By Andrew Hood
2002 Giro d’Italia champion Paolo Salvodelli (Telekom) is expected to be back in action by late May, officials from Team Telekom said. Savoldelli crashed while training in the Canary Islands this past winter.
Savoldelli is penciled in to start the Tour of Bavaria on May 21-25 and the team hopes the Italian will be ready in time to start the Tour de France. Telekom also lost Cadel Evans for at least two weeks, who fell in Sunday’s Amstel Gold race and broke a clavicle.
Dekker sidelined again
Erik Dekker’s health problems to give the Rabobank star problems. Dekker pulled out of the Amstel Gold race Sunday with 70km to go after suffering from pain in his leg and won’t start Wednesday’s Fleche Wallone or Sunday’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
Dekker, 32, lost much of the 2002 season after crashing and breaking his hip at Milan-San Remo and he couldn’t defend his 2001 World Cup title. Things were looking good this year, but Dekker smacked his knee on a door during Rabobank’s pre-season training camp and only returned to racing at the GP Erik Breukink in mid-March, which he promptly won. He’s expected to be out for at least two weeks.
Galdeano out for Fleche, Liege
ONCE’s Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano won’t start today’s Fleche Wallone or Sunday’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege after suffering knee pain during Amstel Gold. ONCE officials said it was preferable that Gonzalez sit out and let the knee heal so there won’t by any complications for the upcoming Tour de France. Angel Castresana will be his substitute.
Botero, Ullrich confirmed for Alcobendas
Colombian Santiago Botero will make his season debut at the two-day Clasica de Alcobendas in Spain on May 10-11, marking his first race in his new Telekom colors. Botero has been back in Colombia training and is making another trademark late start to his season, which will once again include a run at the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana.
The reigning world time trial champion will also be joined by a former Telekom rider, Jan Ullrich. The German star is coming off his dramatic victory in Monday’s Tour of Cologne, his first race in his home country in 18 months.
The three-stage, two-day race around Madrid includes a parcours very similar to the Criterium International, with a flat stage, a climbing stage and an individual time trial. The field includes seven Spanish teams among the 17 confirmed squads, which could grow to as much as 20 in the coming weeks, organizers said.
Postal among teams confirmed for Burgos
The U.S. Postal Service team has committed to racing in the Tour of Burgos race in northern Spain in August. The Posties have been regulars at this key Vuelta a Espana warm-up race and Lance Armstrong even raced there two years ago.
Other foreign teams to join seven Spanish teams include Saeco, Cofidis and Telekom, though others are expected to follow. Race officials presented the five-day course during a press conference this week in Spain.
The Tour of Burgos always includes some difficult climbs and this year’s edition is no exception, including a Category 1 summit finish in the second stage and another summit finish in stage three. The race features an individual time trial in stage four while the final stage back to Burgos is a road stage well-suited for the sprinters.
LA reflects on Amstel Gold
Lance Armstrong’s official web page (www.lancearmstrong.com) ran a Q&A with the man after his eighth-place finish in Sunday’s Amstel Gold. Here are excerpts from the interview:
Question: Looking back on Amstel with 20-20 hindsight, any tactical changes you’d like to have made in the final kilometers or was this just more of a heroic effort by Vinokourov?
Lance Armstrong: “The race was negative and actually much easier than other years. Vino played his cards well and got the victory. I’m happy for him.”
Question: Knowing that Boogerd was a big pre-race fave, you marked him pretty handily at the race’s end – any memories of 1999 there, or just the way things worked out?
Lance Armstrong: “Of course he is a favorite – home field advantage baby! He’s a great rider that needed to be marked because the pressure on him is so big. Either he or one of the Saeco boys (since they had two in the break) needed to chase down Vino.”
Question: Dirk said that ‘Lance has targeted Liege-Bastogne-Liege, I feel he is ready to do a great race there.’ You’ve had two second-place finishes at Liege (‘94 and ‘96), what make this race special for you?
Lance Armstrong: “Two things: 1., It’s incredibly hard and, 2., it’s a monument in cycling along with Milan-San Remo, Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, and Lombardia. I hope to have a good race and try for the win.”
Question: Word comes that George Hincapie is back on the bike and Floyd Landis is riding the domestic scene; sounds like the team’s regenerating after a health-wise rocky start. What are your thoughts on the team and how things are shaping up for July?
Lance Armstrong: “The boys, all of them not just G and F, know what they have to do to get ready for July. I have complete confidence that they will be ready. Plus, a mellow spring often leads to an incredible summer. I’m actually glad they’re laying low as opposed to flogging themselves daily right now. They will be rested, ready, and very motivated!”