First Edition Cycling News for August 10, 2007
Edited by Bjorn Haake
Contador denies doping at special press conference
The Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel), winner of the 2007 Tour of France, gave a press conference today at the Superior Council of Deportes (sports council) in Madrid, Spain. He was accompanied by his family and team manager Johan Bruyneel.
The Spaniard read a prepared statement, saying that "I won the Tour with clean means. I do not understand the attacks against me from people that don't even know me. I never doped and never participated in any doping scandal."
He continued to declare that he has "never commited doping," and offered his collaboration to the respective agencies in the fight against doping, including providing his DNA.
The Tour winner emphasized that if the defamations persist he is prepared to take legal actions. Contador was initially named in Operación Puerto, but quickly removed from the list.
The rider for Discovery Channel did not answer any questions.
The end for Discovery Channel?
According to the Los Angeles Times, Johan Bruyneel will announce today that he has been unable to find a new sponsor to replace the departing Discovery Channel and that the team will be disbanded at the end of the season.
The cable TV broadcaster announced in February that it would not renew its sponsorship scheduled to expire at the end of 2007. It has sponsored the team for three years.
The team has been looking for a new sponsor since then, with Bruyneel apparently even looking in China.
Since Bruyneel has started his sponsor search, the team has had its share of doping-related problems. Controversial signing Ivan Basso resigned from the team "for personal reasons", before facing trial in front of the Italian cycling federation and being suspended for 24 months. Young Spanish rider Alberto Contador unexpectedly won the Tour de France for the American team, but he has long been rumoured to also have been involved with Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes.
Contador has scheduled a meeting today with Dr. Jaime Lissavetzky, the Spanish Sports Minister, to be followed by a meeting with the press at which he has said he will read a statement and not take questions. Bruyneel is also expected to attend. It is assumed that Contador will address the doping issue.
Devolder in demand
Stijn Devolder is much in demand these days. Predictor-Lotto, Quick.Step Innergetic, CSC and Rabobank have all made inquiries to the rider's manager about his availability next year. "I will still wait ten days," he told Sportwereld.be. "First of all I want to hear from Johan Bruyneel what the future of the current Discovery team will be."
The 27 year-old Belgian has four victories this season, including the Belgian national title. He took the overall along with the time trail win in the Österrreich Rundfahrt as well as winning the race against the clock in the Driedaagse van de Panne Koksijde.
Leonardo Piepoli has been cleared of doping charges by Monaco's cycling federation. The Saunier Duval rider had tested positive for the asthma medication Salbutamol during the Giro d'Italia, a medication for which he has a medical exemption.
CONI, the Italian Olympic committee, had pressed the charges against Piepoli, and did not have an immediate reaction to his acquittal.
Piepoli had been scheduled to ride the Deutschland Tour, but his name was withdrawn at the last minute. He wants to return to racing as soon as possible, though. "I hope to be at the start of the Volta a Burgos next week," he said, according to HLN.be.
Unibet ponders sponsorship
After the announcement of T-Mobile and Milram to continue sponsoring their teams at least until the current contracts expire, it is now Unibet.com who will ponder the question. According to Sportwereld.be an announcement will be made in the middle of next week in London.
Unlike other teams the driving factor for Unibet.com may not be the ongoing doping scandals, but that the ProTour team found itself caught in the middle of the dispute between the UCI and the organisers of the big Tours, having been excluded from several ProTour races.
Norwegian wins Paris-Corrèze
Winning all of the two stages that make up Paris-Corrèze these days, the Norwegian Edvald Boasson-Hagen (Team Maxbo-Bianchi) has won the seventh edition of this French race. The first edition in 2001 was taken by none other than compatriot Thor Hushovd.
Boasson-Hagen won the first stage with a 12 second advantage and managed to keep it by also scoring stage two, which ended in a field sprint. The Norwegian, only 20 years of age, managed to stay ahead of Frenchman Steven Tromet (Roubaix Lille Metropole) and Australian Chris Sutton (Cofidis).
By winning both stages and the overall in front of Gerolsteiner Oscar Gatto the Norwegian confirmed that T-Mobile made the right decision to sign him.
