Liege Bastogne Liege
Who will win "La Doyenne"?
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Who will win "La Doyenne"?
Lance Armstrong is the bookmakers favourite. He said before Amstel that with the rescheduling of the Spring programme (which makes for the first time in many years La Doyenne the last of the Spring Classics) that he would be targeting Liege. The course is perfectly suited to his riding skills and it is a race that many observers think he should have won before. Odds at 5.5 to 1 reflect these facts, however some would argue his relative lack of racing this season, his performance in Amstel and no show at Fleche are signs of weakness as in his team which has been badly affected by injury and illness. Fans will be confident in the fact that the Texan rarely misses a target he sets himself.
Danilo Di Luca The Saeco team are on fire at the minute, and Astarloa, Shefer, Celestino and Sacchi could well be team leaders themselves in smaller teams. Success tends to breed success and the Saeco team will enter this race full of confidence which could be the deciding factor, particularly if they decide to launch a surprise attack as the Mapei team did so well last year.
Di Luca in action on the Cauberg
Michael Boogerd While the European sporting gossip columns concentrate on the Boogerd/Armstrong “dispute” (what happened at La Plagne, Tour of Netherlands, should Dekker have attacked on the Cluze et Bourg-en-Bresse stage, etc., etc.), one strongly suspects that both men are more concerned with how they will tackle the Côte de Saint-Nicolas this Sunday. Boogerd will be wanting revenge for his defeat on home ground at Amstel and certainly he has the form and the right qualities to win this race. Riders like Freire, Leipheimer and Zberg are strong enough to win the race in their own right if circumstances are correct, so Boogerd comes in great shape with a great team in support.
Francesco Casagrande 6th in the Amstel and looked back to his best during one surging attack. Team mate Rumsas is also well fancied for the race and as the team website reports the team are using the latest equipment.
For Francesco Casagrande, the Liege and then the GP Industria e Commercio di Larciano are his final races before his attempt at the Giro d’Italia.
A new technical aspect was tried by our Captain at the Freccia Wallone, he used the new 10 speed Shimano Dura Ace Groupset.
The new groupset from Shimano is exclusively being used by our team in Italy, Shimano Europe and Mic Shimano di Amedeo Colombo intend to use our team as the testing team for the new components which will be in commerce by the end of September, after the groupset is presented at the Milan show.
The groupset is at the moment being tested by Mariano Piccoli at the Giro del Trentino.
The entire team at the next Giro d’Italia will have the new Shimano 10 speed mounted on their Wilier Bicycles.
Please visit the Lampre site here.
Michele Bartoli The “Northern branch” of the Fassa team have little to show for their efforts so far, while the “Southern Section” in general (and Petacchi in particular) have been keeping the UCI points rolling in.
Silverteam in action
As usual, the “Warrior” sends out a message to his fans pre race which is best described as cautious.
The northern campaign has just few days remaining, and it has given us warm days like those of my Tuscany. The weather was fine and the good news (pardon my egoism) is that I haven't had any allergic reaction yet.
Do you want to know my feelings after the Amstel Gold Race and La Flèche Wallonne? I'm quiet. I can't complain about my form. I needed a miracle to stay with the best after last injury and at the moment we need other important miracles... In the meantime each kilometer betters my training: I'll find my temper again soon.
Maybe in the Liège-Bastogne-Liège? I sure would but I can't promise it to you... In any case I assure you I will do my best.
Please visit the Warriors site here.
Nevertheless, with a great team in support that includes Basso, Ivanov, Kirchen and Pozzato, all of whom are also ranked by the bookmakers, don’t be surprised if the Warrior makes it three victories in Liege.
Frank VandenBroucke Another former winner, the Spring Campaign has not gone exactly to script, and this will add to the determination to set things back on track. A slipped chain spoilt “Bimbo’s” chances in Amstel and he will be looking for revenge. His victory in the 1999 edition is still talked about in the bars of Europe. Sadly team mate and double winner Bettini will miss the race but David Canada, Luca Paolini and Richard Virenque are also rated by the bookmakers. So a strong squad with high motivation; maybe all “Frankie Boy” requires is a little luck?
Alexandre Vinokourov Winner of the Amstel and has Matthias Kessler equally ranked by the bookmakers (at 14-1) riding in support. Very strong team which includes Aerts, Nardello and Kloeden while domestique of the year so far Bobby Julich, also rides. Vinokourov's effort on the Cauberg was the stuff of legend so will it again be a case of “Vino, Veni, Vidi, Vici?”
