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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for November 24, 2006

Edited by Gregor Brown

Hamilton confirmes 2007 contract with Tinkoff

Hamilton rides in Nevada Triathlon
Photo ©: Jason Goldberg
(Click for larger image)

The long rumoured signing of Tyler Hamilton with Italy-based Tinkoff Credit Systems is now official. The 35 year-old American, back after a two-year doping suspension, will headline the professional continental team financed by Russian businessman Oleg Tinkoff.

Over 10 days ago it was speculated that Hamilton had in fact signed with Tinkoff when at Nevada for the Silverman Triathlon he responded, "Yes, I have signed with a team," during a pre-race press conference. On September 22, he finished his ban from cycling, which started in the fall of 2004 when he was sacked from Phonak for failing a blood doping test.

"I made a mistake and the price that I had to pay was very high," said Hamilton. Team General Manager Stefano Feltrin confirmed to Cyclingnews that a one-year agreement was made for the 2007 season. "Now I am ready to put myself back into competition. I passed excruciating long months and have come out on top thanks to the help of my family and my close friends. Now I am ready to for a new challenge and I want to thank Tinkoff Credit Systems for offering me this new opportunity."

The Tinkoff team will be under the control of current Team LPR Manager Omar Piscina. The 30 year-old Italian had hinted at signing a top rider in early November. "The team will be soon complete with three more members, of which will be one of top-level," he said then. The rider ended up being the reigning Olympic time trial champion.

"To reach an agreement with Tyler was very important," Piscina said this morning. "I want to say thanks to Tinkoff Credit Systems for the unquestioned support in signing the talented American. We are convinced that with Tyler the team can make a huge leap in quality. We know the past of Hamilton but we are confident that he deserves a second chance, like has happened with other cyclists in the past."

Hamilton wins 2003 Liège
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

Hamilton is a product of two super-teams; staring his career in 1995, he spent many years at the side of Lance Armstrong in US Postal colours, present for the Texan's first three tours (1999 to 2001). In 2002 he transferred to the team of Bjarne Riis; CSC. While in CSC colours he finished second in the 2002 Giro d'Italia behind Paolo Savoldelli, with a micro-fracture of his rib bone, and in 2003 he recorded a monumental win in the Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

After 2003, Hamilton left the side of Riis to reinforce Phonak's line-up. During the following season he took his second Giro di Romandie win and won the Olympic time trial before testing positive for blood doping at the Vuelta a España, resulting in a two year ban.

This last summer Hamilton's name was linked to the Operación Puerto investigation when the Guardia Civil revealed two pages of faxed document allegedly detailing payments to Doctor Fuentes during the 2003 and 2004 seasons. The Guardia Civil even claimed to have recovered bags of the American's blood from Fuentes' offices.

But the investigation has reached a standstill in the hands of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), who have not made a decision regarding disciplinary hearings for Hamilton. The rider continued to maintain his firm stance, saying on his website,, "What I do know is that these allegations are hurtful and false. It is not clear to me who is translating and alleging these things."

Hamilton is now ready to put the past behind him and turn a new page in his career. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the rider who used to base himself in Girona, Spain is considering a move to Calendasco, a town of 2,000 residents near Piacenza, where Tinkoff has a headquarters.

Oleg Tinkov
Photo ©: Sergey Kurdyukov
(Click for larger image)

With the signing of Tyler Hamilton it is highly likely the team will receive an invitation to compete in the Giro d'Italia, a race that Tyler almost won in 2002. Tinkoff is practically complete for the new season at 17 riders: Tyler Hamilton (USA), Elia Aggiano (Ita), Pavel Brutt (Rus), Ilya Chernetsky (Rus), Salvatore Commesso (Ita), Daniele Contrini (Ita), Danilo Hondo (Ger), Sergey Klimov (Rus), Mikhail Ignatyev (Rus), Ruggero Marzoli (Ita), Anton Mindlin (Rus), Evgeni Petrov (Rus), Ivan Rovny (Rus), Alexander Serov (Rus), Ricardo Serrano (Esp), Nikolay Trusov (Rus) and Steffen Weigold (Ger).

The team will have its first camp December 4 to 7 in Riccione, where they will be joined by Oleg Tinkov. The 37 year-old Russian, who raced as an amateur and made his fortune in the beer industry, will likely join the cyclists on their training rides.

