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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for December 3, 2006

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

McQuaid plays down federations' protests

Restates importance of ProTour

By Shane Stokes

UCI President, Pat McQuaid
Photo ©: Frank Rud Jensen
(Click for larger image)

UCI President Pat McQuaid has insisted that cycling needs to take a global view if the long-term success of the sport is to be guaranteed. The Irishman was reacting to the news earlier this week that the national federations of Austria, Belgium, Spain, France, Italy and Luxembourg had rejected the UCI ProTour while also expressing what they termed their "profound disagreement with the working methods of the UCI". They also called for the creation of a round table assembling all parties involved in the sport (UCI, AIOCC, CPA, AIGCP) in order to "find solutions which suit all, and not only a small core of persons at the UCI."

McQuaid played down the significance of their action when contacted by Cyclingnews late on Friday. "I am aware of what they said, but cycling is a global sport and if we don't take global attitude towards this sport it is a real problem," he argued. "Cycling cannot any longer just be dependent upon four or five countries, it must take a global attitude. The UCI is working globally with the sport and has to treat all federations with the same importance."

In recent months, relations between the UCI and the organisers of the Grand Tours of France, Spain and Italy have deteriorated. He said that he was convinced that this political battle is a large part of what is motivating the federations. "It is obvious that they are being driven and controlled by the organisers of the three Grand Tours. That is clear, because there are several references to their support of AIOCC’s position in the press communiqué that they put out.

"After all, the president of AIOCC [association of race organisers] is the organiser of the Vuelta and the two vice presidents are the organisers of the Tour de France and the Tour of Italy. It is a voice for the three Grand Tours, so to a large extent that takes away the credibility of AIOCC. And these federations are being controlled by them.

"The UCI is working ahead and going forward, dealing with the governance and regulation of the sport worldwide. We can't jump to the tune of self-appointed quasi groups such as this, even though they are important federations. Make no mistake about it, some of these federations are very important within the UCI. But this is a self-appointed group - so who do they represent? Each one is looking after their own interests, yet the UCI has to take the global interests of the whole sport into account."

Whilst the organisers of the three Grand Tours said that they wish to take their events out of the calendar, McQuaid insisted that the ProTour was both valid and crucial for the future success of the sport. He argued that the best way to ensure that cycling keeps pace with other global sports is to follow this path, and said that there was understanding within the cycling world of this.

"The UCI was recently visited by Bob Stapleton [T-Mobile general manager] and I was quite impressed by him. Here is a guy with a very strong business background, someone who sold a telecommunication company a few years back and made billions. He is very down to earth but is definitely a guy with a vision, and is someone who has a clear understanding of what we are trying to achieve with the ProTour.

"He has experience of these kind of things from seeing sport in the States, with the National Basketball Association and other setups there. He knows what the ProTour could do for cycling."

McQuaid said that the two also talked about another matter. "Myself and Bob Stapleton spoke about the future of the anti-doping fight, discussing with him what the T-Mobile team’s plans are and how it might link in with what the UCI is planning. We discussed the idea of trying to find a common anti-doping policy, which would be brought in and agreed upon by all of the teams. This would once again be leading the world in terms of anti-doping measures."

The Future of German Cycling: Heinrich Haussler

As happy as Heinrich…
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

At 22-years of age, Heinrich Haussler's path to pro cycling has been a difficult one. The Team Gerolsteiner rider left his native Australia and moved to Germany to pursue a cycling career - not an easy decision to make for a 14-year-old. The Australian-born German speaks to Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer.

"It was very hard at the beginning. The new language, the weather and all that. But I really wanted to do it!" explained Haussler. "Australia doesn't have the structures that Germany has, and my father said, 'If you want to be a pro, you'll have to try it in Germany'."

He gave it a shot, and it's worked. "Heini" signed a two-year neo contract with Team Gerolsteiner for 2005 and 2006 - with more than satisfactory results. In '05 he rode seven Classics, finishing all but one of them, taking seventh place in the Meisterschaft von Zürich and was named in the German World Championship squad as a substitute. Haussler was also the only German to win a stage in a Grand Tour when he took victory on Stage 19 of the Vuelta a España.

So the youngster was expecting a repeat of the results in 2006, and the year started out with lots of promise. He won the first and last stages of the Vuelta a Murcia and took a stage victory in the Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt, where he helped teammate Rene Haselbacher take the overall win.

But thereafter things took a wrong turn. Haussler was diagnosed in June with a viral infection that kept him out of action nearly the whole summer. "Some of the symptoms were very similar to mononucleosis - my immune system wasn't working right and I just felt weak and drained all the time. I didn't train at all for eight weeks, then trained for two weeks at half power. Then after only three weeks of full training, I rode the Vuelta."

Click here to read the full feature.

Three questions for Operación Puerto testimonials

By Susan Westemeyer and Shane Stokes

It looks as if all 58 riders named in Operation Puerto will be called to testify before the court in Madrid, even such big stars as Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso, according to reports coming out of Spain. Judge Antonio Serrano had already scheduled Alberto Contador and Jesus Hernandez to appear on December 11.

However, according to German website Radsport Aktiv, all of the Spanish riders are scheduled to appear that week, with the non-Spanish riders allowed to appear before a court in their home countries. The news outlet reported that all of the riders will have to answer the following three questions under oath:

1) What is or was the rider's relationship with Dr. Fuentes?
2) What treatments did the rider receive from him?
3) Did the rider suffer from health problems following the treatments?

UCI president Pat McQuaid reacted positively to the news, saying that things may finally be improving in Spain. Recently, the UCI had sent a strongly worded letter to the Spanish minister of sport, Jaime Lissavetzky, calling for the cessation of leaks relating to the Operacion Puerto case during a time when national federations have been instructed not to proceed with cases against riders.

"I was looking at the Internet this evening and I saw that there seems to be movement on Puerto," he stated, speaking to Cyclingnews by phone while waiting on a plane due to take him to the Asian cycling championships. "If what I read is correct, the judge is going to interview some of the riders so that might be helpful in the long-term. Also there seems to be an indication that we may be able to use some of the information which has been provided to us [by the investigation]. From what I have read, it seems that the judge appears to be changing his mind on what he can give to us."

"That in itself is a positive sign and hopefully it will lead to more and more information coming out of Spain," he added. "It would ultimately help us to deal with this matter in a proper way, carrying out the disciplinary processes which are necessary to put this behind us."

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

Ullrich travels to U.S.

German cyclist Jan Ullrich announced on his personal website on Saturday that he and his wife Sara will be travelling to the United States for a three-day trip. The 1997 Tour de France winner will attend "several official meetings", and is happy to be able to celebrate his 33rd birthday during his stay.

"The number 33 has always been my lucky number," Ullrich wrote. "That's why I'm very much looking forward to this day. I'm confident that I will realise my plans for next year."

The former T-Mobile rider, still without a contract for 2007 because of his alleged implication in Spanish Operación Puerto, has already been training in Austria and Italy. After returning from the States, he plans to engage "in the next phase of the season's preparation."

Barloworld train in Tuscany, debut in Australia

South-African team Barloworld is slowly but steadily preparing for the 2007 road racing season. For their first training camp in Tuscany from January 31 to February 9, 17 riders will gather: Along with Pedro Arreitunandia (Spa), Giosuè Bonomi (Ita), Felix Cardenas (Col), Diego Caccia (Ita), Gianpaolo Cheula (Ita), Ryan Cox (Rsa), Enrico Degano (Ita), Alexander Efimkin (Rus), James Perry (Rsa) and Hugo Sabido (Por), new riders include the experienced Fabrizio Guidi (Ita), the most talented South African rider in circulation Robert Hunter (Rsa), promising British track rider Geraint Thomas (Gbr), who will test himself in the classics, as well as Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita), John Lee Augustyn (Rsa), Kanstansin Siutsou (Blr) and Mauricio Soler (Col).

