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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for October 3, 2006

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Samuel Sanchez: On his way up

Sanchez gives thanks,
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

One year ago, Euskaltel-Euskadi's Samuel Sanchez finished fifth in the Züri Metzgete (Championship of Zurich). One year later he finds himself the winner of this event, along the way collecting two stage victories in the Vuelta a Pais Vasco, a stage in the Vuelta a Asturias, and a stage win and top ten overall in the Vuelta a España. Add to this list a fourth place at the worlds, and second at Flèche Wallonne, both times a place behind ProTour winner Alejandro Valverde to whom he is also second in the proTour standings with two rounds to go. Cyclingnews' Hernan Alvarez caught up with him last week in his hometown of Oviedo while he was preparing himself for the Championship of Zurich, a race in which he became the Basque team's first winner of a one day classic:

To sum up things up neatly, Sanchez is finishing what seems to be his very best season so far. In contrast to the trajectory of his career this year, Samuel is one of the best riders at descending in the international peloton together with Il Falco, Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel) and others. He won in Cuenca in the Vuelta a España after an almost suicidal ride down through the streets of that city. Days later, he showed he was only getting stronger as the race continued by finishing second in the time trial on stage 20.

"I think I did very well in the Vuelta a España," said Sanchez. "I hoped to be maybe a little bit ahead in the general [classification], among the top five. I went to the Vuelta maybe to fight for the podium. What happens is that sometimes the race circumstances don't go like one wants. But I keep on being happy because I achieved one stage win."

Click here to read the full feature.

Landis attacks UCI

Floyd Landis, currently in rehabilitation after undergoing surgery on his right hip, has not ruled out a come-back to professional competition as of 2007, and maintained that he did not use banned substances to achieve his Tour de France win this year, despite the positive test results for abnormal levels of testosterone his A and B sample delivered in July. In an interview with AP, the former Phonak rider said, "The accusations against me are unfounded. I hope the world gets to see that."

Landis, who will start to ride on a stationary bike as of next week, prepares the defense of his case in what will probably be a public hearing. The 30 year-old said he thought a public hearing would be his best chance to have his side heard, and added that officials at the International Cycling Union (UCI) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prosecuted his case in the press.

He said many who run the federation only want to stay in the good graces of the International Olympic Committee in hopes of advancing their careers there. "I'm not hopeful this sport can be fixed as long as UCI is running it. That's all I can say," Landis commented.

He did not, however, lump the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) with those he believes have tarnished his reputation and that of his sport. "Apart from my side, USADA has been the one group that has followed the rules, done everything properly," he added.

May 29, 2009 - French authorities summon Landis and Baker
September 28, 2008 - Landis takes case to US federal court
September 10, 2008 - Landis signing with current Health Net-Maxxis team for 2009
July 1, 2008 - CAS delivers final blow to Landis legal challenge
June 30, 2008 - Landis loses final appeal
June 28, 2008 - Landis decision due Monday
March 12, 2008 - Landis' judgment day nears
October 21, 2007 - Landis files appeal with CAS
October 18, 2007 - AFLD takes another look at Landis case
Thursday, October 11 - Landis continues fight, appeals to CAS
Saturday, September 22 - UCI officially names Pereiro 2006 Tour champion, Landis case raises issues
Friday, September 21 - Landis' appeal denied, two year suspension levied

Bettini's brother dies

A little more than one week after Paolo Bettini was crowned World Champion in Salzburg, tragedy hit the Bettini family as Paolo's brother Sauro died in a road accident in Bibbona on Monday night, just a few metres away from his home. The 42 year-old reportedly turned over into a ditch after hitting a road obstacle with his car, and died upon his arrival in hospital. Sauro Bettini, who was organising a celebration to honour his brother's World's title next week, left behind his wife and 10 year-old son.

Paolo Bettini reportedly left Bologna, where he was preparing for this Thursday's Coppa Sabatini, to return home with his family. Cyclingnews extends its condolences to the Bettini family and friends.

Vino and Kash honoured

Alexandre Vinokourov and Andrey Kashechkin were honoured on Monday, October 2, by the President of Kazakhstan for their performance in the Vuelta a España. Head of State Nursultan Nasarbayev bestowed the order "Barys", second degree on Vuelta winner Vinokourov. Kashechkin received an apartment in the nation's capital.

According to Kazakhstan media inform, "The President wished them further success emphasizing that every person in the state was able to glorify his or her motherland. The athletes thanked the leader of Kazakhstan and the Prime Minister Daniyal Akhmetov for the support of the sport."