Cyclingnews coverage of Tyler Hamilton's blood doping case

November 26, 2006 - Confusion over Hamilton 'admission'
November 24, 2006 - Hamilton confirmes 2007 contract with Tinkoff
November 14, 2006 - Hamilton signed with Tinkoff?
November 13, 2006 - Hamilton has signed
October 31, 2006 - USA Cycling CEO on Puerto developments
October 21, 2006 - UCI questions value of teams hiring riders under suspension cloud
September 15, 2006 - USA Cycling informed about Hamilton
September 2, 2006 - Hamilton's World's aspirations dashed
August 29, 2006 - McQuaid on Pevenage, Hamilton, testing
August 26, 2006 - Hamilton file to be studied soon
August 22, 2006 - Extensive doping alleged for Hamilton
August 21, 2006 - Hamilton's "doping diary" from 2003 published
July 3, 2006 - Ullrich, Basso risk four years - life-long ban for Hamilton?
June 28, 2006 - Hamilton to keep Olympic time-trial gold medal
June 26, 2006 - Hamilton and Ullrich linked to Operación Puerto

Complete coverage of Tyler Hamilton's blood doping case

Swiss federation opens Ullrich disciplinary hearings

Jan Ullrich training
Photo ©: Michael Lang
(Click for larger image)

The anti-doping arm of the Swiss federation is set to open disciplinary hearings for Jan Ullrich in early January. The German cyclist, winner of the 1997 Tour de France, was linked this last may with Operación Puerto when the Spanish Guardia Civil raided the offices of doctor Eufemiano Fuentes. He was subsequently dropped from his long-time squad, T-Mobile.

"It will likely be done in the beginning of January," said Bernhard Welten to AGR regarding the disciplinary hearings. "I the moment we possess all the documents, I will ask to the disciplinary commission that we proceed."

In October, Ullrich renounced his Swiss racing license, and has since been searching for both a new national federation and a team for 2007. "My goal now is to work all my frustrations out on the bike," he said to Cyclingnews on November 13, saying that he was training around three hours every day.

The 32 year-old, who has not raced since June, has been gearing up for a legal battle by hiring a new lawyer, Dr. Peter-Michael Diestel. The German lawyer indicated that he is ready to assist his client. "I want to help bring one of Germany's most prominent and important cyclists back into the life he belongs in," Diestel told German newspaper Ostsee Zeitung.

Ullrich was allegedly linked to Fuentes via code numbers and the nickname Hijo Rudicio, similar 'evidence' as used to implicate Italian cyclist Ivan Basso. The cyclist and his lawyer may take some comfort in the recent ruling by the Italian cycling federation (FCI), to shelve the investigation of Basso. The Italian has returned to cycling's top level, albeit not without controversy, by signing a contract with Discovery Channel, and Ullrich hopes for a similar successful outcome.

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

Euskaltel-Euskadi gathers for training camp

The orange-clad Basque team, Euskaltel-Euskadi, will meet Sunday for a five-day training camp. The goal for the riders will be to get to know their 2007 teammates and staff, while going on training rides and receiving new equipment.

New team Director Sportif, Igor González de Galdeano has planned time to talk about the team's plan to visit San Diego, California for wind-tunnel testing. The goal of the trip will be to help improve the rider's strength against the clock, a known weak-point in a team predominantly filled with light-weight climbers.

Jones-Pallett and Kent to ride Christmas Carnivals

The Sports Carnival Association of Tasmania (SCAT) is happy to announce that Sarah Kent and Camille Jones-Pallett from Western Australia will be riding the National Grid Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals series.

Kent is the current Australian Junior Women's champion for the individual pursuit and set an Australian record as part of the team sprint. She is no slouch on the road either, as she currently holds the Australian junior title for the road pairs time trial.

Jones-Pallett teamed with Sarah to set the new Australian record in the teams sprint. Camille will be more favoured for the longer distances as she is the current Australian junior champion in the women's road race, criterium and pairs time trial.

Both girls are 16 years-old and will enjoy the challenge of stepping up to race against the senior women in the series. Both girls are coached by Rick Lee who is bringing out a team of 10 riders to the series.

Grant Atkins, President of SCAT, believes that the addition of these women will make for some exciting racing and will certainly challenge our local girls. "Its great to get the calibre of Sarah and Camille to race at the Carnivals and the fact they are coming from Western Australia shows the value of series," concluded Atkins.

Todd Herriott joins Hagens Berman as director

The Lake Washington Velo Cycling Club is taking another big step in solidifying itself as a premier amateur development team with the announcement of Todd Herriott as the Director Sportif. Herriott comes to the team with several years on the National Racing Calendar (NRC) circuit as a member of the Colavita/Sutter Home and Health Net programs, along with a background as a strength and conditioning coach.

"With the increased support from our sponsor Hagens Berman we were able to bring in a great talent and mentor like Todd to help mold our talented yet inexperienced riders into the cyclists of tomorrow," noted team President Terry Buchanan. "He has the experience and background to direct this team to an even higher level."

Herriott comes to the team with several stellar performances over the last several years: first American to win the Univest Grand Prix in 2002; first American to win the Tour of Cuba and finishing his professional career 12th overall at the US professional road championships earlier this year. Herriott won't only be sitting behind the wheel of the team's car but will also support the entire team in many areas including coaching, tactics, and mental toughness and will also give us a unique perspective as the season progresses via his website.

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