What the Papers Say
Another look at what the world wide press has been making of the world of
Lance Armstrong has certainly been in the news this week, but the
press seem very reluctant to delve beneath the surface of the 5 times Tour de
France Winner. For a man so much in the spotlight Armstrong and his US Postal
team managed to keep the cloak of mystery firmly wrapped around themselves and
journalists rarely seem to have the courage to question Armstrong's answers in an
interview situation. For instance, the Lance Armstrong Official website makes it
quite clear that Armstrong will next ride in San Francisco in September and yet
he is still be listed to ride in the San Sebastian Classic next weekend by many
The following article is by David Edwards of the UK Daily Mirror, a paper not
usually associated with covering cycling, but which has followed this year's
Tour with some interest. The following article may seem obtrusive - then again,
where is the Fausto Coppi legend without the lady in the white raincoat?
To read the original article
Top Cyclist's Struggle to Save Marriage
Aug 2 2003
By David Edwards
As he acknowledged the acclaim of the crowds along the Champs-Elysees, the
smile on Lance Armstrong's face said it all. The 31-year-old had won the Tour de
France for the fifth time in a row, confirming him as one of the world's
greatest athletes. His feat was all the more incredible given that he almost
died from cancer just a few years before.
But with the race over, Armstrong knows he must now focus all his energies on
an even bigger challenge - a last-ditch attempt to save his marriage. Armstrong,
31, has become the world's top cyclist by living the mantra that only winning
matters. But this determination has taken a heavy toll on his relationship with
After one split already this year, Armstrong says: "We're going to work at
it, we're both committed to working on it, and we have three great kids, so
there's a lot to work for."
It was in February, during yet another training session, that the couple
separated after a row. Kristin, who he married five years ago, had thought she
would be able to bear long absences from her husband and raising their children
often alone. But the reality was proving different.
Anyone who visited Armstrong's website, where former PR executive Kristin
wrote an online journal, could see the storm approaching.
"I hate the feeling of a family divided. Maybe I can get Lance to do the
50-miler on tandem with me next year," she wrote. Sometimes I get so busy doing
for everyone that I forget what I think is fun. My spirit needs a little sun.
"I try to carve out escapes for myself. One night, I was staring off into
space, scrubbing pots like a woman possessed, dreaming of going to Jamaica,
The day after the split was announced - by email to their local paper in
Austin, Texas - the entries disappeared from the site. Soon rumours began
emerging that Armstrong had been having an affair with a student from San
Francisco. His agents refuse to confirm or deny the allegations, but Armstrong
has always been known as a ladies' man. When he was single, he earned the
nickname FedEx, whose company slogan is "When you absolutely, positively have to
have it overnight". Kristin remembers: "My friends were hoping he would not go
anywhere near me. They were like, 'pro athlete, really good-looking - forget
it'. Even Armstrong admits: "Kristin was unsure about me. She had heard about my
reputation. She didn't intend to be a casualty."
Armstrong and Kristin were apart for a month before he asked her to join him
at a training session in Nice. "Lance said, 'I've been a jerk. I need you all. I
can't be a champion without you'," says a family friend. For once, Armstrong
turned off his computer - meaning he couldn't see the 50 emails he receives each
day - and for the first time the couple were alone with their children.
Sports writer Eric Hagerman, who spent weeks interviewing them before and
after the split, says: "She called when they got back and said the problem was
they just hadn't spent any time together in the past four years.
"They had some really long discussions. They said it was great." The couple
reunited in April but now, with the season almost over, they will take the first
tentative steps to rebuild their relationship at their flat in Gerona, in
northern Spain. Kristin, 31, says: "We're going to take the month of August and
play, spend some time alone. Have some fun. I think it's going to be OK." Her
only fear is that it may be impossible to rediscover the love they had when they
first met and Armstrong had yet to receive the all-clear from the testicular
cancer that spread to his brain.
Kristin says: "You can't imagine the intensity of those feelings. At that
point, he didn't know if he was going to live. So I didn't know if I was falling
in love with someone who maybe had another year. But I didn't care. standing on
the edge between life and death. That bonds two people." Hagerman says: "Kristin
says she knew what she was signing up for when they got together, but I don't
think that's true. When they met, Lance was convalescing and in retirement mode.
