The Week That Was...

News & Results

06/29/2003| 0 comments
by Ian Melvin

The Week That Was...

Ian Melvin comments on the happenings in the world of cycling.

With just one week to go before the big kick off, team Directors have been busy assessing and confirming their starting nine. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>

Shortly after the final stage of
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Volta a Cataluyna, US Postal Director Dirk Demol said of Roberta Heras "I feel he is in better shape than when he won here last year."   Also coming through this race unscathed was New Yorker George Hincapie.  "After a full week of racing, George rode strong today and nearly won.  He really is back and in great shape" , added Demol.

Meanwhile Team leader Lance Armstrong has been busy finalising his preparations for what would be his fifth successive Tour victory.  Whilst acknowledging he is the favourite for the race he also warned that, "The competition is very strong this year.  Jan Ullrich is a big favourite, Beloki is riding well and the Telekom team is coming up.  There are also several outsiders including Tyler Hamilton.  The time gaps will be small."

"Jan's aim is to try to win a stage with a view to doing well in next years Tour de France.  But with Jan, you never know" commented his DS, Rudy Pevenage.  "It's understandable that he really doesn't want too much pressure on his shoulders.  For a team like ours it's not obvious how to compete with US Postal."   Following a successful run out in the recent Tour de Suisse, the rider himself added that, "There was clear improvement here in comparison with the Tour of

."  Ullrich will however be missing from the German national championships so as he is able to spend some time with his girlfriend whom he is expecting their first child with.

Beloki meanwhile has been talking up his chances in this year's event.  "I am in better shape than in previous years past.  I'm going to the Tour to win.  I think the time has come."

On paper, the strongest challenge to Armstrong's reign appears to come from the German Telekom team.  Although missing Cadel Evans with a broken collar bone, the team can still boast a line-up including the recent winner of the Tour de Suisse Alexandre Vinokourov, Santiago Botero, Paulo Savoldelli and, Mario Aerts.  Just in case they're all none to successful, there's always Eric Zabel to bring it home in the first week.

One rider making his debut and clearly on form at the moment is Aussie Michael Rogers.  Winner of the Tour's of

so far this year, he defended his lead admirably in last weeks Route du Sud to win his third major event of the season.  "I'm having a fantastic month," beamed the 23-year-old Aussie.  When questioned on his goals in this years Tour he said, "I really wanna see what I'm capable of doing in the prologue.  If I have a good day, the yellow jersey might not be out of reach."   The only problem there is he may just have to fight off, amongst others, Lance Armstrong, David Millar and Bradley McGee? this is the Tour de France, yeah?

Sydneysider McGee


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