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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for August 15, 2006

Edited by John Stevenson, John Kenny & Susan Westemeyer

An interview with Serguei Gonchar

Serguei Gonchar
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

In a rare interview, T-Mobile's time trial specialist Serguei Gonchar recently spoke with Cyclingnews European Editor Tim Maloney at the rider's home in Molvena, Italy.

The 36-year-old is one of the strongest time triallists in the pro peloton and 2006 has been a banner year for the rider from Grovno, who resides in north-eastern Italy's Veneto region in the same small town where fashion brand Diesel and motorcycle accessories brand Dainese were born. Gonchar has lived in the Veneto region for a decade and has integrated into a comfortable Italian lifestyle.

One of the side-benefits of Gonchar's two stage wins and stint in the yellow jersey was that he got his name back. A typing error on his passport condemned him to being referred to as 'Honchar' for years.

The fame that Tour success brings finally allowed him to set the record straight, "Yeah! In the last few years, people got used to calling me Honchar, especially in Italy, but that is not my name," he said.

"The riders, we're part of a chain but we seem to always be the weakest link"

-Serhiy Gonchar on the Floyd Landis drugs scandal

"So during the Tour de France, when I was team leader for a few stages, it was even more important to get my right name out there. It was the fault of a secretary in the passport office back home in Ukraine and I have had to live with this. But finally I was able to say 'my name is Gonchar, so call me that'. When my passport arrived with the wrong name, there was nothing I could do. That's the way it is and you can't complain. So when I came back to Italy from Ukraine with a passport that had the wrong name, I had to change all of my other documents. Otherwise if you show up at the airport with two different names, it's a mess."

The Floyd Landis drugs scandal has dominated discussion in the cycling and mainstream media but Gonchar is guarded with his opinion, "I really can't say anything at this point… except that I'm sorry to see a sponsor like Phonak leave the sport. They have been around for a long time and have supported cycling so it's too bad they are leaving. Cycling is taking hits from all sides lately… it's seems like some kind of fashion trend!" he said.

Click here for the full interview.

Ullrich gets temporary injunction against Franke

Jan Ullrich has won his first legal battle in the Operation Puerto doping scandal. Over the weekend, a court in Hamburg, Germany, issued a temporary injunction against Prof. Dr. Werner Franke, at Ullrich's request.

Franke may no longer claim that Ullrich paid €35,000 in one year for doping products. If he makes this claim publicly again, Franke will be subject to a fine of up to €250,000 or 6 months imprisonment, according to

Franke told the German sports press agency sid on Monday afternoon that he was not aware of the injunction and that he would find such a procedure "bizarre". He noted that he had simply repeated what stands in the documents produced by the Spanish investigators. In the meantime, the documents have been reproduced by many newspapers, and Franke asks, "Does Herr Ullrich want to sue all those media organs, too?"

Swiss federation has the Operation Puerto papers

"The underlying papers from 'Operation Puerto' have arrived at Swiss Cycling," the Swiss federation announced on Monday. "They will be reviewed by the federation to determine whether proceedings should be opened. If that should be the case, then the dossier will be turned over to the disciplinary committee for doping cases within a week."

Spiegel magazine reports that the director of Swiss Cycling, Lorenz Schläfli, expects a preliminary decision by Thursday, but first the approximately 100 pages of material must be examined. "But after a first glance, it appears that it will come to a proceeding and that Jan Ullrich will soon be invited to appear," said Schläfli.

Ullrich is a German citizen, but lives in Switzerland and rides under a Swiss license.

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

T-Mobile squads for parallel tours

Andreas Klöden will lead a T-Mobile team featuring some of its Tour stars and British debutante Mark Cavendish at the Regio Tour, starting on Wednesday. Matthias Kessler spearheads another T-Mobile eight-man roster for the eight-day Eneco Tour, also beginning on Wednesday.

Running parallel to the Eneco-Tour, the 22nd edition of the The UCI category 2.1 Regio-Tour (August 16-20) takes the riders from 15 participating teams over 709 kilometres through the rolling hills of south western Germany and the neighbouring Alsace region.

Klöden will be riding his first race since the Tour de France, apart from two post-Tour criteriums. He will be accompanied by T-Mobile Tour stars Aussie Michael Rogers and Italian Giuseppe Guerini. Rogers' compatriot Scott Davis and Frantisek Rabon from the Czech Republic are also part of the T-Mobile charge.

