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First Edition Cycling News for December 21, 2006

Edited by Sue George

CAS acquits Landaluze on technicality

Inigo Landaluze (Euskaltel)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Inigo Landaluze has been acquitted of charges of testosterone doping stemming from the 2005 Dauphiné Libéré, the Court of Arbitration for Sport announced Wednesday. The CAS ruled that a mistake in lab procedures was serious enough "to invalidate the anti-doping test", but emphasised that it "does not constitute a declaration of innocence".

The Spanish federation ruled in May 2006 that the doping analysis showed "an incomplete process not in accordance with all applicable legal requirements", and acquitted the Euskaltel rider. In June, the UCI appealed that decision and asked the court to suspend the rider for two years.

During the appeal, Landaluze argued that errors had been made in the analysis process conducted by the Châtenay-Malabry lab. The court rejected most of his arguments, but upheld one. "It has indeed been established that the person who conducted the analysis of the B sample was also involved in analysis of the A sample, thus in violation of the international standard applicable to the accredited laboratories," read the court's statement.

"The panel considered that the violation of this technical direction was likely to affect the results of the analyses. The panel has considered that the non-compliance with the standard constituted a procedural flaw serious enough to cause the invalidation of the anti-doping test."

Despite recognising a procedural flaw, the court added "the arbitrators have emphasized that the staff of the laboratory of Châtenay-Malabry had acted in good faith and that the overlap of the different analysis operations performed by the staff was due to a heavy workload in the laboratory."

Landis responds to Landaluze case

Floyd Landis responded to the Landaluze decision announced today and empathised with the acquitted rider. Landis said the acquittal "strengthens my contention that the tests conducted on my sample were handled in an incompetent fashion and analysed on the basis of flawed 'science'". The Châtenay-Malabry laboratodry was the same lab that analysed Landis' samples which tested positive from Stage 17 of the Tour de France.

"Going through what I am now," said Landis, "I feel personally for Landaluze and hope that everyone recognizes that it has taken him 18 difficult months to clear his name from what was revealed to be a grievous error at the LNDD."

Public fund hopes to raise US$2M for Landis

By Sue George

A public fund is being set up to provide financial support for Floyd Landis' defence, where he hopes to raise two million US dollars. Landis tested positive in the Tour de France Stage 17 for testosterone.

Michael Henson, Floyd Landis' spokesman, told Cyclingnews about the fund, saying: "We are building the infrastructure now, including setting up an appropriate board of directors. We will have it up and running on or about the first of the year. The fund will help Floyd defend himself by paying for fees of the attorneys and experts."

According to Henson, the fund will "support Floyd Landis against unsubstantiated doping allegations, provide the means to attain fairness for Floyd and bring justice to those responsible for misconduct in this case".

Henson said that no date has been set for Landis' appeal, which will be with the American Arbitration Association. If that appeal is unsuccessful, the case may eventually end up in the hands of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The LA Times reported that Landis will also start a separate entity, tentatively called the Athlete Fairness Organization, "to help wrongly accused athletes fight doping charges and lobby for improved protection for accused competitors."

Austria to designate "transparent" cyclists

The "transparent" cyclist will become reality in Austria. One top rider from each Continental and Professional Continental team in the country will be selected for complete examinations.

"Before the season starts, we want to establish a steroid and blood profile, as well as a lot of their medical data, for these example athletes," said Rudolf Massak, head of the Austrian cycling federation. "And during the racing year we will conduct more and detailed tests, which will also help to establish the efficiency of various training plans."

According to the federation's press release, the move comes in response to the "doping scandals in international cycling and the suspension of the two U23 riders, Christian Ebner and Marco Oreggia," and should "re-establish the tarnished image" of pro cycling.

The tests "should prove to the public, the sponsors and especially to the young riders that 'riders can win races and be 100 percent clean.'" The project, which will include five or six riders as of the beginning of the year, is expected to cost about 50,000 Euros.

Cummings to Discovery

Steve Cummings
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

British rider Steve Cummings will join the Discovery Channel ProTour team in 2007. Cummings is the current Commonwealth champion, 2005 world champion, and an Olympic silver medallist, all in the team pursuit.

Steve Cummings was apparently signed a few weeks ago by Discovery Channel. The team has not announced the signing officially, and team manager Johan Bruyneel could not be reached for comment. Cummings said he is looking forward to stepping up a level and cannot wait for the 2007 road season to begin.

This year, the 25 year-old had a good season with the Belgian Landbouwkrediet-Colnago squad. He earned a close second place behind classics star Alessandro Ballan at the Italian semi-classic Trofeo Laigueglia.

