The Week That Was...
Ian comments on the happenings in the world of cycling.
Some place on the far side of the world to me right now are, a bunch of amazing athletes whom I really don?t envy. As if riding your bike through the cold, wintry weather of
Victory at this year?s Paris-Nice went to Jorg Jaksche, ably supported in third and fourth place by team mates Jens Voigt and the forgotten man of American cycling, Bobby Julich. Julich commented that in previous years, he had never been ?as physically fit. If there?s ever going to be a year I?m going to be competitive, this is the year? ? hey, we?ve only waited 5 years Bobby - so a little while longer probably won?t hurt! Good luck to the guy though, and if there is a team out there able to help support and encourage Julich to find his form of July ?98, it?s CSC. Tom Boonen (Quick.Step-Davitamon) observed that he had only seen the all-conquering Gewiss-Ballan team of ten years ago, on a few occasions, but that, ?CSC reminds me of them.? Maybe worth noting here, one part of that awe-inspiring squad was none-other than the CSC Director, Riis.
Walking away with Victory on the final stage on the sea front in Nice was Kazakh rider Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile), adding to his other two victories in the previous three stages at Ranteau and Nice. Vinokourov commented that Jaksche had ?earned the victory, he?s developed lots as a rider and he has a strong team.?
One other performance worth signalling out was that of Belgian, Frank Vandenbrouke, (Fasso Bortolo). After several top placings, the former bad-boy of cycling exclaimed, ?it?s been three years that I?ve been waiting to come back to this level.? He continued that, ?these are the first signs that I?m getting there, patiently, but there?s still work to be done,? before adding, ?I?m stronger than last year, but not as strong as I?ll be a year from now.? Classics specialist Michele Bartoli (CSC) noted that, "I think Frank is in great shape but he's not yet at a hundred percent. I'm sure he'll get better, and Paris-Nice is a hard race, perfect for preparing for the classics. All the better if he reaches his old level. Cycling needs champions like him and duels between talented riders."
Some place east across the border,
Last week it was announced that a permanent memorial was to