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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for July 4, 2007

Edited by Greg Johnson & Paul Verkuylen

London debut 'unaffected' by security lockdown

By Greg Johnson

London is ready for Le Tour
Photo ©: Ben Atkins
(Click for larger image)

High-ranking British officials have confirmed that increased security measures in London, the result of a recent spate of bombing attempts, will not affect the execution of its well-oiled plans for the Tour de France's Grand Depart in the metropolis.

"Our plans for hosting the Tour de France Grand Depart are unaffected by the present increase in security," Transport for London special projects technical manager Gary MacGowan declared to Cyclingnews. "We have been working closely with the Metropolitan Police on the delivery of this event and plans for dealing with any security issues are already in place."

MacGowan's comments were echoed by London's Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), who confirmed its organisation is working closely with British Transport Police and City of London.

"We have thoroughly reviewed the policing plans for all events over the coming days, including the Tour de France, to ensure that they are fit for purpose," the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) told The Guardian. "An appropriate policing plan will be in place. Enhanced policing continues across the Capital. The MPS is well versed in delivering the policing of high profile events and this is well within our capacity to deliver."

Meanwhile London's Mayor, Ken Livingstone, said it would be 'mad to build this up and make people worried', adding that he doesn't expect the recent activities to affect crowd numbers this weekend. Livingstone joked that the only real concern ahead of the Tour de France's debut in the city was the weather.

"We don't expect those figures to be in any way diminished," said Livingstone at a press conference in London. "I'd be more worried about the weather.

"This is a small group of mostly young people, disaffected and disillusioned, who are able to claim lives," added Livingstone. "We shouldn't work ourselves up to a hysterical panic. It would be mad to build this up and make people worried."

'Canyon' hits out at AIGCP, still hoping for Tour start

By Greg Johnson

Baden Cooke in the team's Canyon jerseys
Photo ©: Brian Townsley
(Click for larger image)

Canyon, formally registered as Unibet.com, ProTour team manager Koen Terryn has hit out at the International Association of Professional Cycling Groups (AIGCP), resigning the team from the organization's membership. In a general release, Terryn blasted the AIGCP for never standing up for the squad's rights in its on-going battle with Tour de France organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), also saying he regrets any parties considering a boycott of the event he's still hopeful his squad will start in.

"Much to my regret, I'm reading on several websites that some people are inciting a boycott during a Tour de France stage to lodge a complaint against the exclusion of our Canyon team in France," stated Terryn's release. "We regret the distant attitude of the other ProTour teams in this matter. We conclude that the AIGCP - of which we are a full member - and their chairman Patrick Lefevere have never stood up for our rights. From now on, we no longer wish to be part of this AIGCP."

Unibet.com has been involved in a legal tussle with the Tour organiser all season - with the French organisation denying the squad participation in any of its events. While ASO's formal line on the matter is the squad's sponsor violates French laws, and it would be open to legal action should it invite the team to participate, it's widely accepted that the underlying reason is the Grand Tour's ongoing battle with the UCI, considering the squad's efforts to race in the French races under the sponsorship of Canyon has also failed to yield a resolution.

"We also regret the UCI's laxity in rewarding us a ProTour licence without having laid down any guaranteed agreements with the organizers who are now discriminating and undeservedly excluding us," continued Terryn's statement. "On my behalf and on behalf of our entire team, I explicitly want to call on the people not to boycott the Tour de France. This wouldn't help us in any way. Furthermore, actions like these would damage international cycling even more, something we want to avoid at all times."

The squad recently filed new legal action in an attempt to be granted an 11th hour slot in this year's Tour, which Terryn is still hopeful will happen, having already successfully sued the organisation for compensation for the events it's already been denied participation.

"Recently, our team proved to be a worthy Tour de France competitor after finishing second in the overall team classification of the Tour de Suisse," concluded Terryn. "In this proper context, I hope that common sense prevails and I still hope to be invited to the most prestigious cycling event in the world, the Tour de France, after all."

Cavendish sitting pretty in pink

By Gerry McManus

At 22 years of age Mark Cavendish
Photo ©: PhotoSport International
(Click for larger image)

Britain's Mark Cavendish is looking forward to rolling down the ramp when the Tour de France prologue time trial starts in London on Saturday. The 22 year-old T-Mobile professional is currently relaxing at home with friends and family on the Isle of Man before he steps into the unknown in the biggest challenge of his cycling career.

