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Monday’s Eurofile: UCI rankings, Armstrong, word to the wise, Piil and the week ahead

Italian Dario Frigo's victory in the Zurich championship, the eighth eventof cycling's World Cup, hoisted him five places from ninth to fourth inthe UCI world rankings released Monday.The status of the top three riders remains unchanged, however, as Paolo Bettini's second place behind Frigo, and Lance Armstrong's third-place finish, solidified their position behind last year's reigning world number one Erik Zabel.1. Erik Zabel (Ger), 2224 pts2. Paolo Bettini (Ita), 21483. Lance Armstrong (USA), 20734. Dario Frigo (Ita), 15295. Erik Dekker (Ned), 15116. Oscar Freire (Spa),

By Andrew Hood

Italian Dario Frigo‘s victory in the Zurich championship, the eighth eventof cycling’s World Cup, hoisted him five places from ninth to fourth inthe UCI world rankings released Monday.The status of the top three riders remains unchanged, however, as Paolo Bettini’s second place behind Frigo, and Lance Armstrong’s third-place finish, solidified their position behind last year’s reigning world number one Erik Zabel.1. Erik Zabel (Ger), 2224 pts
2. Paolo Bettini (Ita), 2148
3. Lance Armstrong (USA), 2073
4. Dario Frigo (Ita), 1529
5. Erik Dekker (Ned), 1511
6. Oscar Freire (Spa), 1468
7. Robbie McEwen (Aus), 1456
8. Francesco Casagrande (Ita), 1391
9. Santiago Botero (Col), 1315
10. Davide Rebellin (Ita), 1168
11. Danilo Di Luca (Ita), 1160
12. Mario Cipollini (Ita), 1134
13. Oscar Sevilla (Spa), 1086
14. Levy Leipheimer (USA), 1069
15. Michael Boogerd (Ned), 1038
16. Alex Zülle (Swi), 1026
17. Roberto Heras (Spa), 1004
18. Peter Van Petegem (Bel), 965
19. Igor de Galdeano (Spa), 965
20. Mario Aerts (Bel), 956

Armstrong and Landis to take on GP Eddy MerckxLance Armstrong’s victory tour of Europe will wrap up at theGP Eddy Merckx on Aug. 25, according to his web-site. The four-time Tourde France champion will return to the United States to race at the GP SanFrancisco on Sept. 15 to wrap-up a very successful season.The GP Eddy Merckx is a two-man time trial event that Armstrong wonwith teammate Viatcheslav Ekimov in 2000. This year Armstrong willrace with U.S. Postal Service sensation Floyd Landis.Words of wisdom for Armstrong from those who know
Last Friday in Burgos, Spain, some of the greatest names in cyclinggathered for a special dinner in honor of Tour de France champions. Presentwere the three living five-time Tour winners, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinaultand Miguel Indurain. The topic on everyone’s mind was the rise ofLance Armstrong. The Texan is fresh off his fourth consecutive Tourvictory and everyone present at the dinner prepared by the Tour of Burgosrace organizers believes the American can break the five-win record.“He doesn’t have a rival and I think it’s possible he can win more thanfive Tours if he continues in this manner and no one stops him,” said Indurain,the only to win five straight.Merckx believes Armstrong has an advantage that he only prepares forthe Tour. “When I was racing, we would race in 200 races a year. Now theracers can focus on the Tour and not have as much pressure as we did towin other titles,” said Merckx, considered cycling’s greatest ever.Hinault said Armstrong will win at least five.“I don’t see anyone capable of beating him, but no one seems to havebeen able to win six. I thought Indurain would do it, but he couldn’t.We’ll see if Armstrong can,” Hinault said.Piil takes Tour of Denmark
Jakob Piil won one for the home crowd as the Dane took the Tourof Denmark that wrapped up Sunday with the 163-km fifth and final stagefrom Slagelse to Frekeriksberg. Piil finished safely with the main bunchas the stage finished in a sprint won by German Olaf Pollack. Sven Teutenberg(Phonak) finished second and Stefan Van Dijck (Lotto) was third in thestage. Piil won the overall by 1:12 over Kurt Alse Arvesen and Laszlo Bodrogi(Mapei), third at 1:45 back. American Tyler Hamilton finished fourth overall.Races in Europe this week
The Tour of Holland tops European racing this week. The five-day stagerace (Aug. 20-24) attracts some of the top continental teams, includingmost of the major names from the Low Countries. The Tour of Limousin (Aug.20-23) attracts mostly French teams for the other major stage-race offeringof the week leading into the GP Ouest France-Plouay on Aug. 25, a beyond-categoryrated one-day race in western France. The GP de Plouay on Aug. 24 is thenext stop in the women’s World Cup. There are a handful of one-day racesin Italy throughout the week, including the Tre Valle Varesine on Aug.20 and Giro del Veneto on Aug. 24. The Clasica Ciclista los Puertos isthe top Spanish offering, a one-day climbing race Aug. 25. The GP EddyMerckx, set for Aug. 25, is a popular two-man time-trial race in Belgium,where Lance Armstrong has announced he will race with U.S. Postal Serviceteammate Floyd Landis.Virenque to skip Vuelta
Controversial French racer Richard Virenque said he won’t racein the upcoming Tour of Spain despite being tipped as one of the favoritesfor stage-wins. Virenque, who won the Mont Ventoux stage at the 2002 Tour,said he prefers to race in one-day races for the remainder of the season.“I will not race the Vuelta, but I will race at Plouay and other one-dayevents to prepare for the classics in October,” Virenque told the Frenchpress.Gutierrez takes Spanish race
Jose Ivan Gutierrez (iBanesto.com) held off a neo-pro to winthe GP de Llodio on Sunday in Spain. Gutierrez made up an 18-second deficitto Fernando Torres coming down the Alto de Malkuartu to win by justone second. 2001 Giro d’Italia champion Gilberto Simoni (Saeco)continues to prepare for the upcoming Vuelta and finished third at 16 secondsback.Van Dooren wins tour
Bas Van Dooren revealed he’s in strong form for the upcomingworld mountain bike world championships (Aug. 28-Sept.1) in Austria afterwinning the three-stage Low Countries mountain bike tour. Van Dooren wonthe first two stages and the final stage Saturday was cancelled after VanDooren was directed in the wrong direction off-course.