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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News for March 28, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

Zorzoli back in the UCI

The UCI has lifted its suspension of its medical chief, Dr Mario Zorzoli, following the completion of an internal investigation into the Armstrong-L'Equipe affair, ANP reported. Dr Zorzoli was suspended when it was discovered that he had supplied copies of Armstrong's medical records to L'Equipe journalist Damien Ressiot. Ressiot used them to link Armstrong to six of his urine samples taken at the 1999 Tour de France that showed traces of EPO. The samples were being tested for research purposes only, and there were an additional six 'positives' belonging to other riders, who weren't identified by L'Equipe.

Armstrong has maintained his innocence throughout, while the UCI started an independent investigation into the affair to try to determine who was at fault, and whether there was a possibility of any retrospective sanctions being applied to Armstrong. Armstrong has even supported Dr Zorzoli during his suspension.

As yet, the UCI has not revealed any of the details of the outcome of the investigation.

Cyclingnews coverage of the L'Equipe allegations

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

Click here for full coverage of the L'Equipe allegations.

Hondo undergoes performance tests, medical tests, and doping tests

Danilo Hondo is diligently preparing for his hoped-for quick return to racing. His test Friday on the ergometer "showed that I haven't goofed off the last weeks and months, but on the contrary, it showed the best results that I have ever had in my career at this time of the season. The only thing that I am lacking is the intensity - and that means competition," he said on his website,

Medical tests at the University Clinic in Freiburg, Germany, gave equally good results, with the doctor "urgently recommending that I finally start racing again." On his way home, he stopped off and visited friend and former teammate Andreas Klöden, recovering from shoulder surgery. "I wanted to cheer him up and also motivate him to get back on his bike as soon as possible."

Hondo had to undergo another test last week - a doping test. "It is interesting that, despite my ban, I had to undergo an unannounced doping test last week for the third time during training. The Swiss Olympic control system works, even for athletes who are not actively competing."

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Meirhaeghe wants to ride the classics

The winner of the GP Rudy Dhaenens, Filip Meirhaeghe (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago), has expressed a strong desire to ride most of the April classics. Together with team manager Gerard Bulens, Meirhaeghe has extended his program to include Paris-Roubaix, Amstel Gold Race, Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

Moncoutié out

After crashing during the weekend's Criterium International, David Moncoutié (Cofidis) will miss next few weeks of racing. Although Moncoutié didn't break any bones, he injured his right knee, hip and left elbow, and had to undergo minor surgery in Charleville-Mézières hospital to clean the wound. He will miss the Vuelta a Pais Vasco next week, and probably Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

Aernouts extends

Rabobank has extended the contract of cyclo-crosser Bart Aernouts through until the end of March, 2008, the team reported. Aernouts was the junior world champion in St Michielsgestel in 2000, and joined Rabobank the following year. As an under 23 rider, he has won eight 'cross races so far. In 2004, he was the top U23 in the Gazet van Antwerpen Trofee Veldrijden.

Five rules for Flanders spectators

Today the publicity campaign with five rules of behaviour for the Tour of Flanders is being launched. "The Tour has become a mass-event," organiser Wim Van Herreweghe said to HLN. "The hills are real party-zones, with marquees set up by private firms, big screens, toilet facilities. We have to take measures to handle the big group of people."

One of the solutions it to have 100 race-stewards on the parcours and placing more fencing on the prominent hills. Also, 200 policemen will see to it that the public stays courteous and follows normal road regulations while going from one point to the other on the parcours. Last year no less than 497 official reports were made up, and the police warns they will be even more vigilant this year.

Last year, the organisation introduced the flag code (don't wave flags in front of the riders), but they have now added four other rules:

1. Don't push the riders
2. Stay behind the fences (or cords) and if there aren't any, stay on the side of the road
3. Respect road traffic regulations
4. Don't step onto the parcours until the green flag has passed. (a UCI commissaire and two police motorcycles will accompany the green flag car)

Courtesy of Sabine Sunderland

More success for Dean Downing

Dean Downing (DFL-Cyclingnews) scored his second victory of the 2006 season, winning the Trofee Van Haspengouw (Aalst-St.-Truiden) interclub event on Sunday. The 160 km race had a field of 189 riders from 33 different teams, and was run in very windy conditions.

