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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for September 2, 2006

Coming up on

Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of the Dauphiné Libéré live as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).

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Edited by Jeff Jones, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

Fuentes continued blood-doping in Germany after arrest

Eufemiano Fuentes didn't let his arrest in May stop his blood-doping practice, he simply transferred his operations to Hamburg, Germany, according to the German TV station ARD. Spanish investigators confirmed that pro cyclists went to a hotel and an apartment in Hamburg from late May to late June to have blood taken by two as-yet-unnamed persons who were sent there by Fuentes. The blood that was taken was planned to be transfused back to the cyclists before or during the Tour de France.

The Spanish investigators have a document with handwritten text, "in an obvious relationship to the doping ring," with the remark, "Rooms Germany and France." According to ARD, the Spanish investigators assume that the riders who were "treated" in Hamburg were among the top riders who planned to ride the 2006 Tour de France. The identity of the riders involved is so far not clear.

On a calendar page which is part of the evidence has on June 20, among others, the number 1 with the codewords for blood extraction and transfusion. Jan Ullrich is generally considered to be the number "1" in other documents seized from Fuentes' office, investigators say.

The two persons who handled the blood extractions are a man and a woman, perhaps a married couple, "whom investigators believe to have a Polish background." More information on them was not available.

Hamilton's World's aspirations dashed

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Greenville, SC

Tyler Hamilton
Photo ©: Julie Stifler
(Click for larger image)

After winning the Mt. Washington Hillclimb last month, Tyler Hamilton said he should be selected for the U.S. World's team based upon his fitness level. Steve Johnson, CEO of USA Cycling, was observing the USPRO time trial in Greenville on Friday, and spoke to Cyclingnews about Hamilton's comments in light of UCI president Pat McQuaid's revelation that new information about Hamilton's involvement in Operacíon Puerto.

"We hear a lot of the same things, [Hamilton] making comments to people who then ask us," said Johnson. "But the reality is we have more automatics than spots, so we are waiting to hear from them to see if they have interest. Any discretionary [selections] would go to our selection committee for rider selection."

Johnson said that beyond the automatic bids, riders that wish to be considered for the team must submit a petition, which Hamilton has failed to do. "We have a very structured process for qualifying for a world championship team. Part of that involves submitting a petition if you are not an automatic, and he is not an automatic. He needed to submit a petition and we didn't receive one by our deadline of August 11."

Johnson said he has no official position on the matter, but that he would like to see the current generation of riders given a chance to compete. "It is up to the committee and not up to me or the coaching staff. I have no position. It is conceivable and [Hamilton] is eligible by virtue of the fact that his suspension ends before the event, but again we have a lot of young American riders who have been racing the past two years and have earned the opportunity to be considered. That is definitely the way we would approach it. If they are qualified I think they should get the opportunity."

While all of this is moot for Hamilton who has no petition submitted to USA Cycling, Johnson did allude to Hamilton's chances if he had filed the appropriate paperwork. "Since we haven't even received a petition at this point we wouldn't even consider him. If we did, he would be last in line."

As previously reported, USA Cycling has not received any information regarding Hamilton, new or otherwise. "I actually asked the UCI to tell me when we could expect it and they had an indeterminate answer saying, 'We are working on it, we will get to it when we get there,'" said Johnson. "As Pat McQuaid expressed they are working on the guys who are currently riding and not as concerned about the guys currently serving a suspension."

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

USPRO riders ready to hit the road in Greenville

By Jon Devich in Greenville

Chris Wherry (Toyota-United)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

Six riders lined up for Thursday's press conference in Greenville, SC today to begin the USPRO weekend of racing. Headlining the kickoff was George Hincapie, fresh off his near win in the Eneco Tour which ended in a disastrous crash within site of the finish line.

Hincapie was still sounding positive about his chances here, "Last week I was in great shape…I had a crash in Belgium, I didn't get injured too bad and just got some road rash and should be one of the top riders on Sunday."

Having a chance to race in front of his home town crowds and on the scenic roads around Greenville should also be a boost for George. "It's great training here, great weather and the people are really nice. I came here to ride my bike and I'll stay here long beyond when I finish my career," added George.

A.J.Smith (Discovery)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

Also here to experience the Greenville southern hospitality and bolster the Discovery Team roster was recent Race to Replace winner A.J. Smith. Smith won a spot on the Discovery team for the USPRO Championships by winning an open selection race in Indianapolis a couple weeks ago.

