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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for July 27, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

Toyota-United sacks Andreu

The Toyota-United Pro Cycling team has sacked directeur sportif Frankie Andreu, the team and Andreu announced today. In a team statement, owner Sean Tucker said that Andreu had been sacked because his "other obligations and commitments" meant he "was not able to fulfill his contractual obligations" to the team.

However, his dismissal seems to have come as a surprise to Andreu. Andreu was informed that his contract with the team was being terminated on July 25, when he returned to the US from the Tour de France. "I am very surprised and disappointed to be told to leave especially after all the hard work of putting together this first year team," he said.

It's not clear which "other obligations" have caused the split. Andreu was at the Tour de France as a colour commentator for the Outdoor Life Network, a role he has performed since 2001.

Andreu was also in the news for more controversial reasons recently. In a dispute between Lance Armstrong and SCA Promotions, the insurance company that had underwritten Armstrong's bonus for winning the 2004 Tour de France, Andreu testified that he had heard Armstrong say he had used performance-enhancing substances before developing cancer. Armstrong denied the allegation.

According to Tucker, Harm Jansen will continue as team director for Toyota-United.

Leipheimer happy with Discovery Channel move

By Shane Stokes

Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Levi Leipheimer confirmed this week that he will return to racing with the USA's biggest team, Discovery Channel, having competed in the past with its previous incarnation, US Postal. While in its colours, Leipheimer took third in the 2001 Tour of Spain and then went on to place fourth in the world time trial championships. He is hoping that his return to the fold will help him move to a new level and reach greater successes in the Tour de France and other events.

"I am very excited," he told Cyclingnews on Wednesday. "That is where I started my career, in Europe at least, and I think that is where I made the biggest progress, during that time. I am looking forward to going back. I have learned a lot over the past five years, but I'm looking forward to having the expertise and experience of Johan [Bruyneel] and the team behind me."

Leipheimer said that he has maintained contact with the team since he left at the end of 2001 and moving to Rabobank. The Discovery Channel management knew his current contract was due for renewal this season and made an offer which he, and they, were happy to agree upon. It should be mutually beneficial; he wants to go back, while they are looking to re-jig things after a somewhat disappointing Tour de France.

When asked to talk about the move, Leipheimer said the decision was taken as he believes it is the best way for him to achieve success. "It doesn't have anything to do with Gerolsteiner," he said, thus ruling out any speculation about dissatisfaction with his current team. "It is more that this is a great opportunity for me and I need it to progress further, definitely.

"I haven't really had a chance to discuss how things will be just yet. Obviously, we did this [made the agreement] during the Tour, so I haven't had a chance to talk about too many things with Johan. But we'll sit down soon and go through everything."

In recent days there has been speculation that Jan Ullrich might be signing for the team, something which would obviously change the dynamic within the team and affect Leipheimer's own Tour de France ambitions. He says that he doesn't feel threatened by the talk. "I think it is just rumours," he said. "I think it is going to be a few months before we are going to know if he is even going to be able to ride. I don't see it [the move to Discovery] happening."

The 32 year-old won the Dauphiné Libéré this year but the Tour de France didn't work out as well as he hoped. He rode strongly on some stages but wasn't firing on all cylinders in others. He's proved he can win big races, so the goal next year will be to reach and maintain top form for those crucial three weeks. But what are his main goals for the rest of this year?

"The Tour of Germany is a target," he stated, confirming that he will return to the race he won last year. "It's coming pretty soon after the Tour but I am hoping to recover in time and to be able to defend my title there. After that, I'll look at perhaps doing the US Pro championships."

A full Levi Leipheimer feature will appear soon on Cyclingnews.

UCI reports one Tour positive

The UCI has announced that there was one case of an "adverse analytical finding following an anti-doping test carried out at the Tour de France 2006." That means that one rider has had his A sample test positive for a banned substance. The rider has yet to be named, although his team, national federation, national anti-doping organisation and World Anti-Doping Agency have all been informed.

"The adverse analytical finding received this morning relates to the first analysis, and will have to be confirmed either by a counter analysis required by the rider, or by the fact that the rider renounces that counter analysis," said the UCI in a statement.

"The World Anti-doping Code and the Anti-doping Rules of the UCI do not allow to make the name of the concerned rider public, as well as other information that may allow its identification until the end of the results management provided by the Anti-doping Rules of the UCI as well as the World Anti-doping Code."

García Quesada claims no current relationship with Fuentes

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Spanish rider Carlos García Quesada, who was suspended and then reinstated by the team after being named in the Operación Puerto affair, has said that he has no current relationship with Dr Eufemiano Fuentes. "In the last two or three years, I decided to use doctor González Salvador. I knew that I was going to ride better with him, and the truth is that this decision was very good.

