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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for January 31, 2007

Edited by Gregor Brown

Landis doesn't expect to compete in 2007

By Susan Westemeyer

After the stage
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

"I've pretty much written off this season," Floyd Landis said in an interview on the American ESPN TV network. He claimed that he and his lawyers are frustrated by delays in bringing his case to the anti-doping arbitration panel, noting that a date has still not yet been set.

"Right now I want to believe that the right thing will happen and we'll get a fair hearing, as long as it takes," he said, according to the press agency AFP.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) denies delaying matters. "We're ready to proceed," USADA general counsel Travis Tygart said. "We want hearings as soon as possible."

Landis' spokesman Michael Henson said that the main reason for the delay is the difficulty in getting the USADA to turn over documents requested by Landis' legal staff. "It's a real uphill battle for them to get the basic pieces of information they need to conduct a fair hearing," Henson said.

Furthering on his December comments about not racing for the 2007 season, Landis noted that he has only ridden about 800 miles (1300 km) since the end of the Tour de France last year. "I spend the same amount of time and energy trying to gain whatever resources are necessary and trying to learn what I need to learn, trying to solve this problem, as I spent trying to win the Tour. Every single day," he said.

Cyclingnews' coverage of the Floyd Landis case

May 29, 2009 - French authorities summon Landis and Baker
September 28, 2008 - Landis takes case to US federal court
September 10, 2008 - Landis signing with current Health Net-Maxxis team for 2009
July 1, 2008 - CAS delivers final blow to Landis legal challenge
June 30, 2008 - Landis loses final appeal
June 28, 2008 - Landis decision due Monday
March 12, 2008 - Landis' judgment day nears
October 21, 2007 - Landis files appeal with CAS
October 18, 2007 - AFLD takes another look at Landis case
Thursday, October 11 - Landis continues fight, appeals to CAS
Saturday, September 22 - UCI officially names Pereiro 2006 Tour champion, Landis case raises issues
Friday, September 21 - Landis' appeal denied, two year suspension levied

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the Floyd Landis case

A young and stable FdJeux for 2007

By Hedwig Kröner

All 2007 FDJ riders
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

The French team Française Des Jeux, directed by Marc Madiot, is looking towards the new season in confidence. The squad has not changed much over the winter months, as was revealed at the cycling team presentation on Tuesday, January 30.

Indeed, Madiot let only four of his 2006 riders go (Eric Leblacher, Bernhard Eisel, Freddy Bichot and Gustav-Erik Larsson), and welcomed five new assets to the team (Sébastien Chavanel, Thierry Marichal, Mickaël Chérel, Timothy Gudsell and Johan Lindgren). The outfit now counts 29 professional cyclists, of which 13 are under 25 years-old, and 17 have been faithful to the squad since the beginnings of their career.

Madiot hopes to see his riders pursue their good results of last season this year, which already begun successfully as Francis Mourey won the French Cyclo-Cross Championships, and teammate Frédéric Guesdon the second edition of the Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Gabon. "We were good in 2006, except at the Tour de France...," said the team manager to news agency AFP. "This year, we will have great ambitions at the Belgian Classics and we'll try to do better at the Tour."

The man to watch out for on those damp Belgian spring days will of course be one-day Classics specialist Philippe Gilbert, of whom Madiot thinks that he has "the potential to win a lot of great races." As for the Grand Tours, La Française Des Jeux counts on Sandy Casar, already sixth at the Giro d'Italia last year, as well as Australian Bradley McGee, who needs to find his winning ways again after a low 2006. Casar has high expectations for this year's Tour de France; "The last years, I aimed for a placing between 10th and 20th. This year, I'll try for 5th to 10th," he said.

Marc Madiot
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Casar will also lead the team at the Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia, which begins this Friday - his 28th birthday. "I know that these 1300 racing kilometres in Malaysia will do me good," he told Velomania. "At Paris-Nice I want to be as strong as in 2002." That year, Casar finished overall second at the 'race towards the sun.'

But Madiot also expects his young guns to improve this season; amongst others Sébastien Chavanel, Rémy Di Gregorio, Thomas Lövkvist or Benoît Vaugrenard, who wore the white jersey of best young rider at the Tour de France last year.

