Archive for January, 2009

Armstrong puts TDU “on the map”

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Armstrong agrees to meet Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

Lance Armstrong says having a new cancer research centre in Adelaide named after his LiveStrong foundation is the greatest honour the foundation has ever had. Cancer survivor Armstrong established the foundation to prevent and cure cancer.

Armstrong says his visit to South Australia for the Tour Down Under has exceeded his expectations. “It goes without saying that this is a tremendous honour,” he said. “Frankly I don’t think we’ve ever had such an honour, such a centre named after us, such an emphasis put behind it, with such commitment from a state or federal government.”  He says he is humbled by the South Australian Government’s announcement. “An honour like this is a first for me and a first for this foundation,” he said. “The people of this state have just been amazing. “The level of support for myself, for the foundation and also for the rest of the race, for the other guys, this race is officially on the map. “It’s been an amazing time, absolutely look forward to coming back, look forward to being here for groundbreaking.”                                                     Armstrong has not yet said which other long established races he intends to put on the map but he has indicated that he is to ride the Tour of Flanders so maybe he can lift De Ronde out of obscurity.

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Boonen on Cav.

cavtomA little bit of jealousy perhaps? Cav wins Scheldeprijs

Today was the official launch at Kortrijk of the QuickStep team although Allan Davies has done a good job already in the TDU. Unsurprisingly Tommeke was the centre of attention and he had this to say about the Manx Rocket “although you can never be sure, I can’t see him ever winning Paris-Roubaix. He doesn’t have body for it.”

Of course Cav has done nothing so far to indicate that he can win the Hell of the North and greenjersey would be very surprised if Cav was ever first to Roubaix. The established rider most like Cav is surely McEwen, super fast, great positioning ability, brave and ruthless. Oh and I almost forgot very limited endurance and a crap climber. And McEwen could never win P-R or indeed any Monument. But should Cav win Het Volk or the GP E3 greenjersey may have to think again.

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Museeuw spreekt

museeuw-spreekt

Johan at the launch of the book

Today at the Tour of Flanders Center author Rik Vanwalleghem introduced his book Museeuw spreekt. It is a story of what  Johan experienced between September 4, 2003, the day of the search following the Landuyt case and December 16, 2008 when the court finally found The Lion of Flanders guilty of doping.

It is a story of guilt and how the cycling champion was   discredited by his use of EPO. Author Rik Vanwalleghem outlined in six chapters this difficult period in Johan Museeuw’s life.

The book reveals how Museeuw bought EPO. “I went to Cologne, I parked in an underground garage near a pharmacy. I was a little disguised with reading glasses on my nose. On the counter I put a piece of paper with what I needed. The pharmacist said something I did not understand and then came back with a box. He took it and I paid cash. It was between fifty and one hundred euros. The pharmacist asked nothing, gave no further explanation. Apparently Aranesp and EPO were freely available in Germany, Museeuw claims.

“With this book I want to tell what happened to me since that conscious decision on Thursday, September 4, 2003.” stated Museeuw. “I want this book to close a chapter in my life.  Museeuw said that he delayed publication of the book until after the court verdict.

“I want to show that I am a man of flesh and blood. I could not say goodbye to cycling. I sat on a cloud, I was a king and wanted to sit on the throne.  I resorted to EPO to prolong my career. At first I denied everything during my first confrontation with the investigators. In the course of time, however, I stood with my back against the wall and I had to come out with the truth.  That is why I still can give as much detail. As a cyclist I thought I was untouchable, but now knows that it was just the opposite, “he claimed.

“The case received much attention in the media. The case was suddenly the Landuyt and Museeuw case. I was addicted to winning and when it became clear that it was no longer possible I simply searched for an alternative.  This book is about a person, myself. I am also pleased that some wrinkles are now ironed smooth. I have recently, quite by accident, a conversation with my best friend Wilfried Peeters when we have been talking about different things. It was a heavy punishment from the court as a criminal which I am not. I have only used EPO. I would like to come back in cycling. If I was asked as an official at the Tour of Flanders. The offer I have eagerly adopted. I want to go back into the belly of cycling squad “said Museeuw.

