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10-28-2005, 10:51 AM #1
OK, hes gotta do the Tour again now. . .
PARIS -- Tour de France director Jean-Marie Leblanc has predicted an exciting 2006 race in the absence of Lance Armstrong and taken another shot at the seven-time champion.
Leblanc announced the next Tour setup, with the notable points being the absence of a team time trial and the return of L'Alpe d'Huez.
"It is a classical, well-balanced course. There are five wonderful mountain stages," Leblanc said Thursday. "It is a change of era. A period of long domination is over. The path is open. It is an exciting time."
The Tour director mentioned Armstrong only once, and the champion appeared only three times in a 10-minute video which looked back at the 2005 race.
Armstrong was shown pulling past Jan Ullrich in the prologue, when he crossed the line at the finish of the team time trial and standing on the Champs Elysees podium listening to the American national anthem at the end of the race.
Leblanc said the American was discredited by allegations printed in the L'Equipe sports newspaper on Aug. 23, which claimed that he used the banned performance enhancer EPO during his first Tour win in 1999. Leblanc said there was relief in the sport that Armstrong will not be returning.
"Without doubt ... what we have learned has increased the lassitude toward him," Leblanc said. "He was not irreproachable in '99. EPO is a doping product. So this tempers and dilutes his performances and his credibility as a champion."
Johan Bruyneel, Armstrong's team director on each of his seven wins, said the Tour presentation seemed to take a cheap shot at Armstrong.
"I felt targeted during the presentation," Bruyneel said. "They talk for 12 minutes about ethics rather than presenting the race itself. I would have taken a different direction.
"I'm conscious Lance won seven Tour de France titles and owes a lot to the race. But at the same time, the Tour de France became more important with an American who won seven Tours."
Armstrong vehemently denies any wrongdoing. Leblanc made similar comments in August, and Armstrong has said he is considering whether to sue L'Equipe, France's national anti-doping laboratory and the Tour director.
The 2006 Tour starts on July 1 in Strasbourg, in the Alsace region of eastern France, then passes through Luxembourg, Germany and the Netherlands, before winding counterclockwise through the Pyrenees and then the Alps and ending on Paris' famed Champs-Elysees on July 23, a total distance of 2,256 miles.
With five major mountain ascents -- including the Col du Tourmalet, Col d'Izoard, and Col du Galibier -- and three uphill finishes, the route is likely to favor the climbers.
In Armstrong's absence, 1997 Tour winner Ullrich of Germany, Ivan Basso of Italy, Alejandro Valverde of Spain and Floyd Landis of the United States will try to dominate.
Leblanc is to step down at the end of 2006 after 17 years in charge and will be replaced by deputy director Christian Prudhomme.
Both men took the opportunity to warn riders of the risks of doping and they called for tougher sanctions to rid cycling of its most serious problem.
Although Armstrong is retired, it doesn't mean the Texan will never appear at the Tour de France again.
Next year, fans may still see him stepping out of the Discovery Channel bus.
"Lance is still motivated by the Tour," Bruyneel said. "He is still motivated by planning things.
"His role inside the team is still to be decided. We will see if he comes next year."
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
10-28-2005, 11:07 AM #2With five major mountain ascents -- including the Col du Tourmalet, Col d'Izoard, and Col du Galibier -- and three uphill finishes, the route is likely to favor the climbers.
Leblanc is to step down at the end of 2006 after 17 years in charge and will be replaced by deputy director Christian Prudhomme.[This Space For Rent]
10-28-2005, 02:56 PM #3
I've got mixed feelings on another Tour with Lance.....it would make his first retirement seem flaky, and a future retirement seem less likely to stick. Keeping people unsure of where he stands. I'm in, I'm out, I'm in, I'm out. But on the other hand, I'd like to see him shove another win down LeBlanc's throat and disprove the doping. Unless he did dope. See? Mixed.This touchy-feely Kumbaya shit has got to go.