An injury followed by a bad crash cut short the second half of his road season. Landbouwkrediet-Colnago's team manager Gerard Bulens said, "We have had three riders already that have already gone on to good things with Bruyneel's team, and I am sure Steve will be a very valuable addition. He has a lot of talent and class and big ambitions, however he has always laid it on the line for the team, every time he was asked."

Joining the American ProTour team will not compromise Cummings' track ambitions. He is currently doing a five-week track training camp in Perth, Australia which explained his absence at the Discovery December training camp in Austin, Texas. However, he will join in the January camp in California.

Cummings' role on Discovery has not yet been announced but he may join the classics team under the guidance of Sean Yates, the British Tour de France star. Realistically, he realizes his chances for making the start line of the Tour de France in London next summer are slim. "It's every rider's dream, but I am not thinking about that at the moment. I would think it's a long-shot, but you never know in this sport. Certainly I'd love to ride it one day and am determined to do so." Participating in the Giro d'Italia is a more likely objective for the newly signed rider.

Longo signs with Austrian team

By Susan Westemeyer

Jeannie Longo, 48 years old and the most successful woman cyclist of all time, has signed to ride for the 2007 season with the Austrian Graz Uniqa Team, the team announced Wednesday. Longo has won an Olympic gold medal, three victories in the Tour de France, 38 world records, 52 national championships, and 13 world titles.

Team manager Klaus Kabasser said, "It all happened very suddenly and surprisingly. Two weeks ago we received an e-mail in which Longo expressed her interest. She didn't have a team for international races." Things moved quickly and she signed a one-year contract on Sunday.

She will not be a financial drain on the team. "Like her colleagues, she will earn a small salary, nothing unusual. The only different thing is that she will have a private sponsor, which she will present on her jersey," Kabasser said.

Despite her age, Longo still retains her top condition, having won both the road and time trial championships in France this year. "Jeannie is full in the swing of things. She is not as dominant as 10 years ago but can still finish a race in the top ten," according to Kabasser.

More importantly, she brings the team valuable points for the World ranking, which will "catapult" Uniqa into the top 15, guaranteeing it a start by the biggest races.

The team is now even considering a start in the Tour de France. "We hadn't planned with that," admitted Kabasser. "But with two French women on the team, it is realistic. We are adjusting our race planning." Austria's last appearance in the women's Tour de France was a national team in 1998.

Longo will not ride the full season, but only a few selected races, particularly time trials. She will make her debut March 24 in Italy and is also expected to ride either the women's Ronde van Vlaanderen or the Fleche Wallonne.

Dean and Ulmer to headline NZ road nationals

The strongest fields in recent years will line up at the 2007 New Zealand national road cycling championships in Upper Hutt on January 13, 2007.

BikeNZ event manager Ted Jones confirmed that Sarah Ulmer and Julian Dean will ride in the elite women's and men's road races.

Dean, who has not completed in the road championships for a number of years, will line up against 2006 national champion Hayden Roulston, fellow professional Tim Gudsell, who signed with French pro team FDJ in October, Oceania champion Gordon McCauley, and the rest of the New Zealand team competing in the Tour Down Under starting on January 16 in South Australia.

Meanwhile Ulmer will be in a strong field including Christchurch rider Jo Kiesanowski, whose team won the women's world cup team competition this year, as well as top racers Meshy Holt and Toni Bradshaw.

According to Jones, the road races will feature nearly all of New Zealand's top road riders. "This is ideally what the fields should always look like and will provide a rare opportunity to see our top riders race against each other at home."

From 2007, the elite and under 23 time trial and road championships have been moved from their traditional timing on Labour Weekend to January so to increase the likelihood of elite riders attending and so that the winners will have the honour of wearing the champion's jerseys year-round. The calendar change follows the lead of Australian Cycling.

The road race will happen in and around Upper Hutt on Saturday, January 13 with the men covering 146km and the women covering 101km. The time trial will happen Thursday, January 11 at Mangaroa Valley with 40m for the men and 25km for the women. A full start list will be available January 5th, after race registration closes.

12 discretionary nominations to US 'cross world's team

USA Cycling announced today discretionary nominations to the team that will represent the United States at the 2007 UCI cyclo-cross world championships in Hooglede-Grits, Belgium January 27-28, 2007.

Discretionary nominations were made based on petitions by athletes who met specific performance standards throughout the 2006 season.

In the elite women's category, four additional athletes were named. Christine Vardaros (Lotto-Belisol), Kerry Barnholt (Tokyo Joe's-Maxiss), Deidre Winfield (Velo Bella-Kona) and Rhonda Mazza (Team S&M-Vanilla Bicycles) were selected.

