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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for December 12, 2007

Edited by Greg Johnson & Paul Verkuylen

Worre: Riders mislead the UCI

Michael Rasmussen at the Tour de France in July
Photo ©: Makoto Ayano
(Click for larger image)

More and more riders are lying about their whereabouts, according to claims by Danish Cycling Federation chairman Jesper Worre. In an interview with Belgian paper Volkskrant Worre spoke his mind on the issues surrounding the warning that Michael Rasmussen was reportedly issued and his subsequent dismissal from his Rabobank team during the Tour de France while leading the race.

"That has never been the subject of discussion," Worre responded, when asked if he believes that Rasmussen had been doping. "It was only ever to do with the warnings. It is better to not talk about it. In Denmark there is a fine line between what an accusation is and what isn't."

"If the federation in Monaco follows the rules, where he holds a licence, he would be suspended for two years," added Worre. "How the case is progressing at the UCI, I don't know. We haven't heard anything about it, even though we would like to play a role."

Since Rasmussen was ejected from this year's Tour, Worre hasn't heard from his countryman. "Maybe Michael is angry at me, even though we should be angry with him also," Worre said. "Because he didn't tell the truth, he has destroyed the sport."

Worre believes that Rasmussen's actions have had a direct impact on the sport in Denmark. Sponsors of the national tour, the Tour of Denmark, want to withdraw from the event due to the negative press associated with cycling at the moment, according to Worre. This year alone four Danish riders have admitted to doping during their careers ľ Bjarne Riis, Jesper Skibby, Brian Holm and Bo Hamburger.

Following Rasmussen's warning, which he received in June, Worre was phoned by the rider's Rabobank manager Theo de Rooij whom he said that he advised that taking the Dane to the French Grand Tour would be a mistake.

"De Rooij called me on June 29, after he received the letter from the UCI informing him of Rasmussen's warning for not filling in his location form correctly," said Worre. "He must have known then that Rasmussen was not in Mexico. We spoke for about 30 minutes about stuff including the Danish championships. I told him 'we are not taking him in our team [for the worlds - ed.] and if I was you, I wouldn't let him start the Tour'," he said.

De Rooij allegedly responded that he would need to talk with his rider first. Rasmussen did take to the start in London a few days later, which Worre describes as: "Of all the mistakes that was the biggest."

"Rasmussen planned all the lies in the lead up to the Tour," accused Worre. "He is not the only one who follows that programme to mislead the UCI. He receives a warning, but they don't have any consequences. This is the problem with the system. If the teams turn there heads the other way and the UCI can be convinced that intervention is not necessary then it always remains at the warning stage."

Worre believes that only those with a clean past can lead cycling away from the dirty image that it has at the moment. "But people still allow money to dictate," he said. "Rabobank let Rasmussen take to the start. The UCI is also scared to make a decision and has their eyes placed on the money in the sport over everything else.

"There are lots of doping controls, yeah, but what use do they have if the teams continue just as they have for the last 10 years?" Worre said.

Worre has offered two possible solutions to the problem. The first, which was accepted, was to place riders who have tested positive in a state of quarantine longer. "Only no one sticks to it," said Worre. The second is to make public the warning that riders receive for a missed doping control, but Worre says that nothing more has be said about it. "Now riders can speculate about the warnings. And we know where that can lead," he concluded.

Designa K°kken gets CSC rider

Former Danish Road Race Champion Allan Johansen will leave the ProTour's Team CSC squad after next season's spring classics and ride out the year with European Continental Team Designa K°kken outfit. Paris-Roubaix will be the Dane from Silkeborg's last race before switching teams.

"The last race will be Paris-Roubaix and I'm okay with that," said 2006 national champion Johansen. "I'm happy to get the option to ride the rest of the season with Team Designa K°kken. The team has developed enormously over the last couple of years.

The 36 year-old, who turned professional in 1998, has taken victory for Team CSC at the Sachsen Tour's Stage 4 in 2005 followed by the Tour de Luxembourg's Stage 1 and Grand Prix Herning in 2006. Johansen spent the first two years of his career with Team Chicky World before moving to MemoryCard ľ Jack & Jones for a season. The Dane then moved to Team Fakta for three years, Bankgiroloterij for a year, before spending the past three years at Team CSC.

"What happens after that, I haven't decided yet," added Johansen. "I'll have a leading role with Team Designa K°kken where I am going to help develop the young talents."

Team Designa K°kken manager Christian Andersen is very satisfied with the signing, which will see the Danish champions from 2006 and 2007 both riding for the Danish team in 2008.

"Of course we'd liked to have Allan Johansen the entire season, but [we always] want more," he said. "If we look at Team Designa K°kken next year, there's no doubt that we'll be dominating in national, as well as international, races, as we've been in 2007.

"The team is more or less intact, and has now been supplemented with the Danish champions from 2006 Allan Johansen, and earlier we signed with Alex Rasmussen, who was the Danish road race champion in 2007," he added. "I'm really looking forward to 2008 already."

The all Danish Team Designa K°kken squad will have 16 riders in 2008, with the final signing expected to be announced in the near future.

Team Designa K°kken for 2008: Allan Johansen, Kasper Jebjerg, Jakob Fuglsang, Andreas Frisch, Michael Reihs, Michael Tronborg, Jens-Erik Madsen, Jakob Bering, Rene J°rgensen, Alex Rasmussen, Ricky En°, Martin Mortensen, Thomas Oredsson and the two brothers, Thomas and Rasmus Guldhammer.

Menchov and Garzelli join Murcia lineup

By Antonio J. Salmerˇn

Vuelta a Murcia director Francisco G˙zman has announced that he's pleased with the list of professional riders pledging to take part in next year's edition, with 2007 Vuelta a Espa˝a winner Denis Menchov and Stefano Garzelli reportedly announcing their intention to contest the race. Menchov and Garzelli join Alejandro Valverde and Carlos Sastre on the list of riders expected to take part in next year's race, with G˙zman also confident Spaniard Samuel Sßnchez will contest the event as well.

"The last Vuelta winner, Denis Menchov, and the Italian climber Stefano Garzelli have pledged their presence," confirmed G˙zman.

G˙zman is believed to be please with the support the cyclists have shown for the five day Spanish race. "Despite the bad times for cycling, we are having a good support for the next edition," he said. "We are finalizing the details of the route."

The 'queen' stage will be contested between Calasparra and Totana, while the tough fourth stage will be a Time Trial in Alhama. The sprinters will get a chance to show their form on the first stage, which will be carried out between San Pedro del Pintar and Lorca, and again on the third stage in San Pedro del Pinatar, which was won by Rabobank's Graeme Brown in 2007.

Carrigan focussing on TT

By John Flynn

Sara Carrigan
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
(Click for larger image)

Olympic Road Race Champion Sara Carrigan isn't taking anything for granted in the lead-up to Beijing, with the rider expecting to go all out for the Australian Time Trial title in January. According to the official selection criteria, some weight is given to the title of 'Defending Olympic Champion', but that in itself won't guarantee a place in the Australian Olympic team.

Carrigan will need to produce a strong performance at the national titles and her focus is on the time trial, an event which the Gold Coast native has won before and is specifically training for. "I've been doing a lot of time trial work, I've been focussing on the T.T. for nationals," Carrigan said. "It's an Olympic year, you just never know, all these people come out of the woodwork.

"Just because I'm Olympic champion doesn't mean an automatic spot, I have to re-earn my spot just like everyone else does," she added.

Two more rivals for spots in the Olympic team will be second and third place-getters at the weekend's Surfers Paradise Grand Prix Nikki Egyed and Lorian Graham.

Egyed, who spent the first half of last year with the AIS Team before signing a contract to ride with Nicole Cooke at Raleigh LifeForce, continues to show improvement since making the transition to cycling from triathlon.

"Any athlete in the world at the moment, if they've got any remote chance of going to the Olympics that's what they're thinking about," Egyed said. "I'm in week four of training now so it's starting to feel a little bit better, like it takes me three or four weeks to feel myself again, so we've got another month really looking forward to getting into my legs before nationals and good preparation for the European season."

Karpin-Galicia optimistic for '08

By Antonio J. Salmerˇn

Karpin-Galicia riders go mountain biking
Photo ©: Karpin-Galicia
(Click for larger image)

The Karpin Galicia squad has concluded a two week block of training together which featured "quantity rather than quality", team manager Alvaro Pino has announced. The squad's riders for 2008 will not take some time off for the Christmas break having completed their first team camp together, during which they also took part in activities such as a mountain bike ride.

