Will we see fans at the road-side? Maybe not – Top Story. The cycling news just keeps coming in: Colombians fly to Europe, 2020 Worlds in Switzerland, Bruyneel non deal, Dumoulin leaves MPCC, Viviani Tour/Giro, Pedersen to Poland, Groenewegen prefers Giro, Buchmann can Race without fans, Démare operation, Backstëdt breaks shin, Higuita good as Urán, Cant and Naesen contract, Dwars door het Hageland go ahead, Ridley reviewing sponsorship, ISN 2020 season and Simeoni and Hamilton talk about the Lance film. Stay safe out there.
TOP STORY: Tour de France Working on Limited Public Access Scenarios
The Tour de France is working out scenarios where there may be less audience at the race. Roxana Maracineanu, the French minister of sport, told RTL France that this maybe part of the measures against the corona virus. “My biggest wish is that there is an audience at Roland Garros and the Tour de France, because those events without an audience are unimaginable,” said Maracineanu. “But the reality is that we are currently getting organisations to work on different scenarios where less audience can be present. Without a vaccine, a return to normal for sport is impossible.”
Other French events, which will be held from the beginning of August, will experiment with the limited access of spectators. The Critérium du Dauphiné, the Bretagne Classic and the European championship. The last two races are scheduled just before the Tour and will probably both be held in Plouay. It is hoped to avoid a scenario like in Paris-Nice, where spectators were completely banned at the start and finish locations.
We might not see scenes like these:
Colombian Cycling Federation Arranges Charter Flight to Europe
The Colombian government extended the international flight ban to August 31. Initially, this was not good news for Bernal, Uran and Quintana, but the cycling federation has lent a helping hand. Special permits are being applied for and a charter flight to Europe will be arranged in July.
A flying ban until August 31, as the Tour de France starts on August 29, was not good news for Colombian riders, but it became clear last week that the federation would make every effort to find a solution. Julián Velásquez, manager of Team Medellín, confirmed the news to the Spanish cycling website Zikloland. “On Monday I received a pleasant phone call from the president of the Colombian cycling union,” said Velásquez. “He is applying for special permits from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Sports, as well as permission to arrange a charter flight for all riders who must travel to Europe in July.” According to Velásquez, all riders will take the same flight to Europe.
Switzerland To Run 2020 World Championships
The World road championships will take place in Switzerland from September 20 to 27, on location and dates that were initially planned. After weeks of doubt, and a ‘Plan B’ to move to the Middle East. The French newspaper L’Equipe reported on Wednesday.
There is still the official word to come from the Swiss Federal Council which met on Wednesday to consider the next step in the corona crisis plan. The key question is, are mass events with more than 1000 spectators allowed in September? If yes, there is no reason the World championships can’t be run in Switzerland. The event organisation should be ready to go.
L’Equipe thinks that the current measures around COVID-19 will no longer be effective within three months and that would be announced by the Swiss authorities. A delegation from the organising committee in Martigny will be received at the seat of the federal government.
As to the case of a move to the Middle East in November, Abu Dhabi – UAE’s capital – would have been preferred, according to L’Equipe. It would have been compensation for RCS and the UAE Tour after the stage race was stopped early in the spring by the outbreak of the corona virus. But there was a fear at the UCI that not all riders would want to travel to the Emirates, as they were scared they would be stuck there, like in February.
*** Worlds Update: ****
It is still not certain whether the World championships can be held in Switzerland. The Swiss Federal Council press conference on Wednesday confirmed that until August 31 (three weeks before the start of the World championships), mass events involving more than a thousand people are still banned. Whether that measure will be extended after August 31 is still unknown. A new evaluation will follow on Wednesday 24 June.
Johan Bruyneel Refused to Strike a Deal with a Doping Authority
Johan Bruyneel at the last minute declined an offer from an anti-doping agency in 2013, reports Cycling Opinions. If the team manager made incriminating statements about a person from the sports world, he would only be suspended for a year. Bruyneel cannot yet say which doping authority is involved for legal reasons.
