The Week That Was...
Ian comments on the happenings in the world of cycling.
As the 2006 season finally gets under way, some of the teams are still going through the process of official team launches and organized photo shoots for the assembled media. Two of the larger ProTour teams, Davitamon-Lotto and <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
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Team manager, Marc Sergeant, spoke of his ambitions for his Belgian Davitamon-Lotto team in 2006, at the launch in
"If we do the same as last year we're doing fine. To win Gent-Wevelgem, a ProTour race, was fantastic but to win Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix is something else still; if we can add one of those great ProTour races to our list that would be beautiful and top things off with the Green Jersey in the Tour, that would be the max we can ask for.?
?I have to admit that when Nico Mattan won Gent-Wevelgem last season the pressure came off; we started well in February but fell back in March. He saved us from things which probably wouldn't have done the team any good - the pressure would have become too much for many. It was an important win for us, but, I would like to take a step up this year."
As in the past seasons, the team will be led by Australian sprinter, Robbie McEwen, and he?s putting himself in the spotlight from almost the first race of the season. After a successful start at the Tour Down Under in January, McEwen?s focus has switched to
"I was the one to say it first, that I want to win Omloop Het Volk - I'm riding pretty good at the moment but I'll have to work hard though. I'll stay at home here in Belgium from now till the Omloop Het Volk, because my wife is due to give birth this week; I'm not going to have any races until then, but I'll try my best under these circumstances and I feel that it's possible," he says.
In 2006, the team has one primary goal: the Tour de France. "2006 promises to be particularly exciting for several reasons, but the first of them is, undoubtedly, because it will be the first year in many without Lance Armstrong in the international peloton," said Saiz.
"We are very pleased to be able to boast Alexander Vinokourov on our team, one of the few leaders of the professional pack who is never forgotten among the favorites to triumph in the Tour de France. Vinokourov comes to Liberty Seguros-W?rth with the ambition to fulfill the dream of the entire team, rise to the highest step of the podium in Paris, and to do this we shall work as and from the very first day."
Saiz added that the team would be looking further a field for year round results. "The French tour is just one of our