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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for July 30, 2006

Edited by Anthony Tan & Jeff Jones, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

Vattenfall Cyclassics

Who will take the prize in Hamburg?

By Jeff Jones

Last year's finish saw Quick.Step go 1-2
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

The major one day classics resume after the mid-year tours with the German Vattenfall Cyclassics, the race formerly known as the HEW Cyclassics. The name change came about after Vattenfall bought out energy company HEW, but the venue and course in Hamburg remain essentially the same. The race starts with a big figure eight, taking the riders into the farmlands south of the big German industrial city, returning via the Köhlbrand-Hochbrücke, then in another loop west and back along the Elbe, hitting the start/finish line for the first time after 150 km. Then it's back out on the 42 km westward loop two more times, with the second lap containing an additional climb, before the finish on the Mönckebergstrasse after a total of 243 km. The main feature of the finishing circuit is the Waseberg climb, a 600m, 15% leg-snapper that usually creates gaps in the peloton after four ascents. Typically, a medium sized group forms after the climb and fights it out at the finish.

Coming up on

Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of the Dauphiné Libéré live as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).

WAP-enabled mobile devices:

The defending champ in the Cyclassics is Filippo Pozzato (Quick.Step), who narrowly beat his teammate Luca Paolini to win last year's race. He wears the number one dossard this year, and has classics specialist and 2003 winner Paolo Bettini as a co-leader. Tour stage winner Matteo Tosatto, domestiques Bram Tankink, Kevin Hulsmans, Kevin Van Impe, sprinter Wouter Weylandt and stealth attacker Nick Nuyens complete the line-up.

Speaking of attacking riders, Alexandre Vinokourov is back in business with his new Astana team, which missed the Tour de France due to five of its riders being implicated in the Operacion Puerto affair. Some of those have been cleared by the courts, but are still considered "under investigation" by the UCI and are not racing in Hamburg. Vino can count on the support of compatriots Andrey Kashechkin, Assan Bazayev and Serguei Yakovlev, as well as four very fresh Spanish riders.

Live coverage

Cyclingnews will be covering the Vattenfall Cyclassics live on Sunday, July 30, starting from 15:00 local time (CEST)/9:00 EDT (USA East)/6:00 PDT (USA West)/23:00 AEST (Aust East).

Click here for the full preview, map, history, start list

Rogge defends cycling

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge has defended professional cycling in the wake of several big doping scandals that have rocked the sport this year. Quoted on Sporza, Rogge applauded cycling's aggressive approach towards tackling doping. "A sport is credible if there is full drug testing, both during and outside competition," he said. "Not only the athletes have to be punished, but also the people around them. And cycling does that."

Rogge realised that cycling is often singled out, while other sports have their drug problems swept under the carpet. "Doping is in all sports, but the cases in cycling are often in the media. So you get the impression that the problem is bigger there."

Phonak doctor: "The damage to his image is gigantic"

By Susan Westemeyer

Did Floyd Landis dope? "Of course not," said Phonak team physician Dr. Denise Demir to German tabloid Bild. "I would put my hand in the fire for him. It is unbelievable what is happening with him. The damage to his image is gigantic."

Doctor Demir added "the testosterone test is controversial, some say that it is faulty. And there are sharp swings in testosterone levels. In addition to his hip problem, Floyd has thyroid problems - that could have affected the testosterone levels. Plus he drank both beer and whiskey on the evening before the stage. Alcohol consumption can also have an influence, which was news to me."

But how could Landis have turned in such an overwhelming performance after his breakdown the day before, the doctor was asked?

"Based on training data, we can show that Floyd is capable of such a performance," said Dr. Demir, who is responsible for supervising the training program for Landis, Robert Hunter and Victor Hugo Peña. "On the 17th stage, he rode five hours with about 360 watts. In training he could do that for eight hours. And you have to take into consideration that he had more or less rested the day before." By that, she meant that his poor performance the previous day was because he hadn't eaten enough - "therefore he couldn't pedal with his full wattage".

"In America you are innocent until proven guilty. That should apply in Europe, too," she said.

Comunidad Valenciana riders get all clear

By Antonio J. Salmerón

According to a document that Spanish newsagency Europa Press has had access to, all of the Comunidad Valenciana riders named in Operacion Puerto have been cleared of any involvement by Spanish court number 31. The court's secretary, Manuel Sanchez Martin, sent a document to the team dated July 28, which stated that the 13 Comunidad Valenciana riders "do not appear in the list of those implicated in Operación Puerto."

The riders included Vicente Ballester, David Bernabéu, David Blanco, Jose Adrián Bonilla, Javier Charro, Javier Gomis, David Latasa, Manuel Lloret, Jose Luis Martinez, David Muñoz, Antonio Olmo, Javier Pascual Rodriguez and Rubén Plaza. "There is nobody involved in any doping scandal," said the team's manager Vicente Belda to Europa Press.

Belda added that the team was going to pursue damages against Unipublic for excluding it from the Vuelta a España, although this will be not be done until September.

The news prompted a reaction from the Valencian government, which sponsors the team, and only recently announced it would withdraw its support. The government said it will honour its contractual obligations with Comunidad Valenciana until December 31.

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

Latest Disco signing out to prove a point

By Anthony Tan

The first of August marks the next stop on the ProTour calendar, as 22 teams head to Germany's Deutschland Tour, beginning next Tuesday in Düsseldorf.

