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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for August 28, 2006

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Stage two wrap-up

Bettini continues Italian run in Córdoba

Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step)
Photo ©: Unipublic
(Click for larger image)

Italian champion Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step) has triumphed in the first bunch sprint of this year's Vuelta in Córdoba, beating Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) and Luca Paolini (Liquigas) after a well timed final 100 metres. In doing so, Bettini became the fifth Italian winner in eight finishes here. The new race leader is Hushovd, who gained enough bonus seconds en route to move ahead of Carlos Sastre (CSC) on the classification. The latter actually punctured with 2 km to go, but was awarded bunch time.

The first road stage saw an enterprising move by Mario de Sárraga (Relax-Gam) get away after 4 km. He briefly had David de la Fuente with him for company, but the latter went back to the bunch after a mechanical. De Sárraga was able to gain 13'05 over the peloton with 100 km to go, but then lost it all as the sprinters' teams took control over the latter half of the stage. Benoît Joachim (Discovery Channel) and Thierry Marichal (Cofidis) tried a late move with 34 km to go, quickly catching De Sárraga then riding a minute clear. It wasn't enough, and everything was back together at 13 km to go. Things remained like that until the finish, where Robbie McEwen was forced to go too early and ran out of legs with 50 metres to go, allowing Bettini to take a clear victory.

Click here for the full results, report & photos and live report from stage 2.

Petacchi hanging in there

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Milram's Alessandro Petacchi is having a hard time following the rhythm of the peloton through the Vuelta a España. For the Italian super sprinter, who broke his knee at the beginning of the Giro d'Italia this year, it's his first ProTour race again, and he hopes to be able to use it to get into shape for the end of the season. "I suffered all day because of the heat," Petacchi said after Sunday's stage two, "and because of a race rhythm I clearly don't have. I can only get better."

Hence his decision not to participate in the bunch sprint, won by Paolo Bettini. Petacchi's teammate Erik Zabel did go for the stage win, but he finished only tenth. "Everybody who came from behind in the last 500 metres had an enormous advantage," Zabel commented. "My team mates have done good work. When I came out of Velo's wheel the other guys passed me at double speed."

No bunch sprints for Valverde

Whoever expected to see fast man Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) in front of the bunch in the finishes of the Vuelta's flat stages was proven wrong in today's stage two from Malaga to Cordoba. In fact, the team management has decided to spare Valverde's capabilities for the harder stretches of the race, and because of his clear aim at the general classification, he stayed put in the middle of the peloton as the sprinters took over the command of the race.

"In spite of the heat and the fact that David Arroyo was the victim of a puncture at five kilometres from the finish, we had a quiet day," commented team director Eusebio Unzue. "Alejandro Valverde never had the intention to sprint today. We decided indeed not to take any unnecessary risks during those first stages because with those massive sprints it is sometimes impossible to avoid the danger they represent."

McQuaid sees lifelong ban for Ullrich

By Susan Westemeyer

"Jan Ullrich is looking at a lifetime ban," said Pat McQuaid, president of the UCI. "That's what the WADA anti-doping code says." In an interview with German daily Welt am Sonntag, McQuaid noted that "It is first up to the Swiss federation to rule, and in case of an appeal, to be upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport."

The Irishman also said that a new name has popped up in the over 500 page-long report from the Guardia Civil which the UCI is now studying. However, he did not want to mention the name because "We haven't yet been able to fully look into it." In addition, he declared that he was surprised that more names from the alleged 200 sportspeople have not yet been released, saying "I wonder about that, too, but I think it will change soon."

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

'No comment' from Ullrich

Jan Ullrich, via his personal website, has reacted to the allegations made by German scientist Prof. Werner Franke, who claims that the former T-Mobile rider swore an affidavit that he had nothing to do with the head of Spanish doping network Eufemiano Fuentes. "In the Stuttgarter Zeitung and on the morning show on TV, Prof. Franke claims that Jan Ullrich assured in an affidavit that he never had contact with Dr. Fuentes in Spain," the statement read. "For proof, [he] showed Ullrich's affidavit in which he denies Franke's allegation that he paid €35,000 for doping to Fuentes in one year alone.

"Jan Ullrich dose not understand why the media repeatedly cover Franke's untrue affirmations, without researching or examining them. He will not comment on them in future, either!"

More details released of UCI's planned audit

McQuaid comments on AIGCP meeting and Johan Bruyneel

By Shane Stokes

As was first suggested when the Floyd Landis case broke, the UCI is to commission an in-depth audit into the sport in order to study the motivations, pressures and conditions which prompt riders to dope and thus try to come up with measures which will lessen the incidence of drug use in the future.

UCI President Pat McQuaid recently spoke to Cyclingnews about the problems affecting the sport, and vowed that the study would be an extensive one. "At the moment I am working on the group for this audit that I have put forward. It will be a group of world-renowned scientists in sports physiology, sports psychology and sports sociology.

"I hope that by the time it comes to the world championships in Salzburg that I will have something more definite on it. The group will be charged with examining all aspects of our cycling structure, such as teams and their structure, the ProTour, the ProTour calendar and general calendar of events, the number of races a rider rides. The whole thing.

"We will also look at the lifestyles they lead and the various pressures on them, from the commercial pressures to the media pressures. It is going to be a fairly far-reaching process and I would imagine that it will be some time in the middle of next year before we get the results of it."

McQuaid stated that this study of the physical and mental demands of cycling will have a clearly defined goal. "What we need is a sport where there is no excuse for doping. That is the target. We will look at everything, including the penalties handed out and who they are given to. We will be look at the management structures behind teams, and consider the situation when there are cases of doping within a team - should it be just the cyclist who should be sanctioned, or should the team be sanctioned as well?"

