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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News for May 24, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

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).

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Spanish cycling speaks out over Saiz

By Les Clarke

Manolo Saiz finds himself at the centre
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

After his arrest and detention on doping charges, along with four others, Manolo Saiz has been the hottest topic in Spanish cycling during the last 24 hours. Various figures involved in the administration of cycling in Spain have expressed their views on the situation, including Spanish Cycling Federation president Fulgencio Sánchez, Association of Professional Cyclists boss José Rodriguez, Kelme director Vicente Belda and Vuelta a España director Victor Cordero.

The Court of Instruction number 31 in Plaza Castille, in Madrid, is coordinating the operation in together with the Central Operating Unit (UCO) of the Civil Guard, which specialises in matters of drug trafficking. The investigation has been going on for several months, and has included phone taps.

Before the arrest of Saiz and four others, the UCO searched three residences in Madrid; two flats belonging to Eufemiano Fuentes and the clinic of José Merino Batres, plus another residence in San Lorenzo del Escorial belonging to mountain biker Alberto León. Another flat was investigated - that belonging to José Ignacio Labarta, the assistant sports director of Comunidad Valenciana, in Zaragoza.

As reported by Efe, in an apartment belonging to Fuentes, approximately a thousand doses of anabolic steroids and hormones were seized, along with one hundred packets of blood, products to manipulate it, machines to freeze it and material to perform transfusions.

The clinic of José Merino was allegedly used for the blood transfusions of cyclists, athletes and other sportsmen, and Fuentes has links to the centre in his capacity as former doctor for the Kelme team. This is because the clinic was mentioned in the investigation involving former Kelme rider Jesus Manzano; the allegations made in that case were subsequently dismissed, however.

Click here for the full story.

Ivan enjoys winning in pink

Ivan Basso (CSC)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

There were no presents in yesterday's 16th stage to Monte Bondone: Giro d'Italia leader Ivan 'il Terribile' Basso put everyone to the sword with around 7 km to go to win the stage by a minute and a half over Gilberto Simoni. The stage was held in Simoni's home region of Trentino, but Gibo and his tifosi had to be content with second place.

For Basso, it was a special moment, as he commented on "It was a fantastic feeling to win on a mountain wearing the pink jersey," he said. "I think it's something all riders dream about; certainly it's always been a big dream of mine ever since I became a pro. Of course all victories are important, but this one will always be special to me.

"The team set me up perfectly, so I was able to do my bit at the end to try and finish the job. It's really hard for me to put into words, how I feel, and I have a very tough day ahead of me tomorrow. But I do feel very happy with what we've accomplished today. The Giro is far from over and I won't preconceive me winning, but today is a day I'll never forget that's for sure."

Basso's team manager and mentor Bjarne Riis was very impressed with the way his rider handled things in stage 16. "What Ivan did out there today will most likely pass over into history as one of the great stage wins in the Giro," said Riis. "Today he displayed some of the enormous potential he has as a rider. At the moment he's in a league of his own and the rhythm he found on the mountain today was fantastic to watch. He proved that he's the strongest rider in the Giro and probably one of the greatest riders in the sport at the moment. Tomorrow is an extremely difficult stage, but with the way the team and Ivan are performing at the moment it's surely something to look forward to."

Hondo's ban reinstated

By Susan Westemeyer

In a move which seems to have taken everyone by surprise, the WADA on Wednesday announced the latest twist in the Danilo Hondo doping case. The group released a statement applauding the "the decision of the Court of Appeal of Canton de Vaud, Lausanne, Switzerland, on May 16 to reject the appeal filed by cyclist Danilo Hondo against the two-year sanction imposed to him by the Court of Arbitration for Sport for testing positive for the prohibited substance Carphedon."

According to WADA, this decision overturns the March 15 Court of Appeal's decision, which suspended Hondo's ban and allowed him to return to competition. "The cyclist is therefore no longer allowed to compete," WADA says. Hondo recently won two stages in the Peace Race, both before the court's decision. After May 16th, he won the Peace Race's sprinter's jersey and won the Neuseen Classics race on May 21. Cyclingnews has confirmed that he will start today in the Bayern Rundfahrt.

Phonak recons the Pyrenees

The Phonak team has been fine tuning its Tour de France preparations by spending some time in the Pyrenees with some of its key riders. Floyd Landis, Santiago Botero and Koos Moerenhout and team manager John Lelangue have been reconnoitring some of the Tour's mountain stage, including stage 11 in Val d’Aran in Spain. The team reported, "While conditions outside were good on the first day, on the second day the Phonak riders not only had to contend with the demanding terrain, but also with rainy weather. 'Nevertheless, it was worthwhile taking a look at the beautiful, tough ascents,' said John Lelangue. The training days did not only give some points of reference regarding fitness. In addition, the riders were able to memorise the main points of the stages in detail."

