First Edition Cycling News for August 8, 2007
Edited by Greg Johnson & Paul Verkuylen
Deutschland revokes Elk Haus wild-card
By Susan Westemeyer
The Deutschland Tour has taken the unprecedented step of revoking a wild-card invitation to participate in the race, only three days before the Tour is due to start. The Austrian Professional Continental team Elk Haus Simplon responded angrily to the announcement that it would not be allowed to ride.
"Team Elk Haus-Simplon did not obey the deadline for sending in the Bulletin d'engagement as set out in the UCI's Procedure d'engagement," Tour spokesman Reinald Achilles told Cyclingnews, pointing to the requirement for rosters to be lodged 20 days prior to the event. "We received the riders' names on August 3, not on the appropriate form. We still do not have an official Bulletin. That alone is enough to exclude them."
Achilles said the team's failure to prescribe to the UCI's ethical code for ProTour races was the defining event in management's decision to axe the squad.
"In addition, Team Elk Haus-Simplon has not fulfilled the obligation of supplying the UCI's prescribed ethical code for ProTour races (Feb. 9, 2007), which is to accomplish the equalization of ethical criteria of ProTour teams and invited Wild Card teams," he said. "Team Elk Haus-Simplon is the only team, from whom we have no signed statements. Neither from the managers nor from the riders."
The Austria-registered squad responded to the event's decision, saying it has no understanding for the "flimsy grounds for this decision".
"I cannot understand this step and the news hit me like a bolt of lightning," said team manager Bernhard Rassinger. He said that the team was reserving the right to take legal steps. He added that the team could have supplied the necessary signatures before the start of the race in Saarbrucken, and that the whole team was ready and willing to sign.
"I have prepared myself intensively for the Deutschland Tour, visited the stage routes and feel in absolute top form," team captain Christian Pfannberger said. "That we can't start is like a slap in the face. If we had known that, we would have ridden the Volta a Portugal. We turned down that invitation in favour of the Wild-card for the Deutschland Tour."
The Austrian had trouble with the reasons given for the exclusion. "It is not Austria that has had numerous scandals and doping confessions the last few weeks," said Pfannberger. "And the teams involved in all of that are starting in the Deutschland Tour."
Other riders from the squad joined Pfannberger in reacting angrily to the news. "I am disappointed that we can't start, because my form is good," confessed Jochen Summer. "But I am even more disappointed at how cycling is treating people. If someone wants to denigrate you, then that is obviously very easy. We are not allowed to start because of conjecture and lies. We won't accept that!"
Rudolf Massak, the general secretary of the Austrian cycling federation ÖRV, weighed into the debate, saying the organisers have picked on the small squad. "The grounds that have been given, if that is true, [it's] an absolute puzzle to me and unworthy of a Deutschland Tour," he said. "They made it easy for themselves and threw out a little Austrian team, from whom they don't have to worry about any consequences."
Massak noted that Tirol-Werbung, the tourist agency for the Tirol region of Austria, is a co-sponsor of the race. "If I were Tirol-Werbung, I would think twice about continuing my engagement as sponsor after this insult," he said. "Elk has three riders from the Tirol on its roster."
Race organizer Kai Rapp noted that the ProTour teams had spoken out against Elk Haus' participation, which Massak attributed to jealousy, suggesting that the riders are worried about being beaten on Stage 5, which ends with a mountaintop finish at the Rettenbachferner Glacier in Austria. "That the ProTour teams protested against Elk Haus doesn't surprise me," said Massak. "I wouldn't want to lose on the Rettenbachferne against a Pfannberger either. Especially if my name was Jens Voigt."
Slipstream secures Backstedt
Magnus Backstedt has announced that he is the mysterious Paris-Roubaix winner signed by Jonathan Vaughters' Team Slipstream for 2008. Vaughters' announced to Cyclingnews last week that he had signed an active winner of the French classic, but refused to name which professional had signed with the squad.
"I feel that it is time for a new start and I am extremely attracted by the programme and values of Team Slipstream/Chipotle," said Backstedt, reffering to the squad's ethos of a doping-free environment. "Jonathan Vaughters and myself were team mates at Credit Agricole, as soon as I spoke with him regarding the possibility of me joining the team, I knew it was the right decision."
Backstedt's signing will see the Liquigas rider join the American Professional Continental squad for both 2008 and 2009, by which point Vaughters plans to acquire a ProTour licence.
The Swedish champion joins a wave of big-named new signings to the squad, with Saunier Duval's David Millar, and Team CSC duo David Zabriskie and Christian Vande Velde all being announced immediately after the Tour de France finished. Yesterday New Zealand's Julian Dean announced he was leaving his French ProTour team Crédit Agricole to join the squad for 2008.
