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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for December 15, 2005

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Armstrong defamation case heads to Italian court

Jurisdiction in doubt

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

Lance Armstrong and Filippo Simeoni at the 2004 Tour de France
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Click for larger image

Italian prosecutor Nicola Insiti in Latina, Italy has forwarded the defamation case against Lance Armstrong by Filippo Simeoni to the regional court in Latina for a preliminary hearing on March 7, 2006. Although it is not clear if the Italian court actually even has any jurisdiction in the case, where allegedly defamatory comments were made by Armstrong in a July 2003 interview in French newspaper Le Monde calling Simeoni a liar, Italian legal authorities in Latina, where Simeoni resides, have decided to hear Simeoni's case.

After Armstrong chased down Simeoni at the 2004 Tour, Simeoni called back to Italy and complained to his local carabineri about Armstrong's supposedly intimidating actions and his alleged defamatory remarks. 16 months later, a preliminary hearing date will be held on March 7 before Judge Maria Teresa Cialoni. Armstrong faces a maximum penalty of six years in jail, but with the actual jurisdiction of the case in doubt, there is also a real chance that Simeoni's entire case will be thrown out of court.

Sastre happy with Vuelta course

Spanish pro rider Carlos Sastre and CSC directeur sportif Kim Andersen were both happy after the 2006 Vuelta a España course was revealed in Madrid on Wednesday. "I'm very satisfied with the course," Sastre said. "The Vuelta means a lot to me and alongside the Tour de France it's my main objective for next season.

"The course is very tough and there's no doubt you'll need a strong team to be a main contender for the overall win. We did a really good Vuelta this year and I'm looking forward to defending my top result," added Sastre, who finished on the podium after a strong performance in 2005.

"It's a very challenging route, and especially interesting that the first really hard mountain stage come just four stages into the race," said Kim Andersen. "I think it's perfect for Carlos; the route is very hard in the mountains and then we have two time trials, which suits him very well. Like this year, we have a team with set goals over the whole season, which means the Vuelta will be one of our main objectives next year. We have a great result to defend and I believe we have a good chance of achieving this."

The full 2006 Vuelta a España parcours can be viewed here.

Liberty director general Piñera resigns

Manuel Piñera, president of Active Bay, the company managing Spanish Liberty Seguros team, has announced his resignation yesterday. Following the positive doping test of Roberto Heras, Piñera leaves the team in apparent disagreement with directeur sportif Manolo Saiz.

"I'm leaving because there are things I do not agree with, and that I cannot change, despite my position as president," Piñera told Spanish newspaper As, which reported that the Spaniard did not want to condone the way in which the team management treated the doping case of Heras, which held only the rider responsible for the scandal. Piñera will therefore sell his shares of the company (56 percent) to the other two shareholders, Manolo Saiz and Pablo Antón.

"It would be logical if Manolo and Pablo would by them," Piñera continued. "We three started this project together." Moreover, the sponsorship by the American Insurance company Liberty seems to be secure. "I'm certain that the sponsorship will continue, and I'm certain that we have the best team in the world," the outgoing president of the squad concluded.

Eneco Tour of Benelux taking shape

Belgian newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen has revealed an outline of the next Eneco Tour of Benelux, which will be carried out from August 16-23, 2006. Starting out in the Netherlands, the race is reported to visit Balen, hometown of Belgian World Champion Tom Boonen, on the penultimate day. The finish of stage five in the Belgian Ardennes region has not been decided yet, but it will be a decisive stretch on spring classics terrain.

Following complaints about too narrow roads during the first edition of the race, the organisers are looking for wider roads especially for the parcours of the stage finishes. The official route will be announced in the beginning of January, 2006.

The provisional route lists as follows:

Prologue - August 16: ITT Den Helder (Ned)
Stage 1 - August 17: Den Helder - province Drenthe (Ned)
Stage 2 - August 18: Province Drenthe - Sittard (Ned)
Stage 3 - August 19: Sittard (Ned) - Westmalle (Bel)
Stage 4 - August 20: TT Landgraaf (Ned)
Stage 5 - August 21: Landgraaf (Ned) - province Liège (Bel)
Stage 6 - August 22: Hasselt - Balen (Bel)
Stage 7 - August 23: Bornem - Sint-Truiden (Bel)

Skil Moser pros waiting for salary

Several riders including Belgian Bart Voskamp, all under contract of Continental team Skil Moser in 2005, have not received their salary for four months, ANP reported. Voskamp has put an end to his career after this season, but is now involved in legal action against his former employee, team manager Bert van der Tuuk, who in turn claims that he has not received a part of the sponsorship funds from Skil.

"This part will now be paid to everybody's satisfaction," said Skil marketing manager Robert de Rooij. "But I want to make it clear that we are not satisfied with the management of the team and its communication. In our opinion, we have already fulfilled our commitments." Skil will continue to support cycling as co-sponsor of Dutch Professional Continental team Shimano next season.

