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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for October 22, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones & Hedwig Kröner

Hamilton vows to clear his name

Olympic time trial gold medalist Tyler Hamilton is continuing to maintain his innocence in the wake of evidence that he made use of blood doping at the Olympics and the Vuelta a España. Ever since the results of his three positive blood tests were made public in September, Hamilton has remained quiet about the affair, only releasing a statement together with his Phonak team saying that they would be seeking to challenge the scientific validity of the WADA-approved test. During that time, it's been business as usual for Hamilton, who was signing reams of autographs at Interbike and has been participating in fun rides as any pro in their off-season would do.

Although Hamilton has been allowed to keep his Athens gold medal due to an untestable B sample, the Russian Olympic Committee has lodged an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport to try to have the medal awarded to second place getter Viatcheslav Ekimov. In addition, WADA and IOC chiefs Dick Pound and Jacques Rogge have both been quoted as saying that Hamilton's medal isn't legitimate in the eyes of the public. On top of that, Hamilton is still facing a procedure opened against him by the US Anti-Doping Association after both A and B samples taken during the Vuelta were positive for a "mixed red blood cell population". If found guilty of blood doping, he faces a ban of up to two years.

Hamilton reiterated his innocence at a fundraiser for the Tyler Hamilton Foundation, a charity devoted to assisting people affected by multiple sclerosis, in Berkeley, California this week. "The press has called me a cheater and that I'm a liar," Hamilton said. "For me, that's a kick in the head. I have never cheated, I grew up with family core values. There are people who believe me and people who don't believe me. There are people on the fence who don't know what to think. I've asked them for patience. I can't say a word. When I tell my side of the story, then they have the right to make their opinion."

Those eager to know Hamilton's side of the story will certainly have to be patient, as he will not speak about it until his case is heard by the USADA in January, 2005. But he vowed that he will continue to fight the accusations "until I don't have a cent left...I'd rather be completely broke and clear my name."

Unlike other riders who quickly retired once they were caught doping, Hamilton doesn't want to take that road. "One option was to quit, he said. "My wife and I have an incredible lifestyle and it would have been easy. But I didn't want to go out with that hanging over my head. I have no reason to hang my head and hide."

Vuelta back to the Angliru?

According to todociclismo.com, the next edition of the Vuelta a España could see a finish on dreaded Angliru again, as in 2002. The general sports director of Asturias, Daniel Gutiérrez, met with the former director of Unipublic, Enrique Franco, and the technical director of the race, Víctor Cordero, in Madrid, where it was made clear that the region of Asturias would host two stage finishes, and that one of them may well be the Angliru. The stage details will be finalised in a second meeting.

El Angliru one of the most difficult climbs in Europe, as the road accessing the summit starts at 320 metres above sea level, and winds up the mountainside for 13.2 km to finish at 1570 metres altitude. With an average ascent around 10 percent, the Angliru contains ramps of up to 23.6 percent.

Giro dell'Appennino pays tribute to Coppi

Next year's Giro dell'Appennino will pay tribute to the campionissimo, Fausto Coppi, by passing through his home town of Novi Ligure. Coppi won the race in 1955, thus 2005 will make the 50th anniversary of his victory. This year's race was won by Damiano Cunego, who then went onto win the Giro d'Italia and the Giro di Lombardia.

Tour de Suisse 2005 unveiled

While the organisers of the Tour de France are taking their time until October 28 to publish the 2005 parcours of "La Grande boucle", their Swiss counterparts have revealed the upcoming Tour de Suisse details, which will be held from June 11-19, 2005. The race will total 1350 km and mainly take place in the eastern and central parts of the country, leaving out the Ticino region and moving into Romandie only at the end.

There will be an individual time trial of 36 km on the second stage before the peloton hits the big climbs with three mountain finishes (Arosa, Verbier and Lenk) to master. On the last day, the riders must climb three Alpine passes (Nufenen, Gotthard and Furka) before finishing the stage and the race in Ulrichen.

