First Edition Cycling News for November 9, 2006
Edited by Sue George
Discovery formally announces Basso signing
In a press conference held Wednesday, the Discovery Channel team formally announced that Ivan Basso will ride with the team in 2007 as reported earlier on Cyclingnews.
Johan Bruyneel, the team's director announced that Basso had signed a two-season contract with Tailwind Sports, the owner of Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team. "We are excited about Ivan joining the team," Bruyneel said, "and we're looking forward to having him at Discovery Channel's training camp in Austin on December 3rd."
Bill Stapleton, the team's general manager thinks of Basso as a chief rival of seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong. "During Lance's final Tour's Ivan pushed Lance to a new level, and we expect great things from him in 2007."
On October 27, 2006, the Italian Cycling Federation dropped an inquiry into Basso's involvement in the Spanish Operación Puerto after the Italian Olympic Committee made a decision to clear him. After reviewing 500 pages of documentation, the governing organization decided there was no justification in bringing disciplinary proceeding against Basso.
UCI to provide DNA records if Spanish judge requests
McQuaid comments on top riders dislike of DNA testing
By Shane Stokes
UCI President Pat McQuaid confirmed to Cyclingnews on Wednesday that if the legal authorities make an official request for the samples, that cyclings governing body will turn them over in order to help identify riders who may have been involved in blood doping.
A large number of blood bags were found during the May swoop on the clinic run by controversial doctor Eufemiano Fuentes in Madrid, but until now the investigating authorities have been unable to identify precisely from whom these were taken. That could all change if the Spanish judge makes a request through the correct legal procedures.
"What was written in the media earlier this year was incorrect," said McQuaid, speaking by phone at the UCI headquarters in Aigle. "We have no problem giving blood if legally requested to do so."
"It is important to remember that we dont have a blood bank [of all the riders] here, but we do have access to the blood of some riders which is stored in certain laboratories. That said, [the] only way that we can provide that to the Spanish authorities is through a judicial process...it has to be done under the correct procedures. In other words, the judge in Spain has to ask a judge in Switzerland to ask the UCI to give it and once we got that instruction, we would readily give whatever we have, without problems. It is a judicial situation, so to speak."
McQuaid stated that a big meeting will be held on Friday in order to move forward plans to introduce DNA testing to the sport. Riders, teams, UCI medical staff and some DNA experts will all meet in Geneva in order to discuss the new proposals.
Although the AIGCP and many professional riders have welcomed the developments, several big names such as world champion Paolo Bettini and 2006 ProTour winner Alejandro Valverde have recently criticized the proposals, which they say are an invasion of their civil rights. While McQuaid didnt refer to these or any other riders specifically, he took an opposing view in saying that anyone who wishes to lessen the chances of further damage to the sport should accept rather than reject such anti-doping measures.
"Some of the riders have recently said that DNA testing is against their civil rights. I think they need to think a little bit [about the bigger picture] before they make statements such as that. For instance, I saw an interesting letter recently on Cyclingnews where a guy in London stated that last year there was a girl murdered in his locality, and that the police asked that men of a certain age would give their to DNA. Up to 3,000 people went to the police station and offered their DNA to try to assist. Those guys didnt have any problem with civil rights and I think cyclists need to have a similar attitude. If it proves that they are not implicated in a doping affair, then they should be ready and willing to give samples for those purposes."
Although the Operación Puerto investigations began back in May, the likely outcome of the Spanish judicial enquiry is still not known. The judge acting on the case recently instructed the Spanish federation not to open legal proceedings against the riders in question, effectively freezing any possible sanctions, while the Italian and Colombian federations shelved their investigations into Ivan Basso and Santiago Botero respectively. It is uncertain if proceedings will continue against riders from other countries.
The UCI contacted WADA recently in order to ask the anti-doping agency to get involved and request more information from the Spanish authorities. McQuaid said that there has been a positive response to that request.
"They have come back to us and have indicated that they have made contact with the Spanish government, asking questions, and that there is correspondence going on between them," he states. "WADA is working on the case, so that should help the situation."
"What we want from them is that they assist us in the sporting disciplinary process, so that information which we would require in order to have a disciplinary action taken will ultimately be provided to us. We may have to wait the end of the process to get it, but we want to make sure that we do get it."
"The ideal situation is that it could be done sooner rather than later, although thats looking less likely. That said, we have to wait until the original judge comes back. I think he was due to return sometime in November, and he may decide to change the way things are."
There has been some media speculation recently that the Operación Puerto judicial case may fizzle out. However McQuaid states that while the UCI hasnt yet been presented with all of the incriminating evidence against some riders, sporting sanctions are possible.
"The fact that we have sent dossiers to federations means that we think there is enough evidence to indicate doping practices have been ongoing," he states. "Otherwise, we wouldn't have sent the dossiers to the federations in the first place."
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
November 9 - Discovery formally announces Basso signing
DNA meeting scheduled for Friday
By Shane Stokes
As mentioned above, the UCI will hold a meeting on the subject of DNA testing this Friday in Geneva. Representatives from the AIGCP (Association of Trade Teams) and the CPA (Professional Riders Association) will be present, as will the UCIs medical staff and DNA experts.
"The UCI's initiative will enable the parties concerned to have a joint discussion on the latest developments of Operación Puerto and on the various problems with the possible introduction of a DNA test for riders," the governing body said in a press release.
The UCI adds that it hopes the meeting "will make a concrete contribution to establish the basis of a vital consensus, in order to progress the discussions regarding the next measures that will be taken in the fight against doping."
