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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for January 18, 2007

Edited by Sue George

World anti-doping code revised

By Laura Weislo

Coming up on

Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of the Dauphiné Libéré live as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).

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Director General of the WADA, David Howman
Photo ©: AFP
Click for larger image

Cycling has the distinction of being in the centre of some of the most prominent doping scandals in recent years, but some good may come out of the sport's darkest moments. The cases might help pave the way for improvements to the World Anti-doping Association's (WADA) code. A revision of the code was released this week.

WADA's code is currently undergoing the first major revision since its inception in 2003, and is the subject of an iterative process which will see the first draft, which was released this week, undergoing review until May, followed by the release of a second draft. Following the second draft, there will be another review period, leading up to the WADA annual meeting in November, where they hope to finalise the new version of the code.

WADA director general David Howman explained to Cyclingnews that the WADA code was "always intended to be a living document, and not set in stone." The latest revision was the result of more than six months of comments solicited from a list of thousands of 'stakeholders' - governments, sporting organizations, anti-doping authorities and athletes alike. The call for comments on the code was highly successful, and according to Howman, they received "probably more feedback" on this than they have on any other document.

Howman said that the revisions are more like "tweaks" in order to ensure that "best practices" are spelled out. He denied that the changes were influenced by any doping scandals, but did state that the biggest changes relate to sanctions: they received many comments calling for the flexibility to impose bigger sanctions for more serious doping offenses and lighter sentences for less egregious ones.

In the draft, recommended sanctions get doubled for athletes whose doping violations are "part of a larger doping scheme". The document also includes clear language allowing athletes to be sanctioned in the absence of a positive test, "based on the Athlete’s admissions, the credible testimony of third persons, [or] reliable documentary evidence". Howman admitted that clarification for 'non-analytical' positives, or sanctions based on actions other than positive laboratory tests, stem partly from the infamous BALCO cases.

To read the complete news feature, click here.

Two Malaysian national teams and a continental team for Langkawi

The peloton battled torrential rain in the final stage last year
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

The UCI has reportedly given the go-ahead for the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) to field two national teams and Le Tua, a continental team, at the Tour of Langkawi set for February 2 to 11. However, the federation still awaits an official reply according to the New Strait Times.

UCI regulations do not allow a country to enter two national teams for the same race; hence MNCF president Abu Samah Wahab was concerned about a resulting possible downgrade in UCI status for the race should all three teams compete.

"Three other riders will join the 10 currently training in Seremban and the two national teams will be selected from these 13 riders," said Wahab to the New Strait Times. The roster of 13 riders includes Sayuti Zahit, Fauzan Ahmad Lutfi, Amir Mustafa Rusli, Zamri Salleh, Harrif Salleh, Safwan Sawai, Ahmad Fallanie Ali, Saiful Anuar Aziz, Rauf Nor Misbah and Suhardi Hassan, with Faris Abdul Razak, Harnizam Basri and Jasmin Ruslan as the three still to join the training.

Stapleton: Gerolsteiner has their facts wrong

By Shane Stokes

T-Mobile general manager Bob Stapleton
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
(Click for larger image)
T-Mobile General Manager Bob Stapleton has strongly rejected claims made by Gerolsteiner's Hans-Michael Holczer that the latter team was the only German-registered one in the ProTour.

Holczer said at Tuesday's Gerolsteiner launch that the license holder for the team is High Road Sports, based in the US and owned by Stapleton, a US citizen. However on Wednesday afternoon, the T-Mobile chief said that there is no question about the identity of the squad, and that Gerolsteiner were either accidentally or deliberately misinterpreting the issue.

"The T-Mobile team is a German registered team, and that is quite clear," said Stapleton at the team's training camp in Mallorca on Wednesday. "There is a German paying agent and that is the criteria for registration in the ProTour. So I think the folks at Gerolsteiner should know the facts, and probably do know the facts, and that this is part of their position of their programme.

"The good news in all of this is that I think Gerolsteiner and T-Mobile both take the fight against doping very seriously. We act in concert there. But I have no explanation for the lack of correct facts they have got [re T-Mobile not being a German team]. I think their comment may be related to a comment they believe that Luuc Eisenga [T-Mobile technical director] made, but this is a simple matter of record. It can be looked up, it is quite easy to confirm.

"Of course, T-Mobile will be a German registered team. The team is predominantly German, both as regards its athletes and its management, and it has a long legacy as a German team that we respect and plan to continue."

The squad is due to leave Mallorca on Thursday, with the men’s team getting their season underway on January 28 with the Tour of Qatar.

T-Mobile women to Southern Hemisphere

By Shane Stokes

The T-Mobile women's team
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
(Click for larger image)
On Thursday, several members of the T-Mobile women's squad will fly to Australia, following what was a well organised training camp in Mallorca. Double world cup winner Oenone Wood, Alexis Rhodes, Katherine Bates and Linda Villumsen will head directly, while Ina Yoko Teutenberg will return to Germany on Saturday and then fly south the following day.

