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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for November 23, 2005

Edited by John Stevenson & Les Clarke

Wire in the blood: Part II

Tyler Hamilton and wife Haven have been a united, outspoken force against his blood doping conviction, most recently appealing his two-year sentence to the sport's highest authority, the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

In Part II, Cyclingnews' Anthony Tan examines the robustness of the test used to convict Tyler Hamilton of homologous blood transfusion, where much of the debate has been centred.

The test that determines whether a rider has transfused someone else's blood to increase his/her own performance, known as homologous blood doping, made its official debut in August 2004 at the Athens Olympic Games. [To see how it works, read 'In the blood'.] It was also the same time Hamilton's A sample returned a positive for homologous blood transfusion.

However, this wasn't known until the final week of the Vuelta a España, where he returned yet another positive for the same offence on September 21. In Athens, the 'B sample' was accidentally frozen and thus rendered unusable, while in Spain, the second sample was confirmed positive, along with team-mate Santiago Perez (the Spaniard was also sentenced for two years for homologous blood transfusion, and did not contest the decision.)

Ever since the announcement and until this day, much debate has been waged over numerous aspects of the test, but it namely centres around four interrelated issues: the test's methodology; the technology - or more precisely, the lack of it - in terms of the qualitative nature of the assessment (Hamilton referred to it as a 'I know it when I see it' type test); the differing amounts of mixed red blood cell populations found in Athens and at the Vuelta; and the lack of a false positive study done before the test was approved and put into use.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

San Fran GP may move to San Jose

The city of San Jose is considering hosting the race formerly known as the San Francisco Grand Prix, which was cancelled Monday, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Dean Munro, executive director of the San Jose Sports Authority, plans to talk to race organisers San Francisco Cycling LLC next week about the race.

"We have interest in finding out about the event," Munro said Monday. "We want to see if San Jose is a good match."

San Francisco Cycling director Dave Chauner said representatives of two Bay Area cities had shown interest in hosting the race, but declined to name the cities. "We've had substantive discussions with groups with enough clout and power to really make it happen," he said.

It's not unknown for race organisers to 'cancel' an event in order to shake the tree and see what extra support falls out. Frank Scioscia, race director of the San Francisco GP in 2001, told the Mercury News that the San Fran GP cancellation, "seems like it is a pre-emptive announcement that gives them time to shop it."

Related stories

November 23 - San Fran GP may move to San Jose
November 22 - San Francisco city supervisor responds to San Fran GP cancellation
November 22 - "No-win situation" for San Fran GP
November 21 - San Francisco GP cancelled
November 16 - San Fran Grand Prix in hot water with city

Ullrich wants to ride the Giro

"This year I would like to start with my training earlier and I would like to ride the Giro d'Italia as preparation," to winning the Tour de France, T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich said in an interview with the Austrian newspaper Kurier.

"I have the reputation of training less than the others," said Ullrich. "But that's not so. I want to increase the quality of my training, an increased quantity is not really possible."

Ullrich, who is a favourite for this year's Tour de France after the retirement of his long-time nemesis Lance Armstrong, said He would not plan to ride to win the Giro. "I wouldn't trust myself to ride to win two Grand Tours in one year. My goal is quite plainly the Tour de France. I have put my entire focus on winning it next summer."

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Hondo expects verdict within two weeks

Danilo Hondo will have to wait two more weeks to hear how the Court of Arbitration for Sports has decided his fate. After a seven-hour hearing Tuesday, the court announced that it expects to issue its decision by December 6. Hondo was appealing his suspension following a positive test for Carphedon. German doping specialist Werner Franke, who is normally a critic of doping within professional cycling, appeared on behalf of Hondo, who he considers a victim rather than a perpetrator.

Hondo told the German press agency DPA, "I had expected more. But we will have to see what their explanation is. We asked for an acquittal and the UCI asked for a one-year suspension, which would expire on April 1, 2006. Only the WADA asked for a two-year suspension. Anything is possible."

Hondo hopes to re-sign with his former Gerolsteiner team, which has expressed interest in the return of its star sprinter. But Stefan Göbel, a spokesman for the sponsor, said firmly, "Without an acquittal, Hondo has no chance with us."

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Becke signs with Milram

German rider Daniel Becke has signed to ride for the new German-Italian Pro tour Milram Team for one year. Becke's contract with Illes Baleares ran through next season, but the team released him. "Milram asked me if I would be interested. Of course it appealed to me to be in a sprinting team with Alessandro Petacchi, Erik Zabel and Mirko Celestino," said Becke, 27.

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Schmitz breaks ankle

T-Mobile's Bram Schmitz is in a German hospital after breaking his ankle last Saturday, and has been ordered by doctors to rest for four weeks.

Schmitz injured himself in Wenen on Saturday where he had just finished - and survived! - the week-long T-Mobile 'bonding camp'. But at a subsequent team meeting, the Dutch rider fractured his left ankle in three places, and underwent surgery in Murnau the following day where he had an iron plate inserted in the joint. He'll stay in hospital until the end of this week.

Naturino-Sapore di Mare looks towards 2006

The Naturino-Sapore di Mare squad will gather for their first pre-season camp from November 30 to December 4, in Ischia, Italy. The team is expected to focus its preparations for 2006 around Murilo Fischer, the Brazilian revelation of 2005 who won eight races during the year and topped the individual UCI Continental Tour standings. Vincenzo Santoni's team, which begins its tenth year in 2006, expects more strong performances next season from what he believes is a well-rounded squad.

