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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for August 10, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

UCI doesn't want to give blood to Spanish

In the latest twist in Operacion Puerto, the UCI has decided not to hand over rider blood samples for DNA testing to Spanish authorities in charge of the investigation. In May, the Spanish Guardia Civil seized hundreds of bags of blood in raids on apartments belonging to former cycling doctor Eufemiano Fuentes and the blood transfusion clinic of José Merino Batres. The blood was thought to be intended for reinfusing into athletes as an illegal means of performance enhancement. Although the investigators pieced together codenames to allegedly identify some of Dr Fuentes' cyclist patients, they are seeking firmer evidence in the form of DNA matches to the confiscated blood.

"The blood of the riders in our possession from doping controls is used for research purposes," UCI president Pat McQuaid was quoted by AP as saying. "To give it for DNA comparisons is against our rules."

Top cyclists Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso, among others, were implicated in the affair by means of codenames. They were prevented from riding the Tour de France as a result, but have always maintained their innocence, even thought Ullrich was also fired from T-Mobile. Neither have supplied DNA samples to the Spanish.

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'

May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
May 15, 2009 - Valverde not welcome in Denmark
May 14, 2009 - Spanish federation wants proof in Valverde case
May 13, 2009 - Spanish Olympic Committee defends Valverde
May 12, 2009 - Valverde responds to sanction
May 11, 2009 - Italian tribunal delivers Valverde two-year suspension
May 8, 2009 - Valverde case: Italian Olympic Committee defends Torri
May 7, 2009 - Valverde to take legal action against CONI prosecutor
May 5, 2009 - WADA and Spanish federation join CONI and UCI on Valverde
May 1, 2009 - International Cycling Union joins in on Valverde's hearing in Italy

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Operación Puerto

Raisin's remarkable recovery continues

By Shane Stokes

Proving that his balance is back.
Photo ©: Saul Raisin
(Click for larger image)

American rider Saul Raisin reached a highly significant milestone in his recovery on Wednesday when he trained on the road for the first time since his very serious accident on April 4th.

Raisin has defied expectations with the speed and extent of his recovery, leaving rehab earlier than expected and also doing rides of up to 4 hours in duration on the indoor trainer. Last week he started using the rollers, proving that his balance had fully returned, and then this Wednesday he took the decision to head out on a 90 minute training ride with his father near his home in Dalton, Georgia.

All went well and Raisin wrote about the accomplishment on his website www.saulraisin.com. "Today was the best day I have ever had on a bike," he stated. "I feel like I won a huge race. Today I rode on the road for an hour and half with my Dad. It has been a little over four months since I crashed and was in a coma.. Today was nothing short of a miracle."

The 23 year old's goal is to return to the peloton and while doctors were initially reserved about his chances, the progress he has made thus far is very reassuring vis-à-vis that aim. Credit Agricole manager Roger Legeay told Cyclingnews this week that providing Raisin can reach the necessary level of fitness, he will have a place on the team once again.

"For sure his place is in the Credit Agricole team," he said on Monday. "I am very pleased his health is good. I have very strong hopes that he can race again, and I think he will do so. His first big victory will be when he is once again on a start line. After that, I hope he can ride again at his level.

"Prior to his accident, Saul progressed each year, improving step by step. He has a good talent and it is necessary to plan his career. He has made good progression since his time in the Credit Agricole Espoirs and the plan this year was that he would take part in the Giro d'Italia. He is a climber and it is necessary to learn in the big races, riding with the strong riders. That was the plan [before his accident], and we hope he will get back to that level."

Raisin has said that his goal is to prove that those who have suffered brain injuries can go on to lead successful lives. Besides raising money for the Shepherd Centre [where he was treated in the US] through the sale of his Raisin' Hell wristbands, he has also built up a friendship with Bret Neylon, the rider who was paralysed during a crash in the sprint finish at the end of the Summer Solstice race in Ohio in June.

Click here for the full Saul Raisin interview

Austrian team satisfied with Pro Tour debut

Team Volksbank is satisfied with its performance in the Deutschland Tour. Not only was it the team's first Pro Tour appearance, but the first time ever for an Austrian team in a Pro Tour race. "I am super satisfied," said team manager Thomas Kofler.

"We were very active," he said. "We recommended ourselves for next year. Also by the sponsor. The positive feedback was impressive."

He noted that "they ride a lot faster in the ProTour. Which just makes it more noteworthy, that we finished the race with all eight riders. 15th in the team ranking is not bad, we left some big names behind us.

"We knew going into the race that we wouldn't land very far forward in the overall classification. It was difficult because Gerrit Glomser doesn't do well in cool temperatures," finished Kofler.

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Quick.Step-Innergetic for upcoming races

The Quick.Step-Innergetic team has announced its rosters for two upcoming ProTour races. In Clasica San Sebastian, on Saturday, August 12, Paolo Bettini, will be joined by Serge Baguet, Ad Engels, Juan Manuel Garate, José Antonio Garrido, Jurgen Van De Walle, Cedric Vasseur and Geert Verheyen, with Serge Parsani as directeur sportif.

