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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for August 22, 2006

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

McQuaid: No more names due out

Astana licence under examination but can continue to race for now

By Shane Stokes

UCI President Pat McQuaid has described as ‘inaccurate’ media reports that more names are due to be released this week in connection with the Operación Puerto investigation. Speaking to Cyclingnews on Tuesday afternoon, the Irishman said that the UCI had not received any information from the Spanish investigators regarding any extra riders who might be involved.

"We will be informing the teams of riders who we feel are implicated in the affair, and they will take whatever action they need to do," he said, commenting on those who may have been taken off the list by the Spanish investigators but who remain under investigation by the UCI. "But we have been given no new names by the Spanish authorities other than what was in the original list."

McQuaid then clarified the Astana team’s position prior to the start of the Vuelta this weekend. The AIGCP met last week and asked the UCI to consider the possible suspension of the Astana and Phonak squads in the light of recent scandals. McQuaid says that Astana’s position is under examination, but that for now they would be able to race.

"The position is that we will follow the ProTour rules," he stated. "There is no provision in the ProTour rules for the suspension of a team. There is however a provision for the withdrawal of a ProTour licence, and the licence commission met yesterday and discussed the situation as regards Astana. They have asked for a meeting with the Astana personnel, asking those running it to state their case. That is an ongoing process but, for now, they can continue."

McQuaid also commented on rumours that Manolo Saiz is still involved with the team. "I haven’t heard anything concrete on that at all but I have heard a rumour that he has called a meeting of the riders today in Madrid. He claims that he has had a grave injustice done against him. But for me, the best thing would be if he stays quiet and remains in the background at the moment until such time as any allegations against him have been cleared. If there have indeed been any injustices done against him, he needs to get all that resolved before he starts coming into the forefront again."

As regards Phonak, McQuaid plays down talk of a freezing of their ProTour licence. "The situation is that you have a team which is going to fold up at the end of the year. If we were to start a process against Phonak it would be a long time before it is concluded. So it is futile from that point of view. Plus you have the other aspect that you have many riders who are looking for jobs now and they will have to put in performances in races in the rest of the year. They need to find new employers."

Phonak has had many positives but despite that, McQuaid believes that in recent times the new team management made genuine efforts to stop doping. "I think that Andy Rihs and Phonak did try desperately hard to do everything correctly, but they got slapped in the face, basically. They completely changed the management structure of the team at the start of last year, bringing in a completely new and fresh setup that Andy Rihs had faith in that would be completely compliant, transparent and completely against doping. And the current management team have been like that. But it seems that they haven’t unfortunately been able to control the riders 100 percent of the time. They were very serious about what they were doing; I think it is very unfortunate for Andy Rihs that this [the Landis affair and the dissolution of the team] happened to him."

A full Pat McQuaid interview on cycling’s battle against doping will appear soon on Cyclingnews.

Riis pessimistic over Basso future

For the first time in the Spanish doping scandal, Team CSC manager Bjarne Riis has declared that he is not sure about Ivan Basso being able to continue his career within Team CSC. "I have difficulties seeing a future for Basso with CSC unless he is totally cleared," Riis told Danish Politiken on Monday. "If Basso was in contact with the doctor [Fuentes - ed.], he lied to us, and betrayed the team and the values we hold dear - then his career with CSC would be over."

Moreover, the 1996 Tour de France winner Riis saw his image affected by the recent revelations about Basso. "I feel really bad about this case. Basso is the worst that could happen to me - it has ruined my image. I need to fix that and right now it's a tough job," he declared.

Extensive doping alleged for Hamilton

One day after the initial report by Danish Politiken, Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws has published details of the alleged "doping diary" of Tyler Hamilton, found among the papers of Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

According to the Belgian media, Hamilton's doping practices in 2003, when he won both Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour de Romandie as well as a stage in the Tour de France despite a collarbone fracture, were extensive and cost him a total of 43,040 Euros.

The paper cites information according to which the then-CSC rider used EPO 30 times between December 2002 and February 2003, as well as anabolic steroids. In the beginning of March 2003, Hamilton allegedly used a pregnancy hormone to cover up the traces of the cure. Two blood transfusions are reported to have been administered to his body two days prior to Paris-Nice, where Hamilton won the mountains jersey.

In April, the American is thought to have used growth hormone and insulin to promote muscle growth. After the Tour de Romandie, the paper claims to have evidence that he transfused three bags of blood (a total of 1.35 litres), returned to normal blood levels with the help of EPO, and re-injected two bags of blood six days before the start of the Dauphiné Libéré.

Another growth hormone cure came after the race according to the media, as well as several blood transfusions in the count down to the Tour de France. The information gathered even points at a blood transfusion on the day of the medical control at the start of the Grand Tour, and twice during the race.

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

Too high hematocrit for Dominguez

Juan Carlos Dominguez (Unibet) was taken out of competition after revealing too high hematocrit levels in the morning of stage 5 of the Eneco Tour of Benelux on Monday. The Spaniard's blood test result exceeded the 50 percent threshold imposed by UCI rules, so the 35 year-old is not allowed to race for two weeks now. The blood controls were carried out on riders of the following teams: Davitamon, CSC, Quick Step, Lampre, Chocolade Jacques and Unibet.

Dominguez will now have to justify himself in front of his team directors, with Unibet applying for a ProTour license again this year. "We will not rule on Dominguez just now," team advisor Jacques Hanegraaf told Belgian media when confronted with the possibility that Dominguez could be using performance-enhancer EPO. "We will examine the situation internally."