Wolff arrives in Australia ready to race

By Les Clarke

Rene Wolff and Ryan Bayley warm up
Photo ©: Les Clarke
Click for larger image

World sprint champion Rene Wolff has arrived in Australia ahead of Sunday's Sydney Thousand track carnival, where he'll be riding against dual Olympic gold medallist Ryan Bayley in a match sprint. After a strong showing at the Revolution track meeting in Manchester on Sunday, Wolff and countryman Matthias John arrived in Sydney yesterday and were special guests at yesterday's pre-race gathering at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Australian riders Ryan Bayley and Kate Bates joined UCI vice president Ray Godkin, Australian cricketing legend Doug Walters and representatives from the German-Austrian Association in Sydney ahead of what is Australia's richest one-day track racing carnival which will also features rides from Ben Kersten and Robbie McEwen.

A new job for Kate Bates
Photo ©: Les Clarke
Click for larger image

Wolff, 27, who is familiar with the Dunc Gray velodrome after racing several world cup events there, said that he feels he's in good form, and having raced well against a very strong British team at the recent Revolution 10 in Manchester can bring this form into the Sydney Thousand on November 27. Wolff has pared back his schedule this season and will only ride the Los Angeles round of the world cup, saying, "Because I am world champion from last season I've alreayd qualified for world's. I'll only ride the world cup event in Los Angeles and then focus on preparing for world's."

With two young children at home, Wolff is pleased he'll be able to spend some time with his family after two years without a vacation. "I started my preparation for the Olympics in September 2003, and haven't had a vacation since then; it's been good to enjoy some time with them." And with the sun shining in Sydney, Wolff was able to enjoy some traditional pre-race preparations conducted with the help of Bates and Walters.

Ryan Bayley (r)
Photo ©: Les Clarke
Click for larger image

Ryan Bayley will be looking to start his season with some strong racing on Sunday, and although he says he's not at peak fitness just yet, he's confident of going fast at Sydney's Dunc Gray velodrome. "Everyone thinks I don't train much, even my coaches sometimes think I don't train; but it's going pretty well at the moment," said Bayley. Both riders appear to be quietly confident, and although both are playing down their form along with their chances, they're sure to be raring to go and prove who is better - the world champion or the Olympic champion - come Sunday.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Les Clarke/

Sporting stars support Amy Gillett Foundation charity ride

A host of Australian cycling and sporting stars will turn out for a charity ride to support the Amy Gillett Foundation. The ride begins on Saturday December 3 in Maitland, New South Wales and arrives ten days and almost 1000 kilometres later in Brisbane, Queensland on Monday December 12.

The ride is being organised by 2005 Australian road champion, Lorian Graham, who was injured in the tragic accident that claimed the life of her team-mate, Amy Gillett in Germany in July this year. Graham is still undergoing intensive physiotherapy to recover from a serious injury to her right knee in her bid to return to competitive cycling.

Sporting heroes who have committed to support the ride at stages along the route include two time Tour de France green jersey champion, Robbie McEwen and team mate Henk Vogels, who returned to the European professional circuit this year in the wake of a near-fatal crash in June 2003. Also lending support are Olympic swimming gold medallist Duncan Armstrong and triathlete Loretta Harrop.

"The ride aims to raise awareness among motorists and cyclists to promote road safety," said Graham. "We want to represent cyclists of all abilities whether they race, ride for fitness, ride for fun or commute to work on a bike.

"If you are behind the wheel of a vehicle and you see a cyclist imagine they are a member of your family and take the same care you would of your loved ones," said Graham. "If you are opening your car door after you park spare a second to look in case a cyclist is coming."

Graham says patience and respect are the keys to preventing needless injuries and deaths on our roads.

"It's not such a big ask for everyone to be more considerate," she said. "Cyclists should obey the rules and drivers should be aware of cyclists and exercise caution. What's more important - a couple minutes of your time or someone's life?"

Graham's partner Pete Forbes and his colleague Nick Gallo, both with mining company Runge Limited, are the driving force for the ride and are covering all costs associated with the ride to ensure the maximum amount possible goes to the Foundation.

Lions and Rotary Clubs along the route have also come on board to assist with organisation and fundraising in the local communities. A pool of prizes has been donated for daily raffles and everyone who buys a ticket goes into the draw for a Cannondale Six13 bike, and for some signed sporting memorabilia.

To avoid traffic disruption only a limited number of cyclists will participate at any one time. There are two community rides on offer for others to participate in raising awareness for the Foundation.

Amy Gillett Foundation charity ride route

Saturday, December 3: Singleton 10.30am to Wyndham Estate Winery 11.50am (40km)
Sunday, December 4: Maitland 6.30am to Forster 11.50am (160km)
Monday, December 5: Forster 7.30am to Port Macquarie 11.45am (123km)
Tuesday, December 6: Port Macquarie Community Ride 6.00am to 7.30am (40km)
Wednesday, December 7: Port Macquarie 7.30am to Nambucca Heads 11.20am (114km)
Thursday, December 8: Nambucca Heads 6.30am to Grafton 11.00am (134km)
Friday, December 9: Grafton 6.30am to Ballina 12noon (137km)
Saturday, December 10: Ballina 7.30am to Surfers Paradise 10.45am (126km)
Sunday, December 11: Surfers Paradise Criterium
Monday, December 12: Surfers Paradise 8.00am to Brisbane 10.35am (80km)

Lions/Rotary Club supporting functions

Sunday, December 4: Forster/Tuncurry Lions Club - John Wright Park Tuncurry 2.00pm
Tuesday, December 5: Port Macquarie Rotary Clubs - TBA 7.00am
Wednesday, December 7: Lions Club of Nambucca - Nambucca Heads RSL 1.30pm
Thursday, December 8: Lions Club of Grafton - Market Square 5.30pm
Friday, December 9: Ballina Lions Club - Reserve South of Missingham Bridge 5.30pm

For more information and to make a donation to the Amy Gillett foundation, see

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