"When I first turned senior I imagined that maybe I could ride the Tour in 2009," said Cavendish. "I had wanted to get a professional contract in 2007 but getting a Tour ride in my first year is a bit of a surprise."

The Tour de France call up comes after Cavendish's six victories this season, where he took on, and beat, the more established sprinters like Robbie McEwen (Predictor-Lotto) and Erik Zabel (Milram). But despite his success the Manxman is too busy enjoying his cycling to feel any pressure.

"I was always confident in my ability coming into the professional ranks and I have been really enjoying it. It is not often that a neo-pro gets the opportunities to go for the sprints and I am grateful for the team for giving me that," continued Cavendish. "Coming into the Tour I know I have got a great team and team management behind me that never put that much pressure on me and I don't think that will change.

"I want do to well for the team and myself," he added. "It's a win-win situation really; if I go into the Tour and achieve some results or if I go in and just gain experience for next year. Of course I am excited but also a little scared of going into the unknown. It is the biggest sporting event in the world and there's no other bike race like it on the planet. I don't know how hard it is going to be so I am going in to do what I do best which is ride my bike."

Cavendish will receive great support from friends, family and the British public throughout the race with a big contingent travelling over from the Isle of Man for the Grand Depart.

"My family are all coming down to watch me and that will be good," he reported. "I know there will be a big contingent of British bike riders watching but I just hope the general public can come to watch it and appreciate just what a beautiful sport cycling is. I am new to the sport and a massive anti-doping campaigner.

"It is disappointing that people automatically associate the sport with doping and that's hard for me," he confessed. "Cycling is the one sport that is really trying to do something about it and that's keeping it in the public eye for the wrong reasons."

A stage victory in Kent on Sunday would only emphasise the talent that the youngster has shown already this season and would be hugely popular on home soil, but Cavendish has his feet firmly on the ground

"The team has confidence in my ability at the bunch finishes but it is going to be harder than anything I have ever done before," he said. "As I said, it is a step into the unknown for me and I am not going into the race thinking I will run away with a load of results but who's to say it can't be done? To win in Canterbury would be amazing.

"My family are very excited; I think my girlfriend Melissa gets more nervous than me and she makes herself ill sometimes," laughed Cavendish. "I know they are all very proud and it makes it even more worthwhile."

CONI requests two-year suspension for Caruso...

By Gregor Brown

Giampaolo Caruso's (Lampre-Fondital) case in regards to his involvement in the Spanish Operación Puerto investigation has been deferred to the Italian cycling federation (FCI) Disciplinary Commission by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI). CONI's anti-doping prosecutor, Ettore Torri, has requested that the 26 year-old be suspended for two years.

Caruso rode for Liberty Seguros and Astana in 2006 when he was linked with Operación Puerto and forced to stop riding. However, the Spanish federation authorized Caruso, winner of a 2003 Tour Down Under stage, to sign with Lampre for 2007 due to a lack of evidence.

Torri, who also oversaw the investigation of Ivan Basso that resulted in a two year suspension, pursued Caruso in Italy and recommend his suspension based on World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) codes for, "use or attempted use of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method" (Article 2.2).

Caruso is expected to meet with the FCI Disciplinary Commission in the coming days.

...and four for Muraglia

Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) anti-doping prosecutor Ettore Torri has requested a four-year suspension for Giuseppe Muraglia and referred his case to the Italian cycling federation (FCI) Disciplinary Commission. The 27 year-old Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo rider was heard by CONI on June 13 and 19 regarding his positive test after winning March's 22nd Clasica de Almeria win and for related Oil for Drugs activities.

"I am very quiet and calm and I am waiting to clear things up with my team," Muraglia told Italian news agency ANSA.

Muraglia was recommend a two-year suspension for his Almeria test result, where he tested positive for HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin), based on World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) codes for "the presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers in an athlete's bodily specimen" (Article 2.1). Torri requested an additional two years after the rider was linked to Doctor Carlo Santuccione in the 2004 investigation dubbed Oil for Drugs. CONI sited WADA's code for "use or attempted use of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method" (Article 2.2).