"In recent years, when Eufemiano was the Comunidad Valenciana doctor, I only gave him my results to be sent to the UCI by fax," he concluded.

Landis and Pic lead USAC NRC standings

Tour winner Floyd Landis (Phonak) and Tina Pic (Colavita Cooking Light) are at the top of USA Cycling's National Racing Calendar standings after 33 events on the 43 race calendar. Propelled by overall wins at both the Amgen Tour of California and the Ford Tour de Georgia, Landis has 1270 points to his credit, a 100 point advantage over Health Net’s Nathan O’Neill (Aus). Pic has notched wins at the Garret Lemire Criterium, the Sunny King Criterium, Bikejam, the Tour of Sommerville, the CapTech Classic and the CSC Invitational to give her 1661 points.

Recent winner of both the elite women’s time trial and road race at the USA Cycling National Festival at Seven Springs, as well as the Nature Valley Grand Prix and the Tour of the Gila, Kristin Armstrong (Team Lipton) currently sits in second place in the women’s individual standings with 1547 points.

Armstrong’s teammate, Laura Van Gilder is currently ranked third in the United States as Team Lipton holds a 436 point advantage in the women’s team standings over Pic’s Colavita Cooking Light squad.

With four riders in the top ten, including the second and third-ranked riders in the men’s standings, Health Net holds a commanding 1394 point lead in the men’s team standings over second-ranked Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team, which has 3136 points. In addition to O’Neill’s second-place ranking, New Zealand’s Greg Henderson is ranked third. Canada’s Gord Fraser is ranked sixth and Australia’s Karl Menzies is ranked seventh, giving the internationally flavored U.S.-based squad a solid lead.

With ten races remaining on the 2006 USA Cycling National Racing Calendar, the International Tour de ‘Toona is currently being contested in Altoona, Pa. July 24-30.

USAC NRC standings

Men’s Individual
1 Floyd Landis (Murietta, Calif./Phonak)                 1270 pts
2 Nathan O’Neill (AUS/Health Net)                        1170
3 Greg Henderson (NZL/Health Net)                        1106
4 Juan Jose Haedo (ARG/Toyota-United)                     871
5 Sergey Lagutin (UKR/Navigators)                         861
Women’s Individual
1 Tina Pic (Dahlonega, Ga./Colavita Cooking Light)       1661 pts
2 Kristin Armstrong (Boise, Idaho/Team Lipton)           1547
3 Laura Van Gilder (Pocono Pines, Calif./Team Lipton)     849
4 Christine Thorburn (Menlo Park, Calif./Webcor Platinum) 846
5 Dotsie Bausch (Irvine, Calif./Colavita Cooking Light)   722
Men’s Teams
1 Health Net                                             4530 pts
2 Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team                         3136
3 Navigators Insurance Cycling Team                      2304
4 Jelly Belly Cycling Team                               1902
5 Discovery Channel                                      1898
Women’s Teams
1 Team Lipton                                            3619 pts
2 Colavita/Cooking Light Women’s Cycling                 3183
3 Webcor Platinum                                        1849
4 Victory Brewing                                        1790
5 Cheerwine                                              1429

Betschart to retire

Kurt Betschart, the older half of the famous six day pair Bruno Risi/Kurt Betschart, is retiring, reports the Swiss newsagency SI. The 38 year-old, who together with Risi has won 37 Six Day races, no longer feels he can perform at the top level. Bruno Risi, on the other hand, wants to continue racing until the 2008 Olympics.

Papp operated on in Italy

American Joe Papp, a member of the Whistle-Interimp Italian amateur team, was successfully operated on today at the municipal hospital in Pescia, Italy. Doctors evacuated a large gluteal haematoma that Papp suffered after a crash on Sunday in the GF Michele Bartoli in nearby Montecarlo.

The haematoma measured approximately 125cm3 and doctors removed over 300cc of marmalade-like blood mass during the 20min procedure. Papp remained conscious and aware during the operation, which was done under a local anaesthetic.

The crash occurred in the final 500m of the Bartoli race, as Papp and three breakaway companions, including his teammate Juan Torres, sprinted up the finishing climb. Papp and an Italian touched bars and the American fell heavily on his left side. Torres went on to win while Papp was able to remount and finish 7th.

He will remain in hospital under observation for the next 48 hours, before returning to the team's base in Montecatini Terme and then heading home to the United States. Papp will not race again this season, however.

"Our final European race as a team this year was the Bartoli," explained Papp, "and this crash, and the fact that my wife Yuliet escaped from communist Cuba and is trying to get to the US leaves me without the motivation to focus on racing once I get home."

Papp won two events in Italy with the Whistle-Interimp team, including the GF Pinarello on July 16.

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