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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for August 17, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

Landis' father-in-law found dead

By Cyclingnews staff

Floyd Landis' father-in-law, David Witt, has been found dead in his car in a parking lot in North Park, San Diego. San Diego independent TV station KUSI reported that the 57 year-old died of a gunshot wound on Tuesday afternoon. He was found shortly after 3:00pm and was taken to Mercy Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The San Diego County Medical Examiner's office confirmed to Cyclingnews that David's body "is in our facility", and said that the autopsy would be completed today or tomorrow. The SDCME's office would not confirm the cause of death, however.

Witt was close friends with Landis, and introduced him to his stepdaughter Amber, whom Landis married. David Witt and Floyd Landis were also best men at each other's weddings. Witt's restaurant in North Park - Hawthorn's - was filled with Floyd Landis jerseys, old cycling gloves, newspaper articles and other memorabilia, and he and his wife Rose watched Landis ride to victory on the Champs Elysées at the end of the Tour de France.

Although the Witts were upset by Landis positive tests for an abnormal testosterone level, it is not known whether the doping affair played a role in David Witt's apparent suicide.

"He isn't the type who would do this type of thing," David told the San Diego Union-Tribune in late July, when the news first broke of Landis' positive. "Landis has a special gift. His physical endurance is 'way off the charts'. How many other people could cover 900 miles in one week of training? We just want to get through this mess."

Cyclingnews extends its condolences to the family and friends of David Witt.

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

Swiss Cycling to hold Ullrich proceedings

Swiss Cycling will hold proceedings on the doping charges against Jan Ullrich, the federation's chief, Lorenz Schäfli said in a radio interview with dpa/RUFA on Wednesday. The papers from the Spanish investigators have been reviewed, he said.

There are still a few procedural steps necessary before the proceedings can be opened, apparently. According to the federation's official statement, "The Puerto/Jan Ullrich dossier has been reviewed by Swiss Cycling and the Anti-Doping Committee. The Committee came to the conclusion that the dossier is complete and that certain portions of it must still be notarised. As soon as this happens, the dossier will be turned over to the Disciplinary Committee for doping case, so that proceedings can be held."

Ullrich's hearing will not be conducted by Gerhard Walter, the chairman of the disciplinary committee. Schäfli told that there could be a question as to his impartiality, as Walter had previously expressed opinions on the Ullrich case. The case will most probably be assigned to someone else, in order to avoid the appearance of pre-judgment.

AIGCP wants Phonak and Astana out now

The International Association of Professional Cycling Teams (AIGCP) has voted unanimously to ask the UCI licensing commission to exclude Phonak and Astana from the ProTour immediately. In the context of the AIGCP, representatives 17 of the 20 ProTour teams (AG2R, Phonak and Astana were not present) met in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss the latest affairs in cycling, specifically the doping scandals that have seriously damaged the sport in the last few months.

The AIGCP has asked for the following:

- At the UCI licensing commission's meeting next Monday, August 21, the licences of Active Bay (Astana) and AR Cycling AG (Phonak) should be suspended because of the "confusion and disastrous image given by the latest affairs."

- That the UCI will give the names of the riders implicated in Operacion Puerto by Tuesday, August 22 at the latest.

The AIGCP finished by stating that it will continue to apply its Code of Ethics in a very firm manner.

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

Gerolsteiner gets off to a good start in Eneco Tour

German team Gerolsteiner kicked off the Eneco Tour in the best possible way, with Stefan Schumacher winning the prologue in Den Helder. Schumacher was 0.45 seconds faster than George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), with early leader Joost Posthuma (Rabobank) taking third.

"My form is really good," said Schumacher. "It is very satisfying to have finished ahead of a number of specialists. But it doesn't surprise me. I will try everything I can to stay in front. I should do well especially in the final stages."

"It really went well for Stefan, the Tour got off to a great start," said directeur sportif Christian Wegmann, who knew from the first kilometres that Schumacher would do well. "I knew the times of the others and knew that Stefan was very fast under way. And in the end it was enough, even if it was very close."

On defending the jersey, Wegmann said, "Sure it will be tough. Especially the sprinter teams, who think they have good chances, will make life difficult for us. But we will do everything, to keep it. And even if Schumi loses the jersey, then he has laid a good basis for being near the front at the end of the Tour."

Click here for the Full results, report & photos of stage 1.

Nuyens injured

Nick Nuyens (Quick.Step) had an unlucky start to the Eneco Tour. Although he finished eighth in the stage with a solid ride, Nuyens crashed into a camera scaffolding just after he crossed the line. He injured his back, and after being taken to hospital for a check up, will be able to start tomorrow's first stage.

Gilling still looking for a break

T-Mobile's Bas Gilling is a man with a mission - to prove himself as a pro cyclist. So far it hasn't been easy. His second year in the "Big leagues" has been a tough one for the 23-year-old Dutchman.

His goal this year was to do well in the spring classics and perhaps a stage win in one of the smaller stage races. He has had a few good moments, but overall, "The consistency is missing," he says critically.

He also had some bad luck: a crash in Dwars Door Vlaanderen, a bout of food poisoning before the Vuelta a Catalunya, and a wasp sting that gave him a swollen eye for a number of days.