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Teammates happy with Bak

CSC's Lars Bak finished only 54th at Züri Metzgete, but he felt like a winner all the same after the race. As the Dane told Ekstra Bladet, he "felt really good during the first 180 kilometres, and my teammates praised me for doing a fantastic job."

Even though Bak - like most of the other riders - had a hard time in the Swiss autumn weather, he did not back down and finished the event, which saw only 64 of the initial 169 riders reaching the finish line. "It was a tough race, it was incredibly dangerous going downhill, and everyone was very scared they might crash," Bak said.

Courtesy of Katharina Schulz

Contract news: Azevedo, Ceramica Flaminia

After announcing he was to leave Discovery Channel, Jose Azevedo now made known which squad he chose for next year: Portuguese Continental team Benfica. To be able to spend more time with his family, the 33 year-old Portuguese rider opted for a smaller home team, even though he once finished fifth in the Tour de France. "It wasn't an easy decision," Azevedo said. "Discovery Channel is one of the best teams in the world, and it's a dream come true for every rider to race for it. But I've thought about this a long time, and I'm happy with my choice."

Italian team Ceramica Flaminia has announced two signings for the 2007 roster: Raffaele Illiano will be reinforcing the squad at short stage races and mountain top finishes. The 29 year-old Selle Italia rider achieved several good placings this season, including a fifth in a stage of the Giro d'Italia. Moreover, the team directed by Roberto Marrone extended the contract of Manuele Spadi. who did well in the Peace Race, finishing seventh overall.

Milram to next Italian races

The next Italian 1.1 and 1.HC races Coppa Sabatini, Giro dell’Emilia and Trofeo Beghelli on October 5, 7 and 8 call for Italian teams, and Team Milram has announced its rosters: Starting out at Coppa Sabatini will be Mirko Celestino, Michele Gobbi, Andriy Grivko, Giovanni Visconti, Fabio Sabatini, Alberto Ongarato, Alessandro Vanotti and Marco Velo.

At the Giro dell’Emilia, Sabatini, Ongarato and Velo will be replaced by Mirco Lorenzetto, Matej Jurco and Carlo Scognamiglio. For the last of these three events, Milram will line up Michele Gobbi, Andriy Grivko, Giovanni Visconti, Mirco Lorenzetto, Matej Jurco, Carlo Scognamiglio, Fabio Sabatini and Alessandro Vanotti. Team director throughout the week will be Antonio Bevilacqua.

2007 LuK-Challenge moves to August

German pair time trial LuK-Challenge Chrono in Bühl will be taking place a little later next year, due to the "late" start of the Tour de France in 2007. The 'Grande Boucle' will start in London, UK, on July 7 and finish in Paris on July 29, so the German organisers have announced their race to be scheduled on August 3, 2007.

Newly-crowned World Champion Fabian Cancellara may be one of the starters also next year: The Swiss CSC rider, together with teammate Fränk Schleck, lost out to Gerolsteiner duo Sebastian Lang/Markus Fothen in 2006, and therefore has his eyes set on revenge.

Paris velodrome construction goes ahead

The construction of the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines velodrome (greater Paris area) will go ahead after all. Initially planned as part of Paris' bid for the 2012 Olympic Games, the 250m velodrome is planned to be built despite the event being awarded to London.

For this purpose, a delegation from the town council of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines visited the UCI's training centre WCC on September 26, where they met with UCI President Pat McQuaid as well as Federation staff involved in the running of the WCC and the development of Track cycling, to refine the specifications for the plan of the future velodrome before its launch.

The Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines velodrome should be completed by 2010-2011. It will be one of the four facilities which will be maintained in spite of the 2012 Olympic Games being awarded to London.

Robin Hood Bike Rides benefit BHF

On Sunday, November 5 will be taking place the Robin Hood Challenge and Scramble, to benefit the British Heart Foundation (BHF) in the United Kingdom. The fund raisers will see cyclists tackle the roads and trails of Sherwood Pines Forest Park. The Challenge involves a 36 mile off road ride, whereas the Scramble takes place on a route that can be followed to do 6, 12, 18, 24 or 30 miles - ideal for families, novices or occasional cyclists.

There is a £8 entry fee per person (entry on the day is £15). Children under 14 ride for free. The entry fees go towards the cost of administering and organising the ride, so the organisers ask for sponsorships/donations to be made to benefit the BHF. For registration forms and further information e-mail

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