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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for September 24, 2006

Edited by Anthony Tan

USADA asked to move forward on Landis case

Hip replacement scheduled next Wednesday

Floyd Landis on the podium in Paris after his 2006 Tour de France victory
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Tour de France champion Floyd Landis received notice that the US Anti-Doping Review Board (ADRB) has recommended that the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) move forward in the disciplinary process related to his alleged positive drug test for testosterone on July 20, 2006, the day he won the seventeenth stage of the Tour de France after a day-long escape.

Howard Jacobs, attorney for Landis, will request an open hearing by the American Arbitration Association to contest potential sanctions against the athlete. In a public statement, Jacobs said his legal team is "poised to bring a very strong case to arbitration".

"Last week's motion for dismissal provides the foundation for an appeal that uses fact-based science to support Landis' innocence. Landis is confident that the hearing will reveal the truth and he is looking forward to clearing his name in an open and public forum," said Jacobs.

While his legal team prepares for arbitration, Landis will focus on his upcoming hip replacement surgery, scheduled for next Wednesday, September 27. "Floyd is going to undergo a state of the art procedure that will maximise his chances of returning to racing at the top level," said Brent Kay, M.D., Landis' physician and assistant clinical professor of medicine at Loma Linda University Medical Center.

Following surgery, Landis will go through physical therapy to regain strength and range of movement in the hip.

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

CAS could get busy with ProTour polemics

By Jean-François Quénet in Salzburg

The 2007 Tour de France (July 7-29) will be launched on October 26 but it's highly unlikely that ASO will announce who will take part in the next edition. The AIGCP [International Association of Professional Cycling Teams] is firmly confident in maintaining the obligation for all ProTour teams to be invited, whether it be 20 or only 18, if Astana, Unibet.com or Barloworld don't receive a license on December 7.

"We're prepared to go to the CAS for that," an official from AIGCP told Cyclingnews in Salzburg. The UCI is also on its way to the CAS against ASO, RCS and Unipublic after they were notified that the organisers of the three Grand Tours don't want to have their brand associated with the UCI ProTour.

"We're prepared to go to CAS, should it be necessary," president Pat McQuaid declared in a press conference in Salzburg. The Irishman added: "Shall we lose the case, we'd change the name of the UCI ProTour, but the calendar would stay the same."

So far, the request from the Grand Tours to be withdrawn from the ProTour calendar hasn't been successful and there are more fights to come between the two parties. "I don't think it's a good idea to go to CAS, we'd better work on a compromise," Tour of Italy organiser Angelo Zomegnan said.

On the doping aspect, McQuaid also warned that "in the future, legal actions will be taken against riders, teams or individuals who have damaged the image of cycling by their implication in doping affairs."

Manzano: "Well-known footballers" also clients of Fuentes

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Ex-Kelme professional Jesus Manzano, the first rider to break the code of silence about a Spanish doping ring two years ago, told reporters on France 3 he saw well-known footballers (soccer players) from Spain's first division clubs visit the offices of doctor Eufemiano Fuentes', the man at the centre of the Operaciòn Puerto investigation.

"I saw well-known footballers, but I cannot say how many," said Manzano last Thursday evening on France 3, adding: "this doctor [Fuentes] takes care [of athletes] from all over the world. Manzano also affirmed deceased Italian cycling star Marco Pantani was one of Fuentes' clients.

Previously a little-known rider, Manzano participated in a series of in-depth interviews about alleged doping practices within his former Kelme team that were published in Madrid's sports newspaper As in March 2004.

Belgian professor asked to conduct audit

By Jean-François Quénet in Salzburg

Professor Sturbois from the University of Leuven in Belgium has been appointed by the UCI to conduct an audit on professional cycling for a better understanding of "the doping culture that remains there," according to president Pat McQuaid.

A group of physiologists, psychologists, sport sociologists and psychiatrists, all independent from the world of cycling, will be formed. They are supposed to come up with conclusions within a year. McQuaid and his partners at the UCI have realized that "cyclists live in a cocoon".

"We want to know why they go from vitamin pills to vitamin injections then to stronger injections," he said, citing comments made to him by Tom Boonen, who said the environment of the Tour de France is so stressful that he looks forwards to the start of the race "for taking a rest".

Said McQuaid: "We have no intention to reduce the length of the Grand Tours but we want to make sure that there are no excuses for doping. Scientists will be doing the research. If changes have to be made, they will be made."

The inquiry will be financed by the reserve funds of the ProTour (money collected from the issuing of licenses to race organisers and teams) and the riders' contribution, with the anti-doping tax set to go from two to four percent of total prize money next year.

McQuaid is also confident in the new involvement of some teams who have expressed strong anti-doping policies: "Getting rid of the doping culture," is the UCI's new priority, he said.

Asked about Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano's future in the staff of Euskaltel despite his implication in the Operaciòn Puerto investigation, UCI ProTour manager Alain Rumpf recalled that the teams' Code of Conduct states that no riders or staff in that situation can be recruited.

"If we receive a request from Euskaltel for Gonzalez de Galdeano, we'll study it closely," Rumpf assured. Strangely, as the UCI exposed their program against the doping culture, Johan Museeuw visited the press conference room. Although he's still banned for drugs in the Landuyt affair until October 14 this year, the UCI issued him an accreditation as an "ex-world champion". "He shouldn't be here," an embarrassed Rumpf said afterwards.

Gerolsteiner considering Tour boycott?

