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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for August 15, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

Phonak stops

The Phonak cycling team will be disbanded at the end of the year, the team confirmed in a press conference today. Team owner Andy Rihs, who was looking to hand over the sponsorship to iShares, a division of Barclays Bank, which will now not happen, said that the deciding factor in the decision was the doping case involving Floyd Landis, as well as the uncertainty with regard to the renewal of the ProTour licence that expires at the end of this year.

"As a passionate cyclist, I am bitterly disappointed that the sport of cycling apparently has become a synonym for doping," said Rihs. "I truly regret this development and it has brought me to the decision of disbanding the Phonak Cycling Team per the end of 2006."

After experiencing 11 doping cases in the last five years, Phonak tried to clean house at the end of 2004, bringing in a new team manager John Lelangue, firing several staff and doctors, and introducing its own very stringent internal controls. The team looked to be on a roll this year, with Floyd Landis winning Paris-Nice, the Tours of California and Georgia, and then the Tour de France. But that turned into a disaster when Landis tested positive for abnormal testosterone levels after stage 17, and was subsequently fired by Phonak.

"For this reason, today I see myself forced to do something I have never done in my whole life as a businessman: I have given up!" Rihs said, adding that the decision was a difficult one. "I am particularly sorry for our young promising Swiss riders who share no guilt in this development, as well as for the competent staff members. I deeply regret that I can no longer do this in the future."

"We will never enter a team in the Tour de France again," team manager John Lelangue was quoted by Reuters as saying. Lelangue also did not know what Floyd Landis would do in future. "What he does is up to him," Lelangue said.

Dutch rider Koos Moerenhout was not happy with the news. "I had just signed for two years," he was quoted by ANP as saying. "I rode a good season until now and got a nice new contract as a result. It's bitter that it ends like this...I felt good in this team, in all respects. I'm not scared that there's no interest in me, but I should stay positive."

The team will continue to race until the end of the year, and riders are now free to look for other teams.

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

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the Floyd Landis case

Exciting parcours for Eneco Tour

By Jeff Jones

Bobby Julich (CSC)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
Click for larger image

Starting with a 5.8 km time trial in the Dutch town of Den Helder, the Eneco Tour (August 16-23), the next stop on the ProTour calendar, looks set to keep the interest level up until the very last stage, which finishes in Ans, Belgium. The eight day race features four Dutch and four Belgian stages, and even includes a stage finish in world champion Tom Boonen's home town of Balen.

After the prologue in Den Helder, the first stage takes the riders between on a flat 177 km course Wieringerwerf and Hoogeveen, via the narrow 30 km dyke across the Ijsselmeer. Stage 2, 195 km between 's Hertogenbosch and Sittard-Geleen, is also flat, and includes a short trip into Germany. The third stage heads from Beek into Westmalle (Belgium), and is a 185 km sprinters stage.

The general classification will be decided more in the last half of the Tour, with stage 4 a difficult 16.1 km time trial between Landgraaf and Heerlen and back. The fifth stage is an all-Belgian affair, taking the riders 183 km between Hasselt and Balen, where Tom Boonen will hope to give his local fans something to cheer about.

The sixth stage crosses several Belgian provinces on its 214 km journey between Bornem and Sint-Truiden, with two climbs featured. But the final stage starting and finishing in Ans is the killer: a shorter version of Liege-Bastogne-Liege over 201 km, featuring the climbs of the côte de Wanne, Stockeu, Haute Levée, Andrimont, La Redoute, Tilff, St Nicolas and several more. The general classification looks set to remain alive until the finish line is reached in Ans.

The start list includes the 20 ProTour teams plus Chocolade Jacques, Unibet.com and Skil-Shimano, making for a sizeable and competitive field. Defending champion Bobby Julich will lead the CSC squad with Karsten Kroon, and will find challengers in the likes of Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne), Thomas Dekker (Rabobank), George Hincapie and Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel), and Maarten Tjallingii (Skil-Shimano).

