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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for November 21, 2006

Edited by Greg Johnson, Ben Abrahams & Anthony Tan

Tinkoff denies dealings with Saiz or Mancebo

By Gregor Brown

Tinkoff has refuted reports of a deal with Saiz (pictured)
Photo ©: PhotoSport International
(Click for larger image)

On November 16, Cyclingnews reported that German paper Ostee Zeitung indicated that there was contact between ex-director sportif of Liberty Seguros-Würth, Manolo Saiz, and the emerging Professional Continental team Tinkoff Credit Systems.

Then on November 18, it was speculated in L'Equipe that owner Oleg Tinkoff made an offer to Francesco Mancebo. The French sports paper reported David Plaza, Mancebo's manager, as saying: "It's true that we have received a relatively attractive offer from Tinkoff."

Cyclingnews was contacted by Tinkoff, who helped clarify that talks with the Spaniards never took place. A Tinkoff spokesman said that "In regards to the news ... of the alleged negations between Tinkoff and Manolo Saiz and an offer [rumoured at €600,000] to Francesco Mancebo, the managers of the Russian-Italian formation deny to ever have had any contact with Saiz or his collaborators nor have had made an offer to the Spanish rider."

Both Saiz and Mancebo have been linked to Operación Puerto. After a decision by the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) to close the disciplinary files in late October, Mancebo was free to return to racing and he is now searching for a new contract (his current contract with AG2R Prévoyance is due to be terminated). In the same announcement by RFEC that allowed Mancebo to return to racing, the RFEC made it clear that Saiz is still under investigation.

New vice president announced at WADA

France's Minister of Youth, Sport and Voluntary Work, Jean-François Lamour, has been unanimously voted in as the World Anti-Doping Agency's vice president for 2007 at the organisation's annual meeting.

"Jean-François is immensely respected for his work on behalf of clean sport, both in his country and as European representative on WADA's Executive Committee," said WADA president Richard Pound. "He will play a significant role in advancing the goals and initiatives of WADA."

Following his unanimous appointment, the two-time Olympic fencing champion is first in line to succeed Pound when the Canadian's term comes to an end in November 2007. "I believe that WADA has made great strides in the global fight against doping sport, and that we have an important duty now to ensure success in meeting our current and future challenges," said 50-year-old Lamour, who will replace Brian Mikkelsen after two years in the position. "I look forward to intensifying my contribution to the initiatives and mission of the Agency to protect the integrity of sport and the health of athletes world-wide."

Among other changes to the executive committee for next year is the replacement of France by Denmark as the European representative and New Zealand taking over from Australia as the Oceania representative.

During the meeting, held on Monday in Montreal, Canada, the WADA Executive Committee carried out the first of three consultations regarding the revision of the World Anti-Doping Code. "The Code represents a unique and unprecedented triumph of sport and government joining forces to address a critical problem threatening public health and the integrity of sport," said Pound. "Now, with several years of practical implementation and experience, we are working with stakeholders in the enhancement of its provisions for an even more robust anti-doping system world-wide."

In addition to announcing its US$23 million budget for 2007, the organisation also pledged US$178,000 to be shared among six applicants who will carry out social behavioural research, in an attempt to uncover the motivations behind doping. "Understanding the behavioural aspects and value judgement behind doping will help us to develop and disseminate strong values-based anti-doping education programs," concluded WADA director general David Howman.

Skibby tells all this Wednesday

By Brecht Decaluwé & Anthony Tan

Skibby's tell all book is released tomorrow
Photo ©: DCP/Bert Geerts
(Click for larger image)

In what appears to be another tale of confessions from a former cyclist, Danish ex-professional Jesper Skibby is about to release a revealing autobiography this week. Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws quoted Skibby as saying, "I don't want to remain the slave of my big lie; I was using drugs for years. I was a big talker but I never told the truth."

Now 42-years-old, Skibby was a professional from 1986 to 2000, riding for teams including Roland, TVM, and Home-Jack & Jones, which later became Memory Card-Jack & Jones. He won stages in the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España, but is probably best remembered for a spectacular crash on the Koppenberg climb during the 1987 Tour of Flanders (Ronde van Vlaanderen).

Skibby claims to have used EPO, anabolic steroids and caffeine throughout much of his career: "I played a role, hiding behind a mask but I couldn't live with this lie anymore," he said on HLN.

The Dane also says he's prepared for any negative repercussions when his book is released this Wednesday. "I have lied to the media for many years. Concerning cycling's milieu, I don't fear what they say."

Holczer stands fast on DNA tests

By Susan Westemeyer

Hans-Michael Holczer
Photo ©: Mani Wollner
Click for larger image

A rider who is unwilling to supply a DNA sample probably doesn't stand a good chance of riding for Team Gerolsteiner according to team manager Hans-Michael Holczer. "Many riders still haven't recognised it yet, that nobody can and will force them to give a DNA sample. But it is the best possibility for them to exonerate themselves if they face doping charges," said Holczer in the Gäubote newspaper.

And if a rider refuses? "Then it's time for me as team boss to stand firm. In the end, the team belongs to me and my wife. We are the ones who make the rules and decide who we will hire."

Holczer refused to comment on Discovery Channel's signing of Ivan Basso saying; "I'm not going to take a position. I would rather say things to my colleagues face-to-face rather than through the media."

Is Peraita linked to Fuentes?

By Antonio J. Salmerón

The suspicion of doping returns to Spain and Germany, after the German Athletics Federation (DLV) presented to the office of the public prosecutor in Magdeburgh a complaint against the Spanish doctor Miguel Angel Peraita today.

The DLV accuses Peraita, an expert in anabolic training, of being linked with the cases of doping in cycling unearthed in the Operación Puerto investigation in Spain and Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor at the centre of the allegations, according to an official press note sent by the German Federation today. Well-known Dutch athlete Jos Hermens was also implicated.

The German federation has accused Peraita of being involved in the trafficking of medicine for doping purposes. From his agency Global Sports Communication, Peraita handled the professional life of hundreds of athletes and took Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie to the success.

Peraita's name had already arisen in the Puerto investigations in February, when he was tied to former German trainer of athletics, Thomas Springstein, sentenced to 16 months imprisonment in March. Springstein was condemned by the First Instance Court of Magdeburg, which convicted him for giving the then 16-year-old athlete Anne-Kathrin Elbe a prohibited substances in 2004. According to the mentioned Court, he committed a "serious violation of the legislation on medicines" when giving to the young athlete a bottle that contained the substance 'testosterone-undecaonat', explaining to her that it was "vitamins".

Springstein was given advice by email from Pareita, claims the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

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

Ljungblad re-signs with

Jonas Ljungblad
Photo ©: Mal Sawford
Click for larger image

After an impressive year, Jonas Ljungblad has signed a two-year extension to his contract with's ProTour team structure. The former Swedish champion took a stage victory for the team in this year's Tour of Luxembourg before finishing an encouraging fourth overall. Top six finishes including two podiums in the GP Villers Cotterêts, Tour de Picardie, Tour de Vendee and the Boucle de L'Aulne topped off the Scandinavian's impressive form.

Ljungblad is aiming for victory in the Flemish classics for 2007 and is already said to be in top condition for the events that kick off in March.

Quick Step heading for Tuscany

Quick.Step-Innergetic, the team of current world road race champion Paolo Bettini and previous winner Tom Boonen, will begin their 2007 campaign with a training camp in Marina di Bibbona, Livorno, starting on December 8.

The week-long training camp is the result of an invitation from the Administration of Bibbona and the Hotel Marinetta, where the team will be staying, with the idea of promoting the area as a destination for cycling tourism.

Riders will follow an intensive program of training and physiological testing, followed by official photo shoots and preparation of promotional material. The team will return to Belgium on December 14 for their official presentation at the Kortrijk Expo, scheduled to take place the following day.

Australian team in Melbourne for Oceanias

Eleven Victorians headline the Australian team due to the compete at the 2007 Oceania track cycling championships, to be held in Melbourne from November 23-26 this week. Staged at the Joe Ciavola Velodrome, a number of members from the Australian team have come straight from last weekend's opening round of the track world cup in Sydney. There, Australia topped the nation rankings, and hold a four point margin over the Netherlands and 13 points over third-placed Russia. Germany and France round out the top five nations.

The Oceania Games team includes junior world champion Shane Perkins, former junior world champion Mark French, 2004 Austral Wheelrace champion Zak Dempster, 2005 Oceania sprint champion Jason Niblett and Joel Leonard, all from Victoria. Joining them will be Mark Jamieson, a member of the 2006 world champion Australian pursuit team, 2006 junior kilo champion Scott Sunderland, former junior world Olympic sprint champion Kial Stewart, Daniel Ellis and 2005 Queensland cyclist of the year Hayden Josefski.

In the women's field, Victoria will again be well represented by former world champion and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Kate Mactier, six-time 2005 Australian road and track champion Tess Downing and Jessica Berry. The Australian contingent also features Kerrie Meares, 2002 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, 2004 world junior points champion Amanda Spratt, 2005 Australian junior female track cyclist of the year Skye-Lee Armstrong, 2006 Australian TT champion Kristine Bayley, 2005 world junior keirin champion Chloe Macpherson, and Kaarle McCulloch.

The Australian team will be training on the track from Wednesday before a qualifying session on Thursday evening. The first competition session is Friday 24 November at 9.00am.

A working vacation for Zabel

By Susan Westemeyer

Erik Zabel is a real workhorse, who not only rides a full program on the road from January to October, but also fills in the off-season with Six-Day races (which, of course, he frequently wins). So what does a man like that do for vacation? He takes part in the Cycling Week on the cruiseship Aida.

Zabel, and team-mates Björn Schröder and Enrico Poitschke are on the high seas for a week, as of November 18, along with more than 30 participants in the program, co-sponsored by Tour magazine. The participants will train with the professionals, do spinning on the pool deck and ride up to 60 kilometres a day on the Canary Islands.

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