First Edition Cycling News for July 6, 2007
Edited by Sue George with assistance from Steve Medcroft
DNA testing not expected before Tour start
By Shane Stokes in London
Comparing riders' blood, saliva or hair samples with the bags of blood seized during the Operción Puerto swoop last May would pinpoint some of those who were involved with Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes. This is what happened with Jan Ullrich, confirming that his blood was in the clinic in Madrid.
While it would be ideal to know that none of the riders in this Tour were involved, it appears that this is something that will happen down the line rather than sooner.
"I don't think testing will be done straight away," UCI anti-doping chief Anne Gripper told Cyclingnews on Thursday. "We have to go through a judicial procedure to get the DNA [from the bags of blood in Madrid] and that will take time."
Meanwhile Astana rider Andreas Klöden has said that he has never doped and is tired of questioning about such matters.
"I do not have anything to hide, you must me believe when I promise you that I never did anything forbidden," he said in the German newspaper Die Welt on Thursday. "Since eleven years of age I have always been the best in my age categories. I have worked hard and did not suddenly become good. I have continuously progressed without doping but despite all that, I am still suspected. That tires me."
Tour field passes first round of tests
Tests of the 189 riders set to compete in the Tour de France all came back negative, the UCI announced late Thursday according to the Associated Press.
The riders will start the Tour Saturday in London with a 7.9km prologue in London, England. Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for complete Tour de France coverage.
FCI to hear Petacchi in late July
The disciplinary board of the Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) disciplinary commission has set a date for hearing the case of Milram's Alexander Petacchi on July 24 in Rome. Following a hearing on July 4, CONI's anti-doping prosecutor Ettore Torri suggested a one year sentence.
The 33 year-old sprinter had a non-negative test for the asthma drug Salbutamol during this year's Giro d'Italia. Although he had dispensation for the asthma product, the levels that were recorded at the Giro were abnormally high, leading to CONI's investigation.
Petacchi is currently suspended by his Milram team while a verdict is pending. He is also missing this year's Tour de France, which starts in London on Saturday.
Petacchi, who signed the UCI's anti doping charter on Tuesday, could be required to repay a year's salary to the organisation under conditions of the new agreement, should he be found guilty of doping.
CPA wants more than just racers to clean up cycling
The Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA) called for managers, team directors, doctors, team staff, and organizers to step up and join riders in taking responsibility for cleaning up the sport of cycling.
In a statement released Thursday, the CPA said, "In their concern for equality and transparency, the professional riders ask the UCI, with the greatest firmness, that a commitment, as rigorous as the one they have signed, is drawn up and presented, for signature, to the managers, team directors, doctors, staff of the teams and organizers.
"It is neither conceivable nor acceptable that the rules, for the practice of a clean cycling, are applied to the riders only," continued the statement. "In order to clean up cycling and put an end to the surrounding hypocrisy, all people working, closely or more distantly in our environment, must assume responsibility, whatever his or her rule and his role in the sport."
"The commitment signed by the riders will only truly count when all involved in professional cycling commit themselves too." The CPA believes such a commitment will help competition recovery a credibility "essential for the public, the sponsors and the media."
London's calling Boardman
By Steve Thomas
Chris Boardman stands high as Britain's most accomplished Tour de France competitor. Cyclingnews spoke with the retired cyclist as he prepares for the London Grand Depart, and three weeks in the commentary box:
When it comes to time trials, Britain's Chris Boardman didn't just master the rule book: he wrote it. What started with a 10-mile national Road Time Trial Council title as a schoolboy in 1984, was refined in to a World Time Trial Champion jersey a decade later, with a wad of titles and records in between. While some criticized the rider's lack of climbing ability, the dual Olympic medallist still has a that would make most envious.
In 1994, his world champion year, Boardman shot to instant fame with the fastest ITT on record before ironically losing the yellow jersey after a disastrous Team Time Trial. With three Tour victories listed on an extensive palmarès, the commentator is enthused by the prospect of a fellow British rider taking out Saturday's Prologue when the event makes its London debut.