Mayo waiting for B sample analysis
By Monika Prell
Iban Mayo, who has tested positive for EPO in the A sample, taken at the second rest day of the Tour de France in Pau, will know the results of the B sample only at the end of August. He and his Saunier Duval team knew yesterday that the counter analysis will be made on August 20 at the University of Gent, Belgium.
As reported by Noticias de Gipuzkoa, Mayo asked for the B sample analysis a few days after he knew that the A sample showed the positive result. Since the announcement, the Basque cyclist, who switched to Saunier Duval this season after spending seven years with his home team Euskaltel–Euskadi, had not talked to the media and stayed at home with his family.
If the positive result is confirmed, this could mean the end of the career of the almost 30 year-old, who would have to stop racing for two years.
Kohl looks back at the Tour
Bernhard Kohl's first Tour de France was a learning experience for the young Austrian Gerolsteiner rider. "I gained lots of experience and hope to learn from my mistakes. That will surely help me at my next Tour."
"Looking back, my goal to win the white jersey was surely unrealistic. I would have had to have won the Tour itself," he wrote on his website, bernhardkohl.at. "I risked a lot in the Alps. Rasmussen's tactics crossed me up and put en end to my plans to get a good overall standing."
But he didn't give up. "I formed new goals and wanted to get a stage win. I tried to ride very actively and was very satisfied with my performance. A sixth-place finish was a good step in the right direction."
Unfortunately, there was much more than cycling involved in the Tour this year. "Especially at my first Tour, I would have wished that sport stood in the foreground. Before many races I had no more fun with my job, because doping was the only subject being reported on, and everything else was shoved aside. But during the stages, the fans were so enthusiastic that I knew again just why I had worked for years toward this goal of the Tour de France."
"I am sure that cycling has taken an important step in the proper direction in the fight against doping," he concluded. "You can see by the doping cases in the last weeks that the measures are working. That way a clean cycling will hopefully have the upper hand in the future. I can imagine that we can someday be a role model for other sports."
Hansen and San Sebastián
Adam Hansen of T-Mobile Team took on the Clásica San Sebastián as his first ProTour single day race, and could have picked an easier one. "It's 225 kilometres short, has nine climbs, big roads and today was a very, very hot day. Very hot just in case you didn't pick it up in the sentence before," he wrote on his website, adamhansen.com.
He wanted to get in a break, along with teammates Marcus Burghardt and Roger Hammond. Burghardt was the lucky one in this race, getting into a 22-man strong group which got away. But he was unable to stay with it to the end. And by then, things weren't going so well for Hansen, either.
"On all of the hills I was feeling good. Always at the front. As the race went on and with a little problem in my stomach I didn't really eat enough, maybe I was too busy pouring water on myself to keep my body temp[erature] down; damn it was hot! Real hot. I don't know what it was," the Australian said. "But it wasn't right. I had a few problems on the second to last hill, but it wasn't my legs, it was my breathing [and] my stomach."
"So I had to finish two groups back from the leaders. Oh well, but I'm pretty happy," he concluded. "It's a big race, my first ProTour and my second race back from injury! So I ain't going to complain!"
And at that he finished best on his team, ending up 74th, 10'34" down.
Irish national team confirmed for home tour
By Gerry McManus
Cycling Ireland today confirmed the Irish team for the forthcoming Tour of Ireland professional cycle race from August 22 to 26. Cycling Ireland High Performance director Frank Campbell will manage a mixed team of youth and experience in the inaugural tour sponsored by Fáilte Ireland.
Nicolas Roche (Dublin/Juan Les Pins), Phillip Deignan (Letterkenny), Paul Griffin (Tralee), Brian Kenneally (Dungarvan) and Dermot Nally (Cork / Valencia) make up the experienced group who all have international cycling experience. Roche and Deignan ride for the ProTour professional French teams Crédit Agricole and Ag2r respectively. Martyn Irvine (Newtownards) and Derek Burke (Tuam) are representative of the talent emerging through the under-23 ranks in Irish cycling.
