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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for December 6, 2007

Edited by Hedwig Kröner, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

Fuentes: "I am the famous cycling criminal"

By Gregor Brown

One of Fuentes' clients, Ivan Basso
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

The name of Eufemiano Fuentes will forever be linked with cycling in the 2000s. The Spanish Doctor was at the centre of the Operación Puerto affair and connected to cyclists with the code names of Birillo, Hijo Rudicio, Valv.Piti and Zapatero. The 52 year-old recently spoke out during a sports medicine conference on the Canary Islands.

"They considered me a criminal. The papers were printed with my name and photos of me, while talking of hidden trafficking using initials," Fuentes said to Filippo Maria Ricci of La Gazzetta dello Sport. The resident of San Bartolomé de Tirajana (Gran Canaria, Canary Islands) was arrested shortly after the case came to public light in May 2006. "The judgement for the journalists was already written, and instead I was released. The €120,000 bail? I have not yet received it back because there is an appeal against the sentence."

Yesterday, the Italian newspaper reported Fuentes saying it was impossible to race the current Grand Tours without 'assistance.' ("You cannot race a tour on bread and water.") "When I arrived in cycling, at the end of the 1980s, every rider had his own 'case' [containing illegal products - ed.]. It was stupid to me. I convinced them to leave it to me; it was better to only have one suitcase, which I carried. I am not here to say if something is positive or negative, nor if something is positive or wrongly defined."

Fuentes worked early on in his cycling career for Kelme, a team based in southern Spain. At the time when Puerto was revealed, it was believed that he worked independently with cyclists, taking money in exchange for medical 'support' – such as blood transfers and EPO (Erythropoietin) boosts. The anti-doping laws that existed in Spain two years ago, unlike the stricter regulations in Italy and France, worked in his favour, and he was able to avoid prosecution.

"I know, but what does it matter? They accused me and they were not able to prove anything, also the doctors always want what is best for their patients," he commented the lack of anti-doping laws. Now the laws have changed, but Fuentes still saw a problem with how controls are carried out. "With these new laws who has to make the anti-doping controls? The UCI? No, because it is an private organisation. It is like the association against drunk drivers that do breathalyser tests. What value does it have? The controls have to be carried out by the police."

German investigators want to call Fuentes to testify in the case against Jan Ullrich. They reportedly have bank details that show the 1997 Tour de France winner made payments to a back account of the doctor. "They will call me for the process of Ullrich and the case between Le Monde and Barcelona? They have not communicated anything to me. Anyway, I have no intention of leaving from here [Gran Canaria - ed.], they will have to come and find me."

On the island he has become a well-known figure. "One time an older guy said to me, 'I have already seen your face, is it possible?' 'It is possible,' I said, 'I am the famous cycling criminal.'"

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

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Operación Puerto

Klöden to stay with Astana

Klöden stays with Astana for which he won Tirreno-Adriatico this year
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Andreas Klöden has ended the speculation about where he will ride in the coming season, saying that "after thinking about it for a long time and having discussions with various teams, I have decided to stay with Team Astana for another year." He added that he had therefore reached "an appropriate agreement" with Johan Bruyneel, the incoming team manager.

"I am happy that after all the uncertainty of the past few weeks, all the formalities with the sponsor and the new management have now been cleared up," he wrote on his personal website. "Now, I can finally dedicate myself to my profession again."

The 32 year-old lauded Astana's new anti-doping programme, which will be run by Rasmus Damsgaard, who is also behind CSC's anti-doping plan. Klöden, who finished second in the Tour de France in 2004 and 2006, added that the Tour de France was "of course my top goal. When my form is right, then I feel able to reach the podium at the Tour."

Meanwhile, the German will not participate in the team's first training camp in Javea, Spain. The meet will be held from December 10-18 on the Costa Blanca. A second camp will take place in Albuquerque, USA, from January 23-February 4, 2008.

Nys wins Kristallen Fiets

Cyclo-crosser Sven Nys was elected best Belgian cyclist after winning the last round of the WC in Igorre, Spain
Photo ©: Joel Roberts
(Click for larger image)

Cyclo-cross rider Sven Nys won the Kristallen Fiets for best Belgian cyclist of the year, narrowly beating out Quick.Step-Innergetic's Tom Boonen, who was awarded the trophy last year. Nys said that he was "very proud to have outsprinted Boonen."

Nys, the 'cannibal' cyclo-crosser, was not present to receive the award, as he is currently training in Spain. His wife was given the trophy on his behalf, and a film of him acknowledging the award was shown.

"Finally I have it," said the happy winner. "I fought in vain against Tom Boonen two years ago. When I won my world title in 2005, he also became world champion and I had no chance." Nys had 103 points ahead of Boonen's 99 points in the voting which was sponsored by Het Laatste Nieuws, a Belgian newspaper. He nevertheless honoured his rival, saying, "He would also have deserved this trophy."

Nys, 31, won 30 'cross races last season, including seven World Cup races. He was ranked first in the UCI rankings, and won the overall title in the GVA-Trofee as well as the Superprestige series, in which he took all eight matches.

Johan Vansummeren of Predictor-Lotto won the best helper award, and Niels Albert was named best young rider. Johan Bruyneel won for best team manager, ahead of Quick.Step's Patrick Lefevere.

Quick.Step boycotts awards ceremony

Meanwhile, no one from Quick.Step attended the ceremony. The team is boycotting HLN since the newspaper published doping charges against the squad in January this year.

Boonen had further difficulties with the newspaper this week after it published a story on his new girlfriend, 16 year-old Sophie van Vliet, the daughter of former pro Leo van Vliet, now organiser of the Amstel Gold Race and Amstel Curaçao Race. The sprinter at first denied the story, then admitted it, but said that the reporter had lied to him about where the interview would appear.

Vuelta goes Dutch in 2009

The Vuelta a España is staying in Spain in 2008, but that will not be the case in 2009. Two years from now, the Spanish Grand Tour will start in the Netherlands, the race organisers confirmed this week at the announcement of the 2008 parcours.

The Vuelta will open with a prologue on the TT Circuit Assen, a race track which has hosted motorcycle races since 1925. The first stage will then take the peloton through the province of Drenthe in Northeastern Netherlands.

Zabel to defend title in Bremen

Erik Zabel and Bruno Risi won the Munich and Bremen Six Days last season
Photo ©: Birke Ulrich
Click for larger image

Erik Zabel will seek to defend his title at the Bremen Six Day race next month, Team Milram announced Wednesday. His partner will be Leif Lampater in the traditional track event which runs from January 10-15.

Zabel and Lampater finished second so far this season in the Six Day races in both Dortmund and Munich. Last season, Zabel partnered with Bruno Risi, winning the Bremen event, and Lampater with Guido Fulst. Favourites for the victory are Risi and Franco Marvulli, as well as Robert Bartko and Iljo Keisse. So far, both pairs won two races this season.

Tropicale Amissa Bongo awarded 2.1 status

The third edition on the Tropicale Amissa Bongo taking place in Gabon will be held from January 16-20, 2008. The five-stage race, which this year still ran in the UCI 2.2 category, has been lifted to 2.1 status for next season.

Fourteen teams will be taking the start in Akieni, amongst them five trade teams: Bouygues Telecom, Française des Jeux, Bretagne-Armor Lux, Differdange Apiflo Vacances and CC Nogent-sur-Oise. They will be experiencing fierce opposition by African national squads from Gabon, South Africa, Libya, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Morocco and Senegal.

The stages outline as follows: Akieni-Franceville (94 km), Mounana-Ngouoni (121 km), Bongoville-Moanda (100 km), Lambaréné-Kango (149 km) and Libreville-Libreville (130 km). This year's event was won by Frédéric Guesdon (Française des Jeux).

2008 AIDS/Lifecycle ride to return in June

After cyclists all over the world rode to acknowledge World AIDS Day on December 1, the AIDS/Lifecycle ride in the United States has been announced to take place from June 1-7, 2008. The seven-day, 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles is expected to attract over 2,500 cyclists to raise money and awareness for HIV and AIDS. Last year's ride raised more than 11 million dollars.

Last Saturday, 175 cyclists in Los Angeles rode 27 miles in recognition of the 27 years that the pandemic has been in existence, amongst them Brian Hodes, a member of TeamUTAC (Team Until There's A Cure). "Someday, we hope to ride in celebration of a cure," said Hodes, who will also be an active participant in AIDS/Lifecycle. "Until then, we will ride to raise awareness and needed funds to put an end to a disease that has taken away so many of our loved ones and continues to infect men, women and children around the world."

For additional information on how to participate in the AIDS/Lifecycle ride and help, please contact TeamUTAC at

IWCC looking for riders to race in Israel and Europe

The Israel's Wheelers Cycling Club (IWCC) is looking to promote its sponsors in Europe during the next two years. Having already brought Kiril Pozdnyakov to European racing with the Isorex cycling team - Pozdnyakov had 11 wins in Belgium during 2007, including a win at the Junior's Het Volk - the IWCC club now hopes to take more riders into the top levels of cycling.

IWCC is looking for six highly motivated riders aged 19-24 to race for one year in Israel. The riders will participate in all of the national calendar races. The club will provide food and board, bikes, and other necessities.

In order to apply, please send your resume including results from Junior to present to Mr. Yam Natanel at The club will invite eight riders to train from January to March 2008, and will then select six riders to create the basis for the 2009 season.

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)