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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for June 16, 2005

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Phonak defends itself

In an official communiqué Swiss team Phonak hearing Systems has taken a stand against Swiss newspaper's allegations against the squad, which stated that two of its riders, namely Tomasz Nose and Santos Gonzalez, have been suspended from racing because of illegal substances or too high hematocrit values. Whether or not Nose is still part of the team, remains uncertain as Cyclingnews reported previously. As to Gonzalez, Phonak announced last week that Steve Zampieri would replace him in the Team's Tour de France roster, as directeur sportif René Savary explained that the Spaniard did not "stick to the rules".

In an effort to elucidate what exactly the team's rules are, Phonak issued a statement firmly negating all of the allegations and explaining that the team's medical staff applied "an internal code of medical control" to its riders, in order to "be informed, with the biggest possible certainty, about the state of health, fitness and physical condition of the riders." The Swiss ProTeam explains that "the established parameters within the team also serve as a basis to decided whether or not a rider takes part in a race or is imposed a break in his program."

The statement continues saying that the riders selected for a specific race undergo various blood tests five days prior to it, including such values as red blood cells, reticulocytes, hemoglobin and hematocrit. "If these values exceed the limits established by our team - which are significantly more stringent than those set by the UCI - the team may choose not to make a rider participate in competition and put him to rest. Within this framework, the team's manager, John Lelangue, in consensus with his directeurs sportifs and medical staff, may have to take certain decisions with regard to the composition of his team and the exclusion of certain riders of one or more races. The decisions resulting of internal medical analysis will not be commented, nor communicated for the basic reason that they are subject to the medical secret."

Phonak did not go into detail as to the exact parameters of its internal medical control and their differences with the ones established by the UCI.

Quick.Step announces ten

Belgian team Quick.Step-Innergetic has announced a selection of ten riders for the 2005 Tour de France, from which the technical staff will choose the nine riders that will ride the "Grande Boucle 2005". The riders are: Tom Boonen, Michael Rogers, Patrik Sinkewitz, Wilfried Cretskens, Kevin Hulsmans, Servais Knaven, Bram Tankink, Guido Trenti, Rik Verbrugghe and Stefano Zanini.

Freire out of TdS and TdF

Dutch team Rabobank will have to do without World Champion Oscar Freire at the upcoming Tour de France. The Spaniard is still suffering from a chronic infection in the saddle area and will not be able to participate at the three-week stage race in July, his team announced. Freire is also dropping out of the ongoing Tour de Suisse because of his injury and will not take the start tomorrow in stage six from Bürglen to Arosa.

Liberty fires team doctor

Professional cycling team Liberty Seguros' managing company, Active Bay S.L., has announced the contract termination with team doctor Alberto Garai in the light of recent race exclusions of Nuno Ribeiro and Isidro Nozal because of too high hematocrit values. The Portuguese Ribeiro was declared unfit to race at the 2005 Giro d'Italia for having a hematocrit level of 52 - two points over the UCI limit. Soon after, the Spaniard Nozal could not take the start at the Dauphiné Libéré for that same reason.

While Liberty Seguros suspended the two riders immediately, its managing society made public today that the team is waiting for further analysis of Nozal's blood samples, which he gave voluntarily after being tested at the Dauphiné Libéré, before re-integrating the rider in the team. As to Ribeiro, he has been reported to have found a new squad: the Portuguese LA Aluminios-Liberty Seguros, the ProTeam Liberty reserve.

Zabel hopes for Tour participation

Erik Zabel (T-Mobile) is still unsure about his inclusion in the Tour de France roster of his team. The man that has won six green jerseys in the past and once counted for the best sprinter on earth currently feels "a good fitness" according to German, but whether this is enough to justify his nomination for the "Grande Boucle" remains to be seen. The T-Mobile management will announce its final Tour de France selection on June 22.

"There are valid reasons to include me in the team and valid reasons not to," the 34 year-old said. "One of these is that the team is focused on Jan Ullrich, who's appearing to be in a very good condition." Zabel, who has ridden the Tour de Suisse in the past to prepare for the three weeks in France in July, skipped the event this year to participate in the Vuelta Ciclista Asturias from June 17-21. Some German observers see this as an indication that he will not be nominated for the Tour de France roster.

"It would be great if I was included," Zabel continued. "The Tour is a wonderful race and even more so, as it passes through Germany again this year." The man from Berlin, who will celebrate his 35th birthday one day before the stage to Karlsruhe, is surely hoping for a win if he participates. "But it will be very hard. There are so many fast guys like McEwen, Boonen, O'Grady and Cooke. What's more, they have all the support from their teams as they have nothing at stake on GC." Unlike T-Mobile...

Illes Balears and Liberty for G.P. Eindhoven

Team Illes Balears-Caisse d’Epargne has announced its line-up at the G.P. Eindhoven on June 19, 2005. During the newly established ProTour team time trial, Daniel Becke, Iván Gutiérrez, Sergi Escobar, Imanol Erviti, Isaac Gálvez and Toni Tauler will be under the watchful eye of team director Eusebio Unzue´.

Liberty Seguros-Würth will be lining up Ángel Vicioso (replacing Alberto Contador, who suffered an open fracture to a finger last week in the Dauphiné), Jan Hruska, Sergio Paulinho, Luis León Sanchez, René Andrle and Koen de Kort. Marino Lejarreta will be the team's director in the 48,6 km race. Meanwhile, Contador recovers satisfactorily and maintains his possibilities to participate in the next Tour de France.