FCI Disciplinary Commission is expected to meet with Muraglia in the coming days.

Petacchi signs anti-doping charter

Alessandro Petacchi leaves the Olympic stadium
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Alessandro Petacchi signed the UCI's anti-doping charter Tuesday, joining 18 of his Milram teammates who have already signed the document. In signing the agreement Petacchi, like all other riders who have signed, agrees to furnish a DNA sample to the Spanish judicial system if needed in the Operación Puerto investigation. In addition, riders who sign and are then found guilty on doping charges will face a minimum two-year suspension and be forced to pay one years' salary as a fine.

The Milram sprinter is still waiting to hear from Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) anti-doping prosecutor Ettore Torri after undergoing two hours of questioning on Monday regarding his non-negative test for the asthma drug Salbutamol during this year's Giro d'Italia.

All of my riders have signed the document," said Milram General Manager Gianluigi Stanga to tuttobiciweb.com. "If someone has not yet signed it is because of a technical problem and they will sign soon." Igor Astarloa, Dennis Haueisen, Matej Jurco and Fabio Sabatini have yet to sign.

Quickstep announces Tour roster, re-signs Van Impe

Quickstep-Innergetic has announced its final roster for the tour starting on Saturday. Not surprisingly, the team is built primarily around Tom Boonen, who will be trying for stage wins as well as the yellow jersey, hoping he can take it into his home country of Belgium on the second stage from Dunkirk to Gent.

Meanwhile, Kevin Van Impe has signed a new contract with the squad, taking him through to the end of the 2008 season with an option for the 2009 season.

Quickstep-Innergetic Tour de France roster: Tom Boonen (Bel), Carlos Barredo (Esp), Steven De Jongh (Ned), Juan Manuel Garate (Esp), Bram Tankink (Ned), Matteo Tosatto (Ita), Sébastien Rosseler (Bel), Gert Steegmans (Bel), Cédric Vasseur (Fra).

Miguel Indurain retrospective on video

By Paul Verkuylen

Before Lance, there was Miguel Indurain, known as 'big Mig' both for his physical size and his enormous VO2 max of 88 ml/kg/min. From 1991 through until 1995 the giant Spaniard dominated the Tour de France, a period of success captured in Cyclingnews' latest Tour de France video highlights package, in much the same fashion that Lance went on to do during his reign at the top.

Indurain started out as a loyal domestique to 1988 Tour winner Pedro Delgado before going on to apply all that he learnt from his mentor and destroying the entire field on the Tour each year by almost five minutes each time.

Indurain's tactic were simple, gain time on his rivals in the time trials, a discipline he was seemingly built for as the Spaniard won only two non-TT Tour stages, something that he was criticised for on numerous occasions. He then spent the rest of the tour limiting his losses in the mountains to climbers like Chiappucci and Pantani.

This formula worked for five consecutive years until the competition got the better of 'big Mig' and he eventually finished 11th in 1996. He retired at the end of that year after having a falling out with his team because they tried to force the unmotivated Spaniard to ride the Vuelta a España.

View the video here

Leith takes end to end record

By Shane Stokes

Sorrento cycling club rider Rose Leith had an excellent ride to break the 52 year old Irish end to end record on Sunday. The 45 year-old covered the 592 kilometre distance from Mizen Head to Fair Head in a time of 21 hours 40 minutes and 21 seconds, averaging 27.33 km/h.

Leith's performance saw her cut one hour 19 minutes and 42 seconds off the mark set by Isobel Woods/Clements in June 1955. The previous record holder is now 78 years of age, but she was at the finish to congratulate Leith on her achievement.

Leith is trained by Aidan Ryan and supported by previous Irish record holder Paul O'Donoghue. Her background in ultra-marathons saw her previously tackle the seven day Sahara Desert run. She is currently in training for the 1200 kilometre Paris-Brest-Paris this summer.

Hekman readies for Iron Hill

Mark Hekman
Photo ©: Kurt Jambretz
(Click for larger image)

USA CRITS Series leader Mark Hekman (Abercrombie & Fitch) is ready to continue defending his championship lead at this week's Iron Hill Twilight Criterium in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Hekman, who recently won the Tour of Ohio, feels confident he can continue defending his 202 point series lead from Frank Travieso (AEG-Toshiba-JetNetwork).

"We have a real strong team now," declared Hekman, whose squad dominated the action in Ohio. "We're sending six guys to West Chester. A lot of the guys are students, so they're really coming into form right now, where earlier in the year they weren't feeling so good. Everything's coming together, so it should be pretty exciting. Everything for me right now is based around this Series. This is the number one priority."

An even tighter points competition exists in the women's field where Team Cheerwine's ace sprinter Laura Van Gilder holds a narrow four point lead over Team Ultralink's Shontelle Gauthier and Colavita-SutterHome's Mackenzie Dickey. Ally Brandt (Healthcoach) is a single laps-led point in front of Rebecca Larson, whose Aaron's Pro Cycling Team currently holds the top place in the women's team standings.

This week's race features a technical rectangular, one kilometre course that begins at the intersection of Gay and High Streets. Riders will complete 60 high-speed laps through West Chester's unique commercial district.

Drapac-Porsche: Next stop Austria

By Paul Verkuylen

Drapac-Porsche is looking forward to its next race in Europe, the Tour of Austria, after making its successful debut on the continent in the UCI 1.1 Halle-Ingooigem. At its first Belgian race last month both Rob McLachlan (11th) and current Australian champion Darren Lapthorne (14th) finish in the lead group.

The outfit will be looking to impress in July, going up against seven ProTour teams at the Tour of Austria, including T-Mobile and Discovery Channel, followed by Giro d'Italia winner Danilo Di Luca and his Liquigas teammates at the Brixia Tour.

"It will be a great learning experience and opportunity to race alongside cyclists whom I've looked up for the last 10 years," explained Lapthorne.

Drapac-Porsche's team manager, Scott McGrory, sees the tour as a major stepping stone for the team as well as its riders. "It's a whole new ball game over there [Europe]," he said. "However, the Program is ready to make the step up. Several of our riders certainly have the talent required to go all the way as Professional riders, so it's now time to give them a taste of what to expect."

Following the July 8-15 Tour of Austria, the squad travels to Italy for the July 26-29 Brixia Tour. The riders will then contest two one-day races in Germany before returning home to contest the remaining Cycling Australia National Road Series events.

Drapac-Porsche Tour of Austria roster: Rob McLachlan, Stuart Shaw; Phil Thuaux, Robbie Williams, Dean Windsor, Mitch Docker, Darren Lapthorne and Tom Southam.

Jelly Belly announce Asia roster

American continental squad Jelly Belly has announced its six-man rosters for the upcoming Qinghai Lake and Hong Kong tours. The Tour of Qinghai Lake is the highest ranked UCI event in July, outside of the Tour de France, classed as UCI 2.HC along with the Tour de Wallonie.

"These races are considered among the world's premier cycling events, so our riders are honoured at the invitations and are looking forward to a strong showing," said team director Danny Van Haute. "The Tour of Qinghai Lake actually suits us well, it is a long, tough race at altitude. Several of our top riders live and train at altitude so we're confident we'll do well. Look for Andy Bajadali to really excel when the climbs get steep."

While in Hong Kong, the team plans to conduct a mini training camp for the Future Stars, Hong Kong's aspiring competitive cyclists ages 8-18.

Jelly Belly Qinghai Lake roster: Andrew Bajadali (US), Alex Candelario (US), Nick Reistad (US), Brian Dziewa (US), Matty Rice (AUS) and James Meadley (AUS).

Jelly Belly Tour of Hong Kong roster: Nick Reistad (US), Matty Rice (AUS), James Meadley (AUS), Brice Jones (US) and Bryce Mead (US).

Jittery Joe's documentary to air

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

The documentary project profiling the American Continental Jittery Joe's team, originally scheduled to air in June, will instead be broadcast on 4 July at 3:30 EST on the cable channel Versus.

"We are very excited to have our documentary premiering on VERSUS, the same television home of the Tour de France," said Micah Rice, Jittery Joe's General Manager. "All of North America will be able to see behind the scenes of a real American pro cycling team."

The project is a one-hour television documentary following the team from its training camp in San Diego through the Tour of Georgia and the Athens Twilight Criterium. The documentary will focus on the ups and downs of a small professional cycling team traveling on the North American race circuit and is narrated by race announcer Dave Towle.

