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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for August 14, 2006

Edited by Anthony Tan & Jeff Jones, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

Fuentes' German connection; branch offices?

Besides Jan Ullrich, what is the German connection to Dr. Eufamiano Fuentes? German anti-doping crusader, Professor Werner Franke, told the connection goes deeper than previously suspected. Without naming names, he said three German hospitals have links with the Spanish doctor.

According to Die Welt am Sonntag, Fuentes obtained certain medications not available in Spain from hospitals in France and Germany. The magazine specifically named the drug Synacthen, a hormone "which could have fatal results for asthmatics like Jan Ullrich, who used it anyway," it said.

According to Franke, this is a drug normally used to treat those suffering from multiple sclerosis and has many side effects. Die Welt alleged that Fuentes' co-worker Ignacio Labarta was responsible for obtaining these drugs for him.

The magazine doesn't know exactly where Labarta went shopping, but says that investigators are concentrating on a small town in Baden-Würtemberg, Germany, and the first arrests are expected soon. Franke claims to know the three hospitals in question, but didn't identify them. "Naturally I don't want to interfere with a quick police action," he said, adding the University Clinic in Freiburg, which tends the T-Mobile riders, was not involved.

Die Welt alleged there is even more to the German connection: there is a reference to an "apartment in Germany" in the Spanish investigation known as Operación Puerto, and the magazine claims that Fuentes had a chain of branch offices throughout Europe.

"If a customer had blood taken one time in Madrid, then he would not have to go the Spanish capital again for transfusions, but could go to an affiliate if he wanted," it said. "Fuentes' co-workers in countries such as Germany, France or Italy could independently take care of drawing the blood and re-transfusing the - in the meantime cooled - own blood. Even during stage races."

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

Phonak to fold?

It seems Phonak owner Andy Rihs is ready to throw in the towel: he has no sponsor for his team for the coming year, and the dream is over, done in by too many doping cases, and capped off by Floyd Landis testing positive after his Tour de France victory.

iShares, a division of Barclay Bank, was scheduled to take over as the main sponsor. USA Cycling President Jim Ochowicz, who works for Barclays as an investment consultant and is also a paid consultant to Rihs' ARcycling AG, was tipped to manage the team, but according to Blick magazine, the company has backed out of the deal.

After iShares withdrew, Rihs worked feverishly to find a new sponsor in order to save the jobs of the riders and other employees of the ARcycling AG, but without success. Rihs has scheduled a press conference next Tuesday morning to make a formal announcement on Phonak's future.

Cyclingnews' coverage of the Floyd Landis case

May 29, 2009 - French authorities summon Landis and Baker
September 28, 2008 - Landis takes case to US federal court
September 10, 2008 - Landis signing with current Health Net-Maxxis team for 2009
July 1, 2008 - CAS delivers final blow to Landis legal challenge
June 30, 2008 - Landis loses final appeal
June 28, 2008 - Landis decision due Monday
March 12, 2008 - Landis' judgment day nears
October 21, 2007 - Landis files appeal with CAS
October 18, 2007 - AFLD takes another look at Landis case
Thursday, October 11 - Landis continues fight, appeals to CAS
Saturday, September 22 - UCI officially names Pereiro 2006 Tour champion, Landis case raises issues
Friday, September 21 - Landis' appeal denied, two year suspension levied

Grabsch ready to leave Phonak

"We celebrated the Tour victory for three days, then came the nasty surprise," said Phonak's Bert Grabsch, who is still angry "that all the work for Landis was for nothing". Financially speaking, it was almost nothing as well: instead of the expected €50,000 bonus, the riders received only €1,000 as their share of the premiums.

In an interview on, the German rider said: "But what is much worse is the shadow that now hangs over the sport." He urges stronger penalties: "We have a health pass, in which the results of a blood test are entered every quarter year. If they did blood tests instead of urine tests at races, then a lot of riders would be scared off."

Right now, Grabsch is having an involuntary vacation, brought about by a crash in the Deutschland Tour, where he broke his pubic bone in two places. He has to stay off his bike for three to four weeks, and says that if he can't start riding again on Sept. 1, then he will call an end to his season. However, he remains optimistic, planning on a speedy recovery and participation at the ProTour races in Zürich and Paris.

Meanwhile, he has plenty of time to contemplate his future. "I would have nothing against changing my team," he said. "After six years with Phonak, my head feels blocked - I would like to make a new start, doesn't matter where."

According to Grabsch, his management is already 'looking into a new contract, in the direction of Germany'. The only problem is that he still has an existing contract with Phonak through to the 2008 season - but that problem could be eliminated by default, with the team's future still unknown at this point.

Dahms wants money back from Ullrich

Jan Ullrich's money woes continue. After being fired from the T-Mobile Team on July 20, three days before the conclusion of the Tour de France, he may now have to pay money back to Günther Dahms, owner of the former Coast team.

According to German magazine Der Spiegel, Dahms is looking into a repayment of funds on the grounds of Ullrich being implicated with Operación Puerto. "It was clearly stated in Coast's contract with Ullrich that doping was forbidden," Dahms said.

