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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Cycling News Extra for July 18, 2006

Edited by John Kenny & John Stevenson

Tyler Hamilton comeback no sure thing

Still plenty of obstacles to overcome

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

Tyler Hamilton at a local crit in Boulder in March
Photo ©: Matt Benassi
(Click for larger image)

With a recent appearances on Good Morning America, OLN and comments to The Daily Camera in his hometown of Boulder, Colorado, Tyler Hamilton is setting the stage for his comeback this September when his two year suspension for blood doping expires on September 22, two days before the UCI's World Road Championship in Salzburg, Austria. Hamilton told his local paper that "I miss racing. I miss it a lot," after a local cycling event. "I didn't think I would miss it this much", he lamented. "But that's a good thing."

Coming up on

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Hamilton has reportedly been training hard in Boulder for his comeback and told The Daily Camera, "I'll be ready." The American tested positive for blood doping at the Vuelta a Espana in September 2004, but kept his time trial gold medal from the Athens Olympics after an A-sample positive for blood doping could not be confirmed because the B sample had been frozen and so damaged beyond usability. Hamilton fought a long appeal process against the ban which was finally upheld in February 2006. Despite the Court of Arbitration for Sport's finding that he did indeed use banned blood-doping methods, Hamilton has continued to maintain his innocence and has always categorically denied he used any blood doping to enhance his performance.

However, according recent reports in Spain's El Pais newspaper based on the Operacion Puerto documents, Hamilton has also been deeply implicated in the Spanish doping scandal that broke last May. Currently, the 500 page Operacion Puerto dossier compiled by the Guardia Civil and the Spanish judicial authorities is being translated into various languages, including English. This arduous process should be completed in late July or early August and once that occurs, the translated dossier, including the allegations about the doping program allegedly prepared for Hamilton by Dr. Fuentes, a known professional collaborator with Hamilton's coach Dr. Luigi "Cecco" Checcini, will be sent from the UCI to USA Cycling. Once the American federation has this information in hand, they will pass it on to USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) for further investigation and review.

To be selected to the USA Cycling team that will compete in the Elite Cycling World Championship in Salzburg, Austria, Hamilton must first be on the roster of a professional cycling team, then be selected by USA Cycling to ride. If Hamilton is under investigation by either Spanish authorities or USADA, under the ProTour code of ethics, he will not be able to return to the roster of his last team, Phonak, nor race in any UCI cycling events. Additionally, it's highly unlikely that the UCI wants Hamilton to compete in the Elite Cycling World Championship in Salzburg after UCI President Pat McQuaid's comments that Hamilton was at risk for a lifetime ban if he was found culpable of further violations as a result of the Operacion Puerto information. Train as he might, Hamilton still has a sword of Damocles hanging over his head and may only see the Elite Cycling World Championship in Salzburg, Austria on TV if his situation doesn't clear up soon.

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

Thüringen Rundfahrt memorial prize named in honour of Amy Gillett

The Thüringen International Rundfahrt, which starts today with a prologue time trial in Zeulenroda, will include an annual memorial prize to be awarded in the name of Amy Gillett for a rider that exhibits exceptional team work, fighting spirit, fairness and/or strength of character during the course of the tour.

During the tour's official presentation yesterday, with guests including the Australian Ambassador to Germany, His Excellency Mr Ian Kemish, Thüringen's Minister for the Economy, Technology and Sport, Jürgen Reinholz, announced the memorial prize that rewards traits that are associated with Amy Gillett.

Amy Gillett was killed in a tragic collision with a motor vehicle the day before the 2005 edition was due to begin. Last year's race was won by local Thüringen rider Theresa Senff who once again hopes to stand atop the podium on July 23 after 592km of tough racing through the heart of the region of Thüringen.

T-Mobile opts for youth and experience

T-Mobile director Brian Holm has picked a mix of youth and experience in the eight-man team to ride the UCI category 2.1 Sachsen-Tour, which starts in Dresden tomorrow and finishes on July 23. Olaf Pollack and André Greipel will go for sprint wins, supported by André Korff.

23-year-old Linus Gerdemann, seventh in this year's Tour de Suisse, is T-Mobile's man for the GC as are Kim Kirchen and Italian Lorenzo Bernucci. The experienced Italian Daniele Nardello and Stephan Schreck will make up the remaining places. Schreck took the opener at the 2004 Sachsen-Tour and remained in yellow for two days.