Nobody thought he'd get back in the saddle after what he'd been through, least
of all Kristin."
Friends says the couple's problems spring from Armstrong's commitment to the
sport - that even though his racing season runs from March to September, he sees
it as a year-round job - one that's made him enormously wealthy. The £285,000 he
won in this year's tour is small beer compared to the £10million he will make
from sponsorship deals. But such rewards come with a price - deals with Subaru,
Nike and Coca Cola mean he must spend 45 days a year promoting their products.
Then there is the commitment to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which has
raised more than £15million for other cancer survivors. Hagerman says: "The
obligations of superstardom are starting to tear at him. He's finding it harder
to balance his job, and the needs of his wife and children, with what he wants
"The way he sees it, he has one shot at true greatness - and because his very
life is a second chance, he's not going to let anyone stand in his way.
He needs to leave a monument to his suffering, a rock of proof that a
fatherless loner from Dallas could rise to the top and keep rising."
But, if Armstrong's determination to succeed is his greatest asset as an
athlete, it may also be his biggest weakness as a human being.
Born in 1971, his father - whom he later dismissed as a "DNA provider" - left
him when he was two, leaving his mother, Linda, to raise him alone.
She remarried Terry Armstrong, who he soon grew to despise. Armstrong says:
"Terry had a bad temper and he used to whip me for silly things.
"Once, I left a drawer open in my bedroom and he got out a thick wood paddle,
and spanked me with it. It didn't hurt just physically, but also emotionally. I
became a kid with about four chips on his shoulder, thinking 'Maybe if I ride my
bike on this road long enough it will take me out of here'."
Soon it did. At 15 he was a triathlete beating professional sportsmen. By
1991 he was the US amateur cycling champion and went to Barcelona for the 1992
Olympic games. Five years later, Armstrong was the world No1 ranked cyclist
then, four months before his 25th birthday, he was diagnosed with testicular
cancer which spread to his lungs and brain. He was on the verge of proposing to
his student girlfriend Lisa Shiels, when he met Kristin in 1997.
She too was in a relationship but as Kristin recalls: "Even though he was
pale and obviously not himself, he still exuded this incredible magnetism. He
was shy but sincere and I thought 'He's an interesting guy'."
Armstrong was by then in remission from cancer and love blossomed. The couple
married a year later although if Kristin had hoped for a romantic honeymoon, she
was to be disappointed. Armstrong, who even brought his bike to the wedding,
felt he had been given a second chance at life and threw himself into training.
Kristin had to go through the ordeal of IVF treatment alone, using sperm
Armstrong had given before his treatment for cancer, as he was away training for
The couple's first child, Luke, was born in 1999 and followed by twins, Grace
and Isabelle, two years later. Even becoming a father didn't change Lance's
It's a regime so focused he has been victim of speculation that he has used
banned drugs, pointing to his association with an Italian trainer now on trial
for drug-related offences.
It's a claim he has always denied but is yet another pressure on a life
already lived at 100mph.
"I'm burning the candle at both ends more than I ever have," he says. "I
don't even know if it's so much winning, but the fear of losing. I don't like to
lose, I just despise it.
Today, as the couple look hard at their relationship, it's a philosophy
Armstrong needs to apply to his marriage.
Courtesy Team Telekom.
Curiously, an outsider looking at recent photographs of Jan Ullrich in
Germany this week could have easily believed that Ullrich had just won the Tour
de France. Immense crowds, Ullrich looking as fit and as motivated as never
before, with a new determination.
Ullrich certainly has the common touch. Modest, prepared to patiently
autograph for fans, polite, respectful and with the ability, as he showed today
in the Hew Cyclassics, to put on a spectacular show in a race finish third and
still be considered a winner on the day by the fans.
This short article from the AFP reveals another aspect of the Ullrich
mentality - "We are working on a youth team with my name attached to it."
Certainly Jan Ullrich seems to have found not only a new maturity off the bike,
but he has rediscovered that cycling is fun on the bike.