The list of sprinters is headed by Tom Boonen (Quick.Step), who will find plenty of competition in the likes of Danilo Napolitano and Daniele Bennati (Lampre-Fondital), Robert Förster (Gerolsteiner), Baden Cooke (Unibet.com) and Gert Steegmans (Davitamon), while Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner), Philippe Gilbert (FDJ), Aart Vierhouten (Skil-Shimano) and Belgian Champion Niko Eeckhout (Chocolade Jacques) will be danger men in breakaway finishes.

The stages

Prologue - August 16: Den Helder (Ned) ITT, 5.8 km
Stage 1 - August 17: Wieringerwerf (Ned) - Hoogeveen (Ned), 176.9 km
Stage 2 - August 18: 's Hertogenbosch (Ned) - Sittard-Geleen (Ned), 194.6 km
Stage 3 - August 19: Beek (Ned) - Westmalle (Bel), 185.0 km
Stage 4 - August 20: Landgraaf (Ned) - Landgraaf (Ned) ITT, 16.1 km
Stage 5 - August 21: Hasselt (Bel) - Balen (Bel), 183.1 km
Stage 6 - August 22: Bornem (Bel) - Sint-Truiden (Bel), 213.9 km
Stage 7 - August 23: Ans (Bel) - Ans (Bel), 201.2 km

Sastre to ride Vuelta

Carlos Sastre is expected to announce today that he will ride the Vuelta a Espańa, reports AS. The Spaniard, who finished one place behind Denis Menchov in last year's race, will join his compatriots Oscar Pereiro and Alejandro Valverde as some of the top stars for the Spanish tour.

Menchov, who is yet to find out whether he was first or second in last year's race pending an appeal by Roberto Heras, will return to defend his placing, while Euskaltel's Haimar Zubeldia and Iban Mayo will also be in the picture.

A number of these riders showed their good form in the Clasica San Sebastian last Saturday, where Menchov, Sastre and Mayo comprised what was nearly the race winning breakaway. But Valverde and his team managed to chase the trio down in the last 5 km, setting things up for a surprise win by Xavier Florencio (Bouygues Telecom).

The Vuelta organisers also announced the prize list for this year's race, which totals €1 million. The winner will receive €220,000.

Euskaltel parts ways with Gorospe

Euskaltel-Euskadi directeur sportif Julián Gorospe will leave at the end of the season, the team has announced. Thanking Gorospe for his work over the years, the Euskadi foundation stated that it wanted to "attack a new project with new goals, new systems and work methods and new objectives which require restructuring of the team."

Within that restructuring, "it was decided not to continue with Julián Gorospe as part of the sporting structure. As the Fundación Ciclista Euskadi, we want to thank Julián Gorospe for his professionalism and work done over the years, and we wish him the best in his new path."

Traksel breaks ribs

Dutch rider Bobbie Traksel's unlucky season continues. The 24 year-old broke two ribs and fractured his shoulder blade in a training crash on Sunday. The Unibet rider already had to miss the early part of the season after breaking his heel and some teeth in the Etoile des Bessčges.

Three extend with Chocolade Jacques

Three Belgian riders have extended their contracts with the Continental Professional team Chocolade Jacques-Topsport Vlaanderen. Koen Barbé, Kurt Hovelynck and Pieter Ghyllebert all have deals for an additional season.

British time trial championships coming up

The British time trial championship will be held on September 3 in Hartley Wintney in Hampshire. The field has been given a boost by the presence of triple Olympic medalist Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis), who will be up against the likes of Michael Hutchinson and Stuart Dangerfield for the title. Others going for the men's title include Mark Atkinson, Richard Prebble, Ben Instone, Matt Bottrill, Gethin Butler, Jason MacIntyre and Paul Mill, while the women will see Julia Shaw, Wendy Houvenaghel, Caroline Kloiber, Ruth Eyles, Lesley-Anne Walkling, Danuta Tinn and Helen Carter fight it out.

The event begins at 9:00am and runs until approximately 5:30pm, with the last rider off at 4:20pm. The many short rolling hills make for an ideal spectator circuit, with the start in Heckfield and the finish outside Wellington Country Park.

More information: www.bttc.org.uk

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