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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for November 16, 2006

Edited by Gregor Brown

Santiago Botero signs for a Colombian team

By Hernan Alvarez

Santiago Botero looking relaxed
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
Click for larger image

After being officially giving the approval to race on November 11, Colombia's Santiago Botero signed in a new contract with team Colombian-based EPM-Orbitel for next season. The deal was closed on Wednesday evening in Medellin, Colombia between the managers of the company, the team director Raul Mesa and the rider.

The 34 year-old will ride the next Colombian Tour, the classic RCN Pilsen, the Colombian National Road Championships, the Vuelta al Valle and the Vuelta a Antioquia with his new team. He will make his debut with his new jersey at Valle tour on March 7.

The 2002 TT World Champion will represent his country in the next World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany next September. This is scheduled to be the only competition Botero will ride outside South America.

Raul Mesa felt very pleased to have such a great rider in his team for 2007. "At nearly the end of my career as team director, I feel very glad. This is a great move made by our company," commented Mesa after the signing. Next season will be the eighth for him as director sportif for this outfit which will compete on the continental level next year. The team director will now train Botero for second time after both, Botero and Mesa, were part of the Telecom-Kelme in 1997.

Santiago Botero was involved in Operación Puerto as one of the names that apparently was inside the famous list of 200 elite sportsmen related to Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor who allegedly made doping practices with those athletes.

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

Boonen ready to begin 2007

Boonen in 2005
Photo ©: Jon Devich
Click for larger image

2005 World Champion Tom Boonen is nearing the end of his off-season holiday and looking forward to the new season. "It is starting to tickle," said Boonen to Gazet van Antwerpen in regards to his excitement to be back into competition.

The 26 year-old Belgian of Quick-Step rider will begin training in earnest starting soon and has in mind that his 2007 season will follow similar lines to this year. "Everything will be the same. I will hope again to have 23 victories," continued Boonen. "Looking at those victories; I have to really go deep for the first six or seven and then the rest come easier thanks to the work of the team. Many people don't realize the hard work that the team does to bring me to the victory."

Boonen will once again be joined by Italian Paolo Bettini but this year there will also be added Belgian hard-man Peter Van Petegem and young-gun Gert Steegmans. "Everything will fall into its place," said Boonen regarding his teammates. "With the proper divisions of tasks you can avoid any misunderstandings."

The Belgian predicts his team will control the front end of affairs, like in previous years, through much of the early season racing. "From Qatar to Scheldeprijs, it is always our team that takes the initiative," noted Boonen. "Maybe we could stop this; Profit from others' work and win more. Would that be bad?"

Crake recovering from spinal surgery

Paul Crake racing in 2006 Tour Down Under
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
Click for larger image

Australian cyclist Paul Crake is recovering after undergoing surgery yesterday in New Zealand's Christchurch Hospital to stabilise spinal injuries he suffered in a crash during Saturday's stage of the Powernet Tour of Southland. The 29 year-old from Canberra was one of five cyclists blown off the road by a powerful wind gust as they headed into the final two kilometres of the 79 kilometre eighth stage from Te Anau to Lumsden last Saturday.

Scans revealed he had sustained minor fractures of the C1 and C2 cervical vertebrae, a fracture of the T5 thoracic vertebrae and dislocations through to T7, and it was decided that Crake should undergo surgery. ACT Cycling Federation president, Steve Blair, has been with Crake since the accident and says the doctors were happy with the outcome of the surgery.

"They didn't need to operate on his neck injuries as they are relatively minor fractures they believe will heal without their intervention but they have placed a surgical rod and screws into his thoracic spine and grafted some bone from his hip into the spinal area to stabilise and realign his spine," commented Blair.

"He is back in the Intensive Care Unit recovering from the operation and it could be up to six weeks before he's able to be transferred from hospital to a spinal rehabilitation unit," Blair continued from New Zealand.

Crake was a member of the Australian team at the 2004 Road World Championships in Italy, was third in the road race at last year's Australian Open Road Championships and this year placed second on the fourth stage of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under into Willunga. This season he has raced as a professional in Italy with the Naturino-Sapore di Mare.

