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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for October 31, 2006

Edited by Gregor Brown

Drapac-Porsche continues its growth

Drapac-Porsche Development Team
Photo ©: Daniella Mollica
(Click for larger image)

At the beginning of 2006 Australia's Drapac-Porsche Development Team announced it would form a Continental team to contest the UCI Oceania and Asia Continental circuits. Continuing the flow of its development, the outfit is working hard in the hope of becoming Australia's first Professional Continental team in 2007. Cyclingnews' Greg Johnson pulled DPDT's co-Team Director, Adam Murchie, aside to discuss the team's hopes and aspirations for 2007.

Drapac-Porsche is serious about athlete development. Like any other sporting team, its riders must be devoted to the team's philosophy - no exceptions. But this Melbourne, Australia, based outfit is one with a philosophy like few others in international sport. While most teams are committed to churning out focused and driven sporting machines, who are quickly shown the door if their interests wander outside the realms of competition, Drapac-Porsche nurtures its riders to produce the best results in life - both on and off the asphalt.

That's not to say its riders aren't focused or driven. On the contrary, some could suggest its attitude to development outside, as well as within, the sporting arena is the driving force behind its success. "The ultimate goal for us is to have the guys and girls to become full-time athletes, but not at the cost of everything else in their life," explained Murchie. "We don't want mono-dimensional riders. If there are mono-dimensional riders out there that are interested, they need not apply. Even if Lance Armstrong himself came along, we would turn him away. I'm serious!"

To read the full feature, click here.

USA Cycling CEO on Puerto developments

by Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

The latest developments in the Operación Puerto investigations, with the Spanish federation forced into halting proceedings against the implicated riders, could result in other federations putting their respective inquiries on ice. These developments have potential impacts for Tyler Hamilton, who recently emerged from a doping suspension in September. Hamilton's name had been associated in the Puerto case, with strong talk from UCI President Pat McQuaid promising a life-ban if Hamilton's connection could be proven.

The documents potentially naming Hamilton were sent to USA Cycling with the organization immediately forwarding the documents to the US Anti-doping Agency (USADA) per its bylaws. Cyclingnews asked USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson what his thoughts were on the new wrinkles in the situation. "I can't predict how USADA will respond to those changes," he said. "We've seen how all these other national federations have handled it, but in this country it is USADA's purview."

When asked his thoughts on the situation, Johnson cited the difference between the way USA Cycling handles investigations compared to other national federations. "I think the problem you have is the federations themselves aren't equipped to handle criminal-type investigations. We all know how to manage the doping process with regard to the WADA code. But Operación Puerto is not covered by the WADA code, so in a lot of respects it caught federations by surprise in terms of how to manage it. I think in our country USADA has a broader perspective in terms of management of these cases, so we will have to wait and see how they respond."

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: Cycling won't survive another year like 2006

By Susan Westemeyer

Erik Zabel (Milram)
Photo ©: Elmar Krings
(Click for larger image)

"Cycling won't survive another year like this one," says German Erik Zabel. "Cycling doesn't have the best reputation at the moment. All the sponsors who now support teams will have to thoroughly think about whether they want to continue to use the sport as a platform. If the Festina scandal in 1998 was a warning shot, then 2006 was practically the opening of the war," he continued in an interview with

The Milram sprinter calls the current situation of the riders who were suspended because of Operación Puerto "difficult", and adds "I love the sport, I absolutely want to ride my bike. If someone suspended me and prohibited me from riding my bike, I would do everything I could to prove my innocence."

The four-time winner of Milano-Sanremo notes that his two best friends, Rolf Aldag and Jan Schaffrath, have both just returned to T-Mobile in management positions. Wouldn't he be interested in joining them and working with the young riders there? "It would be interesting," he says. "But contracts have to be honoured, even in cycling with all its negative aspects." He adds that he feels "bound to Milram. They haven't invested only money in me, but also trust. There were enough people who said Zabel is too old, what do you want with him? It wouldn't be fair to make a quick decision."

Zabel says he notices that he is now the leading German cyclist in the absence of Jan Ullrich. "I notice that I have received a load of responsibility. I gladly give a piece of that to Jens Voigt. But the two of us already play a special role, even when classy young riders like Fabian Wegmann, Stefan Schumacher and Gerald Ciolek are coming along. But they must carry even more responsibility!"

Active Bay Sports stays ProTour for now

Manolo Saiz, former Team Manager of Liberty Seguros-Würth, was able to hold on to his ProTour license registered to Active Bay Sports. Cyclingnews reported late last week that Saiz was likely to keep his license to the team that disbanded in the wake of Operación Puerto and it was later confirmed by the UCI.

