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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for August 14, 2007

Edited by Bjorn Haake

Withdrawal of Astana ProTour license 'a possibility'

By Shane Stokes

Astana General Manager Marc Biver
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
(Click for larger image)

Astana general manager Marc Biver will meet with the UCI ProTour Council [CUPT] president Vittorio Adorni on August 23rd in relation to the doping crisis facing the team. Three of its riders have provided positive or non-negative tests in recent months; Matthias Kessler and Alexandre Vinokourov have had A and B samples confirming excess testosterone and homologous blood doping respectively, while last Wednesday Andrei Kashechkin was told that an A sample had shown evidence of the same blood manipulation.

While the UCI ProTour Council is not part of the IPCT agreement reached last year in regards to sanctions for teams in the case of positive tests [under which Astana would be suspended for a month and lose out on a place in a Grand Tour], President Pat McQuaid has told Cyclingnews that the team could be facing the withdrawal of its ProTour license.

"Marc Biver is due to meet with the president of the ProTour Council, Vittorio Adorni, in the next ten days or so," McQuaid told Cyclingnews over the weekend. That date was confirmed to Cyclingnews today [Tuesday] by UCI ProTour manager Alain Rumpf as August 23rd.

"We are going through a process," continued McQuaid. "The first process is for the president of the CUPT to meet with Astana. He [Vittorio Adorni] will report to the CUPT meeting in September and then that meeting will decide what to do. If they ultimately send a request to the licensing commission to withdraw the license, then the licensing commission will consider the situation. It's a possibility that the license could be withdrawn."

In the past few weeks Astana has seen two of its three big riders end up in hot water due to charges of illegal blood transfusions. The team voluntarily suspended its activities for a month after Vinokourov's test, then came the news that Kashechkin had also been caught under the same examination.

On the same day that announcement was made, the team revealed that it would hold a training camp in Switzerland from August 11th – 24th. However, that camp was brought to a premature end yesterday when Vuelta organisers Unipublic said that the team was no longer welcome in the Spanish Tour. Now the Kazakh-backed squad faces a nervous time ahead as it waits to see if it will lose its place in the ProTour.

Deutschland Tour injury update

By Susan Westemeyer

Rigoberto Uran (
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

It almost looked as if Unibet's Rigoberto Uran was purposely steering towards the opening on the side of the road on the descent of the Riedbergpass in Tuesday's Deutschland Tour stage. But there is no way that he would have wanted the consequences. He flew down over a mountain stream and smashed into a retaining wall. Fortunately he put his arms out to protect his face and head, which remained uninjured, but unfortunately did a lot of damage to those arms. He tried to get up, but immediately laid back down again and waited for help, which was quick to arrive.

The 20 year-old Colombian directly underwent surgery Monday evening, Sportwereld reported. He had complicated fractures of both elbows and the right wrist. He will now face a long rehabilitation.

"I was just behind Cunego when I went off the road", said Uran on the team's website, "Too bad, because I think I might have had a chance to win the stage in the sprint."

He wasn't the only one to go down on that descent. Gerrit Glomser of Team Volksbank crashed at nearly the same spot, but came away luckier and was at the start today. "Where Rigoberto Uran crashed, I could just barely get by, but on the next curve it was my turn. I crashed full speed into the cliff. Now I can just wait and hope that I make it up the Rettenbachferner within the time limit. That will be hard to do, since I can't really grasp the handlebar," Glomser said.

Fears that he had broken a hand or wrist were fortunately put to rest, and the 32 year-old Austrian came away with "only" a cracked rib and various scrapes and bruises all over his shoulders, abdomen and knee.

"I am happy that he is still alive. At the crash site I thought it was all over," confessed team manager Thomas Kofler. "But Gerrit is a real fighter -- he may look like a mummy, because he's covered from head to toe with bandages, and he is in a lot of pain, but he'll make it through the stage. At least he will try."

Jens Voigt acknowledged in a post race interview how tricky the descent was. "There were quite some sharp turns and it was pretty steep."

But it's not only the descents that are dangerous. The simple bike ride to the winner's ceremony brought down mountain jersey holder Niki Terpstra of Milram. He collided with the TV commentators cabin and hit the pavement, suffering nothing more than a few scrapes.

"There were cables all over the place. His rear wheel slipped away over one of them and he had no chance to react," said soigneur Cristofero Piccinini, who accompanied the rider, on "These crashes, when you are going so slowly can sometimes be the worst."

