By Andrew Hood
Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich will be among the big names gathering inParis on Thursday for the unveiling of the 2004 Tour de France.Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc will officially reveal the 2004 routein a flashy ceremony in the Palais des Congres in Paris. While it likelywon’t pack the pomp and circumstance of last year’s ceremony when nearlyall the surviving winners came to mark the Tour’s centenary, the annualunveiling ceremony is always a big show.There’s been plenty of speculation about where the course will go, butuntil Thursday’s ceremony it’s all just guess work. What’s known for certainis the race will start in Liège and stay in Belgium for the openingprologue and two road stages and end on the Champs Elysées.Take a look at VeloNews editorial director JohnWilcockson’s take on what the 2004 Tour will probably look like andthen check back Thursday for a complete report from VeloNews editorKip Mikler.Jeanson news expected this week
The Canadian Cyclist web page reported that news on Genevieve Jeanson’surine tests should be known at the end of this week. Jeanson wasn’t allowedto start the elite women’s world championship road race after she was foundwith high hematocrit levels in pre-race screenings.The young Canadian star was handed a 15-day racing ban as well as gaveurine samples to test for possible banned performance-enhancing productsin her system.Sean O’Donnell, an official with the Canadian cycling federation, saidthat once the result has been received (and communicated to the athlete)a statement will be released by the Canadian cycling federation, regardlessof whether a negative or positive result is identified.Echavarri wants another Tour win
Legendary cycling manager José Miguel Echávarri sayshe wants to win another Tour de France with his new team, now tentativelyto be called “Mallorca-Banesto.”“It my dream and my challenge,” Echávarri told the Spanish dailyAS in an interview. “We’re not thinking about a year of transition. Wehave the people to maintain the level we’ve had the past few seasons. Andwe will make reinforcements, but this late in the season there aren’t alot of riders without a contract.”Echávarri — who will be back for his 25th year in the pelotonfollowing Monday’s big news that the Balearic Islands will take over theBanesto sponsorship for three years — steered Miguel Indurain to fivestraight Tours and won another one with Pedro Delgado under the Reynoldsbanner.Echávarri said the team will likely race in all three grand toursas well as have a stronger presence in races in central and northern Europeto satisfy the desire of the sponsor to generate publicity in such importanttourist markets as Holland, Germany and Scandanavia.More Italians suspended
Two elite Italian races — Christian Milone and Roman Radchenko – willbe sanctioned by the Italian cycling federations after both failed dopingtests for EPO, according to reports on the Italian wires. The length ofthe racing bans weren’t initially reported. Milone, who races for the amateurteam Centri della Calzatura, tested positive at the Trofeo Rigoberto Lamonacain September. Radchenko, racing on the Danton Caparrini Mauro Manci team,failed tests conducted at the Trofeo Gianfranco Bianchi.Beloki hints he might go to Baleares
Spanish rider and Tour de France contender Joseba Beloki said he mightjoin the new Mallorca-Banesto team, according to an interview in the Spanishdaily AS.Beloki’s recovery from his horrible crash in July’s Tour de France whenhe broke his femur and wrist is coming along well and the three-time Tourpodium finisher wants to continue racing in Spain. But he said he’s gettingtired of waiting on word from ONCE, where he’s raced since the 2000 season.“I am happy and would like to continue with ONCE, but it’s October andI still don’t’ have a contract offer,” Beloki said. “If (Mallorca-Banesto)give me an offer, I’d consider it. My priority is to race with a Spanishteam.”Beloki said he’s heard nothing concrete from ONCE team manager ManoloSaiz, who is lining up a new sponsor to take over the team with Italiantool-maker Stayer.Kelme looks to Mancebo
The musical chairs continue in Spain, with Kelme reportedly tryingto lure away Francisco Mancebo from Banesto (to be called Mallorca-Banestonext season) to take over leadership vacated by the departing Oscar Sevilla.According to a report in the Spanish daily MARCA, Kelme has offeredMancebo a deal to join the team in what will be its 25th season in thepeloton. Kelme is also reportedly looking at the services of 2001 Vueltaa España champion Angel Casero, who’s also being considered by thenew Division I Spanish team Saunier Duval.Transfer news:
Tour de France stage-winner Rubens Bertogliati will leave Lampreto join the upstart Spanish team Saunier Duval. Bertogliati, 24, won astage in the 2002 Tour and held the race leader’s yellow jersey for twostages.Polish rider Piotr Wadecki will leave the Mroz team and joinLotto-Domo for the 2003 season.