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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for November 19, 2006

Edited by Gregor Brown & Steve Medcroft

Ignatiev in Sydney, on fire and hoping for a ride in the '07 Giro with Tinkoff

By Gerard Knapp

Mikhail Ignatiev dominates
Photo ©: John Veage
Click for larger image

The second day of racing at the Sydney round of the UCI Track World Cup saw some exceptional performances by two superstars of the boards. In the morning sessions, Australian Anna Meares broke her own world record in less-than-favourable climatic conditions (see separate report while in the evening, Russia's Mikhail Ignatiev was unstoppable, winning back-to-back gold medals with barely a rest between two of the most demanding events on the track.

The talented young Russian had arrived in Sydney over a fortnight ago and started to put in some solid training rides on the roads around the harbour city. The road-work and adjustment to the time zones seemingly paid off for the 23 year old, seven-time world champion, who put in a dominating display of endurance track racing.

Many experienced watchers of the sport - and fellow racers - could only say "unbelievable" after watching his super effort on day two of the track World Cup.

In the first session of racing on Saturday, he helped Russia qualify fastest in the teams pursuit, and then won a 20km qualifying heat for the 30km points score to be held later that night.

In the evening session, he was one of the finishing trio in Russia's successful team pursuit squad that took the gold medal, but before he had time to warm down, he changed bikes and was back out on the track for the men's 30km points race.

Perhaps this should not be such a surprise, as he has won the junior and senior world title on the track in this event, plus the gold medal in Athens 2004. In 2005, he also won the U23 men's individual time trial at the World Road Championships in Spain.

Such was his dominance he finished with 31 points, 14 clear of second-placed Greg Henderson (New Zealand), a former world track champion who will be riding for T-Mobile next year.

Ignatiev has also been racing on the road and next year he will continue with the Russian Tinkoff squad, to be known in 2007 as Tinkoff Credit Systems. Ignatiev said his first race for the squad - which is rumoured to have signed Tyler Hamilton - will be the Tour of Qatar in January, before heading to the USA and racing in the Tour of California. He would only say that he and the team was a "50/50" chance of riding in a Grand Tour, namely the Giro d'Italia.

Ignatiev's overall speed and endurance on the track is his strength, as he is also very capable in the individual and teams pursuit. He is likely to become a break-away specialist, where finishing in a small group of tiring riders will be his ideal situation. "I can't see him being up there for the all-in bunch kicks," said another rider.

Two starts and two wins

In action at 2005 worlds ITT
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

Ignatiev later admitted that he found the first 20 laps of the 120-lap points race to be a little difficult, given that he'd just anchored the Russians to the gold in the teams pursuit with a respectable - given the conditions - time of 4.05.

But then he found his legs and dominated the race to such an extent that with only the final sprint remaining, he had amassed 31 points, more than double of that of the second-placed rider, who'd only managed 12.

"Today I make a good day," he said in very broken English after the race. "I have two starts and two wins.

"I be in good shape now," he said, but with respect to the field he'd just blown off the boards, he said, "all the other riders may not be in such good shape. They have just come from an autumn and almost winter, and they are not very strong, I think.

"But I go to Australia for two weeks now, and that is good." Ignatiev had been training on the roads in and around Sydney, putting in 120km training rides and taking advantage of the warmer weather and longer days to arrive at Dunc Gray in splendid form.

This condition allowed him to back up so convincingly on a very long day of racing. "Right after the team race I go to the points race," he said almost matter-of-factly. "The first 20 laps I felt it was very hard and I was not so good, but then I am safer and better, so I go on the attack and finish strong."

After receiving his silver medal for second place, Henderson said, "He’s unbelievable, eh? He's in good knick at this time of year."

The Kiwi admitted to be under-geared for the event - though he wouldn't reveal just what gear he was riding - but he believed it was way too small for the day, especially with the Russian riding a larger gear that allowed him to stay at the front and keep a very high pace throughout.

Complete coverage of the second day of racing at Sydney's World Cup.

Landis' friend Baker speaks regarding positive test

Doctor Arnie Baker, retired medical doctor and friend of Floyd Landis, gave a slideshow presentation Friday evening in Tucson, Arizona in regards to the elevated Testosterone/Epitestosterone ratio found in the American's urine as part of Tour de France testing. Baker's presentation was on the eve of El Tour de Tucson, a race both Baker and Landis are slated to compete in.

Baker contended that, after reviewing the analysis of the case, the former Phonak rider did not have a positive test at all. The doctor attempted to make his case to the near-100 cyclist gathered in the Tucson Convention Center via several internal documents that were leaked from the Châtenay-Malabry anti-doping laboratory (LNDD) and other documents from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) given to him from Landis' lawyer, Howard Jacobs.

