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Latest Cycling News for October 26, 2006

Edited by Gregor Brown

2007 Tour offers a modern yet classic parcours

Landis snubbed as ASO unveils route where tough Pyrenean stages will be crucial

Le Tour 2007
Photo: © ASO
Click for larger image

By Tim Maloney, European Editor in Paris

"After all that happened in 2006 we really believe cycling deserves a second chance," said Patrice Clerc, President of ASO, today at the unveiling of the 2007 Tour de France. At the presentation in Paris, Clerc was alluding to the problems of this past year while delivering a classical and challenging 2007 parcours.

"We think that these problems also bring a lot of hope for solving the problem of the doping in cycling. ... 2007 will be a fantastic start in the great capital of London and a great expression for a renewed Tour de France."

Today, Thursday afternoon, La Grand Boucle was revealed to included 3547 kilometres of riding over 20 stages, starting in London and ending in Paris. There will be a total of 11 flat stages, 2 individual time trials and 6 mountain stages, with three being mountain top finishes.

Landis - the mirror cracked

By Gerard Knapp

The presentation of this year's route was not without its controversial moment, as the traditional eight-minute film that is shown during the presentation - reviewing the most recent Tour and other great moments in the race - ended with the American winner of the 2006 Tour, Floyd Landis, on the winner's podium, but then the image then changed to become a cracked mirror.

Landis, who failed a doping test taken during this year's Tour, was not invited to attend Thursday's presentation. He strenuously denies the doping charge and is mounting a spirited defense. While there has been no official change to the results - as this cannot be done until the legal process involved in suspending an athlete has runs its course - it appears that ASO no longer considers him to be the champion.

Click here for the full report on the presentation of the 94th Tour de France.
See also: Stages, Map and History

AIGCP gives green light to DNA testing

Photo ©: Anthony Tan/Cyclingnews
Click for larger image

Yesterday in Paris, the International Association of Professional Cycling teams (AIGCP) agreed on using DNA testing to battle cycling's doping problems. Before the end of the year the AIGCP will ask that the riders authorize the UCI to collect their DNA samples, and, with the start of 2007, any new professionals have to automatically authorize the collection of their DNA.

"The agreement was unanimous," said President of AIGCP, Petrick Lefèvere, to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "We can not force the riders to agree to our request, but who refuses will have to assume the consequences. For example, a team could decide not to renew their contract."

Also, a pact was made among the members of the AIGCP that they would not sign riders implicated in doping investigations, even before the full results are known. This is a morale decision, not based on any written AIGCP rules, that could block riders like Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso, who are involved in Operación Puerto, from signing with ProTour teams.

The AIGCP also formally asked the UCI to tighten its testing procedures, allowing for more surprise testing, both out-of-competition and during races.

Confusion continues with Jan Ullrich

By Susan Westemeyer

The Jan Ullrich-Operación Puerto situation has always been confusing, and there's no indication that things are likely to change soon. A flurry of documents and statements out of Spain have done their part to add to the confusion the last few days.

The first one is a court document dated October 4 and confirming that there is no investigation there against Ullrich. "I swear, that in this Court of Investigation Number 31 of Madrid, the proceeding 4293/06-H is being conducted and that in this proceeding Jan Ullrich has not appeared as an accused person and that as of this date no steps have been taken against him," it says, and is signed by Judge Manuel Sanchez. Yesterday, Ullrich published this document on his website.

Various media outlets have interpreted this document to say that Ullrich has been acquitted and that there are not, nor will there be, charges against him. However, Judge Sanchez told the Süddeutsche Zeitung Wednesday that "practically all the riders of the teams involved" had requested and received a similar document. But it is "absolutely not" to be considered an acquittal of any possible doping charges. Ullrich would at most be called as a witness in the Operación Puerto case. "But," said Sanchez, "it doesn't mean that Ullrich could not be prosecuted in the future."

Sanchez is further quoted in the as saying that since Ullrich was not being prosecuted in the case, that "We therefore cannot allow the UCI to use this case as a basis for a ban. But they can issue a ban based on their own knowledge, on their own responsibility."

In addition, the Spanish magazine META 2MIL is quoted on as reporting that the court has refused to release DNA samples from the blood bags seized by the Guardia Civil during the Operación Puerto raid. This would prohibit a DNA comparison with samples allegedly taken from Ullrich by the Swiss police.

Meanwhile, the Swiss are continuing with its investigation of Ullrich. "The UCI recently confirmed to us" that Swiss Cycling is still responsible for the investigation, and nothing else interests us," according a remark from General Secretary Lorenz Schläfli to Süddeutsche Zeitung. He hopes to have the proceedings finished by the end of the year.

