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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for October 30, 2006

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Operación Puerto: Civil Guard implicated in public document falsification?

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Spanish judge Maria Luisa Alvarez will soon hear a lieutenant of the Civil Guard about alleged public document falsification in the doping affair around Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, revealed by the military institution last spring. The Unidad Central Operativa (UCO) official will be heard on November 29, after the court admitted to the proceedings a claim presented by Manolo Saiz against Rafael Blanco, director of the Sport Superior Council (CSD) about prevarication and document falsification on August 13.

The former director and manager of Liberty Seguros-Würth is legally represented by Carlos Bueren, who argues that the Astana ProTour team could not participate in the Tour of France and is on the verge of losing its ProTour license because of the alleged irregularities in the investigation documents. Saiz's legal defense says that the information sent to the UCI does not correspond exactly to the deposited information in the court, with one folio presumably appearing without signature and with suppressed paragraphs.

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), the Spanish Civil Guard presumably transferred a report on the doping scandal to the Sport Superior Council. That day, the mentioned document was also sent to the Spanish Federation, which in turn transferred it to the UCI. The governing body of the sport then insisted on the supposed implication of the Astana team on the grounds of the ethical code signed by the ProTour teams.

Botero happy about clearing, wants damages

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Santiago Botero (Phonak) at the 2005 Tour
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

After hearing about the decision taken by the Spanish Federation on Operación Puerto, Colombian Santiago Botero told El Colombiano local newspaper that, "It is a great pleasure to know this. I have always thought about the future, but many things without sense had been said. I never hid that doctor Eufemiano Fuentes was a friend who helped me when I arrived in Spain, but that cannot be used to take any conclusions. I have been always a clean cyclist. I kept prudent silence because I didn't want that any commentary would be used by mass media. The passing of time should give me reason."

Botero, who had been suspended by his Swiss Phonak ProTour team in the wake of the scandal just before the Tour de France, might now sue the team management. "I think that they must pay all the money that they owe me, because they did not allow me to compete on the basis of presumptions," he said.

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

Contract news

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Pérez back with Relax GAM

Spanish rider Santi Perez is back to competition after a two year-ban for blood transfusion. Pérez finished second in the Vuelta 2004, racing for the Phonak team. The Relax GAM Pro continental squad was interested in counting on the 29 year-old, and Pérez has signed with the Spanish squad for next season. Jesus Suárez Cueva, Relax GAM director and manager, has also renewed with Mario de Sárraga for 2007.

Losada signed by Caisse d'Epargne

Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears has reached an agreement with Alberto Losada for the two next seasons. Losada (24 years-old) has made his debut at the beginning of 2006 with the Kaiku Pro continental team, which is still looking for sponsorships for continuing in 2007. "Losada has been able to adapt very well to the category and to obtain good results in his first year," the ProTour team commented on the subject. Losada finished second in the Escalada a Montjuïc (Barcelona, Spain).

New Italian hero for Japanese fans

Ricco' talks about his victory at Japan Cup

By Miwako Sasaki

Champagne shower in celebration
Photo ©: Miwako Sasaki
(Click for larger image)

Italian Riccardo Ricco' (Saunier Duval-Prodir) become the sixth Italian winner of 15th Japan Cup last weekend, following Claudio Chiappuchi ('93, '94, '95), Sergio Barbero ('99, '02, '03), Massimo Codol ('00), Gilberto Simoni ('01) and Damiano Cunego ('05). Indeed, Italians dominated the race 10 times, so the Japan Cup is often called the 'Italian Cup' instead.

Ricco', a 23 year-old climber, was able to beat his compatriot, the experienced sprinter Ruggero Marzoli (Lampre-Fondital) in the finish. "I believed I could win today," said the young Italian on the podium, in front of many Japanese spectators. "But on the final laps, Lampre and Discovery had two riders against me, I was alone. And then, when Szmyd started his work for Ruggero, I didn't think I could win because Ruggero is very fast. But I still did, so I'm very happy. It's very beautiful race and there are many spectators. And I'm also happy to compete against big riders like Ruggero Marzoli, Vladimir Gusev and Stijn Devolder." Ricco' is in his first year as a professional and already won a stage of Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale in March, in his home town, Sassuolo in Bergamo, beating Paolo Bettini. On the other hand, Marzoli had a unfortunate season this year, with seven second placing, including eighth stage of the Vuelta a España which was won by Alexandre Vinokourov. Next year, Marzoli will join the new Italian-Russian team Tinkoff, where Russian Dimitri Konyshev will become team manager.