Grupo Nicolás Mateos has only signed 5 riders

By Antonio J. Salmerón

The Grupo Nicolás Mateos continental team has only five riders named so far in their 2007 roster. The Spanish-based team has renewed Sergio Escobar, Pablo De Pedro, Diego Milán and Javier Moreno, and has incorporated the neo-professional Beñat Intxausti.

In 2007, the Spanish squad will leaded by the well known pistard, Sergi Escobar, who claimed the final general classification of the Vuelta a Madrid. During this week, the team's technicians has to complete the group of twelve riders that Grupo Nicolás Mateos will build its 2007 calendar around.

José Luis de Santos, ex-national selector, will continue as the team's sportif director.

Does Fuerteventura-Canarias really exist?

By Antonio J. Salmerón

According to the sport newspaper AS, the Fuerteventura-Canarias manager, Jorge Sastre, is closely linked with the doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, and to his sister Yolanda Fuentes.

AS assures that the financing of the Fuerteventura-Canarias team has been covered by a group of local industrialists, among them to the constructor Pedro de la Fuente, who is actually the president of the football club UD Fuerteventura. The Spanish newspaper indicates that the financing source of approximately €1.2 million of the total of two million budget is paid by de la Fuente. AS added that, "perhaps Cicar Lanzarote [a car rental company] or Puertas Castalla will also take part as sponsorships."

Regarding to the Government of the Canary Islands sponsorship, AS contacted the government, which has denied its participation in the project. Edilia Perez, sport advisor of the Canarian government, said to AS that "We have still not received any request of any cycling team."

In the Spanish Federation (RFEC), "nobody knows anything about the existence of the Fuerteventura-Canarias team", expressed its secretary Eugenio Bermúdez to AS. According to AS, the RFEC has sent to the UCI and to the Government of the Canary Islands a letter which states it has not received any documentation in regards to the team at this moment.

Casper to debut for in Tour Down Under

Chocolade Jacques makes Belgian double

Casper scoring a big win in the 2006 Tour
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

French sprinter Jimmy Casper will race for the first time in the colours of when it makes its debut at the 2007 Tour Down Under in Adelaide. The 28 year-old, who has posted more than 20 victories in his professional career, this year, won the first stage of the Tour de France claiming the green jersey for a day before relinquishing it to eventual sprint competition winner, Robbie McEwen.

Joining Casper in the line up is fellow Tour de France rider and another former Cofidis rider, Arnaud Coyot who this year outsprinted Norwegian Thor Hushovd to win the Classic Haribo in France. The team represents a united nations of cycling with riders from France, Italy, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands along with Sweden's Gustav Larsson, who this year rode in the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia for Française Des Jeux.

"My understanding is will be granted a ProTour licence for 2007 so we're really pleased their first race with that status is with us," noted Race Director Mike Turtur. "It's always great to welcome a new team to the Tour Down Under and to welcome back riders of the talent of Casper who raced here a few years ago when he was with the Française Des Jeux team."

The second Belgian registered team to confirm their starting list for the Tour Down Under is Chocolade Jacques, which will be led by Glenn D'Hollander (31) who placed 10th overall in this year's Tour Down Under. Also on the team is Belgian Steven Caethoven (25), who this year claimed a stage of the Rheinland Pfalz Tour in Germany and last year won a stage of the Tour of Belgium.

The 2007 Tour Down Under will be held January 16 – 21, 2007. For further information please visit the official website at (Bel)
Jimmy Casper (Fra)
Pieter Jacobs (Bel)
Laurens Ten Dam (Ned)
Arnaud Coyot (Fra)
Gorik Gardeyn (Bel)
Markus Eichler (Ger)
Matteo Carrara (Ita)
Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe)
Team Manager: Jacques Hanegraaf

Chocolade Jacques (Bel)
Glenn D'Hollander (Bel)
Koen Barbé (Bel)
Steven Caethoven (Bel)
Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel)
Kurt Hovelynck (Bel)
Serge Pauwels (Ned)
Frederik Veuchelen (Bel)
Sven Renders (Bel)
Team Manager: Walter Planckaert

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