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Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for March 8, 2005

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

AG2R suspends Biondi

The French cycling team AG2R has suspended its assistant directeur sportif Laurent Biondi, who has been charged with "possession, transportation and acquisition" of doping products yesterday. In a press statement, team director Vincent Lavenu said that "[the suspension] will be effective until official conclusions have been pronounced on his case. This decision was taken in accordance with the team's engagement to respect the Ethical Charter and fight against doping."

Meanwhile, Biondi's lawyer has announced that his client, who has been released from custody on Tuesday, was accused of "personal use" of illicit substances only, not of participating in a traffic ring of 'pot belge', a dangerous mixture of cocaine, heroine, amphetamines and pain killers, that was unveiled by French and Belgian investigators recently.

"I formally negate what I have been accused of," Biondi said yesterday as he was leaving the Bordeaux courthouse. "The people who have been making those accusations are liars." The former professional road cyclist will be confronting the two persons incriminating him in the next few weeks. He has also specified that he is ready to provide authorities with samples taken from his body in order to prove that he has never used any doping products, his lawyer declared.

Paris-Nice: Second stage shortened

Because of heavy snowfall in the Puy de Dôme central region of France, which hosts the second stage of Paris-Nice today, the race itinerary has had to be changed. Starting in Châtre, the riders will sign in for the stage as planned, but then drive in their respective team buses to Aigueperse (km 144,5 of the original course), where the peloton will depart at 15.00 CET for a very short stage of 46,5 km.

Last year, stage four of the "race to the sun" had to be cancelled because of the winterly weather. Tomorrow's stage through the Massif Central, a mountain range in central France, could also encounter some difficulties.

Cyclingnews is covering the event Live, starting 15.00 CET. To view the real-time updates, click here.
A stage one diary entry from Tom Danielson (Discovery Channel) can be read here.

Armstrong at Paris-Camembert

According to French daily newspaper Ouest France, Lance Armstrong will again take the start of the UCI rated 1.1 race Paris-Camembert on March 29. After the confirmation of the Discovery Channel team participating in the race, the organisers have now announced that the Armstrong will lead his team at the race for the fourth time, having been present in 2000, 2001 and 2002 already. José Azevedo and Chechu Rubiera will also line-up at the event, which includes seven climbs between 9 and 17% gradient on the final circuit of 80 kms.

T-Mobile and Gerolsteiner for Tirreno-Adriatico

T-Mobile is pinning its hopes on Erik Zabel again for the upcoming Tirreno-Adriatico. The sprinter, who finished third overall last year and took the points jersey, will lead his team there again this year, as preparation for Milan-San Remo. "The race gives Erik the chance to put the finishing touches on his preparations for the Primavera in comfortable temperatures," said T-Mobile sports director Mario Kummer. "And if he happens to bring in a stage win while he's at it, we won't say no." T-Mobile's line-up includes Zabel's longstanding friend and roommate Rolf Aldag, who last year won the mountains classification.

Tour de France runner-up Andreas Klöden will also participate. "In the last few days Andreas has worked good and hard," said TMO trainer Thomas Schediwie. "That goes for Steffen Wesemann, too, who wants to be in top form in April for the Belgian Classics."

T-Mobile for Tirreno-Adriatico: Rolf Aldag, Matthias Kessler, Andreas Klier, Andreas Klöden, Jan Schaffrath, Stephan Schreck, Steffen Wesemann, and Erik Zabel.

The second German team, Gerolsteiner, is sending Danilo Hondo, Fabian Wegmann, Frank Hoj, Robert Förster, Sebastian Lang, Marcus Zberg, Volker Ordowski and Markus Fothen to the Italian stage race.

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

2006 NZ Track Nats venue confirmed

BikeNZ has announced Wanganui will host the 2006 National Track Cycling Championships from January 9-14. The Track Cycling Championships are usually held in March but have been brought forward to allow those selected for the Commonwealth Games in March to have the best possible lead up.

BikeNZ High Performance Director Michael Flynn said, "The timing of the National Track Championships will allow New Zealand athletes to combine UCI World Cups and the National Championships in preparing for the 2006 Commonwealth Games."

The 2005 Lion Foundation Track National Cycling Championships are currently taking place in Mosgiel, concluding on March 12.

