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Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for June 3, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

Sevilla declares his innocence

By Susan Westemeyer

Oscar Sevilla has signed the T-Mobile Team mandated declaration denying involvement in the Spanish doping scandal, and "we believe him," T-Mobile sports communication director Christian Frommert told Cyclingnews.

Responding to a report that Sevilla "possibly" may not be nominated for the Tour de France because of his possible involvement, Frommert said that the team "is not nominated yet," and that "a few days before the Tour we will announce the nine riders for the Tour 2006."

Spanish media reports identify Sevilla as one of the pro cyclists filmed by a concealed camera entering Dr Fuentes' clinic, but he has denied visiting the controversial doctor, saying he was visiting another doctor whose office was in the same building.

T-Mobile has required all of its riders to sign a declaration denying any involvement with Fuentes. Sevilla is scheduled to start the Dauphiné Libéré on Sunday.

Sáiz's team becomes Astana-Würth

The cycling team of Manolo Sáiz and Pablo Antón has a new sponsor: Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. The team's management company Active Bay announced this on Friday, saying that the deal would be for at least three years, with the possibility of an expansion to six, and the team will now be known as Astana-Würth. The new sponsor is endorsed by five of the biggest companies in Kazakhstan, which is enjoying a strong economical upturn thanks to its abundant natural resources.

The Kazakhstani connection is to support Alexandre Vinokourov, who was to be the team's spearhead in the Tour de France. However, the Tour organisers ASO are not happy about having a team headed by Manolo Sáiz in their race: apart from the latest doping affair, Sáiz was also a strong supporter of the ProTour when it was introduced by the UCI in 2004. However, it is up to the Spanish federation to possibly sanction Sáiz, and it will not start any proceedings until the current court case allows it.

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

WADA slams the Vrijman report

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has reacted negatively to the "Vrijman report", which investigated the allegations into whether Lance Armstrong used EPO in the 1999 Tour de France. In a statement issued on Friday, WADA "completely rejected" the 130 page report and "expressed its astonishment that the UCI would expect anyone to have the slightest confidence in the objectivity, methodology, analysis or conclusions of such a report, especially since UCI had had more than six weeks during which to review the draft report and to correct the many factual errors contained in it."

WADA went further in stating that its "preliminary conclusion is that the report is defamatory to the Agency, its officers and employees, as well as the accredited laboratory involved. WADA has taken legal advice regarding its recourses against the investigator and any organization, including UCI, that may publicly adopt its conclusions."

The body's chairman Dick Pound said, "WADA is an independent agency, comprised of equal representatives from the sports movement and the governments, which is concerned with the integrity of sport and the health of the athletes who practice it. Our only interest in this matter is to determine the facts in an objective manner, whatever they may be. The Vrijman report is so lacking in professionalism and objectivity that it borders on farcical. Were the matter not so serious and the allegations it contains so irresponsible, we would be inclined to give it the complete lack of attention it deserves."

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

Cunego undecided about the Tour

Damiano Cunego, who finished fourth in the Giro d'Italia, said that he has not made his mind up about whether to compete in the Tour de France, which starts in one month. "At the moment, I see my chances of doing the Tour as 50 percent," said Cunego to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "In June, I will not take part in any official engagements, also cancelling my presence at the Italian championships at the end of the month in Gorizia."

Cunego was satisfied with his Giro performance, where he finished 18'16 behind Ivan Basso in the general classification, but still good enough for fourth. "From the start in Belgium, with a Basso in exceptional form, I had estimated the possibility of finishing within a quarter of an hour of him in the general classification. Ivan is almost 29 years old, Gutierrez Cataluna and Simoni are over 30: I am not even 25. There's still a big gap in maturity as an athlete. Honestly, I couldn't do more, and even to win a stage proved to be difficult.

"The stimuli to improve to compete against these riders is strong. Two years ago, the surprise factor helped me, now I want to work to also become a factor in the classics. The third place in Liege-Bastogne-Liege in April was important in that sense and I already gave a good sign by winning the Giro di Lombardia."

Phonak at the Dauphiné

The Phonak Cycling Team will take part in the Criterium du Dauphiné Libéré, which the team considers its most important rehearsal for the Tour de France, with Floyd Landis as leader.

The eight day ProTour competition will begin in Annecy and includes the legendary Mont Ventoux on stage 4. There will also be a 42 km time trial in Bourg-de-Péage, and two more big mountain stages: the fifth between Sisteron and Briançon, and the sixth, between Briançon and La Toussuire.

Team roster: Bert Grabsch, Ryder Hesjedal, Nicolas Jalabert, Floyd Landis, Koos Moerenhout, Uros Murn, Florian Stalder.

Plenty of hills in store for GP Triberg-Schwarzwald

By Susan Westemeyer

The GP Triberg-Schwarzwald features a 23.2 km course that must be ridden seven times, for a total of 162.4 km and 4000 metres of climbing. And if tradition repeats itself, a Gerolsteiner rider will be on top of the podium at the end of the day. The last three winners of the race now ride for that team, although none of them will be participating Saturday. The German team will be looking to Tour de France stage winner Georg Totschnig to lead them this year. The team had to scratch its other star rider, Stefan Schumacher, at the last minute, due to a bad cold.