"It's great, and it really shows that the development [of British riders] is working," said Boardman. "This is only the tip of the iceberg; there are lots of guys standing right behind these riders."
Of course, there are two British riders in particular that the local media is hyping for a Saturday stage victory: Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis) and David Millar (Saunier Duval). The two British heavyweights will likely be keen to impress on home soil, but Boardman believes conditioning will play the decisive role in the duo's hopes.
"I would say [Wiggins] has a one in five chance," Boardman said. "One problem is that we know he has been on top form for a long time, which is worrying as you can't stay there forever. The other thing is that the pressure will really be on him, and he's already realising it.
"At the Olympics he was one of a bunch of guys who could win, so it wasn't too much pressure," added Boardman, who claimed his own 4000m individual pursuit Olympic gold medal in '92. "Now it's his hometown and he is expected to win, and the Tour is always somewhat overwhelming. If he can keep his mind on himself and how he races, as opposed to the occasion, then he has a good chance."
Boardman rates Millar at an even remoter chance of taking the event-opening victory from the yellow jersey hungry peloton. Despite his wider odds, Boardman believes Millar could benefit tomorrow if he's finally reached his peak form of the season. "I think Dave has not had that form yet, which means he could be getting there," he cautioned. "He also has the experience of having done it before. I would say he has a one in seven chance of winning."
To read the complete feature, click here.
USOC and USADA up the anti-doping ante
By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) announced Monday that it has reached an agreement with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to conduct anti-doping testing and adjudication on behalf of the USOC and its National Governing Bodies through 2010.
A statement by the USOC said the new agreement goes into effect immediately and includes several important advancements from the original agreement into which the two organizations entered in 2000, particularly focusing on sports that have a "a higher risk of doping."
"We are continually looking for ways to intensify our efforts in the fight against doping in sport, and this new agreement is an important step forward," USOC Chief Executive Officer Jim Scherr said in the statement. "Our stated goal is to have a clean team at the 2008 Beijing Games, and that goal will be accomplished, at least in part, through a testing program that is more intelligent, focused and efficient."
While the statement did not say which sports are considered high-risk, a spokesperson for the USOC told Cyclingnews that the sports will be decided at a later date. "USOC and USADA will work together to make that determination," said Nicole Saunches. "They will consider several factors including propensity for anti-doping sanctions."
The changes include and increase in the percentage of No-Advance-Notice tests in sports with a higher risk of doping because, "No-Advance-Notice testing is universally accepted as the most effective form of testing," the statement noted. The amount of tests conducted annually will be increased to no less than 55 percent, with a goal of reaching 65 percent annually.
There will also be an increase in the number of blood tests conducted annually for the high-risk sports.
Finally, the new agreement will place a greater emphasis on extending sanctions to include coaches, agents, athletic trainers and others in cases where there is evidence of complicity.
"Everyone who participates in or cares about sport deserves to know that the playing field is level and that competition is clean," said Mark Henderson, Chair of the USOC Athletes Advisory Council. "As athletes, we embrace this responsibility and believe that a strong anti-doping program is an important tool in protecting the integrity of sport. Athletes also deserve to know that the approved anti-doping protocols will always be followed, and we appreciate the fact that USADA does so."
Le soap opera; new Tour video now online
By Paul Verkuylen
The next Cyclingnews' video installment looks at just what it's like to ride the Tour de France with the support needed for the riders and the soap opera that unfolds on the road to Paris each year.
Each and every professional bike rider dreams of riding the Tour de France, and when they do, it is with great pride and joy that they take to the start line. At least that's how it starts out; three weeks later they may tell you another story.
Each rider deals with their own personal struggle to reach the end of the three week race. It is this struggle that makes the tour so fascinating and endearing to the spectators, possibly explaining the reason that the lantern rouge, the last placed rider on classification, often gets just as much support from the fans as the leader.
Riders will experience every emotion imaginable while on the tour, the ecstasy of winning a stage if they are lucky enough, or even just finishing one of the tough mountain stages, to the pain of suffering through the toughest day on the bike that they have ever had, all the while knowing that, they will need to do it all again tomorrow.