It seemed that Bruyneel would close the deal with the relevant anti-doping agency until he dropped out at the last minute. “I had no incriminating information about the person in question. I just wanted to see how far an anti-doping agency is willing to go and deliberately break its own rules to deal with someone. For me, this was yet another proof that there is no justice in the anti-doping agencies.”
Bruyneel understands perfectly why he has been punished by the anti-doping agencies. “I crossed the line as a rider and as a team manager. Then you don’t get any chance to defend yourself. First, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) did not control me. It also becomes very clear that USADA took every possible measure, both lawful and unauthorised, to hang Lance Armstrong and me on the tallest tree.”
Bruyneel takes the statements from Levi Leipheimer, Christian Vandevelde, Michael Barry, George Hincapie and Tom Danielson – all former Armstrong teammates – as an example: “They had a much shorter sentence and were allowed to decide when they were suspended. In view of their statements, all should also be suspended for the “traffic” of doping. However, USADA and WADA apply the rules as it suits them best.”
In 2012, Bruyneel was accused of being involved with illicit substances while working with Armstrong. After USADA’s findings, RadioShack sidelined the Belgian. Two years later, he was suspended, so that he was not allowed to be involved in cycling for ten years. In 2018, this suspension was converted into life by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
He has now accepted it. “But explain to me the difference between Bjarne Riis and me. He has explained to the Danish anti-doping agency what he has done as a rider and team manager, just as I have made all those statements. With him, the prescription of the facts was respected, but that was not the case with me. However, we were born in the same year, competed in the same years as a rider and as a team manager.”
Riis is again a team manager in the professional peloton this year with NTT. Bruyneel: “He was even personally welcomed by Tour director Christian Prudhomme and UCI chairman David Lappartient. I have nothing against that. I think Bjarne is an excellent team manager. I am also convinced that with his past he can now watch better than many that a doping culture such as in those years does not recur in his team. But why is he allowed to continue and I can’t?”
Johan and Lance:
Tom Dumoulin leaves MPCC
Jumbo-Visma’s Tom Dumoulin announced that he has left the MPCC, the Movement for Credible Cycling. MPCC chairman Roger Legeay is surprised and calls the arguments Dumoulin makes unreasonable.
“I really like the MPCC’s philosophy. But I thought going through Paris-Nice was a farce,” said Dumoulin. “In my opinion, that course should not have been taken. Then there was already the corona outbreak, also in France. There were really serious problems. Then the MPCC said nothing about that.”
“And then they came up with the story of how dangerous the use of ketones is. I thought that was a very hypocritical attitude. In addition, our team uses ketones, so it is a bit hypocritical for me to be a member of the MPCC. Those two things together moved me to unsubscribe.”
Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Patrick Lefevere agrees with Dumoulin. “The MPCC is hypocritical and it serves no purpose. They are completely outdated.” Johan Bruyneel, Lance Armstrong’s right-hand man, thinks the same way. “The MPCC is Legeay’s toy. At the time, he was one of the greatest hypocrites and manipulators of cycling. I’ve been through too many of his meetings.”
No MPCC for Tom:
Elia Viviani for a Tour-Giro Combination
Elia Viviani will ride the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia this autumn, despite only a week of rest between the two big races. The European champion of Team Cofidis also announced that he will start his season with Milan-San Remo, he told Il Corriere della Sera.
Nothing much has changed in Viviani’s program, as these races were also planned for the sprinter before the corona crisis, he was always going to do the Tour/Giro combination. “I’m the leader of Cofidis, a French team, this year, so that’s why the Tour has priority. But I also want to return to the Giro, as I did in 2018: full box from start to finish with the points jersey around my shoulders,” said Viviani.
Milan-San Remo, scheduled for August 8, is one of Viviani’s other main goals. “I have changed my program a few times, but the goal remains the finish on the Via Roma,” the finishing street of La Primavera. “I am skeptical about the idea to start on August 8, without any races. It would be better to race Milan-San Remo on August 22, but we are still waiting for confirmation.”
Many teams had to take financial measures during the crisis. This is not yet the case with WorldTour team Cofidis. Viviani can count himself lucky. “Salary cuts of 15 or 20 percent are planned, but that’s only when the season doesn’t start.”
