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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for August 26, 2006

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

McQuaid: Hamilton file to be studied soon

UCI aiming to complete investigation before current ban is up

By Shane Stokes

Photo ©: Shane Stokes
Click for larger image

Olympic time trial champion Tyler Hamilton is due to return to racing after September 22 and has been targeting the world championships as his first major goal, but the American could possibly find himself hit with a new ban before turning a pedal in anger. Earlier this summer it emerged that Hamilton was implicated in the Operación Puerto affair, both through a fax reportedly sent to his wife Haven Hamilton under her maiden name of Haven Parchinski, and more recently through the publication of the details of the doping program he was alleged to have followed in 2003.

UCI President Pat McQuaid spoke to Cyclingnews earlier this week on the subject and said that the governing body will study the documents relating to his case prior to the end of his suspension. "If it is shown that the allegations are true, he could face further sanctions," stated McQuaid. Under the second offence rule, a guilty ruling would most likely see Hamilton hit with a life ban from the sport.

McQuaid said it is too early to say what will happen. "We haven't come to his file yet because we are dealing with the active riders first. Three lawyers have been working for seven weeks now on trying to get all the files done. The urgency is obviously on the active riders, and therefore any of the other older ones who are not active must wait until the end. But it will be done some time soon.

"The files relating to the current riders are nearly finished. They are in the process of being completed now. Some of them have already been sent, and others will follow shortly. They are going out of here on an ongoing basis."

When asked about the time scale for a decision on the Hamilton situation, McQuaid said it would be sooner rather than later. "I don't think it will go as far as next season, to be honest. I think it will be done some time later this year; it could be completed around the time his ban is due to end. I don't know exactly how many files are left to be processed here before that, but we will look at it as soon as possible."

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McQuaid also commented on Hamilton’s participation in the Mount Washington hill climb, an unsanctioned event which he won last Saturday. In March the rider competed in a race which was part of the Stazio Criterium Series in Boulder. The UCI were not impressed and successfully put pressure on him to desist by threatening to freeze the licences of any riders who competed against him in these races.

The UCI President seemed to rule out the possibility of any such measures now. "I would imagine that it [Mount Washington] is an unapproved race. I presume it is a event that is not on the US cycling calendar, because if it was, he would not be allowed to ride it. Therefore, if he competes in any of those events, he can do so... I don't know what the quality of the field was like, who was in it - it is just one of those kind of races that he can ride if he wishes."

McQuaid also commented on the Floyd Landis case, specifically on the time scales for appeals and for the disqualification of the rider from position of Tour de France champion (or confirmation of his win, should the appeals prove successful).

"It is really up to Floyd as to how long all of this continues," he said. "He first of all has to face the USADA and then decide what he wants to do after that. I don't know how long it could go on - I think the Hamilton case went on for 18 months or something like that. That is probably the maximum length of time the Landis case would take. But I believe that from my understanding of it, if he is sanctioned by USADA then he loses the Tour de France title straight away - it can’t be taken away before that point. It is then up to him to decide what to do after that."

Landis would have the option of appealing any such decision to CAS, seeking to show that the charges are false or unfounded.

Cipollini denies link to Fuentes

After Italian daily La Repubblica reported on Friday that retired sprinter Mario Cipollini was also amongst the clients of Spanish doping doctor Eufemiano Fuentes when he still a professional cyclist, the Italian has denied the allegations. The newspaper claimed that the Guardia Civil suspected Cipollini to have received various doping products and practices in 2002, under the code name of "Pavarotti" - a name that is allegedly found in Fuentes' records for that particular year. Cipollini scored 14 victories that season, including Milano-Sanremo, Gent-Wevelgem, six stages in the Giro d'Italia and three in the Vuelta, as well as his world championship title in Zolder, Netherlands.

"I am completely astounded at what the newspaper Repubblica published today," Cipollini declared. "It is absurd to me that my name is mentioned in this arbitrary way in something I now nothing about. Personally, I do not know doctor Fuentes and I have never had any contact to him."

The Tuscan is now ready to take legal action "to protect his image".

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

Vuelta lost sponsorship deal over Landis positive

Ignacio Ayuso, president of Vuelta a España organiser Unipublic, has revealed to Spanish newspaper AS that an earlier main sponsorship deal this year was cancelled after Floyd Landis tested positive for a too high testosterone ratio in his blood. Meanwhile, the race found a new main sponsor, but "Expo Zaragoza 2008" stepped in on emergency just three days prior to the event.

"In July, we had it all signed," he said. "We had this main sponsor, a big business, as well as Ford coming on board and the continuous backing of Ifema and From. But the Landis case made the sponsor doubtful and he preferred to back out." Whilst Ayuso, who did not want to reveal the identity of the company ("We are confident that this possible sponsor, like others who had doubts, might be able to be signed in the future"), added that the Vuelta organiser agreed to drop the already-signed deal after the doping accusations against the Tour de France winner were made public. "We had an agreement for one year and the possibility of renewal for the next. But we understood the position [of the sponsor] and released them from their engagement."

