mm diameter handlebars, just like the FSA K-Force, which is also made from carbon fibre with an ergonomic bend double groove design, a 31.8mm stem clamp diameter and comes in sizes of 40, 42 and 44cm width. The best part is the weight - only 200 grams.

We're also offering great supplementary prizes, such as a full Veloce groupset from Campagnolo, team issue helmets from Giro and Bell, as well as the latest Arione saddle from fi'zi:k, with more to come.

For your chance to win and for full details on all the prizes on offer in the 2003 Tour de France Fantasy Game, please visit the Fantasy Game section and register to enter your dream team.

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