February 27, 2005
Hincapie takes Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne with late break
Hincapie outsprinted Van Impe, while Bert Roesems of Davitamon-Lotto took third, 6 seconds ahead of the field. It was Hincapie's first win of the season, and the first win by the Discovery Channel team under their new sponsorship.
Van Impe and Hincapie left the field as the day's contenders were watching each other and launching testing attacks.
Perez suspended for two years
Tyler Hamilton's former teammate, Santiago Perez, has been notified of a two-year suspension for, like Hamilton, testing positive for an illegal blood transfusion.
Perez tested positive during the Vuelta last year, where he was racing way over his expected performance. Perez says he will continue to fight the suspension.
Petacchi storms to overall win at Comunidad Valencia
Fassa Bortolo's super sprinter Alessandro Petacchi is having a scorching spring, taking three of five stages at the Volta Comunidad Valencia in Spain.
"For me, with my characteristics, it is very difficult to win a small tour like this one, but I have been very fit since the beginning of the season and I knew that I could race a good tour," Petacchi said.
Hamilton's hemo hearing is here
Tyler Hamilton will face the US Anti-Doping Agency starting tomorrow in Denver. Hamilton has maintained his innocence after two positive tests for illegal blood transfusions, and will apparently attack the validity of the test itself, which was first used in cycling last year.
"But here the validity of the test has to be established. We've preached all along it's not a valid test. Maybe we know something they don't."
The Post also talked to a professor of immunopharmacology, who said the data the test provides are "very accurate. The principles used in cyclists' blood doping cases are very accurate."
Outside of sports, the test is used in organ donations.
John Wilcockson, editorial director at VeloNews, told the Post he thinks Hamilton will win this challenge:
"For sport, it's a brand-new test, and Tyler's the first one coming out allegedly positive," Wilcockson said. "I'm always a bit skeptical of new tests, especially with the degree of scientific analysis with this one."
The standard suspension for doping infractions is two years.
February 24, 2005
Astarloa out two months
Igor Astarloa's crash on Sunday is going to keep him out of action for two months. The 2003 world champion, now riding for Barloworld, crashed at the Classic Haribo.
Field guide to Yanks in the peloton
Legendary Usenet rec.bikes poster Bruce Hildenbrand offers an overview of the American presence on 2005 Euro-pro squads.
It's cool that we're getting to a point where there are Americans in important roles on so many ProTour squads: Hildenbrand's article lists riders waving the Stars and Stripes at Discovery (Discovery has gotten amazingly international, but still has 7 Americans and 2 Canadians on the 28-man roster), Landis at Phonak and Leipheimer at Gerolsteiner, Davitamon-Lotto with Fast Freddie Rodriguez, CSC (where David Zabriskie and Christian Vandevelde join Bobby Julich), Saul Raisin at Credit Agricole, and Chris Horner, now with Saunier Duval.
Hildenbrand mentions that (shades of Vandevelde) Chris Horner is having trouble getting a work visa.
Posted by Frank Steele on February 24, 2005 in Bobby Julich, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Floyd Landis, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Rider profiles, Saul Raisin | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Ullrich won't race before April
A "viral infection" will keep Jan Ullrich out of competition until the Tour of Sarthe April 5th.
Ullrich was expected to kick off his season at the Tour of Murcia in March. Ullrich was reportedly in exceptional early-season shape before the illness.
Lance Armstrong is expected to kick off his season in Paris-Nice, starting March 6th.
Ullrich also claimed that, far from perennially repeating old mistakes, at 31 he is finally learning to adapt his training to his body’s changing needs.
"Had I trained like I do now over the past eight years, I would have won another Tour de France by a big margin," he said. "I can see how my body is ageing. I have to train a lot more and more constructively, and pay a lot more attention to my diet to hit top form. But the form lasts much longer. When I was younger I would come into form after three weeks of training, whereas now I need three months. Now, though, when I am in form I can hold it for much longer."
