Latest Cycling News for January 24, 2007
Edited by Hedwig Kröner with assistance from Susan Westemeyer
Tinkoff presents 2007 team
By Gregor Brown in Rome
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Tinkoff Credit Systems held its 2007 team presentation last night in
the Eternal City of Rome. The Italy-based team, backed by Russian bike
enthusiast and businessman Oleg Tinkoff, was on display at a swanky jazz
club amongst celebrities, including two Formula One drivers and two AS
Roma footballers, but more important were the cycling dignitaries.
The team is only a Professional Continental team and will have to rely
on wild card invitations to the big races. Its goal will be the Giro
d'Italia, with other Italian ProTour races almost guaranteed. A very
good signal for the team was the presence of Italian national DS Franco
Ballerini, president of the Italian cycling federation (FCI) Renato Di
Rocco and Director of the Giro d'Italia Angelo Zomegnan; the last being
the key to Tinkoff's invite to the Corsa Rosa in May.
"We will have 18 ProTour teams and four wild cards," said Zomegnan to
Cyclingnews Tuesday night. This means that two ProTour teams will
be left at home, while opening the doors for more Pro-Conti teams that
have a strong desire to race the Giro, like Tinkoff Credit Systems.
One of its biggest signings over the off-season was American Tyler
Hamilton. "It is exciting to start with such a group of young riders
[the majority of the Russians - ed.] that are eager to learn," explained
Hamilton, who, along with Danilo Hondo and Salvatore Commesso, will be
the team's experienced rider and act as a guide for the younger members.
The team was looking tan and ready to race, after a gorgeous week in
Toscana for training.
German Hondo will have to wait longer to start, until the end of March,
due to a decision by the Swiss courts. He will miss out on his favourite
race, the Milano-Sanremo, but perhaps it will provide greater motivation
for later events.
"Everyone is hungry of competition," explained the German to Cyclingnews,
who is based in Switzerland, near Lugano. "Look, I will miss the races
in March, like Sanremo, but I have worked for two years and two more months
won't be much. Maybe it will be even better overall; I will be ready for
the following races, while some of the riders might already be tiring."
Part of the team will start 2007 in the Tour
de Langkawi, February 2 - 11, while a second group will head to France
for the GP d'Ouverture La Marseillaise on February 6. A complete team
presentation report will follow soon on Cyclingnews.
Team riders for 2007: Tyler Hamilton (USA), Elio Aggiano (Ita),
Pavel Brutt (Rus), Ilya Chernetsky (Rus), Salvatore Commesso (Ita), Daniele
Contrini (Ita), Danilo Hondo (Ger), Sergey Klimov (Rus), Mikhail Ignatiev
(Rus), Ruggero Marzoli (Ita), Anton Mindlin (Rus), Evgeni Petrov (Rus),
Ivan Rovny (Rus), Alexander Serov (Rus), Ricardo Serrano (Spa), Nikolai
Trussov (Rus), Steffen Weigold (Ger) and Vasil Kiryienka (Blr).
A full listing of the team can be found on the Cyclingnews teams
Big ambitions for Kash
An interview with Andrey Kashechkin
Andrey Kashechkin of Astana holds
aloft the trophy
Photo ©: AFP
Confidence boosted by his stage win and third place overall in last year's
Vuelta a España, Kazakh rider Andrey Kashechkin is hoping to go
even better in 2007. Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes heard what he has
2006 was a breakthrough season for Astana rider Andrey Kashechkin. Winning
a mountain stage and finishing on the podium of the Vuelta was undoubtedly
the highlight, but there were other results which confirmed that he had
stepped up a level as regards his pro career. A stage win in Paris-Nice,
victory in the national road race championships, third in the Tour
of Germany, third in the Clasica
San Sebastian and fifth overall in the ProTour marked him out as a
big threat in both stage races and one day events. Now the increasingly
confident 26-year-old is heading into the new season with bigger personal
and team ambitions.
