First Edition Cycling News for September 17, 2006
Edited by Hedwig Kröner
Vuelta stage 20 wrap-up
Vino's birthday present
Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana)
Photo ©: Unipublic
Race leader Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) made himself the most beautiful
birthday present today, by showing again that he was the well-deserved
winner of the Vuelta a España. On the day the Kazakhstani turned 33 years
old, and only three days after taking the maillot oro off Alejandro Valverde
(Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears), he gave his very best once more to take
his third stage victory in this Grand Tour: 'Vino' won the second and
last time trial of the race, six seconds ahead of Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi).
Former overall leader Valverde lost another 19 seconds on Vinokourov and
finished third in the stage.
"I started out carefully," said Vinokourov, who will now savour his first overall
victory in a Grand Tour. "But when I saw that I could win the stage, I
put on the gas. The first week of the race was hard for me. After I won
the stage in Lugo and La Cobertoria, things changed radically. And I started
to think about the overall victory in Granada (finish of stage 17). This
victory in the Vuelta is what I needed to be competitive in the 2007 Tour
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).
WAP-enabled mobile devices: http://live.cyclingnews.com/wap/
There were no changes on the general classification's Top 5. Vladimir
Karpets (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears) moved up from tenth to eighth
placing on GC after a solid performance in the time trial, where he finished
fifth behind Vinokourov, 30 seconds down. Hungarian Laszlo Bodrogi (Credit
Agricole), who led the race before the favourites had started, ended up
a very respectable fourth.
Click here for the Full
results, report & photos, and live
report from stage 20.
Austria boots two U23 riders for missing doping test
By Susan Westemeyer
Two U23 riders on the Austrian World's team have been removed from the
roster for missing a doping control Thursday evening, the Austrian cycling
federation (ÖRV) announced on Saturday. Christian Ebner and Markus Eibegger
were not suspended, but will not be allowed to ride for the national team
in the upcoming World Championships in Salzburg, ÖRV general secretary
Rudolf Massak said.
According to Austrian ORF television, the incident took place at the
ÖRV's training camp in Bad Tatzmannsdorf. Dinner was set for 7 p.m., and
the doping controller appeared at 7:15 p.m.. Shortly thereafter "Ebner
and Eiberger disappeared." Eiberger finally performed the test at a doctor's
office on Friday evening, but did not give a reason for skipping the earlier
test when he called Massak. "We didn't have time for a long talk, he had
to make the test quickly. And now we have to wait for the next step and
let the institutions do their work. If there should be a doping problem,
the ÖRV's anti-doping committee will get active." Eiberger, 22 years old,
was considered to have a good chance in the World's, as he has won several
races in the last few weeks.
Massak had not heard from Ebner. "I haven't been able to reach him,
I have also tried it through his parents. I would very much like to know
what is happening," he said.
"Because the behaviour of the athletes absolutely contradicts the strict
anti-doping policies of the federation, the ÖRV management has decided
not to allow the two athletes to participate on the national team until
the situation has been made clear," according to the federation's statement.
The federation met on Friday evening. "We discussed it along time and
sadly came to this conclusion, but we have strict rules and cannot tolerate
this kind of behaviour," MAssak said. He emphasized that the two were
not suspended: "Naturally they can ride other races."
McQuaid concerned about Spanish investigation
UCI chief Pat McQuaid has affirmed his concerns about the ongoing doping
investigation around doctor Eufemiano Fuentes in Spain. Talking to the
Telegraaf, the Irishman said that he did not understand why there
were only cyclists yet publicly linked to the affair, when Fuentes himself
had admitted that a great deal of his clients belonged to other sports.
"When I was visiting Lissavetsky in June, I was told very clearly that
[the affair] concerned 200 sportsmen," McQuaid said. "Thirty percent cyclists,
thirty percent football players, twenty percent tennis men and a number
of athletes. So far, not a single name has been named by the other sports.
Spanish politicians even deny now that tennis and football are concerned,
while Fuentes himself affirmed it. I do think that's odd, and have asked
IOC president Jacques Rogge to start an investigation. I've also asked
the World Anti-Doping Agency to follow up on it. I think that all sports
should be treated the same."
The president of the International Cycling Union continued by saying
that the current investigation had led him to believe that it was possible
to take performance-enhancing substances and go unnoticed in the anti-doping
controls. "The past has taught us that many regulations are not completely
successful," continued McQuaid. "With our controls and by collecting medical
data, we knew that something was going on in Spain - but it wasn't clear
to us what exactly it was. The best example for this is Jan Ullrich. Between
the Tour of Italy and the Tour de France, the Swiss Olympic Committee
performed out-of-competition controls every week on him. All the results
were negative. But if we believe the Fuentes dossiers, he was taking all
these banned substances in that period. 'Operacion Puerto' has shown us
that there are many doping practices which we can't get a hold of, and
that is a source of great concern."
McQuaid explained further that it was because of these limitations in
the fight against doping that the world governing body of cycling turned
to other instances for help. "We can't do it on our own yet," he admitted.
"That's why we need the support of politics and justice. The fact that
athletes are then treated like criminals is a negative consequence, but
it's a situation that the sport created itself. It's not only a problem
of the sport, but of society: everywhere, also in politics, there are
cheaters. That's why it's also unreal to believe that you can get doping
out of the cycling sport altogether. But it is our task to make cycling
credible again in the eyes of the greater public. That task is now on
Saiz' accusation admitted
On August 12, Manolo Saiz, the former manager of the Liberty Seguros
team, himself accused in the Operacion Puerto affair, has submitted to
the Madrid court dealing with the affair, an accusation against the director
of the Superior Council of Sports, Rafael Blanco. This accusation has
now been admitted to procedure by the judge responsible for the case.
