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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for January 26, 2007

Edited by Laura Weislo

Pereiro cleared by French anti-doping

Happy Oscar
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Oscar Pereiro, the 2006 Tour de France runner-up was cleared of any doping charges by the French Anti-Doping Authority (AFLD) today. Pereiro, who had a certificate to use the asthma drug salbutamol from the UCI, was put under pressure last week by the AFLD to file further documents supporting his medical need for the drug.

Pereiro submitted the forms late last week, and was among 11 riders who were cleared when the AFLD accepted their medical clearance. The other riders were not named.

The story of Pereiro's case exploded when the French newspaper Le Monde reported that Pereiro had tested positive, something that UCI president Pat McQuaid called "scandalous". "He was not positive." McQuaid told Cyclingnews, "He uses Ventolin to treat asthma, as many people do. It is not a doping product or anything like that."

'08 Tour to start without prologue

The 2008 Tour de France will kick off with a full stage, marking the first time the Grand Départ will not be a prologue or individual time trial since 1966. The announcement was made Thursday in Rennes by Jean-Yves Le Drian, the chairman of Brittany's Regional Council and Christian Prudhomme, the director of the Tour de France. The announcement also revealed the first three stages for the 2008 Tour de France, which will be held in Brittany.

The Grand Départ next year will head from Brest to Plumelec, then stage two will head from Auray to Saint-Brieuc. The Tour will then exit Brittany via Saint-Malo and the roads of Ile-et-Vilaine. This will be the third time that the Tour de France will set off from Brest. The first time was in 1952, and the most recent was in 1974 when Eddy Merckx won the 7.1km prologue.

Liquigas starts with Di Luca and Pozzato

By Gregor Brown

Danilo Di Luca
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

The 2007 Liquigas team will continue to be led by Danilo Di Luca in the Ardennes Classics and the Giro d'Italia, but the team of Roberto Amadio has made an important signing this off-season. It took on the winner of the 2006 Milan-Sanremo, Filippo Pozzato. Pippo will use his abilities to add fire power in one day races, like Milan-Sanremo.

Di Luca had a massive 2005, winning Amstel Gold and Flèche Wallonne, going well in the Giro and then winning the inaugural ProTour overall classification. In 2006 he devoted himself solely to the Giro but he did not live up to his expectations. He scrabbled for results in the Tour de France, only to come up empty handed, and then ended his season on a slight high note.

"[The tooth problem] affected my condition for the Giro," stated 'The Killer' to La Gazzetta dello Sport during the team's presentation in Milan. "Then there was new problem [prostate - ed.] for the Tour de France, and at the Vuelta a España I did good things, but not like I had hoped."

At the Vuelta, Di Luca captured the stage to Béjar along with the leader's jersey before going on to help Paolo Bettini win the World Championships for Italy. Even though his 2006 did not go the way he had planned, the 31 year-old will stay his course, trying again for his home tour but also giving focus to the Ardennes.

"I am convinced that this is a good decision," he continued regarding the Giro. "I was there in the [2006] races and this race [Giro - ed.] is important. It is true, I am not going to train in Mexico like in 2005, I will stay in Italy, but I will still search for a little bit of what I had done in 2005.

"My objectives in 2005 were the Classics and then came the Giro d'Italia. Again they are two very important objectives. The general classification of the Giro and then the Classics," finished Di Luca, ranking his goals.

Pozzato and Di Luca
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Pippo will fire first for the team. Using early season races, he will build his form for Italy's spring classic. "Sanremo will certainly be the most important early objective for Liquigas," confirmed the 25 year-old Italian to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I hope to be strong like last year.

"It is clear it will not be the only objective, it will be one of the first of the season. ... I will do the Tour; a lot better than this year [2006]."

Pippo went well in many stages in last year's Tour, and finished strongly on the last stage in Paris. His riding showed that he is capable of managing himself over a three week race, a consistency that will eventually pay off. "I hope it will go well for some stages and that I can at least get a stage win."

A full team roster can be seen on Cyclingnews' teams database.

Unibet - 'a team for the future' unveiled their squad Thursday in Ghent, Belgium, showing a young but "balanced" group of riders for the first year ProTour team. Under the cloud of the Quick Step team doping allegations, and confession from Johan Museeuw, team manager Jacques Hanegraaf took an upbeat attitude about the future of the team. He told Sporza that "everyone in this team has signed the ethical and medical statute. All riders will give their DNA if they must".

Manager Hilaire Van der Schueren described the team with enthusiasm, saying "We have a good, balanced team which can score in the tours and the Classics. For the tours, we can count on Victor Hugo Peña and José Rujano, and for the Classics on Baden Cooke." But der Schueren was realistic about the goals for such a young team. "We hope for some successes, but let's not forget that we have a team for the future."