Finding a new backer just weeks before the event was not an easy task according to Ayuso. "When the Landis case came out we were in the middle of our holidays," he continued. "It wasn't easy to start new negotiations. With Expo Zaragoza, we already had a basic agreement for them to become sponsors of the Gran Premio classification in 2007 and 2008. We then reached an extended agreement for them to patronize the jersey this year."

The Gran Premio classification, meanwhile, will not be promoted on the podium or the finish line this year, but Unipublic's finances are not reported to be suffering. "The Vuelta will not lose money [over this]. Despite all the problems we had to deal with we have no deficit - we won't obtain the profits we calculated, but we won't be in the red either," Ayuso explained.

Klöden to decide soon

By Susan Westemeyer

Andreas Klöden has a choice of three proposed contracts, and expects to decide soon where he will ride next year. "Andreas has all the papers. Maybe he will decide tomorrow, maybe the day after," his manager Tony Rominger told on Friday. One of the offers is from his current team, T-Mobile.

Rominger said that his other T-Mobile clients - Matthias Kessler, Steffen Wesemann and Sergei Ivanov - have not yet received offers from the team. "T-Mobile told me quite clearly that the other contracts will be decided only after the Klöden matter is settled," he said.

The German ProTour team denied this. "Andreas Klöden is our highest priority, but the contract negotiations with the other riders are being handled independently of our discussions with Klöden," said team spokesman Luuc Eisenga.

German cycling and TV stations discuss anti-doping plan

On Thursday, August 24, representatives of the German cycling federation BDR and German cycling teams have discussed a series of measures aimed at contributing to the fight against doping in the sport with the two German TV stations ARD and ZDF. BDR president Rudolf Scharping exposed his agenda as well as joint measures elaborated with the teams, race organisers and sponsors.

These aim at improving the quality and the number of doping controls, taking more severe sanctions and supporting the implementation of an anti-doping law in criminal legislation. The publicly-owned TV stations, for their part, still have to decide over the amount of cycling races they will broadcast next season.

Francesco Del Ponte speaks

Vandenbroucke looking for another chance

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

Speaking to La Gazetta dello Sport's Claudio Gregori after a tough training ride in the hilly Oltrepo Pavesi region south of Milano, enigmatic 31 year-old Belgian Frank Vandenbroucke has been participating in Gran Fondo events for "cicloamatore" riders in Italy this summer, since he stopped racing for the Unibet team in May. Vandenbroucke, who has lived in a small village west of Milano since last fall with his wife and daughter, addressed why he stopped racing for the Belgian Continental Pro squad: "I started the season well and at the Ruta del Sol in February, I was flying," Vandenbroucke explained. "But in March I got some kind of virus, like mononucleosis. I started to think the team didn't trust me. Why was I still racing. Other riders might think of giving up in that situation, but not me. Since that day in February 2002, when I was handcuffed, I've changed. I've gone through some really hard moments, above all my mental outlook. Others would have been crushed, but now I've managed to come out of my depression. I feel strong again. For the last month I've been feeling good."

With all his ups and downs, Vandenbroucke might seem like a candidate for the same tragic end as Pantani or Jose Maria Jimenez, but the former powerhouse from Ploegsteert was adamant that he wasn't going to end up like them. "I'm not going to be like that. There's no danger because my family gives me my strength. My wife Sara, my little girl Margot." As to why a former winner of Liege-Bastogne-Liege is racing in Gran Fondo events, Vandenbroucke explained that "I'm just riding these races because I need to get some racing miles in my legs. But I know that I have talent and want to show it. I don't want my talent to go to waste. I know I can still win another classic... I'm just waiting for (a team) to call me. And now I know I'm a good person and that my life is in order."

Although he will be 32 years old in November, Vandenbroucke still sees that he has a career ahead of him, saying "I really haven't raced much... look at Ekimov, Tchmil... I can still be competitive until I'm 38 or 40 years old." When asked why a pro team would even want him, Vandenbroucke explained that "I know my name scares people away. But I hope people can forget about my past. I won't make another mistake. I'm out of the tunnel (or depression)."

When asked about his previous involvement with doping, Vandenbroucke said "for the last four years, my approach to cycling doesn't need (doping). Philosophically my approach to cycling has changed. It's true that I haven't won anything in a long time with the exception of a few kermesse races, but I was second in Flanders (2003), 6th at Fleche Wallone and 8th at Liege-Bastogne-Liege and helped Petacchi to win Milano-Sanremo. But I was missing something. My head... but now I have my head back."