Vardaros earned a discretionary pick with a top-15 placing at a UCI World Cup. Vardaros placed 14th at the Kalmthout World Cup in October to become eligible. Both Barnholt and Winfield earned their eligibility last weekend at the USA Cycling cyclo-cross national championships with top-five finishes. Barnholt placed third behind Compton and Gould, while Winfield placed fourth. Mazza's promising season included a sixth-place effort at the national championships and an eighth-place overall ranking in the USGP.

In the U23 men's division, four additional athletes were named as Bjorn Selander (Alan Factory Team), Chance Noble, (California Giant Strawberries-Specialized), Nick Weighall (Alan Factory Team) and Dan Neyens (Hagens-Berman LLP) all met discretionary criteria.

Selander placed third at the national championships and eighth overall in the USGP to earn consideration, while Noble placed fifth at the national championships and finished the six-race USGP ranked third. Weighall's fifth-place ranking in the USGP and sixth-place effort at the national championships illustrated his talent as did a sixth-place USGP overall finish and ninth-place ride at the national championships for Neyens.

Four junior men complete the initial discretionary nominations - Nicholas Keough (CL Noonan-Coast to Coast-KAM), Sean Worsech (Rad Racing NW), Jerome Townsend (Alan Factory Team) and Carson Miller (Fred Miller-Lakeside).

Keough placed fifth at the national championships to meet discretionary criteria, while Woresch placed second overall in the USGP series. Townsend showed significant improvement throughout the season with sixth-place finishes at the national championships and in the USGP. Miller also rode a solid season with an eighth-place effort at the national championships and a 12th-place USGP ranking.

Twelve athletes were previously named Wednesday after five automatic nominations - Danny Summerhill (TIAA-CREF-Clif Bar), Jamey Driscoll (FiordiFrutta), Jesse Anthony (Clif Bar), Katie Compton (Spike) and Georgia Gould (Luna) were announced Monday based on their performance at the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships and the Crank brothers U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross.

Automatic selections for the elite men's category will be announced January 9th and discretionary picks January 10th.

Colavita/Sutter announces men's team roster for 2007

The Colavita/Sutter Home men's cycling team presented by Cooking Light announced its 2007 roster.

Returning riders include Davide Frattini, Gustavo Artacho, and Tyler Wren, along with veterans Alejandro Acton, Hayden Godfrey, and Peter Hatton. Acton, a native of Argentina, distinguished himself last year as winner of several major criteriums riding for Target Training. Godfrey, who competed in the 2004 Olympics, is a 13-time New Zealand national champion, and Hatton, of Australia, rode for Jittery Joe's in 2006.

New riders include: Luca Damiana of Italy, making his NRC racing debut, and American cyclists Anthony Colby, Andy Guptill, Adam Bergman, Bryan Smith, and Dan Vaillancourt.

The team previously announced that David McCann, the three-time and current Irish National Road Champion, and Charles Dionne, two-time winner of the San Francisco Grand Prix had signed. A strong time trialist and GC threat, McCann has been racing with the Giant Asia team where he racked up an overall win at the Tour of Indonesia and the leader's jersey in the Tour of Thailand. In June, McCann again won the Irish national championship and will bring the Green Clover jersey over to North America to race for the first time.

Dionne, the former Canadian criterium champion, raced in the ProTour with Saunier Duval-Prodir last year. He will mark his return to the North American racing circuit after being curtailed by injury.

The team targets all kinds of US events on the NRC calendar. It will kick off the 2007 season with ten days of intense training in the hills of Napa Valley, California.

The squad will ride RC7 bikes supplied by Blue Competition Bicycles. The bikes will be fully equipped with Shimano components, wheels, shoes, and pedals and Profile Design handle bars and stems.

For the full roster click here.

Calyon Canada team announced for 2007

The Calyon Canada team will continue for 2007 thanks to the ongoing sponsorship of Calyon, a Credit Agricole subsidiary. In fact, Roger Legeay, the Crédit Agricole ProTour Cycling team sport director, will attend Calyon's team presentation.

The squad, who will join the Pro Continental ranks next year, said their goal is to give promising riders a chance to take a step higher in the pro ranks. Their mission is "to create the best environment possible for young athletes in order to bring them at the higher level on the road, on the track or in cyclo-cross." The team will continue to ride Litespeed road and time trial frames.

Returning riders include Erik Lyman, Jean-Sebastien Perron, Broocke Boocock, Maxime Vives, and Charly Vives. New U23 riders will include Matt Guze and Ryan Belliveau while new elite riders will be Phil Cortes and Greg Rain. Rain is the new Canadian national cyclo-cross Champion. The team will be directed by Bernard Vives and Marc Wayne Addison, with Jonathan Desjardins as administrative director.

For the full roster, click here.

Lines still 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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