The stages

Stage 1 - June 11: Schaffhausen - Weinfelden, 170 km
Stage 2 - June 12: Weinfelden ITT, 36 km
Stage 3 - June 13: Abtwil SG - Arlberg - St. Anton, 160 km
Stage 4 - June 14: Vaduz - Zurzach, 205 km
Stage 5 - June 15: Zurzach - Altdorf, 176 km
Stage 6 - June 16: Altdorf/Bürglen - Oberalp - Arosa, 155 km
Stage 7 - June 17: Zürichsee - Schallenberg - Lenk, 182 km
Stage 8 - June 18: Lenk - Col du Pillon - Verbier, 165 km
Stage 9 - June 19: Ulrichen - Nufenen - Gotthard - Furka - Ulrichen, 113 km

Superprestige round 2 in Sint-Michielsgestel

The third round of the Superprestige cyclo-cross series will be held in Sint-Michielsgestel, the Netherlands, on October 31. Sven Nys (Rabobank) will be on hand to defend his lead in the series after he dominated the opposition in round 1 in Ruddervoorde, Belgium last weekend. But close behind Nys is his teammate and local boy Richard Groenendaal, still one of the top cyclo-crossers in the world and the winner of 19 Superprestige races in his career.

Question marks still remain about the form of Bart Wellens (Fidea), who was the man to beat last year but has had a slow start to the 2004/2005 season. Wellens finished fifth in Ruddervoorde and has at least put some points on the board in the SP series, but has a bit of work to do to match the form of Nys.

So far this season, it's clear that there are younger cyclo-crossers coming up through the ranks, such as Sven Vanthourenhout (Quick.Step-Davitamon), Tom Vannoppen (MrBookmaker.com-Palmans), Ben Berden (Saey-Deschacht), Italian Enrico Franzoi (Saeco), and Czech riders Zdenek Mlynár (AC Sparta Praha) and Václav Jezek (Author Praha). All should be in action in Sint-Michielsgestel, trying to knock off favourite Sven Nys, who has won three times in Sint-Michielsgestel.

The racing will commence on October 31 at 10:00 with the amateurs, followed by the masters at 10:02. At 11:00, the novices will begin their race, followed at two minutes by the women - the first time that a women's race has been held during a Superprestige in Sint-Michielsgestel. The junior men will start at noon, then the U23 men at 13:15. Finally, the elite men will race for an hour starting at 15:00.

Basso does 'cross?

Italian Ivan Basso (CSC) is reportedly interested in riding a couple of cyclo-cross races over winter. His manager Gerrie van Gerwen is looking for interested organisers, and Basso could race in the Azencross in Belgium on December 29.

Cofidis offer Cipo contract

According to Italian daily Tuttosport, the French Cofidis team has reportedly made Italian sprinter Mario Cipollini an offer to ride for them next season. The 37 year-old has ridden for Domina Vacanze since the start of 2003, but together with other riders on the team, is pursuing action against the team's sponsor for non-payment of wages since June of this year.

Civil process against "Didi" Thurau

49-year old ex-pro Dietrich "Didi" Thurau must face a civil process in Kandel, Germany on November 17, 2004. The 1979 Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner, who wore the Yellow jersey for 15 days during the Tour de France that year, is accused of hitting a woman at a race where his son was competing. The woman is now suing him for €4,000 in damages, a court spokesperson confirmed. Three witnesses are expected at the trial.

The violent dispute allegedly occurred in Rheinzabern, Southwest Germany in July last year. Thurau hit the woman because he was concerned that her parked car would obstruct the riders on the finishing straight. According to German website radsport-aktiv.de, Thurau punched her so hard that the woman subsequently lost four teeth. "My client does admit he slapped the woman," said his attorney Roland Stich, "but he certainly did not hit her hard in the face."

Australia gets a look at 2005 kit

Some two weeks after the USA's Interbike exhibition - and we've still got reports to come from the show - is the chance for Australian cyclists to see some of the latest 2005 kit on display when the Bicycling Australia show opens to the public this Saturday and Sunday, October 23-24, at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne.

Open to the general cycling public, there is a 'door prize' on offer from Trek Australia, plus rider demonstrations in the Eastern Bikes BMX show, MTB trials, the ever-popular CatEye rollers competition, where trackies start smokin', and even a unicycle show.

There will also be a test track at the front of the exhibition where visitors can test the bikes on offer. On the show floor, Australian bike companies are expected to have the latest models on display and Cyclingnews will also be there, so drop by our booth and check out some of the specials for the show.

For more information about the Bicycling Australia show, click here.

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