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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for February 12, 2006

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Bettini: Heras case "strange from the start"

Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) scored his first 2006 win in Mallorca
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Olympic champion Paolo Bettini does not trust the outcome of the anti-doping test which stripped Spaniard Roberto Heras of his fourth Vuelta a España victory. Interviewed by Spanish Marca, the Quick.Step rider explained he was incredulous with regard to the case. "When news like this one is announced, you never believe it," the Italian said. "It was a strange case since the start: the mess with the counter-analysis, the resources... Moreover, the surprise was even bigger because of Heras' situation - he had his fourth Vuelta win in his hand; he had passed many controls during the race and the only one which was positive was the one on the penultimate day. Not the ones on the days before. With cases like this, you don't know what to think, or what's behind it."

Other Spanish cyclists have given their opinion on the suspension of Roberto Heras to news outlet AS on the last day of the Mallorca Challenge in Magalluf. "It's always the cyclists who pay, and the team continues as if nothing happened," noted triple World Champion Oscar Freire. Phonak's Martin Perdiguero had an altogether different view: "I'm against all the sanctions, as we are free in life and cycling should be, too. This is a show put on by a hypocritical society and it's always the cyclists who pay."

Euskaltel-Euskadi manager Manuel Madariaga added, "It's a strong blow for cycling, and the solutions that they are taking aren't the right ones. Doping will not cease with more sanctions or prosecutions."

Ex-Festina director Roussel accused of tax evasion

Former Team Festina directeur sportif, Bruno Roussel, and the director if the team's management company Prosport SA, Josep Sanchez I Palou, have been accused of tax evasion by a French court in Lyon on Friday, February 10. The public prosecutor has asked for 18 months imprisonment for both men, as well as a 25.000 Euros fine for Sanchez and a 12.000 Euros fine for Roussel.

The subject of the trial is the registered office of Prosport SA, which was founded in 1994 in Andorra to manage the cycling team sponsored by Spanish watch manufacturers Festina and Lotus. French tax officials allege that the company's commercial activity was really on French territory, as the company owned a warehouse in Meyzieu. Nevertheless, corporation tax and VAT were not paid for the years 1997 and 1998.

The court has announced its decision for March 24. Roussel, who was sacked by the company in July 1998 following the doping revelations at the Tour de France, was already sentenced to one year imprisonment on suspension for infringement of the anti-doping laws in the year 2000.

Nobili Rubinetterie to Geelong Tour

Elite Women's Cycling Team Nobili Rubinetterie Menikini Cogeas has been officially presented in Italy today. This season, directeur sportif Walter Zini will be assisted by former pro cyclist Catherine Marsal in his task to manage the 15 athletes making up the squad's roster.

Coming up on the team's racing schedule is the Geelong Tour in Australia from February 21-23, where the Italian team will be represented by Olivia Gollan (recently interviewed by Cyclingnews), Miho Oki, Sigrid Corné, Marta Vilajosana, Silvia Valsecchi and Elodie Touffet.

TIAA-CREF roster announced

Slipstream sports, a sports marketing and development company headed by former professional bike rider Jonathan Vaughters, has announced the 2006 Team TIAA-CREF roster. Now in its third year, Team TIAA-CREF is the World's Youngest Professional cycling team, with riders averaging 23 years of age. The team will compete in a full slate of international races throughout the spring and summer, including the inaugural Amgen Tour of California, where they will be the youngest riders competing against some of the world’s best professionals. Also included in the race programme are the Pennsylvania Triple Crown, the Tour of Georgia, the Route du Sud, the USPRO Road Championships and the Tour de l’Avenir.

"We are poised for an exciting year," said the company's CEO and TIAA-CREF director Jonathan Vaughters. "This is probably the strongest group of riders we have had yet. We are competing at higher levels and you will see us at bigger races. But the goal of this team remains the same: to give young athletes - future champions - the training and experience they need to become Olympic, World and Tour de France Champions."

The 2006 team roster includes 2001 World Champion Danny Pate, formerly of Team Jelly Belly; Ian MacGregor, 2-time U23 National Champion; Craig Lewis, fully recovered from a near-death accident at the 2004 Tour de Georgia and sprinter Rahsaan Bahati.

The full roster can be found here.

2006 Tour de Nez announced

The 14th Annual Tour de Nez will be taking place in and around the Reno/Tahoe area from June 22-24, 2006. Expanding the event into Tahoe and Truckee for this season, the Tour de Nez will see some of the nations' top cycling teams compete for a chance to take home more than $35,000 in prize money in the pro-cycling series and earn points on the National Racing Calendar.

The Pro Series begins with the Verdi Time Trial and the Truckee Criterium on June 22, followed by the Tahoe Road Race on June 23 and ending with the Mighty Tour de Nez Criterium on June 24. This year will mark the beginning of the National Hand Cycling Criterium Championships in Reno on June 24. The event will continue with the Biggest Little Kid’s Race in Truckee, Tahoe City and Reno. The famous Clunker Classic also expands to all three locations, encouraging all alternative forms of two wheel transportation to take to the pavement and ride. Rounding off the Tour de Nez will be messenger races, century rides, expos, clinics and of course plenty of mint juleps at every corner!

Started 14 years ago to celebrate the anniversary of Reno's first coffee house, Deux Gros Nez, the Tour de Nez has grown from a Masters Twilight Criterium to a three-day event in Truckee, Tahoe City and Reno. Highlights of this year's Tour de Nez will air on a one-hour show on the Outdoor Life Network.

For more information visit

Tour of Shenandoah turns Under 25

Now in its fourth year, the Tour of Shenandoah - slated for April 25-30- consistently attracts one of the youngest average age fields among top-level races. Acting on this fact, and looking at trends in the USA bicycle racing scene, the event's organizers have decided to give greater emphasis to the Under 25 age group riders. "The Tour of Shenandoah will become the international showcase for North America's emerging talent," said executive director, Matt Butterman, announcing this year's course and race details during a press conference in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

"We are starting to style the race on events like the Tour de l'Avenir in Europe, with a maximum rider age of 25 years and with professional, amateur and national teams," said Butterman. For 2006, at least, older riders will be permitted to participate, but eventually the age cap will take effect as the number of young riders swells to fill the field quota.

This year in addition to the race leader's jersey in the General Classification, additional race leader jerseys will be awarded to the best Under 23 rider and the best Collegiate rider. "More and more pro teams are realizing the value of having a development squad, and we provide the perfect event for these young riders not only to have a taste of being a team leader, but also to get the feeling of competing in a proper road stage race," explained Butterman.

The race format consists of time trials, criteriums, and some stages including mountain climbs, with the 2005 edition visiting Dayton, Harrisonburg, Staunton, Hot Springs, Staunton, Lexington, Bedford, Natural Bridge, and Waynesboro. Many cyclists including last year's Tour of Shenandoah winner, Roman Kilun (Berkeley, Calif), and local hero and name-to-watch at this year's race, the US national mountain bike team member, Jeremiah Bishop (Harrisonburg, Va) have compared the format of the event to European races.

Moreover, many of the venues will have activities for children. A bike rodeo is in the works for kids and bicycle helmets will be given away as part of the Virginia Department of health's "Bike Safe Virginia" program. "We encourage people to bring out the family, as it's a very exciting event for people to watch and makes a great day out," added Butterman.

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