The full Française des Jeux roster for 2007 lists as follows: Ludovic Auger (Fra), Sandy Casar (Fra), Sébastien Chavanel (Fra, from Bouygues Telecom), Mickaël Chérel (Fra, Elite 2), Carlos Da Cruz (Fra), Mickaël Delage (Fra), Christophe Detilloux (Bel), Rémy Di Gregorio (Fra), Arnaud Gérard (Fra), Philippe Gilbert (Bel), Timothy Gudsell (NZl, Elite 2), Frédéric Guesdon (Fra), Lilian Jégou (Fra), Sébastien Joly (Fra), Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra), Johan Lindgren (Swe, Elite 2), Thomas Lövkvist (Swe), Thierry Marichal (Bel, Cofidis), Bradley McGee (Aus), Ian McLeod (RSA), Christophe Mengin (Fra), Cyrille Monnerais (Fra), Francis Mourey (Fra), Fabien Patanchon (Fra), Jérémy Roy (Fra), Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) and Jussi Veikkanen (Fin).

See the Cyclingnews' teams database for more information on Française Des Jeux.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by AFP Photo

Images by Fabien Latinier

Images by Daniel Schamps

More information needed in relation to Quick-Step allegations

By Shane Stokes

Last week the Belgian daily Het Laatste Nieuws printed a series of articles alleging that Quick-Step manager Patrick Lefevere has been complicit in systematic doping within the team. Furthermore, the newspaper printed claims from an anonymous rider that a UCI informant has helped the team to avoid positive out of competition tests for performance-enhancing products and recreational drugs by leaking details beforehand. Cyclingnews asked UCI President Pat McQuaid how he responded to the latter claim.

"It depends what you mean when you're talking about a mole within the UCI," he answered. "It is nonsense to say that somebody within UCI headquarters will be giving out that information but, that said, we have no control over people out in the field who are, to some extent, representing the UCI. I couldn't guarantee that somebody out there couldn't be giving information.

"I would doubt very much if any of our commissaries were involved in something like that, but I couldn't guarantee it. I can however give an assurance that within the UCI headquarters, there is no way that anybody would be leaking such details."

He says that the UCI is willing to investigate these claims but that more is needed first. "Right now, we are actively looking for concrete information. I think that 95% of the information in the paper was from anonymous sources; we would be looking for those sources to let the UCI know what they know. Even doing it in a confidential way. We have no problem receiving information in such a manner from anybody who might help us in the fight against doping. If we get solid information, we will act on it."

Without that, the UCI must adopt a wait-and-see approach. "For now, the whole story is based on anonymous information. Patrick Lefevere has come back with a very robust and strong defence and is acting within the law in using legal means to prove that this is a vexatious story, a sensationalist story.

"Let's wait and see what happens there. In the meantime, cycling once again suffers from bad publicity which may, as I say, turn out to be completely vexatious. It is unfortunate that we continue to suffer from this type of reporting without the necessary proof."

Boonen: Qatar to Sanremo

Boonen flies
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

"There will be other sprints," said Belgian Tom Boonen after taking stage 3 of the Tour of Qatar on Tuesday. For the second day in a row he put one over on his key rival, Italian Alessandro Petacchi (Milram), but modestly noted that the season is long and Ale-Jet will have his turn to win. Nevertheless, the count between the two sprinters for the 2007 season is Boonen 2 to Petacchi 0.

"This time in Qatar I beat Petacchi, but he is not at his best. In the last eight months he has raced very little due to his mishaps," continued the Belgian to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"... At three kilometres to go I was in 50th position; [Matteo] Tosatto did a number to take me up front. And thanks to [Kevin] Van Impe, always in the finale, I avoided crashes. [Gert] Steegmans, who was an important acquisition for the train, then the last man in my train, the one I prefer, [Steven] De Jongh. Yes, I have a very strong team."

The Belgian desperately wants to diversify his palmarès by adding a Milan-Sanremo victory. He has become the virtual king of Belgium by taking two editions of the Tour of Flanders, but desires to win La Classicissima. "[These] wins give good morale to me and the team. Regarding Sanremo, it is like I have been trying to win it for ten years. In reality it has only been two seasons; eighth and forth," continued the 26 year-old regarding his 2005 and 2006 placings. "The Cipressa and Poggio are not a problem, neither is the sprint. If I was to take it on the third attempt it would be an achievement."

Boonen will have to manage the relationship with his Italian teammate, current World Champion and 2003 winner of Sanremo, Paolo Bettini. But it could work in the duo's favour, it is will known that Bettini, nearing the end of his career, wants to add Flanders to his palmarès and may help his teammate get the Sanremo win to ensure success in the north.