David Etxebarria Both he and Iban Mayo are highly rated for this race. Extebarria was third in 2001 and second in 2002 and will be hoping to move one step up the podium this year. Once again it could be a clash of Ditch and Basque Orange on the final climb, particularly since the Euskaltel-Euskadi team will also include Unai Etxebarria and the excellent young rider Samuel Sanchez.
Tyler Hamilton The CSC team have not pulled up any trees so far this season yet Hamilton has ridden well. Rated at 14 to 1 by the bookmakers, Sastre should give excellent support.
Davide Rebellin His injury must surely affect his chances, but he will be determined to do well on a parcours that perfectly suits his style.
The French Challenge Brochard was very impressive in the week at Paris-Camembert Lepetit and is perhaps underated by the bookmakers at 50-1. Moreau is promising a return from his lengthy spell of bad luck and troubles while “MiMo” havanel may surprise.
Jan Ullrich Mightily impressive in Koln, the Kaiser is back and should not be discounted.
The Spanish Armada Besides the already mentioned David Etxebarria, Oscar Freire, Carlos Sastre and Astarloa, Spain once again provides many top riders. Flecha (iBanesto) has recovered from his crash at Amstel and will ride. Miguel Martin Perdiguero (Domina Vacanze) is suited to the course, while the ONCE look very strong with Marcos A. Serrano and Angel Vicioso. Certainly Spain's chances for a unique double have never been better.
"La Doyenne" Teams
Lotto: Van Petegem (BEL), Baguet (BEL), Merckx (BEL), R. Verbrugghe (BEL)
Saeco: Astarloa (ESP), Celestino (ITA), Di Luca (ITA), Sacchi (ITA), Shefer (KZK)
Quick Step: Vandenbroucke (BEL), Canada (ESP), Paolini (ITA), Van de Wouwer (BEL), Virenque (FRA)
Telekom: Vinokourov (KZK), Aerts (BEL), Guerini (ITA), Julich (USA), Kessler (GER), Kloeden (GER), Nardello (ITA)
Fassa Bortolo: Bartoli (ITA), Basso (ITA), S. Ivanov (RUS), Kirchen (LUX), Pozzato (ITA)
FDJeux.com: Casar (FRA), Fritsch (FRA), McGee (AUS), Robin (FRA), Vogondy (FRA)
Rabobank: Boogerd (HOL), Levi Leipheimer (USA), De Groot (HOL), Freire (ESP), Lotz (HOL), Rasmussen, B. Zberg (SUI)
Alessio: Dufaux (SUI), R. Ivanov (MOL), Marzoli (ITA), Noè (ITA), Pellizotti (ITA)
Lampre: Casagrande (ITA), Belli (ITA), Missaglia (ITA), Rumsas (LIT), Sciandri (GBR)
Gerolsteiner: Boelts (GER), Faresin (ITA), Rastelli (ITA), Totschnig (AUT), Trampusch (AUT), Wegmann (ALL), M. Zberg (SUI)
La Boulangère: Sy. Chavanel (FRA), Bénéteau (FRA), Bouyer (FRA), Rous (FRA)
Sidermec: Vainsteins (LET), Bortolami (ITA), Bossoni (ITA), Mazzoleni (ITA)
US Postal: Armstrong (USA), Heras (ESP), Pena (COL), Rubiera (ESP), Van Heeswijk (PBS)
Cofidis: Mattan (BEL), Farazijn (BEL), Trentin (ITA), Vasseur (FRA)
Domina Vacanze: Lorenzo Cardellini (Ita), Massimo Giunti (Ita), Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus), Ruben Lobato Elvira (Spa), Miguel Martin Perdiguero (Spa), Filip Meirhaeghe (Bel), Kyrylo Pospeyev (Ukr), Michele Scarponi (Ita)
ONCE: I. Gonzalez Galdeano (ESP), Azevedo (POR), Jaksche (ALL), Serrano (ESP)
AG2R: Brochard (FRA), Botcharov (RUS), Oriol (FRA), Portal (FRA)
Coast: Ullrich (ALL), Aebersold (SUI), Beltran (ESP), A. Casero (ESP), Garmendia (ESP), Steinhauser (ALL)
Phonak: Elmiger (SUI), Pereiro (ESP)
Euskaltel: D. Etxebarria (ESP), U. Etxebarria (VEN), Mayo (ESP), S. Sanchez (ESP)
CSC: Hamilton (USA), Blaudzun (DAN), Peron (ITA), Sastre (ESP)
Crédit Agricole: Moreau (FRA), Ljungqvist (SUE), Voigt (ALL)
iBanesto.com: A. Osa (ESP), Flecha (ESP), J.I. Gutierrez (ESP), Lastras (ESP), Petrov (RUS)
Landbouwkrediet: Duma (UKR)
Palmans: F. De Waele (BEL)