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Latest Cycling News for September 5, 2006

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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

Basso's lawyer nixes DNA test

Italian federation president Di Rocco scolds McQuaid

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

One day after UCI president Pat McQuaid called for riders involved with Operacion Puerto to take blood tests for DNA matching, strong statements emanated from Italy in response to the request. Currently, the Spanish Guardia Civil has 200 blood bags seized from a Madrid apartment allegedly used as a blood doping clinic in an Operacion Puerto raid in May. These bags are marked by numbers and names but as yet can not be attributed to any riders allegedly involved with the investigation.

Ivan Basso, currently under investigation for his alleged involvement in Operacion Puerto by the Italian Olympic committee, will find out September 12th if his file will be passed to the Italian Cycling Federation for further action or possibly shelved for lack of evidence. Upon learning of McQuaid's declaration, Basso's attorney Massimo Martelli stated, "Frankly, I don't even know if I should respond to what McQuaid said as his statement has little importance. As long as I am defending him, Ivan will never have a DNA test. This would be an invasion of his privacy and will not even happen in criminal or civil court, and isn't necessary in this case. Ivan will face the Italian Olympic committee's Anti Doping Prosecutor (12 September) in the normal way and in my opinion, this will be enough for him to show that he has noting to do with this case."

Martelli then raised a point about McQuaid's DNA test statement, saying, "Even if the riders took a DNA test, what would happen if the Spanish investigating judge said 'no I'm not interested in the (results)', what is the next step? Take DNA tests of all the (professional) riders in the world? In my point of view, performing DNA tests are not justified. Ivan should be judged via the normal procedures and there isn't any reason to add other things."

After the recent run-in between Italian Federation President Renato Di Rocco and UCI's McQuaid at the European Cycling Union meeting in Milano, McQuaid gave an interview to French wire service AFP where he said, "Basso may have a four year disqualification. For him it will be hard to start again", which set off alarm bells at the Italian Federation.

Di Rocco told La Gazzetta dello Sport, "I'm surprised at McQuaid's comments. First I would say that our process of sporting justice needs to run it's course and now (McQuaid) seems to be speaking for the Spanish investigating judge (in Operacion Puerto). I support Basso's right to defend himself even though it seems that McQuaid has already found him guilty. I won't stoop to that level, which is the same one as (former UCI head) Verbruggen used to follow. Italy is in the forefront in the struggle against doping and we don't need to be schooled.

"In any case, it's a month since I've written to the UCI to see whether any disciplinary proceedings have been opened against others, like team staff and team managers, like Manolo Saiz because (doping) is the responsibility of the team. McQuaid accuses me of not being neutral in the Basso case, but neither is he in the cases of Liberty Seguros or Phonak."

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

The Vuelta's remaining key stages

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

On Saturday, September 9, Cuenca will be the scene where the first individual race against the clock will take place in the Vuelta. In this stage, Alexandre Vinokourov will have a great opportunity to move himself up on the general classification.

The route for this 33 km stage is divided into two main parts. The first is uphill, with the third category El Alto del Castillo after 20. From there, the riders will descend and then hit the flat for the final nine kilometres. It's a stage that will test the riders' time trialing abilities to the maximum.

The 16th stage to the Observatory of Calar Alto, in Almeria, is in the last week of competition. Its finale should enable us to draw conclusions about the general classification. The stage starts in Almeria, near the Mediterranean sea, and finishes at over 2,000 metres altitude. The Calar Alto climb will actually be tackled twice, from different directions. But before that, the peloton will face the ascent of El Alto de Velefique, 1st category (km 56), which connects with the first climb to Calar Alto.

In the final ascent of Calar Alto top, the riders will climb 700 metres at an average grade of 8%. The finishing straight is of 300 metres long with a light gradient of 2%. In 2004, an exciting finish took place there, with victory for Roberto Heras, followed by Santi Perez and Francisco Mancebo.

The eighteenth stage will finish on La Pandera, a special category climb. The peloton will start in Granada and ride the El Alto de Encebras (Cat. 3) and Alto de Los Villares (Cat. 2). On La Pandera in 2004, Alejandro Valverde gained his first victory in the Vuelta.

The last stumbling block is located near Madrid, in Viciamadrid. Stage 20 is the second and final time trial stage. It is a tricky 28 km circuit, undulating and full of roundabouts and corners. The final winner of the Vuelta will be determined here.

Devolder coming into form

Belgian rider Stijn Devolder (Discovery Channel) is riding himself into form in the Vuelta with an eye on the world championships in Salzburg, where he is down to do both the time trial and the road race. He currently sits in 14th place overall in the Vuelta, but has shown himself to be in excellent climbing form. His role up until now has been to look after his other teammates better placed on GC.

In the upcoming world championships, "Top five in the time trial is my next goal," said Devolder to Sportwereld, but qualified that by saying that he expected a result "around tenth place."

"I was happy when coach Carlo Bomans told me the good news last week. If I come out of the Vuelta just as good as last year, then I can be close in the world's." Devolder didn't believe doing both the time trial and the road race would be too much. "There are two full days in between. That should be enough if you're in form. I find it quite an honour that I may ride this double, and that I can once more try to help Tom Boonen and our country to the world title."

Devolder also commented on his team tactics in the recent mountain stages, where he and Danielson had to wait for race leader Janez Brajkovic on the climb to Alto de La Cobertoria. "You curse under your breath once in a while. You are sitting there with good legs, but this is part of my job. Ultimately, Brajkovic was the leader and you never leave him to his fate. In another case, I could have finished much closer on the Alto de Cobertoria. I felt that I was one of the five best climbers, and that they couldn't have dropped me. Together with Danielson, I waited for Brajkovic. The American even started in Malaga as leader."

Hondo out of Hessen tour

Danilo Hondo of Team Lamonta will not be allowed to ride the Dreiländertour, formerly the Hessen Tour, race organizers announced at a press conference Monday. Tour manager Christian Bergemann said, "He won't get a start number from me, even if he's on Lamonta's starting list."

Hondo was banned on doping charge, but a Swiss court cleared him to ride again, at least temporarily. "He is a convicted doper. I have responsibilities to my sponsors and co-workers. That's why I'm taking the hard line, even when it hurts me personally," according to Bergemann.

He added, "We want to fight against doping with all it consequences. We can't fight it with lip service. I hope that other race organizers will also take this stand."

Austrian team for the Salzburg world's

Austria has named its starting lineup for the upcoming World Championships in Salzburg, six for the road race and two for the time trial. Pro Tour riders Bernhard Eisel, Rene Haselbacher, Bernhard Kohl, Georg Totschnig and Peter Wrolich had been previously selected, and now Christian Pfannberger of Continental Professional Team Elk Haus will join them on the road team.

Peter Luttenberger and Thomas Rohregger will represent their homeland in the time trial. Rohregger is also an alternate for the road race.

The riders will participate in a joint training camp in Bad Tatsmannsdorf from Sept. 11 to 21. Alternates Gerrit Glomser and Gerhard Trampusch will also be there. "We don't have to name our definite six starters until one day before the race on Sept. 23," noted national trainer Franz Hartl. "If one of our six starters should get sick, then we will name one of the alternates."

Swiss movements

Two more Swiss riders are on the move. Thomas Frei, 21 years old and the Swiss mountain champion, has signed a two-year contract with Team Astana. Not surprisingly, he is managed by Toni Rominger. In addition, Aurélien Clerc of Phonak is going to Bouygues Telecom for two years.

Good news for Slippens

Dutch six day specialist Robert Slippens became a father on Saturday evening in the hospital at Brasschaat, Belgium. While he was still in intensive care (after his recent accident in Schaal Sels), his wife Marina gave birth in the bed next to him to a healthy daughter, Mara.


Team Integrale Cycling wants you

Canadian based Team Integrale Cycling racing team is looking for riders for its 2007 program. This new BC team is based in the Lower Mainland and will be composed of a six women and six man elite racing team with an identified six rider development squad.

The Team Integrale Cycling calendar will include Canadian, NRC and World Cup events leading to the formation of a competitive UCI division 3 team status in 2009.

Rider resumes can be sent to by September 29.

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