Held a week later than last year, the nine-day race begins with a 5.5 kilometre prologue in Düsseldorf's Burgplatz. The following day, the riders traverse the Rhine valley to Bielefeld, which will most likely end in a sprint after 198 kilometres' racing.

Three more fairly straightforward sprinters' stages follow, before Stage 5 takes the peloton over the border into Austria's high Alps for the race's queen stage. The 189 kilometre climb-fest from Bad Tölz to Seefeld crosses the 'roof' of the Tour along the way, the 2,017 metre-high Kuhtai, before the ten kilometre mountain-top finish sees the peloton face 600 metres of vertical climbing.

A day later, and another tough mountain stages in store: 180 kilometres from Seefeld to Sankt Anton, with the finish again in Austria, this time with a summit finish on the Arlbergpass, and likely to give the leaderboard a vigorous shuffle.

However, the final GC may still be in the balance until the penultimate stage, a 38 kilometre time trial in and around Bad Säckingen. Here, the specialists against the clock will get their chance to reverse any time lost to the pure climbers, before the final stage to Karlsruhe on Wednesday.

In last year's edition, American Levi Leipheimer beat Jan Ullrich and team-mate Georg Totschnig to capture overall honours, and the 2006 Dauphiné Libéré champion will be returning to Germany with the aim of defending his title. After a below-par performance at the Tour de France, Leipheimer will be keen to show his new Discovery Channel team he's still got the goods to be a Grand Tour contender.

The Stages

Prologue - August 1: Düsseldorf ITT, 5,5 km
Stage 1 - August 2: Düsseldorf - Bielefeld, 198 km
Stage 2 - August 3: Minden - Goslar, 209 km
Stage 3 - August 4: Witzenhausen - Schweinfurt, 202 km
Stage 4 - August 5: Heidenheim - Bad Tölz, 192 km
Stage 5 - August 6: Bad Tölz - Seefeld (Austria), 189 km
Stage 6 - August 7: Seefeld - Sankt Anton (Austria), 180 km
Stage 7 - August 8: Bad Säckingen ITT, 40 km
Stage 8 - August 9: Bad Krozingen - Karlsruhe, 182 km

Total distance: 1.390,5 km

Veneberg out, Brown in

Recently diagnosed with glandular fever, Rabobank will be without their 28 year-old Dutch rider Thorwald Veneberg for at least four weeks, who will be replaced by Australian sprinter Graeme Brown at the upcoming Tour of Germany.

Rabobank for the Deutschland Tour: Jan Boven, Graeme Brown, Thomas Dekker, Mathew Hayman, Gerben Löwik, Grischa Niermann, Kai Reus, Roy Sentjens

Mayo back for Burgos

By Antonio J. Salmerón

The 28th Vuelta a Burgos, which was presented on Saturday, will be disputed from august 6-10. The race is divided into five stages, of which the third one is against the clock over 13 kilometres, and the fourth one will finish on the top of Lagos de Neila - likely to be the decisive stage.

Race director Gregorio Moreno confirmed that the Basque Euskaltel-Euskadi rider Iban Mayo will participate. And as far as ProTour leader Alejandro Valverde goes, Moreno said that, "His participation will depend on a final physical examination" which will take place next weekend in Murcia.

The first stage is between Briviesca and Medina de Pomar, over a route of 178 kilometres. The second will start in Aranda de Duero and the arrival is in Roa de Duero, after 158 kilometres. The third is the 13 km time trial, and the fourth ends on the Lagos de Neila. The final stage will finish in Burgos after 174 kilometres.

18 teams will take part in the Vuelta a Burgos, and seven of them are UCI Pro Tour teams: Euskaltel Euskadi, Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears, Astaná, Saunier Duval Prodir, Rabobank and Milram. Nine are continental professional: Kaiku, Comunidad Valencian, Relax Gam, Andalucía Paul Versán, 3 Molinos Resort Murcia Turística, Chocolade Jacques, Unibet, Acqua e Sapone, Landbouwkrediet Colnago and Androni Giocattoli, and there are two continental teams, Vine Magna Cropu and Nicolas Mateos Murcia.

The stages

Stage 1 - August 6: Briviesca - Medina de Pomar, 178 km
Stage 2 - August 7: Aranda de Duero - Roa de Duero, 158 km
Stage 3 - August 8: Lerma - Lerma ITT, 13 km
Stage 4 - August 9: Vilviestre - Lagos de Neila, 148.8 km
Stage 5 - August 10: Miranda de Ebro - Burgos, 174 km

Belgians turn against ProTour

The Belgian cycling federation has come out in support of the federations of France, Spain and Italy in their opposition to the UCI's ProTour, reports Last Sunday, the latter three federations issued a communiqué stating their belief that the ProTour should end.

"We also find that there has to be a new and open system within the UCI for the upper layer under the ProTeams, but the ProTour is a stillborn child," said Belgian federation chairman Laurent De Backer.

Neiwand jailed on stalking charges

Last Friday, former world track champion Gary Neiwand appeared in Melbourne Magistrates' Court, on five charges of stalking and one of theft. According to, police told the court Neiwand stalked a woman he had a previous relationship with over a mobile phone, with the charge of theft pertaining to a phone bill allegedly stolen from a house in Melbourne in May this year. He remains in custody, and is scheduled to return to the same court next Wednesday.

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)