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First Edition Cycling News for January 15, 2007

Edited by Hedwig Kröner and Laura Weislo

Ullrich case: Germans to receive blood for DNA comparison?

By Susan Westemeyer

Ullrich has until Jan.31 to appeal
Photo ©: John Pierce
Click for larger image

The alleged Jan Ullrich doping case may be taking an unexpected turn. German magazine Focus reported on Sunday that the bags of blood which were found in the offices of Spanish Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes will be turned over to the Bonn, Germany, prosecutor's office, and that the investigation report has already been delivered. Ullrich has been accused of fraud against his T-Mobile team in front of the Bonn court, which is now investigating the case.

As soon as the Spanish investigators give their ok, the "Landeskriminalamt" for the Land of North Rhine-Westphalen will pick up the blood plasma in Madrid. It will then be subject to a DNA comparison with a sample taken from Ullrich in September by Swiss officials.

Ullrich, who continues to deny all charges, has until the end of January to appeal against the use of his DNA. His attorney, Johann Schwenn, has indicated that no decision will be made until shortly before the deadline.

Swiss court re-imposes Hondo ban

Danilo Hondo
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Click for larger image

The Swiss Supreme Court has dismissed Danilo Hondo's appeal of his two-year ban, WADA has announced. WADA said that it was informed on January 12th of the action. The Court of Arbitration of Sport had imposed the sentence after Hondo tested positive in 2005 for the banned substance Carphedon. The Court has not yet released its reasons for the ruling.

Hondo, who is with the Tinkoff Credit Team, will now be unable to ride until April 1. In response to the decision, Hondo said, "Unfortunately the Swiss Court decide exactly opposite of what I had hoped. I am disappointed that after this long struggle I have not received confirmation of my innocence, but I am looking positively to the future."

"My new goal is now April 1, because my suspension ends on March 31. I am working 110 % towards that. As they say, in court and on the high seas we are all in God's hands. The leaders of my new team are a little disappointed, too, but that they knew from the beginning that this might happen. It won't affect my situation with the team, it just means that the date for my first race will be pushed back a little."

No TV coverage for Deutschland Tour if Puerto riders participate

By Susan Westemeyer

If riders who are suspects in the Fuentes/Operación Puerto case are allowed to start in the Deutschland Tour this year, German TV will not broadcast the race, the Tour director has said. German cycling site Radsport-news reported that he had to guarantee to the ARD, the first public TV channel in Germany which recently heavily discussed the coverage of the event, that none of the named riders would participate in the race.

Race Director Kai Rapp said that, "If one of the suspected riders starts, then there won't be any broadcast - and then no race." The question remains as to which riders will be considered 'suspect' - what criteria will be used to decide on this question, and who will make the decision.

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

Crédit Agricole manager wants DNA testing

By Hedwig Kröner

A few days after the ProTour teams' vote on whether or not to keep Discovery Channel within their association of mutual interests IPCT, the manager of the French Crédit Agricole team, Roger Legeay, has once again spoken out in favour of DNA testing at the top of the professional sport.

Talking to L'Equipe, Legeay insisted that the only real way to overcome the current crisis due to the Operación Puerto allegations was to make DNA samples of riders available for cross-checking with the samples found in the Spanish blood doping case. "We have to be pragmatic about this," he said. "We have a scientific means to determine the guilt, or innocence, of the mentioned riders. We have to be able to use that. It's up to the countries, to the IOC, the UCI to insist on getting access to the files - without interfering with the course of action taken by the Spanish justice. In order to finally clarify the situation, we need some help.

"At the end of the day, if we do this, then the affair becomes very simple: We have 200 blood bags, we want to know who they belong to, and this surely concerns several different sports. We compare them to the DNA profiles. As long as this isn't done, we'll get nowhere."

Legeay deplored the fact that the information from the Spanish investigation could not be used to sporting sanctions, and was doubtful on whether the ProTour teams would really deliver the DNA of their riders, as was unanimously decided at their latest meeting in Brussels. "There is this consensus, but it's always easy to say that you're going to give DNA samples when you're almost sure that nobody will ask them of you," he said, implying that the Spanish court in charge of the case was not going to identify the riders.

"It's quite clear that the Spanish law isn't interested in the consumers of doping products. But I can't see how, because of some legal back-and-forth, they can just sit on 200 blood bags without anything happening."

ProTour ethical code judged in Spain

By Antonio J. Salmerón

The Professional Cyclists Association has complained in front of the Spanish National High Court about the legality of the Ethical Code imposed by the ProTour teams. Now, the Chamber for Social and Labour Matters of the Court has decided to postpone the hearing initially scheduled for last Thursday, January 11. The Court wants to study the matter in depth, and has granted a extension of two weeks to the public prosecutor and to all the parties interested on the subject in order to prove why the High Court is competent to judge the affair.

The cyclists' complaint is based on the allegation that the Ethical Code established by the ProTour teams imposes more severe penalties than are legally admitted by the regulation of the UCI. Under this set of rules, the CPA argues, the working rights of cyclists subject to an investigation are infringed, without their guilt being proved.