Villumsen plans to go to New Zealand and add more kilometres there, while the others will build on their Mallorcan base by training in Australia. They will regroup towards the end of February and, together with Judith Arndt, will compete in the Geelong Tour from February 27 until March 1. The women's world cup race will then follow on March 3.

Directeur sportif Anna Wilson said that there are no plans to ramp up the intensity as yet. "They are mostly building their endurance from now until Geelong, doing the same type of long, low heartrate rides that they have been doing here," she stated. "They will probably do a couple of club races a couple of weeks beforehand. They will then use the Tour as a bit of intensity loading before the world cup.

"We are hoping to win both events but if we had to choose, we'd take the world cup."

Former top pro Wilson had been working as a lawyer but jumped at the chance to join the team management this season. She is pleased with things thus far. "I think the camp went really well. I had a very busy time off the bike, while the girls trained well. For some the training wasn’t perhaps as good as we might have hoped beforehand because they have been sick, but the most important thing was to come together and have a good feeling amongst the team."

The future of German cycling: The young guns in training camp

By Susan Westemeyer

There's no question as to which team Heinrich Haussler rides 
Photo ©: Patrick Reed
(Click for larger image)

Marcel Sieberg (Milram), Gerald Ciolek (T-Mobile) and Heinrich Haussler (Gerolsteiner) are preparing for the upcoming season in their various training camps. Susan Westemeyer got their impressions of things at their team presentations.

Sieberg is in his first ProTour year, and his first ProTour training camp. "Everything is much bigger than at Wiesenhof," he said. "Of course, there we only had half as many riders." He feels relatively comfortable in his new team, saying "I already knew most of the German riders anyway." The tall German is preparing for a lot of traveling. Immediately after the team presentation in Bremen, Germany, he was off to training camp in Tuscany. He will be starting the season with the Tours of Qatar and Mallorca.

At the T-Mobile presentation on Majorca, Ciolek said "This is only my first season. I have a lot to learn. I want to get a taste of it." When asked how he feels when called the "second Erik Zabel," the confident young man says, "I find it a compliment. He's had a great career and is a role model for many cyclists, but I have my own goals."

Haussler is the "old pro" of the group, going into his third year at Gerolsteiner. He had returned to Europe only the day before the presentation in Gerolstein, Germany, after spending five weeks in Australia. "I haven't been training that much, but keeping fit," he said, and was looking forward to his upcoming training camp on Majorca. He notes that his experience over the last two years is paying off. "Last year I was doing maybe too much more than I should have. I came to training camp with an attitude of too fast, too long training, too many hours -- and I think that stopped me a lot" during the season. "Now I have more experience and I know what to do." He will be doing the spring classics this year and hopes for a nomination for the Tour de France.

Dessel wants to delay peak form

By Jean-François Quénet in Tanunda

Dessel discusses
Photo ©: JF Quenet
(Click for larger image)

The Tour de France can change a rider's awareness anywhere. Shall Cyril Dessel have thought he has become popular only in his own country by wearing the yellow jersey for one day in the Pyrenees and finishing seventh overall, he can now realize that he's become a household name as far away as Australia as well. One year ago, he was an anonymous member of the Ag2r Prévoyance team who led Simon Gerrans to the victory in the Tour Down Under. Now, on the finishing line of Tanunda, he was assaulted by autograph seekers. An Australian family came and asked him to put his mark on a bidon thrown away by him during the Tour de l'Ain that he won in August last year and collect by them as they were on holiday in Annecy.

"Until the end of November, my life had been a little bit disturbed by different launches and meetings that I attended," he said. "But in December, I almost turned my phone off. At least, I started refusing some requests. I went back to Ag2r's training camps and I've followed about the same preparation as last year. I'm trying to delay my peak form though.

"When I came back from Australia one year ago, I was in good form and I won the Tour Méditerranéen. Later I almost made the top-10 in Paris-Nice. Now I'd like to be at my best in Paris-Nice because this is the first very important event of the year for us. I'll try to do well at the Tour de France again. Winning a stage or a good ranking on GC will always be my goals but for now I focus on the first part of the season. It will take some pressure off at the time of the Tour de France if I've done something good before."

To read the complete news feature, click here.

Hammond's future is T-Mobile

Roger Hammond will be swapping his Discovery Channel colours for the magenta of T-Mobile this season
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

Continuing to race a discipline that turned him into a classics specialist on the road, but which now offers little reward, Roger Hammond now appears to have a love-hate relationship with cyclo-cross. However, Cyclingnews' Brecht Decaluwé found that Hammond, with a new team and new colours, will now focus on the future.

The finish of the cyclo-cross race on New Year’s eve in Diegem is part of the Superprestige Series. Not much special was going on - besides the fact that Sven Nys (Rabobank) won for what seemed like the 150th time, which says more about Nys’ level than the other way around. Minutes after Nys’ win, the zone past the finish line was filled up with all sorts of riders, most of the well known riders came in first, but as the clock ticked on, the more unknown riders reached the line.