Briton Mark Cavendish makes his debut as a stagiaire for T-Mobile at the Regio Tour. The 20-year old is fresh from the Giro Cup in Bochum, where he raced with Team Sparkasse and mixed it with the top sprinters to place a strong fourth. His performance was praised by T-Mobile manager Brian Holm, "The result didn't come as a big surprise to me, though, given Mark's strong performances last year with the British national team," he said.

Meanwhile at the Eneco tour, Matthias Kessler will be supported by the experienced Steffen Wesemann and Andreas Klier, Russian Sergey Ivanov and the Luxembourg champion Kim Kirchen. Kirchen has fond memories of the eight-day stage race, which heads over Belgian and Dutch terrain with a short foray into Germany. In 2002 the 28-year old took the overall title, then known as the Tour du Benelux.

The sprinters Eric Baumann and Olaf Pollack round out the T-Mobile squad. Baumann will ride only his second race after a broken leg and is using the race for training, Pollack hopes to bag a sprint win on the flat stages.

The tour kicks off on Wednesday with a 5.8km prologue held in Den Helder (Noord Holland). After a 16.1km ITT in Landgraaf (Netherlands) the riders can look forward to some of the terrain from the spring classics. On the penultimate stage to Sint Truiden - the longest at 213.9km - the riders will tackle the infamous Muur can Huy.

The final stage is a tough one featuring 14 of the short and sharp ascents made famous by Liege-Bastogne-Liege. "To win this tour, you need to be a complete all-round rider. It has a bit of everything: flat terrain, sharp ascents and time trials" said van Looy.

Phonak announces teams for Vuelta, Eneco

Phonak has announced its teams for the three-week Vuelta a España, beginning on August 26 and for the Eneco Tour, beginning on Wednesday.

Aurélien Clerc, Fabrizio Guidi, Koos Moerenhout, Gregory Rast, Martin Elmiger, Axel Merckx, Michael Schär and David Vitoria are the nominated riders for the Eneco Tour. The riders will be managed by John Lelangue, Jacques Michaud and Adriano Baffi.

Phonak's Vuelta riders will be: Aurélien Clerc, Ryder Hesjedal, Nicolas Jalabert, Steve Morabito, Uros Murn, Luis Oliveira, Miguel Angel Perdiguero, Florian Stalder, Steve Zampieri. Juan Fernandez and René Savary are listed as team managers.

Glasgow GP still open

Entries are still open for the Glasgow Grand Prix on Monday August 28, the eve of the Tour of Britain, according to organisers. A total prize fund of £2000 is up for grabs, with cash for the top 20 finishers, £350 for the winner, and three primes.

The race - a counting event in the British Cycling Elite Circuit Series - starts at 7pm and lasts around an hour. It will be contested over the same 1 kilometre route around George Square Street, Montrose Street and Cochrane Street that hosted the prologue to the Tour of Britain last year.

So far, 15 Tour of Britain riders have entered but the take up from others is disappointing, organisers said.

The event will also include a Future stars race, featuring the country's top junior riders.

Entries will remain open until August 21. For more information contact Graeme McGinty at

Big field for Australian Grand Prix

By John Kenny

The Australian three-stage grand prix starting on Friday has received 335 entries, an increase of 43 percent from last year, of which 281 are for the men's events. The races form part of the Victorian Open championships and the Tattersall's cup series.

"The increase in prize money to $17,000 has helped boost the numbers," said event organiser John Craven. "The event being linked to the Victorian championships and the Tatt's cup has helped increase numbers as well."

Some of Australia's best home-based riders will compete in a time trial, a criterium and a road race. The cumulative points system and a $4000 prize pool for the overall grand prix place-getters has also helped ensure that riders enter all three events said Craven.

Tour of Gippsland winner Wesley Sulzberger (South - AIS) will be one of the favourites for the overall win, along with team-mates Daniel McConnell, Sean Finning, Steve Wooldridge and Miles Olman. The team was the most successful team at the Gippsland tour, claiming a clean sweep of the podium and winning four of the nine stages.

Some of the other favourites include Peter Milostic (Penrith Panthers), Robert McLachlan (Drapac Porsche) and Peter McDonald (FRF Couriers-Excelpro).

Katie Mactier will be the clear favourite in the women's road race and criterium. "There are only 54 entries in total for the women's event, which is disappointing [although] Katie Mactier is riding the road race and the criterium and she will be clearly above her opposition. It's wonderful to have her in the field," said Craven.

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