tour de france bike tour, beaux voyages logo image
BEAUX VOYAGES
Cycling News
Scroll down to read these articles from the web site of L'Equipe.  Translated by Walt
Ballenberger  
Cycling News Home Page


World Cycling Championships- Schleicher wins the title- 09/24/05
World Cycling Championships- Rogers king of the time trial- 09/22/05
World Cycling Championships- Thürig wins the time trial- 09/21/05
Tour of Spain Commentary- A Tour losing speed- 09/19/05

World Cycling Championships- Schleicher wins the title- 09/24/05

The German Regina Schleicher becomes World Champion by beating out Nicole Cooke of
Britain and the Australian Oenone Wood in a sprint on Saturday in Madrid.  The French
women, who attempted several escapes, were not able to make a difference.

“The whole team worked really hard, especially at the end”, declared the new World
Champion, who is the successor to her compatriot Judith Arndt.  “My comrades stayed in the
race and lead me into the best possible situation.  Trixi Worrack pulled me until only 200
meters to the finish.  I only had to conclude the effort with a victorious sprint”.  Schleicher
imposed herself in the sprint on a rising false flat on the Paseo de la Castallana, at the end
of 126 kilometers and with an average speed of 40 km/hr.  She was able to push herself to
the finish with the efforts of her team which put her in a royal position for the sprint with Trixi
Worrack for a springboard.  The German, who normally races for the Nuremberg team, has
already won such prestigious races as the World Cup (GP of Plouay, of Castille and of Leon)
and the German Championships 2005.

Le Floc'h victim of cramps
No escape was able to materialize throughout this race controlled principally by Italy and
Germany.  In the last lap, attempts by Americans Christine Thorburn and Amber Beben, and
also by Suzanne De Goede of Holland were muzzled before the sprint set up by the German
team.

The French, who also tried to escape, were not successful in doing so..  After Elodie Touffet
and Mariina Jaunatre, Edwige Pitel tried in vain to accelerate with 4 km to the finish and took
a modest 25th place.  The French national champion Magali Le Floc’h, who was in ideal
position on the last lap, suffered from cramps and was only able to manage 26th.  “I’m really
upset!  I probably missed by last chance to win the world championship because next year
the route will be difficult and it will be even more difficult to put myself into the lead group”,
declared Le Floc’h.

Cooke, third in 2003, had to settle for the silver medal while Wood, winner of the last two
world cup races, took the bronze medal on her 25th birthday.

World Cycling Championships- Rogers king of the time trial- 09/22/05

Michael Rogers is certainly the strongest in the individual time trial event.  On the roads of
Madrid the Australian became the first rider to be champion of the world three time, and he
did it three times in a row.  In 53'34"29, he easily beat the Spaniard Jose Ivan Gutierrez and
the Swiss Fabian Cancellara.  Rogers even caught the German Michael Rich just before the
finish, and he was one of the race favorites.

The Kazakhs were a rather disappointed since Alexandre Vinokourov could only manage 5th,
one place better than his compatriot Andrey Kashechkin.  As for the French, it was a big
disappointment for Christophe Moreau who completely missed his race.  The man from
Belfort finished more than 5 minutes behind Rogers, and found himself in a lowly 44th place.  
Sylvain Chavanel did better, finishing 30th.

World Cycling Championships- Thürig wins the time trial- 09/21/05

The Swiss Karen Thurig won the time trial on Wednesday morning, the first event of the
World Championships which are taking place in Madrid.  She thus defended her title.  The
first of the two French women in the event, Edwige Pitel, came in 12th at 1'55" and Marina
Jaunatre took the 25th place at 2'46" sec.

For the last race of her career, the Spaniard Joane Somarriba finished 2nd at 5 seconds
behind, and the American Kristin Armstrong was 3rd at 39 seconds at the end of the 21.9
kilometer course.  Thurig averaged 45.5 km/hr. over the course.  The reining world road race
champion, the German Judith Arndt, took 4th place at 56 seconds behind, even though she
said her training was interrupted by a virus.

An accomplished sportswoman
Karen Thürig, 33 years of age, will now go and compete in the Ironman triathlon in Hawaii.  
The Swiss woman manages to handle her two careers after having won her first titles in the
duathlon (running and bike racing).  She stands out in cycling and is equally brilliant in long
distance triathlon.  Winner of the Ironman of Zurich, she thus once again qualified for the
queen event of the specialty (Hawaii).  Last year cramps caused her to abandon at Hawaii,
the mythical place for triathlon, where she has already finished second.

This young slender woman (1.83 meters tall and weighing 64 kg), who also plays volleyball at
a high level and also enjoys horseback riding, started winning cycling races rather late in her
career in 2002.  Since she started cycling, Thurig took the bronze at Zolder (Belgium) before
taking third place in the Olympic Games in Athens and then winning the World Title last year
at Bardolino in Italy.

Tour of Spain Commentary- A Tour losing speed- 09/19/05

The Tour of Spain is more and more avoided by spectators and TV viewers.  Won by
Roberto Heras (Liberty) on Sunday, the Vuelta (tour of Spain) serves as preparation for the
stars of the “little queen”.

But outside of one mountain stage that was as if out Dante, the 15th, and the semblance of a
duel between Heras and Menchov, until the Russian melted down, the sporting interest was
anything but crazy.  And with regard to its status, the Vuelta seems definitely relegated far
below the Grand Boucle (Tour de France) or the Giro (Tour of Italy).  Most of the rare foreign
participants, the Italians Paolo Bettini, and Alessandro Petacchi among others, came to
Spain to prepare for the World Road Race Championships which will be held in Madrid next
Sunday.

Heras, four-time winner of the event (2000, 2003, 2004, 2005) wants to believe that this 60th
edition enabled the Tour of Spain to improve its image.  “This was not just a race between
Spaniards, there was also Denis Menchov”.  But the race remains above all an affair
between Spaniards… shunned by Spanish fans.  The sides of the roads have fewer and
fewer people each year and on Sunday for the finish there were not large crowds on the
streets of Madrid.

The specter of doping
There are also not huge numbers watching on TV, and the Vuelta daily has small
audiences.  There were barely a million viewers following the third stage, (Monday, 29
August) on TVE1 (which retransmitted the last hour of each stage after a half-hour
retransmission on TVE2).  And on Thursday, September 8, there were barely more (1.2
million) following the 12th stage between Logrono and Burgos.

In addition, with the recent Armstrong affair, the specter of doping is in the air.  The Spaniard
from the Relax team, Oscar Laguna, was not allowed to start after having been declared
ineligible by the medical commission of the International Cycling Union for having a red blood
count higher than 50%.

His compatriot Unai Yus was expelled by his team, Bouygues Telecom, for having in his
possession “a medication that was not prescribed by the team doctor“.

Finally Phonak did not authorize its Spanish rider Santos Gonzalez to start the 18th stage
“because during a screening, he was found to be beyond the parameters permitted by the
team” according to spokesmen for the Swiss team.  So what about the 2006 edition?  Interest
could be even lower, as the historic winner (Heras) has confided that he won’t seek a fifth
victory next year.
France Pro Cycling Trips | Normandy Bike Tour | Dordogne Bike Tour | Dordogne Culinary Tour | Rhone Valley Wine Tour | Alsace Hiking Tour |
Loire Bike Tour | Provence Bike Tour | New! Paris Sightseeing Tours