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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for November 25, 2006

Edited by Sue George

Three way scrap for final ProTour place

Saiz licence depends on financial guarantees

Phonak's exit has paved the way for a new entrant to the ProTour in 2007
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

With a decision due soon on which teams will be awarded ProTour licences in 2007, three squads are each hoping that they have done enough to secure the final place which is definitely up for grabs. Astana, and Barloworld have each applied for a licence and now have a nervous wait in order to see which one will be given the green light. Shane Stokes reports.

Cyclingnews spoke to UCI ProTour manager Alain Rumpf this week about the process and he clarified the state of affairs. "In accordance with our regulations, the teams had to finalise their financial file by November the 20th," he said. "Now it is up to the ProTour Council to make a decision based on this, something which will be done within a few days.

"One of the conditions to get or keep a license is to have the financial file in order. In the case that there is any problem, the information will then be transferred to the License Commission, who will act."

Rumpf gave a clear timetable as regards the various stages before the final announcement. “The license commission meets on November 28 to issue preliminary opinion on the definitive grant of licenses,” he stated. “Teams whose preliminary opinion is negative can be heard at the December 7 meeting and the commission will then make a final decision. The UCI will communicate [the result] after these decisions have been made.”

In all, three licences are up for renewal, while one is yet to be confirmed. T-Mobile and Caisse d'Epargne have already been granted a provisional licence and, according to Rumpf, they will be cleared to join the ProTour once again if their financial file is in order.

The third licence is that of the former Phonak team, which was originally planning to continue through 2007 and onwards via the backing of the iShares sponsor. However the positive test returned by Tour de France winner Floyd Landis led to the collapse of that arrangement and, with no replacement backer found, owner Andy Rihs was reluctantly forced to abandon hope of a new team.

It is this place that is now up for grabs. "The new Astana team - the one based in Switzerland - plus Team Barloworld and are going for the empty slot," confirmed Rumpf on Tuesday.

To read the full feature, click here.

Beijing Olympic road course unveiled

This week, China gave its first public showing of the proposed road course for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. UCI official Charly Mottet told Radio New Zealand that the proposed course will not cater to sprinters. Instead, Mottet compared the proposed course to a stage in the mountains of the Tour de France.

The course starts near the Forbidden City and heads to the Great Wall of China. During the first, flat 80km, racers will pass Tiananmen Square. Near the Great Wall, the climbing begins in earnest. Racers are slated to tackle six or seven laps of a 24km circuit that climbs 520m per lap. Nothing is definite yet, organizers await UCI approval for the course.

Race organizers take action against ProTour

UCI President
Pat McQuaid
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
Click for larger image

The association of race organizers (AIOCC) announced Friday, at the end of its general assembly meeting, that it intended to bring proceedings before the European Commission regarding the legitimacy of the ProTour. They called into question the "closed nature" of the ProTour. A majority, in this case 80%, of the 87 attending organizers, and not only Grand Tour promoters, supported the group's action. The organization told L'Equipe that it intended to the use the European Commission "to express its opposition to the system of competitions called ProTour."

UCI President Pat McQuaid responded to L'Equipe saying that the UCI would make itself available to an arbitration court considering the charge. "We are absolutely trustful of our vision of the ProTour and believe there is no obstruction [of fairness]. We are ready to provide the authorities of the European Commission with all the details and information which they will need. Obviously, we will comply with any decisions that are made, but we calmly await the decision."

Since its inception two years ago, the UCI's ProTour has met with mixed reactions. Many riders and organizers have opposed the ProTour and considered it too limiting, in terms of the numbers of teams, riders, and events included.

The European Commission, according to its website, "upholds the general interest of the [European] Union and is the driving force in the Union's institutional system. Its four main roles are to propose legislation to Parliament and the Council, to administer and implement Community policies, to enforce Community law (jointly with the Court of Justice) and to negotiate international agreements, mainly those relating to trade and cooperation."

EPO found in eight bags of blood

By Antonio J. Salmerón

The Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported in its Friday edition that the antidoping laboratory of Barcelona has detected traces of EPO in eight of the bags of blood analyzed for the Operación Puerto investigation. The lab's report was sent to the judge involved in the affair, but it did not identify any racers implicated by the results. The bags were among those found in Madrid by the Spanish national Guardia Civil earlier in 2006.

According to the Spanish newspaper El País, "Although the judge sent 99 bags for the analysis, they only examined the most suspicious ones, and in eight of them, high amounts of recombinant EPO were detected. In the report, no riders are identified by name, only the numbers and the codes used by Eufemiano Fuentes." El País clarified that "the judge requested analysis only of those bags which contained plasma, but not those ones which contain red cells." The Barcelona lab is accredited by the International Olympic Committee and by WADA.

Eufemiano Fuentes's lawyer, Julián Pérez Templado, commented to El Mundo, "We have no official results from the Barcelona lab," and reminded that "the traces of EPO in the blood bags do not prove that any crime against the public health has been committed." Fuentes is one of eight persons accused in the ongoing investigation. Pro racers allegedly visited Dr. Fuentes' clinic to have blood extracted for doping or to collect performance-enhancing drugs.

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

Jaksche cleared to ride

By Susan Westemeyer

Another Operación Puerto rider is free to ride again: Jörg Jaksche, a German citizen living in Austria. The Austrian cycling federation will not hold hearings against him as its General Secretary, Rudolf Massak, told the German press agency sid. However, they are retaining the option to reopen the case if needed.

Jaksche was removed from his team's Tour de France roster shortly before the Tour start and did not race again this season. He has a contract with Manolo Saiz through the 2007 season.

More confusion over Ullrich's status

By Susan Westemeyer

If you believe BILD magazine, Jan Ullrich will be back in the pro ranks any day now. If you believe Swiss Cycling, he won't. The confusion over his status and the status of the investigations into his connection with Operation Puerto continues to grow.

BILD magazine reports that Ullrich and his attorney expect to receive a letter from UCI president Pat McQauid "any day," saying that the documents from Spain cannot be used in any other investigation, and that therefore, there will be no proceedings against him in Switzerland.

The Austrians have already received McQuaid's letter, BILD reports, and therefore dropped their investigation of Jörg Jaksche. The Swiss will react the same way, according to BILD, which quotes Lorenz Schläfli, director of Swiss Cycling, as saying, "We don't have anything in front of us at this time. When we have the instructions from McQuaid, we will recommend to our disciplinary committee that no proceedings against Jan Ullrich be opened."

However, Schläfli told Cyclingnews Friday afternoon, "We have been told that the dossier which we have received cannot be used for a disciplinary hearing. However, there are some interventions and complaints pending dealing with the question of whether these papers may be used or not. So we are still waiting for further information from the Spanish investigators."

To add to the confusion, UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani told Cyclingnews: "In fact, the UCI wrote to the NF [national federations] in order to inform them that using the documents from Spain for disciplinary proceeding was no longer allowed."

No licence, but Ullrich still liable for tests

By Shane Stokes

Curious as to the situation vis-à-vis out of competition testing of Jan Ullrich since he returned his licence to the Swiss federation, Cyclingnews has learned that the 32 year-old remains eligible for testing by three different bodies.

The first of these is the German National Anti-Doping Organisation. While his most recent licence was taken out in Switzerland, the former T-Mobile rider is included in the German Registered Testing Pool due to the fact that he could represent that country at the world championships or Olympic Games. Most national anti-doping organisations have a legal right to test competitors from that country, regardless of their membership or licence status.

The second possible source of unannounced tests is the UCI, who passed on documents from the Operación Puerto case to the Swiss federation earlier this year in order for their investigation to proceed. According to an official from the governing body, Jan Ullrich "is on our Registered Testing Pool for 2007, on the basis of suspicions about doping practices, ie Operación Puerto."

"Even if he was to announce his retirement, under Article 77 of the UCI rules, he cannot compete internationally unless he is available for out of competition testing six months before the date of his return. It is therefore in his best interests to continue to make himself available for OOC testing so that he can return to international competition as soon as or if he obtains a contract and licence."

The third body which could request a test from the rider is the World Anti Doping Agency, WADA. It has the authority to test any athletes who are included in the registered testing pools of international federations or national anti-doping organisations.

The news invalidates any speculation that Ullrich’s rejection of his licence could have led to a lack of testing while he awaits the start of the 2007 season. The 1997 Tour de France winner was implicated in the Operación Puerto affair earlier this year and missed the Tour as a result.

As he held a racing licence with them at the time, the Swiss federation is the one who will investigate the charges against him. On Friday it was revealed that the anti-doping arm of the federation plans to open their hearing against him in early January. If Ullrich wins his case, that should clear the way for a return to top-level cycling. However, a previous suspension for amphetamine use means that a guilty verdict could be followed by a life ban from the sport.

2007 Giro d'Italia in Trentino

By Gregor Brown

Ivan Basso kisses the spoils
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

The 2007 Giro d'Italia will once again return to the Italy's northern region of Trentino-Alto Adige, where there is rumoured to be two mountain stages. Though the official 2007 Corsa Rosa will not be revealed until December 2, speculates there will be one stage on May 28 that will finish in Tre Cime di Lavaredo and another on June 1 that will finish in Comano Terme.