As for his participation in Italian Gran Fondo events for Team Olympus under a false name (Francesco Del Ponte, an Italian translation of Frank Vandenbroucke), the Belgian denied that he had put Tom Boonen's photo on his racing license. "I didn't do that! If I was going to do something like this, I would have put someone else's photo. I don't know who did it and I don't want to know." Vandenbroucke was training but was looking for more of a challenge. "The training gets boring and I missed being in a group... (Team Olympus) asked me if I wanted to race (Gran Fondos) so I decided to give them a try. But I've never passed the finish line, I don't want to interfere in the races of the amateur riders."

In fact, it was team president Evgeni Berzin, winner of the '94 Giro d'Italia who admitted he put Boonen's photo in Vandenbroucke's UDACE license, the Italian organisation that sanction Gran Fondos. Berzin told La Gazetta dello Sport "it was a little mistake, but we changed it. There's no harm done. Frank comes to our (Team Olympus) training sessions twice a week and I'm even riding again too."

But Vandenbroucke and Berzin's antics have angered UDACE boss Francesco Barberis, who angrily declared that "We're happy that this situation has been discovered. And whoever has done this will pay for it. I've already spoken with our lawyers... we feel like we've been duped. We will fight ever harder to keep professional riders out of our races and we won't let (Raimondas) Rumsas ride our races anymore. And soon we'll start anti-doping controls again." With UDACE now on the warpath, Vandenbroucke will likely have to revert to group training rides and keep his hope alive that some team will give him another chance, his 10th after stints on Lotto, Mapei, Lampre, Cofidis, Domo-Farm Frites, QuickStep, Fassa Bortolo, Mr. Bookmaker and Unibet.

Boost for Sean Kelly team

By Shane Stokes

The Sean Kelly - ACLVB M. Donnelly Racing Team are heading into the final two months of the season with strong morale following Paídi O’Brien’s seventh place in the 1.1 ranked Druivenkoers in Overijse, Belgium on Wednesday. Team directeur sportif Kurt Bogaerts is very pleased with O’Brien’s placing. "It is the best result for us to date, for sure," he said on Thursday. "Paídi was sprinting for the win so that was also a first for us.

"Four guys were clear heading towards the finish, but then everything came together with five kilometres to go. Danilo Hondo’s team were driving it, trying to set him up for the win, but he made a mistake and wasn’t placed in the sprint. Paídi did a very good race and overall it was the best of the year for the team. Everyone was going well and rode hard for him."

The Sean Kelly - ACLBV M. Donnelly team is in the first year of its existence as a Continental squad and while it has achieved some solid results, there have also been times when the riders have found it difficult to adjust to riding against the big name professionals. Bogaerts thinks that Wednesday’s race shows that the hard work is finally paying off. "This is a really big result if you compare to what other guys from Ireland have done in the past. The fact that Paídi is so young is a further plus. We have been doing these races all year and while we found them tough early on, there is good progression here. It shows that all the hard work is starting to pay off for us.

"It was definitely necessary that something like that this happened. We didn’t quite feel that we were under a lot of pressure, but we wanted to do something for our sponsors, to show what we could do. We hope to keep building from this point. We have loads of plans for next year. The team will go ahead, hopefully with a slightly bigger budget. That would help us do a little more for the riders and also to build up the setup. We will also learn from this year - we have gained a lot of experience. We probably made a few mistakes early on but we have learned from that and hope that things will keep progressing from this point onwards."

Bogaerts concluded by saying that he was optimistic of a good showing in the Under 23 world championships. "This kind of experience is very good for the worlds team. Paídi is going well, other guys from the Sean Kelly team are building form and we also have the likes of Daniel Martin, who is going very well with VC La Pomme. I think we will have a very competitive squad there."

The young riders on the Sean Kelly team will have a decent programme in the run-up to the championships. On September 3, the riders will do the 1.1 ranked Grote Prijs Jef Scherens in Leuven, then the Tryptique des Barrages (2.2, September 9-10) in Belgium and the Tour de La Somme (2.2, September 15-16) in France.

Tour of the Murray river

By Rod Morris

Tasmanian Wesley Sulzberger has extended his lead to 33-points in the 2006 Tattersall’s Cup cycling series with two multi-stage tours still to be raced. Sulzberger won the opening event of this year’s series, the Tour of Gippsland earlier this month and performed with distinction in last week’s Australian Cycling Grand Prix in Ballarat.

Sulzberger has amassed 122 points and leads NSW rider Cody Stevenson on 89 and Victorian Mitchell Docker on 83. Stevenson won the criterium in the ACPG and Docker was the best overall rider, finishing well up in the time trial, criterium and road race.