Paul Griffin will be racing on familiar roads as the race travels through his home town of Tralee. His rise into the professional ranks with the Giant Asia team in 2005 was well overdue. Paul's climbing ability continues to give him great results in tough races despite his 34-years. He has won the Irish hill climb championship for a record four times. Griffin finished seventh and ninth respectively overall in the Tours of Malaysia and Taiwan this year.
Dermot Nally is originally from Cork but lives permanently in Spain returning to Ireland for squad duty on the track and road. The 26 year-old was a semi professional for a number of years with the Costa de Almeria – Paternina and Columbia-Selle Italia outfits. He made the podium on three stages of the 2004 FBD Rás including winning stage three into Charleville.
Irvine rides for the Ards cycling club and has confirmed his form ahead of the 2.1 UCI ranked tour by taking victory in the Madigan Grand Prix road race earlier this month. The Newtownards man represented Ireland in this year’s FDB Milk Rás where he rode with Nally and Griffin. He was selected for the Rás team following good rides in the U23 National Team in the Tour of Picardie and the Liege- Bastogne- Liege road race which he followed up by winning the first stage in the Tour of Ulster.
21-year-old Burke rides for the Murphy & Gunn/Newell Group/M Donnelly/Sean Kelly cycling team and has been an Irish team regular since his formative days riding in the junior Tour of Wales. The youngster from Tuam, Co Galway has been in good form this year winning stage one of the Paddy Flanagan memorial race and taking the silver medal in the U-23 Irish road race championships.
Kenneally has been training specifically for the Irish tour. The Dungarvan man’s preparation has allowed him time to win the Eddie Tobin Memorial road race in Enniscorthy at the end of July. The myhome.ie/BDCB rider has had a successful season winning two stages of the FBD Insurance Rás and taking the overall victory in the tough Rás Mumham stage race.
Cycling Ireland CEO Declan Byrne is looking forward to seeing the Irish team in action when the 5-day race leaves Kilkenny on August 22nd heading for Dublin via five stages and 864-km of Irish roads. “Cycling Ireland are very excited to have both of the Irish ProTour riders on the team,” said Byrne: “Having Roche and Deignan on the team gives us some possibilities with results and it is good exposure for the Irish team too. It will also be great experience for our under-23 riders to ride in a race of this magnitude."
Tour of Ireland set for explosive sprint finishes
By Gerry McManus
Cycle racing fans watching the Tour of Ireland later this month could be treated to some spectacular sprint finishes. A number of top sprinters have been named by their teams to ride the inaugural race sponsored by Failte Ireland which starts on Wednesday 22nd August from outside Kilkenny Castle heading to the city of Cork.
Australian sprinter Baden Cooke travels over to ride with the Unibet.com team that also features Britain's Jeremy Hunt who has a reputation as a fast finisher in his own right. 28 year-old Cooke won the coveted green jersey in the Tour de France in 2003 and he has won stages in the Tour de Suisse, the Tour Down Under, Tour of Poland and the Herald Sun tour during his impressive career.
Bernhard Eisel is the key sprinter in the T-Mobile team, in which Britain's Ian Stannard is racing on a trial basis. Michael Rogers of Australia is making his first race appearance since crashing out of the Tour de France.
28-year-old Eisel is having a tremendous season. The Austrian won two races and was the overall winner of the Triple Crown series in the USA this year as well as taking stage wins in the Tours of the Algarve and Quatar.
The Ceramica Panaria - Nagivare team has confirmed sprinter Maximiliano Richeze for their seven-man team. The Argentinean fast man made the podium on six stages of the Tour of Langkawi earlier this year. The 24 year-old former Pan-American and Argentinean Under-23 road race champion has been on the podium for stages in the Giro d'Italia for the past two years.
The experienced sprinters will be pushed all the way by Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Maxbo Bianchi). 20 year-old Hagen had already shown his sprinting talents when he won three stages of the Tour de l'Avenir last year as part of the Norway national team and he has continued in the winning vein taking victory in the 2.2 ranked five-day Ringerike GP in June and now took Paris-Corrèze. He will be riding for T-Mobile next year.
