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Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for May 26, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

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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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Stage 18 wrap-up: Zwei for Schumacher

Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) has added a second Giro stage win to his tally this year, taking out the 210 km 18th leg between Sillian and Gemona Del Friuli. Schumacher beat José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Caisse d'Epargne), Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre-Fondital), David Lopez Garcia (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Charles Wegelius (Liquigas), who made up the five man breakaway that stayed away for most of the stage. The peloton containing maglia rosa Ivan Basso arrived 2'43 later, and there were no changes to the general classification.

The 18th stage was overshadowed by the news that Liberty Seguros had pulled its sponsorship in the wake of the arrest of team manager Manolo Saiz on doping related charges earlier this week. It was a typically aggressive race at the beginning, but after 50 km, an attack by Marzio Bruseghin eventually led to the five man break being established. The most active riders in pursuit were Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) and Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step), but neither could join the break. The leaders reached a maximum advantage of 7'28 with 58 km to go, before Phonak started chasing behind to protect their lead on team GC.

The final 10 km were filled with attacks and counter-attacks in front, with Lopez trying his luck for a while, before being joined by Schumacher, then the rest. But it was all together in the final kilometre, and although Bruseghin managed to surprise Schumacher by a couple of bike lengths with 200m to go, the German wound it up to 68 km/h to win by a comfortable margin.

See also: Stage 18 full results, report & photos and Live report.

Post stage quotes

Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner, 1st)

"I had this stage marked for me. I surely had to give everything, that was a damned hard race. But it was absolutely worthwhile. The finale went perfectly.

"After both my crashes, I wanted to try again. I simply wanted to show again that I could still do it in the third Giro week. That succeeded for me. And that was important to me. With my first stage win, I fulfilled a dream. That it also worked out with a second stage win is simply unbelievable."

José Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne, 2nd)

"I have to admit that the fastest rider won today. On the second last climb, I was in difficulty, but after that I was able to come back. It is a fact that when you are in a group with four other riders you believe in your chances, and that's why I tried to attack in the finish to surprise my breakaway companions, but they did not let me go and Schumacher was too strong in the sprint."

Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre-Fondital, 3rd)

"I've got no regrets. I gave all that I could, but Schumacher was faster," said Bruseghin after coming close to winning his first ever pro race.

"Also this time I didn't win. I'm sorry for my friend that handed out the awards for stage winners: he told me that he had kissed all the awards, hoping that I could win one. I think that he have to wait until next year!"

Marco Fertonani (Caisse d'Epargne, DNF)

"I am really disappointed", said the Italian rider, who abandoned after 100 km. "This is the second year I've really prepared myself for the Giro, but, no way for me! Last year I had to give up because of a crash and this time I had problems with my allergy in the first stages, and the last days some stomach aches really made me suffer. Today was really a bad one. I felt empty. I will rest for a few days before starting my preparation for the Tour de Suisse. I now have to concentrate on the future."

Ullrich and Basso deny involvement with Fuentes

Two big riders named by Spanish media outlets in conjunction with the "Operacion Puerto" affair have denied any involvement with Dr. Eufamiano Fuentes, who is alleged to be one of the key figures in supplying doping and blood transfusions to athletes. Giro d'Italia leader Ivan Basso said that he has never had anything to do with Fuentes, while T-Mobile's captain Jan Ullrich also said, "I have never worked together with Fuentes."

The Spanish civil guard allegedly found a list with 200 Spanish and non-Spanish riders names linked to doping practices after searching two flats belonging to Fuentes and the laboratory of Jose Luis Merino Batres.

Meanwhile, Liberty Seguros team director Marino Lejarreta said that the team will complete the Giro d'Italia, even though several riders have already dropped out. "We can also finish this season without a sponsor," he said. It's not known whether the team's co-sponsor Würth is pulling out.

