By Andrew Hood
Tom Boonen (Quick Step) continued on his winning ways Tuesday after taking a sprint in the second stage of the Tour of Germany. Set-up by Stefano Zanini and Paolo Bettini, Boonen edged Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros) and Danilo Hondo (Gerolsteiner) to take his 10th win of the 2004 season. “I was able to count on a super team who works very hard in the final 30 kilometers,” Boonen said after winning. “The whole team worked to put me in the ideal conditions to make the sprint. In the last kilometers, Bettini and then Zanini completed a masterpiece. I’m not at 100 percent of my condition, but I am really satisfied.” There were no major changes in the overall standings as the bunch rolled in together in the 180km stage. Michael Rich (Gerolsteiner) kept the leader’s jersey following his win in Monday’s time trial. The race continues Wednesday with the 170km third stage from Wangen im Allgäu to St. Anton high in the Austrian Alps. Tour of Germany(GER 2.2), Stage 2, Bad Urach to Wangen im Allgäu, 180km
1. Tom Boonen (B), Quick Step 4 hours, 27 seconds
2. Allan Davis (Aus), Liberty Seguros
3. Daniolo Hondo (G), Gerolsteiner
4. Erik Zabel (G), T-Mobile
5. Stefano Zanini (I), Quick Step
Overall after two stages
1. Michael Rich (G), Gerolsteiner 4 hours, 28 minutes, 7 seconds
2. Jan Ullrich (G), T-Mobile +0:24
3. Uwe Peschel (G), Gerolsteiner +0:30
4. Daniel Becke (G), Illes Balears +0:34
5. Sebastian Lang (G), Gerolsteiner +0:36
No Tour for Quebec in 2008… or ever?
The idea of starting the 2008 Tour de France in Quebec has lost support and likely won’t happen, the Canadian daily La Presse reported Tuesday. Officials from the Canadian province were hoping to host the Tour’s gran depart to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the founding of the French-speaking city, but the complexity and cost of the project proved too much, the paper reported. “The project was studied and the potential was there, but it simply won’t work,” said Jean-François Pescheux, director of competition for the Societe du Tour de France, who was in Canadian over the weekend for a women’s World Cup race. “In the period of 72 hours, you cannot expect a peloton of 200 riders to travel twice in a seven-hour flight,” Pescheux continued. “It’s like asking the Formula 1 to hold a race in Canada and then race the Grand Prix in Europe. They wouldn’t do it.” The news is just the latest in several attempts to start the Tour in North America. Other plans have been floated for New York City and the French island of Guadeloupe without success. Spanish high on Pro Tour
Four Spanish teams — Liberty Seguros, Illes Balears-Banesto, Euskaltel-Euskadi y Saunier Duval-Prodir – have solicited the UCI to form part of the planned Pro Tour next season, the Spanish daily MARCA reported. Cycling’s planned “super league” will include 18 teams, three of which are supposed to be Spanish (four Italia, three French, two Germany and Belgian and one each for Denmark, the United States, Holland and Switzerland). But four Spanish teams paid a 15,000 euro deposit required to make an initial application to receive a racing license for the 2005 season. With Liberty Seguros, Illes Balears-Banesto and Euskaltel-Euskadi expected to earn the Spanish slot, Saunier Duval team officials said it was better to try with the expectation of being denied rather than risk losing a possible spot in the future. Quick Step extends through 2008
Quick Step will be a title sponsor through the 2008 season, the team announced Tuesday. The Belgian flooring company signed a contract to extend its title sponsorship with team manager Patrick Lefevere for four more years. “We are very satisfied with the new accord,” Lefevere said in a statement. “The budget that the sponsor has put at our disposal will allow us to build a strong foundation in the coming years.” The news comes just as cycling’s Pro Tour is taking hold, securing Quick Step’s place among the 18 “super teams” that will make up the Pro Tour lineup in 2005. Forniciari defends Saeco’s performance
Following Damiano Cunego’s dominant victory in the 87th Giro d’Italia, Paolo Forniciari (Saeco) felt he had to say something in defense of his hard-working teammates on the Saeco team.
“The truth is that the core of the Saeco team is made up of very normal riders,” Forniciari said at a press conference Sunday morning. “I’ve never won a race in my whole career and if the others have won one or two races it was almost by chance. We’ve got our ‘campione’ leaders with Gilberto Simoni who has won the Giro twice and now Damiano Cunego who is showing his talent and potential.” “However, the real strength of the Saeco team is the ‘gruppo.’ When we’re united and work together we form a solid and very special team. Finishing a major stage race with a complete team and no retirements not only shows that everybody is in good form but also that we’re all happy and determined to do play their part in a team victory.” O’Grady wins in France
Aussie sprinter Stuart O’Grady (Cofidis) won Monday’s GP de Villers- Cotterêts. O’Grady escaped with the Belgian national champion Geert Omloop (Mr Bookmaker) with two laps to go on the closing circuit and held off for the win. Norwegian Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) came through eighth to retain the lead in the 12th leg of the 16-round French Cup series.