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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for August 21, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

Eneco Tour stage 4 wrap-up

Hincapie turns the tables

George Hincapie (Discovery Channel)
Photo ©: Elmar Krings
(Click for larger image)

Four times this season, including the prologue of the Eneco Tour, George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) has finished second in a time trial. But today, on the very tricky 16.1 km course in Landgraaf, Hincapie finally scored, beating Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) by 14 hundredths of a second to win the fourth stage of the Eneco Tour. Nibali had the best time at halfway in 9'57, a full five seconds better than the American, but big George turned it on in the last half to finish in 19'58.23, topping Nibali's 19'58.37 by a narrow margin.

In doing so, Hincapie took over the leader's jersey from Tom Boonen (Quick.Step), who rode a fairly relaxed race to finish in 21'25. Hincapie now has a three second gap on GC over Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner), who was third today at 6 seconds.

"It's very close," commented Hincapie after the stage. "I've been on the other side many times this year, so I feel for Nibali, who got second. But I'm happy I came in on the other side. I worked super hard for this; I did everything I could to win. I'm very content at the way it worked out."

Click here for the Full results, report & photos from stage 4.

Pereiro returns in Puertos

Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears) started racing again in the Clásica a los Puertos, which took place over a difficult 146 kilometres parcours in the sierras of Madrid and Segovia. Pereiro finished 27th at 4'05 in the race won by Ruben Plaza (Comunidad Valenciana).

"I am very satisfied with my return to competition," said Pereiro. "I had to take part in many events after the Tour, so that this morning I started with prudence and humility. In spite of the fact that I trained a lot, I had absolutely no time left to rest so that I started with apprehension. Now I dare to say that I am really pleased with my shape. On Wednesday I will fly to Málaga [for the Vuelta] and the whole team will start with the intention of getting a big result."

Pablo Lastras, who finished fourth, was also satisfied with his race. "A twelve man breakaway started at km 30 and I want with them, as was my teammate David Arroyo. As we went through the hills, we had fewer and fewer riders in the lead, and at the end we were only four for the final sprint where Rubén Plaza was faster than Jon Bru, Eladio Jiménez and myself. But I am very happy with that because after I trained and worked so hard during the last weeks, now everybody can note the result of all the sacrifices I made. I think I deserve my selection for the Tour of Spain and that makes me feel very happy."

Petacchi improves further

Alessandro Petacchi finished the Rothaus Regio Tour with a solid fifth place in the final stage, won by Torsten Hiekmann (Gerolsteiner) in a solo breakaway. With Dirk Müller (Team Sparkasse) coming in second at 27 seconds, it was up to Paride Grillo (Panaria) to lead the bunch home at 41 seconds ahead of Danilo Hondo (Lamonta) and Petacchi.

"Today was the best day for me," said Petacchi. "It seems that I coming back. The stage was hard and I didn't think I would finish. During the race everything was ok and in the finale I tried to do a sprint, without taking a big risk. This fifth position is important for myself, for my morale."

Phonak-Astana-Saiz

Marc Biver, former director of the Tour de Suisse, has formed a management company to operate the new Astana Team, the Neue Züricher Zeitung has reported. He is acting on behalf of the Kazakhstani prime minister. The company is to be called Zeus and will be based in Neuenburg, Switzerland, thus making Astana a Swiss team. Biver speaks of "one of the largest budgets in cycling," with the Kazakhstani government and a consortium of the five largest Kazakhstani business each giving half of the money.

The newspaper further reports that Biver has taken over "half a dozen masseurs and mechanics" from Team Phonak, which is ending after the end of this season, but that he is "not interested" in the four directeurs sportifs. Without naming names, the paper adds that he has signed "21 of 28 pros", but that he is waiting on further actions until next week, when he expects to get a four-year Pro Tour license.

The same article says that of the 17 Phonak riders who are job-hunting, only four have so far been successful: Martin Elmiger (Ag2R), Bert Grabsch (T-Mobile), Steve Morabito (Astana) and Steve Zampieri (Cofidis). It doesn't look good for the others: "Right now there are a half dozen applicants for every free place on a Pro Tour team. That pushes the salaries down," says rider agent Rolf Huser, who represents five Phonak riders.

However, Astana may also be facing problems. The International Association of Professional Cycling Teams (AIGCP) last week called for the immediate suspension of both Phonak and Astana. According to the newspaper article, deposed manager Manolo Saiz is still pulling the strings at Astana, which is the former Liberty Seguros team. Under pressure from the UCI after his involvement in the Dr. Fuentes doping scandal, he sold his shares in the firm Active Bay, which operated his team and removed himself from the business. "That is the official version," the newspaper says. "The truth is, that Saiz is still active. For next Tuesday he has called all of the Astana riders to a meeting in Madrid."

Hamilton's "doping diary" from 2003 published

Tyler Hamilton allegedly used doping products, including EPO, growth hormones, testosterone and insulin, on 114 of the approximately 200 days of the 2003 cycling season, the Danish newspaper Politiken reported on Sunday

The newspaper cites the information out of a "doping diary" which was found among the papers of Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes. In 2003, Hamilton finished fourth in the Tour de France, as captain of the Danish CSC Team.

According to the newspaper, the doping activities listed in the diary were so extensive, that a whole team of helpers had to be involved. Bjarne Riis, director of the CSC team, denies knowing anything about it, despite his close and frequent contact with Hamilton. "I would like to remind you that we live in hotels and not in a prison," he is quoted as saying. "When a stage is finished, the riders have their free time. Then they do want they want."

Hamilton's two year ban for blood doping is due to run out in September. He has been training and keeping his condition up, winning the non-sanctioned Mt. Washington Hill Climb race in the USA on Saturday.

Guerini breaks collarbone

By Susan Westemeyer

T-Mobile's mountain ace Giuseppe Guerini crashed on a climb on Friday in the Rothaus Regio-Tour, and after a quick treatment from the team doctor, finished the stage, only about 4 minutes down. However, further examinations showed that the 36-year-old had a hairline fracture in his left collarbone, and so he did not start Saturday's stage.

"It looks like an operation is not necessary," said team doctor Andreas Schmid. "Since the break is not displaced, we can assume it will heal quickly." T-Mobile spokesman Luuc Eisenga told Cyclingnews that Guerini should be off the bike "for a few weeks."

Erwin Bakker responds to criticism

By Steve Medcroft, MTB Editor

After running a story in Friday's MTB News that doping-suspended mountain biker Erwin Bakker had been barred from competing in a non-sanctioned marathon in Switzerland (as a follow up to his being caught racing in his brother's name in Germany earlier this season), Bakker responded by email to complain that he is being misrepresented in the media.

Bakker says the characterization that he was 'caught' trying to enter races despite his ban is misleading. "Now it’s totally true that I used EPO last year and I got my deserved ban," he wrote, "What they publish now in the media is totally not true.

"Early this year I did ride some marathons with open registration (non-UCI events). After several comments from other riders, I decided to quit riding. The story that I entered with my brother's name is true but it’s also published in a very sensational way."

About the most recent news that organizers of the Grand Raid Cristalp marathon in Switzerland found Bakker's name on their registration rolls and struck him from the participants list before the event, Bakker says "(I signed up in) February this year. Two weeks ago there was a big commotion about a Swiss rider who refused an out of competition test. After that, there were (as expected) questions about my registration. The organization send me a mail that they decided I could not ride, and so I will not."

Instead of looking for new ways to compete in a hostile competitive environment, Bakker says he's trying to put elite-level mountain-biking racing behind him. "I’m working full-time in my brother's bike store and don’t even have time to ride," he wrote. "I'm focusing on a new target and that is not riding competition."

Française des Jeux for Vuelta

Austrian Bernhard Eisel will head the Française des Jeux squad in the Vuelta a España, which starts next Saturday in Malaga. The sprinter will be accompanied by Christophe Detilloux (Bel), Ian McLeod (RSA), Frédéric Finot, Sébastien Joly, Eric Leblacher, Freddy Bichot, Fabien Patanchon and Jérémy Roy (all Fra).

Ride am Rhein

Erik Zabel, Sven Teutenberg and Jens Voigt
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)

Jens Voigt and Erik Zabel passed through Düsseldorf today in between races to participate in a charity event organised by former cycling pro Sven Teutenberg and his wife Suzan. Despite the wet weather, hundreds of people with bikes lined up for the Ride am Rhein (www.therideamrhein.de/ ), to ride between 25 and 110 km raising money for Regenbodenland Kids Hospice in Düsseldorf and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Current Handcycling World Champion Monique Van de Vorst also turned up to ride the 110km event, which she said was good training for the World Championships coming up in 4 weeks. I have to do well there," she told Cyclingnews. "I want to keep this [rainbow] jersey."

Photography

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Cyclingnews.com

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