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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for November 10, 2006

Edited by Gregor Brown

Basso-Discovery agreement causes controversy

Team managers respond while DNA meeting looms

The announcement of 2006 Giro d'Italia champion Ivan Basso signing with the ProTour team of Johann Bruyneel, Discovery Channel, has caused a stir amongst the managers and directors. The Italian, although cleared to ride by his federation last month, is still associated, if only by name, with Operación Puerto.

Further complicating matters is Basso's stance on submitting his DNA for testing; his lawyer, Massimo Martelli, said recently that "... any declaration for the necessity of blood tests for DNA or other values we consider to be an illegal and inadmissible intrusion to his private life."

Roberto Amadio
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

"Every team can manage themselves how they believe," commented Liquigas team manager Roberto Amadio to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I think that Bruyneel, to be honest with the other teams, should implement other tests, like asking of the athletes to make available their DNA to remove any residual doubts. ... Anyway, I am pleased for Basso."

Gianluigi Stanga, team manager of Milram, was concerned about the DNA submission issue now being elevated due to Basso signing with a ProTour team. "We need to understand if Basso was asked to make available his DNA or not," noted the manager from Bergamo. "If not then it is clear that Discovery did not adhere to the verbal agreement that the teams had made at the meeting in Paris at the end of October. The problem now becomes more amplified and will also involve the organizers of the grand tours."

Giuseppe Saronni, team manager at Lampre-Fondital, overseeing riders like Damiano Cunego, noted to the Italian paper, "It would be better that Bruyneel clarifies. Saying that with the signing of Basso certain agreements have been made. I have faith that it was this way [the contract was made], otherwise it would be bad."

"We can't comment on the Basso case without knowing the details," said Christian Frommert, director of sport communications for T-Mobile, on "But we are still worried as to whether the sport will be able to effectively fight against doping. We need firm alliances for that."

Patrick Lefèvere
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
Click for larger image

French sports paper, L'Equipe, which has close ties to ASO (organizers of the Tour de France), asked whether "Basso and Discovery are sure that July 7 they will be at the start in London?" The paper indicated that perhaps the Tour organizers could snub Discovery Channel, not allowing them to compete in the 2007 event.

It is important to note that although there was a gentlemen's agreement in Paris on October 25 to implement DNA collection there has been no official structure put in place to handle the samples.

"I will not comment on this," said Lefèvere regarding Basso signing with Discovery Channel. "I am glad we are in the winter and we have some months to see what is going on."

Lefèvere, Team Manager of Quick-Step and president of the International Association of Professional Cycling teams (AIGCP), will be in Genova, Switzerland today for a meeting regarding DNA collection. The Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA, represented by Cédric Vasseur) will meet with the AIGCP and UCI to discuss the this new and developing subject.

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

3 Molinos Resort is interested in joining Caisse d'Epargne

By Antonio J. Salmerón

According to the Spanish radio Onda Regional de Murcia, the 3 Molinos Resort properties held a secret meeting with the general manager of the Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears, José Miguel Echavarri, during his stay in Murcia (Spain). 3 Molinos Resort is hoping to reach an agreement that will bring them to the ProTour level and allow them to work with Alejandro Valverde, who is from the same region as the resort company.

According to sources close to the Spanish company, 3 Molinos Resort is interested in joining with Caisse d'Epargne starting with 2007, but first the company must decide on their professional continental team of the same name. The agreement between both parties could be made soon but they are waiting for Illes Balears to decide if they will continue their co-sponsorship into 2007.

3 Molinos Resort is very keen in having Valverde help sell their image. Also, it is reported that they are interested in current Astaná riders, Luis León Sánchez and José Joaquín Rojas, both from Murcia.

Marvulli and Keisse take early Munich Six Day lead

By Susan Westemeyer

Franco Marvulli and Illjo Keisse have the lead after the first night of the Six Days of Munich. They lead on points against duo Erik Zabel and Bruno Risi. Italian road star Paolo Bettini and partner Marco Villa finished the night in 11th place, three laps down.

The whole first evening was marked by crashes. Andreas Beikirch and Lars Teutenberg both crashed in the first pursuit race. Beikirch was able to continue, but the results of the Teutenberg and partner Erik Weispfennig were neutralized, as Teutenberg was taken to the hospital with head injuries and a suspected broken collarbone.

Later in the evening Zabel and the team of Stefan Löffler and Sebastian Frey suffered crashes, but all were able to keep on riding.

Axel Merckx comes full circle

By Susan Westemeyer

Axel Merckx in 2005
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

"I think it is kind of funny that I end up back with T-Mobile at the end of my career. It feels like I have come full circle in my 13 years as a professional," said Axel Merckx in an interview with The Phonak rider has signed a one-year contract with T-Mobile, the team with which he also signed his first professional contract.

Merckx had intended to end his career with Phonak, but when the team folded in light of the Floyd Landis doping scandal, he decided to continue. He decided to return to the German team because "The team concept and management's clean and hard line [on doping] convinced me that it was the right team. I still believe I can make a positive sporting contribution and am willing to do the hard work." He added, "I hope to be a great benefit to the team on and off the bike. I will support the young riders if they want to use it."

The Belgian rider has his eye set on the spring classics. "I won't start those races as the only captain. The team will come first. The goal is to produce a winner from among our ranks. And that doesn't necessarily have to be Axel Merckx," he continued. But Merckx would particularly like to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège. "I love this race and this part of Belgium; it would be incredible to win there once!"

For more on Merckx's new team, read Cyclingnews' feature T-Mobile: "Do it right or don't do it at all"

Mori crashes in vacation

Manuele Mori in 2006 Giro
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

While vacationing in Santo Domenico, Manuele Mori fractured his humerus of his right arm. Saturday, the 26 year-old rider Saunier Duval-Prodir was enjoying the off season when he stumbled while exiting a train according to La Gazzetta dello Sport

Mori's vacation is now over and he is back in Toscana where he underwent surgery to repair the fracture. According to Doctor Claudio Costa, he will be able to return to riding after a few weeks.

Zimbabwe to contest the African continental cycling championships

The Zimbabwean Cycling Federation (ZCF) earlier announced that a Zimbabwean team will be represented to contest the African continental cycling championships, a UCI sanctioned event to be held in Mauritius from November 10 - 12, 2006. Participation in the continental cycling championships forms part of the ZCF's preparation plan towards the 2007 All Africa Games and Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Zimbabwe will compete in the time trial and road race in both the women's and men's categories. The women's TT is over a distance of 13 km and the men's TT is 28 km, while the road races are 80km and 144km, respectively.

Linda Davidson will represent the women while the men's team will be formed by Conway Mohamed, Abel Muchenje, Dean Hayes, Dave Martin and Gavin Sutherland.

Dave Martin is the current Zimbabwe TT champion. Mohamed and Muchenje have just returned from competing in the prestigious Tour du Faso and, at the very least, should have the mileage and stamina to do well in the road race. Hayes and Sutherland are currently based with teams in South Africa. Hayes currently rides for the pro team Exel and Sutherland features in the semi-pro Dot Com team, who recently competed in the Tour of Bulawayo.

The course in Mauritius may favour the sprinters and the Zimbabwe Team will ride tactically to place Sutherland in the best position to contest the sprint. The strongest competition is expected to come from South Africa, who is sending a full strength team that may include Tour de France rider Robbie Hunter.

Zimbabwe's participation in the continental championships comes at the end of a year that has involved the ZCF Classic Road Race series, attended by squad riders at the UCI Africa Continental Cycling Academy in South Africa, and preparation of riders through their professional teams in South Africa. Additional exposure was achieved in the Tour de Faso through an agreement between the ZCF and a Belgian based team that is promoting the search for talented riders at U23 level. The overall objective is to build a squad of riders who can compete for UCI points on the Africa ProTour and thus lead to participation at the Olympics.

Funding for participation in this event has been made available by the International Olympic Committee Solidarity Fund in liaison with Zimbabwe Olympic Committee and from the Zimbabwe Cycling Federation.

Kersten to attend launch of the Christmas Carnival Series

The Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania (SCAT) has announced that Ben Kersten will be a special guest at the launch, on November 15, of the Tasmanian National grid Christmas Carnival Series.

Kersten has had a good year, with the highlight being winning gold at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in the 1000m time trial, which is best remembered as an emotional win for him as a culmination of years of training.

President of SCAT, Grant Atkins is delighted that Kersten will be once again be competing at the Carnivals. "Kersten is undoubtedly one of Australia's best ever all round track cyclists, and we are thrilled that he will be joining us for the series," concluded Atkins

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