Australian Brad McGee (fdjeux.com) had a less than satisfying start to his 2004 European campaign when he had to withdraw from the 4 th stage of the recent Tour de Mediterranean.
He suffered from pain in his knee during the second, third and forth stage and opted to end his race prematurely before it got any worse. McGee added that that it was a problem he?d experienced in previous years and that a routine of stretching, physio and a few days light riding should see him back on track. ?Apart from the knee I am very happy with my form and look forward to upcoming races like Paris-Nice and Criterium International," said McGee.
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Five-times Tour de France champion has kicked of his spring campaign in the 30 th<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
Algarve from February 18 th-22nd. In an interview held with the associated press, Armstrong?s Directeur Sportif, Johnan Bruyneel, said that his US Postal Service presented by Berry Floor team leader was starting racing a little earlier this season in his preparation for a bid at a sixth Tour de France crown. "The main attraction [of racing here] is the date, because we're starting racing earlier this year. The
Algarve weather's also good, and the roads are, too" said Bruyneel before adding, "it's good to start in a relaxed way, without too much pressure. It's not a very hard race.? Speaking with French newspaper l?Equipe, Armstrong said, "I needed to get some days in competition, but races like the Tour
Mediterranean or the Ruta del Sol are still too hard and too intense for me. I hope that it will be more laid back here, and usually the weather is good. I'm not in great shape, it's true, and I'll certainly be suffering in the next few days. It's OK. I know myself perfectly, and I won't be alarmed if I'm not able to keep pace.? On this occasion there was no reason to get alarmed, however, as Armstrong won the penultimate stage time trial before surrendering his scant 1-second lead over team mate Floyd Landis on the final stage climb. For Landis, this is probably his biggest victory and the Posties must surely be thinking that this could be the year that this could be his year to break through and confirm the promise he?s shown in past seasons. Armstrong finished back in 5 th, 71 seconds behind. Later, when quizzed about this July, Armstrong once again rated Jan Ullrich as his main rival for the coveted maillot jaune. "The greatest rival is Ullrich. Beloki, Heras,
Hamilton or Basso will be adversaries but they're not at Ullrich's level."
The UCI appears to be finally making a stance against those in our sport determined to tarnish it through the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs. In a letter sent this month, the governing body is preparing to make available a comprehensive list of all those riders who have previously recorded ?abnormal? results in urine/blood tests both