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Next victory for Armstrong might be in Sydney

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published July 26, 2000


ST. PETERSBURG- Vacationing Americans in Paris pulled out their red, white and blue flags last weekend and lined up along the Tour de France course, which belonged to Lance Armstrong.

Even the French were seen cheering the 28-year-old cancer survivor, an outspoken Texan who successfully defended his yellow jersey by riding away from the best European climbers to win the Tour for the second year in a row.

"I was born to race bicycles," Armstrong told reporters Monday as he packed up his 58-centimeter Trek 5500 bicycle for a brief visit to the United States. The visit will include appearances on Good Morning America, David Letterman, National Public Radio and a parade in his hometown of Austin, Texas.

Armstrong's supportive teammate, George Hincapie might receive a payback from Armstrong this September, in Sydney, Australia.

According to reports from U.S. Olympic cycling team coach Chris Carmichael, Armstrong is on a high and determined to win gold in the Olympic individual 40-kilometer time trial, but will "ride for Hincapie" to win the road race.

Outpourings of emotion have flooded Armstrong's Web site in the form of constant e-mail messages from an international community of fans. Most of them are from cyclists, some of whom have experienced various forms of cancer..

Bay area triathletes might remember a talented Armstrong winning his first Iron Kids Triathlon title at age 13 and taking out a professional triathlete license at age 16 after beating the likes of Scott Tinley and Mike Pigg. Local cyclists remind us that Armstrong suddenly switched to bicycle racing and became a world champion in 1993 at age 21.

It's Not About The Bike, Armstrong's new book about surviving cancer, is near the top of the New York Times best-seller list. Life is good right now for Armstrong, a millionaire with a new wife and infant son.

He says he's blessed. Armstrong's win brings tremendous pride to American cycling amid drug scandals in the pro peloton. It also creates the exciting possibility of a Tour/Olympic double victory to close out the year 2000. Check out his Web site at www.lancearmstrong.com. BILL JACKSON SUPPORTS MULTI-SPORTS: Not only has Darry Jackson become a St. Pete Mad Dog triathlete, competed in Clermont's heat and taught triathletes how to kayak, he has also loaned Bill Jackson's unique 9-foot deep indoor pool to USA Triathlon coach Diane Berberian for swim stroke analysis.

"Darry supports the sport of triathlon quite a bit, with his generous participation in coaching, safety and education," Berberian said. "Our July classes went perfectly because Darry saved us from all the stormy weather we had. Triathletes were able to experience being videotaped by our swim coaches, and it was easy to do in the Bill Jackson pool."

St. Petersburg's Camille Newton, a retired architect now working as a kayak instructor, taught triathletes the art of paddle sports last month, emphasizing techniques such as Eskimo rolling and upside-down "wet exits," which are most comfortable to triathletes while wearing swim goggles.

"Look for Darry in his first half-Ironman race this September," Berberian said. "There may be lots more tri-specific training at the store this summer."

For a list of August multisports classes, visit Bill Jackson's Shop For Adventure at 9501 U.S. 19 North, in Pinellas, or call Newton at (727) 576-4169.

WINNY WINS BONESHAKER SLOT: Team American Classic's star sprinter Winston Edwards of Tampa, a former minor league football player-turned bicycle racer, has earned a reputation for speed.

The latest accomplishment for Edwards was being nominated for the Tampa Bay Boneshakers, a team that will compete at the 12th Street Skate Park in downtown Tampa on Aug. 5 at 8 p.m.

Edwards' new Tampa Bay Boneshakers team races in this new contact, arena-style sport, which combines mountain biking, BMX, track racing, football and X-Games format in 10-minute periods. There are teams of five sprinting for points. For information on tickets to Tampa Bay Boneshaker games, call (813) 805-7727.

STRANGEMAN'S BEACH BIATHLON: Another event which is a bit to the left of Ironman, is Steve Strange's 8th annual Strangeman's Beach Biathlon and 5K Beach Run, which will be July 29 at Palm Pavilion on Clearwater Beach at 6 p.m.

Strange's popular beach biathlon will consist of a 2-mile run, a quarter-mile swim, a two-mile run and another quarter-mile swim. Biathlon and run races start together. The post-race party at Palm Pavilion is not to be missed.

For information on Strangeman's Beach Biathlon call Steve Strange at (727) 442-9815. IRONWOMAN ARTIST: Congratulations to St. Petersburg's Melissa Dipple, who spent July painting in the south of France after returning from the Ironman Australia competition in Forster-Tuncurry with other bay-area triathletes. Dipple's summer schedule of swim/bike/ run/paint has put her on the cover of the latest issue of "Sunshine Artist Magazine."

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