Ullrich rode for Team Coast at the start of the 2003 season. Soon afterwards, Dahms' financial problems saw the sponsorship taken over by Bianchi before the Tour de France, and Coast ceased to exist.

Ullrich and Dahms are already in court over payment problems. A court in Duisburg, Germany, ordered Dams to pay €1,6 million back to Ullrich; that ruling has been appealed and a further ruling is pending.

"After hearing the latest news, I will not pay him any more and demand that he return what I have already paid him," said Dahms.

Voigt - again!

If his victories in Germany weren't enough already, Jens Voigt did it again last Sunday at the Sparkassen Giro Bochum, which gave the Team CSC rider his fifth victory in the space of a fortnight!

"I have to give the whole team a lot of credit. We made sure we had a rider in all the breakaways and for a long time, it looked like a break with Jakob Piil, among others, would be able to make it all the way, but they were caught with about 15 to 20 kilometres to go," said Voigt on

"When the peloton was all together again, a lot of counter attacks were launched, and I was able to go with one of them, and it was a good group of riders. In the end, I was alone with a German rider [André Korff], who is supposed to be strong in a sprint finish, so I attacked on the last climb, and I was successful. At one point I had 40 seconds, but at the finish I think I only had about 20 seconds."

Next up for Jens Voigt is the Tour of Poland, where he will be considered one of the overall favourites after his latest string of victories. Can anyone stop this evergreen cycling machine?

Valverde increases lead in ProTour; crash not serious

After finishing eighth in the Clasica San Sebastian, Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears) has managed to extend his lead in the ProTour rankings. Valverde gained five points for his eighth place, and now leads Frank Schleck (CSC) by a full 50 points, as the Luxembourger did not score in yesterday's classic. Tom Boonen (Quick.Step) is still in third place on 145 points, and may be able to score a few more in this week's Eneco Tour.

Thanks to Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne closed to within 10 points of Team CSC on the teams rankings, with Rabobank moving up two spots to third place. In addition, he also helped Spain increase its lead over Italy by five points in the nations rankings (only top five from each nation count towards the nations rankings).

In yesterday's Subida a Urkiola, won by Euskaltel-Euskadi's Iban Mayo, Valverde crashed while climbing the Urkiola, but was not seriously hurt. The rider from Murcia remounted his bike almost immediately and finished the race in 15th place.

ProTour Rankings as of August 12, 2006

1 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse D'Epargne-Illes Balears 200  pts
3 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC                                     150 
4 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step - Innergetic                         145
5 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC                                        138
6 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto                                120
7 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Ag2R Prevoyance                          118
8 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner                               114
9 Jörg Jaksche (Ger) Astana-Würth Team                             110
10 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre-Fondital                         110
*Floyd Landis has been removed pending a doping investigation
1 Team CSC                                                         277 
2 Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears                                   267
3 Rabobank                                                         250
4 T-Mobile Team                                                    247
5 Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team                               247
6 Lampre-Fondital                                                  240
7 Phonak Hearing Systems                                           232
8 Gerolsteiner                                                     216
9 Astana Team                                                      214
10 Saunier Duval-Prodir                                            194
1 Spain                                                            546 
2 Italy                                                            534
3 Germany                                                          402
4 United States Of America                                         400
5 Belgium                                                          252
6 Australia                                                        239
7 France                                                           226
8 Netherlands                                                      215
9 Russian Federation                                               180
10 Switzerland                                                     166
Full rankings: Individuals, Teams, Nations

Caisse d'Epargne & Milram for Eneco Tour

For this week's Eneco Tour (August 16-23), Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears and Team Milram's rosters are as follows:

Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears riders: Antonio Colom, Iván Gutiérrez, Imanol Erviti, Alexei Markov, Aitor Pérez Arrieta, Nicolas Portal, Mikel Pradera, Vicente Reynes
Team manager: José Luis Jaimerena

Team Milram riders: Simone Cadamuro, Maarten Den Bakker, Dennis Haueisen, Matej Jurco, Mirko Lorenzetto, Martin Müller, Fabio Sabatini, Carlo Scognamiglio
Team manager: Vittorio Algeri

Sarah Hammer's Celebration of Excellence

Sarah Hammer with the next generation of women's track cyclists
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
(Click for 
larger image)

American World Track Champion Sarah Hammer unveiled her new team at the ADT Velodrome in Carson, California on Saturday in front of friends, supporters, sponsors and racers. The new team is called American Women's Track Cycling Fund (AWTCF). Mitch Friedman was on hand with this report and photos.

The AWTCF is set up to support the future of American women's track cycling with the Sarah Hammer developmental program and the OUCH Pro Cycling Team. The OUCH sports medical clinic supports women's track cycling and Sarah Hammer.

The AWTCF will work in conjunction with the OUCH Sports Medical Clinic to introduce and oversee the first women's only UCI professional track team. This pioneering effort will not only fund Sarah's racing and training budget as she undertakes her bid for a gold medal in Beijing, but will also aid in critical and costly rider refinements that are mandatory for Olympic gold medals. The objectives for the team are nothing short of Olympic gold medals and world records.

Click here for the full feature

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