Dario Frigo, of Team Tacconi, emphasized "the immense satisfaction" he felt upon winning a mountain stage in the Tour of France and indicated that this success proved his quality as a rider and finally laid the ghosts of the infamous police raids in the 2001 Giro to rest.
"It is tremendous to win any stage in the Tour of France because it is the biggest, most important race, but if you can win a mountain stage, that produces an incredible sensation. I have proved my worth and that when I am at my best level I am capable of everything," Frigo said.
The Italian rider, 28 years years old and time trial champion of his country, lost 18 minutes on Mont Ventoux, but his recovery in the Alps was spectacular. "On Ventoux it was very warm and it affected me, but today with more moderate temperatures I have been able to ride at my top level."
As far as the differences between the Giro and the Tour, Frigo said: "Both Tours differ because of the public and the heat. To win here gives me immense satisfaction because you see hundreds of thousands of people on the roadside and the heat also is immense," he joked.
"I dedicate the victory to the Tacconi team and my team mates. We have created a great team spirit within the squad. This year I still have important ambitions, we can achieve," he predicted.
Regarding the past, Frigo did not want to comment, but said that his comeback was "motivated by the desire to win."
Luc Leblanc, the ex-champion of world 1994 (Agrigento Sicily-Italy), made a guest appearance at the Tour yesterday. The former yellow jersey holder spoke of his work as a Directeur Sportif. "I take care of the elite and sub 23 Panorimmo.com Team. I am waiting to hear news that may allow us to turn fully professional - it depends on the sponsors."
Leblanc was always one of the stranger riders in the peloton (he always rode with a picture of his dead brother in his back pocket) - but it is good to see him putting something back into the sport after his retirement.
Laurent Jalabert, who announced his retirement at the end of season, could join the French bicycle company Look as a technical adviser. The king of the mountains commented - “It is a serious offer. I have spent eleven years competing on their bicycles and it could be to our mutual benefit."
Oscar Sevilla is on the shopping list of Quick Step Davitamon Latexco new manager of the team. Patrick Lefevere has a total budget will be around 8 million Euro and is looking for a tour contender.
Bernard Quilfen, the sport director of the French team Cofidis, is very satisfied overall with his team's performance in the Tour but disappointed with its leader, Andrei Kivilev. As for David Millar, Quilfen declared that if the Briton can continue his progress in two or three years he could win the Great Boucle. Millar's next target though is the Vuelta.
Moreau seems to have spent the entire tour falling off his bike or falling out with the rest of the peloton - Kevin McCallum reports this from the SA Star -
Moreau (nicknamed le seigneur sans pissoir after he took a rather public toilet break in one of the earlier stages) got all indignant when he saw the Lithuanian rider, Raimondas Rumsas, being paced back into the peloton by his team car, an act frowned upon by the Tour officials.
He told Rumsas that he was going to tell on him, but made the mistake of saying this within earshot of Hunter, who was Rumsas's teammate on Lampre-Daikin last year. Like all good West Rand boys, Hunter gave Moreau a verbal what-for.
"It annoyed me because he's not so innocent himself. I told him that I'd seen him do worse in races," said Hunter. He also said that he had told Moreau to "shut up" or suffer the consequences. The Frenchman promptly kept his trap shut.
Frank Vandenbroucke makes another comeback on Monday in the Tour de la Région Wallone - Bel - cat. 2.3 The talented Belgian cyclist will be in Domo colours, after avoiding the being suspended following alleged possession of doping products. By way of preparation for the five day Tour, VandenBroucke started today in a race in Ninove (Belgium).
Andreas Kloden rode to the defense of disgraced Telekom teammate Jan Ullrich Thursday saying that he intends on moving to the same town to help the fallen star return to the top of his sport.
Ullrich, the 1997 Tour de France champion, was banned for six months by the German Cycling Federation (BDR) this week after testing positive for amphetamines in an out-of-competition test.
The 28-year-old Olympic champion failed the control on June 12 at a Bavarian rehabilitation clinic where he was recovering after a knee operation.
"I'm going to move to Merdingen (Black Forest) this summer, just beside Jan. I'm with him also in the difficult moments," Kloden told the Saechsische Zeitung.
"I firmly believe in the strong return of Jan, who I would like to support in the next two Tour de France," added the 27-year-old Kloden.
Kloden, winner of the 2000 Paris-Nice, missed the Tour de France because of injury but is making his comeback in the Tour of Saxony.
The move is seen as an attempt by the Telekom team to get Ullrich back on track after team manager Walter Godefroot has brought into question the people frequented by the German champion.
Three days after revelations of the positive test, Ullrich, runner-up four times in addition to his Tour de France victory, admitted to taking two ecstasy tablets on a night out with friends in a bid he said to deal with depression as he recovered from knee surgery.
Ullrich is currently in the United States and a date has yet to be fixed for his return to Germany.