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Scroll down to read these articles from the web site of L'Equipe.  Translated by Walt
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The Ambitions of AG2R- 01/24/06
Tour de France- Start in London in 2007?- 01/23/06
Tour Down Under- Gerrans at the finish- 01/22/06
Tour Down Under- Van Hout takes victory- 01/21/06
Phonak, priority: Tour de France- 01/20/06
Tour Down Under- Gerrans holds on- 01/20/06

The Ambitions of AG2R- 01/24/06

Newly arrived in the ProTour, AG2R is counting on its two leaders, the Spaniard
Francesco Mancebo and the Frenchman Christophe Moreau to at least reach the podium
in one of the Grand Tours

Visibly happy about having realized “two good coups” in recruiting Francesco Mancebo
and Christophe Moreau in the off-season, the sporting director of AG2R, Vincent Lavenu,
explained his goals for 2006 on Tuesday: a podium in the Tour de France and a victory in
the Vuelta (Tour of Spain).  The manager of the French team is counting on Mancebo,
third in the last event in Spain, to burn up the roads.  As for the Tour de France, Lavenu
has a lot of hope in his duo recruited for the next two seasons.  “In the Tour, they
complement each other.  They have common interests, and it is better to have two trump
cards than one.  There isn’t a shade of difference between the two”, he added.  “Last year
we saw a new Moreau.  Before that Christophe concentrated on the general classification.  
In 2005 he was a fighter, and this made him happy and more popular with the public.  I am
encouraging him to do the same again”.  

Ambitious, AG2R has had a booming start to the season by winning the French
championships in cycle-cross (Gadret) and the Tour Down Under in Australia (Gerrans)
this month.  To compete better in the demanding ProTour, AG2R has seen its budget
increase froom 4.5 to 7.3 million euros.  As for sponsors, the National Confederation of
Boulangerie joined the principle sponsor, b’Twin, the new name of the maker of cycles for
the Decathlon stores, which was already present on the jersey of AG2R last season.

Nineteen riders from the 2005 season, including Jean-Patrick Nazon, remain on the
French team.  In addition to Mancebo, two other Spaniards have arrived, Arrieta and
Navas.  Christophe Moreau is not the only French recruit.  Four other riders have been
engaged: John Gradet, the medal winner on Sunday in the world cycle-cross
championships, Carl Naibo and two former riders on the old team of RAGT, Renaud Dion
and Hubert Dupont.

The 2006 AG2R Squad
Sylvain Calzati, Cyril Dessel, Renaud Dion, Samuel Dumoulin, Hubert Dupont, John
Gadret, Stéphane Goubert, Julien Loubet, Laurent Mangel, Lloyd Mondory, Christophe
Moreau, Carl Naibo, Jean-Patrick Nazon, Christophe Riblon et Ludovic Turpin (FRA), José
Luis Arrieta, Mikel Astarloza, Inigo Chaurreau, Francisco Mancebo et David Navas (SPA),
Philip Deignan et Mark Scanlon (IRL), Simon Gerrans (AUS), Yuriy Krivtsov (UKR), Erki
Putsep (EST), Alexandre Usov (BLR), Tomas Vaitkus (LIT).

Tour de France- Start in London in 2007?- 01/23/06

The Grande Boucle (The big loop, or Tour de France) could bring itself across the English
Channel next year.  London will be the start city for the Tour 2007, according to the Letter
of Expansion announced on Monday, which details an agreement between Ken
Livingstone, the mayor of the British capitol, and ASO, the organizer of the race.  The Tour
de France has already been run on English roads twice before, in 1974 and 1994.  In
1998 it was Dublin and Ireland that had the pleasure to host the largest cycling race in the

Tour Down Under- Gerrans at the finish- 01/22/06

The Australian Simon Gerrans (AG2R) finally won in his own country.  He managed to the
end to hold off the Spaniard Luis Leon Sanchez Gil and keep his seven second lead in the
general classification.  He won the Tour Down Under at the end of the 5th and final stage.  
Gerrans was the leader of the general classification since his victory in the first stage.