Navigators Insurance expands for 2006

By Mark Zalewski

For the past twelve years, Ed Beamon has been successful in fielding one of the strongest teams in the North American peloton - and even with team transfers routinely challenging the Navigators Insurance team, the veteran team director continues to assemble talent from all over the world. In 2006, his work has resulted in the largest roster ever, totalling seventeen riders.

Many familiar names remain with the team, including the 36 year-old Russian sprinter Vassili Davidenko and multiple Olympic champion track sprinter Marty Nothstein. Also continuing with the outfit is the international flavour, with Irish champion David O'Loughlin keeping his national jersey with the team. In fact, eleven of the seventeen riders are from outside of North America.

The 2003 U-23 World Road Champion Sergey Lagutin heads the lineup of new recruits that includes several European based professionals as well as a strong compliment of North American based performers. Lagutin, the current national road and time trial champion in his native Uzbekistan is joined by former Ukrainian national champion Valeriy Kobzarenko. In addition, the Belgian based Australian Glen Chadwick and the California based Australian Ben Brooks join the squad along with two Americans, former Navigators rider T. Burke Swindlehurst, and the up-coming Bernard Van Ulden.

With this expanded roster, team Navigators will continue to compete in key events throughout Europe, Asia and Oceanic countries, while refocusing on domestic goals as well, and is well positioned to take advantage of a strengthened U.S. event schedule that now spans February through September.

The full 2006 Navigators Insurance Cycling Team roster is:

Ben Brooks (Aus), 27, Siro Camponogara (Ita), 29, Glen Chadwick (Aus), 30, Hilton Clarke (Aus), 27, Vassili Davidenko (Rus), 36, Cesar Grajales (Col), 33, Oleg Grichkine (Rus), 31, Valeriy Kobzarenko (Ukr), 29, Sergey Lagutin (Uzb), 25, Shawn Milne (USA), 25, Marty Nothstein (USA), 35, David O'loughlin (Irl), 28, Ciaran Power (Irl), 30, T. Burke Swindlehurst (USA), 33, Bernard Van Ulden (USA), 27, Mark Walters (Can), 30, and Phil Zajicek (USA), 27.

See also: Navigators Insurance plotting a different course in 2006

Jørgensen signs with Designa Køkken

By Jesper Johannesen,

Danish professional René Jørgensen has signed a contract with Continental team Designa Køkken. The Danish team will expand their race program considerably next season and the contract with the now former Barloworld rider can be seen as step towards a professional status aimed at for 2008. "I will still have the opportunity to live in Luxembourg, and primarily focus on the team’s international calendar," René Jørgensen said. "I’ll almost only ride in Denmark in UCI races, but that certainly won’t mean that I’ll be wasting my time."

Originally, Jørgensen had signed for Barloworld for the 2006 season, but as the group behind the team decided to cut down on the team’s budget and change the management, there suddenly wasn't room for the Danish rider anymore. Team Designa Køkken, which has it’s headquarters in Silkeborg, immediately contacted the Danish rider and quickly reached an agreement binding the rider for the next season, at first.

"I’m very happy to get this opportunity, and I’m very impressed with the professionalism of the team. I don’t think I’ve ever read a contract that simple and easy to read. It’s clear that the people behind the team are very qualified and worth trusting", a relieved Jørgensen added. Team Designa Køkken now has 15 riders under contract for the coming season.

British UCI Continental team looking for riders

A new British UCI Continental team, whose title sponsor and full rider list will be presented on Friday, December 23, is looking for additional riders to compliment their existing line-up. This brand new team will be competing in the UK Premier Calendar Series and several stage races in Asia and Europe. Half the team will be based in southern Europe with the other half remaining in the UK.

All applications must be received no later than December 18 and will be treated in the strictest confidence. Please forward C.V's to

Colombian cyclists suspended

The Colombian cycling federation has announced the suspension of four cyclists on the grounds of doping offences in races on the national and international calendar. Vladimir Gonzàlez has been suspended for five years as he tested positive for traces of testosterone at the end of stage three of the Vuelta a Colombia. The suspension has been increased because Gonzàlez has apparently transgressed the ethical code repeatedly.

Gustavo Guzmàn and Alex Atapuma have both received a two-year suspension - the first for testing positive for testosterone during the Vuelta a Boyacà, and the second for using cocaine at the Vuelta de la Juventud. Finally, Fereney Bello was suspended provisionally for three days as he showed traces of Estanozolol during a test at the Tour de la Guadeloupe, already shook up be doping allegations last year.

"We have decreased doping cases by 80 percent, thanks to the control and prevention programs implemented by the federation," said Carlos Vargas, member of the disciplinary commission of the Colombian cycling federation.

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