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

Tour de France Route- The Reactions- 10/28/05
Mégret inflexible against doping- 10/26/05
6 month suspended sentence for Frigo- 10/24/05
Quick Step reinforces- 10/22/05

Tour de France Route- The Reactions- 10/28/05

Christophe Moreau (rider) :
“The last part will be particularly difficult and demanding.  It will be necessary to be as
fresh as possible at that point.  The two time trials will take a lot out of you.  
Reconnoitering the course will be an important element due to the new areas to be
ridden in the event.  Fortunately the beginning seems less complicated, without
cobblestones, and without tricky passages.  We will be quickly into Brittany”.

Jean-Patrick Nazon (rider) :
“I’m already out of breath.  I don’t like to discover things in advance, that gives me sore
legs.  This shorter prologue, is pleasing, however.  The image of Armstrong catching
Ullrich last year was like a club to the head of the TV viewers and others.  This shorter
course will be appreciated by the sprinters, as will the lack of a team time trial.  That
opens opportunities for us and gives me some cautious encouragement.  To go near
the Champs-Elysees always brings back good memories.  I think about winning that
stage of course, but the fact that we are going through Lorraine and Luxemburg also
gives me ideas”.

Thomas Voeckler (rider) :
“The course doesn’t mean a lot in fact: it is in fact the riders, and they alone, who will
decide the race.  Let’s say for now that it looks good, classical.  I note however the cols
that are longer and more difficult.  But overall it is a course that will provide a real Tour
de France from a purely geographical point of view, and which will have those inevitable
stages of over 200 kilometers”.  

Ivan Basso (ITALY/rider/2nd in Tour 2005) :
“This course pleases me, but the absence of Armstrong gives me an additional
motivation.  I never stop training for time trials.  Also, this disciple is not at all a problem
for me.  Everything will be decided in the last week.  Ullrich will be my main rival, with
Vinokourov, Valverde and Kloden falling in behind.  I will not participate in the Tour of
Italy.  That was a secret, but now it can be stated”.

Alejandro Valverde (Spain/Rider):
“I am going to try to win some stages and to climb onto the podium by keeping up with
the level of the favorites, Basso, Ullrich, Kloden, and others.  The time trial is still my
weak point, and I work on it all the time.  The lack of a team time trial is fine with me, but
the length of the individual time trials is longer.  It will be necessary to be strong in the
last week and to go into it with some reserves of strength”.

Laurent Jalabert (consultant) :
"This Tour should be decided in the mountains because of the fact that there is no team
time trial, among other reasons.  I think of Mayo who lost so much time in that race and
who was very far behind in the first week.  He must be encouraged by that”.

Richard Virenque (2nd in Tour 1997/consultant) :
“This course would have been good for me.  There are a lot of long stages, and fatigue
will quickly become a factor.  I find this Tour to be balanced, and the climbers should be
pleased.  I can see how a rider like Vinokourov could win it.  He will be my favorite,
ahead of Basso and Ullrich”.

Bernard Hinault (five time winner) :
“The course is not harder than others have been”  In fact, there are all the ingredients
in place for someone who wants to take it for himself.  Logically it will produce a
deserving winner.  Armstrong absent?  That doesn’t change anything.  On cannot say
that that will derail the Tour.  Isn’t the team of Basso going to try to grab the victory?  
There are three mountaintop finishes, plus Morzine, and two time trials:  six stages out
of twenty where you cannot mess up”.  

Marc Madiot (Sporting Director for la Française des Jeux) :
“I am very happy because this Tour offers some excellent stages.  However, on the
days when the new Tour is presented, one always says that is a “Great Tour.”

Serge Beucherie (Sporting Director for Crédit Agricole) :
“Caucchiolo will be our leader and Hushovd will go after the green jersey….  Maybe
even the yellow in the early days”.

Vincent Lavenu (Manager of AG2R) :
“This Tour is very balanced and I note that the organizers took into account rest time for
the riders.  The first part, flat, will not be disadvantageous for Jean-Patrick (Nazon).  
The absence of a team time trial is equally a benefit for Moreau and Mancebo, who
would have lost a lot of time”.

Alain Gallopin (Sporting Director for CSC) :
“Basso’s plan is not yet defined.  Concerning the course, there is a lot of work to do in
the Alps.  Overall, one could speak of a Tour balanced in which we regret the absence
of the team time trial, as we would have been the favorites after what happened last
year (the crash of Zabriskie)”.

Théo De Rooy (Dutch/Sporting Director for Rabobank) :
“I am surprised by disappearance of the team time trial.  As for the rest, I expect it will be
a rather classic Tour even if, it seems to me, that the time trial specialists have an
advantage.  Rasmussen will be on the attack, but the profile is less favorable for him
than in 2005.  Menchov however will go after the general classification”.

Rudi Pevenage (Belgium/ Sporting Director for T-Mobile, German team of Jan
Ullrich) :
“This Tour does not particularly favor of disfavor Ullrich, but we are not unhappy with
the profile.  We will have to remain careful and watch out in a stage like Valkenburg, for
example.  The retirement of Armstrong?  That doesn’t change anything.  This is not a
Tour particularly unique, just different.  Who will take the lead and do the work?  It will
not be just us.  Liberty will be there also.  We are studying three possibilities of training
for Ullrich, the Dauphine, the Tour of Switzerland, or the Tour of Italy”.

