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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for December 12, 2006

Edited by Sue George

Basso unwelcome in Denmark Tour

By Katharina Schulz

The final stage of the 2006 Tour of Denmark was won by Robert Forster (Ger) Gerolsteiner
Photo ©: Michael Gernaa
(Click for larger image)

The organisation of Denmark's most important cycling race, the Tour of Denmark, has decided to take a leaf out of the Tour of Germany's book and announced that last year's winner Ivan Basso will not be welcome for the race in 2007.

Just as the Tour of Germany 2007 will take place without Jan Ullrich or Ivan Basso if they still are under suspicion of doping, the Tour of Denmark does not want Basso to start despite his popularity. But race organiser Jesper Worre, who is also chairman for Denmark's Cycling Union (DCU), is even more adamant.

"Basso's not welcome, and neither do we want Discovery to take part if they pursue this policy. Discovery has gotten themselves quite a number of minus points for signing Basso while he still is under suspicion. The fact alone that DS Bruyneel says they have four lawyers looking at things shows that he is in doubt. And if you are in doubt, let it be," said Worre.

Worre also does not want Tinkoff or LPR to take part in the Tour of Denmark. Both teams have signed riders who are involved in doping cases. Tinkoff have taken on board Tyler Hamilton who was banned for two years for blood doping, and also have been alleged to be negotiating with Ullrich, whereas LPR have taken on Jose Gutierrez, who has also come under suspicion during Operación Puerto.

"They have asked nicely if they can take part, but they got 'no' as an answer. We will not have a team who has a rider who to all appearances is involved in the doping case Fuentes," Worre told Danish news agency Ritzau.

Holczer expands on anti-doping action comments

By Susan Westemeyer

"It just can't be that all the teams -- including Discovery Channel -- declare themselves ready to uphold an agreed-upon Code of Ethics and then directly give in," is how Gerolsteiner's Hans-Michael Holczer explained the IPCT's decision to exclude Discovery Channel for its signing of Ivan Basso. In an interview with the "Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger", he said, "Against our agreement, Discovery hired a rider who was involved in the Spanish doping scandal centered on Dr. Fuentes. We won't put up with that."

He also noted that, "Discovery voted, by the way, very clearly for the Code of Ethics. There are 25 to 30 witnesses for that."

Hoclzer said that although the group's action is merely a "political sign", it is now time for others to take action. "We hope for support from the race organizers and from the federations, especially from the UCI. In the end, it is this way: we nominate the riders for a race, but the organizers decide whether to let them start." This means, he said, "The organizers can feel secure when they refuse to let certain riders race."

He further added, "The UCI is not holding itself back in the Fuentes scandal, as many people seem to think. I have the impression they are doing a lot. I think we will be hearing some interesting things from them very soon."

Cyclingnews previously reported Holczer's original comments.

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

Discovery wraps up Austin training camp

Basso on new Discovery Channel Trek
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Click for larger image

On Monday, the Discovery Channel team wrapped up its training camp in Austin. During the one-week camp, 10 new team members were introduced to each other, returning racers, and management. During their stay, team members trained together, tested out new gear, and looked forward to next year. They even played paintball.

Unlike other pro teams, who subject their members deliberately to physical and mental duress through wilderness survival exercises and sleep deprivation in the name of teambuilding, Discovery took a more mild approach. New Discovery rider Danish national champion Brian Vandborg told The Daily Texan he did not miss the boot-camp-like experiences of his former Team CSC, "I'm over that now."

With new members like Ivan Basso and Levi Leipheimer, Discovery will resume its focus on the Tour de France in 2007. Both riders are successful veterans of previous editions of the Tour. After his alleged involvement in Operación Puerto, Basso sat out the second half of 2006 while Leipheimer was riding for the Gerolsteiner team. Last year, Leipheimer won the Dauphine Libere.

"We have a very strong team for the Tour, and obviously that's going to be the first goal of the season, and we'll have a chance to win it," said Janez Brajkovic to The Daily Texan. But Discovery will also contend the Vuelta a España. "My first goal is the Vuelta again," said Brajkovic, who wore leader's yellow jersey for two days in the 2006 Vuelta.

The team will meet again at another training camp in January in California. Some of its riders will continue to spend more time in the US when the team races both the Tour of California in February and the Tour of Georgia in April. A full schedule of the team's races is expected to be announced early in 2007.

Rasmussen unhappy with special treatment of Basso

By Katharina Schulz

Rasmussen in the 2005 TdF
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
Click for larger image

Danish climber Michael Rasmussen, who is recovering from a broken femur during the crash in the Giro dell'Emilia, is unhappy with the fact that Ivan Basso is going to ride for Discovery Channel next season.

Basso parted company with his former team, CSC, following serious doping allegations in the wake of Operación Puerto. Basso then signed a two-year contract with the American team even though all ProTour teams had previously agreed not to sign riders who are under suspicion.