Ghent launches new formula
By Brecht Decaluwé
The 66th edition of the "Zesdaagse Vlaanderen Gent" was presented on Wednesday in Ghent, Belgium. The main tenor was that although the event is very successful, it needs some more excitement. "Last year, I felt that the sporting aspects of the race were pretty sad. That's why I launched a new formula with twenty teams competing with each other during four days," Patrick Sercu said. "Afterward, the best twelve teams will compete in the finale, two Madison races over 50km held during the weekend." Organizer Patrick Sercu had a hard time finding competitive Belgian teams. "I wouldn't hesitate to start with no riders but foreigners," the eleven-time winner made a clear statement about young Belgian riders.
Last year's winning team Gilmore-Keisse will not compete in Ghent because Matthew Gilmore is injured. Belgian and local favorite Iljo Keisse will race together with German Robert Bartko. They will be one of the teams to watch because this is the race of the year for Keisse; he was ill in Dortmund and pulled himself from the race not wanting to risk his health for Ghent.
With four current world champions, the starting field looks attractive: Spanish Galvez and Llaneras are Madison masters, Bartko has an individual pursuit title, and Dutch rider Peter Schep has won the points race. "All together the starting field in Ghent has more than hundred victories in six day events under its belt," Sercu highlighted the quality of the riders who will race November 21-26, 2006.
The six day event in Ghent has grown in popularity every year, and more people are expected fro this edition. "We have already sold 35,000 tickets and that puts us ten days ahead of last year's advanced sales," organizer Rob Discart said. "We've calculated a rise of 22% in business sales."
The teams are listed below:
Isaac Galvez (Esp) - Juan Llaneras (Esp)
Tinkoff worried about Ullrich
By Susan Westemeyer
Team Tinkoff Credit Systems has expressed its interest in signing Jan Ullrich. Now the team is fearful for what the star rider might do if he fails to find a new team. "I am terribly worried about what might happen to Jan this year if he doesn't know if he will ever race again," team manager Omar Piscina said on the German TV show "Heimspiel". Piscinia drew parallels to the fate of former Tour winner Marco Pantani, who died of a cocaine overdose.
As Cyclingnews reported Tuesday, Ullrich resumed training. He told www.radsport-aktiv.de, "It is nice that other people think about me. But I am standing with both feet fully in life and am planning to ride again next year. I am very happy in my personal life, and my family gives me the best support in the world."
Discovery Channel team partners with Marco Polo
The Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team (DSCPCT) announced a partnership with the China-based Marco Polo Cycling Team (MPCT). The partnership between the two teams is part of an ongoing recruitment and development initiative to seek new talent that will provide Team Discovery with reach beyond their traditional borders of the U.S. and Europe. Discoverys newly signed Chinese rider, Fuyu Li, comes to the Discovery squad from the Marco Polo Cycling Team.
The relationship allows for enhanced rider development and recruiting, provides a way for Discovery Channel to reinvest in the sport of cycling, and allows team sponsors to reach larger geographical areas. Discovery director Johan Bruyneel said, "This relationship will provide our Team with new opportunities to recruit riders that I think will be successful in the future."
The partnership will provide the Chinese Continental squad with financial support and an affiliation with a Pro Tour team. In 2007, the new squad will race on Trek Madone bikes under the name, the Discovery Channel Marco Polo Team.
In Marco Polo team, Asian riders will be mixed with more experienced western riders, to give them the experience of living and racing in a professionally structured team. Racers will compete in most of the UCI Asia Tour and undertake a three-month program in North Western Europe from a base in the Netherlands.
Carrara moves to Unibet
Matteo Carrara will transfer from Lampre-Fondital to the new Swedish ProTour team Unibet.com for next season. The 27-year-old has been with Lampre for three of the last four years. One of those years, he spent with Team Barloworld. Carrara finished fifth place in the final ProTour event of 2006, the Giro di Lombardia.
Luttenberger still looking
By Susan Westemeyer
Peter Luttenberger is still looking for a team for the coming season and is finding the decision-making process more difficult than anticipated. "It is hard to find an offer that is financially lucrative and also athletically interesting," his manager Jürgen Pauritsch told www.radsport-aktiv.de "Either one aspect or the other is ok. So far we haven't found both together."
Luttenberger had ridden for CSC but did not receive a new contract from the Danish team. Now he is considering three offers. "It has not yet been decided, for which team Peter will ride next year. We still have to wait," according to Pauritsch.
AIS seeks female time trialists
The National Talent Identification and Development Program (NTID) of the Australian Sports Commission in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Women's Road Cycling Program are seeking highly trained, motivated females with a passion to compete in time trials.
Since the time trial is an Olympic event in the upcoming 2008 Beijing games, the AIS is looking for women who can quickly make the transition into the time trial discipline.
Those interested shall provide: contact info; date of birth; height; body mass; a history of significant performances in triathlon, duathlon, rowing, cycling, distance running, or other endurance events; any available physiological testing data; and an essay on why you think you have what it takes to be a world class female road time trialist. Applicants must be able to attend a testing session at the AIS in Canberra on December 11-12 and must be able to compete in the national road cycling time trial in January 2007. The NTID program will cover flights, food and accommodation whilst in Canberra for invited applicants.
Applications are due on December 1, 2006. Contact Tammie Ebert at email@example.com for more details on application requirements.
Swedish junior joins Belgian KSV Deerlijk Gaverzich team
For next season, Jonas Ahlstrand will ride for the Belgian junior-team KSV-Deerlikj Gaverzich. The young Swedish rider is known for his time trialing prowess and final sprint. Next year, Ahsltrand will target the Swedish national championships, but will spend at least part of his season racing in Belgium with the squad.
He will be joined by the following teammates:
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)