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First Edition Cycling News for April 19, 2005

Date published:
April 19, 2005, 1:00 BST
  • Arizona University Ride to Remember

    Article published:
    April 19, 2005, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Shane Stokes

    On April 25, riders from Arizona State University Cycling Team will begin a 24-hour roller and...

    On April 25, riders from Arizona State University Cycling Team will begin a 24-hour roller and stationary trainer ride to commemorate Northern Arizona University graduate student Matt Kelly who was hit and killed by a drunk driver on April 5 in Flagstaff Arizona. The event is a fund-raiser for Kelly's wife and unborn child.

    For more information see www.asucycling.com.

  • Scanlon to lead Ireland team at FBD Insurance Rás

    Article published:
    April 19, 2005, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Shane Stokes

    By Shane Stokes Concerns over the non-availability of defending champion David McCann, past winner...

    By Shane Stokes

    Concerns over the non-availability of defending champion David McCann, past winner Ciarán Power plus riders such as David O'Loughlin and Philip Deignan due to commitments with their professional teams have been lessened with the news that Mark Scanlon, arguably Ireland's strongest pro rider, will lead the Irish team in this year's FBD Insurance Rás.

    Cycling Ireland selectors today confirmed that Scanlon will be released by his Ag2R-Prévoyance team for the eight day event. The Sligoman showed he is on his way back from injury with a fine stage win in the recent Circuit des Ardennes, and will be in the thick of the hunt for stage victories in this year's Rás.

    The 24 year old has only competed once before, taking a stage win in the 2001 edition of the race. Last year the former world junior champion became the first Irishman in over a decade to ride the Tour de France, completing sport's most gruelling event.

    Scanlon will be joined on the Team Ireland squad by experienced Kerry rider Paul Griffin, who has been released by his Giant Asia pro team for the event. Promising young riders Brian Keane, Paudi O'Brien and Conor Murphy complete the five-man team.

    'We are absolutely delighted with the news,' said Cycling Ireland selector Martin O'Loughlin. 'It has been on the cards since a doubt arose whether AG2R-Prévoyance would get a wild card entry to the Tour de France. Mark is returning to his best form after injury, and we are expecting a star performance from him in the FBD Insurance RÁS.'

    This year's 2.2 ranked race runs from May 22 to 29.

  • Hondo's attorney optimistic

    Article published:
    April 19, 2005, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Susan Westemeyer Despite his client being fired by his Gerolsteiner team for testing positive to...

    By Susan Westemeyer

    Despite his client being fired by his Gerolsteiner team for testing positive to carphedon and facing a probably career-ending two-year suspension, Danilo Hondo's lawyer Michael Lehner is still hopeful.

    "There are good chances to reduce the sentence, and we will try to take advantage of them," said Lehner. "That particularly applies to the level of the athlete's personal guilt."

    With an eye on the upcoming hearing before the Swiss cycling federation (expected to be the end of May), Lehner said that everything depends on whether it is found that the drug was intentionally taken or not. "Hondo will have to explain and prove whether he deliberately took the drug or not. The question of intent is crucial to the possibility of reducing the sentence."

  • Gilbert to skip Fleche

    Article published:
    April 19, 2005, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    After a punishing early season, Belgian Philippe Gilbert (La Française des Jeux) will give...

    After a punishing early season, Belgian Philippe Gilbert (La Française des Jeux) will give tomorrow's Fleche Wallone a miss. "I have to rest for four days, and am allowed to ride my bike again on Wednesday," he told Belgian newspapers. "I hope to be there for Liege, but without any ambition."

    "He's not to overexert himself," said Gilbert's directeur sportif Marc Madiot. "We want him at the start of the Giro, and if not there, perhaps at the Tour."

  • Glenn D'Hollander to retire

    Article published:
    April 19, 2005, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Landbouwkrediet - Colnago rider Glenn D'Hollander has announced that he will retire at the end of...

    Landbouwkrediet - Colnago rider Glenn D'Hollander has announced that he will retire at the end of this season. "I have seen it all," the 30-year-old told Het Nieuwsblad after the Amstel Gold race. "This circus doesn't grab me any more," he said.

  • Fleche Wallone teams line up

    Article published:
    April 19, 2005, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    T-Mobile is hoping to finally crack one of the Classics at Fleche Wallone and will have a team of...

    T-Mobile is hoping to finally crack one of the Classics at Fleche Wallone and will have a team of mostly climbers spearheaded by Matthias Kessler and Alexander Vinokourov. Kessler was third last year and expects the repeated short sharp climbs of the Ardennes to be as big a test as ever, with the infamous hairpinned, 25 percent Mur de Huy, which the race ascends three times, as the crux.

    "The Mur is nearly always the decisive point in the race," said Kessler. "That's where you really have to grit your teeth. Or you will be dropped."

    Kessler's team-mate Steffen Wesemann will be riding his first Fleche Wallone and is enthusiastic about it. "I am keen to find out about what's in store for me," said Wesemann. However, his focus will be mostly on Sunday's Liège-Bastogne-Liège. "The parcours there suits me better," he says.

    Vinokourov is also treating Fleche Wallone as a warm up for Liège-Bastogne-Liège, saying, "Liège-Bastogne-Liège profile is more to my liking".

    The full T-Mobile roster for Fleche Wallone is: Rolf Aldag (36), Giuseppe Guerini (35/Italy), Andreas Klöden (29), Matthias Kessler, (25), Oscar Sevilla (28/Spain), Alexander Vinokourov (31/Kazakhstan), Christian Werner (25), Steffen Wesemann (34).

    The Rabobank team has announced its line-up for tomorrow's Fleche Wallone. Hoping no doubt to avenge Sunday's Amstel Gold disaster, the team will field Erik Dekker, Thomas Dekker, Theo Eltink, Oscar Freire, Gerben Löwik, Michael Rasmussen, Rory Sutherland, and Remmert Wielinga with reserves Ronald Mutsaars, and Niels Scheuneman.

    Team Illes Balears - Caisse D'Epargne will field José Luis Arrieta, Chente García, Cayetano Julià, Francisco Mancebo, Vicente Reynés, Alejandro Valverde, Xabier Zandio, and Aitor Osa.

  • Hamilton's defence

    Article published:
    April 19, 2005, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Late Monday, April 18 the US Anti-Doping Agency handed down its decision in the Tyler Hamilton case...

    Late Monday, April 18 the US Anti-Doping Agency handed down its decision in the Tyler Hamilton case. The majority of the three-man arbitration panel found that Hamilton had used banned homologous blood-doping methods in the Vuelta a Espana last year, and Hamilton now faces a two-year ban. Combined with the ProTour ethical code regulation that teams should not hire riders found guilty of doping offences for a further two years after their bans, that almost certainly means the end of the 34-year-old's career. Jeff Jones takes a look at the arguments Hamilton himself put forward in his defence.

    Although Tyler Hamilton has been relatively quiet about his hearing up until now, his latest diary entry on his website, www.tylerhamilton.com, goes into some detail about the happenings of the last few months. He started by writing about the anomalous blood values measured by the UCI in the spring: Hamilton was warned several times by the UCI for having a high Stimulation Index (SI) or "off score", which is calculated from the rider's plasma haemoglobin and reticulocyte (immature red blood cells) levels.

    The average SI score for professional cyclists is 90. At Liege-Bastogne-Liege last year, Hamilton scored 123.8. It was up to 132.9 the next week by the Tour de Romandie, and with it came a hematocrit level of 49.7% (the UCI's nominal limit is 50%) and a reticulocyte index of 0.22 (which is below normal limits).

