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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for September 16, 2006

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Vuelta Stage 19 wrap-up

Arrieta strong enough in the end

Jose Luis Arrieta (AG2R)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

As expected, stage 19 of the Vuelta saw a non-threatening breakaway go all the way to the finish in Ciudad Real, with experienced Spaniard José Luis Arrieta (AG2R) triumphing over Dmitriy Fofonov (Credit Agricole), David Loosli (Lampre-Fondital) and Lars Bak (Team CSC) in a four man sprint. Bak looked to be the strongest of the break, that initially numbered eight, but despite two very good attacks in the final eight kilometres, he couldn't get clear. The peloton finished over 11 minutes down with all of the GC favourites choosing to save their legs for tomorrow's time trial.

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The break got away after 48 km with Vladimir Gusev (Discovery Channel), José Luis Arrieta (AG2R Prevoyance), Aketza Peña (Euskaltel-Euskadi), and José Vicente Garcia Acosta (Caisse d'Epargne) being joined by Lars Bak (Team CSC), Dmitriy Fofonov (Credit Agricole), David Loosli (Lampre-Fondital) and Pieter Mertens (Davitamon-Lotto). The group was allowed to go clear and managed a maximum lead of 12'04 as Astana was just content to set a steady tempo all day. The attacking started with 11 km to go, and a good move by Bak at 8 km to go looked to have snared him the stage, but he was brought back by Arrieta, Fofonov and Loosli with just over 2 km left. He tried once more under the 1 km to go banner, but that also did not succeed.

Click here for the Full results, report & photos, and live report from stage 19.

Squadra Azzurra announced

Paolo Bettini (Liquigas)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Italian national coach Franco Ballerini has announced the country's contingent for the World Championships in Salzburg. Captain of the Squadra Azzurra will be 'Il Grillo' Paolo Bettini (Quick Step). The Italian national champion will have two of his teammates at his side: Filippo Pozzato and Matteo Tosatto, as well as Danilo Di Luca, Luca Paolini (Liquigas), Alessandro Ballan, Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre), Andrea Tonti, Rinaldo Nocentini (Acqua e Sapone), Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) and Raffaele Ferrara (Androni Giocattoli).

"This team hasn't been selected so much to attack, but more to be present," Ballerini explained his choice. "The parcours is made for attacks, and we have to be included in them." The Italian coach expects those attacks to come from riders like Fränk Schleck and Stuart O'Grady (both CSC), as well as Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana).

The elite men's time trial will see Marco Pinotti (Saunier Duval) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) compete for Italy. The U23 team includes: Marco Bandiera, Davide Malacarne (Zalf Désirée Fior), Luca Barla (Bergamasca Colpack), Ermanno Capelli, Francesco Gavazzi (Unidelta DMT), Dario Cataldo (Bedogni Natalini), Mauro Finetto (Filmop Sorelle Ramonda), Francesco Ginanni (Finauto D'Etoffe) and Alan Marangoni (Coppi Gazzera).

The women's squad will be composed of: Monia Baccaille (Cicli Saccarelli), Marta Bastianelli, Daniela Fusar Poli (Safi Pasta Zara), Giorgia Bronzini (Team FRW), Noemi Cantele (Team Bigla), Vera Carrara (Chirio Forno d'Asolo), Sigrid Corneo, Silvia Valsecchi (Nobili Menikini Cogeas), Tatiana Guderzo, Fabiana Luperini (Top Girls). Valsecchi and Guderzo will also participate in the time trial, while Corneo and Fusar Poli will be reserves.

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti

Images by Roberto Bettini/

Spanish selection for World's

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Spanish coach Paco Antequera has officially announced his selection for the World Championships on Friday. The definite list of riders that will join the Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears leader, Alejandro Valverde, next Sunday, September 24 to ride the road race in Salzburg will be composed of his teammate Joaquin Rodriguez, Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Xavier Florencio (Bouygues Telecom), Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel), Iñigo Cuesta (CSC), Francisco Ventoso (Saunier Duval) and Luis Perez (Cofidis).

Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears) was not selected as his form at the Vuelta a España did not convince Antequera. "Oscar's condition is not good enough," the Spanish national coach said. "We thought his form would improve during the Tour of Spain, but in fact that didn't happen."