The stage on Monday, from Trento to Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Veneto), could be a doozy depending on how the organizers place the climbs leading to the mythical finish. The Tre Cime di Lavaredo was the stomping ground for Felice Gimondi in the 1967 Giro, and more recently Giovanni Battaglin, in 1981. From Misurina the climb measures 7.2km in length and contains 576m of climbing, with an average gradient of 8%.

Friday, two days before the finish, and on the eve of the Giro's last time trial, the riders will race from Treviso to Comano Terme. The Le Valli Giudicarie area is often used in the Giro d'Oro and offers the availability of fierce climbing, although the exact stage parcours are still unknown.

"This will be an opportunity for us to show to all of Italy and the world the images of our great land; how much there is on offer in terms of landscape and sporting vacations," said a proud Tiziano Mellarini to

Cyclingnews will bring complete coverage of the 90th Giro d'Italia route when it is unveiled December 2 in Milano.

Liquigas to hold first training camp for 2007

The first training camp of the 2007 Liquigas team will happen from November 27 to December 2 in Salsomaggiore Terme.

General Manager Roberto Amadio has planned a schedule including meetings and spa treatments. This will be the first time the 2007 team comes together. Amadio said, "This occasion is important to consolidate the ties of friendship and to welcome the new riders. We are going to focus on cultivating the right team spirit."

Looking to 2007, Pérez prefers the Giro

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears team manager Eusebio Unzué decided to send racer Fran Pérez to the Giro d'Italia in 2006 rather than to the Tour de France along with his friend and countryman Alejandro Valverde. For that reason, at the end of February, Pérez was already exhibiting good form from which he profited at the Clásica de Almeria.

"I was preparing for Giro, but it was a long way away, so I did not wait for success there," said Pérez. A few days later, he made his season debut in his home country at the Vuelta a Murcia, where he had never previously been able to compete while racing for his former Portuguese Maia-Millaneza team. "It was a very nice experience," said Pérez of the Vuelta a Murcia race.

Pérez suffered a slow start to the Giro, especially after the time trial. "I had a pair of bad days, so that I dropped in the General [classification], although I soon recovered some positions," said Pérez. Teammate Jose Iván Gutiérrez later assumed the leadership role, which let Pérez catch his breath and focus on the upcoming racing in the Dolomites.

Once back home, Pérez set his sights on the Vuelta, but Unzué did not favor the decision. He preferred Pablo Lastras. "I accepted that badly, because I had been training very hard," said Pérez, who will lose a close teammate for 2007, Cayetano Juliá.

At the end of 2007, Pérez's contract will be up for renewal with Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears. He said, "I would like to continue one season more, because I am very happy here." When discussing his 2007 calendar, he said "I want my schedule to be more fixed, that is, without unforeseeable last minute changes because I need to have a fixed target." Elaborating on his desired race goals for 2007, Pérez said, "I prefer to go to the Giro than rather than race in the Tour."

Australian cycling awards announced

Cyclist of the year Cadel Evans
Photo ©: John Veage
(Click for larger image)

Cadel Evans named 2006 Australian cyclist of the year

Cadel Evans has been named the 2006 Australian Cyclist of the Year and awarded the Sir Hubert 'Oppy' Opperman Medal at a gala event at Melbourne's Arts Centre.

In 2006, Evans equaled the highest overall placing ever by an Australian at the Tour de France when he finished the three-week epic in fifth place. During the season he also won a stage and overall honours in the Tour of Romandie, and he finished the year ranked fourth on the UCI ProTour rankings. In addition this award, Evans was named the Cyclingnews 2006 Australian Male Road Cyclist of the Year.

Following is a list of all award winners.

Track Cyclists of the Year - Ben Kersten (male) and Anna Meares

Kersten outpaced two Olympic Champions to claim gold in the kilometre time trial at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. A month later at the World Championships in Bordeaux, he collected the silver medal. At the World Cup round in Los Angeles he scored gold in the kilo, and at the Australian Championships took home four gold medals.

Meares overcame a career-threatening back injury to post a winning ride in the 500m time trial at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne where she also picked up silver in the sprint. She won the sprint at the Sydney round of the World Cup and at the World Titles posted the second fastest 500m time to claim silver. She is also the reigning Oceania Champion in the sprint and time trial.

Cyclingnews Female Road Cyclist of the Year - Oenone Wood

Wood began the season with her third straight overall victory in the Geelong Tour and a month later was celebrating gold in the time trial at the Commonwealth Games. In the road race in Melbourne she led home the main bunch to clinch a silver medal. Oenone also celebrated a stage win in the Tour de l’Aude in France.