    "Health tests administered on my blood at Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the Tour of Romandie and Dauphine Libéré registered uncharacteristically low reticulocyte counts, which is the count of new red blood cells," Hamilton wrote. "Medical expert Jim Stray-Gundersen, who has conducted more than 10,000 blood tests on athletes participating in doping research programs, testified during my hearing that my reticulocyte counts from these three races were so low they 'are not to be...

  • 2005 Dodge Tour de Georgia set to rock

    Article published:
    April 19, 2005, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Mark Zalewski in Augusta, Georgia and Les Clarke

    By Mark Zalewski in Augusta, Georgia and Les Clarke In 2004 it was all Lance Armstrong at the Dodge...

    America's premier stage race showcases America's premier cyclists

    By Mark Zalewski in Augusta, Georgia and Les Clarke

    In 2004 it was all Lance Armstrong at the Dodge Tour de Georgia - Big Tex showed everyone he was on song for the Tour de France where he went on to smash his way to a sixth consecutive win. Armstrong was in yellow for most of the 2004 Tour de Georgia, and in 2005 the expected one million plus spectators will be looking at him again to gauge his form for a second consecutive Georgia crown and his chances for July in France.

    But this year's event also serves as a showcase as to how far Americans have gone in the European peloton. The four Pro Tour teams in attendance at this year's race are all led by American's - and not just because the race is on US soil. Phonak's new team leader and former US Postal rider Floyd Landis will be making the trip home to the US, along with strong Swiss rider Aurélien Clerc and talented South African Robert Hunter. Another team to look out for will be CSC, who bring three American riders to the event, led by Bobby Julich, who has enjoyed great early season form in Paris-Nice and Criterium International, winning both events. Dave Zabriskie will be looking to assert himself on home ground as will Christian Vande Velde.

    A huge drawcard for the event is the participation of Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner's new 2005 signing. "To be honest it wasn't always part of my plan. It wasn't until we were invited, immediately I thought it was a positive thing to come here. It's always great to come home of course, and to support cycling in the US." Levi will be bringing us insights into the event with his daily diaries, exclusive to Cyclingnews. He hasn't been that busy racing in the early season, but all reports suggest he's been training hard and keen to perform at the Tour de Georgia.

    Click here for the full preview & a vox pop with...

  • Armstrong to retire: Let the countdown begin

    Lance Armstrong announces his retirement
    Article published:
    April 19, 2005, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Mark Zalewski in Augusta, Georgia

    By Mark Zalewski in Augusta, Georgia The day that every Lance Armstrong fan knew would come, but...

    July 24 to be The Boss's final day in the peloton

    By Mark Zalewski in Augusta, Georgia

    The day that every Lance Armstrong fan knew would come, but dreaded at the same time, turned out to be April 18, 2005. On the eve of the third edition of the Tour de Georgia, six-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong announced that he would retire after the 2005 Tour de France.

    "After a lot of thought, considering the season - the races I was going to do this year, I decided to focus on the Tour. At the same time, I decided that the Tour de France will be my last race as a professional cyclist," said Armstrong.

    Sitting alongside his directeur sportif, Johan Bruyneel, Armstrong made it absolutely clear that he will attempt to finish his time as a professional cyclist on top.

    "July 24th will be the last one after more or less fourteen years in the professional peloton," Armstrong explained. "It will be the last one, win or lose. Having said that, I am fully committed to winning a seventh tour."

    Armstrong listed many reasons why he has decided to move on to the next chapter in his life - among them age and his children. "I think the biggest inspiration are my children. They are the ones that make it easier to suffer but they are also the ones that have told me it is time to come home. So without them, none of this would be possible."

    The other factor is the race against time. "Ultimately, athletes have to retire. I've been doing this for fourteen years, and a professional athlete for twenty years. The body doesn't just keep going and going and going. My time has come and there are many other things I need to do in life."

    "I think people forget that if I were to win the Tour de France this summer, I would be the oldest winner in modern cycling. So statistics like that speak for themselves, that you can't do it forever and that while the Tour is an older mans race it's not an old man's race!"

    Armstrong...