"They will start with the individualised training from now," Pino announced.

Pino added that he's very happy with what was achieved at the training camp in Galicia, where the Professional Continental squad was created at the end of 2006. "At the beginning there were many riders who were reluctant to this system [of having a training camp], but I think that, while some of them used to work alone at home in optimal level, at the end everyone have adapted perfectly to it and have seen used to render and work in group," he said. "The results will be seen later; whether it is good or not."

The Karpin Galicia 2008 roster will feature fewer names than in 2007, but Pino expects the squad to show improvement throughout the season. "There are young riders, but with some experience already gained, and under normal circumstances they will continue getting better," he said. "I am also confident that new riders will feel well adapted to the new category as well as the new squad.

"Sure, we missed some very important riders, such as Eladio Jimenez, but we have already demonstrated a high level, for example the local Ezequiel Mosquera, who finished fifth in the Vuelta a Espa˝a, but also David Garcia, David Herrero and Carlos Casta˝o," Pino added.

Increased doping controls at Stuttgart Six Day

By Susan Westemeyer

The Stuttgart Six Day race has joined the anti-doping fight, announcing that it will conduct more tests at the races to be held January 17 to 22.

"In the first night everyone will go to the doping controls. That will surely surprise one or another of the riders," race organizer Roman Hermann said at a press conference Tuesday, according to dpa. "That is a comprehensive control, like we have never before had in Stuttgart. There will be more than three times as many tests as before."

Armstrong to open Israel cycle route

Seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong will open a new cycle route in Israel next year, according to Dutch news site AD.nl. The planned route will run from the coastal city of Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and marks the Jewish's states 60 years of independence.

Armstrong this week accepted an invitation extended to him by the Israeli consulate in New York, Ilanm Marciano.

The date for the event has yet to be decided, but will coincide with the anniversary celebrations across the country.

Final Croc Trophy videos

It's been a long road for the contestants of this year's Crocodile Trophy mountain bike race in Australia's Queensland, but Cyclingnews has captured the closing moments of the contestants journeys in our Stage 9 and 10 videos. The special highlights packages bring our 2007 coverage of the event in the grueling far north to a close.

To watch the final two chapters, you can do so by clicking on Stage 9 or Stage 10 here.

B&E sponsors Tassie Carnivals' UCI series

The organization behind the Christmas Carnivals Series in Tasmania, Australia, SCAT, has announced that B&E Personal Banking has provided additional sponsorship to be the naming rights sponsor of the UCI sprint series during the Basslink Christmas Carnival Series. The UCI sprint series will be held over three major carnivals in Latrobe, Launceston and Devonport.

"B&E Personal Banking is a great supporter of the carnivals and in particular of the cycling programme and this is a real boost to the series," said SCAT president Grant Atkins. "The action should be fast and furious, as it allows the crowds to see some of the best cyclists in the world compete."

Only the elite riders will get a chance to compete for the $1000 on offer for the UCI events which include a men's sprint, men's keirin, men's Olympic sprint and women's point score.

"This UCI series is just the beginning of making the Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals the place to be for cyclists all around the world and this is already showing with over 230 cyclists registered to compete at Latrobe," added Atkins.

With elite cyclists competing from all over the world as a lead up to the Beijing Olympics, the organizers are expecting the new UCI events to be a real crowd pleaser.

Sooty Park is back

The producer of Sooty Park, a cycling show broadcast in selected cities of Australia, David Olle has announced that 'Cycling Sooty Park' has returned for it's third season on Channel 31 in Melbourne, Victoria, airing on Wednesdays at 8.00 PM local time. Olle has also announced that viewers in Perth, Western Australia can also watch the programme from this Thursday at 7.00 PM local time, with broadcasts for other major Australian capitals commencing in January.

"The unique show presents different aspects of the cycling world in a magazine format, with the Sooty Park crew collecting diverse interviews and footage while visiting many cycling events in Europe and Australia and still features the famous Roller Room 'four-up' sprint," said Olle. "Honest product reviews, statistics, fashion, gossip, fun, famous and little known climbs, commuters, MTB, road, track, grappa, frites, pizza, vino, Belgium, France, Italy, Australia et al, it's all there in weekly episodes, tune in for your share."

This week's episode will include interviews with Nick Gates, Thor Hushovd and Brett Lancaster.

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