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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for December 20, 2006

Edited by Greg Johnson & Ben Abrahams

Astana granted ProTour licence

By Greg Johnson

Team Astana
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

The UCI Licence Commission announced overnight that it has awarded Kazakhstan's Astana Team a ProTour licence for the next four years. The announcement comes after cycling's international governing organisation revealed on Saturday it would grant the outfit additional time to prepare its application "due to difficulties in the production of the required documents," an official statement read.

Astana's original application had been rejected by the UCILC after the team was asked to provide a bank guarantee for the outfits full €12 million budget for 2007, just days before the November 20 cut-off date for applications. The request followed the UCI's dissatisfaction with the outfit having the Kazakhstan's cycling federation as its major backer.

"We only found out about that requirement very close to the deadline," Astana general manager Marc Biver told Cyclingnews following the initial rejection. "Also, no other sponsor was requested to provide a bank guarantee for their full budget; we have been the only one. "

While Biver secured the guarantee by November 28, the UCI stood firm on its cut-off date for applications. "Quite simply, they haven't followed the regulations," UCI President Pat McQuaid said. "They [Astana] didn't get their information in on time. It is as simple as that."

Unsatisfied with the team's treatment, Biver appealed to the UCI Licence Commission which granted the reprieve, extending the deadline for the outfit's application to December 20.

The UCI released a brief, official statement overnight, confirming the outfit's position in the peloton:

The required documents having been produced within the given deadline, the UCI Licence Commission has awarded the Astana Team (Zeus Sàrl) a UCI ProTour Licence for a four years period, from January the 1st 2007 to December the 31st 2010.

The announcement allows Astana to press ahead with its formal plans and preparations for 2007.

Jeanson: "I won't race ever again"

Jeanson doesn't expect to ever race again
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
Click for larger image

Geneviève Jeanson has spoken exclusively to Cyclingnews in her first interview since settling with the United State Anti-Doping Agency on a two year ban from cycling. In the interview, to be published later today, Jeanson reveals that despite the ban ending mid-2007 she won't be returning to the sport.

"I won't race ever again," revealed Jeanson. "I've changed so much this past year that I have a hard time imagining who I was before."

Jeanson tested positive to EPO in July 2005, however, with the assistance of Belgian doctor Joris Delanghe, claimed the reading was a 'false-positive'. An agreement between USADA and Jeanson on November 29 was a landmark decision that saw neither party change their positions, but allowed both to "seek to end this matter without further process", an official statement read.

In the interview, Jeanson reveals: "I had to accept the deal, [...] I simply couldn't afford the long, drawn-out appeal. Look at the Tour de France winner, Floyd Landis, they say it may cost him his whole fortune to fight his drug charges. So this way was the easiest to put this chapter of my life behind me."

The candid interview reveals the former cyclist's views on the past and also looks forward to her future plans.

Spanish magazine prints more details from Operación Puerto investigation

Alleges Fuentes earned €150,000; Basso and Ullrich accused of paying €70,000 each

By Shane Stokes

The document listing what each rider paid.
Photo ©: Interviú
Click for larger image

Both Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich may have insisted upon their innocence and are making plans for their return to racing, but more details of their alleged involvement with Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes - the centre of the Operacion Puerto storm - have been published this week in a Spanish magazine.

According to Interviú*, Basso and Ullrich were both to be charged €70,000 for Fuentes’ services during the 2006 season, the riders appearing as ‘2 Bírilo’ and ‘1 Nibelungo’ on a document bearing the headers D/161 Presupuesto [budget/estimate] 2006 Ingresos.

‘5 Sevilla’, ‘17 Porras’, ‘4 Botero’ and ‘14 Hrs’ are listed opposite the charge of €50, 000, while ‘12 Gutí’ and ‘19 Oso’ are down to pay €25,000. The magazine alleges that these codenames refer to Oscar Sevilla, Francisco Mancebo, Santiago Botero, Roberto Heras and José Enrique Gutiérrez, with the identity of ‘19 Oso’ not being clarified.

These details reveal almost a parallel universe in cycling: one the one hand, 2006 Giro d'Italia champion Basso has been cleared to race by the Italian federation and has recently signed on with Discovery Channel, one of the world's leading pro teams. Ullrich, meanwhile, is still in a career limbo but he has vowed to return to racing as soon as he can. At the same time, leaked details alleging their involvement with Dr Fuentes continue to emerge, as Operacion Puerto remains an open wound for cycling that seemingly has no cure. Whether these details are fodder for sensational articles, or the documents do provide concrete evidence that can lead to suspensions, remains to be seen.

However, the details in the Spanish magazine article make for interesting reading. So far there has been no comment from any of the named riders, or the UCI.

For the full news feature click here.

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

USAC announces UCI-sanctioned teams for 2007

USA Cycling announced yesterday its 21 UCI-sanctioned teams that will compete in domestic and international road events in 2007. Discovery Channel remains the sole US registered ProTour team while Health Net, Navigators Insurance and newcomers Team Slipstream, have been granted Professional Continental status. Three new Continental squads, BMC Racing Team, Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast and Rock Racing bring the total number of Continental registered teams to thirteen.

