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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for November 30, 2006

Edited by Gregor Brown

McQuaid appeals to Lissavetzky over leaks and sanction limbo

By Shane Stokes

UCI president Pat McQuaid
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Click for larger image

UCI President Pat McQuaid has expressed his frustration with the current situation vis-ŕ-vis the Operación Puerto investigation, sending a strongly worded letter to Spanish minister of sport, Jaime Lissavetzky. The story was earlier reported here but Cyclingnews has since obtained a copy of the communication which provides a clearer picture of the reasons for the UCI's discontent.

In the letter, McQuaid commences by passing on his condolences to all affected by the tragic death of Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears rider and current world Madison champion Isaac Gálvez in Gent last weekend. He then moves on to the Operación Puerto situation, voicing his concern that despite the ongoing leak of information into the public domain, the UCI still, effectively, has its hands tied and cannot act.

"You understand, as we have discussed previously, this affair is doing enormous damage to the credibility of our sport," writes McQuaid. "This began with the continuous leaks to the media of material related to the investigation all through 2006. Then the judge, having provided us with relevant material for use in a sports disciplinary process and the UCI having spent an enormous amount of time, effort and money on preparing the dossiers of each case, in October announced that we cannot now use any of the information to process and possibly eventually sanction riders.

"Now this past weekend we are once again faced with leaks of information to the Spanish media of important, confidential information from the investigation, the substance and presentation of which is damning of certain cyclists referred to. And the UCI can do absolutely nothing about this. We cannot, as we would dearly like to do, use the information to discipline and sanction riders involved. Indeed we must legally allow these riders to continue to race throughout 2007 until this investigation concludes at which time we might, and I say might, be supplied with enough evidence to go after those riders allegedly involved."

Read the full Cyclingnews news feature.

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

Deutschland Tour on TV, but without Ullrich?

By Susan Westemeyer

Ullrich in 2005 race
Photo ©: Andrea Hübner
Click for larger image

German television viewers will likely see the Deutschland Tour again in 2007 but they may not be seeing Jan Ullrich riding in it. Both ARD, the German television provider, and Tour director Kai Rapp have spoken out against having Ullrich's participation in the race.

"It is our job to take care that Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso do not start our race," Rapp said, according to the press agency dpa. He said he was willing to face any legal problems with the two riders, "no matter how much it hurts."

Rapp is echoing the line from the ARD, which said that in "a clear decision in favour of cycling," it has decided to renew negotiations with the race organizers. In October the TV station had said that it would not carry the Tour in 2007 because of the damage caused to cycling's reputation by doping allegations.

"This is respect and acknowledgement for the enormous steps taken by cycling in the fight against doping," ARD Director Fritz Raff told the press agency sid. "The Bund Deutscher Radfahrer and the teams too have done a lot to fight doping." Raff was also against a start by Jan Ullrich, saying "That would be a problem."

An additional problem may be in the dates of the Tour, which is now scheduled to run from Wednesday, August 8, to Thursday, August 16. The ARD would rather have the race run over two weekends, from Saturday, August 11, to Sunday, August 19, but the dates must be cleared with the UCI.

Giro d'Italia to celebrate 60 years of Ferrari

Team time trial prologue possibility

The 90th edition of the Giro d'Italia will celebrate world-renowned car manufacturer Ferrari. This Saturday in Milano will be the official presentation of next year's parcours, where the exact details will be discovered, but, according to Tuttosport, the organizers are planning on taking the peloton to Ferrari's track in Fiorano Modenese.

The stage to Ferrari's track in the Emilia-Romagna region will celebrate sixty years since the first car was introduced by the Italian firm. Planned for May 20, the day will be suited to auto-enthusiasts; the partenza is scheduled to be in Barberino del Mugello (Toscana), where there is the famous 15-turn race track used for F1 and MotoGP.

Nearly sixty years ago when Ferrari was founded, cycling was ruled by Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali, with the former taking the 1947 Corsa Rosa title. The race did not visit Ferrari headquarters that year but did on one other occasion, in 1975. Over 30 years ago it was Norwegian Knut Knudsen who took the honors in the Giro's opening stage, from Milano to Fiorano Modenese. Knudsen won in a sprint but a similar finish may not be so likely in 2007. From Toscana to Emilia-Romagna, the peloton could be shattered when they will be forced to cross the Appennini mountain range.

The 2007 Giro d'Italia will run from May 12 to June 3, with the start being hosted on the island of Sardegna. The race is expected to stay on the island for three days, with the first being a prologue. Further, Tuttosport reported that the prologue may in fact be a team time trial. The Giro has opened its race with a team prologue in the past; In 1954 Bianchi took the win in Palermo and, more recently, in 1982 it was Renault in Milano. Last year, it held a long team TT stage from Piacenza to Cremona, while if the 2007 edition starts with a prologue team TT it is unlikely we will see a full version over the following three weeks.

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

Saiz concerned with Spanish Guardia Civil's "data processing errors"

Manolo Saiz, former team manager of Liberty Seguros-Würth, has claimed that there were irregularities in the documentation that led to his team getting being banned from starting the 2006 Tour de France.