The ninth rider is yet to be determined. It could be Carlos Sastre (CSC), "but he has asked me to wait until the Vuelta finishes to see in what condition he will be, because he wants to go to Salzburg in a perfect state for helping," Antequera said. "If Sastre doesn't go, I will choose between Manolo Beltrán and Egoi Martinez." Both riders belong to Discovery Channel.

Meanwhile, Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), who renounced to compete in the World's time trial due to a virus, which forced him to abandon the Vuelta, is still trying to recover. "I don't want to disappoint anybody, and I have accepted that I am not in condition for going there," said the Astana rider. Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears' Iván Gutiérrez will thus be the only one to represent Spain in the TT in Salzburg: "Luis León Sánchez chose not to ride, because he is not well, and I do not see another rider with guarantees who can replace him," Antequera said.

Pound: WADA monitors Landis case

During a teleconference on September 14, WADA chief Richard Pound has defended the anti-doping tests which led to the result of a too high testosterone/epitestosterone ratio in Floyd Landis' samples during the Tour de France. Landis' lawyers had recently asked to dismiss the case.

"The UCI has been quite vociferous its in support of the lab in this particular case," Pound said. "These labs are not accredited unless they are very competent. If they found something I'm satisfied that it was there. I haven't seen all the evidence, and that's why we sit and wait to see what USADA (U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) and the UCI do about it."

Pound explained further that the World Anti-Doping Agency could act on a higher level than the USADA or even the UCI, implying that WADA could appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) if they thought that the case was not handled correctly. "We're a monitoring agency," Pound continued. "USADA will consider the evidence and I think it invites submissions on behalf of an athlete even before it makes his determination, as to whether or not there is a positive case. They're presumably in the process of doing that. We watch and we see what the dispositions are. The UCI have the right, on their rules, to intervene if they don't agree that the national agency has done the right thing. And we have an even higher level of oversight over both USADA and the UCI, and if we don't think that they deal with this in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code, then we have a right on our own initiative to go to the CAS and get what we think is the right decision."

But Pound was confident that USADA would not accept any flawed defense. "Just because someone is making excuses does not mean a responsible anti-doping agency is going to roll over and play dead," he said.

Pound was also asked if he was concerned about athletes publishing press releases on the Internet, attacking science, while the anti-doping establishment was not enabled by protocol to respond. "It would be useful for some of these labs being attacked, or the sciences being attacked, when people see these statements, some of which are irresponsible, to take issue with them," he said. "But, in the long run, the system works. Tyler Hamilton persisted with the most absurd explanation you can possibly imagine, heavily reported in the media. The panel of independent arbitrators said, 'It's complete nonsense, we don't accept it.'"

Pound also said that WADA's next executive committee meeting, scheduled on Saturday, would address the question of banning hypoxic tents, which simulate high altitude and boost red blood cells. The agency found that the chambers have an effect on performance, and are "against the spirit of sport", making them eligible for be prohibited.

"The moral question is simple," Pound said. "It is one thing if you are prepared to go physically endure the rigours of training at altitude. But to be at sea level and climb into a tent and go to sleep pretending you're at altitude, and getting the same result, is artificial." He added that the decision-making would not be easy: "It's an issue that probably attracts more heat than light in the discussions. There are entrenched positions on both sides."

May 29, 2009 - French authorities summon Landis and Baker
September 28, 2008 - Landis takes case to US federal court
September 10, 2008 - Landis signing with current Health Net-Maxxis team for 2009
July 1, 2008 - CAS delivers final blow to Landis legal challenge
June 30, 2008 - Landis loses final appeal
June 28, 2008 - Landis decision due Monday
March 12, 2008 - Landis' judgment day nears
October 21, 2007 - Landis files appeal with CAS
October 18, 2007 - AFLD takes another look at Landis case
Thursday, October 11 - Landis continues fight, appeals to CAS
Saturday, September 22 - UCI officially names Pereiro 2006 Tour champion, Landis case raises issues
Friday, September 21 - Landis' appeal denied, two year suspension levied

New doping control program at CSC

Next year will see ProTour team CSC establishing the "best doping control program world-wide," said team director Bjarne Riis, currently in Spain for the Vuelta. The Dane announced that anti-doping expert Rasmus Damsgaard will be in charge of monitoring the riders throughout next season.

