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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for February 8, 2007

Edited by Sue George

Loddo: We have nothing to lose

By Greg Johnson in Cukai, Malaysia

That's four stage wins
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

A dominant Alberto Loddo has declared that his Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni - Selle Italia team will go all out to claim overall victory at this year's Le Tour de Langkawi. While the sprinter himself is out of general classification contention, trailing event leader Anthony Charteau by more than 20 minutes, two of his teammates hold a good position to launch an attack on tomorrow's decisive Genting Highlands climb.

"The Selle Italia team will try to win on general classification in the Tour de Langkawi with [Walter] Pedraza or [Jose] Serpa," said Loddo, after claiming his fourth stage victory yesterday. "At this stage, we have everything to gain and nothing to lose."

Pedraza currently holds second place on general classification, four minutes behind Crédit Agricole's Charteau.

Despite sitting in 11th place, nearly five minutes behind, Serpa also holds a reasonable chance of bridging the gap to Frenchman Charteau. Serpa is arguably one of the strongest climbers in the peloton and will be watched closely by Crédit Agricole during the remaining four stages.

Meanwhile, Loddo wouldn't discount himself from adding more stage victories to his tally over the coming days. After a surprise first stage victory, Loddo has become quiet the fixture at this year's event with the Italian claiming four stage victories to date.

"I can't say how many wins I will have," he explained. "If the team continues working the same way, for sure I will not hold the brakes and there might be another win to come, or more."

The Tour de Langkawi continues today with the 174 kilometre Stage 7 from Kuantan - Karak. Changing weather conditions are expected to continue for the 125 riders with stormy conditions predicted in the area.

Landis case moves forward in France, USA

By Laura Weislo

Floyd Landis (Phonak)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

More than six months after learning that he tested positive for exogenous testosterone during the 2006 Tour de France, Floyd Landis now knows when he will have his day in court. The French anti-doping agency, AFLD, announced that they will move forward with hearings on the case starting on Thursday, despite recommendations from WADA president Dick Pound,vice-president Jean-Francois Lamour, and Floyd Landis' attorneys to delay hearings until the US Anti-doping Agency (USADA) can complete its own proceedings.

Meanwhile, at a press conference in New York, Landis' spokesperson Michael Henson announced that the date for Landis' USADA arbitration has been set for May 14, 2007.

Henson said that Landis will be traveling to California on Thursday, and will not appear in person at the hearing in Paris, but will be represented by his legal team. Despite the AFLD moving forward against their wishes, Landis' team still has hope that the AFLD will delay any ruling on the case. "We don't know what or if any ruling will be made [on Thursday]", said Henson, and added that Landis' team has had "fair dealings" with the French authorities. Brian Rafferty, the chairman of the Floyd Fairness Fund, said, "The AFLD and Mr. Bordry have been nothing but open and fair, and we hope they will stay the hearings and follow standard jurisdictional lines."

AFLD president Pierre Bordry told the Associated Press that Landis can be assured that he will receive a fair hearing. "It's not because someone is positive that he must be automatically suspended, the rights of the defense are very important."

If Landis were to be suspended by the AFLD, that suspension would only apply to races on French soil. The outcome of the USADA arbitration holds much more grave consequences for Landis. If his defense is unsuccessful, he will lose his Tour de France title and prize winnings, and be sanctioned for two years. Under the ProTour rules, he will not be allowed to race for a ProTour team for four years, which could spell the end of the 32 year-old Landis' career. Landis himself indicated as such in December, "If I'm banned for four years and stripped of my title and prize-money, I'll never race again. My desire for it would have been obliterated."

The legal costs in his fight to prove his innocence have reached nearly US$400,000 - 500,000, according to friend and presenter of Landis' "Wiki-defense," Arnie Baker, MD. Baker re-iterated the points of the defense, which was made public last October, in Wednesday's press conference, pointing out labeling, margin of error, and standardization problems in the LNDD lab's test results. "This whole thing is so full of errors I don't know what to think except I can't call it a positive test." Baker summarized. "I don't think the USADA should be looking to sanction anyone. I think WADA should be looking to improve practices."

Landis' legal team is currently still working on the "discovery phase" of their case, and are trying to get the lab documentation on the tests performed on Landis' urine from stages other than stage 17, all of which came back negative. Presumably, the other test data could be used to show that the stage 17 results was an aberration, due to contamination or other testing flaws, but the team is having difficulty getting the documents from USADA. "We would like to get the information that's the right of anyone who's accused of something like this." said Rafferty, "We have the right to that, and we don't think they want to give it to us - maybe because they know what it will show."

