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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for November 3, 2006

Edited by Hedwig Kröner, with assistance of Susan Westemeyer

Spanish anti-doping law passed

Spanish parliament has approved the proposed new anti-doping law on Thursday, November 2. The long-awaited legislation, which puts doping infractions on a criminal level, was adopted by 302 deputies out of 310, and should be in place within the next six months - possibly within three.

The new set of laws foresees prison sentences from six months up to two years for involvement in illegal doping practices. "This is a big step forward," said the Spanish minister for sport, Jaime Lissavetzky, who initiated the new law. "The principle of zero tolerance is becoming a reality in this country. Sports people support this law, as the persons responsible (for doping) will also go to prison. In criminalising doping, it makes is easier to fight it on a legal level." Athletes will be offered reductions of their punishments if they collaborate with the investigators to identify the dealers and persons behind their doping use, who risk lifelong bans if licensed within a sports discipline.

A Spanish anti-doping agency will moreover be created to coordinate and carry out blood controls throughout the country, which will take place during competitions as well as randomly. To refuse such a test will be seen as criminal act, and proven dopers will be banned for two to four years.

According to German Vice President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Chairman of its Sports and Law Commission Thomas Bach, the new law could be an important factor in Operación Puerto, whose court in charge has - for now - prohibited cycling federations to use the gathered information on a disciplinary level. But the question remains whether the new law will be retroactive.

Spain has therefore followed other European countries such as France and Italy, where doping can already be prosecuted on a criminal level. Germany, still in shock over the recent allegations against Jan Ullrich, is currently discussing a draft legislation similar - if not more severe - than the Spanish law. In other European countries, the fight against doping in sport is being carried out only on a disciplinary level.

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

Valverde speaks out against DNA testing

Paolo Bettini and Alejandro Valverde
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

After World Champion Paolo Bettini, Spain's Alejandro Valverde has spoken out against the compulsory DNA testing planned by The UCI ProTour teams. Currently enjoying a well-deserved holiday on the Caribbean island of Curaçao, the winner of the 2006 ProTour reportedly told local media, "DNA tests are a great breach into the private lives of the riders. If we agree to that, what will be the next step? Lowering our pants prior to the start?"

"The fight against doping is necessary, but DNA tests are one step too far," Valverde added. Quick.Step manager Patrick Lefévère had proposed to make possible DNA testing part of the ProTour riders' contracts at a meeting of the team managers in Paris last week.

Tinkoff would like to sign Ullrich, but......

Italian team Tinkoff Credit System would like to sign Jan Ullrich - if only they could. "He must first free himself of the doping charges stemming from the investigations in Spain," directeur sportif Omar Piscina told German Welt magazine. "And he needs a license. He won't get one in Germany or Austria, and it looks bad in Italy, too... I don't believe that he will be able to clear up these questions in the next few months."

Piscina hasn't given hope entirely, though. "When all the problems have been cleared up next year, and he is fit, then we would give Ullrich a contract. But it just gets more difficult for him. Now winter is coming and he tends to have a problem then with his weight. All the other problems he has don't make it any easier. He is only 32 years old, that's not a problem. But it would be better for his fitness if the other problems were cleared up quickly."

Piscina meanwhile denied that his team had offered the German rider a salary of 3.8 million Euro a year. "Nonsense, this figure was made up by a crazy journalist. Ullrich has never earned that much and we hadn't even thought of it.

"Oleg Tinkov and I both consider him to be a great champion, we are big fans of his. His career shouldn't be allowed to end this way," Piscina added.

Wrolich training again

Gerolsteiner's Peter Wrolich enjoyed his vacations with his wife and infant son in Croatia, but now it is time for him to get back to work. "Hiking in the mounts, lifting weights and mountain biking are what I'm doing now. At the end of November is the team meeting in Germany, where we'll discuss the racing schedule for the coming year. The new season isn't that far away any more!," the Austrian said on his personal website.

SRAM goes ProTour

Component manufacturer SRAM will deliver some of the parts used for the 2007 Scott Saunier Duval team bike. Components such as drive train and brakes on the "Addict" team bike will be made by SRAM, which thereby makes its entry into the ProTour with its single lever that controls both up and down shifts. Team Saunier Duval will be only professional team using the new technology next year.

NZ’s Festival of Cycling in second year

Christchurch’s Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Cycling continues on its quest to become the most prestigious cycling event in New Zealand. The latest development for the event, scheduled for December 2-3, is the signing of New Zealand’s most successful road team, Subway Cycling, which is led by Christchurch riders Hayden Godfrey and Fraser McMaster.

Close to 2000 riders, both elite and recreational, are expected in the two-day event, which features a 75 km road ride around the Lyttelton Harbour bays, and an inner city criterium around the Oxford Terrace café strip that will double as the New Zealand Criterium Championship.

Entries already include Commonwealth Games medallists Hayden Roulston and Gordon McCauley, as well as former world champions Greg Henderson and Katie Mactier, who dominated last year’s inaugural Festival of Cycling.

Supporting McMaster and Godfrey will be Subway Cycling teammates Logan Hutchings (Papamoa), Daren Shea (ChCh), Dan Waluszewski (Wgtn) and youngsters James Williamson (Alexandra), Myron Simpson (Akld) and Jason Christie (Ashburton).

Entries for the Armstrong Peugeot Festival of cycling are still open. For more details, go to

Fatal accident at Fitz’s Challenge

Paul Harty, an entrant in the Fitz’s Challenge cycle event organised by the Pedal Power cycling club, died last weekend. The ride, which took place south of Canberra, Australia, saw two cyclists, Paul Harty and Matt Huxtable, crashing at Fitz’s Hill, 14km south of Tharwa on Sunday, October 29. The riders were seriously injured and were taken to hospital by ambulance on the day. Paul Harty subsequently died in Canberra Hospital, while Matt Huxtable is still in care at the Prince of Wales Hospital.

Pedal Power has expressed its deepest sympathy to Harty’s family and friends on the club's website. "There were a record 546 entrants in the ride," said Tony Shields, spokesman. "This is the 19th year Fitz’s Challenge has been run and this is the first time something like this has happened."

There were no witnesses to the crash. "The investigation into the cause of the accident is in the hands of the experts, the police," continued Shields. "We have a risk management plan which was put into place as soon as the accident occurred."

Savings & Loans looking for Victorian riders

The Savings & Loans Cycling Team has committed to registering as a UCI Continental Team for 2007. The South Australian-based squad is therefore seeking expressions of interest from Victorian-based Elite riders to join for next season. Team Manager, Stephen Cunningham, said, "We have plans for expansion and growth, and extending the rider list into Melbourne not only is the logical step, it also supports our sponsor's increasing presence in this state."

The Savings & Loans team is aiming to initially add 2-3 riders from Victoria on the list for representation on the domestic, national and Oceania circuits. Further inquiries and rider profiles / resumes can be forwarded to by no later than November 11, 2006.

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