Rik Vanwalleghem said “It is not a real cycling book.” There is no record of Johan Museeuw. At first I refused to write this book. My relationship with Johan Museeuw had over the years become sour. And I was not the only one. Like many fellow journalists I was fed up with his arrogant attitude towards the media “.

Vanwalleghem feels the book is a very sincere confession  even though he previously had numerous questions about the openness of Johan Museeuw.  “The book is not my version of the facts but a kind of monologue of the rider himself” he said.

The first print run is for six thousand copies and the publisher expects demand to be very high. The book has 183 pages and costs 19.95 euros.

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Southport Gala Criteriums 1975

gala-crit

greenjersey has just found this old photo of the prize presentation at a Southport Criterium in 1975. The winner is Sid Barras and to his left is Phil Corley of the Harp CC. The other Bantel rider is, I think, Geoff Dutton who came from Merseyside, maybe Birkenhead.

The guy with the mike is possibly Roger Shayes who tapped into the pro crit craze to earn a few quid as a “speaker”. I seem to recall that he was pretty good if a little over-exitable. Looking after the lap numbers is Jack Lowe a good rider for the Southport RCC who includes the Tour of the Lakes and the Merseyside champs in his palmares.  The event organiser for many years was Brian Bladon who obtained sponsorship from various clubs and casinos in the town. Although most of the spectators in the photo look like cyclists the races on the promenade did, in fact, attract very good crowds of day-trippers.

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More Flandrians cycling for fun

There is no bigger fan of Flemish bike racing than greenjersey but for his own outings awheel he prefers Wallonnie with the May Day 200km classic Mons-Chimay-Mons being a particular favourite. Bashing along uneven concrete cycle paths in a Flemish cross wind has limited appeal in his view. It seems that thousands disagree as recreational cycling is on the rise in Flanders and is also resistant to the economic crisis. The Flemish Cyclists Federation (VWB) saw its membership in 2008 increase by 44 pc to 41,000 members. Remarkably that growth was almost entirely during the last four months, coinciding with the start of the financial crisis.

The VWB is focused on recreational touring cycling and sportives. The number of licensees increased from 28,485 in 2007 to 41,000 in 2008. One in three of the new members are women and there are now 10,571 females on board. Furthermore members are no longer exclusively middle-aged, and older, men. The average age of the membership is now 35 years for women and 41 years for men.

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Two page splash for Cav in The Times

There were no football matches on Monday night so The Times filled two pages of the sports section with Cav including a massive photo of the Manxman wearing the new, crap, Columbia-Highroad kit.

Cav seems pretty pissed off with his lack of recognition and acclaim compared with the Olympic “stars” and who can blame him. But the fact is the British public isn’t interested in cycling but it does love a bit of Olympic glory and Cav is going to have to live with that. Maybe a Tour greenjersey could raise his profile but he could win the Scheldeprijs ten times and the British public would just yawn.

He says he won’t ride the track again. I presume he means in a GB jersey as he will surely top up his pension fund on the six day circuit. The most interesting revelation was made by  Columbia team manager Bob Stapleton who said that Bradley Wiggins left the team  not for the chance of individual glory but for more money. Stapleton maintained that Wiggins was in the team not as Cav’s lead out man but to win prologues. If so he was a failure.

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Lance selling up

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Lance Armstrong has put his Texas vacation home on the market. Armstong, who also has a fancy home in Austin, owns a 450 acre ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas The ranch includes ownership in Deadman’s Hole, a beautiful swimming hole that has a giant waterfall. Armstrong and sixteen neighbouring landowners  have rights to the swimming hole. In 2005, Armstrong fell out with his neighbours when he started building a dam on a creek on his land that feeds into the swimming hole. The neighbours claimed that the dam construction muddied the clear waters of Deadman’s Hole and Armstrong ended up paying around $850,000 to resolve the problem including legal fees.
The ranch includes a four-bedroom main house built in 2003 as well as a one bedroom guest house. The main house has great views of the surrounding countryside. The home has an open ground floor plan .   The guest cottage matches the main house in its rustic charm(say the estate agents). There is also a pool and a spa and the grounds include seven miles of bike trails. And best of all this can be yours for only twelve million dollars.
greenjersey discounts reports that Lance is selling because he plans to move in with his girlfriend who as a single mum will qualify for a council flat.

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