"The UCI regrets the circumstances which have obliged the commission to take this decision, which is undoubtedly correct in legal terms, but which is most likely due to the lack of information from the Spanish authorities and the extremely confusing state of affairs with operation Puerto," stated the UCI.

In order for Saiz to keep his ProTour license, the financial records of Active Bay Sports have to be approved by auditors Ernst & Young by late November. The UCI confirmed this by adding, "... That for all teams, the upholding of the license each year is subject to registration with the CUPT [UCI ProTour Council], based on the examination of its financial file on 20 November."

Saiz has long held he has nothing to do with the Operación Puerto but is still under investigation by the Competition Committee of the Spanish cycling federation. With the UCI decision regarding Saiz, it becomes even more difficult for Astaná to distance themselves from their former Team Manager and receive a ProTour license.

Elk Haus-Simplon nearly complete for 2007

By Susan Westemeyer

Team Elk Haus-Simplon, an Austrian Pro Continental team, announced on Tuesday that it has nearly completed its team for 2007, extending the contract of Thomas Rohregger and signing Jan Valach.

Rohregger, 23, won the mountain jersey in this year's Tour of Austria, and finished second in the national time trial and fourth in the road race. "It would be great to defend my mountain jersey in the Austria Tour," he said. "If we get a wildcard invitation to the Deutschland Tour, then that will be another season highlight. With the riders who are staying with Elk and the first-class newcomers, we have a very strong team for 2007 and I am looking forward to the new season."

The Slovakian Valach, 33, signed a one-year contract. The team noted that he has lived for many years in Italy and brings with him much international experience, from which the whole team can profit.

Simoni third in Mexico

Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Sunday in Mexico, Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval-Prodir) finish third in an international mountain bike competition called "Popo Bike." Taking place 150 kilometres from Mexico City, in Metepec, the recently crowned Italian Marathon Mountain Bike champion continued his off-season of off-road racing. Simoni completed the podium behind Marzio Deho of Bergamo and Frenchman Julien Absalon.

CSC's Chris Anker aims for mountains

CSC's new signing, Chris Anker Sørensen, is aiming for the mountains. The team signed the 22 year-old late this year but the Dane had already had a stint as a stagiaire for the team, including racing in the Tour of Britain, where he finished 11th overall.

"I gained a lot of experience and insight into how things are done on Team CSC and also as a pro for that matter," said the Sørensen in a CSC press release.

The Danish squad should be the perfect match for Sørensen. The rider, who is admittedly a mountain-man, will need to work on his time trailing skills. CSC is packed with TT talent, riders like Zabriskie, Julich and, of course, world champion Cancellara, which will provide plenty of opportunities for Sørensen to learn.

"If I'm to compare myself to another rider it would probably be Michael Rasmussen," continued the Dane. "The long climbs are definitely my strong point. Last year I won the only actual mountain stage I've ever done - a 10-kilometer climb at about 4-5% in Norway, and I'm pretty sure it's in that type of race, I'll be able make results in the future."

The future for Sørensen is in the mountains of grand tours. "I would really like to win the mountain jersey in Tour de France or Vuelta a España some day, but of course I realize that it won't happen anytime soon. A victory on Alpe d'Huez would also be a dream come true for me. It's the greatest victory a mountain specialist could ever get. But just getting to do the Alpe d'Huez is a battle in itself," Sørensen concluded.

Team Integrale unveils its 2007 program

Team Integrale of British Columbia, Canada announced its new 2007 roster. The squad boasts four world masters games titles, a Canadian national road race title and two past UCI World Championship titles. Barb and Larry Zimich have been named as Racing Directors of the women's and men's teams (respectively) and will oversee coaching and racing activities. The team will be comprised of 24 riders, which will include a development program for riders under 25 years-old.

Men's Elite Program: Larry Zimich, Scott Laliberte, Jay Hawranik, Ron Klopfer, Marcel Aarden, Kevin Rutherford, Paul Falcon, Chris Hillier, Matt Potma, Matt Savage and Craig De Grier.

Women's Program: Barb Zimich, Anne Marie LeFrancois, Marie Claude Gagnon and Lee Darling

With a goal of registering as a UCI "Tier 3" trade team for the 2009 season, Team Integrale will concentrate on the 2007 BC Cup schedule with select NRC events filling out the calendar. The team is still accepting rider resumes.

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