Cyclingnews' coverage of the Floyd Landis case

May 29, 2009 - French authorities summon Landis and Baker
September 28, 2008 - Landis takes case to US federal court
September 10, 2008 - Landis signing with current Health Net-Maxxis team for 2009
July 1, 2008 - CAS delivers final blow to Landis legal challenge
June 30, 2008 - Landis loses final appeal
June 28, 2008 - Landis decision due Monday
March 12, 2008 - Landis' judgment day nears
October 21, 2007 - Landis files appeal with CAS
October 18, 2007 - AFLD takes another look at Landis case
Thursday, October 11 - Landis continues fight, appeals to CAS
Saturday, September 22 - UCI officially names Pereiro 2006 Tour champion, Landis case raises issues
Friday, September 21 - Landis' appeal denied, two year suspension levied

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the Floyd Landis case

Cavendish second in debut

Mark Cavendish
Photo ©: Nick Rosenthal
(Click for larger image)

Young British rider Mark Cavendish nearly won his season debut for T-Mobile Team Wednesday in the Etoile des Besseges, finishing second in a sprint behind Credit Agricole's Angelo Furlan. But the 21-year-old was supposed to have been preparing a sprint for teammate Andre Greipel, not sprinting himself.

"We had planned that Mark would prepare the sprint for Andre," said Directeur Sportif Alan Peiper on the team's website, "It got very tight just before the last curve. Andre lost Mark's rear wheel."

Peiper showed understanding for the problem. "We have to top sprinters who are riding together for the first time and still have to figure out how to work together. It will get better for them in the next few days, and then the success will come."

Click here to see results and photos from the first stage of the Etoile des Besseges.

Barloworld wants to go to Giro and Tour

By Susan Westemeyer

Team Barloworld has finished a one-week training camp in Castagneto Carducci, Italy, and is hoping for great things in the new season. "We were really disappointed that we did not get our Pro Tour licence for 2007," Team Manager Claudio Corti said. "However, we are still hopeful for an invitation for either the Giro d'Italia or the Tour de France."

He continued, "On the other hand, we have to continue to develop our team according to its original goals: high professional standards, zero tolerance for doping, and perfect synergy with our sponsors Barloworld and Cannondale."

"Our goal is to be on the podium in the ProTour races," according to Directeur Sportif Alberto Volpi. "Our team is more complete than last year. We have re-enforced our team roster for all kind of races, the well-experienced Fabrizio Guidi and Robert Hunter join Enrico Degano and Giosue Bonomi as an impressive sprint force. I also consider this team competitive on the climbs."

The team will make its European debut next week at the GP degli Etruschi in Donoratico.

Successful surgery for Vandenbroucke

Frank Vandenbroucke
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Frank Vandenbroucke of the Acqua & Sapone Caffè Mokambo team, underwent a successful operation today at the Clinica Poggio del Sole to correct a problem with his synovial plica of his left knee.

His doctor Ricci Gianni reported that he was satisfied with the outcome of the surgery. Vandenbroucke will begin physiotherapy on Friday and hopes to be riding again within ten days assuming no complications from the operation.

A relieved Vandenbroucke said, "I hope to build my endurance back up on a bike and be able to finally train without pain."

Wiesenhof gets two ProTour wildcards

By Susan Westemeyer

Steffen Wesemann (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

The German Professional Continental Team Wiesenhof-Felt has received wild card invitations to two ProTour races this spring, Gent-Wevelgem and Amstel Gold Race, the team announced Wednesday.

"These nominations are a confirmation of our newly formed team around captain Steffen Wesemann," said Team Manager Raphael Schweda. Wesemann finished second last year in the Amstel Gold Race.

The team hopes for further wild card invitations to further Spring Classic races, such as Paris-Roubaix and the Ronde von Vlaanderen, which Wesemann won in 2004.

Ullrich "playing for time" says opposing lawyer

By Susan Westemeyer

Jan Ullrich, his advisors and his attorneys "look as if they are playing for time," said German sports attorney Michael Lehner in Sport Bild magazine. Lehner is representing German anti-doping activist Werner Franke in a suit against Ullrich.

Ullrich provided a DNA sample last week to German investigators who are investigating him for fraud. His DNA is to be compared to that found in bags of blood taken into custody during Operación Puerto. "The Ullrich camp seems to have adopted a new tactic," Lehner said. "They are doing now what they should have done months ago. It is still unclear whether they will try to hinder a comparison by some other means."

However, the comparison cannot be done until the German investigators receive the blood from the Spanish investigators. "The blood has still not arrived," said Bonn prosecutor Monika Nostadt-Ziegenberg. "That is a sensitive product which you can't simply drop in the mail."

Meanwhile, it appears that Ullrich has given up hope of starting in the Giro d'Italia this year, even if he should find a team. "The time for preparations would be too short," his manager Wolfgang Strohband said. He added that he could imagine Ullrich starting in smaller stage races and that the World Championships in Stuttgart remain an option.

Team Volksbank starts season in Italy

By Susan Westemeyer

Team Volksbank is preparing to start its season this week with the GP Costa degli Etrusci in Italy. It is "a welcome form test in the frame of a 10-day training camp," which the team has been holding since February 2 in Donoratico, Italy.

The race sees the debut of Gerhard Trampusch in the Austrian Professional Continental team. "I am very much looking forward to the season," the 28-year-old said. "I want to get in some racing kilometers in the GP and help to bring our sprinters into position. If we can do that, then it ought to be possible for (Sven) Teutenberg and (Werner) Riebenbauer to get some good results."

The team will also see the debut of its new carbon bikes from Corratec and the new racing kit from Northcoast. They even have new cars this year, moving up from Fiat Stilo to the Fiat Croma. "We'll have to see whether our guys can keep up with all this exclusive material," Team Manager Thomas Kofler joked.

Volksbank for the GP Costa degli Etrusci: Pascal Hungerbühler, Florian Stalder, Sven Teutenberg, Rene Weissinger, Gerhard Trampusch, Harald Morscher, Werner Riebenbauer, and Patrick Riedesser.

Quick Step-Innergetic announces teams for Italian and Spanish races

The Quick Step-Innergetic team will field a team at both the upcoming G.P. Costa Degli Etruschi-Donoratico in Italy on February 10 and at the Challenge Mallorca in Spain from February 11 to 15.

For the Italian race the squad will include Paolo Bettini, Steven De Jongh, Ad Engels, Sebastien Rosseler, Leonardo Scarselli, Gert Steegmans, Hubert Schwab, Giovanni Visconti, Kevin Van Impe, and Marten Weynants under the guidance of DS Luca Guercilena

Serge Baguet, Carlos Barredo, Tom Boonen, Dmitry Grabovskyy, Juan Manuel Garate, Kevin Hulsmans, Alessandro Proni, Ivan Santaromita, Kevin Seeldraeyers, Peter Van Petegem, Davide Viganò, Wouter Weylandt, and Cedric Vasseur will head for Spain with directors Serge Parsani and Luca Guercilena.

Caisse D'Epargne riders undergo biomechanical tests

Caisse d'Epargne-Vladimir Efimkin
Photo ©: Foto Abarca Sports
(Click for larger image)

As part of their training camp in Palma, members of the Team Caisse d'Epargne riders have been involved in biomechanical testing under the guidance of Italian specialist Alessandro Mariano. The goal of the tests is to improve the positions of the riders on both their road and time trial bikes.

Para-cycling Joins UCI

On Tuesday in Switzerland, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Sir Philip Craven and UCI President Pat McQuaid signed an agreement to transfer the governance of cycling for persons with a disability from the IPC to UCI.

"Over the past few years, IPC Cycling has developed significantly. This transfer of governance will help the sport of Para-Cycling to further develop and the true partnership with the UCI will be of benefit to all cyclists with a disability and the Paralympic Movement," said Craven.

Officials made the first step toward this agreement in July 2002 when the when the two organizations signed an agreement of co-operation. After several years of collaboration, the UCI indicated their interest in overseeing cycling for riders with a disability. IPC made a motion for the change in September 2006 and the governing board ratified the decision at its meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in November 2006.

Discovery Channel team renews program supporting LAF

The Discovery Channel team announced that it will continue its program to raise money to support the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) for 2007. The money they raise will go toward sending cancer survivors to the annual Ride for the Roses in Austin, Texas.

Team TIBCO readies for 2007 NRC circuit

Brooke Miller (TIBCO)
Photo ©: Matthew Moses
(Click for larger image)

Following its debut on the US national circuit in 2006, Team TIBCO has expanded its team to compete in a full calendar for 2007. Formerly known as PABW Powered by TIBCO, the team won stages at each of the national races it entered in 2006: Altoona, Nature Valley and Mt. Hood; and won the over all classification at the Bermuda Grand Prix. TIBCO Software is now the title sponsor for the team.

"We are extremely grateful to TIBCO for their support" said Linda Jackson, Director Sportif. "Their sponsorship is enabling these talented women to pursue their passion and become the best that they can be" she added.

Brooke Miller will head up the 2007 roster that includes returning riders Stacy Marple and Victoria Vallstrom and newcomers Katie Lambden, Liza Rachetto, Marisa Asplund and Yukie Nakamura. "The team is incredibly motivated by its success last year and is looking forward to improving on that success in 2007" said Jackson, a former Olympian. "We plan to take the experience we gained from last year and add value with our new team members. Where last year I described our athletes as 'diamonds in the rough,' for 2007 they are more 'polished'," she added. The team will race in over 20 events in Silicon Valley, compete in a full national racing calendar (NRC) and will also compete in two international events: the Montreal World Cup and the Tour of Montreal.

For a complete team roster, click here.

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