A crosswind section saw 10 riders surge off the front, including Downing and his teammate Bernie Sulzberger. Despite a concerted chase from Beveren/Quick.Step, the leaders gained 1'12 before the five seven kilometre finishing circuits. At three and a half laps to go, Downing attacked with Geoffrey De Meyer, Matti Helminen (Profel) and Sulzberger, and there were now four leaders. Downing attacked on his own with one and a half to go, but only succeeded in dropping his teammate. Then on the last time up the climb - while dangling 20 metres off the back - he took advantage of the other two watching each other to attack over the top, and the others were unable to respond. To cap off a good performance by DFL-Cyclingnews, Sulzberger finished sixth, with Sven de Weerdt in ninth and Cameron Jennings in 24th. The team won the team prize as well.

Speaking Flemish on the podium, Downing seemed quite at home. "That hurt my legs that last few kilometres," he said. I think I attacked them in the 11, and I was doing 60 kmh to start with. I know De Meyer was the strong man of the three of us, so I had to go as hard as I could. I had a quick look back when I got into the twisty bit behind the finish, a relaxed a bit when I saw I had about a hundred metres, and they were looking at each other. It was a nice feeling to cross the line solo and win my first big interclub race here in Belgium. I had two second places over here when I was here last with John Saey Team, but this has to be my biggest win for a long time. Actually, I can't remember winning any big race like this one. There were loads of people out watching too. It was great getting my hands in the air again. It's a big race too, so I'll see if I get any interest from this win."

For more information on the team, see:

Phonak for upcoming races

Driedaagse van De Panne (March 28-30): Aurélien Clerc, Bert Grabsch, Fabrizio Guidi, Ryder Hesjedal, Uros Murn, Gregory Rast, Florian Stalder, David Vitoria. Team director: Adriano Baffi.

Ronde van Vlaanderen (April 2): Martin Elmiger, Bert Grabsch, Fabrizio Guidi, Robert Hunter, Axel Merckx, Koos Moerenhout, Uros Murn, Gregory Rast. Team director: John Lelangue, Juan Fernandez.

Vuelta a Pais Vasco (April 3-8): Ignacio Gutierrez, Nicolas Jalabert, Patrick McCarty, Alexandre Moos, Steve Morabito, Luis Oliveira, Miguel A. Perdiguero, Florian Stalder. Team director: Juan Fernandez, Jacques Michaud.

Gent-Wevelgem (April 5): Aurélien Clerc, Martin Elmiger, Bert Grabsch, Fabrizio Guidi, Ryder Hesjedal, Robert Hunter, Uros Murn, Gregory Rast. Team director: Adriano Baffi.

Velo Bella-Kona elite road team

Velo Bella-Kona has announce its Elite Road team roster for 2006. The squad has been created from Velo Bella talent and additions from the former Ford-Basis Cycling Team, and will be led by Olympian and two-time US national champ Nicole "Snerf" Freedman, a racer known as much for her successful career, leadership skills and coaching talents as for her hilarious way of relating the sport of cycling to the outside world. As well as racing, Freedman will also be hosting Velo Bella-Kona sponsored ‘women's racing' clinics in order to help Velo Bella-Kona fulfil its goals of bringing new female riders into the peloton.

Filling out the roster will be Velo Bella-Kona racers with solid 2005 seasons: Hiroko Shimada, Jennifer Chapman, Jane Zeigler and talented time-trial specialists Kele Murdin (formerly of Ford Basis) and Jennifer Joynt, both fresh faces to the Velo Bella-Kona organization. Wendy Simms and Kristin Danielson are even planning a few guest appearances from the Velo Bella-Kona Pro MTB team.

Full announcement and roster

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