Mountain Bike Cyclist of the Year - Sam Hill (male) and Katrina Miller (female)

Hill produced a thrilling run at the World Championships to claim the gold medal in the elite downhill. He was consistent throughout the year picking up two World Cup wins in Great Britain and Austria to finish second overall in the World Cup Series. He won the NORBA Series and finished the year as the number one ranked downhill rider in the world.

Miller's final year of international competition saw her again challenging on the international stage. She won the 4X at the Mont St Anne World Cup in Canada and was second in both the German and Brazilian rounds to finish the World Cup series ranked fourth overall.

Masters Cyclist of the Year - Keith Oliver (male) and Lorraine Schutz (female)

A triple gold medalist at the World Championships Oliver won the kilometre time trial, individual pursuit and points race. He also picked up silver in the sprint and was named the Best Male Rider of the Competition.

Schutz is the reigning road time trial World Champion and the Australian Champion in the individual pursuit. She also claimed silver in the road time trial and bronze in the road race at the Australian Championships.

Toyota AWD Cyclist of the Year - Michael Gallagher (male) and Lindy Hou & pilots Toireasa Gallagher & Janelle Lindsay (female)

Gallagher's World Championship debut in Switzerland this year saw him post two World Records to win gold in both the individual pursuit and the kilometre time trial. He also won gold in the pursuit and ‘kilo’ at the Australian Championships.

Hou and Gallagher returned from the World Championships in Switzerland with new rainbow jerseys after victories in the pursuit on the track and in the road race. Earlier in the year Hou teamed with Lindsay to win gold at the Australian Track Championships in the time trial and sprint.

SBS Television Coach of the Year - Scott Sharples

2006 marked the culmination of five years of exceptional work by Sharples. At the World Championships in New Zealand his riders claimed gold, bronze, fifth and sixth in the men’s elite downhill and gold in the junior women’s downhill. Scott has steered Australia to the position of the world’s number one ranked men’s downhill nation.

Sportscover Junior MTB Cyclist of the Year - Daniel Braunsteins (male) and Tracey Hannah (female)

Braunsteins is the Australian Short Track Champion and was second in the cross country at the Australian Championships and Oceania Championships. At the World Titles in New Zealand he placed sixth.

Hannah had an exceptional year in 2006. She was the series champion and won up two rounds in the elite division of the NORBA series and ended her season with a gold medal winning ride to be crowned Junior Women’s Downhill World Champion.

Sportscover Junior Track Cyclist of the Year - Cameron Meyer (male) and Tess Downing (female)

At the Junior World Championships in Belgium Meyer won gold in the individual pursuit and on the same night teamed with brother Travis for victory in the Madison. A crash during the race meant he spent the night in hospital but as soon as he was cleared to race he was back at the track for his third gold medal, this time in the team pursuit.

Downing claimed bronze in the scratch race at the World Championships where she also finished fifth in the points race and sixth in the pursuit. She was named Champion of Champions at the Nationals where she claimed three gold and a silver medal.

Sportscover Junior Road Cyclist of the Year - Cameron Meyer (male) and Peta Mullens (female)

Meyer won the road race and was second in the time trial at the Australian Championships. He won the time trial category of the National Road Series and at the World Championships finished fifth in the time trial.

Mullens took out overall honours in the National Series and scored three silver medals at the Australian Championships in the road race, time trial and criterium.

Other Awards

Australian Sports Commission Volunteers of the Year: Miles Prosser, Damon Scarfe, Peter Gould, Peter Rasell, Barry Skinner, Phillip Benson, George Nelson, Brian Taylor.
National Road Series Champion: Robert McLachlan (Male), Vicki Whitelaw (Female), Drapac Porsche (Team)
Event Merit Award: SCOTT 24 hour Mountain Bike Championships
Australian Club Premiership: Midlands Club - WA
Norm Gailey Trophy: New South Wales


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by John Veage

USA Cycling seeks Junior Endurance Program Manager

USA Cycling is recruiting for a Junior Endurance Program Manager who will work full time and be responsible for developing the junior national staff infrastructure; implementation of strategy for US national road and track endurance teams; management of all coaches, logistics coordinators and operations associated with the junior road program; budget preparation for the overall junior program; and development camps and development of selection procedures for all junior programs and teams including the junior worlds team.

Applicants must hold a current USA Cycling coaches license and have an understanding of basic training protocols along with experience with power based training. French or Spanish language skills are preferred. Deadline: Wednesday, November 29, 4:30 pm US MST.

For more information, contact Debbie Francis at

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