His team contributed mightily to his victory by fighting to hold on to his lead of several
seconds all through the Tour.  “My teammates rode a fantastic race.  They protected me
on every day since the beginning, and I never would have been able to do it without them”.
confirmed Gerrans.  The victory for the last stage, a circuit of 81 km in the town of
Adelaide, went to another Australian, Allan Davis.  Taking his second stage victory, he
dominated his compatriot Robbie McEwen in a sprint.

Results of the 5th stage :
1. Allan Davis (AUS/Liberty) 81 km in 1 h 49' 47.
2. Robbie McEwen (AUS) s.t.
3. Simone Cadamuro (ITA) s.t.
4. Thor Hushovd (NOR) s.t.
5. Steven Caethoven (BEL) s.t.
6. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (SPA) s.t.
7. Matthew Goss (AUS) s.t.
8. Simon Clarke (AUS) s.t.
9. Marco Righetto (ITA) s.t.
10. Dennis Haueisen (GER) s.t.
13. Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (SPA) s.t.
22. Simon Gerrans (AUS) s.t.

Final General Classification:
1. Simon Gerrans (AUS/AG2R) 16 h 36' 54.
2. Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (SPA) at 07.
3. Robbie McEwen (AUS) 14.
4. William Walker (AUS) 46.
5. Gene Bates (AUS) 1' 48.
6. Samuel Dumoulin (FRA) 2' 42.
7. Russel Van Hout (AUS) 3' 00.
8. Simon Clarke (AUS) 3' 19.
9. Chris Jongerwaard (AUS) s.t.
10. Glenn D'Hollander (AUS) 3' 31.
11. Sébastien Chavanel (FRA) 4' 35.
14. Cadel Evans (AUS) 6' 29.

Tour Down Under- Van Hout takes victory- 01/21/06

The Australian Russell Van Hout (UniSA-Australia) on Saturday won the 4th and next to
last stage in the Tour Down Under, raced over 147 km and starting and ending in
Willunga.  His compatriot Simon Gerrans (AG2R) held onto the leader’s jersey.

To keep his lead, Gerrans needed to contain the vague desires of the Spaniard Luis Leon
Sanchez Gil, last year’s winner of the Tour Down Under who has been close behind in the
general classification.  Gil attacked on the ascent of the three kilometer climb of Mount
Billunga, which has a slope of 7% and is situated twenty kilometers from the finish of a
stage considered to be the most difficult of the event.  Gil never managed to completely
drop Gerrans, who always kept him in his sights.  After the finish Gerrans thanked his
French teammate Sylvain Calzati, who waited for him and helped him catch up.  The
Australian now has every chance to keep his lead of seven seconds over the Spaniard
during the last stage on Sunday, one of 90 kilometers in the streets of Adelaide.  

This fourth stage was marked by a precocious escape of 16 riders who built up a lead of
nearly 9 minutes over the peleton and included the Australians Russell Van Hout and Paul
Crake.  The former defeated the second in a sprint.

Results of the stage:
1. Russell Van Hout (AUS/UniSA-Australia) 3h32'54"
2. Paul Crake (AUS) s.t.
3. Rony Martias (FRA) à 1'03"
4. Johan Van Summeren (BEL) s.t.
5. Glen Chadwick (AUS) s.t.
6. Elia Rigotto (ITA) s.t.
7. Simone Cadamuro (ITA) 1'13"
8. Aaron Kemps (AUS) s.t.
9. Mitchell Docker (AUS) 1'22"
10. Glenn d'Hollander (BEL) 1'25"

General Classification:
1. Simon Gerrans (AUS/AG2R) 14h47'07"
2. Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (SPA) at 7"
3. Robbie McEwen (AUS) 18"
4. William Walker (AUS) 46"
6. Gene Bates (AUS) 1'41"
.Samuel Dumoulin (FRA) 2'42"
7. Russell Van Hout (AUS) 2'53"
8. Simon Clarke (AUS) 3'19"
9. Chris Jongewaard (AUS) s.t.
10. Glenn d'Hollander (BEL) 3'24"

Phonak, priority: Tour de France- 01/20/06

The Tour de France and the general classification of the ProTour are the two priorities
announced by the Swiss team Phonak which is starting its seventh season in the peleton.  
“With Floyd Landis and Santiago Botero we possess two riders capable of taking the lead
from Lance Armstrong”, explained Andy Rihs, owner of a company that makes acoustic
products for hearing improvement, during the official presentation of his team on Friday.  
The team also wants to improve upon its position of last year in the team classification of
the ProTour (2nd)

