Tour of Flanders: Armstrong pre-rides course, prepares for July
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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Tour of Flanders: Armstrong pre-rides course, prepares for July

by VeloNation Press at 2:41 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Tour of Flanders
 

Team RadioShack will be bringing seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong to the Tour of Flanders this weekend.  His reason for adding Belgium’s biggest race to his schedule is to prepare for stage three of this year’s Tour de France, where organizers take the peloton through cobbled sections of road used in Paris-Roubaix.  After the route presentation in October, the American seemed to be the overall contender most concerned about the stage.

Armstrong and some of his RadioShack teammates rode sections of the course today ahead of this Sunday’s event.  While it’s not likely that the race will see Armstrong end up in the final selection, RadioShack will use the race this weekend to get one up on their rivals for the Tour in July.

“The first few days will provide a lot of drama for people between the crosswinds in Holland and the hills in and around Brussels and Spa,” Armstrong explained after the Tour route was unveiled.  “Of course, so too with the cobblestones when we first come into France. The cobbles themselves are dangerous but what is even more dangerous is the approach to them; the kilometers before, the nerves, the anticipation before, the positioning, that is the most dangerous part.

"There are a lot more cobbles than there were in 2004 [Tour de France]," he told the Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad last year, also underscoring the dangers on the approach. "Last time I had Hincapie to lead me," he reflected, but he said he's confident his new RadioShack team can get the job done.

He was asked by a doubter on Twitter why he would bother making the trip to Belgium this week, and his response was quite telling:  “Why bother? Ask me after the cobbled stage in this year's tour.”

Joining Armstrong at the Tour of Flanders will be teammates Markel Irizar, Geoffroy Lequatre, Dmitriy Muravyev, Yaroslav Popovych, Gregory Rast, Sébastien Rosseler and Tomas Vaitkus, along with sports directors Johan Bruyneel and Dirk Demol.  Notably absent on the roster are his fellow RadioShack overall contenders for the Tour de France, Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Kloden.

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