Monday, March 28, 2005
Serving up samples of camembert at the 2003 Paris-Camembert race
Tomorrow (Tuesday) is the 66th edition of Paris-Camembert Lepetit. The race doesn't start in Paris and it doesn't end in Camembert; it does however pass through the tiny village in Normandy on its way to the actual finish in Vimoutiers.
The 4th leg in the French Cup series of races, Paris-Camembert will be an important target for several French riders, notably an in-form Laurent Brochard (winner in 2001 and 2003). 2004 runner-up Thomas Lovkvist may be a man to watch too. Lance Armstrong is expected at the start line; he finished 2nd in this event in 2000.
Official Paris-Camembert website
(site is in French and not very comprehensive or up to date)
Tuesday is also the start of the 3 Days of De Panne race and George Hincapie of Discovery Channel will be looking to defend the title he won in 2004.
Official 3 Days of De Panne website
Sunday, March 27, 2005
Bobby Julich on his way to winning the Criterium International
2005 Criterium International photos will be posted later this week.
Friday, March 25, 2005
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Dwars door Vlaanderen
Click to launch cyclingfans.com LIVE Guide for Dwars door Vlaanderen
Saturday, March 19, 2005
Click to launch cyclingfans.com LIVE Guide
First set of photos is in the Photo galleries section. More to come.
Sunday, March 13, 2005
Saturday, March 12, 2005
If you have OLN TV, don't forget their coverage of Paris-Nice both today (Saturday) and tomorrow. In France, both France 2/3 and Eurosport are broadcasting Paris-Nice this weekend.
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Paris-Nice to Mont-Faron:
It's Time to Rock and Roll
Jorg Jaksche (Liberty Seguros) in the Paris-Nice Prologue
This should be quite some battle tomorrow on the climb to Mont-Faron overlooking the mediterranean city of Toulon. Can Jorg Jaksche do what he needs to do to repeat as winner of Paris-Nice? Riding for Liberty Seguros this year, Jaksche and his team need to find a way to beat the team with which Jaksche won Paris-Nice in 2004, Team CSC. But that won't be easy as CSC has strength in numbers with five riders within one minute of current race leader Fabian Cancellara of Fassa Bortolo. CSC's best-placed rider, American Bobby Julich, third overall last year, is in third place heading into Friday's stage. CSC has options and work very well together as a team. Who knows what Jens Voigt will try tomorrow? He could blow apart the race on his way to personal glory or set up teammate Julich and be happy either way.
"Bobby, can you hear me now?"
Bjarne Riis and Bobby Julich at the 2004 Criterium International
Is Alejandro Valverde ready for Mont-Faron?
Alejandro Valverde does a test run on the Paris-Nice prologue course
"The Cable Guys" (aka the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team) go on without Lance Armstrong who dropped out of the race due to fatigue/illness. José Luis Rubiera is best-placed rider on the team in 43rd place at 1:47 back.
Did you know you can view video highlights of races shown on Eurosport at their web site? Eurosport also has a video clip of an interview of Lance Armstrong from this week. See "Links" above left.
Just added a new link: Eurosport France
Their content differs from the English-language Eurosport site. (aside from being in French)
Paris-Nice 2005. Brrrrrr....
Saturday, February 26, 2005
Boonen, Devolder, Van Petegem, Van Heeswijk, O'Grady, Bettini
Paris -- The 2005 pro cycling season is getting down to serious business now, with today's Belgium season opener, Omloop Het Volk , followed by Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne on Sunday, and the new UCI ProTour series opener, Paris-Nice , just one week away.
The Quick Step (Tom Boonen, Paolo Bettini), Discovery Channel (Stijn Devolder, Max Van Heeswijk), Davitamon-Lotto (Peter Van Petegem, Robbie McEwen) and T-Mobile (Steffen Wesemann) teams look particularly strong for this weekend. Riders such as Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis) and Jaan Kirsipuu (Credit Agricole) have to be taken seriously too.
Let the games begin.
Live ticker for Omloop Het Volk at the official site:
If your Flemish/Dutch is not good, then you can have that page translated, more or less, via Babel Fish Translation (see Links).
There is also a live ticker at cyclingnews.com here:
If you don't have television coverage, try www.cycling.tv for race video on the web.
Coming soon to a Tour near you
You've heard by now that Lance Armstrong finally announced that he will be going for a 7th consecutive victory in the Tour de France. No surprise there. He also announced he will defend his title in the Tour de Georgia instead of racing the April classics. The reasoning given is that there is no better way to prepare for a big stage race like the Tour de France than to compete in a stage race such as Tour de Georgia. Hard to argue with that.
Despite earlier reports that he would begin his season in mid-March, Lance is now expected to begin his season at Paris-Nice, March 6-13. Paris-Nice is the first event in the new UCI ProTour. Discovery Channel is planning to bring quite a powerful team to this race. (Armstrong, José Azevedo, Manuel Beltran, Viatcheslav Ekimov, George Hincapie, Yaroslav Popovych, José Luis Rubiera and Paolo Savoldelli.) With the CSC team looking very strong again this year, I think we can expect fireworks in the "Race to the sun".
The story of Lance Armstrong dropping out of the 1998 Paris-Nice full of doubts and considering hanging it up during his comeback attempt is well documented. But he also rode Paris-Nice in 1999 on his way to his first Tour victory. He finished that race in 61st place, 48 minutes behind winner Michael Boogerd of Rabobank. In subsequent years, Lance has said that Paris-Nice was a bit too difficult a race with which to begin a campaign for victory in the Tour in July.
It will be interesting to see what Lance Armstrong and his Discovery Channel team have planned for Paris-Nice.
Detailed itineraries are now up for the 2005 Paris-Nice:
No Critérium International for "The Cable Guys"?
Discovery Channel is not currently on the list of teams competing at the Critérium International this year (March 26-27).
Since the Tour of Flanders is the following weekend, Armstrong, Hincapie and the rest of "The Cable Guys" (that's what we've decided to call the team this year) likely will be doing some serious training on the cobbles further north, as well as defending Hincapie's 2004 win at 3 Days of De Panne mid-week. I think we can expect more fireworks at Flanders.
After Flanders, three teams of The Cable Guys will be racing simultaneously in three countries: Hincapie and the other Paris-Roubaix guys will be racing at Gent-Wevelgem on April 6 in the lead up to Paris-Roubaix on April 10.
Another group will be in Spain for the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, April 4-8.
Finally, organizers have confirmed that Discovery Channel will compete at the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe-Pays de la Loire race, April 5-8.
For one thing, organizers have put a time trial back into the race; they had eliminated it last year; USPS skipped Sarthe in 2004 after competing there, with Armstrong, in 2003. Armstrong in particular likes to compete in as many time trials before the Tour de France as possible, to fine-tune some things, try new bikes and so forth.
Secondly, the Sarthe race begins in the Vendee region on the Atlantic coast, right in the area that the 2005 Tour de France begins. This presents an opportunity for The Cable Guys to check out the Tour stages in advance, in particular the opening 19km time trial. Though 19km is not long for a time trial, a guy like Armstrong can gain significant time against some of the lighter climbers in that distance, particularly with wind along the coast. Armstrong himself therefore just might race Sarthe before returning to the U.S. for the Tour de Georgia.
You can see the list of teams and the race route at the official Sarthe site here .
(You will need to scroll the page down at the Sarthe site to see the list of teams. They say Discovery Channel is confirmed but Armstrong himself is not confirmed at this time.)
Jan likes Sarthe too
Jan Ullrich, Team Coast, in the 2003 Circuit Sarthe time trial
As with 2003, Jan Ullrich's 2005 season will not begin until early April, at the Sarthe race. But in 2003, it was financial problems at Team Coast resulting in problems with the UCI, the international cycling union, that prevented Team Coast members from racing before early April. This time illness and interruption in training will result in Ullrich waiting until Sarthe to begin his season. Given how strong Ullrich rode in the 2003 Tour de France, perhaps he will show up riding strongly next July too.
Ullrich seems to like the Sarthe race as a good way to ease into the season with little pressure. He rode Sarthe in 2004 as well.
Jan Ullrich of T-Mobile works on his form at the 2004 Sarthe race