"I believe that with riders such as myself, Millar, Zabriske and Vande Velde joining guys like Danny Pate, we can make a significant impact on some major races next year," added Backstedt. "From my own perspective I have a big following in the USA and am really looking forward to getting stuck into races such as the Tour of California and racing for an American team."
Backstedt is confident with the lineup the squad will enter 2008 with that the outfit will be invited to both Roubaix and the Tour. The two events have been singled out by Vaughters recently as key stepping stones in the path to a ProTour licence in 2009.
"I think Slipstream/Chipotle will be a breath of fresh air for cycling," said the 2004 Roubaix winner. "I'm sure we will get a ride in Paris Roubaix and we will be on the start line for the Tour de France. With the guys we have, I think we could do some damage in team time trials as well."
Having turned professional in 1996 with Collstrop, Sweden's Backstedt has ridden for Palmans, Gan, Crédit Agricole, Fakta and Alessio during his career and has spent the past three years with Italian squad Liquigas. In addition to his Roubaix victory, Backstedt also took victory on Stage 19 of the Tour while riding with Crédit Agricole in 1998.
T-Mobile future decision imminent
T-Mobile will hold a press conference Thursday afternoon in Saarbrucken, Germany, at which the telecommunications giant is expected to announce whether it will continue sponsorship of the Bob Stapleton-led ProTour team. "We hope that it will continue," T-Mobile sport director Rolf Aldag told sid. "We would like to keep on, but it is the firm's decision."
Deutsche Telekom has sponsored the team since 1991, first under the name Team Telekom, and as T-Mobile Team since 2004. After suspending its star Jan Ullrich just one day before the 2006 Tour de France, and subsequently firing him due to his involvement with Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, the team changed general managers for the 2007 season. The whole new management brought a new philosophy and a new anti-doping program to the team. However bad press following the spate of high-profile confessions of doping on the team, including Erik Zabel and Aldag, in the 1990s, has been compounded by Patrik Sinkewitz' non-negative test for testosterone, which was announced during the Tour de France.
The firm announced last fall that it would extend its sponsorship through the 2010 season. However, many observers consider it possible that the sponsor will announce that it is ending its contract as of the end of 2007.
T-Mobile, Wiesenhof, Milram for Deutschland
Tour de France stage winner and yellow jersey holder Linus Gerdemann will lead T-Mobile Team in its homeland race, the Deutschland Tour, while Erik Zabel will spearhead his Team Milram squad's campaign at the German event. Professional Continental squad Wiesenhof has also announced its roster for the event, which gets underway this Friday, with Steffen Wesemann, who finished third in this year's Paris-Roubaix, leading the squad.
"Linus showed at the Tour what he is capable of and he will be hoping to follow up on that at the Deutschland Tour," T-Mobile directeur sportif Allen Peiper said. "Linus is still only 24, so it will be important for the team to see how he fares after the efforts of the Tour. Plus, it is his home race and there will be a lot of pressure on him now." The young German is currently suffering from a cold but is expected to be well again by Friday.
The key stage in the race will be the fifth and Queen stage, which ends with a mountaintop finish on the Rettenbachferner Glacier in Austria. Gerdemann's main support on that stage is expected to be veteran climber Giuseppe Guerini. "Giuseppe will try to keep Linus to keep up there with the best climbers on the glacier. If Linus can do well on that stage he has a chance to make a top-ten finish," Pieper noted.
There are only a few sprint stages in the Tour, and T-Mobile is well prepared for them. T-Mobile's Gerald Ciolek and Andre Greipel have both won sprints in recent races, and will be supported again by Thomas Ziegler, who led them to those wins, but the pair will face stiff competition in Zabel.
T-Mobile's Deutschland Tour roster: Lorenzo Bernucci, Gerald Ciolek, Linus Gerdemann, Andre Greipel, Giuseppe Guerini, Andreas Klier, Marco Pinotti, and Thomas Ziegler.
Wiesenhof's Deutschland Tour roster: Steffen Wesemann, Andre Schulze, Steffen Radochla, Robert Wagner, Christian Leben, Torsten Schmidt, Olaf Pollack and Peter Velits.
Team Milram's Deutschland Tour roster: Erik Zabel, Elia Rigotto, Sebastian Siedler, Fabio Sacchi, Ralf Grabsch, Martin Mueller, Bjoern Schroeder, and Niki Terpstra.
WADA opens Contador investigation
The World Anti Doping Agency has opened an investigation on Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel), winner of this years Tour de France, and his alleged involvement in Operation Peurto. WADA is working with ex-Liberty Seguros rider Jörg Jaksche, who admitted that he worked with the Spanish doctor while he was a team-mate of Contador at Liberty Seguros, after it received documents from German Professor Werner Franke that supposedly links the Spaniard to Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes.