Just to be on the safe side, the young Dutchman returned to the team bus by a different route, in front of the TV cabin instead of behind it.

Demol pleased with team

Discovery Channel's Dirk Demol was very happy with Brian Vandborg's win Monday in the Tour de l'Ain, especially in light of the team's decision to end after this season. "Before the start of this tour I told the guys I wanted to win a stage to show that we are professionals and it happened today with Brian! This is great for his morale because he wants to be good in the time trial at the World Championships."

On the team's website, the directeur sportif said, "Yes, we all feel sad after receiving the bad news a couple of days ago, but we will go on with the same motivation to win until the last day. This team of riders and staff is not just a team, it is one big family and that has been key to our great success and victories. I am grateful that I was part of this and I want to say thanks to all of our sponsors."

Brajkovic to T-Mobile

Jani Brajkovic (Discovery Channel) is one of the lucky ones who found a new job quickly after the folding of the team.

Milan Erzen, trainer and manager of the Slovenian cyclist confirmed that Brajkovic will continue his career in the German cycling team T-Mobile. Some details are still being negotiated over, but the decision has been taken more or less. T-Mobile was interested in Brajkovic in the past, but after the news about the closing down of Discovery Channel there was a more realistic chance to realise this idea.

Details about the deal will be announced later.

2006 Tour of Slovenia winner Nose disqualified

Contributed by Mitja Bricelj

The winner of the 2006 Tour of Slovenia
Photo ©: Mitja Bricelj
(Click for larger image)

Tomaz Nose won the Tour of Slovenia last year. Well, or maybe he didn't. The Slovenian cycling federation issued a statement on August 11 saying that Tomaz Nose will face "disqualification and removing [of his] winning status in the race 'Tour de Slovenie 2006'. He has an obligation to return all awards and money 15 days from when the Cycling Federation of Slovenia document was officially launched. There is also a prohibition of attending races in a 20-month period from November 2, 2006 to July 5, 2008."

Nose also won this year's Tour of Slovenia, a race which falls into the time period where he is disallowed to race. The rider from Slovenia gave a press conference in Ljubljana yesterday in which he declared that he held a TUE (therapeutic use exception). He claimed to have had health problems in 2005 and was prescribed Testoviron, a banned substance.

Because of the ban, he asked the national anti-doping agency for an exemption and "They agreed with this and they issued a certificate of approval for therapeutic use. I have spoken with the official representative [doctor] from the Olympic committee of Slovenia and he confirmed that this document is enough for attending all cycling races."

At the press conference Nose presented several documents, including the TUE certificate issued by the Olympic committee, his request for the TUE application, results from labs in Austria (positive sample) and Switzerland (negative), and a certificate from the Healthcare centre in Novo mesto.

The rider also said he was informed that Dr Josko Osredkar, doctor and member of the Olympic committee of Slovenia, forwarded the TUE application to the world anti-doping agency (WADA) in Aigle and he declared that "due to the regulations [if no comment is sent from WADA that means confirmation] I accepted [the case] as [being] solved."

The Slovenian rider was informed on August 7th that he returned a positive finding in the 2006 Tour of Slovenia, more than one year after the race happened. Samples were tested in Austria and Switzerland, with the former producing a positive and the latter a negative result.

Nose was very dissatisfied that "Due to the regulations of the UCI I should [have been] informed about the opened case from the Slovenian cycling federation in two days, which has not happened. So due to this fact I couldn't ask for a test of the B sample."

In the August 7 meeting it was cleared up that the TUE was only valid for Slovenian races and a UCI race would have required an additional UCI TUE. "It was too late to see my mistake – but due to my conversation in the past with the representative from the Olympic committee of Slovenia I didn't know that this kind of document is obligatory."

The rider reiterated that the medicine was strictly used for medical purposes, not as a performance enhancing substance. He also has support from his team and sponsor and even Martin Hvastija, the selector of the Slovenian national cycling team, who stated that "I'm shocked due to the decision of Slovenian antidoping commission, more precisely: due to the rigorousness of punishment of Tomaz Nose."

He continued that he presumed the cyclist innocent until proven otherwise, but emphasized that he will have to respect the decision and will likely not be able to select Nose for the Worlds in Stuttgart.

Bogdan Fink, the general manager of cycling team Adria Mobil also made clear that they will file an official complaint to the Slovenian antidoping commission. "We faced a great damage to our cycling team Adria Mobil and main sponsor. It irritates me that some people now want to show Tomaz Nose as a doping cyclist. He always took the TUE certificate with him and nobody said that this is not valid."

In a first reaction to the press conference Dr. Osredkar stated that "Mr Nose should know the rules. It is true that I have issued for him a certificate of approval for therapeutic use, but only for the area which we are responsible for; that means only for races of national championships, not for international races – this is covered by other officials and organisations and he should get this certificate from them."

The doctor continued that "Every cyclist should know the rules and regulations," and added that he had done everything in good manner on his side. "I want to help him. It is clear that he doesn't want to use doping substances." But the doctor felt Nose will have to face the consequences, even though he felt the punishment was too high.

The case is heavily discussed in the Slovenian media and with appeals surely to follow stay tuned for more on this.

McQuaid says race organizers responsible for sponsor problem

Are the Grand Tours responsible for the demise of Discovery Channel? Are sponsors reluctant to sign on, if they don't have any guarantees that the team will appear in the top races? Possibly, said UCI President Pat McQuaid.

"Especially when organizers come out and make all kinds of statements, which are against the rules, deciding who gets to race and who doesn't, all based on subjective opinion," McQuaid said in an interview with AP. "If sponsors aren't guaranteed their team can race, they won't commit to the sport. It shows exactly why the sport can't allow such a thing. We can't just allow organizers to do their own thing."

"It's not good for world cycling. It's not good for U.S. cycling," McQuaid said, adding that the bad relations between the Tour, the French and Armstrong added to the situation. "The French have a love-hate relationship with Lance. They can't get it into their heads that he won the Tour seven times. The French media continue to make insinuations. They haven't made Lance or the Discovery team very welcome."

Trampusch signs with Continental team

Gerhard Trampusch
Photo ©: Marketa Navratilova/Cor Vos
Click for larger image

Gerhard Trampusch has signed with the Viennese Continental Team Swiag-Teka, some three weeks after being let go by the Professional Continental Team Volksbank for not meeting contractual obligations.

Trampusch, a native of Vienna, transferred from Team Wiesenhof to Volksbank this season, but health problems kept him off his bike most of the year.

Assistant Team Manager Roland Wafler said, "I heard of Gerhard's dismissal at the Tour de Hongrie and got directly in contact with him. I have been looking for an Austrian rider with his potential for a long time. I've known Gerhard a long time, even rode with him one season for Bosch eight years ago. Changing teams in the middle of the season was a problem but together with cycling federation general secretary Rudolf Massak we found a solution, so there was no problem with the contract."

Trampusch said, "I am very happy to have this chance with Roland Wafler and Team Swiag Teka, and look confidently ahead to what is coming." His first assignment for his new team will be the Burgenland Rundfahrt, starting next Sunday.

Vandenbroucke says "Cycling is my life"

"Cycling is my life," Frank Vandenbroucke has told the Belgian TV program Zomer 2007 an Een. "I need the competition, in whatever form."

The Belgian, who earlier this summer tried to commit suicide, said that he feels better now. "I feel very fresh now. Maybe I forced my body a little too much in my younger years." And he is not ready to give up: "I want to keep on riding until I am 40," he said. "Then I will have been a pro 22 years."

VDB is currently making the rounds of the Belgian criteriums, with two on tap this week. "People identify themselves with me, because I get more applause now than I did in earlier days."

"I still want to accomplish something this year, maybe in the Giro di Lombardia," he concluded. "We'll have to see where I will be next year."

Australian women's road race team for 2007 Worlds

Cycling Australia announced the elite women's team for the 2007 UCI Road World Championships being staged in Stuttgart, Germany, from September 26 to 30.

Three riders will take part in the time trial, with Vicky Whitelaw, Oenone Wood and Sara Carrigan. The latter two will also participate in the road race, where they will be joined by Nikki Egyed, Olivia Gollan, Lorian Graham and Emma Rickards.

The elite and U23 men's long team will be announced on Tuesday, September 4, with the final men's selections due for confirmation on Monday, September 17.

Unibet at Burgos

Team Unibet will be taking on the Vuelta a Burgos, which starts today, August 14 and runs through the 18th, with a line-up including Tom Criel, Stijn Vandenbergh, Jimmy Casper, Arnaud Coyot, Victor Hugo Peña, Michal Golas, Luis Pasamontes and Alexandre Khatuntsev.

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