"If I participate in a race, it is to try to win it," he said
at the recent team training camp in Mallorca. "The Astana cycling
team's objective is to win the Grand Tours. And for me, the goal is the
"In 2007, I will work for Vinokourov in the Tour de France and then
go for personal victory in the Tour of Spain. I know that I can achieve
a top result in a race of three weeks. Riding well in the 2006 Vuelta
meant that I am now more confident in myself, and I hope to have an even
better season this year."
Kashechkin's determination is undoubtedly boosted by what happened four
months ago in Spain. He and Vinokourov gained form as the Vuelta progressed,
winning a total of four stages between them and placing first and third
on the podium. It was the first ever Grand Tour victory for Vino, and
the best ever result in a three week stage race for Kash.
For the full feature on Andrei Kashechkin, please click
Pound pleads for "greater unity" in the fight against doping
Pereiro in the maillot jaune at
the 2006 TdF
Photo ©: Sirotti
The president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, Richard Pound, has called
for "greater unity" of the sports' institutions in the fight against doping.
Speaking yesterday from Madrid, Spain, where he met with Sports Minister
Jaime Lissavetzky in preparation of the World Anti-Doping Conference to
be held in the Spanish capital from November 15-17, 2007, Pound was asked
for comment on the use of salbutamol, an asthma drug, by Tour de France
runner-up Oscar Pereiro (see previous
"I'm very interested in the outcome of the Pereiro case. All of this
is very confusing," Pound told Spanish media. "If it's a case of Therapeutic
Use Exemption (TUE), it shouldn't have come out to the media." French
paper Le Monde had made the story on the supposedly missing justification
of Pereiro's asthma drug use at the Tour de France public. Meanwhile,
the Spanish rider has sent the documents to the French Anti-Doping Agency
AFLD, who had requested them despite the rider's TUE clearance from the
UCI. Currently studying the medical files, the Agency is expected to come
to conclusions on Thursday.
"We have to work together," continued Pound, speaking of the different
institutions controlling the sports' ethics. "Try to harmonise our efforts
so that the national agencies don't go on one way and the international
ones on another. We have to be united in zero tolerance against doping."
Meanwhile, Caisse d'Epargne rider Oscar Pereiro has asked for Le Monde
to rectify the story. "The Spanish government should take legal action
against the paper," he told AS. "I want them to correct their information
and to do this using the same amount of space in their pages, saying that
they made a mistake."
The 2006 Tour de France runner-up, who could still become the official
winner of the French Grand Tour if Floyd Landis is ruled guilty of doping
by the American Anti-Doping Agency this spring, thinks that there is currently
"a big interest fight in the world of cycling. Sometimes I have doubts
on my continuing as a cyclist, but I feel good about what I do and I still
have three years. It would be stupid to stop now."
Still, Pereiro acknowledged that cycling had a major problem. "I don't
know if the anti-doping detection methods are reliable to a 100 percent,"
he added. "They improve the tests every day, but sometimes there is this
small percentage of an error margin that produces false positives. Landis
defends himself, and I want to believe that he didn't dope. I've never
seen anyone do anything, but we are still all guilty - if there are doping
cases it's because it does exist."
Australia and Mapei back in business in Langkawi
By Jean-Francois Quénet
For the first time since 1998, an Australian team will feature in Le
Tour de Langkawi from February 2-11, in the form of a promising bunch
from the SouthAustralia.com-AIS continental team, which is sponsored by
Mapei, a name synonymous with cycling.
With the inclusion of the start list of Southaustralia.com-AIS, Le Tour
de Langkawi goes back to its roots, since the early success of the Malaysian
event had been set internationally by Australian riders and the Singapore-based
Italian chemical brand Mapei, whose name appeared on the team of the 1990s
which raised the level of the Tour back then.
Australia produced the first winner ever of Le Tour de Langkawi with
Damian McDonald in 1996, the first sprinting star in the record books
being Jay Sweet who later became a Tour de France rider and a Commonwealth
Games champion, beating Malaysia's Nor Effandy Rosli in Kuala Lumpur in
It was also 11 years ago, in 1996 the year of the inaugural Le Tour
de Langkawi, that the winning team Giant was the first internationally
recognised professional cycling team from Australia. It wasn’t a private
business. The squad was backed by the government and founded by the famous
Australian Institute of Sport (AIS).