Euro champ – Viviani:
World Champion Mads Pedersen to Start in the Tour of Poland
Trek-Segafredo previously announced that Mads Pedersen wanted to resume the season in the Tour of Burgos (July 28-August 1). Four days later, the World champion will also be at the start of the Tour of Poland.
Mads Pedersen does not seem to be leaving a race opportunity unused. The 24-year-old Dane wants to show his rainbow jersey for the first time in the Tour of Burgos, at least if it goes ahead. The world champion will also ride the Tour of Poland, which was confirmed by the team management of Trek-Segafredo.
Pedersen in Kuurne:
Dylan Groenewegen prefers Giro to Vuelta
Dylan Groenewegen was originally scheduled to start this season in the Giro d’Italia and ride the Vuelta a España. Due to the rescheduled UCI calendar and the overlap of both races, this is no longer possible. The Jumbo-Visma sprinter will stick to his Giro debut for now.
Head of Performance Mathieu Heijboer said in an interview with Eurosports Kop over Kop. “The Tour is the competition that remains the same in our selection. Then the starting point remains that we want to go there with the strongest team. So as we have planned in the winter, we will now do that in August and September. But everything else changes.”
After riding four times in a row in the Tour de France, the team wanted to ride the Giro and the Vuelta with Groenewegen. Since both Grand Tours overlap on the rescheduled UCI calendar, choices now had to be made. “It seems that he will dispute the Giro and not the Vuelta,” says Heijboer. The Italian Tour should start on October 3.
Dylan Groenewegen winning Valencia stage 1:
Buchmann Ready to Race Without an Audience
A Tour de France without an audience? Emanuel Buchmann can imagine it: “It is certainly not pleasant, but we are also used to it. Look at the UAE Tour, where hardly any people stand by the side of the road,” fourth of the last Tour de France said in conversation with German media.
Chances are that the other French events, which will be held from the beginning of August, will experiment with limited access of spectators. “It will really give a different feeling, but we can race for a year without an audience,” said Buchmann. “It is not the first time.”
“We often participate in competitions with limited public interest. We hardly see any spectators in the UAE Tour. So it is not exceptional.” The BORA-hansgrohe climber is hoping for a podium place in the Tour de France this year and even dreams of the Tour victory. “But then all the pieces of the puzzle have to fit together. You must be protected from mechanicals and falls for three weeks. It is also possible to lose time in a clumsy way.”
Emanuel Buchmann leading the Tour:
Arnaud Démare has to go Under the Knife After an Accident on Training
Arnaud Démare needs surgery on his left hand, the French sprinter told AFP news agency. The rider of Groupama-FDJ broke his carpal bone during mountain bike training last Saturday and is not allowed to cycle outside for several weeks.
The Frenchman had already had to rest for two weeks to recover, but now medical intervention appears necessary. The 28-year-old sprinter will have to take absolute rest for four to five days after surgery, but will then be able to work on his exercise bike again. Démare will then have to wait another two weeks before he can train outside again. “It is annoying, but it does not cause any disruptions in preparation for the August races,” said Démare, who started his season in the UAE Tour. The fast-man had to stay in the United Arab Emirates for quite some time after the sudden stop of the stage race due to some COVID-19 cases during the WorldTour race.
Dèmare in Slovakia:
Trek-Segafredo’s Elynor Backstëdt Breaks Shin
Elynor Backstëdt will have to stop training for a while, and not because of COVID-19. The young Trek-Segafredo rider, 3rd in last year’s World junior time trial championships, broke her shin in a crash Sunday.
Backstëdt was on a mountain bike ride with her family when she crashed. The British rider was taken to the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Ynysmaerdy, where a spiral fracture to her shin was diagnosed. The decision whether surgery is necessary would be made on Monday, and there would be discussions with her Trek-Segafredo team. The team doctor is in contact with the hospital.
Elynor Backstëdt is one of the daughters of former professional cyclist Magnus Backstëdt, winner of Paris-Roubaix in 2004. Last year; Elynor won the bronze medal at the World junior time trial Championships behind Aigul Gareeva and Shirin van Anrooij. Subsequently, she was contracted by Trek-Segafredo.
3rd in the junior Worlds TT:
Can Higuita be as Good as Urán
EF Pro Cycling has largely divided the leaders over the Grand Tours in the second part of the season. Sergio Higuita will ride the Tour for the first time at the side of Rigoberto Urán, while Hugh Carthy goes to the Giro. This is confirmed by head of performance Peter Schep in the new podcast of The Big Plate.
Sergio Higuita normally makes his Tour de France debut in the second part of the season, Schep confirms. The Colombian appears alongside his experienced compatriot Rigoberto Urán at the Grand Depart. “Urán remains the best lap rider for me in our team. His professional seriousness is really bizarre. We hope that Higuita will be able to work on this, because he has shown that he has it in the Vuelta with that stage victory.”
For Hugh Carthy, the main goal remains the Giro d’Italia. Before the outbreak of the coronavirus, the British rider was 4th in the final classification of the Tour de La Provence. “He got a lot of morale from last season, for example the queen stage in the Tour of Switzerland was one of his most beautiful days. You can imagine that if he goes with the Colombians to the Tour, his role is very different from going to the Giro.”
Michael Woods is now on his way back from a fracture of the thigh. “He is already cycling at the right level again. He is a boy from athletics and I have the feeling that he is not afraid of a rather violent rehabilitation. When I see him busy, I think he did it with a very fresh mindset.” His goal this season should be the World championships in Aigle-Martigny, although the World championships may be moved to the Middle East.
Schep said he was shocked by Luis Villalobos’ positive doping test. Traces of the growth hormone GHRP-6 were found in the Mexican rider in April 2019, while he was still riding on the continental team Aevolo. “That same year, in August, he came to our team. Our dissatisfaction is how it is possible that the UCI will come up with something a year and a half later, while that rider has now signed with us.”
According to Schep, Villalobos should never have signed with EF Pro Cycling when the UCI investigated him. “We have to meet strict requirements, where everyone with us is really happy that it is arranged like this. Everyone follows it up neatly, so you have to invest real money in it to work preventively against such cases. And then they come a year and a half later with the message that this rider was positive. That is very strange.”
Sergio Higuita on the front in La Vuelta:
Sanne Cant until the end of 2022 with IKO-Crelan
Good news for Sanne Cant and IKO-Crelan. The three-time cyclocross world champion has extended her contract with the team of the Roodhooft brothers until the end of 2022.
Cant has a long history with IKO-Crelan and its predecessors as she had joined the team in 2009. “I am of course happy that I was able to extend my contract with the team where I have had so many successes,” said the eleven-time Belgian champion.
“I have been with this team for more than ten years, so this extension shows confidence on both sides. Moreover, it also gives me the necessary motivation to start in good spirits next winter and to go for it again,” said the 29-year-old cyclist.
Like Cant, sponsor Crelan also has a collaboration with the team up to and including 2022. The company also invests in the youth sections of the cyclocross teams of the Roodhooft brothers. Last week it was announced that a continental road team is currently being started by the Roodhooft brothers, with the aim of offering their riders an attractive program in the summer as well.
Sanne Cant Worlds’19:
Oliver Naesen Extends Contract Until 2023
Oliver Naesen, 29, has extended his contract with AG2R LA MONDIALE for another three years. The Belgian rider, who joined the team in 2017, will therefore wear our colours until 2023.
Oliver Naesen: “I am very happy to extend for three more seasons. It’s a great mark of trust from the AG2R LA MONDIALE team. Since 2017, the team has not stopped progressing, either in sport or in its structure and approach. Why look elsewhere for what works so well here? The group of classics racers is improving every year and it will be even better in the future. There is a very good atmosphere in the team as well. I am very ambitious for the seasons to come. I can’t wait to start the racing season again on August 1, following what has been a very extraordinary situation for everyone. With the Tour de France taking place before the classics, it’s ideal for a rider like me. The calendar is busy but not overloaded, and everything will be in place so that I have a good year.”
Vincent Lavenu: “Extending Oliver Naesen’s contract for three years is a great satisfaction. Oliver is one of the executives on the team, who has grown up with us. He is now one of the best classic racers in the world and we will build a successful team by his side so that he can achieve his sporting goals. Beyond his quality as a rider, it’s the man, his values and his joie de vivre, that is such an important element in the life of the whole team.”
Since joining the team in 2017, Oliver Naesen has won the 2017 Belgian Championship, the 2018 Bretagne Classic and the seventh stage of the 2019 BinckBank Tour. He also finished second in Milan-San Remo and third in Paris-Tours and Ghent – Wevelgem in 2019.
Dwars door het Hageland Gets the Go Ahead
The Dwars door het Hageland has received approval to move to Saturday, August 15 on the rescheduled calendar. Organizer Nick Nuyens had submitted a request for this. The race is now the first Belgian professional race in the second part of the season.
Originally, the Dwars door het Hageland, part of the ProSeries, was planned for June 17, but due to the corona measures, the race could not continue on that date. The disappearance of the Prudential RideLondon created an opportunity to move the race on the calendar. The shift has now been approved, reported the Belgian Cycling Federation.
The rough road event was won last year by Kenneth Vanbilsen. In the finale, the Cofidis rider escaped from a break and then managed to hold out until the finish line. In the past, riders such as Mathieu van der Poel, Niki Terpstra and Krists Neilands all won in the Hageland.
Krists Neilands won in 2018:
Ridley and Merckx Bikes Reviewing Sponsorship Contracts
Bicycle manufacturer Belgian Cycling Factory, which owns both Ridley and Merckx, is reviewing all its expiring contracts with the pro teams this year. Currently, Lotto Soudal, Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, Bingoal Wallonie-Bruxelles and AG2R-La Mondiale all ride bikes from BCF. Only the Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal cyclocross team is safe for another year.
Lotto Soudal and Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles have been riding on Ridley for years, just like the cyclocross team Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal. Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise and AG2R-La Mondiale, since 2019, ride on Merckx bicycles, which has been owned by Belgian Cycling Factory since 2017. With the exception of Jurgen Mettepenningen’s cross team, all these teams have a contract with the Limburg bicycle manufacturer to the end of this year.
Het Nieuwsblad reports that Belgian Cycling Factory will soon be renegotiating all its expiring sponsorship contracts. COVID-19 is said to have completely shaken the landscape of the bicycle industry, resulting in “fewer resources in the future”. It is expected that next year a lot less BCF bicycles will be seen in the peloton.
AG2R-La Mondiale Eddy Merckx:
ISN ‘Relaunches’ 2020-Season Early in Romania
Team Israel Start-Up Nation is making sure to get as much out of the 2020 post corona derailed season as possible and plan to start racing at the beginning of July with before the new UCI world tour calendar kicks in. Overall, the team will race 42 different races in less than four months.
ISN plans to restart the season in the Sibiu Tour (see full racing calendar at the end of the release), which will also serve as a testing ground for racing under “Corona protocols” to protect the health of the riders and staff. Those early July races will allow some riders to compete for a few precious places in the team’s squads to the Grand Tours, especially the Tour de France.
“It’s great for the riders and the team to have a few races to look forward to during July,” explained the team’s Pro manager Kjell Carlstrom. “There we can make sure that we are on the right track with everything regarding a safe restart of the race calendar. We will be racing with mixed teams – ISN WorldTour team and our Continental Israel Cycling Academy team and make sure that all our protocols are working well.”
The team had first tested those Corona protection protocols for the first time during its training camp in Israel last week. It was the first camp held by a professional cycling team since the Corona Crisis brought the season to a halt. It now plans some more regional mini-camps in Israel and other areas in Europe before the season starts. “The traditional model of one big training camp for all is not realistic at this time”, said Carlstrom. “So, we will need to adapt.”
The Sibiu Tour will be held from July 2 till the fifth, which means that ISN will restart the season in early July and continue with 3 stage races: Tour of Sibiu, Dokola Mazowza in Poland and the Spanish Vuelta Burgos.
The July races, and especially the Sibiu Tour, will be the first test for Israeli riders to prove themselves that they are ready to make it into the Tour de France line-up, which set to be a crucial milestone for the Israeli team that never raced the TDF before. The competition for being part of TDF line-up is especially essential for the Israeli riders in the team. “I am excited to the race early and will be ready for my chance to show that I deserve the chance,” said Israeli Guy Niv.
But for the most experienced riders in the team, the World Tour level races that will start in August will be the first chance to race.
Dan Martin, who will be the team leader in the Tour De France, said he expects to be ready: “I am incredibly motivated to pin on a number and get some big results for ISN in what a truly unprecedented season has been. It’s a congested calendar, so picking a route through it and setting goals is tricky, plus weather conditions will be different in the races to the standard, but I’m looking forward to it. It remains to be seen what the circumstances that we race under will be, but I’m confident the team will be prepared for whatever those conditions are and can’t wait to get racing again.”
ISN co-owner Sylvan Adams is ‘thrilled’ to see that the UCI decided to resume the season. “It looks like the world is slowly returning to pre-pandemic normalcy, with some prudent adjustments, of course, for the sake of protecting our riders’ and staff’s health to the greatest extent possible,” Adams says. “I can assure all our supporters that Israel Start-Up Nation will be ready to race in Romania, our first race, the Sibiu Tour, on the new calendar.”
Given the fact the UCI has crammed all races into a period of four months, it will be a different season than we are used to, according to Nils Politt. “Spring classics now became autumn classics,” the runner-up of Paris-Roubaix 2019 says. “It is going to be a different kind of preparation for sure: no December and January training camp and the Tour de France finishing just before the start of the ‘classics-season.’ This will require planning.”
Davide Cimolai, the Italian sprinter of the team, cannot wait till his favourite race: Milan-San Remo. “I hope to ride the races in my home country: Tirreno-Adriatico, the Giro d’Italia and – of course – Milan-San Remo. I have worked hard in lockdown-times, and I was always motivated. I will be 100% ready in August.”
André Greipel, with 156 victories on his palmarès, says it would be nice to race again, but states it has to be safe for everyone. “I am still doing groceries with a face mask, people are still dying of corona, and therefore it sometimes feels a little strange that we are thinking about racing again. Nobody knows if the virus will spread again, and I think we should not force racing if it is unsafe. However, if the race season restarts, I will be ready. That’s for sure.”
Adams is considering going to Romania, where ISN will restart the season himself. “I miss our team,” he says. “I want to reinforce our commitment to sportsmanship and health for all involved.”
02-05 Tour of Sibiu (Romania, 2.1)
15-18 Dokola Mazowza (Poland, 1.2)
28-01 Vuelta Burgos (Spain, 2.Pro)
01 Strade Bianche (Italy, 1.UWT)
05-09 Tour de Pologne (Poland, 2.UWT)
05 Milano Torino (Italy, 1.Pro)
05-09 Czech Tour (Czech Republic, 2.1)
07-09 Tour de l’Ain (France, 2.1)
08 Il Lombardia (Italy, 1.UWT)
12-16 Dauphiné (France, 2.UWT)
19-23 Tour de Wallonie (Belgium, (2.Pro)
22 Milano San Remo (Italy, 1.UWT)
25 Bretagne Classic (France, 1.UWT)
29-20 Tour de France (France, 2.UWT)
29-02 Tour de Hongrie (Hungary, 2.1)
07-14 Tirreno Adriatico (Italy, 2.UWT)
11 GP Quebec (Canada, 1.UWT)
12 Eurometropole Tour (Belgium, 1.Pro)
13 GP Montreal (Canada, 1.UWT)
13 GP De Fourmies (France, 1.Pro)
15-19 Tour de Luxembourg (Luxembourg, (2.Pro)
16 Giro di Toscane (Italy, 1.1)
16 GP Wallonie (Belgium, 1.Pro)
17 Coppa Sabatini (Italy, 1.Pro)
19 Primus Classic (Belgium, 1.Pro)
20 Gooikse Pijl (Belgium, 1.1)
22 Anzegem (Belgium, 1.1)
23 Omloop van het Houtland (Belgium, 1.1)
23 Worlds TT (Switzerland)
27 Worlds RR (Switzerland)
29-04 Cro Race (Croatia, 2.1)
29-03 Binck Bank Tour (Netherlands, 2.UWT)
30 Fleche Wallone (Belgium, 2.UWT)
04 Liege Bastonge Liege (Belgium, 2.UWT)
03-25 Giro d’Italia (Italy, 2.UWT)
07 Brabantse Pijl (Belgium, 1.UWT)
10 Amstel Gold Race (Netherlands, 1.UWT)
11 Gent Wevelgem (Belgium, 1.UWT)
14 Scheldeprijs (Belgium, 1.Pro)
18 Tour de Flanders (Belgium, 1.UWT)
20-08 La Vuelta (Spain, 2.UWT)
21 Driedaagse de Panne (Belgium, 1.UWT)
25 Paris Roubaix (France, 1.UWT).
Simeoni Thinks Armstrong has Now Paid for his Actions
They were once sworn enemies, but Filippo Simeoni and Lance Armstrong have now made up their longstanding feud. The American even made a special trip to Italy in 2013 to apologise. “Everyone deserves a second chance. Armstrong paid for his actions,” Simeoni told Il Giornale.
Before certain things came to light, Armstrong was the best Tour rider of his generation, while Simeoni was a creditable professional cyclist in the service of several Italian teams. Simeoni was hunting for the win on stage 18 of the 2004 Tour, but was personally pulled back by yellow jersey wearer – Armstrong.
The reason: Simeoni had admitted to being a customer of the controversial doping physician Michele Ferrari in the past. At the time, the physician was also Armstrong’s personal coach and guided the Texan to seven consecutive victories in the Tour de France. Simeoni accused his countryman of providing doping. Armstrong called Simeoni a ‘liar’, but the Italian insisted and even took the American to court for defamation. It created a very tense relationship between both riders, but in 2004 the outside world also got an idea of the relationship. Simeoni succumbed to Armstrong’s psychological pressure and was again swallowed by the peloton.
Sixteen years after the incident, both men met up, according to the new documentary for television channel ESPN. “It’s true that Lance flew from Texas to Italy in 2013 to apologise,” said Simeoni. “We met in Rome with the Italian journalist Pier Bergonzi. He was a good friend of Armstrong’s and someone who could act as a translator during the conversation. We talked for over an hour. His apologies were genuine and I also told my side of the story. I let him know that I have felt a lot of pain, sadness and anger. I walked around with bad feelings for years.”
Simeoni: “He wanted to teach me a lesson during that much-discussed stage, his goal was to humiliate me publicly. Well, it worked out. I was subsequently seen as a traitor by several Italian cyclists. I was called names.” However, the former pro no longer holds a grudge against Armstrong. “He has made mistakes and has now paid for his actions. It is good that he is now looking forward again, everyone deserves a second chance. His seven Tour victories have since been canceled, but that does not alter the fact that he has won the Tour seven times. I think he was the best without doping.” The first premiere of the ESPN documentary about Armstrong was on May 24.
Lance not happy with Simeoni in the Tour:
Hamilton on the Armstrong Documentary
Tyler Hamilton has watched the first part of the documentary LANCE with his former teammate Lance Armstrong with mixed feelings. The latter promised to tell “his truth”, but according to Hamilton, the Texan still does not tell all. “I heard so many half-truths.”
Hamilton makes his statements in the podcast “Off the Ball”. The 49-year-old former rider rode with Armstrong for many years, but left US Postal in 2001. Hamilton was caught doping twice during his career and was forced to end his career in 2009.
The former winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Critérium du Dauphiné talked freely after his professional career about his past as a cyclist; EPO use and his dark years with US Postal and other teams.
Hamilton on the Armstrong documentary. “If you tell the whole story, there are consequences. But there are also consequences if you decide to tell only half the story, even if it is still possible to stay in cycling. I have been honest and told the whole story, but I am no longer welcome in the cycling world. I would like to see more of the truth. What exactly happened? Why did it turn out like this? And how exactly did it go? I have nothing against Lance Armstrong, but it is important for the future of cycling. I don’t think we get to see enough about the past, either from Lance or other individuals. I hear a lot of half-truths.”
“We need more details,” said Hamilton. “I cannot see into the future, but I especially hope that we do not experience such a period again. But then we have to know the past and understand why riders doped at the time. Otherwise history will repeat itself, there is no doubt about that.”.
Frankie Andreu – Tyler Hamilton – Lance Armstrong:
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