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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for August 18, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

Eneco Tour stage 1 wrap-up

Tom Boonen (Quick.Step-Innergetic)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

As expected, the first stage of the Eneco Tour, between Wieringerwerf and Hoogeveen, finished in a bunch sprint. And after a textbook leadout by Quick.Step's Wouter Weylandt and Steven de Jongh, it was world champion Tom Boonen powering to his 18th win of the season ahead of Simone Cadamuro (Milram) and Enrico Gasparotto (Liquigas). Boonen, who was fifth in the prologue, gained enough bonus seconds to take over the red leader's jersey from Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) as well.

"I hadn't counted on this win," Boonen remarked afterwards. "I planned to take it easy in the bunch. But I rode a great prologue and I couldn't let a chance of a victory go."

The stage saw a break containing Rik Reinerink (Skil-Shimano), Matthe Pronk ( and Koen Barbé (Chocolade Jacques-Topsport Vlaanderen) stay clear until 12 km to go, after the sprinters teams combined to pull things back together. A late attack by Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne) was unsuccessful in preventing a bunch sprint.

"There was a moment of hesitation in front of the bunch and I tried to make the best of it," explained Gutierrez. "I saw that there was a possibility to try something and I want immediately because it was the only way for me to win the stage. If you want to win, you have to try!

"I think I started just too early because at that moment I was looking for the right position. Maybe I would have had a better result if I attacked just a while later, but that’s easier said than done. Anyway I feel really motivated and I will keep on trying in the next stages."

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

Russ overwhelmed

"I am absolutely overwhelmed and am simply enjoying the moment," said Gerolsteiner's Matthias Russ, who won the second stage of the Rothaus Regio Tour and took over the leader's jersey.

"It is really great feeling to have my first pro victory as only a 22-year-old rider," he said. He beat no less a rider than Andreas Klöden, third in this year's Tour de France, outsprinting him by 4 seconds.

The two took off out of the leading group and "worked well together" for about 5 km. About 500 km before the finish, Russ pulled away and rode over the finish line with his arms held high in celebration. "That was a very important win for me, and to do it against one of the greats!" he rejoiced.

While Klöden was busy with the Tour de France last month, Russ was busy with other things. He married his girlfriend, Stefanie. "We made the decision to get married when Matthias came back from the Giro," the young couple told Tour Magazine.

Gruppetto for Petacchi in Regio Tour

Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) finished the second stage of the Regio Tour, from Schliegen to BadenWeiler in the sprinters' gruppetto, along with several other Milram riders. "Today I have also done a lot of work, but I'm very happy with my knee," said Petacchi. "This is my biggest preoccupation: when I ride I am always listening to the sensations that my knee transmits to me. I'm working hard and I think well."

Ullrich confident, manager indignant, attorney unimpressed

By Susan Westemeyer

The Swiss cycling federation is preparing to open disciplinary hearings against him, but Jan Ullrich isn't worried. He is "confident" that "everything will be explained" in the procedure. He continues to deny all the charges and is making plans for his future career, says his manager Wolfgang Strohband. He told that a number of teams are interested in his client, but that "We are waiting until the end of the hearings. Ullrich is not even riding any criteriums, even though that means we are losing money.

"One thing is for sure," says Strohband, "Jan will never again wear the T-Mobile jersey. This chapter is absolutely closed."

Strohband was also indignant over the recently published fax message from Eufemiano Fuentes, in which Ullrich's name appears, along with six others (Ivan Basso and Jose Enrique Gutierrez are also there). "This document that appeared in the Suddeutsche Zeitung is in front of us, we know it. The name Jan Ullrich curiously appears there as number seven. Until now it was always said, he was number one. What there in that article appears is totally impossible," he told the dpa. "We haven't yet thought about whether to take legal action," he said.

Marcus Holz, Ullrich's attorney, was not at all impressed with the fax. "We find this whole thing to be somewhat crazy," he told "The fax is just an internal concern of Fuentes'," he said. "It is neither a fax from Jan Ullrich nor a fax to Jan Ullrich.

"The fax is now being treated as the 'Missing Link' between Ullrich and Fuentes. We don't see how a contact can be established in this way - by the mention of an athlete in a fax."

He added that he plans to make a public statement in the next few days on the charges against Ullrich, but that for now he is busy with the underlying documents, not all of which have yet arrived at his office. However, he says that "We can refute all of the things that have already been said."

In further news, Ullrich announced on his website,, that Prof. Dr. Gerhard Walter, chairman of the Disciplinary Committee for Doping, would not be involved in the Ullrich hearings. The German rider had notified Swiss Cycling that Walter had several times voiced an opinion against him, and asked the federation to take a position on this. He said that he was informed that "in the case of a procedure, Dr. Walter would stand aside."

