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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for February 18, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

British federation supports Millar's CAS decision

The British Cycling Federation has issued a statement in reaction to yesterday's Court of Arbitration for Sport decision to move the end of David Millar's two year doping suspension to June 23, 2006. The Although the CAS agreed with British Cycling's two year sanction of the now deposed 2003 World Time Trial Champion, it found that since Millar was in practical terms unable to compete from the date of his admission of doping to the French police, the start of his suspension should run from that date, and not the date of the BCF disciplinary hearing.

CAS pointed out that the regulations of the UCI covering the calculation of the start date of a suspension do not differentiate between the date an athlete is formally suspended and the date when the athlete becomes unable to compete due to practical or political factors surrounding a doping case. Thus, Millar's ban will run from June 24, 2004 to June 23, 2006, opening up the possibility that he could compete in the 2006 Tour (as long as his lawyers can argue their way around the UCI's ProTour ethical charter).

British Cycling's President Brian Cookson commented, "I believe that this pronouncement by the Court of Arbitration for Sport shows that the British Cycling Federation acted fairly and reasonably in its handling of David Millar's case. Our assessment and resultant decision were not overturned or changed in any way, save for the change of start date, which was always open to interpretation. We remain committed to the fight against doping in our sport and believe that this case still sends out a strong message to those who might be tempted to cheat through the use of doping products."

Teams for French weekend

Thor Hushovd
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

This weekend (February 19-20) will see the two French one day races, Tour du Haut Var and Classic Haribo, taking place. Both classed as UCI 1.1 races on the European Continental Circuit, each one is suited to different type of rider. The 37th Tour du Haut Var on Saturday starts in Draguignan and will be held over a hilly 181 km parcours, with the 640m Cote d'Ampus featuring as the final climb with 18 km to go. Sunday's 12th Classic Haribo starts in Uzes and finishes in Marseilles after 203.5 km of racing, and typically favours the sprinters.

Last year, Marc Lotz (Rabobank) won a very wet edition of Haut Var, while Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) won the Classic Haribo in a wet, crash-filled and chaotic finish.

The following teams have announced their lineups for the two races:

Tour du Haut Var

Ag2r: Cyril Dessel, Andy Flickinger, Simon Gerrans, Laurent Mangel, Stéphane Goubert, Marc Scanlon, Ludovic Turpin, Erki Putsep.

Fassa Bortolo: Massimo Codol, Claudio Corioni, Mauro Facci, Dario Frigo, Volodimir Gustov, Kim Kirchen, Gustav Larsson, Vincenzo Nibali.

Lampre-Caffita: Alessandro Ballan, Giosuè Bonomi, GianLuca Bortolami, Giuliano Figueras, David Loosli, Gilberto Simoni, Daniele Righi, Michele Scotto d'Abusco.

Classic Haribo

Ag2r: Cyril Dessel, Andy Flickinger, Laurent Mangel, Lloyd Mondory, Jean-Patrick Nazon, Erki Putsep, Marc Scanlon, Aliaksandr Usau.

Fassa Bortolo: Francesco Chicchi, Massimo Codol, Claudio Corioni, Mauro Facci, Volodimir Gustov, Kim Kirchen, Gustav Larsson, Vincenzo Nibali.

Lampre-Caffita: Alessandro Ballan, Giosuè Bonomi, GianLuca Bortolami, Giuliano Figueras, David Loosli, Gilberto Simoni, Daniele Righi, Michele Scotto d'Abusco.

Liberty riders renew for long term

Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Liberty Seguros)
Photo ©: CN
Click for larger image

Liberty Seguros riders Luis León Sánchez, Allan Davis and Alberto Contador have renewed their contracts with the team until the end of 2008, according to Diario Vasco. All three are young and talented, and have already gained some good results this season in the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, where Sánchez and Davis finished first and second overall, and Contador won a stage.

Manolo Sáiz has also signed U23 riders José Joaquín Rojas and José Antonio Redondo until the end of 2008, while Javier Ramírez Abeja and Carlos Barredo have deals until the end of 2007. Sergio Quílez and Alberto Garay have signed on as team doctors.

In the upcoming Vuelta a la Comunidad Valenciana, Liberty Seguros will be represented by Luis Lion Sánchez, Carlos Barredo, Alberto Contador, Javier Ramírez, Sergio Paulinho, Koldo Gil and David Etxebarria.

Bartko wins Fair Play award

German track specialist Robert Bartko has been given a Fair Play award by the German Olympic Committee (DOG) after an incident that occurred during the recent Berlin Six Day. Bartko was competing against Bruno Risi in the final sprint that would determine the overall winner, when he crashed out of contention meaning that Risi and Betschart took out the title. Although the German fans assumed that Risi was at fault, Bartko hastened to assure them over the microphone that, "The crash was my own fault. Bruno is the honest winner."

