The Week That Was...
Ian comments on the happenings in the world of cycling.
Speaking with the Berliner Morgenpost, German Jens Voigt proved that he was certainly not one to follow the lead of others. After the announcement that he will challenge for his seventh consecutive Tour de France victory, the cycling world seems to have gone LA mad. Nevertheless, said Voigt, ?Basso can win the Tour. And especially because, I still don't believe that Lance Armstrong will participate. Lance knows that his streak won't last forever. And he sure doesn't want to finish in second place. If he does start, then he will win the Tour again with five minutes advantage. But I just don't believe it." An interesting theory and one we will all have to wait until July to find the answer too.
Prior to his announcement, Armstrong was tipped this year to possibly contest either the Giro or Vuelta. Due to his on-going legal dispute with Italian Filippo Simeoni, a start at the Giro was never an option according to UCI President Hein Verbruggen in a copy of La Gazzetta dello Sport. "Without the Simeoni affair, [Armstrong] certainly would have come to the Giro, he had promised me." Ah well, maybe next year!
Speaking in his latest diary entry on Roadcycling.com, former Team Phonak leader Tyler Hamilton expressed his relief at having finally had a chance to defend himself against the blood doping test results from last years Olympic Games and Vuelta. "Normally a case closes when the hearing ends. However, my case was fairly complicated given the amount of testimony provided. So, for a number of reasons, it is still officially open. Once it closes, the arbitrators will have ten days to write an opinion. It's difficult to wait, but I appreciate that the panel is taking its time to evaluate all sides and give careful consideration to the testimony. There is an awful lot at stake."
Five and a half months of research and effort went into those four days in Denver. And it was kind of liberating to be able to speak freely about what I've faced in that time period. Even if it was a closed proceeding and there were only a handful of people in the room. It felt good to finally be heard."
According to Procycling who spoke with Team Phonak owner, Andy Rhiis, at the end of Sundays stage of Paris-Nice, the team would be open to re-employing Hamilton if he were proved cleared of any wrongdoing. "We don't know the verdict yet so we can't comment...but if Hamilton was proved innocent we would certainly be open to discussion with him." Any final decision would lie with new Director, John Lelangue.
With the first twenty invitations reserved for Pro Tour teams, organisers of this years Gent-Wevelgem have confirmed that three Belgian teams and one American will take the final four places: Landbouwkrediet Colnago, Chocolade Jacques and Mr.Bookmaker.com, and the American team Navigators Insurance.
Reports in Belgian newspaper, Het Nieuwsblad, alleged that Danish Team CSC is currently experiencing financial difficulties and that the team?s riders will only receive