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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for June 2, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

L'Equipe stands by its story

L'Equipe stands by its story accusing Lance Armstrong of doping, after an independent investigator cleared the American cyclist of the charges. "There is nothing to retract from the revelations," L'Equipe said in an editorial. "For our part, we remain convinced of the need to battle without compromise against the mafia-like tendencies that still and always threaten the sport of cycling. Both in the method and the substance, L'Equipe stands firm."

Repeating its charges that tests on urine samples from the 1999 Tour showed an "irrefutable presence" of EPO, the newspaper claims that this proved that "the American did indeed lie by saying throughout his career, notably at the time in question, that he never took banned products."

UCI supports Vrijman's findings

After having studied the report conducted by UCI appointed independent lawyer Emile Vrijman into the Lance Armstrong/L'Equipe allegations, the UCI has supported its findings. "The UCI reminds that this report exposes the irregularities committed by WADA and does not bring any other proof that Lance Armstrong had violated the anti-doping rules and regulations," said cycling's governing body in a statement.

The full report is available here.

June 27, 2006 - Carmichael defends Armstrong, Armstrong answers L'Equipe & LeMond
June 26, 2006 - LeMond: "Armstrong threatened my life"
June 19, 2006 - Armstrong calls for Pound's exit
June 18, 2006 - Lance Armstrong's open letter against Dick Pound
June 4, 2006 - UCI hits back at WADA
June 3, 2006 - WADA slams the Vrijman report
June 2, 2006 - L'Equipe stands by its story, UCI supports Vrijman's findings
June 1, 2006 - UCI, WADA and Armstrong react to Vrijman's report
May 31, 2006 - UCI lawyer asks for Armstrong's name to be cleared
May 14, 2006 - Two more weeks for Armstrong investigation

AIGCP asks Saiz and Labarta to resign

The AIGCP, the professional group which represents professional cyclists at the UCI, has asked Manolo Saiz and Jose Ignacio Labarta to step down from their positions. Both men were arrested last week in the Spanish doping scandal involving an alleged blood doping network.

Labarta, directeur sportif for Comunidad Valenciana, resigned from his position this week, "to remove any suspicion from the Comunidad Valenciana team and the people involved in structure of the team, as well as to maintain a good reputation built over the last two seasons." He maintains his innocence.

Saiz is still running his team, now called Würth Team after the withdrawal of former sponsor Liberty Seguros.

Under the UCI's Code of Ethics, which the teams voluntarily signed, anyone found guilty on doping charges must be fired and anyone suspected to be involved in doping must not be involved in races until the matter is resolved.

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

Sevilla and Mazzoleni lead T-Mobile at Dauphiné

The Italian-Spanish connection of Eddy Mazzoleni and Oscar Sevilla will lead the T-Mobile challenge at the Criterium du Dauphiné Libéré (June 4-11), which starts this Sunday. "The race is a serious test for both riders before the Tour de France," said T-Mobile sport and technical director Mario Kummer.

Team director Frans van Looy believes, "The parcours is very difficult and will really test the riders' climbing abilities." Besides the two Tour de France candidates, van Looy will be looking to Bernhard Kohl to make an impact at the Dauphiné. Van Looy believes the young Austrian has proven his "strengths in the mountains" with a string of solid performances this season. And having crashed out of the recent Bayern-Rundfahrt with an injured knee, Kohl is fully recovered and raring to go.

Jörg Ludewig (Germany) and Scott Davis (Australia) travel to France, 'fresh' off finishing the Giro in Milan, while Stephan Schreck, Bas Giling (Ned) and Daniele Nardello (Ita) round out the magenta roster.

The Dauphiné once again starts on a Sunday, this time with a 4.1 km prologue in Annecy. After two flat stages, things get serious on Thursday with a summit finish atop the legendary Mont Ventoux. A day later, the peloton tackles the Col d'Izoard at 2,360 m. The climbing-fest continues on Saturday's stage from Briançon to La Toussuire, which takes the riders over the race's highest point; Col du Galibier at 2,556 m and is almost identical to the Tour de France's 16th stage. The seven-day race concludes on June 11 in Grenoble.

"The Spaniards have been very at home at this race in previous years," said van Looy, referring to Iñigo Landaluze's (Euskaltel) overall win in 2005, following compatriot and team mate Iban Mayo's big win a year earlier.

20 ProTour teams line up this year, with the race’s only wildcard entry going to French Continental team Agritubel.

Full team roster: Scott Davis (Aus), Bas Giling (Ned), Bernhard Kohl (Aut), Jörg Ludewig (Ger), Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita), Daniele Nardello (Ita), Stephan Schreck (Ger), Oscar Sevilla (Spa).

