March 17, 2006
Johan Museeuw to be tried for doping
Former world champion Johan Museeuw will stand trial for his part in a ring alleged to have funneled EPO and other doping substances from a Belgian veterinarian to pro riders.
Museeuw, now working as director of public relations for Quick Step, denies the charges. He was banned for two years by Belgium's cycling federation for his part in the group.
Also among the 11 charged is Mario De Clercq, who has 3 world cross titles.
High-tech angle: Prosecutors claim to have transcripts of text messages back and forth between Museeuw and the vet.
April 11, 2005
Boonen takes Paris-Roubaix, Hincapie second
Tom Boonen was the odds-on favorite going into Paris-Roubaix, but in a bicycle race, like a golf tournament, the favorites are never prohibitive. On a day when Tiger Woods took his fourth Masters championship, Boonen showed why they both were favored.
As with Tiger, this Paris-Roubaix went the distance, with Boonen just edging out Discovery Channel's George Hincapie and Fassa Bortolo's Juan Antonio Flecha.
Boonen, who also won the Tour of Flanders earlier this month, takes over the lead of the ProTour from Alessandro Petacchi, who has never started the Hell of the North. The 24-year-old, formerly a US Postal rider, has firmly established himself as one of the world's best one-day riders.
Sunday's big move had 2004 winner Magnus Backstedt, Boonen, Flecha and teammate Fabian Cancellara, Hincapie, and CSC's Lars Michaelsen -- everything but a big sign that said "Winning break departing now."
Cancellara flatted, then as the pace increased, Michaelsen and then TDFBlog favorite Magnus Backstedt were dropped about 16 km out. From Yahoo! Sport:
"I was on the last wheel and as we went round a corner Mickaelsen swung out and left a bit of a gap," explained Backstedt who finished fourth. "I tried to close it but just couldn't. The front three were just far too strong for me."
Boonen said he had most feared Backstedt and Michaelson in a finishing sprint over the roleurs Hincapie and Flecha. Left with Hincapie and Flecha, Boonen picked their pocket, holding third position into the Roubaix velodrome, choosing his attack, and outkicking Hincapie for the win.
Hincapie becomes the first American to make the Paris-Roubaix podium.
1) Tom Boonen (Quick-Step), 6:27:31
2) George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), same time
3. Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo), same time
4. Magnus Backstedt (Liquigas), at 1:09
5. Lars Michaelsen (Team CSC), at 2:43
6. Leon van Bon (Davitamon - Lotto), at 3:49
7. Florent Brard (Agritubel), same time
8. Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo), same time
9. Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole), same time
10. Arnaud Coyot (Cofidis), same time
CSC's Andrea Tafi, who won Paris-Roubaix in 1999, made his last career start, but withdrew early, as did Peter Van Petegem, among others. Former US Postal rider Victor Hugo Peña crashed in the neutral zone, before racing even got under way, and DNF'ed.
With his early season goals achieved, Boonen said he'll concentrate on the Tour de France green jersey and the World Championships in Madrid:
“This is a dream for me,” said Boonen. “Flanders and Roubaix are the two races I’ve wanted to win the most, and I’ve now won them both. This gives me a huge amount of confidence for the rest of the season. I’m going to go on holiday now and try to find new motivation for my remaining two goals this season, which are to win the points title at the Tour de France and the Worlds.”
Fassa Bortolo's supersprinter, Alessandro Petacchi, has previously announced he won't ride the 2005 Tour, to focus on worlds, and Oscar Freire is bound to target world's, since they're in Spain, so it looks like the stage is set for a major showdown in Madrid.
"I'm satisfied, yet disappointed at the same time," said Hincapie, who couldn't counter when Boonen shot away high off the final turn in the velodrome. "This gives me even more motivation to come back here and win next year."
Why did Hincapie let it go to a sprint against Boonen?
[Discovery assistant DS Dirk] Demol added, "it wasn't possible to attack in the final 20 kms." On Boonen, he added, "every kilometer closer to the finish, we kept thinking 'how can we beat him?'"
The second place finish moved Hincapie up into fourth place in the ProTour standings.
CyclingRevealed.com offers a look at the Belgian Classics, and Johan Museeuw, who won Paris-Roubaix three times.
April 14, 2004
The Lion at rest
Johan Museeuw's last race was no fairy tale. He finished 77th in the Grand Prix de l'Escaut, finishing a 16-year career with 11 victories in the spring classics, and the 1996 world championships.
Museeuw won 2 Tour de France stages in 1990, and wore the leader's yellow jersey in 1993 and 1994. He also won the World Cup and Belgian championships in 1996.
"I hope I will be remembered as a rider who always gave his all. I'm very proud of what I've achieved during my career," the 38-year-old said.
"There have been so many good and bad moments but I think the best was when I won the Tour of Flanders in 1995 because I won it on my own after attacking on the legendary Muur of Grammont climb. My world title in Lugano in 1996 was also very special."
Museeuw will become a director of the QuickStep team. He can take some solace in the fact that QuickStep's Tom Boonen won the day in his last race.
April 12, 2004
Graham Watson Paris-Roubaix gallery posted
(Click through to GrahamWatson.com gallery)
Some great shots of a couple of early miscues, including US Postal's Max Van Heeswijk, who was slightly injured in one early fall, and a shot of Johan Museeuw crossing the line at Paris-Roubaix for the last time.
Peloton's biggest rider snags his biggest winEurosport | Backstedt blisters sprint
What a week for Magnus Backstedt, the nearly 200-pound Swede, formerly of Credit Agricole, now back in the big leagues with Alessio. Second in Wednesday's Ghent-Wevelgem, Backstedt was not to be denied today at Paris-Roubaix, for the biggest win of his career and the first-ever Swedish win in the race.
Johan Museeuw, looking for a 4th win in Paris-Roubaix, flatted 4+ miles from the finish, riding in the winning break with Backstedt, Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo), Tristan Hoffman (CSC), and Roger Hammond (Mr. Bookmaker). Museeuw will retire after next week's GP L'Escaut at 38.
Backstedt took advantage of his track experience to dive to the inside of the group in the last 100 meters in the velodrome at Roubaix and led Hoffman, Hammond (his 3rd matched Barry Hoban for the best Paris-Roubaix finish by a British rider), and Cancellara over the line. Museeuw of QuickStep was 5th. George Hincapie was the highest-placed American at 8th.
Backstedt after the race:
"Its been a dream my whole life to win this race and I just can't believe I have done it," he said.
"Coming out of the last [cobblestone] section I turned around and saw there was only five of us left and I thought hang on -- this is the chance of a lifetime to do something here."
"I do a lot of track riding in the winter and I just knew that I had to keep high on the last corner [on the velodrome] and then dive down on the inside as we hit the last straight. After that... Wow!"