The Eneco tour seemed like the perfect stage for him, and the prologue on Wednesday couldn't have been placed better, only 25 km from his hometown. "I'll have lots of family members, friends and fans along the roadside cheering me on," he said. In addition, he likes prologues. "I'm good at prologue-style time trials. I have special training sessions for them, for example, more interval training."

Perhaps he put too much pressure on himself: he finished 117th, nearly 29 seconds behind the winner.

Danielson to lead Discovery Channel in Vuelta

Tom Danielson will be at the head of affairs in the Discovery Channel Vuelta a España team, after the nine man roster was named today. Along with Danielson will be Michael Barry, Manuel Beltrán, Janez Brajkovic, Stijn Devolder, Vladimir Gusev, Benoît Joachim, Egoi Martinez and Jurgen Van Goolen, with Volodymyr Bileka and Gennady Mikhaylov as reserves.

Team manager Johan Bruyneel described the team balance, saying, "Selecting this team was not easy for me as we have a lot of guys that are riding very strong at the moment, but I feel that we have a very solid team in place that will work well together. Tom Danielson is set to be our leader for this race and I believe he has prepared very well. With the team that we have to support him I am confident that he will be able to finish very high up in the overall classification."

The team is looking at improving their two previous grand tours in 2006, where they wore the leader’s jersey and won stages in both races. The Vuelta squad has a number of riders that have had individual success throughout the season.

Michael Barry: 2nd place Eindhoven Team Time Trial, 3rd place stage & 3rd place overall Sachsen Tour.

Manuel Beltrán: 2nd place stage and King of the Mountains at Castilla y Leon & 4th place overall at Tour de l'Ain.

Janez Brajkovic: 5th place overall and Best Young Rider at Tour de Georgia, 3rd place on stage and 5th place overall at Tour of Catalunya & 4th place stage and 5th place overall at Tour de Suisse.

Tom Danielson: 1st place on stage, 2nd place on stage and 2nd place overall at Tour de Georgia & 2nd place on stage, 3rd place on stage and overall winner at Tour of Austria.

Stijn Devolder: 3rd place on stage at 3 Days of DePanne, 1st place on stage at Tour of Belgium & 2nd place overall at Eindhoven Team Time Trial.

Vladimir Gusev: 4th place (later disqualified) at Paris-Roubaix, 2nd place overall at Eindhoven Team Time Trial & 1st place on stage, 4th place overall and Best Young Rider at Tour of Germany.

Benoît Joachim: 2nd place overall at Eindhoven Team Time Trial & 1st place at Luxembourg National Time Trial Championships.

Egoi Martinez: 3rd place in a stage at Castilla y Leon, 2nd place overall at Eindhoven Team Trial, 3rd place on stage at Dauphine Libéré & Most Aggressive rider on stage 4 at Tour de France.

Jurgen Van Goolen: 2nd place on stage at Tour de Suisse.

Cofidis to Vuelta

David Moncoutié will lead the Cofidis team at the Vuelta a España, which begins at the end of next week. He will be supported by French riders Geoffroy Lequatre, Sébastien Minard and Frédéric Bessy, Belgians Thierry Marichal and Staf Scheirlinckx, Spaniards Luis Perez and Bingen Fernandez, and Colombian Leonardo Duque.

Petacchi tired

Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) finished the first stage of the Regio Tour in 96th place, 6 seconds behind winner Danilo Hondo (Lamonta). The Italian super sprinter is trying to recover his form in time for the Vuelta, and it's not easy.

"I've finished the first stage and I'm very tired, but I think it's normal for my condition," he said. "The course wasn't easy and I was in difficulty on the climbs. In the final, last km, Grillo (Panaria) fell and with him my teammate Ongarato, and so I finished the stage with a little gap. I seem myself getting better, but I know that other days I see myself getting worse."

2007 Tour Down Under launched in Adelaide

The 2007 Tour Down Under was launched in the Wallis Cinema in Adelaide on Wednesday. Even though the race has yet to secure a top naming sponsor, Khairunnisa Schebella found the staff of race promoter SA Events and the dignitaries in attendance optimistic and enthusiastic about what's in store for 2007.

Simon Gerrans winning the 2006 Tour Down Under
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
(Click for larger image)

Without Jacob's Creek's presence at the launch, the launch of the 2007 Tour Down Under was very much a coffee and muffin affair. Although Event Director Mike Turtur claimed there are a number of other major players in discussions, it may well be that the flagship sports event of South Australia will belong not to one company in 2007 but to the over 60 sponsors that make the race happen. "I always thought it would be tough finding the right deal that fits the race and fits the company," Turtur said, adding that the organization could be patient. "We would rather get a good deal in place and a long term commitment!"

When asked whether drug abuse in cycling (and particularly whether the most recent accusations in the sport in Europe) may have scared off potential partners, Turtur said yes. "I would be disappointed if people didn't come to the race because of a few idiots," he said. "Look at O'Grady, McEwen and Evans, these are good quality athletes that do us proud in the Tour de France. Let's support them, the honest athletes, and forget about the cheats." Turtur then reiterated that although riders who have admitted guilt and completed any suspension periods would be allowed to participate, the TDU would not deal with any team or riders under accusation.

Long term King of the Mountain Jersey sponsor, optometrist chain Laubman and Pank, also withdrew their sponsorship and the KOM jersey is yet to be announced. Despite the hiccups and open questions about the long-term financing of the event, the Tour Down Under was officially launched.

Click here for the full feature.

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