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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for September 8, 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 Hedwig Kröner, assisted by Susan Westemeyer

Vuelta stage 12 wrap-up

Paolini makes his World's bid

Luca Paolini (Liquigas)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Just as his Liquigas teammate Danilo Di Luca did in the first week of the Vuelta, Luca Paolini has impressed Italian selector Franco Ballerini by winning today's 12th stage of the Vuelta. Paolini attacked a breakaway of a dozen with 4 km to go and was unable to be caught. A reaction by Bart Dockx (Davitamon) was effectively neutralised by Paolini's probable World's captain Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step), with Bettini not working with the Belgian to close the gap. Dockx finished second at five seconds, with Bettini third. The peloton came in almost nine minutes behind, but there were no significant changes to the general classification.

The stage saw a very fast first hour (50.8 km/h) with an early breakaway of eight going after 16 km. But Milram worked to bring it back, and a new move went after 78 km with Vladimir Gusev (Discovery Channel), Paolo Bettini and Kevin Hulsmans (Quick Step-Innergetic), Luca Paolini (Liquigas), Rubén Pérez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Bart Dockx and Björn Leukemans (Davitamon-Lotto), Bernhard Eisel and Ian Mcleod (Française des Jeux), Heinrich Haussler (Gerolsteiner), Jean-Patrick Nazon (AG2R Prevoyance) and eventually David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears). Arroyo was the best placed on GC at 14'09, meaning Caisse d'Epargne could afford not to chase hard. Eventually, when the gap got out to 11'30, Astana went to the front of the bunch and eliminated the threat of Arroyo.

The attacking in the front group started with 13 km to go, and despite some good team riding by Kevin Hulsmans for Bettini, it was Luca Paolini who was able to place the winning move with 4 km to go.

Click here for the Full results, report & photos and live report

Eisel 7th in the 'lottery'

Bernhard Eisel's legs are tired, but that just makes him all the more satisfied to have finished seventh in Thursday's Vuelta stage 12 from Aranda de Duero to Guadalajara. He was in the day's main breakaway which disintegrated with a few kilometres to go as stage winner Luca Paolini (Liquigas) did not gamble on a sprint finish. "I'm very satisfied with the race, the climbing is going really well," said the Austrian sprinter for Française des Jeux. "Naturally my legs are tired. I noticed that two kilometres before the finish when I wanted to follow Bettini and Paolini."

The Italians, Eisel noted, were collaborating in the finale of the stage, which was "like a lottery, like it always is with an breakaway," he continued. "Bettini had his teammate Hulsmans and Luca Paolini (Liquigas) at his side. We knew directly that the three would work together. Apart from the Italians' tactical games, it was a perfect performance from Paolini."

Gerolsteiner: only one good finish

"That was a great performance by Heinrich Haussler," said Gerolsteiner directeur sportif Reimund Dietzen. The 22 year-old finished ninth in Thursday's Vuelta stage 12 after spending much of the stage in a breakaway.

"That was really something, what Heinrich showed today. You mustn't forget that he lost two months this season to a viral infection," continued Dietzen. "That just makes his performance today more remarkable." Haussler was victorious in last year's Vuelta in a similar stage.

The German-Australian was the only Gerolsteiner rider who had any luck yesterday. Three of his teammates dropped out of the race during the stage. Young Marcus Fothen "must have spent more of his power at the Tour de France than we thought," said Dietzen. Sven Montgomery and Andrea Moletta left for a totally different reason: "Exactly at the end of the neutral zone, both had defects on their bikes - and everyone else promptly took off. They both tried to catch up, but after 50 km in a fight to catch the fast-flying field, they saw it was uselss."

The team had already lost Marcel Strauss to a stomach bug, so they will be riding the last week of the Vuelta with only five riders.

Operation Puerto gets moving

The Spanish public prosecutor has asked the investigating judge Antonio Serrano in Madrid to call all the cyclists involved in the doping affair known as Operation Puerto to testify before him, Spanish newspaper El Pais reported on Thursday. Until now, some 50 professionals have apparently been named in the investigation, and might now be asked to participate as witnesses in the case incriminating, first and foremost, Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes. Should the cyclists refuse to do so, an international arrest warrant could be issued.

"We would like all of the cyclists to appear as witnesses before the judge so that we can get as many details about the case as possible," a spokesman for the prosecutor told press agency Reuters. "The cyclists are not being accused of any crime themselves, but we want them to provide witness testimony over the course of the next month or so."

Furthermore, a German public prosecutor in Bonn has also sent a request for judicial assistance to the Madrid-based court last week, asking them to allow German police officers to collect samples of the two blood bags found during the course of the investigation, which allegedly contain Jan Ullrich's and Oscar Sevilla's blood. It is understood that they will be used as pieces of evidence if DNA testing proves the allegations true.

According to Spanish sources, a minimum of seven implicated riders are already willing to give evidence on the details of the doping practices which were good business for Fuentes and his assistants. The secret of investigation will be reportedly be maintained on the testimonials.

The Spanish prosecutor also wants to give all of the riders linked to the affair the possibility to prove that they are innocent, by undergoing a blood DNA test and comparing the results to the samples found in the 153 blood bags seized by the Guardia Civil. The investigation is said to be extended into the sports of athletics and football soon, as the judge has reason to believe that the doping network not only concerned cycling.

At the moment, eight persons are incriminated in the affair: Eufemiano Fuentes (haematologist), Manolo Sáiz (former manager of Liberty Seguros, in pro cycling since 1989), José Ignacio Labarta (former directeur sportif at Comunidad Valenciana), Alberto León (former mountain biker), Yolanda Fuentes (team doctor at Comunidad Valenciana and sister of Eufemiano), Vicente Belda (former Comunidad Valenciana team manager), and Alfredo Córdova (former Liberty Seguros team doctor). The three latter will be heard by the judge on September 22.

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

Antequera needs lead-out for Valverde

By Antonio J. Salmerón

News broke yesterday that triple World Champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank) will not be able to participate in the next World Championships in Salzburg, Austria, due to ongoing neck problems. His teammate Juan Antonio Flecha is not in doubt for the event, despite his accident during the third stage of the Tour of Poland, where a dog crossed his way, according to the Spanish selector, Francisco Antequera in El Faro de Murcia.

Given this one unforeseeable circumstance, the Spanish leadership for Salzburg is reduced to the Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears rider, Alejandro Valverde, but now Antequera is looking for "someone to lead out Valverde in the sprint. If we didn't have to depend on our national selection, I'm sure that Tom Boonen would not have passed Valverde if he had a lead-out man in the sprint," he said.

Among the candidates Antequera shuffles is Xavier Florencio, the last winner of the Clásica de San Sebastian. He stands the greatest chances to be included in the team. "We will try to wrap an efficient team around Valverde to mainly face the final section," Antequera said, who also cleared up the rumours concerning young Astana rider Jose Joaquin Rojas, currently the best Spaniard in the Tour of Poland.

"I would be pleased to have him, because he has a great future, but there aren't enough guarantees for him being able to finish a very hard route like in Salzburg, with a climb that will be the decisive mark of the Championships race," he added.

After abandoning the Vuelta, his teammate Luis Leon Sanchez will see on Monday if the virus he contracted will prevent him from travelling to Austria. Sánchez hopes "to feel the necessary improvement to be able to participate in the World Championships time trial," which will take place in Salzburg on September 21.

Hagen to race both TT and road race

Edvald Boasson Hagen
Photo ©: JF Quenet
(Click for larger image)

The Norwegian roster for the World Championships has been announced. 19 year-old Edvald Boasson Hagen, who scored three stages in the Tour de l'Avenir until now, is down for the U23 time trial as well as the road race. Boasson Hagen was a junior last year but it didn't take him long before he became successful in the elite ranks: Earlier this year he won a stage in the Rhône-Alpes Isère Tour where he was the best young rider, two stages at the Thüringen Rundfahrt and one more stage plus the young rider classification in the Ringerike Grand Prix, the only UCI sanctioned event in his country.

Boasson Hagen will be joined by his Maxbo Bianchi teammates Stian Sommerseth and Lars Petter Nordhaug, as well as Alexander Kristoff (Glud & Marstrand Horsens) in the road race. Other Norwegians lining up in the World's will be Knut Anders Fostervold (Sparebanken Vest) for the Elite time trial, Linn Torp (Dsb Bank) in the Women's road race and Kurt-Asle Arvesen (CSC), Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole) and Gabriel Rasch (Maxbo Bianchi) for the Elite Men's road race.

Française des Jeux in lawsuit against

French newspaper L'Equipe reported on Wednesday that the French national lottery Française des Jeux has started legal action against the company In France, betting and gambling is illegal except for the national lottery, horse races managed by PMU and casinos, and Française des Jeux argues that makes business on French territory even if it is based elsewhere. The Belgian national lottery, Lotto, reportedly also considers a lawsuit.

This information would not be important in the world of cycling if the companies weren't major team sponsors - one of a ProTour team, and the other applying for a ProTour license at the UCI, which is inclined to grant it to the Continental Pro squad according to L'Equipe.

" did not only complain about, but also about other internet betting companies," rectified team manager Koen Terryn. "The International Cycling Union is smart enough not to interfere in the debate, which should be taking place in front of the European Commission and not inside cycling. Of course I hope that this won't have any consequences on the attribution of ProTour status for the coming four years."

L'Equipe also reported that John Lelangue, director of team Phonak, which will cease to exist after this season because of ongoing doping scandals, is in negotiations to become one of's team directors next season. Axel Merckx is also linked to the team, which itself has two riders directly or indirectly facing doping allegations: Carlos Garcia Quesada is reportedly on the list of Spanish doctor Fuentes' clients, and Juan Carlos Dominguez was declared unfit to start at the Eneco Tour of Benelux due to a too high hematocrit level.

US licenses increase by six percent

In year one after seven-times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong's retirement as a professional, American cycling seems to be doing even better than in 2005. USA Cycling has announced that the total number of membership licenses sold has surpassed the 57,000 barrier this week. The most recent count of 57,218 licenses represents nearly a 6 percent increase over the 54,190 licenses sold throughout the entire 2005 calendar year.

Of those, 36,352 licenses are specific to road and track cyclists, and 10,995 represent competitive mountain bikers. Other membership numbers include coaches (1,147), officials (1,988), and mechanics (175).

In addition to individual license sales, 1,800 licensed clubs were also registered, which is already a 16 percent increase compared to last year’s year-end total of 1,554.

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