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Giro finale
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Latest Cycling News for January 19, 2007

Edited by Gregor Brown

Pereiro admits approved drugs

Team says Pereiro "negligent" but not positive

By Susan Westemeyer

Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Oscar Pereiro's positive doping tests from the 2006 Tour de France are "a major mistake and I hope that the people in charge apologize," he said in a radio interview. "It is certain that I took the product, but it was prescribed by my doctor and approved by the UCI, which allows me to use it whenever I need it."

French newspaper Le Monde reported Thursday that the 29 year-old Spaniard tested positive for the asthma medication salbutamol twice during the Tour last July (After stage 14 and stage 16).

"I have been allowed to use it since March 2005," the Caisse d'Epargne rider said. "I use it to stop my allergies and have received permission for each season to use it."

The French anti-doping agency AFLD claimed that it had made multiple requests to Pereiro for detailed medical information. "I will send a fax with the required documentation to the French anti-doping agency, and later a registered letter. Once all this is clarified, I hope they will beg my pardon."

He said that he felt "calm" but also "annoyed," adding that "I am not going to lose my good humour, mainly because I know that everything is in my favour and the tests are there." He also noted that "I am annoyed because this information can affect my reputation."

In a press conference, his personal allergist, Dr. Luis Sands, confirmed that Pereiro suffers from "moderate" asthma and denied that the usual dosage of medication could give a positive test.

Meanwhile, his team said that Pereiro is guilty of nothing more than negligence in a press release issued Thursday night, January 18. The Spanish team noted the required documents had not yet been sent to the French anti-doping agency due to his "negligence" and vacation. But the team claims it has submitted the information, and added that the UCI is satisfied with all explanations.

"We are sorry for the appearance of this type of news which benefits nobody and which particularly harms our rider, our team and cycling in general."

Samuel Dumoulin climbs down under

By Jean-François Quénet in Victor Harbor

Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r)
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
(Click for larger image)

En route to finishing fifth in stage 3 of the Tour Down Under, Samuel Dumoulin scored some more points for the KOM competition and became the leader, something he's no stranger to in Australia. "I already wore this jersey last year, and I was a little bit disappointed that I couldn't keep it till the end," he recalled of the 2006 event. "But we had to defend Simon Gerrans' lead on GC first."

Dumoulin makes it clear though: "I'm not a pure climber and the hills here aren't the passes of the Tour de France. I'll do my best to win it but, again, we might have another priority with Martin Elmiger, if our plan for Saturday's stage works as we'd like to."

The little Frenchman is adamant that a lot of Ag2R Prévoyance's success during the year is related to the good work they plant in Australia. In fact, the team that led Gerrans to the victory in 2006 was the same working well at the Tour de France around Christophe Moreau: Cyril Dessel, Sylvain Calzati, José Luis Arrieta and Dumoulin. "It's like a football team," Dumoulin noticed. "We get to know each other when we play together. We're a group of friends, we get on really well, that's why we haven't missed any breakaway since we started the Tour Down Under."

Dumoulin, who is a regular visitor to Australia and a true ambassador of Down Under in France, reckoned a good start is the key to a brilliant season. "We've had good weather conditions in France this winter. For that reason I've done a lot of kilometres but not many intensities and that was my aim when coming here. I lead the KOM because, I put some efforts to turn the gas on and it's good to realize that the engine is still able to speed up."

"As a professional rider, I'm in the middle of the field," he continued. "I've already won French cup races, so I have to set higher ambitions for myself and since I did well in Hamburg last year, I'm going to focus on other world cup races this year like Milan-Sanremo and Amstel Gold Race, but I can't say loud and clear that I'm going to win Milan-Sanremo or the Amstel Gold. Anyway, working for the team will come first."

Acqua & Sapone presented

Ullrich considers "red team"

Stefano Garzelli with Belgian legend
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Yesterday, Thursday, Acqua & Sapone, officially presented its 2007 squad to the public. While not a ProTour-level team, the "red team" packs a punch and will likely take part in the big races, like the Giro d'Italia, thanks to the off-season signing of 2000 winner Stefano Garzelli.

"The program for this year will be completely concentred on the Giro d'Italia," explained Palmiro Masciarelli. "With Garzelli, who has won the Giro in 2000 and a second place three years later, we will definitely point towards the general classification."

The affair in Cecina (Livorno) was star-studded, with Italian national DS Franco Ballerini and double world champion Freddy Maertens; the latter acting as sort of a father figure for the team's other major signing, Franck Vandenbroucke. The Belgian is very much Italian, for the past few years he has lived near Milano and, since joining Acqua & Sapone, he has based himself out of the Masciarelli residence in Le Marche, an ideal place for training.

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

The team consists of 18 riders (five neo-pro) and makes a good base former-Liquigas rider Garzelli. "Every day I am more and more convinced of my decision," confirmed il Varesino. "I have had good sensations since September [when signing]; it really feels like my home. ... I am preparing with conviction for the Giro, where I hope to be a protagonist."

There is a rumour in Italy that a certain German could make 19 for Masciarelli's team. "Jan [Ullrich] writes me every day via e-mail," confirmed the team manger to La Gazzetta dello Sport of ongoing talks with the 1997 Tour winner. "He is convinced that he will be exonerated; our sponsor is ready to negotiate."