In January, a team will leave for Australia where they will make the Barloworld’s seasonal debut at the Down Under Classic and the Tour Down Under.

Rabobank in survival camp

Members of the Dutch Rabobank team are currently holding a survival camp in the Limburg region. All riders except Denis Menchov, Colombian Mauricio Ardila and Australians Matthew Hayman and Graeme Brown are present in the get-together organised by new team director Erik Dekker. On the program: mountain biking, climbing and hiking through the woods.

Irish riders in track test

By Shane Stokes

Cycling Ireland’s High Performance manager Frank Campbell has said that he is encouraged by the showing some of the country’s top riders have made during the CI track tryout in Belgium this week. The trial was carried out in order to see if the riders had the interest and potential to chase Olympic qualification on the boards.

Professionals David O’Loughlin, Mark Scanlon, Nicolas Roche, Ciarán Power plus international riders Ryan Connor, Dermot Nally, Paul Healion, Ray Clarke, Michael Murray and Miceal Concannon have all been riding in Ghent and, according to Campbell, the signs are good.

"Things have been going very well," he said this week. "We have been running the riders through some basic track skills, then went on to do pursuiting, team pursuiting, some points races and time trials. They did some test times this morning which were quite encouraging. All of them, and particularly Scanlon, Power and Roche, looked like they could transfer their road ability over."

Campbell said that David O’Loughlin was also riding very strongly. He impressed greatly two weeks ago when he won the two kilometre roadman’s pursuit at the Revolution track series, beating Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins, former world champ Bradley McGee and Tour de France and Tour of Spain stage winner David Millar.

"He is quite a bit ahead of the others because of his track skills and because he has ridden pursuit before," said Campbell. "He is trying to get back to the shape he was in just after the World's, when he went for the Irish record, and with final clearance from the board we will be sending him to Moscow in December to do the pursuit out there. David will spend some time again in Newport with the track coach Brian [Nugent] beforehand, then fly over to the world cup."

Irish road race champion David McCann was also due to travel but ended up missing the trip due to an operation to remove his tonsils.

The riders wound up the three-day trip on Thursday by getting physiological tests done by doctor Dag van Elslande, who works with the Discovery Channel pro team. Campbell said that another session is planned for later this month, and that all of the riders present this week indicated an interest in doing more track work in the future.

"It was all looking very good," he concluded. "We will sit down and look at the figures afterwards with Brian Nugent, who has been over here coaching with us, and we will compare them to some of the other standards. But I definitely think it has been a worthwhile exercise for us."

Andalucía-Cajasur signs 14 riders

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Spanish team Andalucía-Cajasur has reinforced its roster with three last riders: Jorge Ferrío (3 Molinos Resort), Jose Antonio Lopez (Kaiku) and Jose Luis Carrasco (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears), who the team hopes will help to obtain a wild-card entry to participate in the 2007 Vuelta a España. The Pro Continental squad also wants to increase its budget.

Manager Antonio Cabello told Meta2Mil that, "If we get more money, we will sign two more cyclists, but we would have to do that before December 15, when I want to send all the documentation to the UCI." Javier Chacón, national U23 time trial champion, counts on Cabello's commitment to make his debut in the second half of the next season. Cabello has renewed the contracts of seven riders: Francisco Lara, Francisco J. Martinez, Juan Olmo, Manuel Ortega, Luis Perez, Jose Ruiz and Manuel Vázquez. Francisco Cabello, Angel Edo, Garcia Quesada, Efraín Gutiérrez, Pedro L. Marichar, Jaume Rovira and Mario Sanchez have left this squad. In addition to the mentioned Ferrío, Lopez and Carrasco, Andalucía-Cajasur has signed to Claudio Casas, Jesus Rosendo and Juan Carlos Cariñena.

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