By Andrew Hood
Belgian Peter Van Petegem will skip July’s Tour de France in order to focus on a run for the overall World Cup title.
Van Petegem, a winner at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in April, will instead race in the Tour of Wallonne (July 28-Aug. 1) going into the second half of the World Cup series.
Van Petegem has never won a Tour de France stage, but the World Cup title is too tempting. The Lotto-Domo rider has 200 points and holds a 70 point lead over second place Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) with Dario Pieri (Saeco) third in the series with 117 points. Tyler Hamilton (CSC), Alexandre Vinokourov (Telekom) and Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) have 100 points each, respectively.
The World Cup returns in August with three races (HEW Cyclassics, Aug. 3, Clasica San Sebastian, Aug. 9, Zurich Championships, Aug. 17) and wraps up in October with the final two rounds.
Lotto-Domo will have plenty of other stars, including returning green jersey winner Robbie McEwen, Axel Merckx, Serge Baguet and Rik Verbrugghe.
No Classique des Alpes for Armstrong, Botero
Lance Armstrong (USPS) and defending champion Santiago Botero (Telekom) won’t be racing the 13th Classique des Alpes on June 7, L’Equipe reported. Instead, Armstrong will defend his title at the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, his final warm-up race before the Tour de France while Botero’s Telekom isn’t racing at the one-day Alps race.
Seigneur takes Alentejo opener
French rider Eddy Seigneur gave his Jean Delatour team another victory after taking the opening stage of the five-day Tour of Alentejo in Portugal on Wednesday. Seigneur outsprinted Russian Andrei Zintchenko and Luis Sarreira, a Portuguese rider who came across third to claim the 176km circuit course in Evora. Thursday’s 158km second stage is more mountainous between Mora and Portalegre.
Tour of Luxembourg
The Tour of Luxembourg is this week’s major European race. The 2.2-rated, four-day, five-stage race hits the hills of Luxembourg, punctuated by short, but steep climbs stacked up back to back in each stage.
The race opens on a circuit course around Luxembourg and finishes on the short but steep climb up the Cote de Clausen. Stage 2 is the longest and easiest, at least in terms of climbs. Saturday’s split stage includes a morning road stage and an afternoon time trial. The final stage hits five difficult climbs over the final 70 kilometers.
Paolo Bettini is back for Quick Step following his crash at Ghent-Wevelgem while Telekom’s Bobby Julich is the lone American among the starters. Team Bianchi won’t be starting although Team Coast was originally listed among the invited team. Bianchi will be making its formal team presentation Monday before starting the Tour of Germany (June 3-9).
Stage 1, May 29, Luxembourg-Luxembourg, 163km
Stage 2, May 30, Wasserbillig to Leudelange, 204km
Stage 3, May 31, Mersch to Echternacht, 98km
Stage 4, May 31, Bettembourg-Bettembourg (ITT), 9.8km
Stage 5, June 1, Witlz to Diekirch, 169km