The Week That Was...
Team CSC's Carlos Sastre broke his right elbow when he crashed in Monday's first stage of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco. The Spanish climber is out for two weeks. "The doctors say it's not a complicated fracture, so he only needs to wear his arm in a cast for 10 days," commented Brian Nygaard of Team CSC. Also involved in the crash was Italian, Ivan Basso, although he escaped with just minor cuts and bruises.
Speaking with Radsportnews.com on the day before the start of the Circuit de la Sarthe in France, his first race of the year, T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich said, "My training has been very good, the weather in Tuscany being fine during the last few weeks. I'm feeling impatient now, and I look forward to racing again at the Circuit de la Sarthe just like in 2003. I trained four to six hours a day, sometimes climbing, sometimes pacing behind a motorcycle to get used to racing speeds of 50 km/h again." He went on to explain that, "I took the right decisions, I think. The Vuelta a Murcia was too hard for me at the time, I was still sick. It was better to wait and start here. There were other possibilities, but I prefer to start slowly. Paris-Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico didn't seem right to me," he continued.
Casting a thought towards July and the Tour de France, Ullrich explained that, "the only reason why I think of it now is because we're in the region of France now where the Tour starts. My preparation schedule is as follows: Vuelta a Aragon, Vuelta a Catalu?a, Tour de Suisse. I will also reconnoitre the stages in the Alps and Pyrenees and stick a training week in Italy in there. The rest I'll do at home."
Frank Vandenbroucke, the forgotten man ? and to some the enfant terrible - of Belgian cycling, continues to infuriate his team managers despite knowing that his chances in the sport are diminishing at a rate faster than fluorescent Lycra went out of fashion. Vandenbroucke was due to start the Circuit de la Sarthe but cancelled this at the last minute, citing food poisoning as the reason for his no show. The team had already travelled to the race with all of the rider?s belongings on the team bus.
"It's one of Frank's last chances," Lucien Van Impe, Director Sportif of MrBookmaker.com said. "That's what has been concluded in a conversation with [team manager] Hilaire Van Der Schueren and sponsor Koen Terryn. VDB just hasn't got any respect," he told Belgian Sporza. "He knows that I'm the directeur sportif here; he could call me! It's not because his name is Vandenbroucke that he can do what he wants. You just don't do that as a top sportsman. Vandenbroucke lets everybody down: the riders, the team management, and above all himself. I've told Van Der Schueren that I've had enough of it."
Further increasing the speculation about the April 18th Press Conference at the Tour de Georgia, Lance Armstrong admitted that early retirement after this year?s Tour was still an option. AP quoted the Discovery Channel leader as saying that, "It's a possibility. I'm still thinking about that." Armstrong was speaking in Central Park, New York, in support of the city?s 2012 Olympic bid.
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