At the press conference, the Bergamasco Ricco' looked back on his second victory as a professional. "Some Japanese rider made the breakaway first, so we European riders discussed and decided to controlling the peloton. And then, with four laps to go, Discovery accelerated on the mountain, but I felt very good in the climb; I was very good condition," Ricco' explained. Indeed, he was third in GP Beghelli and fifth in Giro dell'Emilia recently.

Riccardo Ricco (Saunier Duval-Prodir) rides through
Photo ©:
(Click for larger image)

"And then, my teammate Javier Megias attacked from the peloton, and his work forced Lampre and Discovery to chase him. At the final mountain of the final lap, Devolder of Discovery attacked and five riders remained in the front, two Lampre and two Discovery and me, I was alone there," he continued. It was very difficult situation for the young Italian, but it turned out to be his speciality. "At the final 500 metres, me and Szmyd attacked but got caught by the others in the small descent. After that, we restrained one another, and arrived at the finish line..." where he was a fastest man. "I'm not really sprinter, I'm climber. But when we arrive in a small group just like today, I don't hesitate, I can win. I'm a similar type of rider than Damiano Cunego."

Before the Japan Cup, Ricco' wasn't popular in Japan. But after the race, he become a hero for Japanese fans. "The circuit of the Japan Cup was very hard, but it was a wonderful spectacle," he added, knowing that the race is in financial trouble and financed by spectators for the first time this year. "I hope that the Japan Cup can continue."

At the end of the press conference, Ricco' talked about his future. "I hope that the next season will be better again. I believe I can win a great classic, an important one. And I also want to help Gilberto Simoni with winning Giro d'Italia."

Team Saunier Duval team celebrated briefly at a coffee house, before flying back to Europe. It was there that Ricco' told Cyclingnews about his dream, which classic he wanted to win in the next season. "Amstel Gold Race, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and La Flèche Wallonne!" The new Italian champion in Japan has great ambition.

Cycling BC announces new Provincial Coach

Richard Wooles joined Cycling British Columbia as Provincial Coach and High Performance Director recently, after two years coaching at the UCI World Cycling Centre in Switzerland, where Wooles held the position of Track Sprint & Endurance. Before that, Wooles was Head Coach of the Women’s National Program for Great Britain’s Olympic Cycling Team. Wooles also competed as a cyclist for ten years in national and international events, including the World Championships and Commonwealth Games.

"The Board of Directors and staff are delighted that we have been able to secure the services of a coach with such extensive experience as both a coach and athlete," said Keith Ryan, Chief Executive Officer of Cycling BC. "Richard will be a great addition to our staff and will play a critical role in helping BC’s athletes and coaches reach their full potential."

AEG-TOSHIBA-JetNetwork reloads with new signings

Team AEG-Toshiba-JetNetwork, finishing its second season as a UCI Continental team with 64 victories and 161 podium appearances in the UCI America Tour for 2006, is aiming toward the future bolstering its stage race capabilities with new signings for 2007.

The first addition is Scottie Weiss, former Elite National Road Race and Criterium Champion, returning to the professional ranks after two seasons racing for the Hincapie Sports squad. Joining Weiss is future phenom, Alex Hagman, 22, recently crowned Collegiate National XC and Short Track National Champion from Fort Lewis College. Hagman enters the professional ranks after a strong season gaining experience in Europe racing for the team. The third new team member is Todd Henriksen, 22, former team leader of VMG Racing, who had a strong season competing in Europe with the U23 National Team and capped his year off with a strong ride at the USPRO Championships in Greenville, SC.

The complete roster will be released in the next few weeks, for more information on the squad please visit

Summer Racing at Western Sydney Dragway

With the winter approaching in North America and Europe, the Marconi Cycling Club in Sydney, Australia, has announced its Tuesday Night Summer Racing coming back soon at Western Sydney International Dragway, Eastern Creek. The first night back will be Tuesday, October 31, with the start taking place at 6.30pm sharp, sign-on from 5.45pm.

Entry fee is $10 for A, B, C, D and E grade racing, with $2 for the junior race. There will be no racing on December 26 and January 2, 2007. Entry to the venue is via the spectator entrance, not gate 7, which is the entrance to the back of the raceway.

For further details got to

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)