"We will play all of our cards," said Boonen regarding the team tactics. "It is true, I have won Flanders two times but the race is not my property. If the race goes well for Bettini, then I will help him to win."

2009 Vuelta in the Netherlands?

By Susan Westemeyer

The Vuelta a España will apparently start in the Netherlands in 2009, reported Dutch newspaper de Telegraaf. The province of Drenthe has received a letter from the race organizers indicating that it is willing to make its first visit into the Netherlands. It is guessed that the Vuelta would open with a prologue in the city of Assen.

The 2007 Vuelta a España is scheduled to start on September 1 in Vigo.

Barloworld training camp in Tuscany

By Susan Westemeyer

Team Barloworld is holding its training camp in Castagneto Carducci, Italy, until February 10. Activities include training sessions, meetings to arrange schedules, and the development of marketing and communication strategies, the team reports.

The team boasts seven new riders, of whom the best known is probably Robert Hunter, 30, "considered the most talented South African rider," now riding for the South African sponsored team for the first time. Other big name newcomers include Fabrizio Guidi and Geraint Thomas, a track world champion who will be trying his luck on the road.

One rider is missing from the camp: Félix Cárdenas of Colombia, who is suffering from a viral infection caused by a tropical bug bite, the team noted.

Barloworld will open its European season at the GP Etruschi on February 10. It has already appeared this year in the Tour Down Under, where it "confirmed itself as a skilled and ambitious squad."

2007 Team: Alexander Efimkin (Rus - 02/12/1981), Diego Caccia (Ita - 31/07/1981), Enrico Degano (Ita - 11/03/1976), Fabrizio Guidi (Ita - 13/04/1972), Félix Rafael Cárdenas (Col - 24/11/1972), Geraint Thomas (GBr - 25/05/1986), Giampaolo Cheula (Ita - 23/05/1979), Giosuè Bonomi (Ita - 21/10/1978), Hugo Sabido (Por - 14/12/1979), James Perry (RSA - 19/11/1979), John-Lee Augustyn (RSA - 10/08/1986), Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr - 09/08/1982), Mauricio Soler (Col - 14/01/1983), Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita - 10/12/1980), Pedro Arreitunandia (Spa - 24/07/1974), Robert Hunter (RSA - 22/04/1977) and Ryan Cox (RSA - 09/04/1979).

Vuelta a Murcia is alive

By Antonio J. Salmerón

It was announced last week that the Vuelta a Murcia had been canceled, but quick work by the local government and the regional cycling federation have given the race new life. Spain's public national television, TVE chose not to broadcast the race, sending the federation scrambling for €120,000 for television rights.

The regional government declared its firm intention to economically support to the Vuelta a Murcia, and it seems to have reconsidered last Thursday's decision to pull out. The new sponsorship will cover the money that was needed for TVE. In addition to TVE, the Spanish race be available on regional channel, La 7 TV.

The Vuelta a Murcia has announced an stellar participation headed by Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears), but also with Ivan Basso (Discovery Channel), Carlos Sastre (Team CSC) and Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval-Prodir).

The first stage will be run between San Pedro del Pinatar and Las Torres de Cotillas (166 kms). Stage 2 will start in Totana and finish in Fortuna (162 kms), and will include the Alto de Espuña and the Collado Bermejo (1st category climbs). On Friday, stage 3, the peloton will confront the distance between Puerto Lumbreras and San Pedro del Pinatar (146 kms). The main stage will arrive on Saturday; a time trial between Alhama and Aledo climb (23 kms). The last stage, stage 5, will be disputed between Ceutí and Molina de Segura (142 kms).

Rabobank asks riders to submit DNA samples

Team Rabobank has joined the list of teams which is gathering DNA samples from its riders for use in possible future doping tests. De Telegraaf newspaper reported on Tuesday, January 30, that team manager Theo De Rooy last week sent a letter to all of the team members, asking them to submit samples.

The DNA samples would be held and made available to any judicial agency which might conduct a doping investigation. De Rooy noted that under Dutch law, the riders' cannot be forced to give a DNA sample and that their participation in the program is therefore voluntary.

DNA tests affirmed by Gerolsteiner riders

Team Gerolsteiner's riders have all agreed to give DNA samples, if required, the team announced today. It officially reported to the UCI that all 26 riders have signed such an agreement, which was part of an ongoing process started last fall.

"This requirement is naturally part of all new contracts," team manager Hans-Michael Holczer said. "Riders with on-going contracts have voluntarily signed a corresponding addition to their contracts."

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