AFP - Sunday, August 3, 2003
Berlin, Germany--Five-time Tour de France runner-up Jan Ullrich revealed on
Sunday he intends to marry long-term girlfriend Gaby Weis, the mother of his
"We will marry when things have calmed down a bit," Ullrich told German
newspaper Welt am Sonntag.
The Olympic road race champion has been linked with a return to his former
Telekom team but 29-year-old Ullrich insists he has heard nothing from the
German team and that he would prefer to stay with Bianchi.
"No-one from the Telekom team has spoken with me or my manager Wolfgang
Strohband," declared the 1997 Tour de France winner.
"I hope a co-sponsor can be found at Bianchi and I can continue to work with
Ullrich also moved quickly to quash suggestions that he had parted ways with
coach Peter Becker.
"I am still working alongside Peter Becker," explained Ullrich.
"We are working on a youth team with my name attached to it."
The Bianchi team captain added he is willing to represent Germany in the
World Championships in Canada, but only if he is in good shape.
"In principle I want to start for Germany, but I must see how the rest of the
season goes," added the German rider.
"It is only worth going to the World championships if I am in top form.
"There is no point in going to Canada just to roll along."
Courtesy Team Telekom.
Music about bicycles are indeed as old as, er, bicycles. From Edwardian
romanticism (Daisy, Daisy) to risque Music Hall (“you can ride my bicycle but
don’t pump my tyres too hard", etc.). From 60’s acid rock (Disraeli Gears (derailer
gears) by the Cream to Creedence Clearwater Rival in Cosmos Factory on a racing
bike. The Rolling Stones helped Chris Boardman and Queen helped fat bottomed
However the ultimate cycling band (Delgado’s excepted) must be Kraftwerk.
To read the original article
Synth and synthability
Long regarded as cold perfectionists, Kraftwerk have at last discovered their
human side, writes Kitty Empire
Sunday August 3, 2003
Kraftwerk Tour de France Soundtracks (EMI)
Although their music has always sounded exquisitely streamlined, Kraftwerk's
creative history is a potholed affair. Düsseldorf music graduates Ralf Hütter
and Florian Schneider and their associates weren't the first men to harness
machines to the task of tunemaking, but they were the first to create hits
exclusively from circuit-boards and electricity in the Seventies.
Not only did they make some of the finest pop music ever in singles like 'The
Model' and 'Trans-Europe Express': these wonkish anti-pop stars drafted the very
template that unfolded into all modern dance music, from disco through techno.
And then they pretty much stopped releasing records. Hütter, Schneider and
their subcontractors (know gnomically as 'drummers') retreated into their
mysterious Kling Klang studio in the Eighties and Nineties to wrestle with their
own perfectionism and the new digital technology that had crept up on them
unawares. In the interim, their music had children: hip hop, house, rave and
more (and not forgetting the wayward ones, like Gary Numan and Jean-Michel Jarre).
The release of Tour de France Soundtracks, then, is quite an event. It's the
first genuinely new Kraftwerk album since 1986's badly-received Electric Café.
(Their most recent album, 1991's The Mix, featured digitised re-workings of
Kraftwerk classics; three years ago, there was a single, 'Expo 2000'.)
But although Soundtracks is new, the entire endeavour takes as its starting
point Kraftwerk's Tour de France EP of 1983 (the eponymous single is included).
The two cover images are identical.
It's typical of Kraftwerk: moving forwards - Kraftwerk have always had a
penchant for locomotion, celebrating trains on 'Trans-Europe Express' and
motoring on 'Autobahn' - but glancing backwards at both themselves and, now, the
peloton of innovators that has arrived in their wake.
At last, it seems that Kraftwerk have finally come to terms with the computer
world they helped to create. Soundtracks is - loosely - a techno album, with
rhythmic nods to electro and the vaguest echo of robo-funk.
Of course, it still sounds unmistakably, delightfully like Kraftwerk. Limpid
synth melodies hang over propulsive beats. Distant French voices intone cycling
buzzwords on the album's central suite, 'Tour De France Etape 1-3'. Kraftwerk
only ever refer to themselves, though: 'Elektro Kardiogramm' slyly revisits the
melody from 'We are the Robots', in what may be evidence of the elusive
Kraftwerk sense of humour. It's possibly their most startlingly human
composition to date, harnessing heartbeats and breaths into a clinical symphony.