The UCI responds to the Spanish affair

The UCI, the world governing body for cycling, issued a statement on Thursday in response to the Spanish doping affair and the withdrawal of Liberty Seguros as a sponsor, which will cost cycling millions of euros.

The UCI was very sad to learn that individuals from the world of cycling are involved in the investigation by the Spanish judicial authorities concerning alleged doping practices.

However, this investigation is not a complete surprise for UCI, as UCI had more than once expressed its concerns about supposed blood doping practices in Spain to the Spanish government and to WADA and asked for their help in view of UCI’s limited investigative possibilities .

How painful this case might possibly turn out to be for cycling, the UCI welcomes and supports any effective action aimed at eradicating doping.

Where possible, UCI will give full assistance to the investigation of the Spanish authorities.

On the other hand it has to be underlined that no conclusions may be drawn before the investigation is completed and those involved have exercised their right to defend themselves.

Finally, concerning the announcement that was made today by Liberty Seguros, UCI takes note of the decision of this sponsor, which is a great loss to the world of cycling.

Spanish federation president wants it to end

In the wake of the doping scandal that has hit Spanish cycling this week, the Spanish federation's president, José Griñán, said that he hopes that this will be the last affair of its kind. But in the near future, "We will offer our collaboration with the police and judicial authorities in order to fight the damage done by doping."

Griñán added that out of 1,800 anti-doping controls that his federation carried out in 2005, only 12 were positive, which shows that "not all cyclists are contaminated by doping." At the same time, he recognised that, "Doping is a deeply rooted practice and very difficult to eradicate". Griñán wants to see "fewer controls, but more effective ones, that is, doping controls should take place more frequently outside competition.

"We are going to fight all the negative consequences of doping; this cannot be the end of cycling, but it's true that it will be very hard for cycling, although this sport will survive."

Although Griñán admitted that "Operacion Puerto" - the anti-doping operation that caught Manolo Saiz, among others - will be hard, "I believe that it will end these practices in cycling, although we will pay very dearly."

Finally, Griñán welcomed the introduction of a new anti-doping law in Spain: "This law will make the doping paradise in Spain disappear; enabling us to present an image completely free of doubt."

Courtesy of Antonio J. Salmerón

Hondo thanks Lamonta

"I am beginning to get the feeling that this case has nothing more to do with finding out who is responsible for the positive samples and whether it really is a doping case," says Danilo Hondo, "Because despite what WADA says, the question of guilt has never been settled. It possibly never will be." Writing on his website,, he said "Apparently it has more to do with upholding the rules, and not with the fair, individual handling of a single case.

"Only two weeks ago, the chief judge of the Kanton court specifically said that he thought lifting the CAS ban was right and important. Then suddenly this decision against me. Without notification of a court date and without oral arguments!"

Not only Hondo, but also his attorneys "are totally amazed. They have never seen anything like this in all their time as lawyers, since there was no reason for this decision to be made in a rushed proceeding. According to the court secretary, it should take place in four to six weeks!"

Hondo thanked Team Lamonta, saying, "They were wonderful sporting days, and hopefully they will continue again. You showed that your work is no way third class, on the opposite, everybody did even better they expected."

Hondo did not start in the second stage of the Bayern Rundfahrt Thursday. Race spokeswoman Dagmar Rohe said, "We regret to say that Danilo Hondo was not allowed to start today. The UCI called by his team leader yesterday to inform him that, due to the annullation of a Swiss court's former judgement, he cannot continue the Bayern Rundfahrt. Danilo Hondo already left (Wednesday)."

New Zealand Junior World's road team

Cycling New Zealand's selectors have named a squad of seven to represent New Zealand at the 2006 Junior World Road Cycling Championships being held in Spa, Belgium 10 - 13 August.

Daniel Barry (Nelson)
Brad Carter (Cambridge)
Chris Macic (Auckland)
Shem Rodger (Cambridge)
Ryan Wills (Whakatane)
Rushlee Buchanan (Te Awamutu)
Rebecca Spence (Auckland)

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