10-28-2005, 03:13 PM #4Registered User
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- Sep 2005
As Disco chief Johann Bruyneel says, "When I think back on all that, it's been the same scenario for them for years. A French rider hasn't won the Tour in 20 years. Why? Simple, they haven't been good enough. And then you see the final ProTour standings and notice there were four Americans in the top 10 (Armstrong, 5th; Levi Leipheimer, 7th; Bobby Julich, 9th; George Hincapie, 10th) and for the French, they had four riders in the top 100 (David Moncoutié, 30th; Anthony Geslin, 62nd; Christophe Moreau, 79th; Laurent Brochard, 84th). That's the facts. It's nothing more than that. I realize it's frustrating for them."
The above facts have battered French egos, and it sure hasn't helped that Lance is a Texan and publicly rides with Dubya (who is reviled in most of Europe).
Lance is retired, he'll never return just to spite TdF director Jean-Marie Leblanc. I'm sure he's loving the fact that all of this crap is behind him (or will be when the dust from the lawsuits has settled).
10-28-2005, 06:18 PM #5
I have read a few articles on the 06 TdF Presentation and it sounds as though Lance/Postal were snubbed during the 2005 recap and a few shots were thrown at them re: doping. Bruyneel is pissed and said that there was one thing he learned from Lance is to take the criticism and use it to their advantage. Right now Bruyneel setting the groundwork for a Discovery rider to win the 2006 Tour.....George Hincapie.
An interesting note about the 06 Tour is that the TTT was taken out. That will probably work to some of the pure climbers' advantage.
One thing is for sure, even without Lance the 2006 tour winner will not be French.
10-28-2005, 08:14 PM #6
There are still damn good American's that can shut LeBlanc up...Leipheimer will be a major contendor next year along with Landis...and don't count Hincapie out either if Discovery will work for him...don't count David Z out either, he can time trial as good as anyone and he's a much better climber than the media has made him out to be, he might not be up there this year but he's the future American contendor. I think Levi will be right up there with Ullrich and Basso this year...if Lance really wants to shut the French up he should go race the Giro next year.oh so i guess i'm the asshole!
10-29-2005, 06:21 AM #7Originally Posted by shit sandwich
Floyd has said he is riding the Giro, but just for TdF training purposes. He got a late start last year due to Phonak's problems. Two up and coming American riders are Saul Raisin who rides for Credit Agricole, and Tyler Farrar who will be riding with Cofidis.
Lance on SNL tonight 10/29, with special musical guest Sheryl Crow.
I watched a DVD the other nightcalled PRO, it might have been mentioned here before. But it is about the 2004 USPRO race in Philly(and some of the races in the days prior), it interviews alot of the prominent US riders, as well some prominent riders on the domestic circuit.
The interviews with Julich and Henk Vogels were especially good and highlighted the mental aspect of the sport. Vogels, an Aussie, almost died a couple years ago after a high speed crash during a race. Great movie, it still blows my mind that despite not being mainstream in the US, a road race here can draw 500,000 people.
Watched A Day in Hell, the 2002 Paris-Roubaix DVD, incredible. Those were the old days when there were still a few holdouts that didn't wear helmets.
10-29-2005, 07:00 AM #8who guards the guardians?
- Join Date
- May 2005
Lance trounced them 7 times. That was exciting to watch.
How come he never got caught doping? If it was a one time achievement, maybe I would buy the doping argument.I'm just a simple girl trying to make my way in the universe...
I come up hard, baby but now I'm cool I didn't make it, sugar playin' by the rules
If you know your history, then you would know where you coming from, then you wouldn't have to ask me, who the heck do I think I am.
10-30-2005, 01:55 AM #9?
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- Jul 2005
- Verdi NV
Lance on SNL
I am watching Lance and Cheryl on SNL while reading this. I hope he has retired from competitive cycling, he did all he needed to do and more It appears he is set up to have a very nice life as a celeberity.
10-30-2005, 09:46 AM #10Registered User
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- Sep 2005
Saturday Night Live
That settles it. After watching last nights SNL it is clear that he has moved on and has maintained a sense of humor. The songwriting skit where he sang to Sheryl was hilarious, as was the Ironman bit. He pulled it off well.
Happy retirement Lance, you're off to a good start.
10-31-2005, 07:24 AM #11
Lance should go over to Paris, find Leblanc in some nice restaraunt, walk up to him for all to see, pull out a white glove, slap him in the face a few times with it while uttering a few profanities about his mother, and challenge him to a duel. Yeah, that would be cool.
It isn't necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice. There are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia.