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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for November 20, 2006

Edited by Gregor Brown & Steve Medcroft

Italian doctors call for escorts and amend anti-doping rules

The Italian association of cycling medics (AIMEC) decided during a meeting this last weekend that, starting in 2007, there will be escorts for cyclists who have been called for post-race doping controls.

After a rider who has been named for a post-race control crosses the line there will be a person assigned, arranged by the race organizer, to make sure that the cyclist makes it to the proper location for testing. The purpose is to make sure the rider does not 'prepare' himself after being notified of the control (The notification usually occurs towards the end of a race.) during the time they are allowed to reach the control site.

The AIMEC meeting, attended by 100 medics, including President Massimo Besnati and scientific consultant for the UCI Mario Zorzoli, also proposed allowing for blood controls up to 30 minutes before a race start. Zorzoli announced that starting in 2007 there will be a lowering of the allowed testosterone level (following on the positive test by Landis at the Tour de France) and that Rinofluimucil, a nasal spray that contains Acetylcysteine, has been added to the list of banned substances.

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

Bruyneel remarks on Basso and ethical codes

Photo ©: Mark Zalewski
(Click for larger image)

"I am satisfied with my decision," said Discovery Channel Director Sportif Johan Bruyneel in an interview with Belgian media regarding the signing of Ivan Basso. Controversy is linked to signing the 29 year-old Italian due to his allegedly association with Operación Puerto. But in October the Italian cycling federation gave permission to resume racing and the Belgian director sportif saw no reason not to hire the 2006 Giro d'Italia winner.

"I saw no basis in stopping me from hiring the best cyclist in the world," continued Johan Bruyneel. "When the accusations fell against Basso we had four specialist lawyers, who looked at all the rules and ethical codes, come to the conclusion that there was nothing legally prohibiting us to reach an agreement with Basso."

Bruyneel, who was behind the wheel in Lance Armstrong's seven Tour de France vicotories, continued on the new rules reached by the ProTour teams, "In its pursuit for credibility, cycling drives harder than others [sports]. I had my doubts on certain parts of the [ethical] codes, like the automatic suspension of a team in the case of suspicious parameters.

"Overall it is good, but the director sportifs are not qualified in this field; we are neither the judges nor the medics," finished Bruyneel

Wiesenhof signs Pollack and Ludewig

By Susan Westemeyer

Olaf Pollack (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Team Wiesenhof-Felt has closed its roster for the 2007 season with the signing of T-Mobile riders Olaf Pollack and Jörg Ludewig. The professional continental team will have 16 riders for the coming season.

"We had an eye on building a competitive team for 2007 after it became clear to us that top riders like Gerald Ciolek would leave us," Director Sportif Jens Heppner said Saturday at the team meeting in Karlsruhe, Germany. "In Olaf Pollack and Jörg Ludewig, we have taken on two experienced riders who will fill important roles in our big assignments next year."

Pollack and Ludewig will be joining T-Mobile teammates Steffen Wesemann and Bas Giling at Wiesenhof, while Ciolek is going the opposite direction, leaving Wiesenhof for T-Mobile.

Wiesenhof has retained only nine riders from the previous season, with 10 newcomers. It also has a new name, co-sponsor Felt, and is moving its headquarters to Karlsruhe, home of another new sponsor, the Karlsruhe Messa (Convention Center).

Wiesenhof-Felt for 2007: Artur Gajek, Bas Giling, Christian Leben, Jörg Ludewig, Daniel Musiol, Felix Odebrecht, Olaf Pollack, Steffen Radochla, Torsten Schmidt, Andre Schluze, Stefan Van Dijck, Martin Velits, Peter Velits, Robert Wagner and Steffen Wesemann.

Australia tops the points in Sydney World Cup

Four gold medals from Australia's women and consistent performances across the board has seen Australia top the nation rankings at the end of the first round of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup Classics at Sydney's Dunc Gray Velodrome. Australia amassed 103 points to finish four points clear of defending series champions, the Netherlands, after 16 events over three days.

The highlight of the round was undoubtedly the world record ride by Queensland's Anna Meares who posted a time of 33.944 seconds for the 500m time trial eclipsing the time she set to win gold at the Athens Olympic Games. She claimed a second gold medal when she teamed with sister Kerrie Meares in the women's teams sprint while Victorian Katie Mactier took home the gold in the 3km individual pursuit.

Sydney's Kate Bates kicked off the Australians medal haul on the opening night with victory in the points race. In the men's events Olympic and Commonwealth Games Champion, Ryan Bayley (, collected silver in the keirin and Victorian Phillip Thuaux (Drapac-Porsche) finished third in the 4km individual pursuit.

Kerrie Meares gets assistance after crashing-out
Photo ©: John Veage
Click for larger image

But the final day of competition wasn't kind to Kerrie Meares who crashed heavily in the second round of the keirin after her back tyre exploded. She landed hard on her left knee and collected splinters and track burn in the fall. The 24 year-old may now be in doubt for the Oceania Championships which begin in Melbourne this Thursday. Kerrie was sitting in second wheel behind sister Anna heading into the final 100 metres when the crash happened.

"From what I remember the Chinese girl [Shuang Guo who received an official warning after the race] was crowding down on me and I accelerated to stay on Anna's wheel but went a little too fast," said Kerrie whose front wheel overlapped her sister's rear wheel. "I was trying to pull back a bit to control my speed but my rear tyre blew up and I couldn't hold it."

Australian Head Coach, Martin Barras, said the Australians came to Sydney with the goal of being competitive in at least six or seven events. "We can see from the medals and performances that we have achieved that goal but it was a case of hits and misses over the three days," said Barras. "The hits were obviously the women, [Anna] Meares, Bates and Mactier but some of the men posted impressive performances as well.

"Ryan Bayley [silver] and Mark French [second across the line but relegated to sixth by officials] rode well in the keirin final and French put in a solid showing in the sprint [placed 4th]," continued Barras. "In today's teams sprint competition Shane Perkins and French were the two fastest starting riders over the first lap of all the riders in the competition and the junior sprinters, Daniel Ellis and Scott Sunderland showed promise."

Barras says one of the misses was by the teams pursuit line up of reigning World Champions Steven Wooldridge, Peter Dawson and Mark Jamieson with new recruit Michael Ford ( who failed to make the medal round in the event. They were also half a second slower in qualifying than the younger Australian national team quartet of Zakkari Dempster, Richard England, Hayden Joseksi and Cameron Meyer who were the fifth fastest qualifiers.

"They've taken it on the chin and I think you'll see them back on top the next time they take the line," said Barras.

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

Further information can be found here on the organizer's website.

Vannoppen struggles with depression

By Brecht Decaluwé

Belgian Tom Vannoppen
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

Two years ago one of the hottest properties in Belgian cyclo-cross was Tom Vannoppen. Then he won the intermediate sprint classification of the Superprestige but this season he has suffered with lack of form that has only become worse.

Vannoppen has been reportedly admitted to a hospital to get professional psychological help; so, despite rumours to the contrary, he did not start in Saturday's GP Stad Hasselt. According to, team manager Jurgen Mettepenningen (Sunweb) commented, "After a turbulent night Tom has been taken into hospital with a 'major' depression. I can't say much more right now, only that it is now certain that he'll receive professional assistance.

"We're not going to give up on Tom," continued Mettepenningen, who still has faith in Vannoppen. "I just hope his fans give him some credit during the upcoming weeks; he can use that for sure."

His future coach at Sunweb, former cyclist Hans De Clercq, said that Vannoppen will be staying in hospital for at least ten days. Asked whether Vannoppen will return at the highest level again De Clercq responded, "he'll be back for sure, but not this season."

Denifl changes from Vorarlberg to Elk Haus

By Susan Westemeyer

19 year-old Austrian Stefan Denifl has changed from one Austrian Professional Continental Team to another, going from team Volksbank to Elk Haus-Simplon, announced Saturday.

The teenager said that he wanted to concentrate on his schoolwork this coming year, and that Volksbank was concentrating on international races, whereas at Elk Haus he could ride national races and keep things low-key until he finishes his education. After that, however, he will go for the U23 world championship race in Stuttgart.

"That is my big goal for the season," he said of the world championships, "because I can present myself internationally with a good result." Denifl hopes this will lead to a ProTour contract for 2008.

Denifl says that Elk Haus is not just an interim solution for him, because the team also offers good perspectives for the future. He always felt well at Volksbank, he noted, and team manager Thomas Kofler assured him that he "could come back at any time." Kofler added, "Stefan is a talented rider and we would have offered him all the freedom he needs for his schooling. He went for the financial better offer. I wish him lots of luck."

De la Fuente backs Fuerteventura-Canarias hiring of Vincente Belda

By Antonio J. Salmerón

The daily sport newspaper AS continues its pursuit of Vicente Belda, the ex-director sportif of Comunidad Valenciana who was inplicated in the Operación Puerto scandal. Belda has recently been picked up as technical adviser for the new continental team Fuerteventura-Canarias. AS interviewed the new team's potential main sponsor and asked how he dared to invest in a sport project in which Belda is technical adviser.

"If the judges declare Belda guilty of some crime, I will be the first in forgoing my support and my money," said president of the football club UD Fuerteventura, Pedro de la Fuente. "I will only give my support for the sport, the healthy competition and the noble spirit."

"I trust in the people who represent me in this cycling project, that is Jorge Sastre, the general manager," De la Fuente expressed. "I have been working for 30 years in Fuerteventura ... and I do not need publicity. I believe in the progress of Fuerteventura island and in its sports development. I am supporting the football team, too."

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