The Week That Was...
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 be erected in memory of the late Italian hero, Marco Pantani. The memorial is due to be placed on the Colle Fauniera, near Ciusesse
Heading stateside, it?s with great pleasure that we can announce the successful return to competition of Australian hard-man, Henk Vogels (Navigators) who suffered horrendous injuries in his crash at the Fitchburg-Longso Classic last year.
Vogels finished in the bunch at the race in
Finally, opinion is split this week in the European peloton about the proposed UCI ban on earpiece radio transmitters. UCI technical consultant, Jean Wauther said, "the riders have less say, it's as if they were robots. Many races remain closed because the team leaders have decided everything. And the riders are more easily distracted. The earpiece came for safety, but Kivilev still crashed when his transmitter worked. And team directors can no longer drive the cars because they are continually screaming instructions." Patrick Lefevere (Quick.Step-Davitamon) told Belgian daily, Het Nieuwsblad that, "the earphones have to stay in cycling. We are against prohibiting the device; nobody wants it to go. It's not because they no longer allow the use of the earpieces in soccer that the same has to happen in cycling. The situation is totally different. In the race you are confronted more and more with roundabouts, dangerous points, narrow roads and so on. Compared to ten years ago, so many things have changed. There's no way back." We?ll keep our ear to the floor on this one and keep you posted!
As always, keep your thoughts and opinion?s coming in to me. We have some really exciting interviews lined up for readers of Roadcycling.com in the coming months but it?d be great to hear who you would like us to speak to. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or send an email to email@example.com.
Don't forget to check out the great Spring fever sale going on at PerformanceBike (ends on the 18th) - and visit our other sponsors as well.
Till next week, keep it rubber side down.