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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for October 28, 2006

Edited by Laura Weislo

Landis remark reveals emotion

by Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

At a cycling safety awareness event last weekend in Madison, Wisconsin, Floyd Landis made a provocative comment regarding his current case and the UCI. "I'm going to do everything I can to bring down the UCI," said Landis to the Capital Times.

"It was emotionally charged comment, and was made about the broader current state of affairs," Landis' spokesman Michael Henson told Cyclingnews. "Floyd perceives some deep systematic issues with the UCI. He feels that the system is not healthy, that the system [which] is supposed to protect the rights of the athletes is not healthy."

While it is no secret that Landis is no fan of the UCI and its handling of his situation, his comments are a step-up in terms of rhetoric.

"The UCI has not protected his own rights and that is nothing new," said Henson. "Floyd says he sees a lot of people calling out problems, but not offering solutions. He certainly has strong opinions as to the need for change."

On another note, Henson said Landis has ridden for the first time outside on an actual bike. "He has started riding [outside] again, and he is focusing on the case and training."

Wiggins keen to win in London

Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

British cycling champion Bradley Wiggins is excited about the prospect of a Tour de France stage win in 2007, when the prologue makes a five-mile turn around his hometown of London. "It is a real cliche, but it is like a dream come true for me," Wiggins told the Birmingham Post in reaction to the Tour route announcement.

Raised in Maida Vale in north London, Wiggins has gold medals on the track in the Olympics and World Championships, but had a rude awakening riding in his first Tour de France this year with the French Cofidis team. "It's so bloody hard that you can't envisage doing it again."

But the chance to race, and perhaps win, on home soil in the biggest event in his sport is tempting Wiggins to at least start next July. "The Tour de France is billed as the biggest sporting event in the world," Wiggins said. "When it descends on London, it will be incredible."

However, Wiggins will not be the only Brit prologue specialist gunning for a win, as David Millar has already stated his intention to focus on a home-soil win as well.

Astana introduces anti-doping plan

by Susan Westemeyer

Team Astana doesn't seem to assume that it will get a ProTour license for the coming season. "A ProTour license is really just a question of prestige," says Marc Biver, team manager. "I think that Astana would be invited to most races even if it just has a Continental license. The reality is that the grand tours don't belong to the ProTour, and I have close contacts with the ASO....."

In an interviw on, Biver denied that Team Astana is the successor to the former team Liberty Seguros. "We are not their successor, we are a new team and have nothing to do with Active Bay. Can the other teams ensure that there will be no new doping cases? No. You can only introduce a serious anti-doping policy and enforce it strictly. And to that point we have established our own anti-doping regulations."

Those regulations are encompassed in a Ten Point Plan, which Biver hopes will eliminate the possiblity of doping on the team. For instance, it plans to do blood tests on each rider before each race In addition to the four UCI doping tests planned for the year, the team will conduct tests on the riders during the first training camp to establish the baseline values. The tests will be repeated, unannounced, during the season. During the season, the team plans ultrasound heart tests and EKGs, as well as three obligatory physiological tests, to be conducted by independent institutes.

"Revolutionary" is how the team describes its new training software, which allows the team to follow over the internet which rider is doing which training on any given day, week or month. It also allows observence of the heart frequency, wattage, average speeed and other details, as well as what the rider eats.

The riders must guarantee that they do not use any forbidden substances or medicines, and that they have contact to no other doctors other than the team doctors. If a rider is suspected of doping, a urine test can be made.

Unibet wagering on ProTour license

Cooke and van der Schueren talk
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)
The team is confident that they will be granted a ProTour license for 2007. Team manager Hilaire Van der Schueren was quoted on as saying, "We have met all three of the UCI's conditions, so the chance that we will get a license is 100%. We even received a written confirmation from the UCI that we will get the license".

They've met the financial conditions required for the ProTour license, and have signed contracts with the required 25 riders. The team is, however, lacking an important feature, a team leader. Rumors had linked the Kazakh rider Andrej Kashechkin as a possible addition for Jacques Hanegraaf told "We don't need any more neo-pros, we need a team leader. Kashechkin is a logical candidate, but other teams will be thinking this way". Kashechkin is still officially under contract with Manolo Saiz's Astana team.

Valverde will aim for the Tour

by Antonio J. Salmerón

Alejandro Valverde, winner of the UCI ProTour, has said today that his 2007 calendar may be a bit differente from this year's. Valverde commented that he still hasn't determined if he will participate in the Vuelta, because he wants to arrive at the world championships well rested.

The Spaniard plans to start the next season in the Challange de Mallorca, followed by the Vuelta a Murcia, where he won the second stage and the overall this year. At the end of March, Valverde will take part in the classic Milan-San Remo and the Vuelta al País Vasco, in which he finished second in 2006.

After taking a rest, Valverde will take on the UCI ProTour classics, which he won this year thanks to his victories in the Flecha-Wallone and the prestigious Liega-Bastogne-Liega. The Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears leader has said he may also participate in the Amstel Gold Race in Belgium before preparing more seriously for the Tour of France. He will return to the Tour with a top ten finish, and avoiding crashes as his top goals.

Before the Tour, Valverde will also participate in the Dauphine Liberé and the Spainish national championiships. After the Tour, depending on his form, Valverde will decide whether to contest the Vuelta or take a break in order to arrive rested at the world championships. He hopes to improve upon the bronze medal he earned in Switzerland this year.

Volksbank signs Polish champion

by Susan Westemeyer

Team Volksbank has signed the Polish road champion Mariusz Witecki to a one-year contract, the Austrian Professional Continental team announced Friday. The 25-year-old, who rode last season for the Polish Continental team Intel-Action, turned down an offer from the ProTour's Sauner Duval in favor of Volksbank.

Witecki was a successful U-23 rider, who carried it over into his first year as a pro. The national title was also his first professional win. Volksbank Team Manager Thomas Kofler said that his new rider "has a strong character and likes to attack. His specialties are the classic one-day races and stage races, where the mountains aren't too high. Witecki looks for his success in small groups, he'll surprise a lot of people."

Hutchison-Menzer expects full recovery

Elite Australian mountain bike racer Garron Hutchison-Menzer is in stable condition after being airlifted from the Yellowmundie round of the Australian national mountain bike series last week. Hutchison-Menzer suffered a fracture to his T4 vertabrae, a fractured skull, and a broken finger in a crash during the cross country event.

Hutchison-Menzer is currently sporting a back brace from his waist to head, and is able to sit up. He is expected to make a full recovery, which will take about 3 months. Before the wreck, he was in good form, having won the Scott 24 hour race in Marathon pairs with his teammate Liam O'Dea.

Six Day of Dortmund opens

Risi and Zabel
Photo ©: Elmar Krings
(Click for larger image)

Favorites Erik Zabel and Bruno Risi won the first night of the Six Days in Dortmund, as expected, but the small German Thüringer Energie Team was proud to report that their rider Chrstian Bach, in his first appearance in Dortmund, finished 12th out of 25 teams. He and partner Roger Kluge hope to finish in the top ten.

The Dortmund track is one of the shortest in Germany. "It takes a while to get used to the tight radius. The straights are not necessarily much shorter than anywhere else, but you really fly high in the corners," said Bach. He and Kluge did not win any rounds, but he rode the fastest lap, in 10.81 seconds.

Thüringer Energie is also represented in Dortmund by Sascha Damrow, who is starting as of Friday evening with partner Michael Arends of Team Wurzener Leipzig in the U-23 UIV Madison Cup.

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