15 teams have registered for the Sachsen-Tour, including seven ProTour teams. Gerolsteiner and Milram will be on the starting line as well as Discovery Channel led by classics specialist Vladimir Gusev. Rabobank pro Mathew Hayman is looking to defend his title at the 776km race. The Aussie won the 2005 edition despite crashing on the finishing straight and suffering a broken collarbone.

The undulating terrain in Saxony should play into the hands of the allrounders. The GC contenders will try to make their mark on the 24,6 km ITT, before Sunday's tough final stage around Dresden, featuring a decisive climb up to Zinnwald.

Stages

Stage 1 - July 19: Dresden - Oybin, 173 km.
Stage 2 - July 20: Ebersbach - Meerane, 229 km.
Stage 3 - July 21: Chemnitz - Riesa, 199 km.
Stage 4 - July 22: Oschatz - Oschatz, 24 km, ITT.
Stage 5 - July 23: Dresden - Dresden, 149 km.

Wiesenhof-Akud, Team Volksbank for Sachsen Tour

Team Wiesenhof-Akud sees itself as an "outsider" team for the upcoming Sachsen International Tour and is sending a mixed team of young and old, with sprinters, all-arounders and the reigning german mountain champion. The Austrain Team Volksbank is sending german sprinter Sven Teutenberg, and will be looking for stage wins.

Wiesenhof-Akud: Tim Klinger, Tomas Konecny, Christian Leben, Steffen Radochla, Robert Retschke, Torsten Schmidt, Lars Wackernagel, and Gregor Willwohl.

Team Volksbank: Sven Teutenberg, Stefan Denifl, Philipp Ludescher, Christian Lener, Gregor Gut, Christoph Girschweiler, Tyson Apostol, Vasilis Anastopoulos.

Sandoval to press on despite World Cup loss

New Zealand race organizer Jorge Sandoval has said that he has plans to enhance the Women's Tour of Wellington and the Wairarapa, as well as the Trust House men's Tour of Wellington in 2007. His announcement comes despite the disappointing news that the UCI will award the women's world cup races held there for the past two years to another venue.

"With road cycling in Wellington growing at the fastest rate since the 1960s, we want to capture the momentum and excitement that was built with the 2005 and 2006 races," said Sandoval. "The public were able to get so close to the world's best professional riders racing around our city and region."

The loss of the world cup race comes after the UCI Road Commission contacted national federation BikeNZ, saying that the huge demand from cities wishing to host a round was the reason for their decision.

BikeNZ events manager Ted Jones regretted the news. "It is disappointing that Wellington has not been awarded a round in 2007," he stated. "We had some exciting initiatives planned to increase participation and spectator fun next year but that will now have to go on hold. Hosting world cup rounds is a privilege, not a right … it shows that nothing can be taken for granted. We have been fortunate to host the world's best female road cyclists over the last two years but will now have to wait at least until 2008 to welcome them back to Wellington".

He paid credit to the Wellington City Council for their contribution in 2005 and 2006. "Their support and commitment to ensuring central Wellington could effectively close down for a day was a positive sign of their enthusiasm to host this, and other, world class events," he stated. He also complimented event organiser Jorge Sandoval and sponsor Trust House.

Sandoval says he wants to build on the platform that has been created in the Wellington region.

"Trust House had already signed the sponsorship for next year for the Women's World Cup and their support for top level cycling is second to none," he said. "The Wellington City Council input with the World Cup event ensured that the central city and Miramar Peninsula circuits provided the safety required to host a race of international magnitude."

"They all really get behind our event in every way. I also wish to acknowledge the support of the Hutt City and Masterton City Council, as well as every sponsor for their support."

Sandoval says that bringing together elite cyclists and the grass roots of the sport has always been part of his dream for New Zealand cycling.

"In order to keep the momentum built up by the world cup and women's tours, we will run a bigger Women's Tour of New Zealand in the Wellington and Wairarapa area in 2007."

Race details will be announced soon.

BMW-Bianchi at 24 Hours of Booty

The BMW-Bianchi women's team will ride the 24 Hours of Booty on July 28-29 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The fundraising event is named after the popular local three mile 'booty loop' course.

Event organisers hope to raise $400,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the Brain Tumor Fund of the Carolinas. BMW-Bianchi will support the causes by sending a free pair of BMW-Bianchi Sockguy socks to the first 20 people who donate $50 or more before July 21.

Information on how to donate can be found here.

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