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Latest Cycling News for August 3, 2006

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Landis hires Jacobs for doping defence

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

Floyd Landis (Phonak) after stage 16 of the Tour de France, losing the yellow jersey before taking it back three days later
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Floyd Landis has hired Southern California based attorney Howard L. Jacobs, who has extensive experience defending athletes accused of doping such as Tyler Hamilton and sprinter Tim Montgomery. Jacobs told the New York Times Wednesday that "Floyd wants to be ready to defend himself, in case the B sample comes back positive."

Jacobs, a former professional triathlete came out swinging against the UCI for leaking the results of the Tour de France winner's positive 'A' sample drug test, saying it breached the UCI's own protocols for notification. "I am troubled by the actions of the UCI and how they have spoken out about this case, which is in direct contravention of the UCI's own rules and the World Anti-Doping Code. While there has been much speculation and reporting as to the cause of the 'A' positive, the fact remains that the 'B' sample has not been tested," Jacobs said in a statement.

On July 26, the UCI sent a communiqué revealing that one unidentified cyclist had tested positive at the Tour de France, but it refused to release the name until the backup sample had been tested. Landis suddenly disappeared from a post-Tour criterium in Holland and on July 27, it was Landis' Phonak team that announced Landis had tested positive after stage 17. "The (Phonak) team management and the rider were both totally surprised of this physiological result," said the team in a statement a week ago. "(Landis) will ask in the upcoming days for the counter analysis to prove either that this result is coming from a natural process or that this is resulting from a mistake in the confirmation. In application of the Pro Tour Ethical Code, the rider will not race anymore until this problem is totally clear. If the result of the B sample analysis confirms the result of the A sample, the rider will be dismissed and will then pass the corresponding endocrinological examinations."

Jacobs added the UCI should have known the rider's name would have come out, once the announcement of a positive test was made "due to the confidentiality breaches that have been previously noted by many at the French laboratory" where the testing took place. UCI president McQuaid confirmed Jacobs's point in an interview with VeloNews on July 27, saying "(The UCI) know that the French laboratory [where the testing was done] has a close connection with L'Équipe, and we did not want this news to come through the press, because we are sure (the French lab) would have leaked it."

Jacobs also cited a New York Times story that said a carbon isotope ratio (CIR) test had detected synthetic testosterone in Landis' system and said the report came from inside the UCI. "This (leak) raises even more concerns, particularly following the provisional suspension earlier this year of a high-ranking UCI official for leaking documents and/or information to the French newspaper, L'Equipe", Jacobs declared, referring to UCI anti-doping head Dr. Mario Zorzoli, who gave a rare on-the-record interview to the NY Times on July 29.

Regarding the supposed positive result of Landis for exogenous testosterone via a CIR test, Brent Kay, Landis' doctor did confirm the finding to the NY Times, but Jacobs was adamant when he told the AP "Let's be clear, the UCI are the ones who said the CIR test was positive." And Jacobs stated that he had seen no proof of the positive CIR test. "While there is an allegation that the CIR is positive, the UCI do not provide any documentation that backs that up. To say I agree with that conclusion, I can't do that, because I haven't seen the documents." Once the results of Landis' 'B' sample come back, if they are positive, these will sent to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in Colorado Springs, CO, which would then begin a disciplinary procedure against Landis, one that Jacobs is sure to be involved in to defend the American Tour de France winner.

Astana to create all-new management company

By Hedwig Kröner

Assan Bazayev (Astana) took the first victory for Team Astana
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

It's a bit of an odd situation in the top end of the professional sport: Team Astana, whose Kazakhstani rider Assan Bazayev has just scored the first season victory for the squad at the ProTour stage race Deutschland Tour, has not yet officially been created. It is running on roughly half of its roster and will probably see the ProTour licence of its former management company withdrawn soon, as the UCI ProTour council has asked the Licence Commission to examine the case. The licence is still held by Active Bay, which is still partly owned by the former team's manager Manolo Saiz, under investigation in the Operacion Puerto affair, and believed to have created a system of organised doping within the squad formerly known as Liberty Seguros. Now, Saiz reportedly refused to sell his part of the company - alleging he is innocent - although the transaction was thought to have happened in the beginning of July.

The Kazakhstani investors, who want their team to include at least six Kazakhstani riders, have now made known that they are no longer hoping to take over the old management company, but planning to create a new one, which will apply for a ProTour license the usual way. In order to make this possible, the UCI Director's Board has extended the deadline for ProTour candidacy from May 31 to August 10.