Late in the day, minutes after Nys rolled through, a Discovery Channel jersey was spotted rolling across the line. It was Roger Hammond, whose kit combined the Discovery Channel strip with the colours of Great Britain, the colours he earned as the national road champion. It was his last day in the Discovery Channel jersey, since he's signed a contract with T-Mobile for 2007, and the day didn't seem to agree with him.

"Argh, it's just a fight in the beginning of this race; I've got to start in the sixth or seventh row behind guys who probably start many races. Then I punctured on the second lap just after my pits and I have only one spare bike so I had to do a complete lap on a flat tyre." No further explanation was needed, Hammond had bad luck that day.

Still, he managed to sneak just ahead of the rather unknown Belgian Jorn Van der Veken to rank 31st. Hammond made it clear that this level of competition doesn't suit him. "I don't know what the UCI is trying to do to cyclo-cross but they're making it for pure cyclo-cross riders. But to cross over like me it's hard; to me, they are killing it… I can't do this anymore, it's just waste of my time," complained Hammond.

To read the complete feature, click here.

Vuelta Andalucía: Freire, Boonen and maybe García Quesada

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Carlos Garcia Quesada (Unibet.com)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

The participation of Carlos Garcia Quesada, the last winner of the Vuelta Andalucía, in this year's race is in question because he is upset with his Unibet.com team.

Some of the best sprinters of the world, such Oscar Freire, Tom Boonen, and Robbie McEwen, will battle each other at the Vuelta Andalucía, one the first races of the 2007 Spanish calendar. The race happens February 18-22.

This 53rd edition of the so-called Ruta del Sol will have "a selective participation," said Joaquin Caves, organizer of the race's official presentation. At the same time, he said he was pleased that two stages will take place in the Granada region. Fourteen squads will take part in the Vuelta Andalucía in 2007; six Spanish teams and eight foreign teams, with seven riders per team.

In addition to the presence of the top sprinters already mentioned, Australian Cadel Evans, Italian Damiano Cunego, and Spaniard Carlos Garcia Quesada will race; however, the presence of García Quesada is in doubt due to an ongoing conflict with Unibet.com. The team owes some money to Garcia Quesada, yet is has registered him for the race and considers him an indispensable participant given his win last year.

Caves explained to EFE that, "given the high level of the teams participating, the race will require a good effort." The Vuelta Andalucía will feature five "short and explosive" stages. The first stage will start in Otura (Granada), and the last one will finish in Antequera (Malaga). Caves emphasized the arrival of the second stage, in the mountains of Cazorla (Jaén). The end of first stage will be in La Zubia, and the second stage will start from Genil.

Latasa retires

By Monika Prell

After nine seasons as professional, David Latasa decided to end his cycling career, according to the Spanish newspaper Gara. The 32-year-old turned pro in 1998 with the Banesto Team, for whom he rode for five years. In 2003, he signed with Kelme, and he later rode for Comunidad Valenciana. At the end of the 2006 season, he did not get a serious offer, due to the Operación Puerto and the difficult situation of many Spanish cyclists, so he decided to stop racing. In his palmarès figures one victory, the win of a stage in the Tour del Porvenir in 1999.

ABD cycling team reloads for 2007

The ABD Cycling Team, the top ranked amateur team in the 2006 USA Cycling National Calendar Rankings, has announced their 2007 roster and the move of three former riders to the professional ranks.

Building on their history of rider development, the 2007 ABD elite men's team includes riders with a mix of experience and talent that could be ready to head to the professional ranks within a year or two. New riders include Ryan Baumann, Josh Carter, Jeff Schroetlin, Alex Sharon, and Brett Stewart. They will be joined by ABD veterans Mike Ebert, Rob Jungels, Dylan Lewis, and Lucas Wall.

Bryce Mead and Reid Mumford, pillars of the ABD squad for the past two season, signed pro contracts with the Jelly Belly and Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast teams, respectively. In addition, ABD alumni Ben Raby (2002-2004) recently inked a deal with the KodakGallery.Com/Sierra Nevada team and Frank Pipp (2003) moved to Healthnet. "We had to replace a lot of horsepower this winter," says team manager, Ebert," but I'm very happy for all of those guys. ABD is all about developing riders, and every club member takes pride in seeing our riders move to the next level."

To see the complete team roster, click here.

Sydney Body Art ride to benefit children with cancer

The annual Sydney Body Art Ride (SBAR) will be held February 11, 2007. Starting at the University of NSW and finishing at South Maroubra beach, the ride raises money for the Children's Cancer Research Institute. Participants may ride fully clothed or may wear a coat of body paint (yes underwear or swimwear is required at a minimum). Entry is free and prizes will be awarded to those with the most sponsorships and best art work.

For more information, visit www.sydneybodyartride.org

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