What's Cool In Road Cycling

Euro-Trash Thursday!

The bin is full – ! If you read one piece of news today – make it Thursday’s Euro-Trash. We’ve got the latest Tour team line-ups, news from the continental Nats, tidbits, trinkets, and all the trash you need to impress everyone within earshot of your local watercooler…

Latest Tour Team News
Rabobank named their nine riders for the Tour de France on Thursday. Marc Lotz gets the nod after narrowly missing out last year, he is joined by Michael Boogerd, Bram de Groot, Remmert Wielinga, Levi Leipheimer, Oscar Freire, Marc Wauters, Grischa Niermann and Robert Hunter as the other nominated riders. This means that talented Danish climber Michael Rasmussen misses out along with Beat Zberg and sprinter Steven De Jongh.

Danish team CSC on Thursday named Tyler Hamilton, Michael Blaudzun, Bekim Christensen, Nicolas Jalabert, Peter Luttenberger, Andrea Peron, Jakob Piil, Carlos Sastre and Nicki Sшrensen as their nine men for the TDF. There is no place, perhaps surprisingly for New Zealand sprinter Julien Dean who recently won the Wachovia Classic in the States or for veteran strong man Andrea Tafi.

More Tour team news further down the trash can.

Spanish Nationals Run On 2005 Worlds Course
The Spanish national road championships which are taking place between today (Thursday) and Sunday at Alcobendas and Casa de Campo just outside Madrid will serve as a testing ground for the 2005 World Championships which have been assigned to the Spanish capital. The heavy traffic around Madrid at this time of year has prevented the use of the exact 2005 courses but the mens TT course on Friday will follow the route close enough, while Sunday’s road race will utilise the Dehesa de la Villa climb which will be used in 2005.

Longo Wins 47th At 44
Jeannie Longo took her sixth French national time trial title this morning (Thursday) in Plumelec as the French national championships opened in Brittany. The win is Longo’s 47th French national title at 44 years old.

Blijlevens Wins 75th After 3
Dutchman Jeroen Blijlevens (Bankgiroloterij) took his first victory for three years when he won the kermisse at Ruddervoorde on Tuesday. After the race Blijlevens said, “It feels like a new experience I have had to wait three years”. His last serious victory was a stage in the Three Days of De Panne in March 2000, this year his only other result has been third at the Fayt le Franc in early March. The victory at Ruddervoorde was Blijlevens 75th victory in a career which has seen him win stages in all three major Tours, he will be contesting the Dutch National RR championships in Rotterdam on Sunday.

Backstedt Adds Swedish TT Championships
Magnus Backstedt (Team Fakta) followed up his success of winning the Intergiro competition at the Giro d’Italia by taking the Swedish Time Trial championships held in Sunne on Tuesday. He beat defending champion Jonas Olsson into second place. No doubt his Giro Diaries (published right here) sent plenty of good karma his way.

Beloki Wants To Stick With Saiz
2002 Tour de France runner up Joseba Beloki (ONCE-Eroski) wants to stay with team boss Manolo Saiz next season provided he is offered a minimum two year deal. However, finances could be a problem with ONCE leaving as principal sponsor at the end of this season leaving co-sponsors Eroski and Wurth to fund the team on a much reduced level. Sources in Spain say the team budget could be cut by as much as 50% next year leaving the acquisition of a new main sponsor a top priority for Saiz.

Dierckxsens: “Heads – We Operate…”
Ludo Dierckxsens (Landbouwkrediet) finally had an operation on his problem knee on Wednesday morning. Dierckxsens has had the problem for some time and his doctor Toon Claes finally decided to operate after being unsure which was the best course: rest or an operation. Dierckxsens left the hospital on Wednesday evening after having infected tissue removed from the joint, commenting, “There will be an evaluation on Monday and if everything is OK then I can get back on the bike in 10 days, when I will return to racing is less clear, I must get a solid base of training in first”.

Some Of Cofidis Practice For TTT
The Cofidis team practiced on the TDF Team Time Trial course between Joinville and Saint-Dizier on Wednesday, however, four members of the team David Millar, Massimiliano Lelli, Cedric Vasseur and David Moncoutie were missing due to various minor ailments and tiredness.

Telekom Name Tour Team
Telekom released the nine names for their Tour de France team on Tuesday. The strong line up includes six time green jersey winner Erik Zabel and 2002 Giro d’Italia victor Paolo Savoldelli, the other seven riders are Santiago Botero, Alexander Vinokourov, Rolf Aldag, Matthias Kessler, Andreas Kloden, Daniele Nardello and Mario Aerts. Surprise omission from the squad is Italian mountain man Giuseppe Guerini who showed good form in the Tour de Suisse by finishing third overall, he loses out to Belgian Mario Aerts who got the nod after finishing 18th at the Volta a Catalunya. Sprinter Erik Zabel does not have a genuine lead out man with Danilo Hondo absent from the line up. The strength of the Telekom squad is shown when riders of the calibre of Steffan Wesemann who won the Peace Race and Ghent-Wevelgem winner Andreas Klier can be omitted, Cadel Evans is injured and will ride the Vuelta instead. Team manager Walter Godefroot commented, “we have a team that everybody must watch, we have riders for the sprints, breakaways and the general classification”.

As Do iBanesto.com
iBanesto.com team boss Eusebio Unzъe has unveiled the nine man squad for the Tour de France which is Juan Antonio Flecha, Juan Miguel Mercado, Francisco Mancebo, Josй Vicente Garcнa Acosta, Vladimir Karpets, Pablo Lastras, Denis Menchov, Eugeni Petrov and Xavier Zandio. Josй Luis Arrieta is on standby as reserve. Classique des Alpes winner Mancebo will be the man for the GC with the classy climber Mercado also a man to watch along with Flecha. Vuelta a Aragon winner Leonardo Piepoli and Fleche Wallone runner up Aitor Osa are both absent and are almost certainly being saved for the Vuelta a Espana.

News of the other Spanish line ups is as follows. ONCE-Eroski boss Manolo Saiz has named seven definite starters, these are: Joseba Beloki (3rd in the last 2 Grands Boucle), Mikel Pradera, Marcos Serrano, Josй Azevedo, Jorg Jaksche, Isidro Nozal and Angel Vicioso. The other two places are between Alvaro Galdeano de Galdeano who abandoned the Volta a Catalunya injured, Koldo Gil who finished third overall in the same race and the two Czech time trial specialists Renй Andrle and Jan Hruska.

Kelme-Costa Blanca have nominated David Latasa, Javier Pascual Llorente, the brothers Ignacio and Jose Enrique Gutiйrrez, Jesъs Manzano, Toni Tauler, Ivбn Parra, David Muсoz and Isaac Gбlvez. However there is a doubt over Gбlvez who has tendonitis, a decision on him will be made at the last minute, Julian Usano stands by as the replacement if needed.

Euskaltel-Euskadi have also had to make a last minute change with Alberto Martinez dropping out injured as a result of a bad saddle sore which has been bothering him for much of the season. This leaves a final line up of the hot-right-now Iban Mayo, Roberto Laiseka, Haimar Zubeldia, David and Unai Etxebarria, Alberto Lуpez de Munain, Mikel Artetxe, Iсigo Landaluze and Samuel Sбnchez.

Quick-Step Ready … Watch Mick Rogers in Prologue
The Quick-Step team for the TDF is Richard Virenque, Paolo Bettini, Laszlo Bodrogi, David Canada, Servais Knaven, Luca Paolini, Michael Rogers, Kurt van de Wouwer and Piotr Wadecki. Unlucky riders are Davide Bramati and Andrej Kashechkin who are reserves. Richard Virenque will probably be the man for the GC but Aussie Michael Rogers who took the overall on Tuesday at the Route du Sud and earlier won both the Tour of Belgium and the Deutchsland Tour could be the ace in the pack, speaking after the Route du Sud he said, “I really want to take the yellow jersey on the first day”. Frank Vandenbrouke is absent from the squad saying that three week Tours do not suit him and he wants to prepare for the remaining World Cup races by riding the Uniqa Classic in Austria between the 9th and 12th of July followed by a ten day training camp either in France or Italy.

Tougher Than Zolder
I know this is Euro Trash but just a quote from the organisers of the Hamilton World Champs to show that the RR course is going to be a bit harder than last years in Zolder, Belgium: “Throughout the Elite Men’s Road Race at the Hamilton 2003 Road World Championships, the amount of climbing per lap, two climbs of the Niagara Escarpment is 215 meters (705 feet), which totals about 15,000 feet (4,572 m) of total elevation gain upon completing the 21-lap road race course. This is equivalent to climbing halfway up Mount Everest (29,000 ft or 8,839 m). The UCI has commented that this course is as challenging as one of the most difficult mountain stages at the Tour de France.”

Team 2000 Denied Start in Italian Nats
Four members of the Italian women’s squad Team 2000 have been prevented from competing in this weekend’s Elite womens national championships by the Italian federation. The four, Fabiana Luperini, Luisa Tamanini, Martina Corazza and Rossella Minarini will not be on the start line because their team manager William Dazzani was placed under house arrest on June 5th in Brescia for possessing doping substances.

New Mavic Ksyrium’s Released
French bicycle components company Mavic have released a new top of the range set of wheels to celebrate the upcoming centenary of the Tour de France and the 30th anniversary of Mavic neutral assistance in the Tour. The new Ksyrium SSC SL Tour de France Limited Edition are extremely light, weighing just 660 grams for the front wheel and 830 grams for the back and will be on sale in July. The product was presented by Mavic general manager Bernard Millaud at a ceremony attended by TDF director Jean-Marie Leblanc and double Tour winner Bernard Thevenet.

See you all Monday!
– Mick

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