Shorts: Tour prologues, Cipo, Evans
Tour prologues rumoured for Brittany and Cote d’Azur in 2008 and 2009, Cipollini gets management rol
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Although an official announcement has yet to be made, it is widely believed that the Breton city of Brest and the Mediterranean principality of Monaco will host the 2008 and 2009 prologues, respectively. Further details on both locations are unlikely to be released until at least 18 months before those respective dates, but L’Equipe has reported the Tour, after starting in London next year, is almost certain to start in Brittany in 2008, while a deal is close to be concluded with Monaco for the year after. That would be the first time the Tour has started on the Cte d’Azur since it kicked off in Nice in 1981. The Basque press is also reporting that Bilbao is hoping to attract the start of the race in 2013.
– Mario Cipollini is reported to be joining the backroom staff of the Liquigas team with which he ended his career last season. The former and self-styled fastest man in the world is being linked with a role as manager of the team’s younger riders, for whom he would obviously be an interesting role model, as well as performing PR duties.
– Davitamon-Lotto’s Chris Horner believes he can help team leader Cadel Evans become the first Australian to win the Tour de France. “At the moment here I’ve not had to do a whole lot, just mainly keep myself fresh and if Cadel is near me keep him out of the wind or bring him to the front near the finish,” Horner told The Advertiser. “But the most important objective is to try and get into the mountains fresh so that I can be near Cadel.”
Of Evans’ chances in this race, the American stated: “He can win it. Before, he could definitely be top five, top three. But you take out the guys that everyone knew were favourites for first and second places and also a couple of other guys who finished in the top 10 last year. Certainly he can win it, if he has the right conditions.”
If Evans does get into contention, it will be interesting to see how his Belgian team respond. “He’s not a Belgian, and the Belgians want to see battles in the sprints,” admitted Davitamon’s assistant DS Hendrik Redant. “Our aim with Cadel last year was top 10, this year it was top five and after what happened it is maybe top three. We’ve prepared Cadel well and he’s had good form after winning at Romandy. Everything’s going well and hopefully it will stay that way.”