By Andrew Hood
Six-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong is already thinking about 2005, but he’s still not sure what races he’ll be starting. In an interview with The Oregonian newspaper during a visit to the Nike headquarters this week in Oregon, Armstrong said he’ll begin training in earnest in November.
“At least I’m thinking of going heavier then,” Armstrong told The Oregonian. “That could get pushed back to December 1st. We have a kick-off camp the first week of December, so I know it won’t be any later than that.”
Armstrong was in Oregon on Monday to attend a Nike stockholders meeting at the Oregon Convention Center. The Texan said he’s still unsure what he’ll race in 2005.
“What I do know is that this year, I spent two months away from my kids in the spring and three months away in summer,” he said. ‘I have to tell you that cannot, and will not, happen again. At their age, they change too much. I’ll have to devise some schedule, some plan to stay home. We’re even talking about putting some races together ourselves if that’s what it takes.”
Armstrong has been kicking back since winning a record sixth Tour title in July. He skipped the Athens Olympic Games and spent some time vacationing with rocker girlfriend Sheryl Crow.
“Most of the time, life is just so hectic,” Armstrong continued. “When I get these rare days with nothing whatsoever on my schedule, I just sit back for a few minutes and say, ‘That’s so great. A little time to myself. I think, ‘Man, I need to do something.’ It’s love-hate, but any time I’m truly faced with down time, it’s time to get moving.”
Armstrong celebrated his 33rd birthday on Sunday, reportedly jumping off the infamous 50-foot jump into Dead Man’s Hole mentioned in his second autobiography, “Every Second Counts.” “I jumped off it four times last weekend,” Armstrong said. “It’s an amazing experience, too. It’s so far down. But once I started, I couldn’t stop. I just kept jumping and jumping.”
Ferrari trial could conclude this week
The trial of Michele Ferrari could wrap up this week as an Italian court is hearing final defense arguments in the lengthy case against the Italian doctor. Ferrari, who works with six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, is being charged by an Italian court in Bologna of administering banned doping products and other charges. Ferrari could face jail time and a possible loss of his medical license if found guilty. A verdict could come as early as this week.
More transfer news: Klöden, Roche, Euskaltel
Germany’s Andreas Klöden, runner-up in the 2004 Tour de France, has extended his contract with T-Mobile for two more years. No financial details were officially revealed for the new contract of the 29-year-old reigning German champion though reports said he wanted 1.5 million euros a year and the team were offering one million. … Nicholas Roche, 19-year-old son of cycling great Stephen Roche of Ireland, has signed a two-year pro contract with Cofidis, the French team’s manager Francis van Londersele said. Roche became only the second rider after Eddy Merckx in 1974 to win the Triple Crown of cycling with triumphs in the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and World Championship in 1987. … Euskaltel-Euskadi has bolstered its lineup for 2005 by signing Unai Etxebarria and Iker Flores to two-year contract extensions.
Sinkewitz bows out of worlds
German rider Patrick Sinkewitz has not recovered from the intestinal bacteria problem (Campylobacter) that forced him to pull-out of the Vuelta España last week and won’t be racing the road world championships next week.
“I was really looking forward to the world championships as the circuit was ideal for my style of racing. I can’t guarantee the team the level of competitiveness that is required for such a difficult and selective race like the world championships,” he said. “I prefer to leave my place to a rider who is at the moment in better form than myself. My objective now is that of getting over this bacterial problem and back in form ready for the last few races of the season – especially for the Giro di Lombardia”.
French for worlds
The French national team has announced its lineup for next week’s world championships:
Elite men time trial: Frédéric Finot et Eddy Seigneur (RAGT)Elite men road race: Laurent Brochard (AG2R), Sandy Casar and Nicolas Vogondy (Fdjeux.com), Sylvain Calzati and Christophe Rinero (RAGT), Cyril Dessel (Phonak), Christophe Le Mével (Crédit Agricole), David Moncoutié (Cofidis), Jérôme Pineau and Franck Renier (La Boulangère) and Yannick Talabardon (Auber 93). Last spot will be one of the following: Frédéric Gabriel (MrBookmaker.com), Maryan Hary (La Boulangère), Eric Leblacher and Geoffroy Lequatre (Crédit Agricole), Christophe Moreau (Crédit Agricole), Christophe Oriol and Nicolas Portal (AG2R).