Menchov "not as fresh"

Last year's winner of the Vuelta a España, Rabobank's Denis Menchov, is not certain about his ability to defend his title at the Spanish Grand Tour, starting on Saturday, August 26. "I'd love to win the race, but the Vuelta is a secondary objective this year after the Tour and I don't feel as fresh this time," the Russian told Spanish newspaperMarca on Tuesday. Menchov finished sixth in this year's Tour de France.

"I believe I have a chance, but psychologically I don't feel as sharp and that always affects you physically, too," he added. The 28 year-old pointed to Alejandro Valverde, Carlos Sastre, Alexandre Vinokourov and Iban Mayo as the main challengers for victory in Spain.

As to the course of the upcoming stage race, he commented, "The mountains will be the key. There are a lot at the start, not many in the middle and a lot at the end. The time trials are short and I don't think they will be decisive." Menchov also said that the profile of this year's Vuelta would lead to an early selection of the GC contenders.

"The early mountain stages will mean that, unlike this year's Tour, we will know who is in with a chance of winning from an early stage," he said.

CSC, Milram, Quickstep for Vuelta

Team CSC has announced its rider roster for the Vuelta a España. Next Saturday in Malaga, the Danish squad will be lining up the following nine riders: Carlos Sastre, Fabian Cancellara, Volodymir Gustov, Lars Bak, Kurt Asle Arvesen, Inigo Cuesta, Marcus Ljungqvist, Nicki Sørensen and Stuart O'Grady.

"To me this is definitely the strongest team we've ever had in the Vuelta," said directeur sportif Kim Andersen. "We have proud traditions from last year with a stage win and podium spot, so there's a lot to live up to. And we can with this team. Carlos Sastre has told us he's top motivated to do well, and that means we have to provide him with the best possible support. He has been tremendous this year and deserves the opportunity to get a great result in the Vuelta. As always it will be a tough race and the spectators can expect some amazing stages for sure."

Andersen added that the selection of riders was not an easy task. "It's definitely not been easy to choose the last few riders and I fully understand if a rider like Jakob Piil is disappointed," he added. "I'm sorry for him, but we've chosen these riders according to what serves the team best and have ended up choosing someone, who is able to work for Carlos in the mountains."

Team Milram's riders for the Vuelta will be the following: Alessandro Petacchi, Erik Zabel, Daniel Becke, Volodymyr Dyudya, Alberto Ongarato, Enrico Poitschke, Fabio Sacchi, Sebastian Siedler and Marco Velo. The Italian supersprinter will thus have the experienced German within his lead out train for the flat stages, and, after healing his knee injury, will be eager to make up for lost opportunities at the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France.

And finally, Belgian team Quickstep has also announced its participants in the Vuelta: Paolo Bettini, Kevin De Weert, Ad Engels, Josè Antonio Garrido, Kevin Hulsmans, Sebastien Rosseler, Matteo Tosatto, Kevin Van Impe and Davide Viganò will be battling it out in Spain as from this Saturday, directed by Serge Parsani and new DS Davide Bramati.

McGee back to racing

Australian Bradley McGee is back to competition. The Francaise des Jeux rider participated in Sunday's Châteauroux Classic de l’Indre in France, his first race since he had to abandon the Tour de Suisse in early June this year due to a back problem that had already caused him to withdraw from the Giro d'Italia earlier on. McGee suffered several inflammations of his sciatic nerve, ruining his 2006 season, and is now hoping to get some form back for the last part of this year's calendar.

Schleck and Garzelli at GP Nobili Rubinetterie

Fränk Schleck and Stefano Garzelli will be the main contenders of the UCI ranked 1.1 Cat. GP Nobili Rubinetterie, scheduled to take place on Wednesday, August 23, in and around Arona, Italy. The Luxembourger, who won Amstel Gold Race as well as the Tour de France stage to Alpe d'Huez this year, will find the hilly parcours on the shores of Lago Maggiore suited to his capabilities, with Garzelli also looking for a victory on home turf. Last year's winner, Lampre's Damiano Cunego, will not attend the race, as his team is not participating.

The peloton will include 176 riders of 22 teams: Liquigas, CSC, Ceramica Panaria, Naturino Sapore di Mare, Team LPR, Miche, Selle Italia Serramenti Diquigiovanni, Acqua&Sapone, Androni Giocattoli, Tenax Salmilano, Barloworld, Elk Haus, OTC Doors, Ceramica Flaminia, Universal Caffe', Amore & Vita, Perutinina, Team Endeka, Sava Krany, Apo Sport Linz, Andria Mobil and Rodenka Powerbar. The circuit race will take the bunch on a 16.8 km-long loop, to be repeated 11 times for a total racing distance of 184 kilometres.

Morabito to Astana

Swiss rider Steve Morabito has announced that he has signed a two-year deal with Kazakh team Astana. The 23 year-old Phonak rider, who will see his team decompose at the end of the season, won the fifth stage of the Tour de Suisse this year. Morabito is the third rider of his team to get a new contract in another squad. Steve Zampieri is leaving to Cofidis, and Martin Elmiger to AG2R.

Revolution returns to Manchester Velodrome

On Saturday, October 14, the Revolution series will again be kicked off at the Manchester Velodrome. This fourth season will be run a little differently, the organisers announced, to work alongside the Manchester World Cup which will be held in February 2007. Consequently, there will be three Revolutions before Christmas with the final event to take place on Saturday, January20, 2006.

The Season 4 dates are:

Saturday, October 14, 2006
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Saturday, January 20, 2007

More information and tickets are available at

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