Active Bay hits back

The managing company of the Astana team, Active Bay, has hit back at the Professional Cycling Teams Association (AIGCP), which has asked that it and Phonak be suspended from the ProTour as a result of Operacion Puerto. In a communiqué, Active Bay defended itself by saying that it has "no knowledge of the existence of any sanction, either against the team nor against its staff or riders. Also, no competent organisation has endorsed any legal suspension."

Active Bay criticised the actions of the Spanish General Director of Sports, Rafael Blanco, "who presumably sent to the RFEC and to other organisations a different report from the one that was used in Court, before having received that one."

The UCI is working on expanding the full Operacion Puerto dossier that it received on July 3 in order to send out to the various national federations who may have riders involved in the case. Although two riders have been removed already (Sergio Paulinho and Alberto Contador), there remain potentially 56 riders who could have disciplinary procedures started against them. Active Bay stated that it did not know whether the dossier sent to the UCI was the authorised one or the provisional report.

The management company took a defensive standpoint on behalf of its employees: "Active Bay, as an employer of 60 workers, has to do everything to respect the law and the presumption of innocence, the work of its professionals, and expects the competent organisations to do the same. In this context, the request of the AIGCP lacks legal foundation and presupposes an unacceptable interference on the right to the presumption of innocence, and deliberately places under suspicion the morality and the rights of the employees of Active Bay to exercise their profession when they are considered guilty in the court of public opinion, creating a lot of confusion with this standpoint that is lacking in proof or base. We reserve the right to exercise legal actions to defend our employees against any damages caused."

The communiqué finished with a plea by Active Bay to ask the authorities to "act with responsibility and not collaborate in predisposing the public opinion against the employees that it is considering any sanctions against, in an unjustified and irresponsible manner. Active Bay will exercise any actions necessary in the defence of its interests and those of its workers."

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

McEwen back for Davitamon in Vuelta

The Davitamon-Lotto team has named its nine riders for the Vuelta a España, with top sprinter Robbie McEwen heading the line-up. McEwen, the winner of the green jersey at the Tour de France, will be joined by his lead out man Fred Rodriguez, with another Tour rider, Chris Horner also forming part of the roster. The remainder consists of Wim De Vocht, Bart Dockx, Josep Jufré Pou, Olivier Kaisen, Björn Leukemans and Pieter Mertens. The team will be directed by Hendrik Redant and Eric Van Lancker.

No extension for Traksel has decided not to extend the contract of Dutch rider Bobbie Traksel, according to an ANP report. Traksel has had a bad season to date, breaking two ribs and his shoulder blade in a crash on the weekend.

Unibet's team consultant Jacques Hanegraaf was quoted as saying, "It's disappointing for him, he's also had a lot of bad luck. But the results weren't enough for a new offer."

Hanegraaf also commented on the status of Laurens ten Dam, who reportedly has an offer from Rabobank. "If that's the case, then I will get involved," he said. "He is still under contract with us for another year. We want to hold him to that."

Tasmanian leads charge at Australian Grand Prix

Wes Sulzberger
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

Tasmanian teenager Wesley Sulzberger, winner of the Tattersall's Tour of Gippsland earlier this month, has his sights set on more glory in the inaugural Australian Cycling Grand Prix at Ballarat this weekend.

Sulzberger, 19, overcame a 54 second deficit on the final stage of the five-day Gippsland tour to defeat Queenslander Miles Olman, with Victorian mountain bike specialist Daniel McConnell third. All three should be prominent at the Australian Cycling Grand Prix which will feature six events for men and women over three days.

Time trials will be conducted at Learmonth on Friday, August 18, criteriums in Sturt Street, Ballarat, on Saturday, August 19, and road races on a circuit at Buninyong on Sunday, August 20.

The events have attracted a remarkable 335 entries, including 111 in the men's road race, and will incorporate the Victorian open Road cycling championships. The men's division will also feature the second round of the four-part Tattersall's Cup series, led on points by Sulzberger after his Gippsland victory.

Tasmanian Institute of Sport coach Paul Brosnan thinks that Sulzberger will continue to do well. "Wes will be very persistent in the Grand Prix," Brosnan said. "He has a really good temperament to go to the next step - he's very calm and takes things in his stride, something he will have to do over the three days of the Grand Prix."

Sulzberger's opponents will include Athens Olympic Games gold medallist Stephen Wooldridge and Melbourne Commonwealth Games gold medal winner Sean Finning. Finning, from Castlemaine, Victoria, won the Victorian open criterium championship in Mansfield last year and also took the opening criterium stage at Mallacoota in the Tour of Gippsland.

The Grand Prix is worth $17,000 prizemoney, with an accumulative points system operating on the three events in both the men's and women's sections, to determine the overall champions.

Individual pursuit queen Katie Mactier is a hot favourite to win the women's crown, even though she will skip Friday's time trial. Mactier, 2005 world pursuit champion and Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, has just returned from America where she trained and raced at altitude in Boulder, Colorado. Her toughest opposition will come from fellow Victorian Briana James, the defending state open road champion.

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