According to the Italian website Tuttobici Lance Armstrong has decided his racing programme for 2005.
Following the Paris Nice, which he should start on March 5th, Armstrong's first big goal of the season is the Tour of Flanders. In preparation for the northern Classsic he will ride either the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen on March 26th or the Brabantse Pijl which starts a day later.
He will then ride the Driedaagse van De Panne (March 29–30), since this race covers much of the Tour of Flanders route Armstrong will use the race to get to know the roads and conditions. The Tour of Flanders will be held on April 3rd this year.
Dirk de Mol, who is Bruyneel’s right hand man, also confirmed that Armstrong may not be riding the Tour of Switzerland since the race finishes on Sunday 19th of June, which is the same day that the Team Time Trial in Eindhoven takes place. A race Armstrong is keen to compete in with his Tour de France team.
The Falcon Swoops to the sun
Following the training accident which saw Paolo Savoldelli injure his collarbone, “the falcon” has made a good recovery and will start his preparation for the Giro d’Italia 2005 in the Paris Nice which starts on March 5th.
The Italian, who is nicknamed “the Falcon” in tribute to his awesome descending skills, will be alongside Lance Armstrong, George Hincapie, who won Sunday’s Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne and was fourth last year in Paris Nice. Also expected to ride for the Discovery Channel are Vladmir Popovych, José Azevedo (Por), Manuel Beltran Martinez (Spa),
Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus), and José L. Rubiera Vigil, a very strong squad that should make a big impression in the race.
Twenty-five-year-old Stijn Devolder, considered one of the rising stars of Belgian bicycle racing, and the hero of the opening weekend’s races in his home country has renewed his contract with the Discovery Channel for another two years.
La Ronde D'Aix-en-Provence - Ivan Basso wins!
Edouard Fachleitner, won the first edition of this race some 59 years ago, but since then many more famous names have been added to the palmares. Anquetil, Virenque, Merckx, Jalabert, Altig and Darrigade have all won. Ivan Basso has added his name to that famous list, winning ahead of Dario Frigo, Christophe Moreau and Sylvain Chavanel. The victory was bittersweet since Basso’s mother had sadly died last week.
Battling against the «Jas de Bouffan» (as the prevailing wind is known) on the avenue Saint-John-Perse were also the lads of the Amical Vélo Club Aixois (AVCA), and Cabrera had a day to remember with his well placed finish.
1. Ivan BASSO (CSC), 1h49'
2. Dario Frigo (FAS), à 00'05
3. Christophe Moreau (CA), à 00'05
4. Sy. Chavanel (COF)
5. Di Gregorio (FDJ)
6. Cabrera (AVCAix)
Adidas Back Paris Nice
A firm with already a strong reputation in cycling due to their backing of the T-Mobile Team, Adidas will strengthen their investment in cycling by becoming an official sponsor of the Paris-Nice 2005. The leaders jersey’s of the “race to the sun” will feature the famous three bands of the Adidas brand. The jerseys are Yellow and White (overall leader), Red Polka dot (Mountains), Green and White (points) and Blue and White (Young Rider).
Giro Provincia di Lucca: Petacchi and Cipollini duel
Alessandro Petacchi and Mario Cipollini will be the star protagonists of the 7th edition of the Diro della Provincia di Lucca, on March 7th. Other famous names in the race are Figueras, Honchar, Basso and Casagrande.
The 173 kilometre one day race between Viareggio and Altopascio is markedly different to earlier editions of the race which had previously been a three or four day stage race.
However, with three of the biggest names in Italy (Petacchi, Cipollini and Basso) the race will not be short of Tifosi or media coverage or general interest this year.
The Daily Peloton extends its best wishes to Tristan Hoffman who was injured in Omloop Het Volk – as the CSC website reported:
For Tristan Hoffman this year's Omloop Het Volk was a sad story. The Dutch classics specialist crashed halfway through the race and suffered an open fracture on his left shin. At first Hoffman was taken to the hospital in Geraardsbergen, but was later transferred to the University Hospital in Gent, where he will undergo surgery this evening.
”It's going to be a while before Tristan gets back on his bike. We already know for sure, that he won't ride any of the spring classics this year,” stated Team CSC's team doctor Joost De Maeseneer.