For the full roster, see the Cyclingnews teams database.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by AFP

Fuerteventura and LPR win UCI license decision

Elio Aggiano (LPR)
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

The Fuerteventura-Canary Islands and LPR teams may be able to make their debuts as Professional Continental teams this year. The UCI denied both teams a continental license in December, citing a 'failure to comply with the regulation deadlines'. But the teams claimed they had submitted all the necessary documents weeks before the deadline, and this week, a judge in Lausanne agreed.

The manager of the Fuerteventura-Canary Islands team, Jorge Sastre, was pleased with the decision, but refused to criticize the UCI. "It is not the moment for criticizing anybody, nor for looking back. Our team will never do it. Now it is the moment for looking ahead. For us it is a reason for immense happiness, because it is the news who we have hoped for during the past few month".

Sastre added: "We are going to make an effort to arrive at the Challenge Majorca with the group and all the means and the infrastructure necessary to give a great impression from the first day, so that the fans will fall in love with the Fuerteventura-Canary Islands".

The decision of the Swiss judge has also affected the LPR team, which released a statement saying that "The news has been received with satisfaction from the management of the team and the riders. The squad can now concentrate on its preparation for the season, and will make its debut at the GP Costa degli Etruschi."

Swiss lawyer explains Ullrich case delays

Jan Ullrich is going to have be patient, because it will be quite a while longer before all of the legal processes and investigations regarding his alleged doping are finished. Bernhard Welten, who is handling Swiss Olympic's investigation of the German rider, told Cyclingnews: "You cannot forget that there is a criminal action going on in Spain, where the name of Jan Ullrich was clearly mentioned as a 'client' of Dr. Fuentes.

"Further, there is a criminal investigation going on in Germany against Jan Ullrich, and it was in this procedure that the house of Jan Ullrich in Switzerland was searched and a DNA sample (saliva) was taken."

Only when the Spanish and Germans cases are ended can Welten turn to his own case concerning Ullrich. "It is obvious that I cannot yet finish my investigation if these two investigations are still going on, because it is our duty to get all important facts regarding an eventual doping offense of Jan Ullrich. Further, I have always stated that I will hand over the case to the disciplinary chamber for a decision, and that I will file a request of either no ban or a lifetime ban."

Welten further noted that he is not currently preventing Ullrich from riding. "Up to the day that I forward the file to the disciplinary chamber, Jan Ullrich is free to do whatever he wants to do. However, he returned his license in mid-October and up to now has not requested a new license."

Giuseppe Guerini: T-Mobile's "Gentleman"

Giuseppe Guerini
Photo ©: Roberto Betinni
(Click for larger image)

Giuseppe Guerini joined Team Telekom for the 1999 season, hoping to help Jan Ullrich win the Tour de France and never dreaming he would stay with the German team until the end of his career. The Tour victory never happened, but Guerini is still with T-Mobile, and at 36-years-old, finds himself not only the rider with the most seniority on the team, but also the oldest. Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer caught up with him during the training camp on Mallorca.

How does it feel to be the oldest on the team? "That's not so funny, because I am the oldest," he said, laughing anyway. The youngest rider on the team, Gerald Ciolek, is only 20-years-old, or 16 years younger. "I saw him in training just two days ago and said to him, when I turned pro you were only six years old. Now here we are on the same team." Philosophically, he added, "It was strange, but that's life. So far I think that I am still young. But now I am the oldest."

Guerini is consistently called a nice guy, always polite and friendly. Team spokesman Stefan Wagner called him "a gentleman". Former teammate Udo Bölts, now a directeur sportif with Team Gerolsteiner, says he is "a nice and always friendly colleague. A hard worker, heart and soul."

He admitted he had never dreamed that he would stay with T-Mobile so long. "I am happy to stay on this team, I am very proud to stay on this team." Why did he stay? "I think it's because I never had any problems with the riders or with the team, I was always professional and I had some good results. I worked really hard to get some good results. But maybe you should ask the management why they always offered me a new contract!"

See the full interview here.

Davis to Discovery?

The 2007 Discovery Channel team supposedly finalised their roster earlier this month, but rumours that the team has signed Australian Allan Davis and the young American, Tyler Farrar have recently surfaced because the team's fan site,, briefly showed a roster including the two riders. The list has since been taken down, but the team could not be reached for comment.

If true, this will be a boon for the 26-year-old Davis. He was part of the Manolo Saiz' embattled Astana team, and after having his name mentioned in Operacion Puerto, he was cleared by his federation but had trouble finding a team.

Tyler Farrar, however, was present at his Cofidis team launch in Paris on Thursday, and is under contract with the team through 2007, so it's unlikely that rumours of his joining Discovery are true.

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