The Week That Was...

News & Results

01/4/2006| 0 comments
by Ian Melvin
Jan Ullrich. Photo copyright Ben Ross/
Jan Ullrich. Photo copyright Ben Ross/

The Week That Was...

Ian comments on the happenings in the world of cycling.

Happy New Year!  Both myself and everybody else at would like to wish you all the very best for 2006.  It?s guaranteed to be another exciting year in the professional peloton, a year of change and one of the unknown. 

Thank you for all of your support throughout 2005, without it, this site is nothing.  We?d also like to thank our sponsors, new and old.  Without their backing, much of what we do would not be possible.  Together, we look forward to producing for you an improved site in the New Year along with even better race coverage and rider interviews.

Here?s looking forward to the 2006?. Cheers!

According to a recent poll conducted by the German television station, NDR, the Tour de France victory by Jan Ullrich in 1997 is the country?s most moving sporting moment, ever.  "The 23-year-old from Rostock has done what no other German has done. Jan Ullrich wins the Tour de France and is King of cycling," says the channel's website about the T-Mobile rider?s win, 8 years ago.

Second place went to Boris Becker's first Wimbledon win, and third was Germany's soccer world championship in 1954.

Swiss based Team Phonak last week announced the signing of a new partner, ?iShares?; the Barclays Global Investors brand.  "With iShares we are getting a partner who is renowned as a global player and one who is committed to the sponsorship of professional cycling.  These are the best prerequisites for an ideal, long-term partnership," explained Andy Rhis, team owner.  In 2006, Team Phonak will again focus their success around American, Floyd Landis.

Peter Hespel, the Belgian trainer of the 2005 World Champion, Tom Boonen, recently spoke to about what makes his rider one of the fastest and most powerful in the professional peloton today.

Boonen?s maximum heart rate, said the Sports Psychologist from the University of Leuven, is 195 BPM.  "That doesn't mean much.  It could also be the case with you and I. But the heart of a top athlete like Boonen can pump much more blood per beat, so-called a sports heart. The average resting heart rate of a typical person is 60 to 80 beats per minute. Tom Boonen's is just above 40.?

He went on to explain that "what's exceptional is that Tom can breathe 200 litres per minute at maximum effort. That's one of the highest values that we've ever measured. Most athletes can breathe a maximum of 170 or 180 litres per minute."

Boonen is also subjected to a maximal power test, identical to that carried out by other riders at the University.  "We give all our riders the same test," said Hespel. "They start to pedal at 100 Watts, which is easy for them. Every eight minutes, it increases by 40 Watts. Tom can do it up to 460 Watts after an hour and a half. That means that he has ridden for eight minutes at 420 Watts before that, and eight minutes at 380 Watts before that. You should try that one time on your home trainer. We've never seen that here. Museeuw was a fantastic athlete, but on a pure physical level, Tom is a bigger talent."

His maximal power output is 1600 Watts at 110 rpm.

Hespel also believes that Boonen has the potential to one day swap the Green jersey he won in the Tour de France last year for the leader?s yellow jersey.  "If he concentrated on climbing in place of explosiveness, like Lance Armstrong, then there's a chance that he could win the Tour de France in three or four years. With his body, that is possible, but you never know for sure. The only thing we have to ask is whether that's the right choice."  

Finally this week, Joseba Beloki, the former podium finisher in the Tour de France, has spoken with Spanish daily, Marca, about his ambition to regain his status in the peloton once again.  It has been a difficult path for the rider ever since his dramatic and near career-ending fall on the slopes of the Col de la Rochette in the 2003 Tour de France.

"I have to be back up front.  I want to try to be at the best possible level; it's a personal challenge,? explained Beloki.  "Of course Vinokourov will be our leader at the Tour.  If my level next year is the same as it was in the first half of 2005, I'll have to keep my hopes down, but if I'm on the same level as I was in the Vuelta, I can set myself some goals," commented Beloki, whose confidence has been boosted since September.

"I've come a long way from not being able to finish a race in 2004, barely doing so in the first part of 2005 and feeling well again in the Vuelta.  The turning point was the Tour; to finish in Paris under great pain. The problem is that I still haven't achieved any results, so it's clear that I have to get a whole lot better to be once again who I was before."

"I always dream about the same thing: to see myself up front at the Tour again," he admitted. "I don't dream about the podium, because it's very difficult and only very few people stand a chance to get there, but just being up front would be an enormous satisfaction. I would also like to win a stage, but that is also very hard - which is why I would be satisfied with just being consistent again."

Beloki will start his 2006 season at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco.

Until next week,


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