Documents seized in the case are said to contain the letters A.C., which is allegedly the initials of Alberto Contador. Jaksche's initials are also present on the document along side the doping products that he has admitted to using. "I don't know if Contador was a client of Fuentes," said Jaksche. "I only know that I used those doping products that are shown on that document."
With this action, WADA is overturning the UCI's earlier decision to acquit Contador of any involvement in the case.
Johan Bruyneel, Contador's team manager, has serious doubts of the integrity of Professor Franke. "'He defended Danilo Hondo, when he was caught in the Tour of Murcia for using the banned substance Carphedon, if you ask me he only speaks the language of the person paying him," said Bruyneel.
Molecular biologist Franke made his career in Germany through his investigation into systematic doping use of athletes in the former East-Germany. Franke, who has called Contador's victory the "the greatest swindle in sporting history", was forced earlier this year to with draw his comments over Jan Ullrich when the former cyclist took him to court.
Taking the triple
Twenty years ago Stephen Roche did what only one man had done before; he took the three biggest races in cycling over the period of a few months. His Tour victory was the cornerstone of this achievement and, like the edition just completed, was an open, unpredictable and ultimately very close race. The Irishman talked to Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes about the season where everything went right.
There are many parallels between this year's Tour de France and the edition waged two decades ago. Both had an absence of a patron, both were very open events, both went down to the wire in the penultimate day's time trial and both ended up with extremely close outcomes. At the time Stephen Roche's 40 second victory over Pedro Delgado was the closest on record; two years later Greg LeMond and Laurent Fignon's eight second difference set a new mark. While the 2007 Tour didn't quite equal that, the 31 seconds covering first to third makes it the closest ever as far as all the podium places are concerned.
Roche headed into the 1987 Tour with a strong chance of doing well. The previous year had been been one to forget, the rider being seriously hampered by a knee injury suffered in a crash on the Bercy track during the Paris six-day. That fall happened in November 1985 and it was not until a year later that he was able to get the problem fixed via an operation.
He'd undergone an operation to treat that dodgy knee in the autumn of 1986, recovered steadily and set about putting in a very solid base that winter. When he started racing he quickly found form, winning the Tour of Valencia, placing fourth in Paris-Nice (losing victory due to a puncture), netting second in the Critérium International and Liège-Bastogne-Liège plus fourth in Flèche Wallonne. Just before the Giro he rode the Tour of Romandie and won two stages plus the overall classification there, proving he was in scorching form before his first big objective. That was the 1987 Giro d'Italia.
To read the full feature on Stephen Roche, click here.
Camenzind must pay
Oscar Camenzind must pay, because he is not willing to name his EPO supplier, the high court in Switzerland has ruled, according to Neue Züricher Zeitung.
The Swiss rider retired in 2004 after testing positive for EPO. The Swiss sports ministry has filed charged against the unknown persons who supplied Camenzind with the product. Camenzind consistently refused to testify as to the name of his supplier, saying he did not wish to endanger himself and claimed that he could be arrested in another country if he told what he knew.
The investigating judge fined him 500 Swiss Franken for inappropriate use of the right not to testify. A Swiss Kantonsgericht upheld the fine in May, and Camenzind appealed it to the higher court, which refused to hear the case.
Health Net without Menzies for Elk Grove
By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
Tasmanian Karl Menzies, one of Health Net-Maxxis' top sprinters, will not be with his team this weekend to contest the $152,500 prize purse of the Tour of Elk Grove. Menzies received word on Monday that his father, who was terminally ill with cancer, had passed away. Speaking with Cyclingnews on his way to the airport, Menzies said the team was immensely understanding, telling him to return when he is ready.
Menzies recently won the overall and three stages of the Tour de 'Toona, dedicating his wins to his father who he had visited just a few weeks before. "That's the motivation, the one main reason I'm here," he said after winning the decisive sixth stage, struggling to get the words out. "His exact words when I left was... he just wanted me to come back over and win some races... so that's what I'm here to do. I talked to him last night and... we did it."
Team communications director Jeff Sobul said Menzies will be back in the States in time to compete at the USPRO Criterium Championships in two weeks time. "Jeff Corbett said he will be back for Downers Grove. He should be in Tasmania for a week."
Cyclingnews extends its condolences to Menzies and his family.
Britain announces teams
The Tour of Britain has announced the complete list of teams that will contest this year's race, adding to the initial four squads announced on Monday. ProTour squads Team CSC leads the list of new team announcements, which join Professional Continental squads Barloworld, Tinkoff Credit Systems and DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed that had already been announced along with Team Great Britain.
"This year's race will be the best yet, and the teams have been carefully chosen to make the most competitive and exciting race possible," event technical director Mick Bennett said. "We're looking forward to seven days of close racing, and the teams selected will provide that.
