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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

Latest Cycling News for April 16, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Manzano investigation widens

The Spanish Cycling Federation's investigation into the allegations of systematic doping by former Kelme rider Jesus Manzano is widening, with three doctors and two riders associated with the team being called in for questioning at the Federation's offices. Doctors Eufemiano Fuentes, Walter Virú and Alfredo Córdova and former Kelme rider Julián Usano have all been summoned to appear next Wednesday, while another ex-Kelme rider, Nacho Gutiérrez, will have an appointment with the RFEC on Monday afternoon.

Eufemiano Fuentes is the current Kelme team doctor, having started in September 2003. Walter Virú occupied the position of team doctor before Fuentes, and Alfredo Córdova, who now works for Liberty Seguros, was also involved with the team last year. Córdova was part of the team during last year's Tour de France (when Manzano collapsed) and the Tour of Portugal (where the Kelme team withdrew en masse) and allegedly in Valencia, where Manzano claimed he had a near death experience with a blood transfusion.

It is not known yet what part riders Julián Usano and Nacho Gutiérrez played in Manzano's testimony, but it is assumed that they were named in some capacity.

A crime against public health?

Madrid's Central Magistrate's Court Number 10, which is assessing due diligence in the case, has requested the presence of Jesús Manzano, Darío Gadeo and Pedro Díaz Lobato (the latter both former Paternina riders) in court to give personal details and repeat their allegations that doping is widespread in cycling. The court is now considering whether the case should be treated as a crime against public health under articles 359 and 378 of Spanish penal law. Such a crime carries a maximum jail sentence of six years.

More criticism of Pro Tour

The UCI's new Pro Tour, which it hopes will move cycling up another step, has been met with criticism from several angles already. The latest comes from Philippe Raimbaud, the director of French team Brioches la Boulangère, who believes that the UCI is misguided with its focus on the Pro Tour.

"Despite all efforts, doping is still present in our sport," said Raimbaud in a letter to the UCI. "It is the only priority that requires our energy now. I am also a supported of a reformation. But it seems to me to be inappropriate that there are still no ethical criteria belonging to the Pro Tour."

More safety precautions for Amstel Gold Race

After being criticised over safety issues last year, the organisers of the Amstel Gold Race have put in place extra measures to ensure that the race is as safe as possible. The main concerns were about parked cars, speed humps and traffic islands impeding the cyclists on the narrow roads, things that are becoming more common in the southern Limburg region where the race is held.

Organiser Leo van Vliet told De Telegraaf, "We have taken as many precautions as possible. We've put in more traffic signalers. Furthermore we've covered all the obstacles with hay bales. Tow trucks, warning letters given to the residents along the parcours, 30 police motorcycles, and a motor brigade are other measures that we have undertaken. We've also performed an investigation on finish zone on the Cauberg into the safety of the supporters and racers on the parcours. We can expect 400,000 people in Southern Limburg on Sunday. That investigation showed that we have everything in order for everyone."

Euskaltel for the Ardennes classics and Romandie

The Euskaltel-Euskadi team has been named for next week's Ardennes classics, Flèche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. The team to contest both races is: Mikel Artetxe, Joseba Albizu, Iker Camaño, David Etxebarria, Unai Etxebarria, Iñaki Isasi, Iñigo Landaluze and Samuel Sánchez.

Euskaltel will also ride the Tour de Romandie between April 27-May 2, with Joseba Albizu, Iker Camaño, Iñigo Landaluze, Gorka González, Roberto Laiseka, Alberto López de Munain, Aitor Sillóniz and David Etxebarria.

Olmo operation postponed

Antonio Olmo (Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme), who crashed in the first stage of the Vuelta a Aragon and dislocated his collarbone, will have to wait until Monday, April 19 to have an operation to fix it. The doctors of the Mutua Asepeyo de Sevilla ruled out an immediate operation, deeming that Olmo's injuries would interfere. Once the operation is done, Olmo is expected to start training again within a week.

Belgian Federation rules on flags

No more of this!
Photo ©: Daniel Schamps

The Belgian Cycling Federation has requested cycling fans to keep their flags out of the way of riders, in the wake of Leif Hoste's unfortunate entanglement with a Flemish flag in last Sunday's Paris-Roubaix. The KBWB met on Thursday to discuss the problem, which also manifested itself during the last cyclo-cross season.

"We don't have the intention to ban flags," said the KBWB in a statement. "After all, these always form part of a race and add to the festive character. The KBWB does request with some urgency that those with them exercise common sense. More an more, we see people hanging flags over the road with the consequence that the course of the sporting competition becomes confused and that the TV viewer can hardly see the riders between the flags. The flags are becoming a source of annoyance for the riders, followers and the public.

"The KBWB explicitly asks that all supporters, out of respect for the sport and the viewer, do not hang or wave flags above the parcours or the road.

"The KBWB has also written to Patrick Dewael, Minister of Internal Affairs, with the above suggestions and the question of whether he and his department can help support this."

New women's race in Limburg

There will be a new women's race organised this July in Southern Limburg, reports De Telegraaf. The first Holland Hills Ladies Classic will take place in Gulpen-Wittem on July 18, and will be organised by triple Olympic gold medalist Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel, who is in her final year as a professional rider.

"I am concerned with my legacy," said Van Moorsel to De Telegraaf. "I'm trying to prevent the collapse of Dutch women's cycling when I stop after the Summer Games in Athens. So I'm busy ensuring the future of my Farm Frites formation. In addition I'm working on a development team with Ingrid Haringa and I hope that this Limburg classic will be fixed on the international calendar."

Van Moorsel hopes to include the race as part of the women's World Cup in future, especially after the loss of the Amstel Gold Race this year for financial reasons.

The Irish weekend forecast

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

This weekend's Irish action focuses on Stamullen, Co. Meath, where the Stamullen Cycling Weekend will be held. A big turnout is expected as the majority of cyclists in the Ireland were in action in Gorey for the Greenstar three day and Killorglin for the Credit Union Ras Mumhan last weekend. Visiting riders from Britain won both events, but the Irish talent certainly performed and should benefit from the hard racing.

David O'Loughlin will miss out on the defence of his title on Sunday in the Joey White Memorial, as he will be in action in Belgium. He is still smarting from Ras Mumhan at the 10 second penalty meted out to him for a drafting offence after Lady's View on the Ring of Kerry, which cost him the overall prize. "I just could not believe when I read the GC sheet about the infringement, it certainly turned the event in favour of the Recycling.Co.Uk/MG XPower outfit," said David. "Cards reversed, it would have been the Hibernian Team Ireland lads who would had their work cut out to protect my lead."

In the absence of O'Loughlin on Sunday, Eugene Moriarty comes into the frame. The Credit Union Ras Mumhan was his first outing of the year in a domestic event. "I have had good conditioning in Malaysia in the Telekom Le Tour de Langkawi and then I went on to South Africa for the Giro del Capo," said Moriarty. "Competing against the professionals is a real bonus and it gives you that extra zip.

"On Friday in Ras Mumhan it took me a while to get going, but once into the event everything went well. In three days of racing, I catapulted to the top of the rankings in the Classic League. The jersey is in dry dock until Sunday week in the Elliott where I want to erase the memory of being runner up last year. Anyhow, we'll take one day at a time and it would be nice to get my nose in front this weekend."

All categories will have competition on both days in the M. Donnelly Stamullen Road Club promotions. They are also catering for under age events, that will hopefully see the stars of the future in action. For the Brendan Carroll Memorial on Saturday, changing facilities will be in the St. Patrick's Community Centre, Stamullan. The following day they are in the Gormanstown Leisure Complex.

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