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Victory by Hincapie- 2/27/05
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Only 30th Saturday in the Het Volk (mini-classic race in Belgium), in which he was one of the
big favorites, the American George Hincapie (Discovery Channel team) got his revenge on
Sunday, winning the race Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, a classic of the first order.  The teammate
of Lance Armstrong sprinted past his companion in the break-away, the Belgian Kevin Van
Impe (Chocolat Jacques team).  The Belgian Bert Roesems (Davitamon-Lotto team) took third
place 10 seconds behind.  The top Frenchman, Jimmy Engoulvent (Cofidis team) finished in
the 13th spot.

The event was staged in very difficult weather conditions, the riders in front confronted a
glacial wind and negative temperatures (degrees C, thus under 32 degress F).  At the end of a
very animated race, Van Impe escaped from the front of the peleton in the company of
Hincapie with 5 km to the finish. Bert Roesems reacted but was not able to make up the final
hundred meters which separated him from the two leaders, and the power of Hincapie was the
difference in the final sprint.
Articles for the week of 2/27/05-  Cycling News Home
Scroll down to read the articles on this page as follows:

Victory to Davis- 03/04/05
A Leader of AG2R is Questioned- 03/04/05
Hondo Wins Again- 3/3/05
Victory to Hondo- 3/2/05
Lance Armstrong Favorite To Take Seventh Tour de France Victory
BetUS.com Posts Odds on Tour de France 2005- 3/2/05
Excerpts from Press Release dated 3/2/05 from ButUS.com
The Favorites Drop Out- 3/1/05
Victory by Hincapie- 2/27/05
Most articles are translated from L'Equipe magazine, the largest sports publication in France.  
Translations by Walt Ballenberger.  
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The Favorites Drop Out- 3/1/05

For its 25th edition, the Tour de Murcie, which begins Wednesday, will be without its two
favorites, the German Jan Ullrich, with the flu, and the Spaniard Alexander Valverde.

Ullrich, the leader of the T-Mobile team, dropped out last Wednesday because he was not able
to train enough because of a bout with the flu.  Valverde, winner last year, decided to
participate instead in Paris-Nice.

“It wouldn’t serve anything for Jan to take part in an intense race like the Tour of Murcie”,
explained the T-Mobile team doctor, Lothar Heinrich.  “He now needs to work hard on his
endurance.  That is the basis of success for the Tour de France”.

In total 16 teams will participate in the event, with the most difficult stage on Saturday between
Aguilas and the col (mountain pass-ed) de Collado de Bermejo, baptized the col Marco
Pantani,  which is 152 km long and highlighted by 4 passes, two of which are 3rd category, and
two others of 1st category.

In five days, until Sunday, the racers will encircle 642 kilometers, with several flat stages
highlighted by passes of which the majority are 3rd category, and also a time trial.
Lance Armstrong Favorite To Take Seventh Tour de France Victory
BetUS.com Posts Odds On Tour de France 2005
Montreal, Quebec – Following the recent announcement that Lance Armstrong will ride for his
seventh Tour de France victory, online gamblers are wagering in favor of cycling’s top
professional to win this year’s coveted title and set a another new record.

“Armstrong’s fans really believe in him,” says Mike Foreman, spokesperson for BetUS.com.
“Some say a seventh win is unlikely, but gamblers who watch cycling closely are wagering a lot
of money on Armstrong standing on the winner’s podium once again this July”.

“There’s always a chance that another rider like Andreas Kloden or Jan Ullrich may grab the
title,” said Foreman. “Nevertheless, Armstrong won the 2004 race by six minutes and 19
seconds and that’s a substantial win. Armstrong said last year’s race was an easy win for him. I
don’t doubt this year will be any different,” stated Foreman.

Foreman also mentioned that fans should keep an eye out for stars of the future. “The cycling
profession has strong up-and-coming talent,” said Foreman. “Cyclists such as Australia’s
Michael Rogers and Russia’s Vladimir Karpets are starlight contenders for future races”.