Starting on September 9, this year's fourth edition of the race covers over 950 kilometres, passing through the South of England, Somerset, the West Midlands, the North West and Yorkshire before finishing in Glasgow on September 15.
"We're also delighted to have five British teams amongst the world class field this year and three teams from this summer's Tour de France," added Bennett.
Tour of Britain teams roster: Agritubel, Barloworld, Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen, DFL - Cyclingnews - Litespeed, Duja - Tavira, Fuerteventura - Canarias, Navigators Insurance Cycling Team, Plowman Craven - Evans Cycles Racing, Rabobank (Continental), Recycling.co.uk, Skil - Shimano, South Australia.com - AIS, Team CSC, Team Great Britain, Team Konica Minolta, and Tinkoff Credit Systems.
Colavita announce Ireland lineup
America's Colavita/Sutter Home has announced the squad it will send to August's Tour of Ireland, which will include former Irish national champion David McCann and reigning Canadian national criterium champion Charles Dionne. The squad is one of three American teams invited to contest the August 22-26 race, with Professional Continental squads Team Slipstream and Navigators Insurance also contesting the race.
"We're honored to be selected to join UCI ProTour teams for the debut of the new Tour of Ireland," said director sportif Tom Schuler. "We're particularly proud that David McCann, one of Ireland's favourite athletes who has represented his home country in major cycling events all over the world as well as two Olympic Games, will be racing in Colavita/Sutter Home colors as the Tour of Ireland returns to the international cycling calendar after a 15-year absence."
The squad will take a strong climber in American Anthony Colby, who won the King of the Mountain competition at the Tour de Toona in July. Colby also put in an impressive display of his climbing prowess on the Tour de Georgia's notorious Brasstown Bald climb at this year's event, finishing third behind Discovery Channel's Levi Leipheimer and Thomas Danielson.
"With Charles Dionne's speed and Anthony Colby's climbing skills, Colavita/Sutter Home has an excellent shot at winning stage victories at the Tour of Ireland," added Schuler. "In the last two months alone, Charles has won Canada's National Criterium Championship and La Coupe de la Paix as well as the overall points competition at the International Tour de Toona, one of the toughest stage races in North America."
Colavita/Sutter Home's Tour of Ireland roster: Adam Bergman (USA), Anthony Colby (USA), Charles Dionne (Can), Andy Guptill (USA), David McCann (Ire), Dan Vaillancourt (USA), and Tyler Wren (USA).
USAC suspends members
USA Cycling has announced suspensions for two of its members as a result of a physical altercation at a local race in Prospect Park, New York. Oleksiy Ivanov received a one-year suspension for physical assault while Eric Robertson received a 15-day suspension for verbal abuse, with both suspensions backdated to Monday, July 30.
Ivanov was charged by USAC for his role in the June 9 altercation and did not request a hearing, but did make a statement and cooperated with the investigator.
Fantasy Le Tour Game winners announced
There were 32 prize winning managers this year with 59 prizes up for grabs in the 2007 Le Tour Fantasy Cyclingnews game. We are delighted to confirm the winners of the Le Tour 2007 game here at Fantasy Cyclingnews. It's been a tough battle between the top ranking managers following the events of this year's tour. Selecting the best team was no easy task with the reduced points budget to create your 15 riders, and the number of high profile rider withdrawls. The following winning managers had the highest combined score of Stages Points, GC, MTN and PTS at the end of stage 20. Have a look at their team breakdowns to see who the selected and what they won:
Grand prize and top 10 runner-ups
Grand prize: Team
la de bengoa (Manager y barrankas, Esp)
suffer (Manager Fast and Hard, USA)
AMH-3 (Manager AMH, USA)
Soma (Manager Il Falco, USA)
Hillebrandite (Manager Tobermorit, Den)
Voiturebalai (Manager Seven Alaris, USA)
Girona (Manager Eufemiano´s syringes, Esp)
Gran sasso 1 (Manager CSC-ekspres, DEN)
AROW (Manager AROW, GBr)
Shining (Manager The Shining, Den)
GBM2 (Manager Dockimpoy, USA)
Daily Stage Prize
We are pleased to confirm the following winners of the daily stage prizes. To win each manager's team had the highest cumulative Stage Points in the given stage. Please note this score includes only the Stages Points accumulated daily, and does not include any points scored in the GC, PTS or MTNs elements of the game. For example the winner of stage 3 would be calculated by adding his Prologue, Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3 Stage Points together.
Le Tour 2007 Daily Stage Winners
Prologue winner - Team Alabama Hot Pockets (Manager - El Burro, USA)
Please check and see what prizes were on offer this year.
We'll shortly be opening the 2007 la Vuelta game - register now and we'll email you when the provisional start list is ready to play. The Vuelta starts on Saturday the 1st September so remember to give yourself plenty of time to create your winning teams in the last Fantasy game this year at Cyclingnews.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)