The Irish challenge will come from Paidi O'Brien (Murphy & Gunn/Newell/ M Donnelly/ Sean Kelly) and Ciarán Power (Navigators Insurance). O'Brien has shown that he has the ability to produce the power at the end of tough stages in the FBD Insurance Rás this year and he has gained significant experience in continental racing with his Belgium-based team. The Kanturk rider proved his form when he won the fourth stage of the Ronde van Vlaams Brabant last month breaking away on the last climb to out-wit the charging peloton.
Power became the Irish criterium (short course) champion this year and has remained in Waterford preparing for his home tour. He missed victory in stage three of the Suir Valley three-day by a tyre’s width in the finish in Clonmel on August bank holiday Monday (6th August).
The sprinters first opportunity comes on stage one, if they can stay with the front runners over the Cork and Kerry mountains. Once they reach Cork City they will have to ascend the famous climb of St Patrick's Hill twice before the races finishes in the city centre. Friday's Galway to Ennis and Sunday's Athlone to Dublin stages could end up in spectacular mass sprints for the line if a breakaway group doesn't succeed.
T-Mobile, Gerolsteiner to France
T-Mobile Team, assured of a sponsor and a future, will head to the Tour de l'Ain in France, starting Sunday. The team will be led by Canadian Michael Barry.
"Michael was hampered a little by a cold at the Clásica San Sebastián last weekend, but I think he has enough form to take on the captain's role at this race," said Directeur Sportif Valerio Piva. "This is a very challenging tour, taking in some hard climbs in the Jura mountains. Scott Davis is a strong climber and we will be hoping that he and Adam Hansen can push for strong finishes on individual stages."
The team will feature an experienced group of English-speaking veterans -- Barry, Davis, Hansen and Roger Hammond, representing three countries. The international flavour continues on to the two stagiaires on the squad, Andrej Klyuev of Russia and Dutch rider Marcel Beima.
Rival German team Gerolsteiner is also combining young and old in its team. Its squad for the 556-kilometre, four-stage race includes its oldest rider, Beat Zberg, 36, and its youngest, Carlo Westphal, 21.
Gerolsteiner's lineup for l'Ain includes Johannes Fröhlinger, David Kopp, Andrea Moletta, Carlo Westphal, Oliver Zaugg and Beat Zberg.
Euskaltel for Tour of Burgos
Spanish team Euskaltel will participate in the Vuelta a Burgos, which runs from August 14 through 18, with a strong team comprised of Samuel Sánchez, Igor Antón, Amets Txurruka, Iñaki Isasi, Aitor Hernández, Markel Irizar, Iván Velasco and Lander Aperribay. The team will be guided by directeur sportif Gorka Gerrikagoitia.
Doping for seniors
In Italy a 55 year-old was caught for doping in an amateur race. The rider for Team Marlis won a race in the category for 55 to 59 year-olds, but CONI, the Italian Olympic committee, announced that the amateur racer was caught for using high blood pressure medicine, according to La Gazzetta dello sport. He is facing a suspension until he turns 57 as well as a revoking of his title.
Goulburn to Sydney Cycle Race Classic
On September 23, 2007 the Goulburn to Sydney will take place, covering 170 kilometres. It is the oldest race in New South Wales, with the first edition run on August 9, 1902 - one year before the first Tour de France took place. The race, which is always run in a handicap format, was held every year except during the wars. This year it will be conducted as a scratch race.
There are 2 sprints and 3 King of the Mountains along the race route including one lap of the infamous Razorback range which is intended to split up the bunch for a better finish into the Camden, where the race will end amidst the the two week annual Camden Festival.
Quadruple world champion and Olympic gold medallist Stephen Wooldridge will start in this years event as well as professional rider Trent Wilson, who hopes to better his third place from last year.
The running of the race is a joint effort between the Goulburn, Southern Highlands and Macarthur Cycling Clubs and the New South Wales police has been helpful as well. 400 people was the most participants ever. The first winning mark of just under eight hours has been cut in half by 1992, though on a slightly shorter course, finishing at El Toro Liverpool.
Goulburn produced Australia's first cycling Olympic gold medallist with Dunc Gray and the Goulburn cycling club will celebrate its 100th birthday.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)