Bartko is the second cyclist to be given the DOG's Fair Play award, as Jan Ullrich also won it after waiting for Lance Armstrong, who crashed on Luz Ardiden in the 2003 Tour de France.

Crash interrupts Deignan's early season program

By Shane Stokes, Irishcycling.com

Young Irish hope Philip Deignan's early season ambition to test his climbing legs in Paris-Nice looks to be dashed due to the lingering effects of a crash he suffered in last week's Tour of the Mediterranean. The Ag2R-Prevoyance rider still has heavy bruising around the knee joint and has been forced to pull out of Saturday's Tour du Haut Var, a race which was to be valuable preparation for next month's ProTour event.

The damage to his leg was done when the first year pro hit the deck twenty kilometres from the start of Mont Faron on day three of the Med tour. He remounted and finished 47th on the stage, but did not start the following day's team time trial due to the injury.

"The crash was pretty bad," he told Cyclingnews today. "I was working my way up the bunch before the climb when a Phonak rider moved out suddenly and hit my front wheel. We were doing 60 or 70 kilometres an hour at the time, so I fell pretty hard. I just missed hitting a telegraph pole when I went down, so I guess things could have been a lot worse."

Deignan is a promising climber who, as a twenty year old amateur, finished 18th in last year's Tour of Britain and also won the Ronde de l'Isard under 23 World Cup event. He had been planning on showing his climbing ability on the third stage. "I was hoping to do a good ride on Mont Faron. I got straight back on the bike after my crash and joined the bunch just before the start of the climb, finishing 46th, but think without the fall a top 15 or 20 place would have been possible.

"My knee has been pretty bruised ever since then. I've done nothing on the bike since but will try to start back this weekend. Unfortunately I'll miss the Tour du Haut Var and, with the interruption, am almost certain to miss out on riding Paris-Nice. Taking part in that was a target for my first pro season."

Deignan had showed good condition during Ag2R-Prevoyance's pre-season training camp, his strong mountain form ensuring that he was transferred from the team's Tour of Quatar squad to the lineup for the Tour of the Med. He is likely to return to competition in the GP Chiasso and the GP di Lugano later this month but even if that goes well, the interruption to his schedule makes a Paris-Nice ride almost impossible.

As Ag2R is a continental professional team rather than a ProTour squad, there is added uncertainty about his program. "I don't know what races I will be doing as the team probably won't get into many of the ProTour events," he said. "I think we are due to do Fleche Wallone and Liège-Bastonge-Liège - that will be good. I did the espoir version of those races and they suited me well, so I'd love to ride the pro events."

In Deignan's absence, Ag2R's Irish fans will still have someone to cheer. "Mark (Scanlon) will be doing Haut Var and Paris-Nice," said Deignan. "He is going pretty well at the moment. He is also a bit leaner than the past couple of years so that should work well for him."

More gas sponsorship

Liquigas' sister company Primagaz has also become involved in cycling sponsorship. In addition to co-sponsoring the Liquigas-Bianchi team, Primagaz will sponsor Paris-Nice.

Cesar Marcellak dies

Polish born French cyclist Cesar Marcellak has died at the age of 92 at his home in Bully-les-Mines, France. Marcellak became French champion in 1948, a year after he was granted French nationality. He rode professionally between 1947 and 1955 and competed in three Tours de France. He will be buried next Monday in Bully-les-Mines.

Women ride across Cambodia for charity

In response to the sorrow seen in the eyes of Cambodian children on trips to South East Asia, four women have planned a month-long marathon bike ride to fund the construction of a rural school. The ride, called "Protect Earth, Protect Yourself" (PEPY), aims to raise $16,000 for the nonprofit American Assistance for Cambodia, a program that has already built over 260 schools across the country. Heralding from the USA, the UK, and New Zealand, these women will visit remote villages, stopping to teach about prevalent environmental and health issues at local schools and orphanages.

More information: www.pepyride.org

Midweek and Vaughan CC amalgamate

The Canadian-based Vaughan and Midweek Cycling Clubs have announced that the two clubs are amalgamating, effective immediately. The Midweek weekly series of learn-to-race clinics, criteriums and time trials will continue in their present locations as will the CHIN Picnic and Centennial Park Cyclo-cross events. The Midweek senior men's team will now become the Vaughan Midweek squad and the W P Stucco master B team will race under the new club's umbrella. The Vaughan Midweek Cycling Club's mission is to promote the sport of cycling in the GTA and throughout York Region.

Membership fees are $100 and members will receive Vaughan Midweek CC jersey, bib shorts, and bottle, and OCA insurance. Current members of Midweek CC will have their membership honoured and may purchase the new clothing and bottle for $40.

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