Although road cycling wasn’t really existing Down Under 15 years ago,
apart from the presence in Europe of pioneers such as Phil Anderson, Allan
Peiper, Neil Stephens and Scott Sunderland, the AIS has produced many
champions since. The likes of Robbie McEwen, Stuart O’Grady, Henk Vogels,
Bradley McGee, Baden Cooke and Cadel Evans, just to name a few, have all
come from the different cycling sections (road, track, MTB) of the AIS.
Under the name of Southaustralia.com-AIS, Australia makes its return
to Le Tour de Langkawi with riders in their development program for the
first time since 1998. This squad has raced in the Tour Down Under and
now Le Tour de Langkawi will be their final race before heading to Europe
where they will set up base for the whole season.
"We didn’t want to come back until we had the team capable of doing
it well," coach Brian Stephens explained. "This year, our young guys have
the level for getting results in Malaysia. Having done the Tour Down Under,
they are in good shape for Le Tour de Langkawi. We also want to give them
more exposure by racing against the ProTour teams. For that reason we
are happy to come back."
Photo ©: Shane Goss
Southaustralia.com-AIS will be led by Gene Bates, who came close to winning
a stage in Tampin last year while he rode for Italian team LPR, but he
came second in the sprint behind his breakaway companion Laurent Mangel
from AG2R. It will be interesting to see the spectacular improvement of
the recently crowned U23 Australian champion Wesley Sulzberger. "Our sprinter
will be Nic Sanderson," Stephens announced.
Sanderson, a silver medalist at the World Junior Championships in Zolder,
Belgium, in 2002, has shared the experience of racing with Malaysian Ng
Yong Li in the under-23 team of Liberty Seguros in Spain in 2005. "We
spent three months together and became good friends," Sanderson said.
"I was impressed to see how much he improved during that time. He lost
a lot of weight as well. I’ll be happy to see him in the same bunch again
at Le Tour de Langkawi." Southaustralia.com/AIS line up for Le Tour de
Langkawi (Feb. 2-11): Gene Bates, Jonathan Clarke, William Ford, Shaun
Higgerson, Nic Sanderson and Wesley Sulzberger (all Australians).
Bouyer without a team
French pro riders support Bouyer
at the 2006 Cholet-Pays De Loire: "An innocent man pays for the cheaters"
Photo ©: Régis Garnier
French pro rider Franck Bouyer did not get his contract renewed for the
2007 season. The former Bouygues Telecom rider, who is suffering from
narcolepsy (uncontrollable sleep attacks) has not raced for nearly two
years, and his employer Jean-René Bernaudeau did not have a choice but
to let him go. Bouyer is not allowed to compete since he needs to take
forbidden substance modafinil in order to treat his illness.
"I wasn't happy doing it, but we had been paying him for two years even
if he couldn't race," explained Bouygues Telecom manager Bernaudeau to
L'Equipe. "He will continue his fight, which is right, and we will
not let him down. As soon as his situation is regulated, he'll get his
The UCI prohibited Bouyer to race in March 2004, after his condition
was revealed. While the World Anti-Doping Agency WADA allowed
him to race in August 2005, the UCI appealed the decision, and Bouyer
appeared in front of the Court of Arbitration for Sport in January 2006.
He was then again prohibited to compete in March 2006, and has been continuing
his fight to obtain a TUE (Therapeutic Use Exemption) ever since.
Bouyer will give his file to a civil court before the end of this month.
"It was entirely examined by sports doctor Michèle Potiron, who integrated
all the tests that I underwent these past two years," Bouyer said. "She
concluded that the use of modafinil didn't enhance my performances, but
actually decreased them."
If the judge considers the file to be valid - the investigation is expected
to last about three months - then Bouyer will have an argument to apply
for a TUE at the UCI. He also has an appointment with French sports minister
Jean-Francois Lamour, the new WADA vice-president, in February. "I think
it is important that he understands the details of this affair," Bouyer
More team line-ups for Qatar
Team Gerolsteiner is sending its sparkling-water boys to the desert.
