The Week That Was...
Ian comments on the happenings in the world of cycling.
Finishing seconds behind Swedish rider Magnus Backstedt (Alessio-Bianchi) in last weekend?s Paris Roubaix was the Lion of Flanders, Johan Museeuw (Quick.Step-Davitamon), days before his final good bye to professional road cycling. Entering the Roubaix Velodrome hand-in-hand with fellow Flandrian, Peter Van Petegem (Lotto-Domo), Museeuw later commentated that ?it was too much for me. My fourth win was so close; I heard the pssss of my puncture. Right then I knew that this time my career was over. I believed that in my final Paris-Roubaix , luck was going to be on my side. That would have been too much,? he told French daily, l?Equipe. Museeuw and Van Petegem finished in 5th and 6th place respectively. <?xml:namespace prefix = o /?>
Italian Stallion Mario Cipollini is heading stateside for only his second ever race in the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 /?>
Cofidis Manager Alain Bondue last week spoke out about the continuing drug scandal presently surrounding the team following leaked allegations made by former rider Philippe Gaumont about the drug habits of present and former riders. The allegations led the French team to seek compensation from l?Equipe, the newspaper that broke the story. Their claims were dismissed at the first hurdle by a judicial tribunal in Nanterres. Following the team?s decision to withdraw from all competition until the matter has been resolved, Bondue said that, ?the decision has allowed everyone to realize now just how serious the situation is. The team?s existence is what?s at stake. Everyone needs to reflect. Right now we?re not going to stop but if the measures I propose to Cofidis aren?t convincing, the team will stop.? Bondue went on to comment on rumors that World Champion Igor Astarloa was in the market for a new team. ?If he asks us to join another team, if he confirms that he?s found a new employer, we?ll let him go without any opposition. We would do that for the man and the jersey on his back.? The Frenchman went on to say that, ?our intention is not in punishing Astarloa. He?s the reigning World Champion, he?s just joined the team and he shouldn?t pay for the damage done in previous years.? Astarloa is not the only Cofidis employee said to be the target of other teams. MrBookmaker-Palmans are said to be keen to hire the services of French climber David Moncoutie to lead their Franco-Belgian outfit.
With most of the spring Classics now behind us, attention will rapidly be shifted towards the Grand Tours, especially the Tour de France. Following his impressive second place last year, Belgian legend Eddy Merckx has commented that German Jan Ullrich ?has again not worked hard enough in his previous preparations and is still too over weight. Sure, he has still over 2 months, but to beat Lance Armstrong in the