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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News for December 18, 2006

Edited by Gregor Brown

Quickstep once again strengthened for the classics

Lefevere doesn't want grand tour win at cost of ethics

By Brecht Decaluwé

Patrick Lefevere
Photo ©: Stijn Vercaemer
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The Belgian Quickstep – Innergetic formation presented their line-up for the upcoming season in Kortrijk. Twenty nine riders and ten managers showed up on the catwalk during a relatively formal event. The experienced Belgian general manager, Patrick Lefevere, presented the three main sponsors at the audience and Mike Sinyard from Specialized was there to explain why they are the new bike supplier of the team.

"We know that Quickstep is the best team in the world and we can supply them with the best product in the world; that should allow them to achieve their goals," Sinyard said.

Lefevere talked about the ambitions for 2007, "every year is another challenge to perform as well as last year. Our team has some new faces but our ambitions stay the same." Patrick Lefevere presented all his riders one by one, and ending an impressive bunch of quality riders with their new world champion Paolo Bettini.

The Belgian asked the Italian what he would do if he would be alone in front during the final of the Tour of Flanders. The world champion joked, "I'd better make sure we don't have a sprint." A few moments before Lefevere had asked the same to Tom Boonen, the world champion of 2005. Boonen joked first, "I'll ride as hard as possible," but then said, "We should be honest and then the strongest rider will win."

Tom Boonen
Photo ©: Stijn Vercaemer
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The Belgian classics specialist expressed his desire to win the Tour of Flanders once again this year. "Not many riders succeeded in winning the Tour of Flanders for three years in a row," Boonen said. Actually only one rider succeeded in this impressive triple: the Italian legend Fiorenzo Magni (1949-1951). (Read Cyclingnews' Paolo Bettini and Tom Boonen news features.)

Once again the team appears to be stronger than the year before, even though good riders like Filippo Pozzato and Nick Nuyens have left the team. With Gert Steegmans the team lured the man who catapulted Robbie McEwen's towards three stage wins in this year's Tour de France. Lefevere commented on his transfer, "he has been riding in our U23 team in the past and I always kept an eye on him. After a stage in the Tour of Belgium everybody from our team got beaten by him alone and in the Tour de France we saw what he could do for us."

With Peter Van Petegem Quickstep has got a very experienced rider who should be able to assist Boonen deep into the final of the April classics. "We negotiated almost every season with Van Petegem in the past and finally he signed for us. I thought it was sad to see how he was treated last year. With him we've got a guy who can do it if something goes wrong with Boonen," Lefevere explained. Giovanni Visconti and Mauro Facci are the new guys who should be able to help Bettini when the roads are going uphill.

Peter Van Petegem
Photo ©: Stijn Vercaemer
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Young guns like Dmitry Grabovskiy, Giovanni Visconti but especially Kevin Seeldraeyers are offered the time to grow into the riders they want to be. "In our team Seeldraeyers will be able to work quietly on his future; working on what he's good in: climbing. He should be able to show himself in the Dauphiné Libéré or the Tour of Romandie when his time has arrived," Lefevere said.

A remarkable new face was Carlos Barredo, a rider who came over from the Astana team. Barredo, who won a stage in the 2006 Jacobs's Creek Tour Down Under, is excited to learn from the team's one-day riders. Lefevere explained he signed the Spanish rider because Active Bay released their riders and Barredo was not named at all in the Operación Puerto.

Lefevere is not no longer expecting a Grand Tour win. "Maybe we can get a top five with Garate, if everything goes well," Lefevere said. "I know that we will not find a grand tour winner between now and 2008, but if there's a future left for our team after 2008 then I will not give up my dream to win the Tour." The Belgian manager ended with a statement about winning grand tours. "I want to win the Tour but not at all costs; not at cost of the ethics."

The 2007 Quickstep – Innergetic line-up: Serge Baguet (37 years-old), Carlos Barredo (25), Paolo Bettini (32), Tom Boonen (26), Wilfried Cretskens (30), Steven De Jongh (33), Addy Engels (29), Mauro Facci (24), Juan Manuel Gárate (30), Dmitry Grabovskiy (21), Kevin Hulsmans (28), Alessandro Proni (24), Bram Tankink (28), Sébastien Rosseler (25), Ivan Santaromita (22), Leonardo Scarselli (30), Hubert Schwab (24), Kevin Seeldraeyers (20), Gert Steegmans (26), Andrea Tonti (30), Matteo Tosatto (32), Jurgen Van de Walle (29), Kevin Van Impe (25), Peter Van Petegem (36), Cédric Vasseur (36), Geert Verheyen (33), Davide Viganň (22), Giovanni Visconti (23), Wouter Weylandt (22) and Maarten Wynants (24).


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Stijn Vercaemer

Allan Davis case closed

Allan Davis in 2005
Photo ©: CN
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Cycling Australia has received correspondence from the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) advising the investigation into Allan Davis has been closed.

Davis was named in July this year in association with the Spanish investigation Operación Puerto into sports doping allegations. In September Cycling Australia received a file from the UCI which was immediately referred to ASADA for investigation while Davis resumed racing in October.

ASADA on Thursday (December 14) formally advised in writing the case has been closed. Cycling Australia has forwarded this letter to the UCI.

"I would like to thank my family and friends for their support during recent months and my lawyers in Australia, Peter Fitzgerald, and in Spain, Pablo Arregi, for their work to resolve this," said Davis. "Now I can get on with doing my job, riding my bike and hopefully winning bike races again."

Davis has confirmed he is in negotiation with respect to his plans for the 2007 season. "I had a short break off the bike but have been in training since September with the full confidence that I would be back racing for 2007," said Davis.

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

Sevilla looks for a better year in 2007

By Susan Westemeyer

Oscar Sevilla hopes for better things in the 2007 season. "I hope that the next year is better for Spanish cycling and me personally, after a season in which we have had such non-sport problems as Operación Puerto," he told the Spanish press agency EFE. Operación Puerto "has been detrimental to cycling and it has been used by the politicians," he suggested.

Sevilla was suspended by Team T-Mobile before the start of the Tour de France and subsequently terminated his contract. He recently reached a settlement with the team regarding his dismissal. He is optimistic that he will find a new team. "At the moment, nothing concrete has come of any of the conversations I have held but I haven't given up hope."

Hondo hurts knee in crash

By Susan Westemeyer

Danilo Hondo slightly injured his knee Thursday in a training crash. His front wheel slipped away and he went down. "Fortunately I had only a few scrapes and bruises on my arm and hip. But my right knee hurt a little in training and will need further observation and treatment," he wrote on his website, Hondo, who will ride next year for the new Tinkoff Credit Systems team, added that he would try some physical therapy "to get everything under control again."

UCI to rule on more Professional Continental licenses this week

By Susan Westemeyer

The UCI is expected to announce this week whether it will grant Professional Continental licenses to the following teams: Fuerteventura-Canarias, LPR (team Boifava), Benfica, Selle Italia and Aurum Hotels (former Naturino-Sapore di Mare).

According to, the teams had not yet fulfilled all of the UCI's requirements, and the UCI granted them an extension of time to complete their filings. The finical decision is expected to be announced Wednesday or Thursday.

Team Orbea BTTs new incorporation Absalon

By Monika Prell

The Spanish mountain bike team Orbea BTT signed the Olympic champion, French cyclist Julien Absalon. Absalon is currently the best mountain biker in the world and at the age of 26 he is already one of the best in the history of this sport. He won the world championships consecutively in the past three years. In 2006 he was successful in the French, the European and the world championships and also the world cup. He commented to that having signed for the Spanish team means "a new challenge in my career. I'm very motivated."

He signed the contract in Mallabia (Spain), where also the other three cyclists of the team, Ińaki Lejarreta, Jean Christophe Peraud and Rubén Rufaza were presented, together with director sportif Ixio Barandiaran, team manager Joseba Aizaga and Orbea director Miguel Ocańa.

Absalon also tried out his new bike, lighter than his last one.

Arizaga is very pleased with his team, which he thinks to be the best in this category in 2007. The team will have a very expanded schedule. The objectives of Absalon will be the same as in 2006, the world cup and the world championship. Besides, also the pre-Olympic race in Beijing in September, a race that is very important for the French cyclist.

Volksbank to ride Corratec in 2007

By Susan Westemeyer

Team Volksbank will be riding Corratec bikes in the coming season, the team announced Monday. Corratec, based in Germany, uses hand-finished carbon frames made in Italy by Mauro Sannino. Measurements were taken at the team's meeting this fall to fit each bike to its rider, and the riders also discussed "the possibilities to adapt the Corratec frames to their individual strengths and preferences."

According to team manager Thomas Koffler, "After five years on Ideal bikes, it was time to try something new. In the future we won't leave anything to chance. We have found the perfect partner in Corratec; perfect material from a professional environment."

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