Here are the current odds at BetUS.com:

Armstrong 4/7  
Ullrich 7/2
Kloden 9/1
Basso 11/2
Valverde 12/1
Vinokourov 20/1
Beloki 25/1
Mayo 25/1
Menchov 30/1
Popovych 30/1
Mancebo 33/1
Cioni 40/1
Field (unlisted) 15/1
Victory to Hondo- 3/2/05

The German Danilo Hondo (Gerolsteiner team) won the first stage of the 25th edition of the
Tour de Murcie, raced Wednesday over 162km between Murcie and Molina de Segura in Spain.

The Australian Allan Davis took second place, and the German Eric Baumann came in third.  
The winner of the day was able to count not only on the good work of his team but also on the
that of the Liberty team, which was working for Davis.

The Italian Andrea Tafi and the Belgian Peter Wuyts were the main animators of the stage,
which was held in a strong wind.  They opened a gap of four minutes over the main peleton at
92km before being swallowed up by the main field nine kilometers before the finish.

Thursday, the riders will face an individual time trial over 22km around Alhama.
Hondo Wins Again- 3/3/05

Already winner of the first stage on Wednesday, the German Danilo Hondo, (Gerolsteiner
team) came to the front once again, Thursday, during the second stage of the 25th edition of
the Tour de Murcie, an individual time trial of 22km around Alhama (southeast Spain).  He thus
kept his place as leader of the event.

With a time of 25’35”, Hondo, winner Wednesday of the first stage in a sprint, finished ahead of
Spaniards Ruben Plaza (25’56”) and Jose Ivan Gutierrez (26’14”).  In the general classification
the German rider has a lead of 21 seconds over Plaza and 39 seconds over Gutierrez.

“It’s a surprise for me”, stated Hondo, who was not listed among the favorites for the time trial.  
“The overall victory is possible but I’ll say it again, nothing will be easy”, he added.  Friday in
the 3rd stage the riders will race over 156km, between Mula and Fortuna.
A Leader of AG2R is Questioned- 03/04/05

The news was made public on Friday: the assistant sporting director of the team AG2R,
Laurent Biondi, was taken into police custody Wednesday in Grenoble, by police investigators
from Agen, who are investigating a vast drug traffic ring that was uncovered in January.  
According to “L’Equipe”, he will be taken to Bordeaux on Monday in order to face a judge there.

Laurent Biondi was arrested at his home by the police, and his office was also searched.  A
second person, also close to many in cycling but “not a professional” according to the public
prosecutor’s office, was also questioned and will also go before a magistrate.  In addition, the
prosecutor’s office of Bordeaux indicated that four new trials have taken place since the vast
drug bust in January.

Those four also were people associated with the sport of cycling, bringing to 18 the number of
trials in France, resulting so far in eight prison sentences.  Among the persons concerned are
ex-professionals, like Biondi and also Laurent Roux and his brother Fabien, “suspected of
being at the center of the drug trafficking and currently in prison in the southwest of France”
stated L’Equipe.  If he is brought to trial, Laurent Biondi will automatically be separated from
AG2R.
Victory to Davis- 03/04/05-

Allan Davis (Liberty team) on Friday won the 3rd stage of the 25th edition of the Tour de
Murcie, staged over 155.8km between Mula and Fortuna in the southeast of Spain.  The
German Danilo Hondo (Gerolsteiner team) kept the lead in the general classification.

The Australian on the Liberty team covered the distance in 3h59’27”, in a stage that was fatal
for his teammate Beloki who abandoned after 80km of the race, unable to put up with the
extreme weather conditions of the day.

At the beginning of the stage four riders escaped, hardly bothered by the cold wind and the
mixture of rain and snow which was present throughout the stage.  

The Belgian Maxime Monfort and the Dutchman Niels Scheunemann accompanied the two
Spaniards Juan Jose Cobo (Saunier-Duval team) and Jose Antonio Lopez (Kaiku team) in
building up a lead of 5 minutes on the field before the Gerolsteiner and Liberty teams picked up
the pace and joined the escapees at 10km to the finish.

Allan Davis, in a good position thanks to the work of his team, settled the question in a strongly
contested sprint.

Saturday, the riders will take on the most difficult stage of the tour between Aguilas and the
mont Alto Collado, renamed the climb “Marco Pantani”, with 152km of racing and 3 climbs of
3rd category and two of first category.
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