Cofidis select “a team of fighters” for the Tour including Bradley Wiggins, Steegmans denies he’s si
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Cofidis manager Eric Boyer has selected “a team of fighters and escapees who have already won at the highest level” for the Tour de France. The team lacks an obvious overall contender but is packed with potential stage-winners, including Britain’s Bradley Wiggins, who will be targeting the prologue. The nine riders are: Stephane Auge, Jimmy Casper, Sylvain Chavanel, Arnaud Coyot, David Moncouti (all Fra), Cristian Moreni (Ita), Ivan Parra (Col), Rik Verbrugghe (Bel), Bradley Wiggins (GB).
– After stories appeared in the Belgian press on Tuesday saying that Davitamon’s Gert Steegmans had signed for Quick Step, the rider denied he had finalised a deal with any team for next season. “It’s regrettable that, just before the Belgian championships, the media have announced my move to Quick Step when I still haven’t signed anything,” said Steegmans. “Neither with them, nor with Caisse d’Epargne, nor with any other team. I am out of contract so naturally my manager is negotiating. But I have promised [Davitamon manager] Marc Sergeant I will meet with him again. Only then will I make my decision.”
Quick Step manager Patrick Lefvre, who is featured with Sergeant in this month’s Tour de France issue of procycling, explained he was more interested in sorting out the future of Nick Nuyens before thinking about Steegmans. “I must respect my budget,” he said. “It’s the same with Peter van Petegem, negotiations are not yet finished with him. But I want to wait until the doping affair in Spain has unfolded because if some teams fall then there will certainly be some interesting riders on the market.”
– World Anti-Doping Agency president Dick Pound said Lance Armstrong looks “silly” for calling on the International Olympic Committee to dismiss Pound in the wake of the recently published Vrijman investigation. In an email to Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper, Pound wrote: “Maybe now that he has retired, he has too much time on his hands.”
“For someone beating the ethical drum, you might have thought that transparency and courage would suggest he would have the decency to let me know directly, rather than through a leaked disclosure [of Armstrong’s letter] to certain media, that he was launching his ill-considered attack,” Pound continued.
In an eight-page letter to IOC president Jacques Rogge, Armstrong accused Pound of violating IOC rules following the publication of the independent Vrijman investigation into allegations last August of doping against the Texan by French newspaper L’Equipe. Armstrong was cleared by Dutch lawyer Emile Vrijman of any wrongdoing, while Vrijman said WADA and the French national doping laboratory had effectively pronounced Armstrong guilty of a doping violation without sufficient basis.
WADA announced earlier this week it is looking into its legal options following the publication of Vrijman’s report. In a 12-page statement earlier this week, WADA attacked the report as being “so lacking in professionalism and objectivity that it borders on the farcical”.
“I have no idea what he has in mind, it’s somewhat surprising,” Pound told Associated Press. “The real story is he should be complaining to what happened in L’Equipe. not picking on me.”