Sastre - CSC's numero uno

Sastre speaks of 2007 season
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
(Click for larger image)

He's been steadily improving year after year and now Carlos Sastre is heading one of the world's most prominent teams. This last week, Shane Stokes of Cyclingnews spoke to him in Madrid, discussing his new role, his schedule for 2007 and his thoughts on what is one of the most innovative races yet seen in cycling.

CSC leader Carlos Sastre has set out his programme for 2007, giving a run-down of the races he will ride as he builds up to what he hopes will be a big ride in the Tour de France.

"We will have our next training camp in San Francisco and then I will go back to Spain and begin my season in the Vuelta a Murcia," he told Cyclingnews at Wednesday's launch of the Abu Dhabi Cycling Race of Champions in Madrid.

2007 season

"The plan is that I will do a Spanish programme during March and April and then at the end of that month, I will go to Belgium for Flèche-Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, then ride the Tour of Romandie. After that, I will have a small break and then start my preparation for the Tour de France by doing the Tour of Switzerland. The Tour [de France] is my big goal for the season."

Much has changed within CSC since this time last year. When the team met at their Italian training camp in January 2006, the undisputed leader was Ivan Basso, the rider who many saw as the most likely heir to Lance Armstrong's throne of Tour champion. Basso had previously finished third and second in the French race and underlined his form by decisively winning the 2006 Giro d'Italia. However, his implication in Operación Puerto saw him firstly excluded from the Tour team and then, three and a half months later, parting company with the Danish squad.

To read the full feature on Carlos Sastre, click here.

Bellotti leads Crédit Agricole in Langkawi

By Jean-François Quénet

Francesco Bellotti
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

French outfit Crédit Agricole, who is the world’s longest running professional cycling set-up since it’s the continuation of the prestigious Peugeot team from the 60's (launching Eddy Merckx’s career), 70's (the time of Bernard Thévenet) and 80's and was later called Z (with Tour de France winner Greg LeMond) and Gan (with world hour record man Chris Boardman), has always had foreign flavours, mostly English speaking, and nowadays they also have an Italian accent with Pietro Caucchioli and his right hand man Francesco Bellotti.

The latter has never won a pro race since he turned pro with Mercatone Uno in 2003, but he came second to David George from the South African national team in last year’s Tour de Langkawi. So it’s no surprise to see him leading the French contingent in the Malaysian race again this year.

Thus, the 26 year-old Italian dreams of making it just one step up to the top of the podium when he starts his second campaign in the 12th edition of the Tour de Langkawi from February 2-11, with a stronger Credit Agricole outfit that includes Hungarian national champion Laszlo Bodrogi and top sprinter Julian Dean of New Zealand.

"I have a great memory of Malaysia from last year's race because it was my best ever result as a professional. So, I had no hesitations in putting my hand up when the opportunity to race in Malaysia came by again," said Bellotti, speaking from his home in Pescantina near Verona. "Now I have the advantage of knowing the race and my only target will be to move one place ahead on general classification at the end of the event. The Tour de Langkawi has become a very important race for the whole world of cycling. It comes early in the season, but it’s crucial to begin well.

"Many times I’ve seen riders taking it easy at the beginning because of later goals but they never found the right rhythm. We have an expression in Italian: ‘Who begins well is already half way into the opera’. I like racing in the heat. In Europe, it’s impossible to find this kind of climate nowadays until May, that’s why I’m excited to go to Malaysia in February."

The Crédit Agricole line up for the Tour de Langkawi: Francesco Bellotti (Ita), Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun), William Bonnet (Fra), Anthony Charteau (Fra), Julian Dean (NZ) and Benoît Poilvet (Fra).

US man records 'record' stationary ride

An Illinois man may have ridden his way into the Guinness Book of World Records, but he didn't ride anywhere. Instead, 49 year old George Hood spent 85 hours on a stationary bike at a Burr Ridge, Illinois sports club in an attempt to have his name written into the book. The record still needs to be certified by the Guinness book officials, but his mark surpasses the previous record of 82 hours.

Hood was allowed a five minute break every for every hour of riding, and took a few naps during his record ride, but was still dangerously fatigued at the end of his ride, and was taken to hospital as a precaution after he climbed off the bike.

During his ride, Hood, a Drug Enforcement Adminstration supervisor, averaged 20.5 km/h and covered more than 1,600 kilometers, according to his AP reports. His motivation to attempt the record? He used the feat to raise $25,000 for an organisation that helps the families of fallen police officers.

Cyclingnews reader poll: We have a winner!

HED's Kermesse road wheels

Cyclingnews is pleased to announce that a lucky winner of the HED Kermesse road wheels has been drawn from the 11,600 plus voters who participated in the 2006 reader poll, our biggest ever poll.

And the winner is: Jason Thompson from Olive Branch, MS, USA. Congratulations!

The team at Cyclingnews would once again like to thank all of you, the readers, who not only took the time to take part in the reader poll but also supported us throughout a massive 2006 season. A special Thank you also goes out to HED for supporting the Cyclingnews competition for the second year running.

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