Shorts: Lance loses, White out?

Armstrong's legal team loses, Matt White crashes out, Tour tests time pieces, Virenque aims for 7th

Armstrong's legal team loses, Matt White crashes out, Tour tests time pieces, Virenque aims for 7th
Lance Armstrong's has lost an appeal in the French courts aimed to force the insertion of a formal denial by the American rider of doping allegations in the recently released book 'LA Confidential - The Secrets of Lance Armstrong'. Armstrong and his legal team were hoping that every copy of the book would be forced to carry an insertion giving the five-time Tour winner's version of certain incidents mentioned in the controversial book. Armstrong's legal team are now investigating other options, apparently including making moves to have the book removed from sale completely. * Cofidis' Matt White has had to pull out of the 2004 Tour de France after crashing on Saturday morning while warming up on the circuit of the prologue time trial. The Australian apparently hit a spectator and was taken to hospital with a head wound and a suspected broken collar bone. His French team will now replace him with a reserve rider. * Riders at this year's Tour will be experimenting with small timing transponders fitted to their bikes. Similar systems have already been used successfully at the Tours of Italy and Spain but, at the Tour de France, it will be tested up until the eighth stage to Quimper on July 11, the day before the first rest day. * Quick Step's Richard Virenque says that this could well be the last time he rides the Tour. With 2004 being the 12th time the Frenchman has ridden, retirement is certainly on the horizon for the 35-year-old. "I'll see how I go in the first mountain stages, and then I'll decide if it's going to be the last time. If things go well, then maybe I will carry on for another year," he said. Virenque will be trying to win his seventh King of the Mountains jersey and beat the record of six wins in the competition, which he holds with Lucien Van Impe and Federico Bahamontes. "But the Tour organisers have given me a handicap in that the mountains points at summit finishes count double,' complained Virenque. "The jersey will therefore be much harder for me to win this time, but there we go. I'm not giving up, and I've got a good team that will be able to help me." * Unsurprisingly, the French are the nationality best represented at their home race with 40 riders in the 188-strong peloton. Next are the Spanish with 31, just beating the 30 Italians, followed by 15 Germans and 10 Australians. Six riders represent the USA. In all, 27 nationalities are represented, and of those, 11 by just one rider, including New Zealand (Crdit Agricole's Julian Dean), Ireland (Mark Scanlon, Ag2r) and Luxembourg (Fassa Bortolo's Kim Kirchen). It is the first time since 1976 that a British rider has not participated.
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