Last year's only American UCI women's squad, T-Mobile, are now being registered in Germany, but four new teams have been confirmed as internationally-sanctioned squads for 2007; Cheerwine, Colavita/Sutter Home, Team Lipton and Verducci Breakaway Racing.

As reported by Cyclingnews yesterday USA Cycling also plans to pursue the first ever UCI ProTour event on American soil.

The full line up of 2007 UCI-sanctioned American teams is as follows:

UCI ProTour teams

Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team

UCI Professional Continental Teams

Health Net Pro Cycling Team presented by Maxxis
Navigators Insurance Cycling Team
Team Slipstream powered by Chipotle

UCI Continental teams

AEG - Toshiba - JetNetwork Pro Cycling Team
BMC Racing Team
Colavita/Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light
Jelly Belly Cycling Team
The Jittery Joe's Pro Cycling Team
Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast
KodakGallery Pro Cycling Team Presented by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Nerac Pro Cycling
Priority Health Cycling Team Presented by Bissell
Rite Aid Pro Cycling
Rock Racing
Successful Living Presented by Parkpre
Toyota - United Pro Cycling Team

UCI women's teams

Colavita/Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light
TEAm Lipton
Verducci Breakaway Racing

Juan Carlos Domínguez retires

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Juan Carlos Dominguez at the '02 Giro
Photo ©:

Spaniard Juan Carlos Domínguez, winner of the Giro d'Italia prologue in 2002, has confirmed his retirement from professional cycling due to the ongoing fallout from Operacion Puerto. "Some directors have set up their own society, or Mafia, and for that reason the situation in cycling is now much worse," Domínguez told Spanish news agency Efe. "They want more power, but the riders now have less weight".

Domínguez had hoped to find a new team for 2007, but after negotiations with several teams failed to result in an acceptable contract, the 35 year-old decided: "the moment had arrived to leave professional cycling". Regarding his life outside the professional peloton, Domínguez said: "Now I would like to contribute my long cycling experience to young people, to make better people rather than good sportsmen."

After turning professional with Kelme in 1995, Domínguez rode for several teams during his career, including, Phonak, Saunier Duval and finally in 2006. Apart from wearing the Maglia Rosa for one stage at the 2002 Giro, Domínguez took overall victory in the 2004 Vuelta Andalucía and the Vuelta a Burgos in 2005.

Nozal close to Karpin-Galicia

Isidro Nozal, formally with Astana, is reportedly close to signing with newly formed Professional Continental squad Karpin-Galicia according to a press release published on Spanish sports diary website MARCA.

"Although Karpin-Galicia has finished signing new riders for next season, when this possibility arose, neither Valery Karpin, president of the team, nor sports director Álvaro Pino, wanted to forego the opportunity and decided to make an important improvement to the squad," stated the official release.

Nozal, who finished second in the 2003 Vuelta a España, could return to racing for the first time since being named in the Operacion Puerto investigations prior to this year's Tour de France. "He is at a better moment now and can give us much success. He will also reinforce the squad," concluded Pino. AJS

Ulmer to return at NZ championships

Olympic pursuit gold medalist and world record holder, Sarah Ulmer, will reportedly return to competition at next month's national road championships near Wellington according to Radio New Zealand. The 30 year-old has been plagued by injury in 2006 after a late withdrawal from the Commonwealth Games individual time trial due to a pinched nerve in her back.

According to Michael Flynn, higher performance director at Bike NZ, Ulmer resumed training four weeks ago and still plans to pursue a career on the road. She has also been training on the nationals course in Upper Hut which includes several steep climbs.

The elite women's individual time trial will take place on January 11 while the road race title will be decided two days later.

The lines are open... It's time to vote!

Win the latest set of HED wheels

Tom Boonen: Cyclingnews 2005 rider of the year
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Click for larger image

Each year, Cyclingnews gives its readers the chance to select the riders, teams, races, moments, equipment and photos that have really stood out from the pack in the last 12 months or so.

From male and female cyclo-crosser and mountain biker of the year, to best product, best team bike, most improved rider, best one-day and stage race, male and female track and road riders, best moment, legend of cycling - soon you'll discover who each of these winners are. But what many of us are really itching to find out is our 'Big Daddy' award: Cyclingnews' 2006 Rider of the Year.

In 2005, then newly-crowned world champion and winner of 14 races, Tom Boonen, ran home a winner with almost 50 percent of the votes, while runner-up Lance Armstrong could only muster the hearts of a mere 20 percent of our readers. This time round, Boonen lost his rainbow stripes to the ever-consistent 'Il Grillo' Paolo Bettini in Salzburg, but the popular boy from Balen won seven more races than he did last year. Has Tommeke done enough to pull it off again?

Win a set of HED's Kermesse road wheels

Bettini's not the only guy he's up against, though - the names of Valverde, Zabriskie, Zabel, Cancellara, Landis, Ullrich, Voigt, Leipheimer, Vos, Pereiro, Bettini, McEwen and Ekimov are also in the mix - and this year's race to become Cyclingnews' Rider of the Year is set to be the closest ever.

And just to keep things interesting, we'll be giving away a set of the latest Kermesse road wheels from HED to one lucky entrant.

The survey should take you less than 10 minutes to complete - you'd be mad not to participate!

Click here to cast your vote in's 2006 readers' poll.


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