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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for January 26, 2007

Edited by Hedwig Kröner, with assistance of Susan Westemeyer

Lefevere sues Dedecker

Parick Lefevere takes legal action
Photo ©: CN
Click for larger image

A civil suit will be brought before the Brugge court of first instance in Belgium on Monday, February 5. Belgian papers reported on Friday that Quick.Step manager Patrick Lefevere' company Esperanza, as well as the association of ProTour teams IPCT and the management company of Tom Boonen, Celio, have decided to sue Belgian politician Jean-Marie Dedecker for damages, after he alleged on Belgian television that three of the country's top cyclists underwent doping cures in Italy in February 2006. The show broadcast on September 12, 2006, set off an investigation by the Belgian cycling federation, yet inconclusive.

Even though Dedecker did not name the cyclists, Lefevere felt that Dedecker had addressed him personally since virtually all Belgian top elite riders race for Quick.Step.

Meanwhile, Lefevere is also busy assembling a dossier to press charges against Belgian daily Het Laatste Nieuws. This week, the paper came out with claims made by anonymous sources that the team manager had a history of 30 years of doping in the sport behind him, and that using performance-enhancing substances was still common practice within the squad today.

Quick.Step team doctor Yvan Vanmol will also make his lawyer undertake legal action against the paper, because it claimed that he was the organiser of the alleged doping practices within the team.

Museeuw questioned by police

The 'Lion of Flanders' Johan Museeuw was interrogated by the federal Belgian police in Kortrijk on Thursday in connection with his confession this week of having used illegal doping products during his last year as a pro. The police have confirmed the questioning, but no further details were announced.

VDB denies all

Franck Vandenbroucke was in Belgium for medical treatments, he said, and offered to stop by the police station, as he heard they wanted to talk to him about the Ferdy Robyns case. "I knew that man as a nutritional supplier at Cofidis, when I rode for that team. He claims to have given me two ampules that contained the prohibited product testosterone in 1999. I deny that I ever received them," the Acqua&Sapone rider said.

Interviewed by Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws, VDB went on to say that he was at home on Tuesday night and did not spend the night in a cell, as reported earlier. He is considering filing a complaint for defamation for various media articles that have appeared concerning the incident.

McQuaid to introduce new anti-doping plan

Pat McQuaid, head of the UCI, announced that he will introduce a new and strict anti-doping plan for the 2007 season. "It will be a global plan in the fight against doping, ever more radical than before," he said. "We still have to develop some details."

He spoke at the Cross World Championships with Dick Pound, head the World Anti-Doping Agency, on Wednesday. "Pound, among others, has offered me full support in the Puerto affair," McQuaid said. "Thus we will be able to use the information from the Spanish authorities which at present is not possible."

American bunny-hopper crosses through Europe

Jeremy Powers
Photo ©: Joe Sales
Click for larger image

Very few US riders get attention in the European-dominated 'cross scene. Jonathan Page, and current US champion Ryan Trebon are the exception, but a little known rider was turning heads at the GP der Ster in St. Niklaas, Belgium. Jeremy Powers (Jelly Belly) caught the eye of Belgian television with his signature bunny-hopping manoeuvre. Cyclingnews' Brecht Decaluwé talked with him after the tough race where he finished just outside the top-10.

"I do it [bunny hopping] because it enables me to gain ground on the other riders. But today the course was tough on the bikes… and on the legs," Powers laughed. Powers came to Belgium as part of a camp organised by USA national coach Geoff Proctor. "I started doing [the camp] when I was only 19; this is like my third or fourth year, but actually I started doing it when I was younger."

The youngsters suffer a lot in Sint-Niklaas as they need to race together with the professional riders like Sven Nys (Rabobank), who won this year's event. "I got lapped here on my first year," Powers admits. "But now I'm twentieth in Diegem and twelfth over here; there's a progression, you get older and you learn a lot."

It's not easy for most American riders to get an appearance, let alone a break, in the ultra-competitive European scene. In addition to the competitive nature of the Euro rounds, riders also face to problem of hospitality and assistance in what are generally non-English speaking countries - but things are improving as the popularity and, importantly, the competitiveness of American riders grows.

"I was living on my own and only returned home for the National Championships and it just ended up not being a good trip for me. I was alone too much," Powers explained of his first year in Europe. "It's better now as we've got some more guys from the States. I'm a year older, you get more mature and the racing is a little bit easier as well. The transition to Belgium is also a bit easier as you've been doing it so much. With Geoff's camp the opportunities made [coming to Europe] possible. It' a lot of work though, you have to want to do it... like everything."

To read the full feature on Jeremy Powers, click here.