The team is now preparing for the Criterium du Dauphiné Libéré, which begins on June 4 in Annecy. This will be an opportunity to get to know the Alpine stages of the Tour de France better. The Dauphiné Libéré's queen stage from Briançon to La Toussuire will be almost identical to the 16th stage of the Tour: it includes the Galibier, the Col de la Croix, the Col du Mollard and the final ascent to the Savoy skiing resort La Toussuire.

Vinokourov doesn't recon the Pyrenees

Alexandre Vinokourov (Liberty Seguros) had also planned to recon the Pyrenean stages of the Tour de France this week, but in light of recent developments involving his team boss Manolo Saiz, he has not been able to. "The training camp will probably be cancelled because Manolo is the man that organised everything," said Liberty's PR man Jacinto Vidarte to

New riders for Chocolade Jacques and Davitamon-Lotto

Belgian teams Chocolade Jacques and Davitamon-Lotto have added two neo-professionals to their rosters for next season. Nikolas Maes (Beveren 2000) will turn pro with Chocolade Jacques-Topsport Vlaanderen, while Greg Van Avermaet will ride for Davitamon-Lotto in 2007 and 2008.

Russell Downing in the footsteps of Basso, Di Luca and Baguet

DFL-Cyclingnews captain Russell Downing has followed in the footsteps of Ivan Basso, Danilo Di Luca and Serge Baguet by winning the tough Triptyque Ardennais race in Belgium last weekend. The three day, four stage race is considered one of the hardest stage races in Belgium, with the course going over many of the roads used in Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Although it is not UCI ranked, the race has an illustrious past winners list.

Team performance director Gilbert de Weert said that the game plan was simple, but perfectly executed: "We made sure that we got a man in all the breaks and most importantly rode as a team throughout the event. That was our big strength."

New Zealander Jeremy Vennell was the rider making it into the break on the moderately hilly stage 1, looping 151 km to and from Sprimont, taking 8th on the line. Downing, however, made sure he was at the front of the chasing group to claim 9th on the day, just 0'12 back on the winner Hans Bloks (Team Löwik). Downing continued to ride strongly on the second stage where a third place over the tough course between Theux and Polleur pushed him to fourth overall in the general classification. Ahead of him in the race lay Dries Devenyns (Beveren 2000), winner of the recent Tour of Brittany. Behind Downing, the team had Bernie Sulzberger and Alex Coutts in 12th and 23rd respectively.

Sunday morning saw a 12.5 km time trial in Soumagne held in bad weather conditions, with Devenyns just pipping Downing for the win and setting things up for an interesting battle in the afternoon's final stage. The final stage was classic Ardennes racing, including the tough climbs of the Cote de Chambralles and La Redoute. The weather conditions had worsened, with thunder, lightning and hail from start to finish. Beveren 2000 and DFL-Cyclingnews battled each other throughout the stage, and when Devenyns' teammates were all gone, Downing managed to get across to a small breakaway to finish fourth in the stage and take the overall win ahead of Thomas Rabou (Marco Polo) and Devenyns.

Team Biovail for Montreal

Team Biovail has named its teams for the Montreal World Cup on May 27 and the Liberty Classic on June 11 in Philadelphia. The team is led by Anne Samplonius, who is returning to Mont Royal after taking last year off. The 38 year-old is coming off back to back 2nd place finishes at La Vuelta de Bisbee and the following week at the Teleperformance Tour of the Gila. She will again have support from Jennifer Stephenson and local Montreal rider Stephanie Bourbeau, both these riders working hard at the Tour of the Gila. Amanda Shaw, and 18 year Joëlle Numainville, both posting wins in recent weeks, round out the roster for Montreal.

The team's Liberty Classic roster will be similar to Montreal, but with the addition of sprinter Anna Webb. Webb rode for the team in Redlands and will join Biovail again in Philly. Anna Garnett will also be rolling to the start line, along with Martina Patella making the trip from Oakland, CA and Melodie Metzger rounding out the roster. Both Patella and Metzger are guest riders with the team for this event.

Montreal World Cup: Anne Samplonius, Jennifer Stephenson, Stephanie Bourbeau, Amanda Shaw and Joëlle Numainville.

Liberty Classic: Anne Samplounis, Jennifer Stephenson, Stephanie Bourbeau, Joëlle Numainville, Anna Webb, Anna Garnett, Martina Patella and Melodie Metzger.

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