Saiz stated that Blanco had acted in bad faith against his company,
Active Bay, by transmitting to the Spanish cycling federation a document
of the Guardia Civil which had not yet been validated by the judge investigating
the affair. This document included annexes which judge Antonio Serrano
had not authorized to be passed on.
Moreover, Saiz claimed that the Superior Council of Sports had received
documents about the case only on July 7, but that it sent information
about it to the Spanish cycling federation already on June 29. This information
ultimately led to Liberty Seguros' exclusion of the Tour de France, and
was "clearly intended," according to Saiz, "to cause damage and give a
public lesson" to the Spaniard.
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
complete coverage of Operación Puerto
Boonen considers legal action
World Champion Tom Boonen is defending himself against insinuations
from a Belgian senator, Jean-Marie Dedecker, who said that he had "information
according to which three Belgian top cyclists had received performance-enhancing
drugs in Italy in February." Even though no names were mentioned, Boonen
feels that he is being linked to doping, and now considers legal action
against the senator.
"When somebody speaks of top cyclists in our country, everybody thinks
of Tom right away," said Patrick Lefévère, team manager of Quick Step-Innergetic.
"We're examining legal action against Dedecker for damaging his reputation."
Vuelta: no ceremony for ProTour leader's jersey
The organisers of the Vuelta a España have made known that there will
not be an official ceremony to award the white jersey of leading ProTour
rider on Sunday in Madrid. Vittorio Adorni, president of the UCI ProTour
council, was going to come to the Spanish capital to officially award
the jersey to Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne), who retains the lead,
but Unipublic officials have told him that no such ceremony was planned.
Gates hopes for Tour next year
Davitamon-Lotto rider Nick Gates has had a good season, and has been
rewarded for it with his nomination for the Australian national team at
the Salzburg World's next week. "It was a bit unexpected," he told the
Manning River Times. "I've had a few small wins and some strong
performances this season, and I've been consistent and that's always important."
The 34 year-old Gates hadn't been included in the national squad for
three years. Moreover, he has good hopes to be racing the Tour de France
again next year, a race which he has contested twice already. "I've already
been told I'm in the team for the Tour de France next year," he said.
"So that's good news."
At the World's in Salzburg, Gates will be supporting teammates Cadel
Evans and Robbie McEwen, but isn't ruling out his own chances. "We'll
have three leading riders - Robbie and Cadel will be two... while the
rest of us will be in there assisting them," he explained. "But if you
get a break, well, who knows?"
After the event, Gates will be headed home to Australia for some R and
R before gearing up again for the Australian season.
Sciandri and Sorensen join Revolution
With the fourth season of Revolution set to start on October 14 at Manchester
velodrome, the Italian countryside has already seen an increase in activity
recently with Andrea Tafi, Franco Ballerini and Silvio Martinello out
on the roads in preparation for a one-night-only return to racing. Now,
Max Sciandri and Rolf Sorensen have dusted off their bikes to take up
the challenge and revive old rivalries to entertain the Revolution crowds.
"We’ve all been out training and everyone is really looking forward
to it," commented Sciandri. "Rolf already pulled off on a climb at the
end of the ride so I took the opportunity to joke with him about his chances
at Revolution." With 10 years having passed since Sorensen took silver
ahead of Sciandri in the 1996 Olympic Games road race you’d think the
grudge would be long over, but Sciandri has already been provocative:
"Rolf has put a bit of weight on so I don’t think he’s as much of a threat
as he used to be - at least I’ve managed to stay in shape."
Sciandri is less confident about his chances of meeting up with some
of his academy riders who train with him in Tuscany. "It’s going to be
a hard evening, track racing is really fast so it will be tough against
the younger guys," he said, on a more serious level. "It’s going to be
really cool riding against the younger riders but we’ll just have to see
how things go."
For more information and to buy tickets got to www.cyclingrevolution.com. VIP track centre tickets are also
Sooty Park returns
The second series of Australia's popular cycling TV show Sooty Park
is planned to return to Channel 31 during the first week of December,
2006. Show times will be finalised shortly.
The Sooty Park series 1 is headed to Perth’s Channel 31 (Access TV)
next month, and will show on Thursdays at 10.30 pm and Tuesdays at 1.30
pm, starting October 5. The Sooty Park makers have "collected lots of
great footage overseas, from couriers in Madrid to dog-trailers on the
Col du Glandon. A highlight is the Dutch corner on l'Alpe d’Huez, the
day the Tour de France passes." The crew is still filming locally, "so
smile if you see a camera around."
The Sooty Park crew is also looking for sponsors to be able to get an
outdoor venue to host the ‘Roller Room’ competition, thereby opening it
to the public. The show is exposed to 65,000 Melburnians and "some" Perth's
Webcor/Alto Velo rider killed
Webcor/Alto Velo member and Category II racer, John Peckham, was killed
on Friday, September 8, when a drunk driver crossed into his lane and
collided with him head-on not far from the campus of Stanford University.
The driver is currently in jail facing four felony accounts related to
the death of John Peckham.
John Peckham, a 31 year-old bio-medical engineer, started racing in
2005 and used his natural riding ability and an explosive sprint to move
up to Webcor/Alto Velo's Elite Pro 1/2 squad. Known for his criterium
skills, Peckham surprised many when he placed 13th at the Valley of the
Sun Stage race last February as a Cat III, and second in his first Cat
II race, the Menlo Park Grand Prix. Teammates, friends and family recall
an intense, caring and supportive man who was passionate about cycling
Peckham will be honoured with a memorial ride on Sunday, September 24.
Details will be announced on Webcor/Alto Velo's website www.altovelo.org.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)