"The team will officially come to life when the application for a ProTour license reaches the UCI," said Swiss Marc Biver, who has just been appointed manager of the team by Kazakh prime minister and cycling federation president Danial Akhmetov for the next four years. Biver used to direct the Tour de Suisse and the Tour de Romandie, and will act alongside team director Walter Godefroot, who has decided to come back to cycling after retiring as director of the T-Mobile team at the end of last year. Tony Rominger, who had been reported as the future manager of the team, will stay true to his current job as rider's agent, but nevertheless be 'technical consultant' to the team according to L'Equipe.

"The Astana outfit will have a 100 percent Kazakh licence and have nothing to do any more with the old team, which was directed by Manolo Saiz," added Biver to Belgian news agency belga, also revealing that the team's headquarters will be located in Swiss Neuchâtel.

It is not known whether the UCI license commission will be able to 'transfer' the license currently held by Active Bay to the new management company without delay, or if Astana will have to wait until autumn to know if it will be granted the ProTour license made available in this way. Unibet, Barloworld as well as T-Mobile and Astana will all apply to be included in the Formula 1 of cycling races - in the case of T-Mobile, the sponsor is separating form the current license holder 'Olaf Ludwig Cycling' and will work with the soon-to-be-created 'Neuer Straßen Sport GmbH' operated by Bob Stapleton in the future.

Landis' Tour of Elk Grove appearance unknown

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

Before the positive A sample of Floyd Landis at the Tour de France, and before Landis had won the Tour or even ridden his epic stage 17, the Phonak rider committed to appearing at the first annual Tour of Elk Grove race near Chicago - a new criterium race with a purse of more than $150,000. And after Landis' Tour victory, race director Nick Sepke was surely a little excited about committing the now Tour de France winner to appear at his race weeks earlier. However, since the revelations of the past week, the excitement over Landis' appearance has turned into a nervous waiting game.

"We are waiting like everyone else right now," Sepke told Cyclingnews. "Everything is scheduled as is right now, but it is to be determined, based on the outcome of the testing." Sepke said that he has not heard any changes in plans for Landis, who did not appear at some of the post-Tour criteriums he had committed to.

"We will find out Saturday and make a decision on Monday," said Sepke. "If everything comes out well, then we expect to have him. If something else happens we will have a discussion and have a contingency plan."

Crédit Agricole signs Furlan

Angelo Furlan, who used to race for Alessio-Bianchi, then Domina Vacanze before 'downgrading' to professional continental team Selle Italia, will get the chance to ride ProTour races. The 29 year-old has signed a one-year deal with Crédit Agricole according to Italian sources. Furlan won two stages of the Vuelta a España in 2002, as well as the Coppa Bernocchi in 2004.

Barloworld head to Portugal

"We have had several victories in Portugal during this season, and as we prepare for the much anticipated Tour of Portugal, Team Barloworld will be gunning for yet another win," said Claudio Corti, team manager of the South African outfit. "We will also be defending our 2005 title."

Directeur sportif Valerio Tebaldi will lead Team Barloworld in the Tour of Portugal, scheduled from August 5-15. Riders to participate in the 10-day event will include Pedro Arreitunandia, Felix Cardenas, Gianpaolo Cheula, Ryan Cox, Alex Efimkin, Tiaan Kannemeyer, Hugo Sabido, Mads Christensen and Amets Txurruka.

"We are starting this race with a very competitive team as we know how challenging this race is," said Tebaldi. "We have won several times in Portugal this year with Enrico Degano’s sprints in the flat stages. This time around we will push our climbers to fight for an overall win."

Following his excellent performances and wins in the Brixia Tour and Clasica de Ordizia, Felix Cardenas will spearhead the squad. The team also places much of their confidence in Sabido, who is thrilled to race on his home-country roads. Spanish teammates Arreitunandia and Txurruka have formed a good partnership during races on the attacks and will be looking to repeat this strategy.

Madison race at Lehigh Valley Velodrome

This Friday night, August 4, will be the first annual Nestor’s Madison of the Americas presented by Bear Creek Mountain Resort. The second and final Madison event for 2006 at the Lehigh Valley Velodrome in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania, will see 15 teams battle it out for the top position.

Argentine World and Olympic Team member Sebastian Donadio of Argentina will be riding with the T-town favourite Pete "Fitzy" Fitzpatrick of Australia. South African National Champion, and member of the Commonwealth Games Team, Shaun Davel of South Africa is making his debut this Friday at the Velodrome ahead of his compatriots whom are set to arrive for the UCI sanctioned events in August. Other international riders such as, Argentines Leandro Botasso, Guido Palma, and Sebastian Alexandre are set to take on the nation’s best Madison riders!

Gates open at 6:30 and racing begins promptly at 7:30. In the event of rain, please visit for a cancellation announcement and rain date.

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