- Breaking news:Astana team manager Johan Bruyneel says that the sponsor financial problems have not been solved and that the team will continue to protest with sponsor names faded on jerseys. More here.
- Tour de Luxembourg: As in years past, there is a daily highlights program scheduled on TV at 19:50 CET (1:50pm U.S. Eastern). So a video feed may be playing here. Note that this feed quickly becomes overwhelmed. More links below.
- More Tour de Cycling - Friday to come...
- Tour de Luxembourg Stage 2 is underway. Links below, including live ticker. No live video for this race.
- Lance Armstrong and Anna Hansen are the proud parents of a baby boy, Max. More here.
- Today's French sports daily L'Equipe is reporting that the Astana team has pre-selected Andreas Kloden for the Tour de France. An investigation into doping practices on the T-Mobile team in 2006 has not implicated Kloden according to Astana team spokeman Philippe Maertens.
New book: Graham Watson's Tour de France Travel Guide
- Graham Watson's Tour de France Travel Guide: The Complete Insider's Guide to the Tour! is now available for purchase. Watson has followed and photographed the Tour for 31 years. In this book, he shares his tips on where to eat and sleep and where to watch and photograph the race yourself. The book is richly illustrated with Watson's photographs, maps and more.
Le Sale Tour: Le systeme Armstrong by Pierre Ballester and David Walsh
- You know the Tour de France is right around the corner when Pierre Ballester and David Walsh publish another book about Lance Armstrong. Obviously they didn't take the advice of esteemed International Herald Tribune reporter Sam Abt who suggested a couple of years ago it was perhaps time for them to "move on". Of course, Walsh and Ballester's favorite subject was in retirement then. He's back now and so are they. Fair enough, except that early indications are that the book, "Le Sale Tour" (or The Dirty Tour), published today, is filled with wild speculation about Armstrong's reasons for returning to the sport, including future political ambitions, to make money, etc. (Chicago Bulls basketball star Michael Jordan made more than $30 million in salary per year each of the last few years of his career, not including endorsements. Armstrong is not taking a salary for riding for Astana but naturally is able to command high appearance fees.) Ballester and Walsh also assert "(Tour de France organizer) ASO's new strategy is more turned towards business than the credibility of the sport". Huh? That has always been ASO's "strategy" and always will be for as long as they own the race.
Three years ago I asked Ballester, who once covered cycling, including Greg LeMond's comeback 20 years ago, for French sports daily L'Equipe, if he was a cycling fan. He said no, his sport is rugby. Funny, a former French rugby player last year stated that dope testing is virtually non-existent in the sport. No wonder Ballester (and Walsh for that matter) likes rugby. It is "clean" because no one is out to bust it. Meanwhile, for over 10 years pro cycling, an easy target, is repeatedly targeted at every opportunity.
Will it ever end? Not as long as there is money to be made tearing down the sport.
- We mentioned yesterday that Astana was cleared to ride the Dauphine Libere (June 7-14). That information is confirmed in today's edition of the French sports daily L'Equipe.
- Tour of Luxembourg info and links below.
June, 2009 issue of Velo Magazine (French): Le Guide du Tour. Velo Magazine appears to be the first 2009 Tour de France guide out of the gate; many more to come.
Meet Ed Buchette, Tour de Luxembourg organiser and forester!
When it comes to race organizers, the names Jean-Marie Leblanc (former director of the Tour de France), Christian Prudhomme (current TDF director), Angelo Zomegnan (Giro d'Italia), Victor Cordero (Vuelta a Espana) and Thierry Cazeneuve (Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré) come to mind. In Luxembourg, no one is more involved in the organization and other aspects of bike racing than Ed Buchette (photo above). Buchette's résumé is impressive: in addition to his involvement with the Tour of Luxembourg and related races (including the Grand Prix General Patton) as General Secretary of the Association des Organisateurs du Tour de Luxembourg, he is Vice-president, along with Zomegnan, of the Association des Organisateurs des Courses Cyclistes (AIOCC) (Prudhomme is president), member (since 2000) of the UCI Road Commission, General Secretary of the Luxembourg cycling federation, and an international commissaire for the UCI. Buchette is also a government forester since 1979 and since 1998 has been in charge of forests for the city of Luxembourg.
Buchette also appears to be the only organizer mentioned above who is on Twitter. -Pete
Today is the Tour de Luxembourg Stage 1 from Luxembourg to Mondorf. The stage is scheduled to begin at 13:00 CET (7am U.S. Eastern) and finish between 16:35 and 17:18 CET (10:35am and 11:18am U.S. Eastern).
- Astana cleared to continue racing: As we noted on Twitter an hour ago, the UCI has for now cleared Astana to continue racing. They are racing the Tour de Luxembourg, now underway, and look set to race the Dauphine Libere which starts Sunday. Beyond that, things are not clear at this point. More on this story here. (AP)
- Tour de Luxembourg: As in years past, there is a daily highlights program scheduled on TV at 19:50 CET (1:50pm U.S. Eastern). So a video feed may be playing here. Note that this feed quickly becomes overwhelmed. We do not know what if any coverage there will be for today's prologue since the race is taking place during the scheduled highlights show.
- The Skoda Tour de Luxembourg starts today and runs through June 7. We do not believe there to be any live television coverage but highlights may be available. More info to come on that.
The Tour of Luxembourg is the national Tour of the Schleck brothers, Frank and Andy. They will be joined on the start line by riders including Stuart O'Grady, Maxim Iglinskiy, Andreas Kloden, Ruben Perez, Danilo Napolitano, Romain Feillu, Robert Hunter, Koen de Kort, and Baden Cooke.
Today's stage is a short 2.7km evening prologue in the city of Luxembourg. According to the official website, the first rider will depart at 19:00 CET (1pm U.S. Eastern) and the last rider (Andreas Kloden) will depart at 21:00 CET (3pm U.S. Eastern). The full start order and start timeshere (.pdf)
- The 2009 Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré (June 7-14) start list (provisional) is on the official websitehere (.pdf). Official site homepage is here (French) or Google-translated to English.
- The Tour de France is just over one month away and following Lance Armstrong's 12th place finish in the Giro d'Italia many people are wondering how well the 7-time Tour champion might be able to do in July. A reporter for Agence France-Presse (AFP) posed that very question to five pro team managers and directeurs sportif in Rome at the finish of the Giro. All five believe Armstrong can finish in the top 10 at the Tour, with four of five believing he can finish in the top five. Three of the five believe Armstrong can reach the podium, with two believing Armstrong can win it all.
Valerio Piva (Columbia-Highroad): "At his age and after being out for three years, I don't believe he can reach the podium. Win? No, in my opinion. To win the Tour, you have to be with the best riders every day."
Lionel Marie (Garmin-Slipstream): "He can reach the podium. Win? If you're in the top three, why not?"
Vittorio Algeri (Milram): "He had a great Giro. Even though I don't believe he can be the rider he was a few years ago, he can finish in the top 5 or 6 at the Tour. Win? I don't think so."
Laurent Biondi (AG2R): "At the Tour, he can reach top 5 if he continues to progress and given his experience. Win? That would seem a bit difficult. But he could surprise us. He can't be counted out for the podium."
Roberto Damiani (Silence-Lotto): "Armstrong will be very, very strong at the Tour. His 12th place at a high quality Giro in May should translate to a podium spot at the Tour in July. Win? I'd say he is one of the contenders for overall victory."
- Wednesday's Giro d'Italia Stage 17 departs Chieti at 14:50 CET (8:50am U.S. Eastern) and is expected at Blockhaus between 17:12 and 17:30 CET (11:12am and 11:30am U.S. Eastern). Giro d'Italia live video streaming on Universal Sports is scheduled to begin at 8:50am U.S. Eastern. Giro live coverage on Eurosport 2 is scheduled to begin at 15:30 CET (9:30am U.S. Eastern); coverage might appear on the main Eurosport channel depending on weather conditions at the French Open tennis tournament in Paris as well as competitor match-ups. The Rai Sport Piu web streams usually go live before television coverage.
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- Tuesday's Giro d'Italia Stage 10 departs Cuneo at 10:00 CET (4am U.S. Eastern) and is expected in Pinerolo at around 17:16 CET (11:16am U.S. Eastern). Giro d'Italia live video streaming on Universal Sports is scheduled to begin at 8:30am U.S. Eastern. Giro live coverage on Eurosport is scheduled to begin at 15:15 CET (9:15am U.S. Eastern). The Rai Sport Piu web streams usually go live before television coverage. In the morning we'll have all the latest and best options for watching the Giro d'Italia live online.
- Today is the first rest day at the Giro d'Italia. More Tour de Cycling - Monday to come.
- The Volta Ciclista a Catalunya starts today and runs through May 24. We've not had live video streaming for this event in the past and we don't expect any such coverage this year; TV3 Catalunya schedule shows highlights only after midnight local time. Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Official Website - Start List (.pdf) (Efimkin, Dessel, Vaitkus, Zubeldia, Fedrigo, Valverde, Pereiro, Dumoulin, Eisel, Kirchen, Sanchez S., Landaluze, Casar, Geslin, Vaugrenard, Cozza, Duggan, Maaskant, Martin, Karpets, Botcharov, Furlan, Chicchi, Ciolek, Knaven, Chavanel Syl., Cornu, Flecha, Posthuma, Kroon, Arvesen, O'Grady, Aerts, Dekker, Van Summeren, Hushovd, Roulston)
- Giro d'Italia race director Angelo Zomegnan is not happy that riders protested race conditions, resulting in Sunday's much-anticipated stage in Milan being neutralized. (A stage win was at stake but results did not count toward the general classification.) Among obstacles noted by riders were parked cars, traffic islands, and tram lines. An eyewitness reported to cyclingfans.com that amateur riders were on the course while the race was going on. Were the riders correct to protest?
- LIVE now: Collegiate National Road Championships live video streaming here. (Fort Collins, Colorado)
- More Tour de Cycling - Friday to come...
- 4 Days of Dunkirk LIVE now on Direct8. Links below.
- 4 Days of Dunkirk:Direct8 geo-restriction was just turned off with the completion of the film, should now be viewable worldwide. Race coverage should begin in a few minutes. Coverage on France3 starts later.
- Program scheduled currently on Direct8, a film, is geo-restricted: France only.
- Today's "Four Days" stage is an 18.7km individual time trial.
- On today:Four Days of Dunkirk live video streaming: