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Latest Cycling News for July 2, 2007

Edited by Bjorn Haake

Wegmann overjoyed by taking title

Fabian Wegmann
Photo ©: Andrea Hübner
(Click for larger image)

Riders often raise their arms in a victory salute but Fabian Wegmann of Gerolsteiner topped that after winning the German championships Sunday. Crossing the line he screamed out loud, before quickly jumping off his bike, dancing around the finishing area, hugging all and everyone, including the man he just beat, Patrik Sinkewitz, and joyously giving a hard tap to the lead car that followed the duo for almost three laps on the tough circuit.

"I have always done well at the German championships, so to finally have won is great. I promised my girlfriend to take the jersey this year so she can better recognize me in the Tour," a very emotional Wegmann revealed right after the finish.

As he already mentioned in his diary a couple of days ago, he has been "feeling well all season, just the results weren't coming in." He now has the first win of the season and also won the first German championships for his team.

Markus Eichler, sole rider of, was disappointed that the race "was over after five kilometres. 24 man up front, with most teams in there. There was nothing I could do on my own."

Wegmann confirmed that "all the major teams had at least three riders in the break, so it was clear the race was over for the rest." His directeur sportif, Christian Henn, was a bit worried "when Sinkewitz didn't lead for the past ten kilometres," but is now happy that it finally worked out.

Wegmann for his part was a bit nervous with having to ride from the front the last ten kilometres, but confirmed that "I wanted to delay the sprint as long as possible as I knew that in the last two hundred metres I have the stronger kick. And that is how I did it."

Anti-doping fighter Bjarne Riis

Team manager Bjarne Riis
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

Bjarne Riis, the first and only Danish winner of the Tour de France in 1996, is now on the fore-front of one of the most stringent anti-doping programs in the sport. The general manager of CSC, who recently admitted to taking EPO, has implemented tough measuress within his team.

Jörg Jaksche, who gave a long interview to the German magazine Spiegel was asked about this apparent discrepancy and answered that "Bjarne has probably realized that something needs to change, otherwise the sport will get destroyed."

Pat McQuaid, the president of the UCI, called the program "solid, independent and transparent." And more importantly he points out that CSC makes a real effort to change the culture and that the riders do not feel the need or the pressure anymore to dope.

Since last December, 28 riders have submitted 225 blood tests and 198 urine controls, which averages to 15 tests a person. Samples are analysed at the WADA-accredited lab at the university hospital Bispebjerg in Copenhagen. CSC recently published the data of their riders.

What Jaksche was impressed with is that Riis uses some of his own money. "He put in 500,000 euro this year and that is his personal money, not the money of a company like is the case with T-Mobile."

While people are impressed by his efforts, Anne Gripper, who runs the UCI's anti-doping programme, also points out that he "lied for eleven years." Gripper along with Mario Zorzoli, the UCI's doctor, are two of the few people who have the pass code to access the information and the results of the tests.

"Even the management of CSC and Bjarne Riis don't have that. I have the confidence that all the tests are sent to WADA and the UCI before being sent to CSC," explained Gripper.

Discovery plans to sign UCI anti-doping charter

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

A lot of topics were discussed during last week's Discovery Channel pre-Tour press teleconference, with doping taking centre stage. In regards to the anti-doping charter that all ProTour riders are required to sign prior to the start of the Tour, director sportif Johan Bruyneel said he is planning on directing all of his riders to sign before the Tour, but only after the document has been modified.

"I can say that the document is being modified as we speak because it was not legally binding," he said. "It will ultimately be signed by all our riders before the Tour de France. I was at the meeting in Geneva when the UCI and Pat McQuaid passed the document to the teams. At first it was a little bit of a surprise because nobody had been consulted. But I think all of the team managers could agree that a positive sign had to be given. We definitely agree with it.

"It is definitely a message we all want to send out together -- teams, riders and the UCI. Knowing that the sport is the most tested sport in the world, in terms of quantity and quality, there is nothing more that we can do except have the riders declare they are not involved -- and on top of that they will pay a big financial fine."

Barloworld wants to be in the action, announces Tour de France roster

Team Barloworld has selected its roster for the 94th Tour de France. Led by team manager Claudio Corti and directeurs sportives Alberto Volpi and Valerio Tebaldi, the team will line-up at the Tour departure in London on July 7 with Félix Cárdenas (Col), Giampaolo Cheula (Ita), Enrico Degano (Ita), Alexander Efimkin (Rus), Robert Hunter (Rsa), Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita), Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr), Mauricio Soler (Col) and Geraint Thomas (Gbr).

Team manager Claudio Corti assures that "we selected a proper team according to our ambitions. We haven't set ourselves impossible objectives but we are determined to be in the action. We know we'll have to take on the race and that is what we aim to do every day."

This will mark the first Tour participation for the British outfit.

La Française des Jeux announces lucky nine

French ProTour Team Française des Jeux have announced their nine-men selection for the Tour de France, which is about to start in London this Saturday.

Sandy Casar did not participate in this year's Giro d'Italia and will be aiming on a good overall classification in the French race while Philippe Gilbert, who finished on the podium yesterday in the Belgian championships, will try to win a stage.

The young line-up contains Sébastien Chavanel, Mickaël Delage, Rémy Di Gregorio, Lilian Jegou, Mathieu Ladagnous, Thomas Lövkvist and Benoît Vaugrenard as well.

Holczer: "Cycling is destroying itself"

Team manager, Hans-Michael Holczer
Photo ©: Florian Schaaf

Among the team managers, Wegmann's boss Hans-Michael Holczer and T-Mobile's Bob Stapleton, have the reputation of fighting hard against doping. Stapleton regretted that there are still too many teams that tolerate doping. Holczer, who switched careers to get into cycling (he used to be a teacher), does not have the traditional cycling background. He wants to do away with all team managers, soigneurs and doctors who are connected with doping.

He mentions that during the last meeting with the UCI in Geneva there were still a lot of "conspicuous blood values of Spanish and Portuguese riders." It is a sign for him that "some still haven't gotten it." That's why he doesn't want to create the vision that there is going to be a clean Tour, though he thinks it will be cleaner.

Holczer read the Spiegel interview with Jaksche. "Sometimes I had to force myself to continue reading. That went beyond my imagination. Cycling is in the process to kill itself with the force of a suicide," Holczer contended. He is especially annoyed about the easy obtainment of Therapeutic use exemptions (TUE). His team has used six throughout 2006, while others obtain many more.

Unlike his manager, Fabian Wegmann is less eager to read the paper anymore. "That would bring me down - not good for motivation," he is quoted on dpa. This worked for him as he is now the German Champion. "I didn't read the Jaksche interview. I have no idea what it contains."

Wegmann is not considered someone who has 'weird' performance explosions. Last year he attacked a few times in the Tour and afterwards felt the efforts "for five days." He expects days where he won't be well this year, either.

A coerced 'Si'

By Antonio J. Salmerón

In the end, the Spanish cyclists decided to sign the new ethical commitment proposed by the UCI; its signature is mandatory to participate in the upcoming Tour de France.

The Spanish Professional Cyclist Association (ACP) for three hours in Cuenca, where the Championships were held last weekend. The riders eventually agreed to sign it but made clear it was under coercion.

Lissavetzky hopes that cycling starts from zero

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Spanish State's Sport Secretary, Jaime Lissavetzky, who recently designed and managed to pass an anti-doping law, wished today during an anti-doping conference in Santander, northern Spain, that the next Tour de France, "will relaunch clean cycling," because, he warned, the tough situation in cycling "no longer permits just patches."

Lissavetzky was accompanied at the university conference by ex-cyclist Dori Ruano, now a politician, and assistant publishing director, Juan Mora, who has been very critical about people supposedly implied in the Operación Puerto. According to EFE, the state secretary recognized that the reaction of the Tour de France organisers following the investigation of the Spanish Guardia Civil was supposed to be "an incentive” for the sport, but soon was overshadowed by the shocking news of Tour winner Floyd Landis testing positive for testosterone.

"This has caused a negative image for the cycling. An agreement among people of the cycling world would be necessary, because cycling is a wonderful sport and what everybody wants is that cycling starts from zero," Lissavetzky argued.

Lissavetzky added that "the Tour de France organisers must play a very important role in this, because it is the best race in the world." In regards to Operación Puerto, the instructional judge considered the assumptions about doping not criminal in Spain, yet the Spanish government has some objections to closing the case.

"It will be necessary to see an Operación Puerto resolution, but it will take time," he concluded.

Knees has busy weekend

Christian Knees had a busy weekend. First he won the sprint for third in the German Championships race, then he hurried off without dinner to his wife Nathalie in hospital, where their daughter Fenja was born just after midnight, Monday morning.

"I am tired today but of course really happy," the Milram rider was quoted on the team's website,

On Wednesday, Knees will head to London for the start of the Tour de France and will not get to see his newborn in the next three weeks.

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