The Week That Was...
Ian comments on the happenings in the world of cycling.
Following the news last week that the Swiss registered Phonak team seemed unlikely to be accepted into the new UCI Pro Tour, the situation took a further turn for the worse when a Swiss Federal Judge and his Pro Cycling Council appointed commission ruled that the team should not be granted a Pro Tour license. The ruling comes following the three positive drugs test that the team has endured this season with Oscar Camenzind, Tyler Hamilton and Santi Perez. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
Team Director Sportif Alvaro Pino defended his team?s decision and current stance on the position when he spoke to <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
The team quickly released an official statement in the following days and declared their intention to appeal against the ruling to the Pro Cycling Commission on 22nd November, ten days before the final decision is made on the inaugural Pro Tour licenses.
At the recent Interbike show in
Following his historical sixth Tour win this July, Discovery Channel team leader, Lance Armstrong, has been named as the winner of this year Velo d?Or award from France?s leading cycling magazine, Velo. Armstrong beat Italian Damiano Cunego into first place. Cunego who will lead the new Lampre-Caffita team in 2005 said that, "Armstrong is the top rider in the world and he certainly deserved the recognition of the Velo d'Or. Even I deserved to win, since I had a season beyond any expectation this year...but the fact that I'm ahead of riders like Bettini and Freire is a great satisfaction. I hope to win this next year." It was not all positive acclaim for the Texan however; long-time friend and cycling great, Eddy Merckx, said, "Armstrong is a cannibal, but only at the Tour. If I raced with a medicine dropper like him, I'd have won the Tour for at least twenty years. I've always criticised Lance because he gives little back to cycling." In 2005, Armstrong is expected to break from his program of recent seasons by competing in the Spring Classics including Paris-Roubaix and Ronde van Vlaanderen and possible making an attempt at the World One-Hour record.
After just three months with his new employers, Saunier-Duval, Spanish climber Joseba Beloki is reportedly in discussions to