The sprinters will have the upper hand in the Tour of Qatar, starting
this coming Sunday: Giro and Vuelta stage winner Robert Förster will lead
the team, which also features Sven Krauss, Volker Ordowski and Peter Wrolich,
as well as the three neo-pros, Johannes Fröhlinger, Tom Stamsnijder and
Oscar Gatto. Raimund Dietzen and Theo Maucher will direct the team.
Three newcomers to Team Rabobank will make their debut at the Tour of
Qatar. Leon van Bon, Sebastian Langeveld and Rick Flens will ride for
the team for the first time in the Middle East. They will be joined by
Jan Boven, Graeme Brown, Matthew Hayman, Gerben Löwik and Thorwald Veneberg,
and directed by Frans Maassen.
By Shane Stokes
Launched last year as the Sean Kelly racing team, the newly renamed
Murphy & Gunn/M. Donnelly Sean Kelly squad has announced its line-up for
the Tour of Qatar. Getting an invite to the race is a major boost for
the Continental team, which is hoping to amass more experience and results
this season. The squad is part-funded by Irish sponsors, the Irish Sports
Council and Cycling Ireland but is based in Merchtem in Belgium.
Irish under 23 champion Paídi O’Brien, compatriots Paul Healion, Stephen
Gallagher and Mark Cassidy plus Belgians Tim Meussen, Rieno Stofferis
and Christophe Beddegenoots and Dane Glen Bak will all line out in the
prestigious 2.1 ranked early-season opener. The race runs from this Sunday,
January 28, until Friday March 2, and many of the world’s top teams are
scheduled to take part.
The official launch of the squad will take place on Tuesday February
6 at the Murphy & Gunn showrooms in Milltown, Dublin. The team have just
returned from a training camp in Mallorca.
Valverde, Boonen, Freire and Zabel in Mallorca
By Antonio J. Salmerón
The Spaniards Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears) and
Oscar Freire (Rabobank), as well as the Belgian Tom Boonen (Quick Step)
will be the main protagonists of the 16th Cycling Challenge de Mallorca,
scheduled to take place from February 11-15. A total of 19 squads from
many nationalities will participate; including ten Spanish ones. Further
big names also taking part are Erik Zabel (Team Milram), Gilberto Simoni
(Saunier Duval) and Francisco Mancebo (Relax-Gam).
The Challenge de Mallorca will as usual be divided into five stages,
which add up to a total of 733 kilometres. The first stage will start
on Sunday, February 11, in Palma de Mallorca. The Challenge will then
continue from Cove Millor to Cala Bona (159.7 km), Pollença to Isla Colomer
(161.4 km), and from Sóller to Port de Sóller, before starting for the
last time in Magalluf. The first race of the Spanish 2007 calendar will
then finish in Palmanova, on Thursday 15.
The Challenge de Mallorca will be broadcast by Teledeporte (TVE) during
the week, and by La 2 of TVE on the weekend, in addition to a local television.
The negotiations for coverage between the Spanish Race Organisers Association
and the public national television, TVE, thus continue in search of reaching
a satisfactory agreement.
Post-Tour Criterium in Karlsruhe
There will be a new post-Tour de France criterium on the German circuit.
It will be held in Karlsruhe on August 1, and the Sports Director will
be former rider Jens Heppner, now Sports Director for Team Wiesenhof-Felt.
The race will be held on a 1,2 kilometre long city course, and organisers
hope to attract the top names from the Tour de France.
"I find the timing really great, so soon after the Tour, when cycling
is really living," Heppner said. "I have organised something like this
in Hannover, and there we had 40,000 people on an 800 meter course. It
was like a festival."
The criterium was announced Tuesday in conjunction with the
A son for Popovych
Yaroslav Popovych missed his flight for the Discovery Channel training
camp and won't be there on time, but no doubt the team will forgive him.
Instead of flying to California, he chose to stay home for the birth of
his son, Jason, who arrived Tuesday evening.
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