Cycling: Roche withdraws from Tour: Robin Nicholl looks foward to the Kellogg's Tour of Britain

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The Independent Online
STEPHEN ROCHE was forced to withdraw from the Tour of Britain yesterday after crashing in a World Cup race at San Sebastian.

Roche, from Dublin, a former winner of the Tour de France, was injured on Saturday and is convalescing at his home in France after having six stitches inserted in a head wound. He will not be replaced in the Carrera squad, but his team-mate, Djamolidine Abdoujaparov, who at one time was thought doubtful for the Kellogg's event, arrived in Dundee yesterday for today's start.

Greg LeMond, the triple Tour de France winner, is set to make his first British appearance since 1982 when he rides in the Tour. The 31-year-old American has travelled from his home in Minneapolis, where he has been resting since pulling out of the Tour de France during the Alpine stages with a mysterious loss of form.

LeMond, the silver-medal winner in the world professional road race at Goodwood when he last competed in Britain 10 years ago, is listed as a member of the seven-man Z team for the five-day race which comes to the end of the road in Leeds on Friday.

'Greg will definitely be coming,' Roger Legeay, the manager of his French-sponsored team, told organisers a week ago. 'He is aiming for a good ride in the world championship, and he needs some quality racing.'

Hopes of personal appearances by LeMond in this country in recent years have been repeatedly dashed, particularly in 1990 when he withdrew from the Wincanton Classic World Cup race 12 hours before the start at Brighton.

With the world title race in Benidorm four weeks away, LeMond has incentive enough to join the 104 other riders at the start of a two-hour race on a figure-of-eight circuit in the centre of Dundee.

This opener could be a sprinters' paradise, or hell if Abdoujaparov, of the Commonwealth of Independent States, plays his version of pin-ball with Olaf Ludwig, of Germany, and Johan Museeuw, of Belgium.

Abdoujaparov - known as the Tashkent Terror - has a reputation for rough sprinting, but his biggest victim so far has been himself. Abdoujaparov bounced along the Champs-Elysees in the 1991 Tour de France after a wild shot at victory hit the wrong target, an outsized publicity can of Coca-Cola.

The toughest points in the Tour's 500 miles are the North Yorkshire moors, particularly Rosedale Chimney, on Wednesday, and Friday's finale over Riber Wall, Snake Pass and Holme Moss.

Phil Anderson, the Australian Motorola rider, who led last year's race from the first to last stage, will be defending his title. His team-mate, Michel Dernies, of Belgium, will also be competing, as will the Scottish TVM rider, Robert Millar. Fourteen teams have entered the Tour including the British squads, Banana-Met and GB Leeds '92.