"It is irritating that the legal aspects are unsolved, and that the gentleman's agreement that all ProTour-teams have consented to is circumvented as soon as a prominent rider is involved who also has the potential to win the Tour de France. It is irritating that not everyone has equal rights," Rasmussen told the Danish TV station DR.

New Zealand track team loses luggage before World Cup

The field at the last track world cup in Sydney
Photo ©: John Veage
Click for larger image

The New Zealand track team arrived in Moscow to prepare for the upcoming track World Cup sans all of their luggage - again. Last year on a trip to Moscow, the squad lost all 56 pieces of their luggage according to the New Zealand Herald.

This year, coach Terry Gyde said the bikes of two team members, Jesse Sargent and Westley Gough, were delayed by one day. A variety of spare parts including power cranks, pumps, and other items are also missing.

The delayed and missing equipment will not prevent the trackies from competing, but it has distracted riders and support staff. Fortunately, after last year's experience, the team arrived farther in advance of the World Cup in order to have more time to address any travel-related problems.

T-Mobile women's team to go down under

Organisers of the Trust House Women's Cycling Tour in March received an early holiday present with confirmation that the women's T-Mobile team from Germany will be on the start line.

Fresh from a successful season of international competition, the T-Mobile women's team is aiming high in 2007 with a world-class roster of eleven riders from six nations.

"We have already decided who will ride in New Zealand", said team manager Kristy Scrymgeour. "We have five riders living and training down under in our off-season, four in Australia and one in New Zealand, and we will bring Judith Arndt over as the sixth rider. We want to start the season well, and I think we have a strong team in New Zealand and Australia to do that."

Judith Arndt (Ger)
Photo ©: CJ Farquharson
(Click for larger image)

Leading riders Ina-Yoko Teutenberg and former World Champion Judith Arndt will stay with the team into 2007. They will be joined by Oenone Wood, Linda Villumsen, Kate Bates, and Alex Rhodes.

Australian Oenone Wood is the biggest new name on the roster and though she is still relatively new to cycling she has already achieved so much. She is a two-time World Cup Series winner and former Australian National Champion; Linda Villumsen is a European and Danish Champion; Track specialist Kate Bates is a current Australian National Champion and Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist; and making up the team is young Australian Alex Rhodes, who has fully recovered from serious injury incurred in a major accident in Germany in July 2005, which claimed the life of team-mate Amy Gillett.

"We have strengthened the squad considerably and I'm convinced that we'll be up there with the world's best teams and we will win many races," said team coach and former top pro racer Petra Rossner. "The team was strong in 2006 and we intend to follow up and expand on that. We want to make our mark on the stage-races like the Tour of New Zealand and our goal is simple - to win as often as possible."

Trust House Race Director Jorge Sandoval was thrilled with the news. "Having the team currently considered to be one of the best in the world racing here in New Zealand again is great for the sport and for our event," he said.

"The Trust House 2007 Tour is already looking like being bigger and better than last year, and that's fantastic for everyone involved. The better we can make it, the more international exposure both the race, and New Zealand, will receive. It's going to be big."

The German national team has also signed up for the Trust House Women's Tour of New Zealand, which will take place from March 7-11, 2007.

USA Cycling announces 2007 national championships calendar

American athletes will vie for over 650 national titles in road, track, mountain bike, BMX, and cyclo-cross. The 13-race calendar offers an opportunity for competitive cyclists of all ages, abilities and disciplines to compete for a coveted stars-and-stripes jersey that signifies a national champion.

A complete schedule is listed below.

Collegiate Road National Championships, Lawrence, Kansas – May 10-13
BMX National Championships, Pontiac, Michigan – June 9-10
Junior Track National Championships, Colorado Springs, Colorado – June 30-July 7
National Road Festival at Seven Springs, Champion, Pennsylvania – July 5-17
Mountain Bike National Championships*, West Dover, Vermont – July 17-22
24-Hour Mountain Bike National Championships, Wausau, Wisconsin – July 28-30
Professional and Elite Criterium National Championships, Downers Grove, Illinois – August 19
Master Track National Championships, Trexlertown, Pennsylvania– August 27-31
Professional Road and Time Trial National Championships, Greenville, South Carolina – September 1-3
Collegiate Track National Championships, Date & Location TBD
Elite Track National Championships**, Carson, California – October 3-7
Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships, Banner Elk, North Carolina – October 26-28
Cyclo-cross National Championships, Kansas City, Kansas – Date TBD

*The marathon discipline of the mountain bike national championships will not be held at Mount Snow Resort. An alternate date and venue is currently under consideration and will be announced upon confirmation.

**The elite tandem track championships will he held in conjunction with the stand-alone “Tandemonium” event at the Lehigh Valley Velodrome July 6.

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