In next week's Eneco Tour (August 16-23), Tom Boonen will be in action along with Serge Baguet, Steven De Jongh, Servais Knaven, Nick Nuyens, Bram Tankink, Geert Verheyen and Wouter Weylandt, with Wilfried Peeters as DS.

Nothstein announces retirement

American track specialist turned roadie Marty Nothstein has announced that this will be his last year as a pro. Nothstein, the most decorated athlete in U.S. track cycling, will ride his final race on the track on August 26 at the Red Robin Keirin Cup presented by 24-7 Fitness. The race will be at Lehigh Valley Velodrome in Pennsylvania, USA, the place Nothstein calls home.

Nothstein began his career as a track sprint specialist, but after winning the Olympics in 2000 he refocused his energy toward road racing. He raced for team Mercury and now with his current team Navigators Insurance, resulting in many victories, including the New York City Cycling Championships held on Wall Street in New York City. Nothstein had success as a six-day racer, riding in 25 professional six-day competitions. He rode to a victory in Moscow and took third place in both Gent and Stuttgart, making him one of few cyclists who have made a successful transition from a track sprinter to an endurance racer.

Since his first national championship in 1990, Nothstein has been a 35 time national champion, 4 time Pan American Games gold medalist, 3 time world champion, has 15 world cup victories, and is an Olympic silver and gold medalist. "I have always wanted to retire while I was still capable of winning races, it feels good to retire on your own terms", says Nothstein.

Despite the fact that he is retiring from the sport of track cycling, Nothstein intends to stay very involved. "I plan on being extremely active in the promotional and developmental side of cycling. I want to see more Olympic Champions come through the programs I benefited from as a youth... I want T-Town to become the factory for producing the next generation of Champions."

During Nothstein's final track appearance on August 26, a ceremony will be held during the race to commemorate his career. Following the race, the velodrome will be holding an after party for Marty to say farewell to his fans. Spectators will have the chance to meet and greet Nothstein, while enjoying food and drinks.

"It is only fitting to ride my final race on the track that I grew up on; this is where I learned everything I know about cycling. I chased my Olympic dreams here. This is my home. My career started here and it is going to end here. I would not want it any other way", Nothstein concluded.

Big Apple Smackdown

New York Police Department tightens screws on cyclists

By Chris Henry

Cyclists and pedestrians in New York City could be facing a long, inhospitable road ahead if the New York Police Department gets its way on August 23. A proposed change to the city's parade permit regulations, spearheaded by the NYPD and up for public hearing on the 23rd, would amend the definition of "parade" to require any group of 20 or more cyclists (or 35 or more pedestrians) to obtain a permit and an approved route on local streets. Moreover, two or more cyclists or pedestrians who violate any traffic law, rule or regulation on a public street could be arrested for parading without a permit.

The potential ramifications of the proposed changes have raised the ire of the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, as well as local racing and recreational cycling clubs in the city, who are urging their members to fight the proposal at the upcoming hearing or through contact with elected officials.

Cyclists are already facing new limitations on speed and park usage in Central Park by the police and New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Now the prospects of being arrested for riding in groups, or worse yet, fears of guilt by association when riding in proximity to other cyclists who may violate traffic laws or regulations (including not having bells on bikes or riding in bike lanes), have recreational and competitive cyclists alike fearing for the future of two wheeled transport and training in the Big Apple.

The NYPD's proposal, in its Statement of Basis and Purpose, claims that "Each of these types of activities has the likelihood to significantly disrupt vehicular and pedestrian traffic and adversely affect public health and safety, unless subject to regulatory control via the permitting process. The amendments to the rules will permit the Police Department to adequately preserve the public peace and prevent obstructions of public streets and sidewalks."

Tensions between police and some cyclists have mounted in the past year as the NYPD has sought to increasingly thwart activist movements such as Critical Mass. With municipal tolerance of controversial Critical Mass rides at a low ebb, and police arrests of participants on the rise, the New York State Supreme Court nonetheless ruled recently that the city's parade permit rules were too broad to warrant widespread suppression [of Critical Mass] by the NYPD. The proposed amendments to the parade permit rules would offer the police a strong stick and the legal upper hand against all cyclists, who as a group do not command the same respect as motorists in the city administration.

A public hearing will be held on August 23rd at 6pm at One Police Plaza in Manhattan. Written comments, or requests to offer testimony at the hearing, may be sent to Assistant Deputy Commissioner Thomas P. Doepfner, New York City Police Department, 1 Police Plaza, Room 1406, New York, New York 10038. Transportation Alternatives has also created an online form to fax Mayor Michael Bloomberg, accessible at the following address: www.transalt.org/e-bulletin/2006/Aug/0802.html#efax. More information, including suggestions for contacting Mayor Bloomberg and other officials, is available on Transportation Alternatives' website: www.transalt.org.

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