2007 Vuelta a Murcia cancelled

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Francisco Guzmán, organisation member of the Vuelta a Murcia, announced that the race will not take place in 2007 due to "difficulties to complete its budget." Problems also arose to reach a broadcasting agreement between the national television (TVE) and the Spanish organisers. Gúzman highlighted that, "we had been planning the Vuelta a Murcia since last September, and the route is ready, as well as all the details."

The 'Club Murciano Organizador de Carreras' presented the route that had been laid out for 2007, with five stages: San Pedro del Pinatar - Las Torres de Cotillas; Totana-Fortuna (with the Collado Bermejo climb); Port Lumbreras - San Pedro del Pinatar; Alhama de Murcia - Aledo; and Ceutí - Molina de Segura. According to the organiser, many squads were interested in participating, such as Discovery Channel (Ivan Basso), Saunier Duval (Gilberto Simoni), CSC (Carlos Sastre) and Caisse dEpargne-Illes Balears (Alejandro Valverde).

Quick.Step train in Tuscany

Regardless of the turmoil the squad is currently experiencing in its home country of Belgium, Quick.Step is holding a training camp in Marina di Bibbona, Tuscany, from January 27-February 1. World Champion Paolo Bettini and the other team riders that are not at the Tour of Qatar improve their form in view of the start of the European racing season.

The following riders will attend the camp: Carlos Barredo, Paolo Bettini, Ad Engels, Mauro Facci, Kevin Hulsmans, Alessandro Proni, Ivan Santaromita, Leonardo Scarselli, Hubert Schwab, Bram Tankink, Jurgen Van De Walle, Gert Verheyen, Giovanni Visconti, Wouter Weylandt and Maarten Wynants.

Deignan out of Langkawi

By Jean-Francois Quénet

Philip Deignan
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
Click for larger image

Irishman Philip Deignan will not participate in Le Tour de Langkawi, as planned initially by his Ag2r team. He suffers a knee problem and the doctors didn't okay his return to competition.

This isn't the first time Deignan faces physical troubles since he turned professional two years ago. He also missed out a part of the 2006 early season after crashing in the opening GP La Marseillaise in France.

Ag2r will start with five riders only in Le Tour de Langkawi (Feb. 2-11): Tour de France stage winner Sylvain Calzati, Tour of Spain stage winner José Luis Arrieta, David Navas, Blaise Sonnery and Julien Loubet.

National development team announced for Tour of California

On Friday, USA Cycling announced the eight-member squad that will represent the USA Cycling National Development Team at the Tour of California, scheduled to take place from February 18-25. The opening event of the inaugural USA Cycling Professional Tour and a UCI 2.HC-ranked event, the Tour of California will feature some of the top European-based ProTour squads as well as other top domestic and international pro cycling teams.

The USA Cycling National Development Team will be comprised of some of the best young competitive cyclists in America under the age of 25:

Brent Bookwalter, 22 (Cedar Springs, Mich.)
Sheldon Deeny, 22 (Fort Collins, Colo.)
John Devine, 21 (Dixon, Ill.)
Caleb Fairly, 19 (Amarillo, Texas)
Zak Grabowski, 21 (Lafayette, Colo.)
Scott Stewart, 19 (Oxford, Mich.)
Chris Stockburger, 19 (Fort Collins, Colo.)
Tejay Van Garderen, 18 (Fort Collins, Colo.)

The U25 team will compete against nine ProTour Teams: Credit Agricole (Fra), Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team (USA), Gerolsteiner (Ger), Liquigas Pro Cycling Team (Ita), Predictor-Lotto (Bel), Quick Step-Innergetic (Bel), Rabobank (Ned), T-Mobile Team (Ger), and Team Csc (Den). They will also face three Professional Continental Teams: Team Slipstream powered by Chipotle (USA), Navigators Insurance Cycling Team (USA) and Health Net presented by Maxxis (USA). Five Continental Teams - BMC Racing Team (USA), Colavita/Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light (USA), Jelly Belly Cycling Team (USA), Priority Health Cycling Team presented by Bissell (USA) and Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team - will also compete in California.

Knee surgery for Euskaltel rider

Dioni Galparsoro had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee this week, team Euskaltel Euskadi announced. The doctors of the Vitoria, Basque country, clinic said that they were very satisfied with the operation and ordered the rider to rest his knee for seven days before resuming training.

An in-depth feature of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team presentation will follow soon on Cyclingnews.

British Cycling confirms TdF Cyclosportive ride

British Cycling has confirmed that it will offer cyclists a unique opportunity to ride the same route used by the pros on stage one of the 2007 Tour de France across East London and Kent. The event will include entertainments and activities matching its status and profile, similar to major continental Cyclosportives such as the famous L’Étape du Tour.

The event will take place exactly one week before the Tour de France Grand Départ on Sunday, July 1 and will accommodate 5,000 riders from across the UK and Western Europe. Full details of the route and its partners will be announced on Thursday, February 15.

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