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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for July 30, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

World Cup resumes in Hamburg

By Jeff Jones

Bettini back into World Cup hunt
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

The men's road World Cup resumes this Sunday in Germany with the HEW Cyclassics Cup in Hamburg. Often criticised for not being selective enough, the parcours has been made harder through a modification of the finishing circuit to feature four climbs of the Waseberg (a short 15% climb), instead of the usual two. Thus, it will be harder than ever for the sprinters to triumph in Hamburg.

Last year, Paolo Bettini, Davide Rebellin, Jan Ullrich, Igor Astarloa and Mirko Celestino managed to escape on the last climb to fight it out for the honours, with Bettini taking the victory ahead of Rebellin and Ullrich. This year, it's likely that the same contenders will be vying for the prize, with World Cup leader Rebellin in form again and the top favourite ahead of Bettini. T-Mobile's Tour contingent of Jan Ullrich, Andreas Klöden and Erik Zabel will all be present and are strong candidates for the victory, no matter how the race unfolds.

Saeco's Danilo Di Luca, fresh of his win in the Brixia Tour, will be their main man on Sunday, while Rabobank's Erik Dekker and Oscar Freire will both be riders to keep an eye on. And if Bettini doesn't fire in the Quick.Step camp, there's always Tom Boonen. Igor Astarloa will front up in his World Championship colours for Lampre, with strong support from Gianluca Bortolami and Francesco Casagrande.

Look for Max van Heeswijk in US Postal-Berrry Floor, which is one of the few teams that will not be using any of its Tour de France riders. If it comes down to a sprint, Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole), Tom Steels (Landbouwkrediet), Jaan Kirsipuu and Jean Patrick Nazon (Ag2r), and Jimmy Casper and Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis) should all be competitive.

The route

The 250.3 km parcours is split into two sections: A 170 kilometre figure eight, taking the riders along the Elbe river for a substantial portion. This includes the famous bridge over the Elbe, the Köhlbrandbrücke, which is also a fairly gradual climb. Once the riders cross the start finish on Mönckebergstrasse again, they have to complete an 80.6 kilometre loop which includes three 12.7 km laps. Each lap contains the steep 15 percent Waseberg climb, with an additional ascent coming at 16 km to go on the run into the finish. The Waseberg also appears on the big circuit after 154 km, which means that it will have to be climbed a total of five times.

Live coverage

Cyclingnews will be covering the HEW Cyclassics live from start to finish. Coverage starts at 14:30 CEST (Europe)/10:30 EDT (USA East)/7:30 PDT (USA West)/22:30 AEST (Australia East).

More teams for HEW Cyclassics

Quick.Step-Davitamon

Paolo Bettini, Tom Boonen, Wilfried Cretskens, Kevin Hulsmans, Servais Knaven, Nick Nuyens, Luca Paolini, Stefano Zanini.

Lampre

Igor Astarloa, Alessandro Ballan, Paolo Bossoni, Sergio Barbero, Gianluca Bortolami, Francesco Casagrande, Andrej Hauptman, Mariano Piccoli

Saeco

Danilo Di Luca, Gabriele Balducci, Giosuè Bonomi, Mirko Celestino, Salvatore Commesso, David Loosli, Jörg Ludewig, Alessandro Spezialetti.

UCI give the all clear for Tour dope controls

The International Cycling Union has declared that all urine and blood samples taken during the 2004 Tour de France (except two samples belonging to Belgian Christophe Brandt) have not yielded any traces of banned substances or prohibited methods.

In addition, the UCI's Antidoping Commission examined all medical justifications presented for restricted products. "All riders who resorted to restricted products presented therapeutic justifications according to the Antidoping Rules," said the UCI in a statement.

Of the 189 medical checkups performed at the start of the Tour, the average hematocrit was 44.8% and the average haemoglobin was 14.9g/dl. As the Tour progressed, there were 107 additional blood controls carried out before July 13, which showed averages of 43.3% for hematocrit and 14.6g/dl for haemoglobin. During the last week of the Tour, 80 blood controls were performed, and the average hematocrit and haemoglobin were 42.3% and 14.1g/dl respectively.

Answers found in Pantani's death

The death of Marco Pantani on February 28, 2004 has been confirmed by Dr Giuseppe Fortuni of investigating magistrate's office Rimini to have been caused by a "massive overdose of cocaine". Dr Fortuni presented his 230 page report on the case in front of magistrate Paolo Gengarelli, pointing out that in his opinion, Pantani did not use any doping substances in the final months of his life.

"From a behavioural point of view, Marco Pantani suffered from 'cocaine delirium', i.e. a complete loss of any critical thinking ability, a real psychosis that definitely excludes voluntary suicide. The definitive evaluation shows with a great degree of confidence that the cause of death of the rider can solely be attributed to an overdose of cocaine. Pantani took a high dose: in his blood we found traces of the substance many times greater than necessary to cause death. It was pure cocaine and not badly cut."

Belgian doctor expects more doping cases

Renno Roelandt, the Belgian Olympic Committee's anti-doping doctor, believes that there will be many more doping cases coming to light in the near future. High profile Belgian cyclists Dave Bruylandts and Filip Meirhaeghe recently tested positive for EPO, greatly reducing Belgium's chances of medalling in cycling at the Athens Olympics.

Dr. Roelandt told Sporza that he was both surprised and not surprised at Meirhaeghe's positive. "There are a lot of stories going round at the moment. Over EPO use on a grand scale in cycling and endurance sport. People in the area have been talking to me."

Dr. Roelandt estimated that the Meirhaeghe case was not only bad for the country's Olympic chances, "it's even worse for the sport itself, because Meirhaeghe was a real figurehead, especially among the youth. He is very stupid to have experimented in Canada, in the lion's den [WADA is based in Canada]."

As for the future, "I expect new doping cases in a very short time," he said. "We also see that athletes and sportspeople choose a separate location to prepare in order to avoid out of competition controls. So the English team stays in Spain where doping is dealt with permissively."

Pedal for Scotland

Pedal for Scotland, to be held on September 19, is Scotland's largest mass participation bike ride, and will be run between Glasgow and Edinburgh. The ride is in its fourth year and this year aims to raise money for the Children 1st and Barnardo's Scotland charities. The route is 50 miles (80 km) and there will be coaches available to transport participants from Edinburgh to Glasgow and vice versa.

For full details of the ride, the charities and how to sign up, visit www.pedalforscotland.org.

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