Johan Bruyneel (Belgium/ Sporting Director for Discovery Channel) :
“The Tour remains our principal objective.  We have this race in our hearts.  To lose the
Tour is not an idea that pleases me.  We certainly don’t have any guarantees, but we
will be there in July, and Popovych, Azevedo and Hincapie have ideas of winning.  A
new era is opening and we will have a different role.  With Armstrong, the Tour took on
another dimension, but everyone is not of this opinion.  I was very intent during the
presentation of the 2006 Tour.  I noticed that during 15 minutes, 12 of those were spent
discussing ethics and the fight against doping.”

Mégret inflexible against doping- 10/26/05

After all the doping affairs which have tainted cycling, and notably the case of
Armstrong, the FFC (French Cycling Federation) continues to fight to clean up the
sport.  Armand Mégret, the federal doctor on the medical commission of the FFC,
detailed in the journal L’Equipe on Wednesday, October 26th, the new measures to be
taken.  A re-enforcement of the longitudinal medical controls to be followed (SMLC) in
application since 1997 and the willingness to have these French procedures adopted
by the ICU (International Cycling Union) on an international level.

To the great pleasure of Armand Mégret, doctors will have more powers to fight against
doping.  Up until now they could not take action if they noticed anomalies in the four
blood samples taken each year.  “From now on I will be able to authorize a work
stoppage all the while respecting medical confidentiality”, indicated Mégret in the
columns of the sporting daily.

Work together at an international level
The federal medical authority could also, in case of doubt, demand an additional blood
test, unannounced, for any rider whose analysis was suspect.  “The rider will have 48
hours to be retested in one of our authorized laboratories”, he stated while adding that
in any case of noncompliance, the athlete will be required to stop work.

Mégret would like to see this measure applied to amateurs as well, but first and
foremost at the international level.  Mégret and the president of the French Cycling
Federation, Jean Pitallier, have a meeting scheduled in mid-November with Pat
McQuaid, the new leader of the ICU with the objective of having the French rules used
at the international level.  “We wish, for example, that biological testing procedures be
the same for everyone” he stated.  “Outside of France, only two samples are taken.  In
addition, laboratories do not use the same materials, which makes comparisons
impossible.”  And he added “we have contacted an enterprise which specializes in these
matters to study the possibility of setting up a network of laboratories within the
European Union”.

6 month suspended sentence for Frigo- 10/24/05

On Monday the court of San Remo sentenced the Italian Dario Frigo to a suspended
sentence of six months in prison and a fine of 12,000 euros for violating anti-doping
laws during the 2001 Tour of Italy.

Two other riders, Giuseppe Di Grande and Alberto Elli, were also sentenced to the
same penalty and for the same reasons.  A penalty of eight months suspended
sentence, accompanied with a fine of 6,000 euros, was pronounced against the
soigneur Primo Pregnolato who was also relieved of his functions and all access to any
competition for the duration of the penalty.  The riders Domenico Romano and Ermanno
Brignoli were also sentenced to five months and 20 days respectively and to 1 month
and 10 days suspended sentence after reaching an agreement with the court.

Several hundred agents of the anti-doping brigade, mandated by the judge of Florence,
Luigi Bocciolini, burst into the hotels of all the teams in the competition after the finish of
the stage into San Remo in the Giro 2001.  The riders rooms were gone over with a fine
tooth comb for several hours by the police who seized a large quantity of medications,
among them many that were on the list of banned products.

Quick Step reinforces- 10/22/05

Around its two iron lances, Tom Boonen and Paolo Bettini, Quick Step is constructing a
solid team with thirteen new riders after the departure of three major players, the
Australian Michael Rogers (time trial world champion), the Italian Luca Paolini et the
German Patrik Sinkewitz.

Among the new heads to wear the colors of the Belgian team, the peleton will find once
again the former world champion in the development category, the roller-sprinter Italian
Francesco Chicchi (Fassa Bortolo), the rapid Dutchnman Steven De Jongh, the
Spaniard Juan Manuel Garate, who often placed in the Giro, the Frenchman Cédric
Vasseur and the Belgian Serge Baguet, two former stage winners in the Tour de France.

The team, which is a member of the ProTour, stated that the Venezuelan climber José
Rujano (3rd in the Giro 2005) would join the team after the 2006 Giro, next June.  At
that time the Italian Davide Bramati will end his career as a rider and will become one of
the sporting directors of the team (along side Wilfried Peeters, Serge Parsani, Luca
Guercilena and Rik Van Slycke).  As for the current world champion espoirs (hopes,
literally, refers to junior or development riders) Dmytro Grabovskyy from the Ukraine
signed a three year contract with the Belgian team, but he will remain with the Italian
team Finauto-Quick Step for 2006, managed by former rider Luca Scinto.

The changes on the Quick Step team:
Departures:  Mads Christensen (DEN), Dimitri De Fauw, Jurgen Van Goolen and Rik
Verbrugghe (BEL), Juan Miguel Mercado et Jose Antonio Pecharroman (SPN), Cristian
Moreni, Luca Paolini and Stefano Zanini (ITA), Michael Rogers (AUS), Patrik Sinkewitz
(GER)
Arrivals : Serge Baguet, Jugen Van de Walle, Kevin Van Impe and Geert Verheyen
(BEL), Francesco Chicchi, Ivan Santaromita, Leonardo Scarselli and Matteo Tosatto
(ITA), Steven De Jongh and Remmert Wielinga (HOL), Juan Manuel Garate (SPN),
Hubert Schwab (SWI), Cédric Vasseur (FRA).