Austria has also received papers from Spain, Austrian Cycling Federation's Rudolph Massak told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. He noted that under the WADA's rules, "one can open a proceeding under justified suspicion.” He assured the newspaper that everything would be looked at and "nothing would be swept under the table." The Austrian federation is still reeling from the doping-related suspensions of three U-23 riders during the recent World Championships, and with this in mind, "the federation won't give out licenses so easily."

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

Zabel still CARES on eBay

As we reported on October 18, Erik Zabel is participating in the eBay project to support the charitable CARE organization, but the German branch of the online auction house isn't making it easy -- it accidentally deleted all the auctions involved. All have been put back online and have started over, for an additional 10 days.

Zabel's offer, a surprise packet which includes not only fan items and sponsor products, but also a "meet and greet" with him, was a €667 in the first attempt. As of midday Thursday, the second edition had a bid of €451, the highest bid of any of the ten celebrity auctions being sponsored by CARE.

Gerrans to return to defend Tour Down Under crown

Simon Gerrans (Ag2r)
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
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2006 Tour Down Under winner, Simon Gerrans will lead Ag2R Prévoyance to defend his title in 2007 edition. The French team will arrive on streets of Adelaide and the regions of South Australia with the aim of back-to-back victories.

Race Director Mike Turtur said, "Ag2R is only one of two teams to have ridden every Tour Down Under since 1999 and we are delighted they will be here to compete at the ninth edition of the race."

Ag2R won the Tour Down Under three times, first in 2000 with Gilles Maignan, followed in 2003 with Mikel Astarloza and this year with Australia's own Simon Gerrans.

"I spoke to Simon last night and he is really pleased with the team line up being sent to the Tour Down Under to help him defend his title," continued Turtur. "It is a world class Tour de France team, a strong rider line up and three of the eight riders competed at this year's Tour de France."

The Ag2R Prévoyance team for the 2007 Tour Down Under will be: Simon Gerrans (Aus), Cyril Dessel (Fra), Ludovic Turpin (Fra), Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr), Samuel Dumoulin (Fra), Carl Naibo (Fra), Renaud Dion (Fra) and Christophe Riblon (Fra)

The 2007 Tour Down Under will be held 16 – 21 January 2007.

British Road Stars Ride the Revolution

Digging in at Flanders
Photo ©: Jonathan Devich
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The professional road season may well be over but for British road pros Roger Hammond, Bradley Wiggins and David Millar there is plenty more racing to come with these riders the first star names confirmed for Revolution in Manchester on November 18th.

For Roger Hammond Revolution will mark his debut on an indoor track. Hammond, who is more accustomed to the Roubaix velodrome than the boards in Manchester, said, "I haven't ridden the track for a long time and I have never ridden on an indoor track so it is going to be a great experience. ... When I was younger I was the English Schools National Champion so I do have experience of track racing. I gave it up when I went to University and then I focused on the road."

In the winter season Hammond normally swaps the road for cyclo-cross but this year the Discovery rider is keen to put his skills to the test in front of the Revolution audience, "I've heard a lot about the atmosphere at Revolution so I'm looking forward to the racing and hoping to put my sprint skills to good use. Track racing is fast so it will be interesting to see how I do."

Another rider eager for some track action is newly crowned National Pursuit Champion David Millar. "I'm really looking forward to racing at Revolution and getting more experience on the track," said Millar. "It will be good to get an opportunity to wear my National Champion jersey and race in a pursuit event."

Millar featured at the very first Revolution event back in 2003 alongside Bradley Wiggins with each rider taking one victory each. These two will meet once again on November 18th along with more road riders yet to be released as well as a superb field of track specialists.

Treviso's World Cup to make a spectacle

Cyclo-Cross World Cup round scheduled in Treviso on November 4th will draw attention to environment respect, whereas the "Le Bandie Lake" location was created after a huge recovery started 30 years ago. The strategy of the organizing staff leaded by Remo Mosole seems really interesting and several important steps on this matter will be announced in the event's press conference to be held in Treviso on October 31.

Since "Le Bandie Centre" proposes itself at the international audience as an extraordinary events' location, a new project is starting up to focus the general attention on how important to protect the environment is: the idea to deliver a little gift to the spectators getting the competition course by car, but with not less than four passengers on board.

Based on the first, temporary list of the enrolled riders, more than 200 athletes will challenge take part in the four categories: for all of them, the World Cup competition will represent an important test towards 2008 Cyclo-Cross World Championships (January 26-27) to be held on the same Treviso's course.

Destefanis Passes

Giovanni Destefanis passed away at the age of 91. The rider from Torino, pro from 1939 to 1947, served part of his career as a domestique to both Fausto Coppi at Bianchi and Fiorenzo Magni at Viscontea. Destefanis' funeral was held today in Torino.

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