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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News for December 4, 2006

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Holczer stands fast

By Susan Westemeyer

Gerolsteiner team manager Hans-Michael Holczer
Photo ©: Florian Schaaf

Hans-Micheal Holczer, Gerolsteiner team manager, is standing fast on his anti-doping stance, and still has his doubts on Ivan Basso's plans for the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France in 2007, even though the rider was the centre of attention in Saturday's presentation of the Grand Tour. "It's just not going to be as simple as it seems," he told German press agency dpa over the week-end.

"I don't really want to comment on Basso's statements and prospects. I continue to assume that no rider will be allowed to start in any ProTour race unless he has made a DNA test, as the team managers agreed in Salzburg," he said about Basso's planned 2007 come-back. "We will meet again before the end of the year and discuss this again."

Meanwhile, Deutschland Tour manager Kai Rapp noted that he was not alone in not wishing to see Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso race in the coming year. "Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme will also be rigorous," he commented. "We are in constant contact with him."

Mancebo still negotiating

Mancebo at the 2006 Dauphiné
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Contrary to current reports, which have linked Francisco Mancebo to Spanish outfit Relax-Gam, the Spaniard has not yet signed with a new team for 2007. According to his manager David Plaza, Mancebo and his team AG2R are about to reach a settlement regarding the termination of his existing contract with the French team, and negotiating with various squads for the coming season. However, Plaza rectified that no negotiations had taken place with the new Pro Continental formation Tinkoff as reported by L'Equipe on November 18, and later denied by Tinkoff.

Grand Tour specialist Mancebo had been implicated in the Operación Puerto scandal and suspended by his team since late June this summer.

Camenzind fined for not naming supplier

By Susan Westemeyer

Oscar Camenzind has been fined 500 Swiss Franken by a Swiss court for not naming his doping suppliers. According to the Neue Züricher Zeitung, the former world champion was called as a witness to testify to the names of the persons who had supplied him with performance-booster EPO. Camenzind refused to testify, saying he did not wish to endanger himself and claimed that he could be arrested in another country if he told what he knew.

Camenzind's attorney, Jörg Bühlmann, has said that he will appeal the fine. "The punishment is a political act, not a judicial one," he said.

The Swiss rider tested positive for EPO in 2004 and immediately announced his retirement. The Swiss federal sports agency Bundesamt für Sport filed charges against "persons unknown" in an attempt to find the suppliers. The case was closed in December 2005, when Camenzind refused to testify. Appeals have led to the current decision to fine Camenzind for inappropriate use of the right not to testify.

Boonen out for early season start

In 2007, Quick.Step's Tom Boonen will once again start his racing programme as soon as possible to prepare for the Belgian spring classics. The former World Champion will debut in the Tour of Qatar on January 28 as he did this season, testing his new sprint locomotive Gert Steegmans who joined the team from Davitamon-Lotto. As of February 11, Boonen will be racing some of the Trofeo Mallorca on the Spanish island, followed by the Ruta del Sol from February 18-22 on the mainland.

From there, he will move swiftly to Portugal, where the Volta ao Algarve will be taking place from February 21-25. After that, it's back to Belgium for the Omloop Het Volk, the opening event of the Belgian racing season on March 3. Boonen also plans to participate in the Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen and the ProTour event Amstel Gold race.

Kohl training and planning for 2007

By Susan Westemeyer

Bernhard Kohl had planned to train this fall and winter exactly the same as last year, but he hadn't allowed for the spring-like European weather in early December. "Actually I had planned to build up my form with cross-country skiing. But there's just no snow right now."

The Austrian rider is preparing to trade in his magenta jersey from T-Mobile for the blue one of Gerolsteiner. "I look forward to the new challenge," he wrote on his personal website. "We are a young team and face the responsibility of filling the gap left by the departure of Georg Totschnig and Levi Leipheimer. That won't be easy."

After the Gerolsteiner team meetings last week, he knows what is on his racing calendar for the coming year. "Like last year, I'll start with the Tour of California. Then it goes on with Paris-Nice and a few smaller stage races. The first big goal of the season is the Tour of Romandie."

But Kohl is looking forward to an even bigger highlight: "My first Tour de France. I'll do everything I can to be at the start there."

Team Spike seeks new main sponsor

The Spike team was very successful at the 2006 National Track Championships
Photo ©: Mark Legg
(Click for larger image)

In an open letter sent to media outlets, Cody Racing Team director Bill Ramsay has announced that on November 30, Biotest Laboratories (Spike) pulled their three-year sponsorship commitment from the Spike Professional Track Cycling Team. After only one year of team existence, some of the best sprint athletes in America will therefore be left without a sponsor.

"I have been involved in cycling for 27 years as an athlete and team director," Ramsay wrote. "I love and believe in US Track Cycling, our athletes, and have built a team/support structure specifically for the sprint elite of our sport. This new track professional team structure is the future of track cycling worldwide. The UCI has made this new structure possible, and USA Cycling believes in it and supports it. To see the first US/UCI Professional Track Team struck down in its first year is not acceptable to my staff or me."

The team's director therefore called for support in achieving the goals the past and future Olympians have set for themselves. "Cody Racing Team, Inc. the company that owns the contracts with the athletes and the equipment sponsors of this team cannot financially continue this team without help. The infrastructure is ready to go through Beijing in 2008, the secondary sponsors are signed and ready, the athletes and staff are in place to start the 2007 with the World Cup in Los Angeles during January. Please help these great athletes in their dream of athletic excellence."

