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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for December 10, 2007

Edited by Gregor Brown

High Road signs with ACE for anti-doping programme

By Susan Westemeyer

Bob Stapleton
Photo ©: Sabine & Rolf Jost
(Click for larger image)

Team High Road's anti-doping programme for 2008 will be run by the Agency for Cycling Ethics (ACE), which also runs the program for the American Professional Continental Team Slipstream. High Road manager Bob Stapleton called it "the most comprehensive program out there. It is what the team needs and what the sport needs."

According to the team's press release, each rider on the team will undergo at least 26 random tests each for blood and urine. This high number of tests will allow ACE "to build profiles of each individual rider so that they will be able to detect small changes in the body chemistry that may be caused by blood transfusions or banned substances. The profiles will use blood and urine to build hematological parameters and a urinary steroidal profile. ACE will send test results to the UCI, to WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency] and to the team."

The profiles will complement the news biological passports which the WADA and UCI are introducing for the 2008 season.

Anne Gripper, head of the UCI's anti-doping section, said that "the Agency for Cycling Ethics (ACE) assists cycling teams to create a doping-free culture by providing a robust, independent and transparent anti-doping program." She lauded the team's decision to work with this group, saying, "Bob Stapleton and High Road Sports continue to demonstrate leadership in this regard. By initiating a comprehensive team-based anti-doping program delivered by the Agency for Cycling Ethics (ACE), by actively supporting the UCI in their broad anti-doping efforts and most importantly, by actively working to create a doping-free culture within their team, they are a role model for other teams to follow."

The work has already begun, Stapleton noted. "We started with the first testing at our team meeting in October, and we are very pleased to see that our riders understand the importance of these strict measures. We believe frequent comprehensive testing and using profiles that detect small changes in body chemistry are invaluable tools to ensure the future of the team in the sport. The testing will keep us more informed about the conduct and health of our athletes."

Paul Strauss, CEO of ACE, said that he was excited to be working with the ProTour team. "For us it is great to have the opportunity to participate in this positive change, not only with Team High Road, but with the whole sport of cycling."

ACE called its program "a comprehensive anti-doping programme that tests for three categories of abuse – blood doping, anabolic steroid use and hormone use, such as hGH [human growth hormone]."

The company says that its "extensive use of longitudinal analysis is a sharp departure from traditional anti-doping techniques and it allows ACE to detect possible doing earlier, longer after administration has stopped and doping in much smaller quantities when compared to traditional anti-doping. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, it also allows the detection of doping by means and substances currently completely undetectable by traditional anti-doping."

Blood doping, for example, is usually only detectable for four to six days after use. But under the ACE program, "this doping would remain detectable for over four to six weeks." For urine testing, the company screens "for the direct detection of over 70 substances on the WADA banned substances list, with more being added every day."

The most difficult to test for is human growth hormone "because it returns to normal so quickly after administration. However, ACE has had some success in detecting hGH use because of its combination of high frequency testing and longitudinal analysis. Currently, hGH use is undetectable with traditional means of anti-doping."

Oscar TuttoBici triple for Rebellin

Rebellin wins Flèche
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Davide Rebellin, winner of this year's Flèche Wallonne, was awarded the Oscar TuttoBici Friday night for the third time in his career. At a reception in Bergamo, Italy, the monthly magazine TuttoBici noted the 36 year-old Italian's consistency throughout the 2007 season.

Giuseppe Guerini, who retired this year, was awarded with a career trophy for 15 years of competition.

Five-time Tour de France champion Bernard Hinault was the guest of honour amongst current cyclists Danilo Di Luca, Alessandro Petacchi, Damiano Cunego, Riccardo Riccò and junior World Champion Diego Ulissi. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, two-time World Champion Paolo Bettini has the flu and could not attend.

Alessandro Ballan was awarded the Oscar TuttoBici in 2006.

Riccò tests 2008 Giro's Vivione and Monte Pora

Riccardo Riccò tested stage 19 of the 2008 Giro d'Italia – 228 kilometres from Legnano to Monte Pora – with neo-pro Ermanno Capelli Saturday. The duo focused on the key points of the stage according to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the climbs of Vivione, Presolana and the never before used Monte Pora.

Confusion over T-Mobile and the 2006 Tour

By Susan Westemeyer

T-Mobile at the 2006 Tour de France
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

German anti-doping crusader Doctor Werner Franke continued to insist that at least five T-Mobile riders left Strasbourg, France – site of the Grand Départ of the Tour de France – on the evening of Saturday, July 1, 2006 and drove to Freiburg, Germany, for blood transfusions. However, the head of a committee investigating the University doesn't know anything about it, according to the German news magazine Welt.

"We can't do without him [Franke - ed.], but sometimes he makes a shot in the dark," said Hans Joachim Schäfer, who is leading a commission evaluating the role of the Freiburg University Clinic in doping at Team Telekom/T-Mobile. "The Commission is not investigating five dopers." He further claimed that Franke was making disclosures to the public instead of to his commission.