February 22, 2005
Four ProTour teams sign for Tour de Georgia
AP reports that Credit Agricole, CSC, Phonak, and Saunier Duval-Prodir all are confirmed for the Tour de Georgia, where they'll face Lance Armstrong and the Discovery Channel squad starting April 19th.
Press reports have Bobby Julich leading the CSC squad, and mention that Chris Horner, who won the race in 2003, rides for Saunier Duval-Prodir, but are mum on other team selections. Julich's teammate Jens Voigt was 2nd in last year's race. If Phonak brings Floyd Landis, the Tour would be one Levi Leipheimer short of featuring the best all-around US riders who are active in 2005. Update: The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports Landis will ride the race, as well as Georgia native Saul Raisin of Credit Agricole.
AP also says there may be one more team yet to be announced.
For now, at least, the race's official website is mum on the teams competing this year.
February 17, 2005
David Millar can return for 2006 Tour
David Millar, currently serving a doping suspension, got a split decision today from the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Millar had sought a reduction from two years to one year in his suspension. That appeal was rejected.
On the other hand, the panel bumped the beginning of his suspension to the day he was arrested on suspicion of doping in the Cofidis affair. That means Millar could return to the sport June 23, 2006, just in time for the 2006 Tour, which is expected to travel to the UK, starting in London.
Millar was stripped of the 2003 time trial World Championship, and admitted to using EPO on three occasions: in 2001 while training for the Vuelta, in 2003 while training for the Dauphiné Libéré, and in 2003 while training for Worlds.
February 16, 2005
It's official: Armstrong to race Tour de France, Tour de Georgia
Lance Armstrong announced today that he will ride the 2005 Tour de France, aiming for an unprecedented 7th consecutive Tour victory.
Armstrong had suggested he might skip this year's Tour to concentrate on the spring classics and perhaps the Giro d'Italia.
Another surprise was that Armstrong will defend his title at the Tour de Georgia, April 19th-25th, although the final stage of that race conflicts with Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
As announced Monday, Armstrong will kick off his season at Paris-Nice March 6th-13th. He'll also race the Tour of Flanders on April 3rd.
"Johan (Bruyneel, the team's sports manager) and I will evaluate my fitness later this spring and possibly add some races to the calendar," said Armstrong.
The release doesn't mention any plans for a run at the world hour record, which Armstrong's team is exploring. Many past champions have gone for the record in late summer or early fall.
Floyd Landis on Phonak '05
Landis was perhaps the biggest hoss on a squad of Clydesdales with last year's US Postal team, and one of my biggest disappointments was that he didn't quite have the oats to nose out Ullrich and Klöden at the end of Stage 17.
With Tyler Hamilton out of the picture, Landis looks likely to lead the Phonak team in one or more grand tours this year (Landis: "If we end up doing the Tour, then I think I would end up being the leader").
He also talks a little about how other riders are going to have to step up into leadership roles, since the new ProTour requires teams to race every date on the calendar.
PEZ promises that Part 2 will look toward the coming season and changes between last year at Postal and this year with Phonak.
Update: Part 2 is available now.
And hands that smell of liniment
USA Today offers a look at life on the road for a professional soigneur, the masseuse/cook/caretakers of the peloton.
Dede (Demet) Barry on what her husband Michael's soigneur had to deal with in 2002:
"Michael crashed in the Vuelta a Espana in 2002 and was then dragged by a motorbike which screeched to a halt and landed on his chest," she recalls.
"He was covered in road rash head to toe and was bleeding everywhere. He managed to remount his bike and pedal to the finish where Elvio began to clean his wounds. It took an hour and a half and they had to clean out road grit from every wound in his body while he was squirming in pain, sweating profusely and biting a pillow."
Seen at Velogal's Race Blog.
February 15, 2005
Oprah power sets new Live Strong record
During the Lance Armstrong interview on Oprah, aired Friday, she challenged her viewers to visit the Lance Armstrong Foundation website to order Live Strong wristbands, with a goal of breaking the single-day sales record of 328,000 wristbands, set in September 2004.
The same star power that has launched 50 titles onto the bestseller list led to a new Live Strong record, with 900,000 sold Friday, and according to ThePaceline.com (members only), another 300,000 sales Saturday.
According to the Foundation website, more than 33 million wristbands have been sold since the program launched.
Armstrong Tour decision this week?
Eurosport says Johan Bruyneel, Lance Armstrong's director at Discovery, told them today that a decision on Armstrong's participation in the 2005 Tour will come before the end of the week.
One interesting tidbit from Eurosport:
He also seems more than likely to return to the United States in April to ride in the Tour of Georgia.
But it's a well-guarded secret as to whether or not the Texan will ride the Tour.
Armstrong sets early season
Lance Armstrong will ride with his new Discovery team at the first race of the new UCI ProTour, over 7 stages and a prologue, from March 6th through March 13th.
Jörg Jaksche won last year's edition, and will be back, but with Liberty Seguros. Paris-Nice provides an early fitness check for the sport's top professionals, and will kick off the new ProTour.
In addition to the 20 pro teams with automatic ins for competing in the ProTour, Paris-Nice will include the Ag2R squad.
BBC reports that Armstrong will also race the Tour of Flanders April 3rd, and Liege-Bastogne-Liege April 24th.
Over at VeloNews, Andrew Hood offers five reasons Armstrong should skip the 2005 Tour. I'm increasingly doubtful that Armstrong will wait until 2006 to go for Number Seven.
February 03, 2005
Hamilton hearing likely in late Feb., early march
The long-dormant TylerHamilton.com website has been updated, with news of the successful Phonak appeal, Hamilton's own case, which he said is scheduled to be heard late this month or early next, and the usual personal anecdotes (and pictures of his new puppies).
Hamilton apparently testified before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the Phonak case, and provides his take on former teammate Santiago Perez' case:
...as far as I know, the media reports stating that a two-year suspension is on his horizon are incorrect. From what I understand, he did make an unsuccessful appeal to have the case against him thrown out based on how and when he was asked to provide his final blood sample. However, I’m told his case with the Spanish Cycling Federation probably won’t be heard until May or June, which means Santi will most likely be racing for the first half of the year awaiting his hearing.
Elsewhere, ProCycling.com reports that the Vuelta doesn't know how it will accommodate Phonak this year. Since they won their appeal, they've become the 20th ProTour team, which should allow them to race in all the UCI races, including all three grand tours. Unfortunately, the Vuelta had held 19 places open for ProTour teams, and intended to offer 2 places to Spanish teams, likely two of Comunitat Valenciana, Relax, and Kaiku. If they add Phonak, it would require taking only one Spanish team, or expanding to 22 total squads, more than organizers believe they can handle logistically.
February 01, 2005
Phonak in for ProTour, Tour de France
The Court of Arbitration for Sport today ruled for Phonak, which had appealed its exclusion from the new ProTour, levied after Tyler Hamilton, Santiago Perez, and Oscar Camenzind all tested positive for drugs in 2004.
Phonak license is limited to two years instead of the customary four. Because all ProTour teams automatically qualify for the three grand Tours, Phonak will participate in the Tour de France, as well.
Interestingly, CAS says it is granting the license partly because only Oscar Camenzind's positive could be used as the basis for denying Phonak a license when the UCI did so in November. Because both Hamilton and Perez have pledged to defend themselves against the allegations, CAS treated Phonak as innocent until proven guilty:
...the cases of Tyler Hamilton and of Santiago Perez could not constitute, on the date of 12 November 2004, doping cases making the two riders and the Phonak Team liable for doping infractions. Now, Hamilton and Perez have decided to defend themselves in order to try to prove their innocence. While respecting the will of the UCI to be strict in the fight against doping, the CAS arbitrators have considered that it was not possible, at this stage, to remove the Phonak team from the Pro Tour on the sole basis of doping suspicions concerning the two riders and before knowing the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings regarding them.
A more cynical man might read Hamilton's long silence as a strategy to leave his (and Santi Perez') guilt in question long enough for the team to get a ProTour license.
This is certainly a boost for the world's fastest Mennonite, Floyd Landis, who seems likely to lead the team in one or more grand tours.