The Tattersall’s Cup continues with the third leg - the Tour of the Murray River from August 29 - September 3 and will be finalised in October with the Tour of Tasmania (Oct. 24-29). Riders earn start points in each event, are awarded points if they complete the tours and in each individual stage can earn bonus points depending on their finishing position. Further bonus points are offered to the leading 15 riders in each tour’s general classification.

Sulzberger has been honoured with the No. 1 saddlecloth for the Tour of the Murray River, but will have no shortage of hard nosed opponents to contend with. Included in the start list are Stevenson, Queensland’s Miles Olman, Sydney’s Peter Milostic and talented young Victorian Scott Peoples. Sydney’s 1996 gold medal Olympian Brett Aitken, along with other Olympic and Commonwealth Games medalists, Stephen Wooldridge, Ashley Hutchinson and Sean Finning are others that enhance this quality field of 118 riders.

Tattersall’s Cup progressive leader board

1 Wesley Sulzberger (Tas)        122 
2 Cody Stevenson (NSW)            89 
3 Mitchell Docker (Vic)           83 
4 David Pell (Vic)                72 
5 Miles Olman (Qld)               69 
6 Dean Windsor (NSW)              66 
7 Peter Milostic (NSW)            65 
8 Darren Lapthorne (Vic)          59 
9 Scott Peoples (Vic)             54 
10 Daniel McConnell (Vic)         50

Fantasy La Vuelta 2006 Grand Prize Announced

Vuelta Fantasy Game
The grand prize
Photo ©: BH Bikes
(Click for larger image)
One pair of BBB Winner Quickstep glasses
Photo ©: BBB
(Click for larger image)
One pair of HED Bastogne wheels
Photo ©: HED
(Click for larger image)
10 sets of Maxxis Courchevel tyres
Photo ©: Maxxis
(Click for larger image)
Three sets of Speedplay CSC edition pedals
Photo ©: Speedplay
(Click for larger image)
$200 worth of Sockguy socks
Photo ©: Sockguy
(Click for larger image)

Breaking News: BH Bikes have confirmed they will be providing the Grand Prize in this year's Fantasy game! We are pleased to announce their involvement with us this year and that the Grand Prize for the overall winner of the Vuelta game will be a L75D Global Concept G-1 Ultegra D bike! More details on the specifications will be announced in full shortly. The prizelist for this year's game is as follows:

- Grand Prize - BH Bikes L75D Global Concept G-1 Ultegra D bike
- Daily Prize - 21 pairs of BBB Winner Quickstep glasses
- Runners-up Prizes - 1 pair of Hed Bastogne wheels, special silver edition
- Runners-up Prizes - 10 sets Maxxis Courchevel tires
- Runners-up Prizes - 3 sets Speedplay CSC edition pedals
- Runners-up Prizes - $200 worth of Sock Guy vouchers
- Runners-up Prizes - 3 Giro/Bell helmets

More prizes to be announced soon... With just a few hours left until the 2006 Vuelta game kicks off, now is a good time to start thinking about your strategy for your team selection for the Fantasy Game. Remember there's plenty of time to make your final decision on your team riders. You can change your line up right up until stage 7 begins this year. Here's what 3rd Place winner from last year's game, manager "Marko Tammsaar" from Estonia, had to say on his winning 2005 selection:

"I spent a lot of time studying last years results from the Vuelta and this years results from pre tour competitions and result to the start of the Vuelta. My tactics : 1. Follow cycling and know cyclists, their capabilities and team strategies; 2. In the Vuelta all categories are pretty much for the same GC cyclists; 3. In the Vuelta be ready for the surprises: the sprinters stage on paper could turn out as a stage for climbers and GC contenders and vice versa as well; 4. In Estonian we have a nice saying that says "wise men do not rush" - follow the first stages carefully and register your team as late as possible; 5. No matter what strategy you have it actually comes down to luck in the end anyway."

There's more info on last year's winners selections and tips on the main Fantasy site.

Register now!

Create your teams today. Registration has already begun. Be a professional team manager for the 2006 La Vuelta and create your own dream team from any of the real life riders in this year's Vuelta. Based on the live racing action, you will take up the challenge of using your knowledge and tactical skill as a race team manager to compete with other virtual managers from around the world. Follow the races live and use your skill and knowledge to win some great prizes.

Riderlist Uploaded

The official La Vuelta rider list has been uploaded to the game site ready for your winning team selections to begin. We have based the points for each of the riders for the Vuelta on a merged list of ProTour points from both the end of last year and the end of May this year (post Giro 2006). More information on the Rider Reference details can be downloaded in Microsoft Excel format in the Downloads section.

Play for FREE in La Vuelta 2006 game

Remember you can play for free for the first 6 stages! Try your teams out and see which rider combination is best.

We hope you enjoy this year's game and look forward to seeing your winning team online soon.

Good luck!

The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team

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