The riders of Team Spike are:

Ben Barczewski (19) - 11 x Jr. National Champion, 1, 2006 Worlds Team Member
Michael Blatchford (20) - 3 x Senior National Champion, 2 x Worlds Team Member
Katie Compton (29) - 2 x Senior National Champion, 3 x UCI / IPC World Champion
Ryan Luttrell (21) - 2 x Jr. National Champion, 1 x Jr. Worlds Team Member
Giddeon Massie (25) - 6 x Jr. National Champion, 3 x Senior National Champion, 5 x Worlds Team Member, 2004 Olympic Team Member
Jennie Reed (28) - 1 x World Cup Gold Medalist, 1 x World Cup Overall Champion, 13 x World Cup Medalist, 10 x Senior National Champion, 2004 Olympic Team Member
Kevin Selker (21) - 1 x Senior National Champion, in his first year of world cup travel
Jackie Simes - New to the team for 2007
Kevin Suhr (22) - Competed in the Amateur Gent 6 day last month

Bill Ramsay can be contacted at or on Tel. +1 719 287-0130.

New humanitarian project for Saunier Duval

By Shane Stokes

Having raced this year in support of the 30 fundamental Human Rights around the world, the Saunier Duval have come up with another novel project for the 2007 season.

This time round helping the environment is the humanitarian goal, with the planting of vast numbers of trees in the African country of Mali the team’s target. Each kilometre raced will be marked by the planting of a tree, and the team feels this will go a long way towards helping the people in that area.

"The African country is fighting desertification, which has already affected 65 percent surface area," stated a Saunier Duval press release on Sunday. "The team´s 28 riders will be part of this ambitious and challenging project: racing 1 million kilometres in 2007. Moreover, each kilometre raced in breakaways will be worth double, and they will go up five times in the case of victories.

"Next year is the team´s main sponsor 100th anniversary, and the Saunier Duval-Prodir team will celebrate it in a remarkable way as a token of their gratitude to Saunier Duval, which is not only supporting the team but cycling in general as well. Is there any better way to do it than becoming involved in an initiative aimed at saving our planet?"

The project will be carried out with the support of Planète Urgence and has been named "100 years for a million trees". The first tree will be planted this January in Mopti, the location of a race where the Spanish team will compete with the best African riders.

On the official Saunier Duval celebration day of February 1, the web page "100 years for 1 million trees" will be launched and feature full details of the project. A contest for the team’s fans will be held in conjunction with this, with the winners having the chance to get involved in the unique initiative.

The news marks the second big project by a cycling team to help people living on that continent. The T-Mobile team backed Unicef’s Schools for Africa campaign in 2006, contributing 3,000 Euros per win by riders on the men’s and women’s teams.

British U23 Olympic Academy team is "100% ME"

Eight of Britain’s most promising cycling prospects will fly the flag for drug-free sport following the launch of a unique collaboration between British Cycling and UK Sport. The riders, part of Great Britain’s Under-23 Olympic Academy, will compete as "100% ME", taking its name from UK Sport’s anti-doping education programme. The 100% ME team makes its track debut this Saturday at the Revolution event in Manchester.

The team is made up of: Ben Swift, Steve Burke, Jon Bellis, Russell Hampton, Ross Sander, Ian Stannard, Andy Tennant and Alex Dowsett, all of whom have already been earmarked by British Cycling as having the potential to succeed at future World Championships and Olympic Games. By taking on the 100% ME name, the team has committed to not only compete drug-free, but to help promote the positive values of ethically fair sport.

"Signing up as the 100% ME team is a real statement of intent from British Cycling that doping in the sport will not be tolerated," said John Scott, Director of Drug-Free Sport at UK Sport, the National Anti-Doping Organisation. "The programme focuses on the attributes required to succeed in sport, such as belief, resilience and commitment. These mirror what the likes of Chris Hoy and Nicole Cooke - both 100% ME ambassadors - have displayed throughout their careers so it is appropriate that our first ever 100% ME team is in cycling."

Dave Brailsford, Performance Director at British Cycling, added, "The credibility and reputation of cycling has suffered over the years as a result of high profile doping cases. This is unfortunate as it detracts from the huge amount of talent we have at our disposal in the UK, and the hard work, dedication and determination that goes into providing a world-class system for our riders to perform and win medals at the highest level."

100% ME was launched by UK Sport in May 2005, with the long-term aim of ‘creating a generation of sportsmen and women who know they don’t need to use prohibited substances or methods to be successful’. Since its launch, almost 20,000 athletes and support personnel have benefited from the programme, receiving up-to-date information and advice allowing them to make sensible, informed decisions about competing drug-free.

In addition, 310 tutors and advisers covering 46 sports have been trained to deliver education workshops to current and future competitors, whilst 38 athlete ambassadors have been signed up to act as role models to the next generation of sporting stars, showing what can be achieved competing cleanly and fairly.

2006 Tour de France photo exhibit

Caroline Yang, a renowned cycling photographer and contributor to Cyclingnews, is showing her pictures of the 2006 Tour de France in Minneapolis' One on One Studio, 117 Washington Avenue North, from December 9, 2006 to February 12, 2007. The theme of the exhibit is "Jaune et Rouge" (yellow and red): In the Tour de France, the race leader is awarded the Yellow Jersey, and the final rider is called the Red Lantern. However, during the 2006 Tour, massive doping scandals turned professional cycling upside down, as cycling's top heroes were evicted from the race and its new champion stricken by a scarlet stain.

Opening night is this Saturday, December 9 from 7pm-11pm.

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)