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What the Papers Say!
By Podofdonny
Date: 8/3/2003
What the Papers Say!

What the Papers Say

Another look at what the world wide press has been making of the world of professional cycling.

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 web sites.

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 click here.

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 wife Kristin.

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, alone."

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 for himself.

"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 his comeback.

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 training schedule.

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.

Jan's Plans

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 daughter Sarah-Maria.

"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 the team."

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 girls (maybe).

However the ultimate cycling band (Delgado’s excepted) must be Kraftwerk.

To read the original article click here.

Synth and synthability

Long regarded as cold perfectionists, Kraftwerk have at last discovered their human side, writes Kitty Empire

Sunday August 3, 2003

The Observer

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 click here.

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.


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