March 11, 2005
Armstrong Tour prep being reconsidered
Lance Armstrong may not start the Tour of Flanders April 3, as previously announced.
Armstrong's early withdrawal from Paris-Nice with a sore throat, complaining of poor conditioning, has Armstrong and team director Johan Bruyneel reconsidering Armstrong's early season.
The link above references this story at La Derniere Heure (in French) (rough Google translation), where Bruyneel says he's looking at Catalan Week March 21-25, but might also target one or more one-day races.
One side-effect of Armstrong's early withdrawal, and the growth of the Discovery squad to compete in the ProTour, is that Bruyneel didn't get much of a chance to see how most of the Tour de France squad jells with its leader.
Bruyneel says one reason he's not worried is that Ullrich, Heras, Mayo, and Basso haven't raced yet, but Basso is actually racing at Tirreno-Adriatico this week.
Update: CyclingNews has that quote as "It's still far too early in the season for Bruyneel to panic. 'Ach, Ullrich, Basso, Mayo and Heras have also barely raced yet. He's at their level, so what?' " which squares with reality. Also that the Tour of Flanders is a lock, but some of the supporting dates might get moved around.
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