Cofidis changes General Manager

French team Cofidis has announced Eric Boyer as the new general manager of the cycling squad. He replaces Stéphane Champetier who had been occupying the function on a provisional basis since last year when the team went through restructuring because of its doping affair. Boyer has spent 11 years in various cycling teams as a professional rider and finished the 1988 Tour de France in fifth position.

One for Irish history books!

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

Paul O'Donoghue from the 'Garden County of Ireland' Wicklow is all set to re-establish the Irish end to end record for cycling from Mizen Head in west Cork to Loop Head in Northern Ireland - a distance of 390 miles! Joe Barr, no mean performer in his day, holds the current record of 19hrs 3mins set in 1993. Barr is a former international cyclist. As far as O'Donoghue is concerned, D-day is Sunday, June 19. What could play an important part in his bid are the elements. "I'm hoping for a strong tailwind the whole way," he said, as the conditions are something that will play the pivotal role.

Starting at 2am on Sunday morning when you and I are safely tucked in our beds, O'Donoghue and his team will cut lonely figures at Mizen head but hopefully by the time they reach Fair in Northern Ireland the place will be awash with people acknowledging his effort. The course has been mapped out by organiser Seamus Sullivan and takes Paul through Cork City, on up towards Mullingar, Dundalk, Banbridge and finishing at Fair Head at about 20:30 on the Sunday evening - hoping to knock 40mins or so off Joe Barr's 12 year-old record. Paul O'Donoghue is no stranger to long distance cycling and is the current Irish record holder for the 12 hour and 24 hour time trials, he is also a veteran of several other long distance endurance events such as Paris-Brest-Paris and London-Edinburgh-London. Paul has been training for almost two years for this attempt under the careful eye of Club Coach, Aidan Ryan and according to Aidan, "Paul has the right conditioning, the experience and the mental strength to break this difficult record, all he needs is a bit of good luck on the day."

O'Donoghue will be assisted by a number of members of his Sorrento Cycling Club, who will help marshal him through built up areas safely and of course provide food and mechanical assistance. An independent observer will also oversee the event. Thanks also go to Murphy & Gunn and Europcar for providing back up vehicles for the record attempt.

King of the Mountain Series hits off in San Luis Obispo

For defending Jeep King of the Mountain World Champion Wade Bootes of Australia, an already deep line-up of contenders chasing the richest prize purse in the industry became even deeper with the announcement that Brian Lopes, mountain bike racing’s career victories leader, has been added to the U.S. squad for the 2005 Mountain Biking World Championships, beginning June 19 in San Luis Obispo, California.

The three-year-old Mountain Biking World Championships, sister event to the wintertime Skiing & Snowboarding World Championships, features the world’s top male and female mountain bike racers competing to capture the King of the Mountain title for their country, as well as a cash payout that tops $100,000 and the keys to a 2006 Jeep Commander. A national audience will be able to view the King of the Mountain Series on CBS Sports and through nationally syndicated television.

Heading into the first race of the three-event series at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, Bootes faces a list of challengers that includes San Diego’s Mike King, a former World Champion who has amassed 67 career top-three finishes; Michael Prokop of the Czech Republic, the 2004 World Cup Champion; and Chris Powell of La Jolla, Calif., who finished third at the U.S. Championships and eighth in the World Championships in 2004. Added to the mix is Lopes, from Trabuco Canyon, Calif., who besides being one of the most recognizable faces in the sport has earned 15 titles in his mountain biking career - nine on the NORBA National circuit, four on the UCI World Cup circuit and two prestigious World Championships.

On the women’s side, Australian Katrina Miller faces an equally daunting task in defending her Jeep King of the Mountain World Champion title. Miller, a two-time World Champion and four-time NORBA Champion, will battle a line-up that includes Anneke Beerten of the Netherlands, number one overall at the 2004 World Cup; England’s Fionn Griffiths, the 2003 NORBA Champion; Vanessa Quin of New Zealand, the 2004 ICU World Champion; Tara Llanes of Corona, Calif., a four-time Winter X Games medalist and 2003 U.S. Mountain X Champion; and Jill Kintner of San Jose, Calif., who has amassed an astounding 70 career BMX titles before taking up mountain bike racing, where she earned the 2004 NORBA Championship and the 2005 Sea Otter Championship.

In addition to this stellar field, two male and two female racers have qualified for the June 19 race in San Luis Obispo based on points earned in National Off-Road Bicycling Association (NORBA) events. They include on the men’s side, Travis Collins of San Luis Obispo, Calif., and Brian Schmith of Lancaster, Calif., and on the women’s side, Marla Streb of Los Osos, Calif., and Melissa Buhl.

Running from June through August, the Jeep King of the Mountain Series will include events on Saturday, July 23 at Pando Ski Area in Grand Rapids, Mich. and Sunday, August 14 at Jack Frost Mountain in The Pocono Mountains, Pa.

Yaletown Grand Prix in Vancouver

MJB Breweries and the Trek Red Truck Racing Team have announced the 2nd Annual Yaletown Grand Prix Bicycle Classic to be held on Friday, July 1 (Canada Day) in the heart of downtown Vancouver’s historic Yaletown. Building on the recent and growing success of a series of races commonly known as Superweek and inspired by the revitalization of the Tour of Gastown, over 300 riders are expected to battle it out through the streets of historic Yaletown for a growing cash and prize list of over $10,000. The race features a brand new course designed for accessibility and excitement for spectators, safety and speed for the participants, and a race schedule to accommodate all categories of riders, including a new Masters category this year.

For more information visit


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