By Susan Westemeyer

Is Gerolsteiner really prepared to boycott the 2007 Tour de France if Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso are allowed to participate? That's what Hans-Michael Holczer, Gerolsteiner Team Manger, indicated on Friday in Salzburg.

Holczer would not let his team participate if Ullrich and Basso were in the race: "I can't really imagine that [Ullrich and Basso would ride next year's Tour de France]," he told the Süddeutsche Zeitung, adding that if things don't change, he would consider quitting the sport in 2008.

When Cyclingnews posed the same scenario to T-Mobile, spokesperson Christian Frommert replied: "If that question should actually arise, then we wouldn't automatically accept it, but would have to consider how we would want to deal with the situation."

"We must not be naive about this," Holczer told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. "The danger is there, that the [ProTour] code [of ethics] won't survive." Frommert also had his doubts, saying he is "not totally convinced right now. The important thing is for the team bosses and the UCI to clearly follow through."

Holczer also expressed a lack of understanding that the affected riders [in Operaciòn Puerto] have not voluntarily offered to supply DNA samples for comparison purposes. "If a child were found dead here and I was considered a suspect because I have been staying in this hotel for five days, then I would immediately make the DNA test."

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

First Chinese rider to ProTour

The signing of Fuyu Li by the Discovery Channel team makes him the first-ever Chinese rider to gain a contract at cycling's highest level.

In another first, Li became the first Chinese rider to win a UCI stage race at the Tour of Thailand this season. He also recorded wins at the GP Westfalen in Germany, and finished third in the time trial and road race at the Chinese national championships.

"Fuyu has proven that he is a strong rider, has had some impressive results and we are excited to have him as a member of our team," said team manager Johan Bruyneel. "He will certainly need some time to get used to the speed and style of racing, but I will design a program that allows him to be successful. I am sure he will adapt quickly."

Currently at the Great Wall cycling festival, the largest amateur bicycle racing and participatory event in China, Li was naturally delighted to be signed by one of the world's best teams. "I am so very happy that Johan has selected me to be a part of the Discovery Channel Team," he said.

"This is a dream come true for me and I am excited to be the first Chinese rider to race at this elite level. I can only hope that this will increase the awareness for the sport and also cycling participation in China."

Li's signing has expanded the international flavour of the Discovery Channel team to include riders from 12 countries so far.

National federations called for Nations Cup

By Jean-François Quénet in Salzburg

In other news emanating from Aigle, the 2007 Europe Tour calendar will include seven races under the "Nations Cup" label: the GP of Portugal (March 30-April 1), Tour de la Côte Picarde (April 18, in France), U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège (April 21 in Belgium), Giro delle Regioni (April 26-May 1 in Italy), Thüringen Rundfahrt (June 12-17 in Germany), GP Tell (August 22-26 in Switzerland), and Tour de l'Avenir (September 6-15 in France).

These races will be contested by national teams composed of Under 23 riders, with the possibility for members of ProTour teams to be selected. "Race organisers will have the obligation to invite the best federations from each of the five continents," the UCI announced.

"Some of them are prepared to do it but they don't all have the financial capacity for doing the series," road co-ordinator Philippe Chevallier explained, but added: "We're working with the youth categories for the future of cycling."

USA Cycling and VMG Racing form partnership

On Friday, USA Cycling and US Continental team VMG Racing announced a formal joint venture for 2007. U23 road cyclists identified by USA Cycling will ride for VMG Racing in a mix of National Racing Calendar and Central and South American UCI events. In Europe, USA Cycling will continue to focus its attention on its National Development Team. Top performers from VMG will be made available to USA Cycling for UCI U23 World Cup events and additional European National Development Team events in Europe.

VMG and USA Cycling believe the partnership bodes well for the development of the sport in the United States and a more competitive future for up-and-coming American riders. The joint venture evolved over the last few months after a successful season of cooperation between the two groups.

"As we worked together this year, it became obvious that the design and purpose of each program complimented the other," said Jim Miller, USA Cycling's Director of Endurance Programs. "We did not have to search very hard for synergies. They existed naturally in our collective goals and mission."

The new VMG-USA Cycling partnership directly targets the vertical support issue that hopes to prepare talented young riders for professional competition. VMG Racing will retain ownership, autonomy and branding of its U23 team.

USA Cycling and VMG have stated that the goal for their joint venture is based more on execution than results. "The long-term vision and direction for this joint venture is to develop a program that is sustainable and one that is rooted in the belief that proper development of U23 riders is critical to competitive success," said VMG founder Mark Holowesko.

VMG Racing will release details on its 2007 team roster and additional sponsors in the near future.

British Cycling provides direct support for Welsh talent

As of next month, Welsh cycling's talent program will be directly funded by British Cycling, reports News Wales. The move ensures the Wales Talent Team and its Olympic Talent coach will receive the same funding opportunities as other talent teams in Great Britain.

Said Welsh Cycling chief executive Peter Sommers: "This will mean that our young cyclists will have the same chance to achieve their goal of reaching the British Cycling Olympic Development programme as all other cyclists on other talent teams.

"Thanks to the Sports Council for Wales agreement, all funding saved from Welsh Cycling not having to financially support the talent team programme will be re-invested into grass roots development. This will enable us, amongst many other developments, to employ a new performance development coach to work alongside club coaches in developing young Welsh riders between the ages of nine and thirteen."

Previous Olympic Talent Coach for Wales, Stuart MacDonald, will fill a new position with British Cycling as their South West Olympic Talent Coach, while Julian Winn will now take on MacDonald's previous role, whilst continuing in his capacity of monitoring and supporting selected junior and senior riders.

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