Franke saw it otherwise. "The theme 'Rhine convoy' was mentioned before the Commission last Thursday. I even heard Mr. Schäfer himself use the phrase. Everybody knows that Sinkewitz wasn't the only one."

According to the Stuttgarter Zeitung, it was a "masterful logistical performance" at the Clinic that Saturday night – getting all five riders hooked up, making sure each got the right blood, and afterwards removing all evidence that they had been there. Freiburg's chief public prosecutor, Wolfgang Maier told the newspaper that "We are checking whether further persons knew about what happened or actively helped."

"Welt" added that the blood bags were stored in the Clinic's basement, with code names. But the German doctors didn't use dog names or such cryptic nicknames like Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes – they apparently took a more light-hearted approach and labelled the bags with stickers of Disney cartoon characters. Which leads to the question: Who was Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and so on.

Unibet's Hanegraaf hopes for Pro-Continental licence

By Susan Westemeyer

Team may be disappearing from the scene, but its organizing company Green Cycle Associates and manager Jacques Hanegraaf are doing their best to stay around, having informed the International Cycling Union (UCI) that they want to continue as a Professional Continental team.

The ProTour licences were already issued, but according to, the UCI will offer Green Cycle the possibility to meet the requirements and obtain a licence., the successor to the Belgian continental team Mr. Bookmaker, operated for two years. It became a ProTour team for the 2007 season, but ran into difficulties because of its sponsor, an online betting firm. The team also got caught in a conflict between the UCI and the Grand Tours, and missed most of the important races of the year.

Hanegraaf said that he already had a new sponsor lined up for the coming season, and he hoped to present his new sponsor and team soon.

Lampre meets for first 2008 camp

Team Lampre is starting a three-day camp today in Darfo Boario Terme (Brescia), Italy. The Italian ProTour team will work on the riders' schedules for 2008 as well as finalizing technical materials.

The team of Giuseppe Saronni will head two fronts in 2008: the Classics and Grand Tours. Alessandro Ballan, winner of Ronde van Vlaanderen and Hamburg Cyclassics, will be the team's leader for the northern one-day races. Damiano Cunego, who recently won the Giro di Lombardia for a second time, will head the team for the Grand Tours. Recent news has Il Piccolo Principe leaning towards the Tour de France instead of his home tour, which he won in 2004.

Danilo Napolitano has been confirmed to race the Tour de France.

Caisse d'Epargne team meeting

Caisse d'Epargne will meet Wednesday, December 12, for its first camp of 2008. The Spanish ProTour team of 2006 Tour de France winner Oscar Pereiro and 2006 Liège-Bastogne-Liège champion Alejandro Valverde will meet in Pamplona, Spain for three days to deal with logistics matters.

20 teams selected for Jelajah Malaysia

By Jean-François Quénet

For the second year in a row, the UCI 2.2-ranked Jelajah Malaysia will open the year of cycling in Asia from January 7 to 13.

20 teams have been selected for the event: Letua Cycling Team, National sports council of Malaysia, Putrajaya Cycling Team, Benteng Muda Selangor, Kuala Lumpur Cycling Team and Malaysia national team (all from Malaysia), Japan National Team and Matrix Powertag (Japan), Polygon Sweetnice Team (Indonesia), Hong Kong Pro Cycling (Hong-Kong), Marco Polo Cycling Team (China), Bahrain National Team (Bahrain), Tabriz Petrochemical Team and Islamic Azad University (Iran), Vietnam National Team (Vietnam), Giant Asia Racing Team (Taiwan), Skil-Shimano (The Netherlands), Team Farso Cycling (Denmark), Team Stegcomputer – CKT (Switzerland) and Team Differdange – Apiflo Vacances (Luxembourg).

Numbers on the increase for Christmas Carnivals

The Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania has reported a substantial number of cycling entries for this year's Basslink Tasmanian Christmas Carnival Series.

At this point of receiving nominations there are 120 senior male cyclists, 50 female cyclists and 60 junior cyclists; a review of a Latrobe Carnival Program a decade ago will show approximately 95 senior male cyclists and 50 junior cyclists. The big standout however has been the women's cycling which continues to grow, last year the carnival had 35 cyclists but this year it is expected to be up around the 50. The organisers are encouraged by the growth of attendance.

The standard of the women's competition also continues to improve with a number of elite cyclists competing.

Champion Victorian cyclist Sean Finning has been confirmed for the Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals. The 22 year-old won the gold medal at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games 40-kilometre points race when he put up an amazing performance to lap the field five times.

Finning is a champion road and track endurance cyclist, and while much has been said about the sprint events at this year's carnivals Finning has the ability to break up all the major scratch endurance race events at the carnivals. Organisers expected him to continually attack the competition in an attempt to wear them down.

"We are delighted Sean has agreed to compete as we know he is a champion who never stops applying the pressure throughout the races," said a press release.

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