Tips on getting your Fantasy Le Tour Teams ready

With the Prologue on Saturday fast approaching, now is a good time to start thinking about your strategy for your team selection for the Le Tour Fantasy Game. First time player Fantasy manager "Fnagy" from Budapest in Hungary won a Daily Stage prize in last year's game. As a proven winner from the Tour's Stage 5 last year, Fnagy gave his tips for this year's participants.

"I love road cycling, I read Cyclingnews every day, watch cycling events on TV, and of course I am enthusiastic amateur," he said. "This was my second game with Fantasy Game (having played the 2006 Giro d'Italia game). First I analyzed the profile of the stages, now there were so many sprinter stages, then I checked the latest results (e.g. Dauphiné Libéré, Tour de Suisse, Giro, ProTour list and of course TdF 2005). In the first selection there were around 30 riders, who could bring me valuable points, then I created some models to make the final selection...If you would like to win the Grand Prize, you must find out who will stand on the podium."

Win a Cervélo Soloist Carbon
Photo ©: Tim de Waele/TDW Sport
(Click for larger image)

We've added some great improvements to the game this year:

  • New ranking and results service, offering new depths of rider statistics on races over the last four years.
  • See your friends exact selections in the this year's game as it happens.
  • Look up the winning managers team selections for last year to improve your selection this year.
  • Follow the progress of the key fantasy managers whilst also tracking your friends' progress in the new "Watch Teams" tool.
  • Build your own Mini-Leagues.
  • Try out the Forum/Chat area, which provides new ways to communicate with your fellow players from around the world in real time as the races unfold.

Even if you don't win the grand prize of a Cervelo Soloist Carbon CSC team replica bicycle, the Fantasy Le Tour game is a great way to follow the Tour each day here at Cyclingnews.

Giro Atmos Helmet
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)

It's free to play the first three stages - try it out today. You don't need to be a cycling expert to win prizes. Registration has already begun.

Updated - Le Tour Fantasy Game prize list

Prize summary: From one grand prize and one first runner-up to three each second, third, and fourth runner-up prize packages, there are eleven chances for you to win based on your overall performance in the 2007 Le Tour Fantasy Game. There are also 21 daily prizes for each stage's top performer. All prizes are as listed (substitution requests cannot be honoured).

The roster of prizes so far is as follows: Grand prize from Cervelo Soloist Carbon CSC team replica bicycle worth $4750 USD. Equipped with Shimano Ultegra 10-speed, R-550 wheels, FSA cranks, bars & stem, Selle Italia Marco Ponza saddle, Cervelo aero carbon seatpost, and Vittoria Diamante Pro Lite tyres.

Daily Prize from BBB Parts - 21 pairs of BSG-23 Winner Quick-Step World Champion glasses designed for Tom Boonen - one for each day of the Tour.

BBB's BSG-23 Winner Team Quickstep glasses
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)

10x runners-up prizes

  • Cycleops Powertap 2.4 Wireless
  • Set of Shimano Dura Ace WH-7801-SL Wheels - three sets on offer
  • Maxxis Courchevel road tyres - 10 sets on offer
  • Descente Classic Chevron design clothing - four sets on offer
  • PRO Carbon Bottle Cage - 10 on offer
  • Speedplay - Zero stainless steel pedals - three sets on offer
  • Giro Atmos Helmet - three on offer

More prizes will be announced in the coming days. To find out more visit the prizes page.

What is the Fantasy Le Tour game?

Descente Classic Chevron designer clothing
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)

The online game allows you to assume the role of a professional team manager for the 2007 Tour and create your own dream team from any of the real life riders in this year's Tour. In what's set to be the most open Tour in decades, based on the live racing action, you will take up the challenge of using your knowledge and tactical skill as a race team manager to compete with other virtual managers from around the world.

Follow the races live and use your skill and knowledge to win some great prizes.

Play for free in the Fantasy Le Tour 2007 game

Remember you can play for free for the first three stages! Try the game out and see how best to play. It's easy to play the Tour games - all you need to do is pick your dream team of 15 from the riders racing in this year's Le Tour start list. Then each day pick nine riders to race for your fantasy team from these 15. You'll need a good combination of climbers, sprinters, and general classification riders.

For more details register for free now. It's a great way to follow Le Tour 2007.

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