The stages

June 4 - Prologue: Annecy ITT, 4,1 km
June 5 - Stage 1: Annecy - Bourgoin-Jallieu, 207 km
June 6 - Stage 2: Bourgoin-Jallieu - Saint-Galmier, 203 km
June 7 - Stage 3: Bourg-de-Péage - Bourg-de-Péage, ITT 42 km
June 8 - Stage 4: Tain-l'Hermitage - Le Mont-Ventoux, 186 km
June 9 - Stage 5: Sisteron - (Col d'Izoard) - Briançon, 155 km
June 10 - Stage 6: Briançon (Col du Galibier - la Croix de Fer - Mollard) - La Toussuire, 169 km
June 11 - Stage 7: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne - Grenoble, 131 km

Total: 1,097 km

No Tour for Schumacher

Stefan Schumacher, who won two stages of the Giro d'Italia for Team Gerolsteiner and wore the leader's maglia rosa for two days, will not be riding the Tour de France this year. He said, "I have about 60 race days so far this year, including the Classics season and the Giro. I think it's time to rest a little. I'll prepare myself again for the Deutschland Tour, which begins in August a week after the Tour ends."

Phonak says iShares contract not signed

Will Team Phonak become Team iShares in 2007? Phonak spokesman Georges Lüchinger says that negotiations are under way, but that nothing has yet been signed. Zentral Schweiz Online (sss.zisch.ch) reports however, that it is only a matter of time. iShares, which belongs to Barclay Bank, became a team co-sponsor this season. Phonak had already announced that it wished to stop its sponsorship at the end of this season.

Battle commences in British Cycling criterium series

By Gerry McManus

James Taylor
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

The flag drops for the start of the 2006 British Cycling criterium series with the Hillingdon Grand Prix in West London on Saturday June 3, closely followed by the Brentwood Town Centre criterium events in Essex on Sunday afternoon. These are the first two of twelve counting events running through to September.

Race 1 - Hillingdon Criterium Grand Prix

A number of key riders have entered the Hillingdon event with a prize list of £1,000 on offer. A top 10 placing will yield a good reward, ensuring a competitive race right to the end in the 80km/54-lap blast on the circuit built a number of years ago over waste land near Hayes.

James Taylor (Plowman Craven RT) won the big sprint last year and will again feature among this year’s winners nominations. 29 year-old Taylor has 25 national road and track championship medals in his trophy cabinet, all won with the help of the powerful sprint belonging to the short distance specialist. Taylor also has the support of Tony Gibb, Malcolm Elliott and Freddie Johansson in the eight-man PCA team, providing an advantage over the remaining 47 riders on the start sheet.

Mariusz Wiesiak (Team Nippo) could turn out to be the PCA nemesis again as the exciting Polish prospect has already out-sprinted veteran Elliott to win the Archer GP earlier this year. His teammate David Clarke has no hills to conquer in Hillingdon but looks useful on the flat too. Only the Evans Cycles RT including Justin Hoy, Jamie Newell and Jody Crawforth, have the numerical strength in seven riders to compete with PCA tactically. Warwick Spence (London Dynamo/Cycle Fit) could be an outside bet but he can't slip under the radar without being detected like he used to. Robert Hayles (Team KLR) returns the UK after supporting Geraint Thomas in his overall win for the GB team in the 57th Flèche du Sud in Luxembourg this week, but will find it hard to get more than a 200m lead over a vigilant bunch. But it only takes a tyre width to win this event and we know he can do if he gets clear with under 4km to go.

Click here for the full preview and start list

Borghini debuts for Ceramica Flaminia

Italian third year pro Paolo Longo Borghini will debut for his new Ceramica Flaminia team in Saturday's Memorial Pantani in Italy.

"We think he is a useful element in our team," said team manager Roberto Marrone. "For his human as well as his athletic gifts. The rider has trained well and will be ready to give his contribution to our squad."

Besides Paolo Longo Borghini, the following riders will compete for Ceramica Flaminia in the Memorial Pantani: Stefano Boggia, Ivan Degasperi, Hubert Krys, Massimiliano Martella, Domenico Quagliariello, Manuele Spadi and Maurizio Varini.

Symmetrics becomes Canada's first UCI track squad

Canadian continental team Symmetrics has registered to be a UCI track team, and will therefore be the first of its type in Canada. The team already one of Canada's top trackies on its roster, points and scratch race specialist Mandy Poitras (a former silver medallist at the Track World's), while Svein Tuft decided to try his hand at the 4 km pursuit at the Commonwealth Games, clocking 4:36 for his ride. Symmetrics is looking forward to having a strong pursuiting squad, as the team already has some of Canada's top time triallists. Finally, trackie Anne-Brit Ericksen has also signed for the team.

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