German competitor T-Mobile is counting on Linus Gerdemann, who recently finished sixth in the Vuelta a Catalunya.

Riders announced for Commerce Bank Triple Crown

The various teams taking part in the Commerce Bank Triple Crown of Cycling have announced their riders for the three races, which kick off on Sunday in Lancaster, PA, USA. The series boasts $130,000 in prizemoney and a total of 1159 UCI points.

The number one ranked ProTour team, Team CSC from Denmark, will be supporting local favourite Bobby Julich with a strong squad. Adding to the international flavour will be teams from the Netherlands, Britain, Colombia, Germany and Canada, who will compete alongside the 15 US professional teams.

Chris Wherry (Toyota-United Pro Cycling), last year’s winner in Philadelphia, will be returning to defend his title. Back this year also will be Gord Fraser (Health Net-Maxxis), winner last year in Trenton, NJ. The one notable absentee from the Health Net-Maxxis roster is New Zealander Greg Henderson who will forfeit his chance to defend the title he won last year in Lancaster.

Other names that stand out on the list are Bobby Julich's Danish teammate Lars Michaelsen. Spanish rider Igor Astarloa (Barloworld) will be returning to North America where in 2003 he won the World Championships in Hamilton, Canada, and Toyota-United Pro Cycling will surly be protecting ace Argentinean sprinter J.J. Haedo for any possible field sprints.

American squads will be fielding their strongest teams as well with Nevada bringing Ben Jacques-Maynes and Jackson Stewart, Jelly Belly with Alex Candelario and Andrew Bajadali, Colavita/Sutter Home working for Mark McCormack and Victor Rapinski, Navigators Insurance betting on Vassili Davidenko and TIAA-CREF giving Danny Pate another shot after he placed third last year in Philadelphia.

On the women’s side, last' years Liberty Classic winner Ina Teutenberg will be back with her powerful T-Mobile team to back her up. World Champion Regina Schleicher (Nürnberger Versicherung) will be attempting to climb to the top of the podium after her second place finish here last year as will local favourite Laura Van Gilder (Team Lipton) who was third a year ago.

Beijing Olympic circuit considered challenging and spectacular

The UCI is calling the 2008 Olympic Games circuit in Beijing, "The most amazing route in Olympic history." The UCI road coordinator Philippe Chevallier and his technical adviser Charly Mottet visited Beijing between May 7 and 13 to inspect preparations for the Olympic road events (road race and time trial).

Chevallier believes the cycling circuit for the 2008 Olympic Games will be "probably the most amazing in Olympic history." The particularly selective route will take riders from the centre of Beijing to the foot of the Great Wall, where they will then ride several laps of a 24km circuit, with 450m of climbing each lap. This circuit will also be used for the time trial events.

Subject to the approval of the Organising Committee of the 2008 Games (BOCOG) and the Chinese Cycling Association, a two-day race will take place on this circuit in 2007 as part of the UCI Asia Tour. The race will serve as an ideal test event for the forthcoming Olympic Games, both for the organisers and for the national federations and their riders.

UCI doping news

The UCI has announced that the following riders have been sanctioned for doping offences:

Freddy Hamlet (Fra) tested positive for Heptaminol during the Tour of Martinique (Fra) on 16 July 2005; sanctioned by the French Cycling Federation; suspended for 1 year from 3 February 2006 to 3 February 2007; disqualified from the race.

Maurizio Carta (Ita) tested positive for Clostebol during the Nobili Rubinetterie GP (Ita) on 24 August 2005; sanctioned by the Court Of Arbitration For Sport (CAS); suspended for 2 years from 20 April 2006 to 20 April 2008; disqualified from the race.

Erwin Bakker (Ned) tested positive for Testosterone during the Vuelta Internacional a Valladolid (Spa) on 27 March 2005; sanctioned by the Court Of Arbitration For Sport (CAS); suspended for 2 years from 2 February 2006 to 2 February 2008; disqualified from the race. Bakker also tested positive for EPO during an out-of-competition test in Mont St-Anne (Can) on 23 June 2005; sanctioned by the Court Of Arbitration For Sport (CAS); banned for life; disqualified from the race.

Giorgio Landaeta (Ven) tested positive for Norandrosterone, Norethiocolanolone and Ephedrine during the Vuelta a Venezuela (VEN) on 30 August 2005; sanctioned by the Venezuelan Cycling Federation; suspended for 2 years from 31 December 2005 to 12 December 2007; disqualified from the race.

Javier Guerrero González (COL) tested positive for Stanozolol during the Tour of Guadeloupe (Fra) on 12 August 2005; sanctioned by the French Cycling Federation, suspended for 3 years from 17 November 2005 to 17 November 2008; disqualified from the race.

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