On its agenda are the three grand Tours.  For leaders in these events, Phonak will have
the Colombian Victor Hugo Pena in the Giro, Landis, above all, and Botero in the Tour de
France, and Botero again in the Vuelta.  “I want to win in Italy”, affirmed Pena, who had
injuries last season including the fracture of two vertebrae at the start of Paris-Roubaix.  “I
am in much better condition that last year”, declared Landis, who has decided to prepare
for the Tour de France by participating in the Tour of Italy.  “This will be training in race
conditions because it is difficult to target both the Giro and the Tour”.

New Support
As for Botero, 4th in the Tour de France 2002, he dreams of becoming the first
Columbian  to win the Grande Boucle (Tour de France).  “This would be the ultimate.  I am
training harder than ever”.  As for changes of personnel, the Spaniard Oscar Pererio,
winner of the stage at Pau in the Tour 2005, in which he was designated the most
attacking rider, has notably left the Swiss team.  On the other hand, the Belgian Axel
Merckx, always motivated for the Wallone classics (he will also double in the Giro and the
Tour) and the Dutchman Koos Moerenhout, have joined the group managed by John

This season, its last as principle sponsor, Phonak will have additional support.  The
Barclays Bank Global Invesors will be there with its iShares brand, which manages more
than 129 funds on the world’s major stock exchanges.  A partner in 2005, iShares could
become the main sponsor next year.

The Team Riders: Aurélien Clerc, Martin Elmiger, Steve Morabito, Alexandre Moos,
Grégory Rast, Florian Stalder, Sascha Urweider, Johann Tschopp, David Vitoria et Steve
Zampieri (SWI), Santiago Botero and Victor Hugo Pena (COL), Bert Grabsch (GER), José
Enrique Gutierrez, Ignacio Gutierrez, Luis Fernandez Oliveira and Miguel Angel
Perdiguero (SPA), Fabrizio Guidi (ITA), Ryder Hesjedal (CAN), Nicolas Jalabert (FRA),
Robert Hunter (AFS), Patrick McCarty and Floyd Landis (USA), Koos Moerenhout (PBS),
Axel Merckx (BEL), Uros Murn (SLO).

Manager : John Lelangue (BEL)
Sporting Directors: Adriano Baffi (ITA), Juan Fernandez (SPA), Jacques Michaud (FRA),
René Savary (SWI).

Tour Down Under- Gerrans holds on- 01/20/06

Simon Gerrans (AG2R) succeed in maintaining his 7 second lead on the general
classification on Friday in the third of 5 stages over the Spaniard Luis Leon Sanchez, last
year’s winner.

It was another Spaniard Carlos Barredo Llamazales  took the victory in Yankalilla.  The
Liberty rider launched an attack with 15 km to the finish under a suffocating heat, with
temperatures up to 44 deg. C (111 deg. F).  He found the strength to cross the finish line
more than one minute thirty seconds ahead of the lead group.  Gerrans, 25 years of age,
is keeping the victory in his sights while in his second season carrying the colors of the
French squad.

Results of the 3rd Stage :
1. Carlos Barredo Llamazales (SPA/Liberty) 154 km in 3h51'03"
2. Daniel Becke (ALL) at 1'32.
3. Cadel Evans (AUS) s.t.
4. Serge Pauwels (BEL) s.t.
5. Vincent Jérôme (FRA) 1'38
6. Mathew Hayman (AUS) 1'40
7. Alexandre Botcharov (RUS) s.t.
8. Jonathon Clarke (AUS) 5'26
9. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (ESP) 5'56
10. Ben Day (AUS) s.t.

Classement général :
1. Simon Gerrans (AUS/AG2R) 11h11'32"
2. Luis Leon Sanchez (SPA) at 07"
3. Robbie McEwen (AUS) 18"
4. William Walker (AUS) 46"
5. Gene Bates (AUS) 1'45
6. Samuel Dumoulin (FRA) 1'48
7. Simon Clarke (AUS) 3'19
8. Chris Jongewaard (AUS) s.t.
9. Sébastien Chavanel (FRA) 3'41
10. Giovanni Visconti (ITA) 4'18
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