Week in cycling: Armstrong recovers, Cipollini ousted from Vuelta

Tough as nails: Lance Armstrong should be back to his Olympic training program this weekend or shortly after  Credit: Doug Pensinger/Allsport
Lance Armstrong said yesterday he was "banged up" but unhurt after being involved in a head-on collision with a speeding car.

The American, winner of the Tour de France for the last two years, was fortunate his bike took most of the impact, while his helmet was smashed to pieces.

It happened while Armstrong was training for the Olympics with his U.S. Postal teammates Tyler Hamilton and Frankie Andreu in the hills above Nice on Tuesday.

"There is nothing broken or serious, but I'm very banged up," Armstrong said on his Web site. He added that his bike was extensively damaged in the collision and he would be unable to ride it for a few days.

Hamilton said the three riders had been confronted by "a speeding car out of nowhere."

"The car drove straight into Lance but luckily his bike took most of the impact," he added. "Lance went flying off his bike and tumbled down the road but suffered only bruises and minor road rash, thankfully."

Hamilton said he also left the road and "reopened a few wounds", while Andreu was unhurt.

Armstrong, who survived cancer before winning the Tour for the first time, spends part of each year living and training in Nice. He will go for gold in the time-trial and road race in Sydney. His team manager, Johan Bruyneel, said Bruyneel said he hoped Armstrong would be riding again this weekend or shortly after.

Cipollini pained in Spain

The flamboyant Italian Mario Cipollini, the self-styled "fastest man in the world," made a rapid exit from the Tour of Spain before the start of yesterday's fifth stage when he was expelled for fighting with Spaniard Francisco Cerezo.

Cipollini apparently saw red after Cerezo "called him a name which insulted his mother", explained a spokesman for his team, Saeco Coffee Machines, while the pair fought for road space during Tuesday's windswept stage into Albacete. "Mario is very proud and you don't say that sort of thing to him."

The pair met again yesterday morning as they went to register for the start. It seems Cipollini expected an apology but there was a scuffle and the Italian was immediately expelled by the race referees.

He made a brief visit to Albacete's police station, conveniently situated close to the start line, after Cerezo's team made a formal complaint. Hours later Cipollini was suspended by his team.
The Guardian Unlimited

Collinelli to fight drug ban

A day after confirmation of two positive doping results, Italian cyclist Andrea Collinelli vowed Thursday to continue his battle to compete in Sydney to defend his 1996 Olympic track pursuit gold.

Yesterday I had decided to abandon everything, but last night I thought about it again and I still hope to be able to go to Sydney," he told reporters in this central Italian city.

Officials announced Wednesday that a laboratory in Cologne, Germany had concluded there were traces of the banned painkiller lidocaine and the stimulant fentermine in Collinelli's blood from a test at the Italian cycling track championships in mid-July.

The confirmation of the latest test, requested by the cyclist's lawyer, is expected to be followed by his ban from the Olympic Games, which begin just two weeks from now.
Associated Press

Australian legend suffers heart attack

A former Australian champion cyclist collapsed and died Thursday after carrying the Olympic torch through the main street of his hometown.

Ron King, 74, suffered the heart attack just moments after his son passed the flame to him in front of hundreds of cheering locals in the Hunter Valley town of Muswellbrook in the New South Wales state about 9 a.m.

General Manager of Muswellbrook Shire Council Lou Fisher said: "He will leave a mighty big void in the community, which I don't think will be filled."

"Everyone here is in a state of shock; it is hard to believe he isIno longer with us," he said.

King was born and bred in Muswellbrook, and ran his own cycling shop for 47 years, which was described as "bit of a mecca" for cycling enthusiasts.

He represented New South Wales in his younger days and competed in countless road races across northern New South Wales, Fisher said.
Xihuna News Agency


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