See the full details of in the Cyclingnews teams database.

Photography

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti

More Ullrich investigations?

By Susan Westemeyer

The Swiss are investigating Ullrich in the Operación Puerto affair and German civil prosecutor's are looking into fraud charges against him. As if that isn't enough, UCI president Pat McQuaid indicated that there may be even more involved, in an interview with Welt magazine.

"I have this idea, that the Swiss cycling federation is after Jan Ullrich not just because of Fuentes," he said. "I don't know exactly, it's just something I've heard. I speculate that there are also investigations of Ullrich in Germany and Belgium." He did not give specifics, saying, "There could be more against him [than just the Operación Puerto charges - ed.]. I can't say anything more."

Ondrej Sosenka to Intel-Action

Czech Ondrej Sosenka, holder of the hour record, is slated to sign with polish team Intel-Action. In the next days the 31 year-old should sign with Kosmala Piotr, team manager of the continental (third-tier) squad.

"I have to admit that we had a lot of negotiations, also with top level teams but Ondrej had wanted to select a team where he can feel like a leader, and one that would support his bid to better the hour record, currently at 49.700 kilometres" said the Czech's manager, Antonello Dalla Corte.

July 19, 2005, Sosenka broke Chris Boardman's five year-old hour record, by going 259 metres better.

Cofidis Affair ruling expected today

By Susan Westemeyer

A French court is expected to hand down sentences today on doping charges stemming from the 2004 Cofidis affair, in which David Millar was stripped of his world championship title after admitting to taking EPO.

Millar, who has completed his two-year suspension, is expected to be released. Physiotherapist Boguslaw Madejak is expected to be sentenced to four to six months imprisonment. The remaining eight defendants -- riders Massimiliano Lelli, Philippe Gaumont, Robert Sassonne, Mederic Clain, Marek Rutkiewicz and Daniel Majewski, director sportif Oleg Kozlitine and pharmacist Pierre Ben Yamin -- are all expected to receive suspended sentences of three to twelve months.

The trial, held in November, addressed charges of "acquiring and holding banned substances."

Luttenberger still hoping

By Susan Westemeyer

Peter Luttenberger is apparently facing the options of either giving up his ProTour aspirations and riding for a professional continental team in his native Austria, or retiring from cycling. He wouldn't have a problem doing either one, he told www.sport1.at.

Luttenberger did not receive a new offer from Team CSC, where he had previously ridden. He declared himself open to the idea of riding for Team Volksbank or Team Elk Haus, noting that "smaller teams often pay high starting fees in order to be allowed to participate in bigger races. A good 'name' rider would help them either not to have to pay or even be paid to participate, which would bring more money into the team's account."

A team interested in hiring Luttenberger would need a healthy account. Not only does he have high salary demands, he has other requirements. For example, he would want to fly to races and not drive. The team must be invited to such races as the Tour de Suisse or Deutschland Tour.

Volksbank team manager Thomas Kofler said that the team might consider signing Luttenberber if he brought with him a personal sponsor who would take care of his salary. "Luttenberger is a good name. I would like to find a solution, but only if it's an easy one, and not at any price."

If there is no new contract, "Then that's it for me with cycling," quipped the 34-year-old Austrian

LA track world cup begins

More than 290 athletes from over 50 teams and 35 countries will compete this weekend at the UCI track cycling world cup in Los Angeles, California, January 19-21. It is a record-high number of competitors that will top the previous two World Cups at the velodrome, located in Carson.

New countries participating this year include Ireland, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Scotland and Uzbekistan. The following riders will complete the US team for this weekend's events.

Women
Sarah Hammer (Temecula, California)
Kristin Armstrong (Boise, Idaho)
Becky Quinn (Carlsbad, California)
Neva Day (Manhattan Beach, California)
Jennie Reed (Kirkland, Washington)
Anna Lang (La Jolla, California)
Liz Reap-Carlson (Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania)

Men
Giddeon Massie (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
Adam Duvendeck (Santa Barbara, California)
Michael Blatchford (Cypress, California)
Ben Barczewski (Breiginsville, Pennsylvania)
Kevin Selker (Boulder, Colorado)
Tom Zirbel (Boulder, Colorado)
Bobby Lea (Taneytown, Maryland)
Austin Carroll (Orange, California)
Brad Huff (Fair Grove, Missouri)
Michael Creed (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
Jame Carney (Macungie, Pennsylvania)

World Cup races are amongst the most prestigious on the UCI track calendar, providing riders and countries the opportunity to qualify for positions in the upcoming world championships in late March in Spain. After stops in Sydney and Moscow, the Los Angeles event is the third of the four-race World Cup series in the 2006-07 season.

The three-day event includes five sessions:
Friday, January 19
Session 1 – 10:00 AM
Session 2 – 7:00 PM

Saturday, January 20
Session 1 – 10:00 AM
Session 2 – 6:00 PM

Sunday, January 21
Session 1 – 9:50 AM

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)

Recently on Cyclingnews.com


Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini