Latest Cycling News for December 11, 2007
Edited by Gregor Brown
Mazzanti rolls on with Tinkoff
Italian Luca Mazzanti will enter his 12th season as a professional with Professional Continental Team Tinkoff Credit Systems. The 33 year-old from Bologna is currently with the team managed by Stefano Feltrin at its pre-2008 training camp. Like with Team Ceramica Panaria, he plans to give the same respect to his work and passion for the coming season.
"I am made this way: I don't race for training, I race to win," said Mazzanti in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport's Marco Pastonesi. One is hard-pressed to recall when the rider has pulled out of a race, as he is always seen arriving under the finishing banner. "To win is not just to arrive at the line first. To win is to give all of me no matter what. So, when looking at the finishing order, I win infrequently, I place often – or a lot – and I never abandon."
He has won ten races in his career, his last was at the beginning of this year, the GP di Lugano, ahead of Tinkoff's Evgeni Petrov in third.
"I don't keep count," he continued on the number of races he has abandoned. "They tell me that in the last five years with Ceramica Panaria I have always finished the races. ... There is an exception: the Tre Valli Varesine this year. There were a dozen up the road with the group behind. When the group decided to stop, I did not feel the need to pedal on for another three hours, alone, under the rain." The day was marked by brutal weather conditions that saw the race organisers shorten the parcours.
He will take his experience to a squadra made up of mostly young riders. "The more the years pass the more I train. Every year, I ride 30 to 35 thousand kilometres. Never less, and maybe more," he continued. "It is a team with a lot of young rides. I will use my experience from 11 years as a professional; I will take my chances in the one-day races, also in Flèche [Wallonne] and Liège [-Bastogne-Liège]. It is important to remain up front, then you never know; maybe the favourites are watching and if not then I will take advantage."
T-Mobile's withdrawal a blow to Jaksche
By Susan Westemeyer
Deutsche Telekom's withdrawal from professional cycling has slammed a door closed for German rider Jörg Jaksche. The suspended rider, who rode for Team Telekom from 1998 to 2000, had hoped to return to it when his suspension is up next year.
Jaksche confessed in July to having used EPO (Erythropoietin) and other products throughout his entire career, claiming that Team Polti manager Gianluigi Stanga introduced him to doping in 1997. Jaksche was given a one-year suspension, which would at least theoretically allow him to ride the Tour de France next summer.
He has made no secret of the fact that he wanted to come back to the peloton, and specifically to the Team T-Mobile. According to the German news magazine Spiegel, sponsor Deutsche Telekom wanted the team to hire him when he is again eligible to ride, although the team's management repeatedly denied interest in Jaksche. However, now that sponsor has disappeared from the scene, and with it, the impetus to hire Jaksche.
"An idea failed, and it was the only reasonable one," the 31 year-old said. "The withdrawal has closed a door for me.
"This isn't the way I want to leave the sport," Jaksche concluded. "I would like to ride for a German team. Germany has become very sensitive to the doping problem."
Liquigas visited by UCI controllers again
Team Liquigas was visited for the second time during its off-season training camps by International Cycling Union (UCI) anti-doping controllers. The Italian ProTour team – in Benicásim, Spain, from December 10 to 18 – was subjected to blood checks according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The UCI had previously visited the team during its Italian camp last month in Salsomaggiore Terme (Lombardia), Italy.
Tour de France stage winner Daniele Bennati, cyclo-cross specialist Enrico Franzoi and sprinter Murilo Fischer, all of whom will arrive today, were not tested.
Antequera keeps faith in Spanish cycling
By Antonio J. Salmerón
Spanish National Directeur Sportif Francisco 'Paco' Antequera is keeping his faith in his country's cycling system despite some hard times. During an interview yesterday as part of Sport breakfast, organized by the press agency Europa, he gave his thoughts on the season that has passed and the one that is to come.
"I think the new anti-doping measures are not the solution for cycling," he commented. "Cycling must be like any other sport. It may have more demands, but it is not right that for a simple cold you can take something and produce a positive [control]."
Antequera acknowledged that Spanish cycling is "having some bad times," but noted that, "we won the Tour de France two consecutive years, which is the highest achievement for any cyclist." The Spanish director seemed convinced that "there are good things in cycling, but there are things that have been out of context."
He pointed out the "camaraderie" that exists in his national team. "Spain is achieving its best results in the entire history of the World Championships." Antequera gave his support for Valverde, and pointed out how the circumstances surrounding his rider before the Worlds in Stuttgart affected his performance. "Alejandro was unable to prepare for the Worlds," Antequera revealed.
He is looking ahead to the next Worlds in Varese with the same riders. "There are good riders who like to race Classics. ... after [Oscar] Freire, Alejandro Valverde has demonstrated he can win any race."
Lastly, Antequera acknowledged that "cycling is experiencing some bad moments" and compared the difficulties of this sport to football and basketball. "Cycling is much more difficult, the road is very dangerous and, in addition, we must point out that what has happened to us," he continued, recalling Operación Puerto.
Pecharroman issues with finasteride lessened
By Antonio J. Salmerón
José Antonio Pecharroman passed some hard times due to the drug finasteride (or Propecia). Like footballer Romário de Souza Faria, the 29 year-old Spanish cyclist tested 'positive' for the anti-balding drug, which was previously believed to be a masking agent for anabolic steroids.
LagosBike, the company that manages Spanish Professional Continental Team Benfica, seemed ready to unilaterally terminate the contract of the climber, however as of January 1, 2008, finasteride will be removed from World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) banned product list.
Jordi Segura, head of the anti-doping laboratory in Barcelona, explained in the daily newspaper El País the reason why finasteride will not banned in the future. He noted that it was originally thought that the drug could hide the use of anabolic steroids, but in fact for at least two years, the techniques used by laboratories have been so effective that even if an athlete took finasteride steroids could still be detected.
"Methods are so accurate now that there is always a way to track, although small, the possible use of anabolic steroids, so it makes no sense that the finasteride continues to be seen as a 'positive' since it does not serve to mask any other substance," commented Segura.
Wyman sees fresh approach reap results
By Ben Atkins
Helen Wyman (Global Racing Team) scored her best ever result in a Cyclo-cross World Cup race in Milano this weekend, taking second place to UCI Ranking leader Daphny Van den Brand (ZZPR.nl). The result bettered the British Champion's two third place finishes last season, and is the result of a more measured, but focused start to the cross season this year.
She knew that the fast Milano course would suit her, and explained after the race after how tapering her form and choosing the right races is now paying dividends in results terms. "I've been focused on this race being the first race where I'm approaching full pace. Second place is a great finish, my best result ever and I know there's a lot more to come.
"I've taken a much slower start to the season this year after being sick around the road worlds. That illness really knocked me back, and I've needed to be very patient and just to hold my own in the races to ensure my start gridding isn't too bad."
Being fresh for the Torino World Championships is another motivating reason behind Wyman pacing herself this early in the season. That and a need for some recovery after leading the Global team in a full season on the road. "Last [cyclo-cross] season I was world number three all season, but perhaps I paid a little for that towards the end of the season. After a bigger road season in 2007, I need a break so this season I'm doing things differently and it seems to be working well."
Indeed, the slow build up this year allowed Wyman to hold her form into the Frankfurter Rad-cross race in Germany the next day, where she took another second place – this time behind former World Champion Hanka Kupfernagel (Focus). It was a double podium day for Global Racing too, as team-mate Gabby Day took third in a season that is seeing the young Briton break into the World top twenty.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)