The Week That Was...

News & Results

04/18/2006| 0 comments
by Ian Melvin
Lance Armstrong. Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Lance Armstrong. Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.

The Week That Was...

Ian comments on the happenings in the world of cycling.

Following his life threatening crash in the recent Circuit de la Sarthe, positive news has started to emerge from the hospital in Angers, France, where Credit Agricole professional, Saul Raisin, is recovering.  He was still in a coma at the start of last week but awoke from it on Wednesday.

His close friend, Shane Adams reported that, "the speed of Saul's recovery continues to astound his doctors.  He is becoming more and more aware of his surroundings, waving at people entering and leaving the room. His uncle Phil is there [in Europe] now and Saul waved as he left the room this morning."

He went on to add that the Doctors are now, ?hoping to move Saul into another wing of the hospital as he becomes more aware of what is going on, in order to give him a full neurological work up.  Like everything he does in his life, Saul is going full speed towards a rapid recovery."

The hospital originally feared that Raisin might suffer paralysis following his fall.  That is now considered unlikely although until the medical staff are able to run a full check on the rider, nothing is for certain. 

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German professional, Danilo Hondo, has signed a new contract with German Continental Team Lamonta following the recent over-ruling of his doping ban.  The sprinter has negotiated a contract that will allow him to leave the small team if he receives an offer from a ProTour team.   

"Of course that's unusual," said team manager, Holger Sievers, to Radsportnews. "But the situation is what it is. I think it's completely understandable that Danilo wants to go to the Tour de France; on the level where he belongs. We don't hold a grudge against him for that. For us, it's a huge publicity already."

He was originally expected to return to competition in last week?s Rund um K?ln race in Germany.  His debut for his new team was delayed however following administrative delays in his registration with the UCI.  He is now expected to return on 19th April in the Niedersachsen-Rundfahrt event.

The long-running war of words between American Lance Armstrong and Italian Filippo Simeoni has finally drawn to a close.  The case began almost three years following Armstrong?s reaction to a testimony given by Simeoni in the Dr Ferrari trial.  The pair have dropped all defamation charges against one another.

International bright young thing, Thomas Dekker, of the Dutch Rabobank squad, last week explained to Sportwereld that he planned to have ?a real go? in the 2008 Tour de France.  The 21 year-old has won the Tirreno-Adriatico event earlier this season.

"I'm looking forward to my first Tour this summer," he said.  "I want to achieve a good prologue and do well in the two time trials, too. Then, I hope to be in the right breakaway one day, but my main task is to be there for our leaders, Menchov and Rasmussen. I give myself another three years to go for the general classification."

The time trial specialist went on to explain that, "I want to have a real go at the Tour in 2008.  I will only rest when I have a Grand Tour on my palmar?s, when I'll have put my mark on the cycling of the next ten years."

There is still some doubt whether this challenge will be made in the colours of his current employers.  "I had a contract until the end of this year.  I renewed it for one season. Rabobank would have liked to keep me until 2008, but I didn?t want that. I need to stay true to myself. When I'm 24, I have to slowly be able to lead a team."

Don?t forget that this week also sees the fourth Tour de Georgia, this year being sponsored by the Ford Motor Corporation.  Returning to defend his title is Discovery Channel rider, Tom Danielson, who wrestled the leader?s jersey from Floyd Landis in last year?s event.  So far this year, Landis has shown excellent form and it could again be a two-way tussle between these two ever improving riders.

Others to watch out for are Team CSC?s Time Trial specialist, Dave Zabriskie and the Davitamon-Lotto quick-men, Fred Rodriguez and Henk Vogels.  Other ProTour teams in action include Quickstep-Innergetic and Saunier Duval-Prodir.

As always, the domestic riders will all be out to prove their worth against their more illustrious European counterparts and strong performances should be expected from Health Net-Maxxis, Navigators Insurance, Jittery Joe's-Zero Gravity, Toyota-United Pro and TIAA-CREF.

On paper it looks to be one of the strongest fields ever assembled in America and should prove to be a week of exciting racing.

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Until the same time next week,


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