"He won't be with us all the time," said Riis. "But he will create a form of documentation which will show that we ride clean anytime. We will not change anything about the team's management, but we will be able to prove, without a doubt, that we are clean."

Other teams, whose riders have been implicated in the Spanish doping scandal around doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, are completely re-structuring, like T-Mobile and Liberty Seguros/Astana. Asked if he thought that Giro d'Italia winner Ivan Basso would ever ride fro him again, Riis said, "We will wait for the results of the procedure in Italy and decide then." Basso will be heard in front of the Italian Olympic Committee on September 29 for the second time.

Giro di Lombardia invites 5 Continental teams

The organisers of the Giro di Lombardia, taking place on Saturday, October 14, have announced that they have invited five additional Continental Pro teams to the 20 ProTour squads already enrolled to take place in their event. The five wildcards have gone to: Acqua & Sapone-Caffé Mokambo, Barloworld, Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, Selle Italia-Serramenti Diquigiovanni and Team LPR. The Giro di Lombardia will thus feature 25 teams at the start in Mendrisio.

Liquigas for GP's Misano and Prato

Italian Liquigas team has announced it's line-up for the GP Città di Misano and the GP Industria & Commercio di Prato, taking place this week-end. Franco Pellizotti, who will be supported by Manuel Quinziato, will captain the team in both races. Under the guidance of team manager Mario Chiesa, the following riders will take the start:

GP Città di Misano: Franco Pellizotti, Manuel Quinziato, Michael Albasini, Alberto Curtolo, Mauro Da Dalto, Matej Mugerli, Marco Righetto and Stefano Zanini.

GP Industria & Commercio di Prato: Franco Pellizotti, Manuel Quinziato, Michael Albasini, Eros Capecchi, Roman Kreuziger, Matej Mugerli, Andrea Noè and Marco Righetto.

Den Bakker signs with Skil-Shimano

Dutch rider Maarten den Bakker (Milram) has signed a one-year deal with Skil-Shimano for next season. "The 37 year-old has been brought into the team to share his experience with the younger riders in the same way as Aart Vierhouten has done this season," the team said in a statement. Den Bakker will also regularly take on the role of leader. "Given his sober personality and his extensive roll of honour we view Maarten as a strong addition to the team," said team managers Arend Scheppink and Iwan Spekenbrink.

Maarten den Bakker launched his pro career at PDM in 1990, riding for TVM (Farm Frites) in 1993-1997 and Rabobank in 1998-2005. Career highlights include a second place in the Amstel Gold Race (1998), third in Liege-Bastogne-Liege (1999) and a runner-up finish in the Flèche Wallonne (1999). He also won the Dutch national road title in 1999, becoming Dutch time trial champion four years later in 2003. Den Bakker has taken part in the Tour de France nine times.

Den Bakker is looking forward to his role at Skil-Shimano next season. "I’m highly motivated to guide the team’s young riders in the peloton and share my experience, and I’m happy I’ll also have the freedom to ride for my own success when the opportunity arises," he said.

British Cycling breaks records

Membership of British Cycling has broken the 20,000 mark for the first time since 1961, the organisation announced. British Cycling's clubs have recruited 2000 members during 2006 through a club-focused membership recruitment scheme launched in 2005. More than half of the new members have upgraded to Silver or Gold membership, enabling them to access the best legal and insurance benefits available for cyclists in the UK.

Alongside the growth in membership is a growth in the number of licence holders, which has also hit an all time high of 11,000. In addition, over 60 percent of the new members recruited through this scheme in 2005 have renewed their membership in 2006.

"Since the beginning of the implementation of the organisation’s UK Wide One Stop Plan in April 2005, we have seen a 33 percent increase in membership," British Cycling’s Chief Executive Peter King commented. "British Cycling has established itself as not only the fastest growing Cycling organisation but also the fastest growing National Governing Body across all sports in the UK.

"In addition, over the same period, there has been a 9 percent increase in the number of licence holders. A lack of appropriate racing opportunities has often been cited by lapsed members as the main reason for not renewing their membership, so this increase suggests we have begun to turn an important corner in addressing this issue."

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