Warm up races for the Tour de Georgia

The Northeast Alabama Bicycle Club has announced the Cheaha Challenge/Sunny King Criterium, taking place on Saturday, April 16, 2005, and the following Sunday in Anniston, Alabama, 90 miles west of Atlanta and the Tour de Georgia. Pros will compete for $10,000 with an additional $3,000 up for grabs for amateur races. All racer entry fees will be donated to the local Relay for Life cancer research charity. Spectators will also enjoy A Taste of Noble, a restaurant festival at the race venue. Twelve locally owned restaurants will prepare elaborate buffets in the closed streets, costs at $10 for adults and $5 for children. For further information, go to www.sunnykingcriterium.com

On the following Sunday, the Cheaha Challenge Century will make hundreds of cyclists from more than 17 states tackle 7,400 feet of climbing with 10%+ gradients. Billed as the "Toughest Ride in the South," the race entry fee of $30 includes breakfast, lunch, T-shirt, water bottle, and rest stops on the route. More at www.cheahachallenge.com

McLane Pacific a success

It would have been hard to miss the colourful blur of well-toned athletes lapping the downtown area of Merced, California this past weekend, as organizers, sponsors, volunteers, plus over 1500 participants made Merced's 12th Annual McLane Pacific Cycling Classic a success. The McLane Pacific Cycling Classic was the first NRC (National Racing Calendar) event of the year, positioning an international representation of teams and individuals to gauge their strengths for the professional season.

Over one hundred and fifty pros came, including former two-time Olympian and two-time Tour de France rider Gord Fraser, who earned the top honour at the Downtown Grand Prix for a record fourth year in a row. The acclaimed sprinter and his Health Net teammates strategically broke from the Colavita-Sutter Home team's dominance in the last three laps of the 50 lap race. J.J. Haedo and Sebastian Alexandre of Colavita finished second and third.

J.J. Haedo had his day at Sunday's Foothills Road Race. He would wrestle the top spot from last year's champion, Gord Fraser. Lacking inclement weather elements, the full field of 154 riders jockeyed for most of the 124 mile race before Haedo and Fraser crossed the finish within a bike length of each other.

Ina-Yoko Teutenberg of T-Mobile triumphed in both women's Elite 1/2/Pro races, the Downtown criterium and the Foothills Road Race. Laura Van Gilder of Quark and Gina Grain of Victory Brewing finished second and third consecutively in the crit. Quark took another second place podium finish in the road race thanks to Sarah Uhl, and Michelle Beltran claimed third place.

The 2nd Annual Foothill Century Ride was organized by John Field, and designed to be a fun, non competitive ride as well as a fundraiser. The Pee Wee Classic returned for its second year as well. Organizer John White enabled nearly 200 children ages 3-7 to feel like pros for the day in their own racing events downtown.

For results, report and pictures, click here.
For further information, visit www.mclanepacificcyclingclassic.com/

Northbrook track open to students

With a new surface comes new opportunity, and the Northbrook Park District has announced the launch of an 8-week introductory track cycling program open to high school students from throughout the Chicago region.

The new series is the first official use of the refurbished Northbrook Park District Ed Rudolph Velodrome, one of the premier track venues in the country and home to the 2005 College Track Cycling National Championships. Coached by Chris Vogel, the program is open to all high schoolers regardless of residency.

"Racing on an Olympic-style velodrome is incredibly exciting, and gives kids a chance to ride without having to worry about traffic in the streets," Vogel said. "This is a perfect way to grow the sport by reaching out to the next generation of riders."

The program begins on April 4 and runs through to May 27. Each participant will have two days of instruction, either Monday-Wednesday or Tuesday-Thursday, with Fridays reserved for rain dates. Riders will be on the track from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., with a structured progress each week: The first three weeks will focus on bike fit, handling and fundamentals; the next two weeks will see the riders participate in group riding and race simulation; and the last two weeks will wrap up with competitive racing.

"Once the program concludes, we'll encourage the students to come out and race throughout the summer," Vogel added. "Northbrook has been the home track to some amazing riders: U.S. Postal team members, Tour de France riders, World and National champions, and Olympians. Maybe this series will provide a stepping stone for a student to follow his or her dreams."

On-line registration is set to begin in early March at www.nbparks.org
The cost is $175 for Northbrook residents and $200 for non-residents. Track bikes will be made available, but participants must supply their own shoes and ANSI-approved helmet.

UCI doping news

The UCI has announced that the following riders have been sanctioned for doping offences:

Gabriel Martin Allue (SPA), tested positive with triamcinolone acetonide during the Volta a Lleida (SPA) on June 9, 2004, sanctioned by Real Federacion Espańola De Ciclismo, fine of €601 (art. 64 AER).

Eugenio Pineda (SPA), tested positive with betamethasone and triamcinolone acetonide during the race X Clasica Internacional "Txuma"(SPA) on May 22, 2004, sanctioned by Real Federacion Espańola De Ciclismo, fine of €601€ (art. 64 AER).

Tony Alexis Linares Aguero (VEN), tested positive with Nicethamide and possession of EPO during the Tour de la Guadeloupe (FRA) on August 10, 2004, sanctioned by Federation Venezolana De Ciclismo, suspension of 4 years from September 28, 2004 to September 27, 2008, disqualification of the race.

Wade Bootes (AUS), tested positive with amphetamine and metamphetamine during the UCI MTB World Cup, Mont Ste-Anne (CAN), on June 26, 2004, sanctioned by Australian Cycling Federation, suspension of 6 months from August 1, 2004 to January 31, 2005, disqualification of the race.

 

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