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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for August 18, 2004

Edited by Chris Henry

Gané hopes to end with gold

At 31 years old, France's Laurent Gané sees retirement at the end of this season, but not before a final push for Olympic gold in Athens. The track rider, a former world champion in the individual sprint and member of the accomplished French national team, has accomplished all of his goals in the sport except the top step on the Olympic podium.

"I'm aiming for gold in the sprint and the team sprint," Gané told Reuters several days before track competition begins in Athens. "I would like to finish [my career] with an Olympic title. It's the only thing missing from my palmarès."

Gané also spared no criticism of the doping scandal surrounding the Australian track team leading up to the Olympics, saying "naturally I've followed the affair in Australia. It's good to see the fight against doping catching people, since it's true there have been a number of riders whose profession surprised us."

Without question, the Olympics in Athens will be Gané's final event as a professional, after which he will return to his native New Caledonia to work as a coach of young riders.

"If I'm here, that means I'm not too old," he insisted, defending his own chances. "But this is my last big competition. After this, it's up to the next generation."

50-50 Chance for Kersten

Following the controversy of doping allegations, selection appeals and counter appeals, Australian track cycling coach Martin Barras said team members were now talking to each other.

Barras said there was a 50-50 chance that Ben Kersten, who was replaced when Sean Eadie was cleared of doping allegations and recalled to the team once Jobie Dajka was dumped for the same reason, would ride. He is confident of a medal in the team sprint but said he had not run the combination before and would only name the team on Friday for Saturday's races.

Kersten complained of being sidelined when he joined the team at their German training camp but Barras said the team had pulled together.

"Everybody's talking to everybody and is getting on with the job of getting ready," Barras said.

Perth rider Ryan Bayley said he was confident and came to the Olympics to win, but while he hasn't been in the headlines or in court, the controversy surrounding the team had taken a toll.

"It's knocked a few people around, it has knocked me around a little bit, but I believe we're all coming out stronger," he said.

The 22-year-old is certain he'll finish in the top three of the sprint.

"I want to win everything possible ... being realistic I reckon in the team sprint we've got a reasonable chance. In the sprint I believe I have a very good chance... I believe the top three is a definite for me."

Barras said he was not into number crunching or medal predictions but believed the Australians were ready and would finish the Olympics as the best cycling team in the world.


Brandt awaits decision

Lotto-Domo's Christophe Brandt, who tested positive for methadone in this year's Tour de France, expects a decision on his sanction within two weeks. The Belgian cycling federation is expected to give a verdict on Brandt's sanction by September 2, and indications are that prosecutors are prepared to suggest a lenient punishment for the offense, a six month suspension from competition with perhaps that entire duration coming in the form of a suspended sentence.

"He's considered the attenuating circumstances, taking into account the trace quantities of the substance, and the month and a half of suspension I've effectively served since being fired by Lotto-Domo," Brandt said of the federal prosecutor's suggestion, speaking in a La Dernière Heure interview.

"On the one hand, being innocent, I can't be satisfied with any suspension," Brandt added. "On the other hand, I'm anxious to begin racing again as quickly as possible, and I don't want to lose more time in appeals."

Brandt, who was tested positive on two occasions in the Tour (July 5 and July 9) before being ejected from the race, takes issue with comparisons of his case to other Belgian doping positives such as those of Dave Bruylandts and Fillip Meirhaeghe.

"Some people have judged me without knowing the facts," he said. "Despite everything I've tried to keep my morale, even though it's not always easy. Now I hope to be racing again in two weeks."

Elevated hematocrits at Tre Valli Varesine

Two riders were declared unfit to start Tuesday's Tre Valli Varesine classic in Italy, the first of three races in the Trittico Lombardo series. Four teams were tested prior to the race: Ceramiche Panaria, Team LPR, Team Barloworld and Tenax. From these four teams, Panaria's Renzo Mazzoleni and Barloworld's David George were found to have elevated hematocrit levels (over 50%), and per UCI rules have been removed from competition for 15 days.

"Team Barloworld will give the UCI its full support, during their investigation," said team manager John Robertson, concerning the case of South African George. "David is a world class rider, and has been with Barloworld from inception. His record is impeccable.

"The management of Team Barloworld fully supports the anti doping practices as set forth by the UCI and should any rider on the team be implicated or suspected of doping his contract will be terminated with immediate effect," he added.

Seven Pro Tour candidates

The UCI announced Tuesday the reception of seven new candidatures for the Pro Tour, set to begin in 2005. With thirteen teams already accepted, five places remain for the target of 18 teams for cycling's new league format. The following teams submitted their applications in time for the final round of review, and will be reviewed by the UCI's License Commission:

Sportpromotie Asbl (, Belgium
GS Elche Comunidad Valenciana (Kelme-Costa Blanca), Spain
Juvenes Limited (Saeco), Great Britain
Ciclosport Srlm, Italy
Liquigas Sport Spa, Italy
Red Team Srl (Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo), Italy
Silver Team Srl (Fassa Bortolo), Italy

Quick.Step keeps Bramati and Zanini

Davide Bramati and Stefano Zanini have each reached agreements to extend their contracts with Quick.Step-Davitamon through 2005.

San Francisco's longest-running race

San Francisco's longest-running bicycle race, the Summit Mortgage Advisors Giro di San Francisco, which is presented by McGuire Real Estate and Lombardi Sports, will celebrate its 30th edition on Labor Day, September 6 near downtown San Francisco and the Embarcadero.

Competing for the Northern California Criterium Championships, the Pro/Elite Men's and Elite Women's fields will feature members of professional cycling teams such as McGuire Pro Cycling, Ofoto-Lombardi Sports, Sierra Nevada, Webcor Builders, and Health Net-Maxxis.

The Giro will also host the McGuire Family Fest, featuring fun activities for the entire family such as a bike decorating competition, jumping castles and slides, a "mini-city" where the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition will offer bike safety classes, and a kids' race open to ages 15 and under. The Family Fest will benefit the Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation.

See for more information.

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)