The album's outstanding track, 'Vitamin', also focuses its oblique, X-ray
electro on nutrients, the fuel of the man-machine.
The cycling theme ('Chrono', Titanium', 'Aero Dynamik' are among the titles)
is pivotal. You idly suspect this album would never have been made had it not
been for an important deadline: the centenary of the Tour de France this year.
Ralf Hütter is a cycling obsessive who used to clock up hundreds of kilometres
on two wheels.
In 1982, a cycling accident split open Hütter's skull and stopped the
recording of Kraftwerk's original 'Tour de France'-era album (it was to be
called Techno Pop) dead in its tracks. More than cars or trains, cycling became
the symbol closest to Kraftwerk. In his autobiography, former 'drummer' Wolfgang
Flür despairs of Hütter's monomania, arguing that cycling had replaced music as
Hütter's raison d'être .
Tour de France Soundtracks suggests that the two now co-exist in effortless
harmony. It's a gleaming, fluid album, worthy of the Kraftwerk signature. But
it's not perfect - the complex counter-melodies of the original 'Tour de France'
(included at the end) are a telling reminder of the band at their peak, 20 years
ago. And there's further evidence of Kraftwerk's increasing humanity: because of
the band's notorious perfectionism, Soundtracks arrives in the shops after the
race has finished.
To order Soundtracks for £13.99 incl p&p, call the Observer Music Service
on 0870 066 7813
Finally an article which you will find deeply fascinating or will be amazed
it got included ……..
To read the original article
Dig uncovers Wright artifacts
Bicycle parts found at site on West Third Street
By Bob Batz
Dayton, Ohio--For more than three weeks, 14 college, high school and
volunteer archaeologists braved heat, wind and rain to uncover artifacts from
the West Third Street site of the bicycle shop where Wilbur and Orville Wright
perfected the flying machine that made them famous.
They found some interesting things, including a woman’s shoe, broken bowls, a
brass gas-pipe fitting, bricks, pieces of dinner plates, nails, bottle and
window glass and pieces of wood.
What they didn’t find, though, were items that underscored the fact that the
Wright brothers built bicycles on the first floor of the brick building that
once stood there, and operated a print shop upstairs.
The diggers finally hit paydirt last Friday when they unearthed several small
bicycle parts and a piece of lead printer’s type. They found more on Tuesday and
Wednesday of this week.
"At last we’re finding the things we’ve been hoping for all along," said
Robert Riordan, 56, a Wright State University anthropology professor who is
leading the excavators.
Riordan opened his grimy palm, revealing several small items.
"This is a bicycle valve stem," he said. "This other piece was attached at
the spot where the spoke fastens to the wheel. We’ve also found a small metal
button bearing the words ‘Kelly Handlebar. Cleveland.’ ”
The Wrights operated the bike shop at 1127 W. Third St. from 1897 until 1916.
The building was moved to Henry Ford’s Dearborn, Mich., museum in 1936.
The excavation yielding the bicycle parts is at the rear of the 65- by
165-foot vacant lot. Storage sheds probably stood on the spot where a gaping
hole is now. The dig, which began on July 1 as part of Dayton’s Inventing Flight
celebration, will continue until Tuesday or Wednesday, Riordan said.
"We’ll keep working the shed site as well as the other excavations," he said.
"We’ve discovered some bones in the area where we found the bicycle parts, so
we’ll dig deeper. We think maybe there was an outdoor privy on that spot, and
that could yield even more interesting items."
Frank L. Cowan, 51, a consulting archaeologist from Cincinnati, watched the
young diggers lift and sift soil.
"This has been a fascinating experience because this is a complex site that
has been used for a variety of purposes since the 1860s," he said. "Because the
site has had so many uses, it is difficult to determine what items can be linked
to the Wright brothers, but now we’re finding deposits that are pretty clearly
associated with them."
Contact Bob Batz at 225-2396.
Wilbur Wright working in the bicycle shop. Courtesy
US Centennial of Flight.