One suggestion that has been put forward by commentators - and some riders - within the sport is that certain races, including Grand Tours, should have limitations on the length and/or severity of the stages. This idea has met with resistance from the organisers of the Tour de France, but McQuaid argues that there has to be flexibility and a willingness to address whatever issues the experts feel contribute to the problem.

"If this audit suggests it has to be done, then it has to be done," he said. "And that is why I am going to outsiders, people outside the sport, because I think if you look to insiders or people with expertise in the sport, then they already have preconceived ideas going into it.

"I am not saying, and I have no intention of trying to reduce the length of the three Tours. But whether we like it or not, and whether the three Tours like it or not, those three events are where we have our biggest problems with doping. Therefore they have to face up to that fact. If it means that we have to ask them to make some changes, then I would hope that they would be magnanimous enough and intelligent enough to realise that those changes are for the betterment of their events, as well as everything else."

On another matter, the Irishman responded to recent comments by Discovery Channel directeur sportif Johan Bruyneel that the UCI was not being proactive enough in the fallout from recent doping affairs.

"My response to that is that we have to follow the rules and regulations. Johan Bruyneel knows quite well that the ProTour rules do not allow for the suspension of a team. Whilst the AIGCP meeting was a very passionate one where they called for the suspension of those teams [Astana and Phonak], I think they need to be a little bit more considered in these things. We can withdraw licences but we have to go through a process to do so. The fact is that had we tried to stop those two teams riding the Vuelta, we would have been in CAS within 24 hours and we would have lost. It is a straightforward situation, and there is no point in criticising the UCI over that."

McQuaid referred to tougher anti-doping deterrents planned by two big teams as an example of the best way forward. "I am happy to hear what I am hearing from T-Mobile and what I am now hearing from CSC, in terms of what they are doing to plan for the future, rather than to just call for the exclusion of teams which is against the rules."

McQuaid did however feel that the AIGCP meeting represented a change in attitude of the teams, and stated that this gives him some reassurance that things are changing. "I think that one by one the teams are coming up with a new approach. I welcome very much the approach of T-Mobile and particularly the approach of Bjarne Riis in appointing that doping expert. [Danish newspaper Politiken reported this week that a Danish anti-doping scientist had accepted to cooperate with Team CSC in the future - ed.] I feel that is a very good move on their part, and T-Mobile are going quite a distance as well into improving their control on the riders.

"The teams have to accept responsibility for the riders now, and, fortunately, they are now starting to do that. They cannot just stand there any more and say that we cannot control them 100 percent of the time."

Current ProTour rankings

37th-placed Jan Ullrich has been taken out of the classification, and Italy has supplanted Spain as the top nation.

Rankings as of August 27, 2006

1 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears 200 pts 
3 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step - Innergetic                         154 
4 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC                                     150 
5 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC                                        138 
6 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto                                120 
7 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre-Fondital                          120 
8 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Ag2R Prevoyance                          118 
9 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team         117 
10 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner                              114 
*Floyd Landis has been removed pending a doping investigation 
1 Team CSC                                                         303 pts 
2 Rabobank                                                         289 
3 Caisse D'Epargne-Illes Balears                                   288 
4 Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team                               271 
5 T-Mobile Team                                                    263 
6 Phonak Hearing Systems                                           259 
7 Lampre-Fondital                                                  251 
8 Gerolsteiner                                                     228 
9 Astana-Würth Team                                                227 
10 Saunier Duval - Prodir                                          221 
1 Italy                                                            555 pts 
2 Spain                                                            546 
3 United States Of America                                         445 
4 Germany                                                          417 
5 Belgium                                                          289 
6 Netherlands                                                      239 
7 Australia                                                        239 
8 France                                                           231 
9 Russian Federation                                               180 
10 Switzerland                                                     171 
Full rankings: ProTour, Teams, Nations 

Landbouwkrediet to Tour de l'Avenir

Landbouwkrediet-Colnago has announced its roster to participate in the Tour de l'Avenir from August 31 to September 9. Directeur sportif Marco Saligari will guide the following Under-25 riders in the prestigious French stage race: Steve Cummings, Jean Paul Simon, Gregory Habeaux, Sven Renders, Kevin Neirynck and Kevin Maene.

Caspian Sea environmental ride

A young Iranian cyclist will pedal all around the Caspian sea, covering of 5,200 kilometres around the littoral roads of the giant lake to raise awareness about the environmental issues of the area. Starting from the northwest of Iran, he will cross borders to Azerbaijan, the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and finally ride back to his home country from the north east.

Main sponsor of the event is the Women Society Against Environment Pollution, the first environmental community of women in Iran. More information is accessible at:

USA Cycling seeks director of collegiate cycling

USA Cycling has announced a search process to fill the role of National Director of Collegiate Cycling. This full-time, Colorado Springs-based position at the sport’s national governing body was developed in 2006 to address the incredible growth and tremendous opportunity of the collegiate program.

The National Director of Collegiate Cycling is responsible for the overall operation, initiatives, programs and financials of the National Collegiate Cycling Association of USA Cycling. The main focus of this role is to increase the number of riders and schools within the collegiate cycling ranks. A successful candidate will also create connections between the collegiate program and the many other valuable membership and athletic programs at USA Cycling.

Applicants should submit their resume and cover letter detailing their qualifications, experience, and vision for what they would bring to Collegiate Cycling, to:

Debbie Francis, HR Director
USA Cycling, Inc.
1 Olympic Plaza
Colorado Springs, CO 80909

With a copy to:

Nathan Drake
Collegiate Cycling Board of Trustees


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