According to Spanish newspaper as, Enrique Gómez, a lieutenant of the Guardia Civil, said in his court statements that there were "data processing errors" which caused an unintended version of a report being delivered to the presiding judge and the sports council, Consejo Superior de Deportes (CSD). Gómez made the statements in Madrid's court 19 in front María Luisa Alvarez, where there was the public prosecutor and his own lawyer. Judge Alvarez has confirmed these statements by the lieutenant which took place on August 13, which gave rise for the current court case.

The court case is still ongoing; Manolo Saiz is claiming the CSD is partly to blame for his team being on the verge of losing their ProTour license because of the alleged irregularities in the investigation documents. In addition, they were supposedly forwarded without the authorization of the judge in charge; on June 29 (two days before the beginning of the Tour of France).

Pereiro leads Tour team

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Pereiro in Yellow
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

According to the Spanish newspaper La Voz de Galicia, Oscar Pereiro, possible winner of the 2006 Tour of France, answered, "it will have two leaders," when asked who will lead Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears in next year's Tour. "Valverde and me, and while if I will have options to win the Tour, I will not work for anybody. I hope to be among the best riders and be a protagonist. I will also try to participate in the Vuelta, since it will start in my region, Galicia."

Regarding the Tour of France, Pereiro added, "I don't like that it continues vacant, but I believe that it [the winner] is already determined. The organization has said that the winner will be Landis or Pereiro. Therefore, I am waiting. Until they disqualify Landis, I cannot give an opinion. And if so [disqualification from the Tour], I believe that would be a sufficient punishment ..."

World champions of road and track to race in Tour Down Under

1997 road race World Champion, Laurent Brochard, will lead the French Bouygues Telecom team at the 2007 Tour Down Under in January. The 38 year-old Frenchman's win at the 1997 world championships in San Sebastián capped off a stellar season of success which also included victory in the ninth stage of the 1997 Tour de France.

"Brochard has been in the pro ranks for more than a decade and continues to post results and show the younger riders how it's done," said Tour Down Under Race Director Mike Turtur. "The Bouygues Telecom team that will contest the Tour Down Under is a mix of experience and youth with several French stars of the future making the trip to Australia."

The Tour Down Under is also pleased to welcome back Olympic, Commonwealth and world teams pursuit champion, Brett Lancaster, will return in 2007 to race with his new team, Milram. Lancaster, who since the Athens Olympic Games has concentrated on forging a career on the road, won the prologue of the 2005 Giro d'Italia and wore the race leader's maglia rosa for one day.

"Lancaster is one of Australia's most talented cyclists but also one of our quiet achievers," said Turtur. "I was very excited to learn he would join the ProTour ranks next year and that his first race with Milram would be here in South Australia."

Joining Lancaster in the Milram line up is 2005 Tour of Denmark climbing champion, Martin Müller of Germany and Dutch cyclist Niki Terpstra who this year won the fourth stage of the Tour of Belgium. Italian Elia Rigotto, a stage winner in this year's Tour Méditerranéen, will also race in the Tour Down Under.

Milram (Ita)
Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita)
Elia Rigotto (Ita)
Brett Lancaster (Aus)
Sebastian Siedler (Ger)
Martin Müller (Ger)
Dennis Haueisen (Ger)
Sebastian Schwager (Ger)
Niki Terpstra (Ned)
Team Manager: Vittorio Algeri

Bouygues Telecom (Fra)
Laurent Brochard (Fra)
Giovanni Bernaudeau (Fra)
Dimitri Champion (Fra)
Mathieu Claude (Fra)
Nicolas Crosbie (Fra)
Andy Flickinger (Fra)
Olivier Bonnaire (Fra)
Yohann Gčne (Fra)
Team Manager: Dominique Arnould

The 2007 Tour Down Under will be held January 16 – 21, 2007. For further information please visit the official website at www.tourdownunder.com.au.

2006 Perth track cycling grand prix

The "midland metro" 2006 International Track Cycling Grand Prix on Friday, December 1, at the Midvale Speedome is shaping up to be one of the biggest track cycling events ever staged in Perth, Australia. The theme, similar to the Test Cricket Ashes series, will be a Great Britain vs Australia showdown with many Olympic, World, Commonwealth Games and National Champions competing on one night.

Victorian Mark French is returning to Perth for the first time since the now infamous "French affair" in 2004. French has been in top form competing in Europe, USA and Australia in 2006, and will face up against Olympic gold medallists Chris Hoy, Ryan Bayley and Jason Queally and top class sprint riders Ben Kersten, Ross Edgar, Shane Perkins and Scott Sunderland.

Sprint events on the night will be the sprint, men's team sprint and keirin. The Women's will feature a best of three sprint race between 2005 World sprint champion and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Victoria Pendleton from England matched up against Kristine Bayley, plus an Invitational Keirin race.

The Perth Track Cycling Grand Prix will also feature endurance events and many support events to keep the action flowing.

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