The Week That Was...

News & Results

03/20/2006| 0 comments
by Ian Melvin
Tom Boonen (Quick Step) takes the win ahead of Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros - Würth). Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Tom Boonen (Quick Step) takes the win ahead of Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros - Würth). Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.

The Week That Was...

Ian comments on the happenings in the world of cycling.

Winner of the inaugural ProTour competition, Danilo Di Luca, has chosen to not defend his title in 2006.  Di Luca will instead focus on the Giro d?Italia, an event where surpassed all expectations of himself last year.  As a result, the Liquigas-Bianchi rider may miss some of the late spring classics which set him up for his victory last year.

In a similar fashion, current ProTour leader, Floyd Landis, has said that he will not attempt to defend his jersey throughout the season as his sights are firmly targeted on the Tour de France.  "By winning Paris-Nice, Floyd Landis now leads in the ProTour ranking. This is very good news," said John Lelangue, Director Sportif, in a team newsletter. "But we know that he will relinquish that lead soon. The focus for us is the Tour de France. Consequently, Landis will not be put into action in ProTour races automatically."

Lelangue added that, "The sole concern is to prepare him well for the season climax, the Tour de France. We know now that his training is on target."

Landis leads the ProTour competition by one point over Rabobank?s Thomas Dekker.

The German city of Aachen has reportedly requested to be involved in the 2008 Tour de France, according to Aachener Zeitung.  The Mayor is hoping the city will be able to host both the start and finish of a time trial although he will not know for sure until towards the end of 2007.

The golden boy of cycling, Tom Boonen, last week collected the "Premio Oscar Gazzetta-Bici d'Oro Fausto Coppi 2005" award at a ceremony in Milan, hosted by Italian newspapers Corriere della Sera and La Gazzetta dello Sport.  The award is presented to the best performing rider of the previous season, as voted for by all of the ProTour team managers, the organisers of the three grand tours and a further 17 former cycling stars.  Runner-up was winner of the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong.

After receiving his gold plated award, reported to be worth in the region of ?15,000, Boonen said, "This prize is the biggest award of my career. It means a lot to me because great riders like Lance Armstrong and Danilo Di Luca have won it before. I hope to honour this award on Saturday with a victory in San Remo. To win there would give me another major classic win and at 25 years old, it would be something special." We now know that Boonen did not take the win in San Remo.

German rider, Danilo Hondo, has had his two-year doping ban over turned by a Swiss court.  He was sentenced last November and recently had the ban increased from a single year, to two, by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

"The court took our arguments seriously, and I am very happy about it,? he said on his website.  I have been training all along and am in good shape. Now I have to see what happens, so that I can start riding again as soon as possible."

The ruling paves the way for Hondo to return to the sport almost immediately although his attorney did warn that, ?The verdict has only been set aside. A definitive decision by a higher civil court will come in about six months."

Finally this week, after numerous complaints by the riders, the final day of the 2006 Giro d?Italia, will take place between Ghisallo and Milano instead of the proposed double stage as unveiled at the race presentation in November.

"[UCI] regulations do not hinder us to program two half-stages on the last day," said Angelo Zomegnan, Director of RCS, the company behind the event. "Nevertheless, we talked to the riders and took note of the problems TV had with the time trial in the morning. We don't want to put any further pressure neither on the riders nor on [Italian host broadcaster] RAI."

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