By VeloNews Interactive, Copyright AFP2004
U.S. Postal leader Lance Armstrong has decided to ride in this year’s Dauphine Libere as part of his preparation for a record sixth Tour de France title in July.
“I’ve changed my mind,” said 32-year-old Armstrong, who was not expected to race in the event from June 6-13 in southeast France which he has won for the past two years.
But Armstrong, who has hinted that he could quit at the end of the season, changed his mind because this year’s race includes a time-trial up Mont Ventoux, which will aid his preparation for Alpe d’Huez time-trail which is seen as a key to this year’s Tour de France.
“I’ll spend a good deal of time on this climb. A large part of my work will be dedicated to the Alpe d’Huez. I need to know it better,” said Armstrong.
Since his first Tour de France win in 1999, Armstrong has competed four times in the race which is seen as a prelude to the Tour.
“It’s a fantastic race,” said Armstrong. “For me it’s the best in the calendar after the Tour.”
U.S. Espoir team opens ’04 with a win
USA Cycling’s USPS Espoir National Team kicked off the 2004 race seasonwith a victory at the 104km Trofee Disputation Alicante on Saturday asShawn Milne (Gloucester, Mass.) rode to a convincing win ahead of Spain’sJose Villagordo and Haedo Lucas.With almost 10,000 feet of climbing dispersed over four laps of a 26kmcircuit, Milne escaped with four others at the 60km mark. On thefinal lap, Milne and Vallagordo snuck away from their breakaway companionswith Milne taking the sprint for the win.Milne’s win, along with a seventh place effort from teammate MatthewCrane (Old Greenwich, Conn.), also helped secure the overall team titlefor the USPS National Espoir Team.Trofee Disputation Alicante
March 6, 2004
1. Shawn Milne (USA) 3:10:07
2. Jose Villagordo (ESP) +:03
3. Haedo Lucas (ARG) +:24
7. Matthew Crane (USA)
17. Oliver Stiller Cote (USA)
34. Dane Jankowiak (USA)
59. Michael Wolf (USA)
DNF Michal Voigt (USA)