A.J. described his hopes for tomorrow. "I have no specific ambitions for tomorrow. More than anything it's just an unbelievable experience to be riding on the same course as these guys."

Lining up next to Hincapie and Smith was young hopeful Craig Lewis of the TIAA-CREFF team, also a South Carolina resident from nearby Spartanville. TIAA-CREFF brought the weekend's largest team at 14 riders and Lewis believes it will be a tough race on Sunday.

David Zabriskie (CSC)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

Lewis had this to say about Sunday, "The course Sunday is pretty tough; we do 5 times up Paris Mountain. Other than that, the weather's been hot the past week so that's going to be the type of factor, if it's like it was a couple days ago, their won't be many guys left."

The media friendly David Zabriskie did not think today's time trial course would be too tough though. "It's got some little hills, some turns and stuff. No big deal." Zabriskie clearly didn't find it a big deal today, as he won by 31 seconds.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Jonathan Devich/

Kirchen to defend in Pologne

By the Cyclingnews Team

2005 winner Kim Kirchen will be back to defend his title in the 63rd edition of the Tour de Pologne, beginning Monday, September 4 in the town of Pultusk. However, the champion of Luxembourg is hoping for a slightly less nerve-racking victory this time round.

"That was a very tight outcome," recalled Kirchen, who won last year's event by just five seconds from Dutchman Pieter Weening, having only taken the race lead in the morning on the double-stage final day, which concluded with a 19 kilometre time trial. Two young Thomases, Dekker (Rabobank) and Lövkvist (Française Des Jeux), weren't far away from winning, either - just 11 and 18 seconds off Kirchen's final overall time.

However, Kirchen can count on strong support from his T-Mobile team, including 1998 winner Sergey Ivanov, who, along with Kirchen, is one of 10 foreigners to win the Tour de Pologne and knows the race like the back of his hand. "The quality of the race was already very high before the fall of the [Berlin] Wall. The ProTour status now attracts even more top riders," said Ivanov.

Lining up alongside 28 year-old Kirchen for the 1.225,5km stage race will be the Tour de France participants Serguei Gonchar and Eddy Mazzoleni, young Linus Gerdemann and Frantisek Rabon, as well as sprinter Eric Baumann. Steffen Wesemann rounds out the eight-man T-Mobile roster, and the 2004 Tour of Flanders winner is no stranger to Poland, having raced several times on Polish soil during his five visits to the Peace Race.

The seven-day stage-race kicks off on Monday in Pultusk near Wroclaw. From there, the course takes the riders from 23 teams to the Baltic Sea, with the longest stage held on day 3 in the Baltic port city of Gdansk.

The first few stages roll over flat terrain in northern and central Poland, then the parcours gets tougher when the peloton hit the big mountains for the final three days. The race traditionally ends in the ski resort of Karpacy at 800m altitude on Sunday.

The stages

Stage 1 - September 4: Pultusk - Olsztyn, 214 km
Stage 2 - September 5: Ostróda - Elblag, 122,6 km
Stage 3 - September 6: Gdansk - Torun, 225,5 km
Stage 4 - September 7: Bydgoszcz - Poznan, 183 km
Stage 5 - September 8: Legnica - Jelenia Góra, 192 km
Stage 6 - September 9: Szczawno Zdrój - Karpacz, 162,4 km
Stage 7 - September 10: Jelenia Góra - Karpacz, 126 km

Total: 1.225,5 km

Gerolsteiner looking for more in Pologne

Last year Gerolsteiner was satisfied with one stage win by Fabian Wegmann in the Tour de Pologne. This year it wants a stage win plus a good result in the overall GC. "That's why we're bringing a strong team," says directeur sportif Christian Henn.

The team will be looking to Stefan Schumacher, Matthias Russ and Fabian Wegmann for the best results. "Matthias showed at the Regio Tour that he is in good form. Fabian did well here last year. And after his victory in the Eneco Tour, Schumi can also take aim here at the overall win," according to Henn.

Gerolsteiner for the Tour de Pologne: Sven Krauss, Volker Ordowski, Matthias Russ, Ronny Scholz, Stefan Schumacher, Fabian Wegmann, Peter Wrolich, and Beat Zberg.

Stamsnijder to Gerolsteiner

Dutch rider Tom Stamsnijder (Rabobank Continental) will ride for Gerolsteiner next season. The 21 year-old has signed a two year contract. "Gerolsteiner is one of the top pro teams in international cycling," commented Stamsnijder. What can you say if you land here? I'm a little bit speechless."

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