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January 15, 2007

British portion of 2007 Tour route detailed

BBC SPORT | Tour unveils detailed 2007 route

If you're planning on checking out the Tour this year as it visits London and southeastern England, you can start planning the best locations for viewing. The course details for the prologue, around central London, and Stage 1 out to Canterbury, were published today.

tourdefrancelondon.com | Details of the route

BBC | Detailed Stage 1 through Kent | Even more detailed Stage 1 road maps

Posted by Frank Steele on January 15, 2007 in About the Tour, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 14, 2007

Unheralded Lapthorne takes Aussie road title

VeloNews | Lapthorne takes Australian elite road title

Darren Lapthorne, just 23, beat out a crop of better-known racers to take the Australian national championship jersey. Lapthorne is an undergraduate studying business, and led Drapac Porsche teammate Robert McLachlan across the line by 15 seconds. Karl Menzies, of the US-based HealthNet team, was third.

“It's the happiest day of my life ... It is an unbelievable moment for me and I'll never forget it.”

McLachlan scored his third consecutive 2nd place in the Aussie championships.

Among the ProTour riders in the race were Simon Gerrans, Allan Davis, Matt Wilson, Henk Vogels, and Baden Cooke.

Meanwhile, Robbie McEwen's status for the Tour Down Under in Adelaide, Australia, is still unknown. The race starts Tuesday, and McEwen, the most prolific stage winner in the race's history, will be the last rider to arrive in Adelaide, skipping the rider presentation. From AdelaideNow:

McEwen has told veteran cycling commentator Phil Liggett he is hungry to add to his TDU stage win tally of 11 this week to underscore his early-season form and maximise his preparation for the Milan-San Remo spring classic in March he so dearly wants to win.

But the Queenslander is one of the most unpredictable riders in the world with a reputation for winning from out of the blue so, infection or not, only a fool would discount him tomorrow night.

Posted by Frank Steele on January 14, 2007 in Baden Cooke, Robbie McEwen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Julian Dean takes NZ championships

New Zealand Herald | Cycling: Dean in black for next Tour de France

Julian Dean won his first New Zealand championship in his first attempt on Saturday, edging Heath Blackgrove and Gordon McCauley.

“The team will be fizzing because publicity-wise it'll be good for them to have someone wearing a national jersey and I can be that little bit more proud of being a New Zealander overseas,” Dean said.

Dean's new national champion's jersey will make its first appearance this week at the Tour Down Under.

Posted by Frank Steele on January 14, 2007 in Julian Dean | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 10, 2007

Taking the DeLorean back to 1998

Peleton 3
Peleton 3,
originally uploaded by conibonjovi.
Somebody posted photos from the Tour's 1998 visit to Ireland today. That was, of course, the Tour made infamous by the Festina affair, and eventually won by Marco Pantani.

I see a few recognizable faces here, and in shots of the body of the peloton here and here. It would be very cool if you could tag the photo with notes of riders you recognize.

Also, does anyone know which stage this is? I think that's Chris Boardman in yellow, which means it's Stage 1 or the beginning of Stage 2, when he crashed out. The pictures are marked as “March 2004”, which is obviously wrong.

Some help: the 1998 review from letour.fr, including team rosters.

I promise no more games like this once there's some actual racing...

Posted by Frank Steele on January 10, 2007 in Bobby Julich, Erik Dekker, Erik Zabel, George Hincapie, Jan Ullrich, Jorg Jaksche, Magnus Backstedt, Marco Pantani, Mario Cipollini, Photo galleries, Robbie McEwen, Tyler Freaking Hamilton, Viatcheslav Ekimov | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 09, 2007

UCI takes ProTour/Grand Tour squabble to EC

CNNSI.com | UCI to file complaint about major Tours breakaway

The UCI is planning to ask the European Commission to intercede in the ongoing squabble between the UCI and its ProTour and the organizers of the three grand tours: The Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia, and the Vuelta a España.

The UCI posted a press release on its website:

The UCI has today decided to prepare a formal complaint to the European Commission concerning the anti-competitive conduct of the organizers of the Grands Tours.

The organizers of the Grands Tours have acted as a cartel in order to protect their own dominant position in the field of professional road cycling.

In particular the organizers of the Grands Tours have deliberately tried to undermine the development of the UCI ProTour.

This conduct is detrimental to the interest of teams, riders and the wider development of cycling in Europe and in the world as a whole.

The UCI has repeatedly tried to engage the organizers of the Grands Tours in a constructive dialogue; however they have refused to cooperate in any meaningful way leaving the UCI with no alternative other than to seek intervention by the European Commission in this matter.

I find it hard to side with the UCI on this one: The national tours own the crown jewels of the sport (not just the GTs), and the UCI is trying to get them to treat their biggest events like every other race. If you agree with the UCI, make your case in the comments.

Posted by Frank Steele on January 9, 2007 in Giro d’Italia, Top Stories, Tour news, Vuelta a España | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More antipodean angst: McEwen doubtful for Aussie nats

The Australian | McEwen in doubt for title race

Henk Vogels @ Tour de GeorgiaRobbie McEwen looks doubtful for Sunday's Australian national championship, as he tries to recover from a chest infection.

McEwen, twice the Australian champion, withdrew from a race Sunday, and is being treated with antibiotics in the hope that he can return to action on Sunday, then race the Tour Down Under, which starts next Tuesday.

"At this stage Robbie is a 50-50 chance at best of racing," championship director John Craven said last night.

CSC's Stuart O'Grady has already begged off, citing the difficulty and length of the race (160 kms) and his early season fitness.

ProTour riders expected to make the start include Allan Davis, back from his Operación Puerto exile (and rumored to be on the verge of a contract with Discovery Channel), former Tour green jersey Baden Cooke, Henk Vogels (photo above) and reigning Aussie champ Matt Wilson.

Posted by Frank Steele on January 9, 2007 in Baden Cooke, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dean goes for New Zealand title

xtramsn | Journey Into Unknown For Dean

Credit Agricole's Julian Dean is looking to take the year's first national champion's jersey Satruday in Upper Hutt, New Zealand. Meanwhile, Hayden Roulston, formerly of Discovery and Cofidis, who has apparently beaten a heart condition and returned to competition, will try to repeat as New Zealand champion.

Update: Looks like the TdFblog curse strikes again. As I head to bed, it appears Roulston has had a training accident, has been hospitalized, and is likely to miss Saturday's road race as well as the Tour Down Under, kicking off next week.

Dean, New Zealand's most successful pro cyclist, has always missed the country's championship race, which switches from November to January this year.

"Always in the past, I was never in the country for it as an amateur and as a professional, it was always held at the end of the season, like in November, and I've never been able to do it because you're so tired at the end of a pro season," said Dean who turned professional 10 years ago.

If Dean wins the jersey, he'll be able to wear a black and white New Zealand national champion's jersey throughout the Euro season. Dean faces competition from another ProTour Kiwi, Tim Gudsell (who has joined FDJeux this season), as well as Roulston and a crop of local riders.

Posted by Frank Steele on January 9, 2007 in Julian Dean | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack