Lance Armstrong

Tour de Cycling - Monday

 - France TV:  Agreement "likely" that will allow Lance Armstrong to start the Tour de France

On yesterday's Stade2 program on France 2 television, there was a discussion of the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) case vs. Lance Armstrong with regard to sample collection protocol in mid-March.  Stade2 reporters talked to AFLD president Pierre Bordry, two-time Tour champion and TV consultant Laurent Fignon, a couple of French riders and other French athletes about the case.  The UCI and Tour organizer A.S.O. did not respond to requests for interviews for the program.  Armstrong continues to enjoy very wide support among his peers in the sports world, including in France, with everyone expressing surprise at how many times he has been tested in recent months.  Fignon commented that the situation "is not good for cycling, not good for Armstrong, not good for anyone."  A Stade2 reporter commented that though the AFLD, as previously reported, will announce its decision on what to do in early May, it now appears likely that all sides will come to an agreement permitting Armstrong to be at the start line of the Tour.  The program also briefly covers the recent Tyler Hamilton positive and retirement announcement.  

- The Bos/Impey crash poll has been closed due to evidence of several hundred votes coming from the same IP address this afternoon.  (not difficult to do)  The poll was never going to be scientific anyway but did we forget to ask people not to vote 300 times?

2009 Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré
route unveiled

Organizers of the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré today officially unveiled the route for the 2009 edition of the race, June 7-14.  The race will include a 12.1km opening time trial in the city of Nancy, a 42.4km time trial around the city of Valence, and a stage to Mont Ventoux.  The race thus shares with the 2009 Tour de France an opening time trial instead of a prologue (prologues are limited to 8km), a 40km+ long time trial and a stage finish on Ventoux (the penultimate stage in the case of the TDF), making the Dauphiné a good preparation race for the Tour, as it typically is.

Stages:

June 7, Stage 1: Nancy, 12.1 km Individual TT

June 8, Stage 2: Nancy - Dijon, 228 km

June 9, Stage 3: Tournus - Saint-Etienne, 182 km

June 10, Stage 4: Bourg-lès-Valence - Valence, 42,4 km Individual Time Trial

June 11, Stage 5: Valence-Mont Ventoux, 154 km

June 12, Stage 6: Gap - Briançon, 106 km

June 13, Stage 7: Briançon - Saint-François-Longchamp, 157 km

June 14, Stage 8: Faverges - Grenoble, 146 km

19 teams will be competing this year, with the BMC team added to the automatically qualified 18 UCI ProTeams.  Riders that might be expected on the start line include Alberto Contador, Cadel Evans, Sylvain Chavanel, David Millar, Cyril Dessel, David Moncoutié, Sandy Casar, and Robert Gesink.

For more: Dauphine Libere Official Website

 

- Regarding yesterday's crash at the Tour of Turkey (links to video and our poll below), race winner Daryl Impey (Barloworld) has given his version of events:

"I got taken down deliberately by Bos from Rabobank, you can even see it on youtube, only one word for him and that is a true chophead. He doesn't deserve to race anymore and I am thinking about going to the UCI about his dangerous riding. He tried to pass me 700m to go in the bunch sprint but there was no-where to go and all of a sudden I felt a hand on my shoulder pulling me into the barriers. We both crashed."  More here.

Armstrong plans return at Tour of Italy

"I go out on the bike every day and ride just like I did before (the injury). I don’t want to fall on it again right now, but I think it will be fine for the Tour of Italy. I fully anticipate being there and being strong and fit and being ready to race."

Read more here.

French anti-doping agency (AFLD) says it could punish Armstrong

Agency runs controversial national anti-doping lab (LNDD)

Update:  MSNBC video (01:07)
(Ed. note: Lots of ridiculous AFLD chest-thumping lately.)

Armstrong to race Tour de Castille et Leon with Contador

Astana has announced the following changes to Lance Armstrong's pre-Giro racing schedule:

- Armstrong will race the Tour de Castille et Leon (Vuelta a Castilla y León, Spain, March 23-27) alongside teammate Alberto Contador.  This race will allow Armstrong to test himself in a time trial and mountaintop finishes.  Contador had previously expressed a desire to race with Armstrong prior to July's Tour de France.

- Armstrong will NOT race the 2009 Critérium International (France, March 28-29).

- Armstrong will NOT race the 2009 Tour of Flanders (Ronde van Vlaanderen, Belgium, April 5).  (Ed. - This is not a surprise as Armstrong told French sports daily L'Equipe a month ago that he would likely skip Flanders in order to return to the U.S. earlier.)

News Release with photo: Lance Armstrong’s Bike Turned In To Police Station

Sacramento Police released some details and a photo of Armstrong bike in their possession.

Eddy Merckx: Lance Armstrong to race Tour of Qatar next year

There seems little doubt that Lance Armstrong will continue racing into 2010.  According to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) story today, Armstrong told cycling great Eddy Merckx yesterday that he will race in next year's Tour of Qatar.  Merckx, for years a close friend of Armstrong's, assists with the organization of the race.  The two spoke by phone as Armstrong dined with Merckx's son, Axel.  Merckx added that had Armstrong not raced the Tour Down Under last month, he'd have raced in Qatar this year.

Lance Armstrong and girlfriend Anna Hansen expecting June baby

Agence France-Presse (AFP) has the story this morning, confirming a story at CNNLance Armstrong and his girlfriend Anna Hansen are expecting a baby in June. (ie, just before the 2009 Tour de France)

"Anna et moi sommes ravis de confirmer que nous attendons un bébé en juin et nos familles sont folles de joie et très heureuses", a déclaré Armstrong.  (Their respective families are crazy happy.)


 

French Media Fascinated by Armstrong Comeback

Paris (cyclingfans.com) - The French media (notably television) are already falling over themselves to cover the Lance Armstrong comeback story.  Armstrong, no doubt, will be the biggest story French sports journalists cover in 2009 and they know it.  French radio, television, print and internet journalists are following Armstrong's every step.  And Armstrong is feeding them (as well as his fans and detractors worldwide) as if they were pigeons in a Paris park via his Twitter feed.

A lucky few will get exclusive access to the 7-time Tour de France champion in the form of lengthy interviews.

Longtime journalists for French sports daily L'Equipe, accustomed in another era long ago to informal interviews of star cyclists over a drink in a bar, resented the relatively limited access they had to Armstrong during his seven Tour de France victories; they often had to go to the old Paceline website like everyone else to get the latest Armstrong news.  And by the time they filed their stories, a million bloggers worldwide had already covered the story.  Oh la la, it was the end of journalism!

And now they have to consume his Twitter feed like everyone else?  (Would you like fries with that, Jean-François?)  Mon dieu!

Many individual journalists here will continue to resent the limited access they have to Armstrong in 2009 but the media they work for are fascinated by Armstrong's return.  Hero or outlaw, it doesn't matter.  The French love westerns.  Armstrong of course knows by now which French journalists are "friendly" and which are not.  Nearly all of them will tip-toe carefully around the champion for fear of having the door shut entirely on their access to the subject of their biggest story of the next year.

There's always Twitter.

-Pete Geyer

Recent Armstrong stories on French television:


Lance Armstrong on Tenerife
Armstrong vs. Contador?
Armstrong and Contador go on
a training ride, one that Contador
finds a bit long given he has only just returned to training.  He asks Alain Gallopin, an Astana directeur sportif, who is responsible for laying out the tough ride.  Gallopin responds "Uh, Lance."  Contador responds "I won't forget this."

Lance Armstrong sits down for a chat with two friendly journalists from France Télévisions, Lionel Chamoulaud and Jean-René Godart.  A long interview, Armstrong responses are in English but also voiced over in French.


(click a thumbnail to watch)

On L'Equipe TV, they recently discussed whether Armstrong would need protection from roadside fans.

 

Lance Armstrong Interbike Press Conference: Lance to race 2009 Amgen Tour of California

Media Advisory

Lance Armstrong confirmed this morning in a press conference at Interbike in Las Vegas that he will be competing at the 2009 Amgen Tour of California as a member of the Astana Cycling Team.

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