"There is no basis for a positive test in the first place," commented Baker to AP. "How it got this far in the first place, I have no idea. But I've looked at the test, and to me, it's appalling."

Baker said he has known Landis since 1997 and had not been approached by his friend to present the slideshow. "He hasn't asked me to do any of this and I'm doing it pro bono," noted Baker after his presentation. Baker claimed to have had hatched the idea after the two spoke at the funeral for Landis' father-in-law, who committed suicide shortly after the Tour de France.

Earlier in the week, the LNDD reported its computers had been sabotaged for the sake of writing emails to other doping authorities, promoting the innocence of Landis. Baker confirmed that the LNDD documents used in Friday's presentation were authentic but he denied claims that he had hacked into the lab's computer to get the documents.

"I am not the hacker," quipped Baker, who said he receive the documents from several sources. "These documents have been out there for more than a month."

The presentation by Baker has no bearing on Landis' actual hearing and it is not known if all the facts were made available to Baker for him to reach his conclusions. Landis and Jacobs will be able to present their case when heard in an USADA arbitration hearing, expected for early next year and to be open to the public. If found guilty, Landis will face a minimum two-year ban from cycling and be stripped of his Tour de France victory.

Cyclingnews' coverage of the Floyd Landis case

May 29, 2009 - French authorities summon Landis and Baker
September 28, 2008 - Landis takes case to US federal court
September 10, 2008 - Landis signing with current Health Net-Maxxis team for 2009
July 1, 2008 - CAS delivers final blow to Landis legal challenge
June 30, 2008 - Landis loses final appeal
June 28, 2008 - Landis decision due Monday
March 12, 2008 - Landis' judgment day nears
October 21, 2007 - Landis files appeal with CAS
October 18, 2007 - AFLD takes another look at Landis case
Thursday, October 11 - Landis continues fight, appeals to CAS
Saturday, September 22 - UCI officially names Pereiro 2006 Tour champion, Landis case raises issues
Friday, September 21 - Landis' appeal denied, two year suspension levied

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the Floyd Landis case

Basso's DNA not used in Operación Puerto investigation

Basso in Roma
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

Friday, Discovery Channel announced that new signing Ivan Basso would submit to DNA testing if called upon in a "national judicial or disciplinary investigation." The Italian, winner of the 2006 Giro d'Italia, was signed by Discovery on November 8 for a two year contract but at the time there were no details as to whether or not the team and rider would follow the gentlemen's agreement reached by AIGCP on the eve of the Tour de France presentation.

Basso's agreement to submit his DNA is not likely to clear the air in his alleged involvement of Operación Puerto because of the Spanish cycling federation's (RFEC) decision on October 28 to close all disciplinary files opened against cyclists implicated in the investigation. Due to RFEC's decision, Basso is not currently involved in any investigation and, although agreeing to submit his DNA, will not be called upon for submission in the Operación Puerto inquiry.

"They [Discovery Channel] say that Basso is available for legal proceedings and for instances when DNA could be requested only from a judge in a criminal proceeding," said Francesco Moser, speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "It was what we wanted ... And so Basso won't be giving his DNA haphazardly.

"This is not just a battle in cycling, but with all of the sports. We have done a lot."

Not hiding his agreement with DNA testing in sport, Mario Zorzoli, scientific consultant for the UCI, commented to La Gazzetta dello Sport regarding Basso. "I agree with Basso's decision," said Zorzoli. "But we need to see what the judges do. DNA remains the simplest way to prove innocence. Its usefulness, thinking also of genetic doping, is undoubted."

Basso's lawyer, Massimo Martelli, who in September said "As long as I am defending him, Ivan will never have a DNA test," has changed his tone since the Italian signed with Discovery Channel. "We never ruled out the possibility of DNA testing," Martelli responded after the announcement by Discovery director sportif Johann Bruyneel. "It is an agreement that comes with certain guarantees, which were determined by the Madrid judge. Personally I believe that this is juridical nonsense and morally unacceptable."

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

Bates to miss Oceania Track Championships

By Greg Johnson

Aussie Katherine Bates
Photo ©: John Veage
Click for larger image

An in-form Katherine Bates will miss next weekend's 2007 Oceania Track Championships in Melbourne, instead opting to focus on her form for the upcoming World Championships at Majorca, Spain in March.

"No, I'm going to go back to basics and get fit on the road. Ian [McKenzie, coach] and I will decide how I progress from here," explained the Australian when asked if she was taking part in next weekend's event.

Bates took what she described as a surprise victory in Friday's Women's 20 kilometre points race at the UCI World Cup opener in Sydney, Australia.

"I certainly didn't go in with the expectation of winning, I wanted a podium – at least I wanted top six to qualify for the worlds," she said of the narrow one-point victory.

While the 24 year-old has placed herself in prime position for a World Cup attempt it's uncertain whether she will take place in the next championship round in Moscow.

"I've indicated that I'd be interested in Moscow, but whether Ian decides to take me there or not do any more until the worlds – he's the master, I need to follow his advice," concluded Bates.

2008 Tour de France Grand Départ from Brest

It is likely the Brittany costal town of Brest will host the Grand Départ of the 2008 Tour de France. Followining on Cyclingnews' reports this last April, former race director Jean-Marie Leblanc hinted of the possibility during a debate on the Tour de France Thursday in Angers, according to tuttobiciweb.com.

"For us the start of the Tour is very important," explained the Frenchman. "Because it will give the image to the Tour, for this we are very interested in its organization."

If Brest is to host the start it would surely be a coop for Brittany, which is France's most cycling-made region. It is likely that if the Grand Départ is from Brest, in France's west, that the Tour would then confront the Pyrenees before the Alpine mountains.

Nicklas Axelsson undergoes cancer surgery

Selle Italia rider Nicklas Axelsson has undergone surgery to treat testicluar cancer in Nice. In a report published in Falu-Kuriren, the rider said that the cancer was discovered during a routing medical checkup and had not spread to other parts of his body. The 34 year old Swedish rider says he hopes to contiue his career.

Axelsson was banned for four years testing positive to EPO at the 2001 world championships and returned to racing in 2005. Proir to his role with the Selle Italia professional continental team, Axelsson rode for Mercury and then Alessio in 2001, and Italian teams Formaggi Pinzolo Fiavé and Universal Caffè after returning from his ban.

Serpellini stops after 13 seasons

Marco Serpellini has retired from the sport of cycling at 34 years-old. The Italian, who was a world champion in the junior ranks, spent 13 years racing as a professional, this last season in the green and white colours of Unibet.com.

Serpellini can reflect on 10 victories in his palmarès. Pro since 1994, his wins included two editions of the GP Cerami, one win in GP Camaiore, Milano-Vignola, Giro del Piemonte and Volta a Portugal. This year he notched one win for Unibet.com, taking the fourth stage of the Course de la Paix-Peace Race.

Tinkoff Credit Systems with first team meeting

Hondo to be with Tinkoff
Photo ©: Mani Wollner
(Click for larger image)

New professional continental team Tinkoff Credit Systems will have its first official team meeting from December 4 to 7. The Russian-backed, Italian team will meet in Emilia Romagna for the purpose of medical checks, distribute team equipment and to discuss the 2007 schedule for its riders. Director sportifs Orlando Maini and Dimitri Konyshev have also prepared a series of training rides designed to help unite the new riders.

Team Manager Omar Piscina confirms that soon there will be a new 'top level' rider named to the team. It is rumoured to have signed American Tyler Hamilton, and to this point contains the following riders. Elia Aggiano, Pavel Brutt, Ilya Chernetsky, Salvatore Commesso, Daniele Contrini, Danilo Hondo, Sergey Klimov, Mikhail Ignatyev, Ruggero Marzoli, Anton Mindlin, Evgeni Petrov, Ivan Rovny, Alexander Serov, Ricardo Gonzales Serrano, Nikolay Trusov and Steffen Weigold.

Irish National Champion McCann joins Colavita/Sutter Home

Colavita/Sutter Home has signed its second international champion in as many days. David McCann, a three-time and current Irish National Champion will pull on the Colavita/Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light jersey in 2007.

The addition of McCann gives Colavita/Sutter Home a powerful 1-2 punch, following the recent announcement that __Charles Dionne__, the two-time winner of the San Francisco Grand Prix and former Canadian Criterium Champion, has signed with the team after a year of racing in Europe.

"David McCann is a world class veteran in the sport who will add not only true leadership, but also more international flare to our 2007 roster" said John Profaci, vice president of Colavita USA.

A strong time trialist and GC threat, McCann has been racing with the Giant Asia team where he racked up strong performances, including the overall win at the Tour of Indonesia and the leaders jersey in the Tour of Thailand. In June, McCann again won the Irish National Championship and will take the green clover jersey to North America for the first time.

Commenting on the recent signings, Team Director Tom Schuler said, "Charles and David are first-class athletes and will give us the tools we need to compete at the highest levels of racing in North America. These guys are ready to go and to make their mark next year."

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