Click here to view the video.
T-Mobile & FRW - Gauss - RDZ ready for women's Giro
The T-Mobile and FRW - Gauss - RDZ women will line up in Treviso the afternoon of July 6 for the start of the 18th edition of the Giro Donne, this year know as Giro Ciclisto Femminile International, the women's edition of the Giro d'Italia.. The race will consist of a 3km prologue followed by eight stages and will travel from the Veneto region through Regio Emilia and briefly into Tuscany before heading back up to Lombardia to finish in Milan. For the next nine days the T-Mobile Team website will have up to date coverage of the event.
Judith Arndt, who has won two stage races so far this year, will lead the T-Mobile team.
"We want to race for the overall victory and I expect Judith will be our overall rider but Linda Villumsen has also shown herself to be a GC contender with very strong performances in Bira and l'Aude," said Director Anna Wilson on the team's website, www.t-mobile-team.com.
The T-Mobile roster: Kim Anderson, Judith Arndt, Kate Bates, Chantal Beltman , Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Linda Villumsen, Oenone Wood.
Meanwhile FRW - Gauss - RDZ also announced their squad: Tania Belvederesi, Martina Corazza, Elena Kuchinskaya, Veronica Leas Balderas, Kettj Manfrin, Yulia Martissova, Silvia Parietti and Belorussian national road and time trial champion Tatsiana Sharakova. The team will be directed by Luisiana Pegoraro.
Simoni picks MTB marathon over Tour
Former two-time Giro d'Italia winner Gilberto Simoni will not be on the start line at the Tour de France in London. Instead, he will participate in round two of the UCI's Marathon World Cup, the Südtirol Dolomiti Superbike.
"I'm very curious and that's why I'm coming to Niederdorf to have a look at the track on Friday" said Simoni. It's Simoni's first time at the Südtirol Dolomiti Superbike, although he participated in the World Cup opener in Gran Canaria in March.
"Mountain biking is my great passion," said Simoni, who claims he's not really in shape at the moment.. "The atmosphere is super. I'm torn between road and mountain bike races". Simoni said he'd like to be competitive for the marathon, but "I'm sure it will be a tough ride, and I don't know what I have to expect. I'm ready for a holiday, really."
Simoni returns to the road for August.
Saunier Duval Prodir suspends Piepoli
Saunier Duval Prodir announced that it has suspended rider Leonardo Piepoli after receiving official notice from the UCI stating that Piepoli's samples have reported non-negative during tests from the Giro d'Italia.
The lab was not able to identify whether the high levels of Salbutamol were a result of inhalation or subcutaneous injection. While the case works its way through the system, the team decided to suspend the rider in accordance with the UCI Pro Tour code of ethics.
The UCI has filed all the relevant documents with the Monaco Cycling Federation.
Women's Prestige Cycling Series standings released
Standings in the Women's Prestige Cycling Series were announced this week following the Nature Valley Grand Prix in Minnesota (June 20-24). Mara Abbot (Webcor Builders) tops the individual and Best Young Rider standings while Rebecca Larson (Aaron's Pro Cycling Team) is in the lead of the Sprinter competitions. Abbot's Webcor Builders team leads the Teams competition.
At Nature Valley, the speedsters came into their own as Rebecca Larson and last year's Series sprint winner Brooke Miller (TIBCO) battled it out for the lead in the Sprinter competition. When the dust settled, Larson had claimed the Wheaties jersey, vaulting herself from sixth to first in the standings while Miller moved from fifth to second. Kori Seehafer (TEAm Lipton) fell from first to a close third, followed by Laura Van Gilder (Team Cheerwine) and Martina Patella (ValueAct Capital).
"Rebecca really stepped up to the challenge to go all out for the Wheaties Sprint Jersey and her teammates were by her side the entire week," said Aaron's Corporate Furnishings team director, Carmen D'Aluisio. "With the overall Sprint series competition being as close as it is the battle will be really exciting to watch."
"The 2006 Nature Valley GP's Cannon Falls Road Race was Brooke's first big win, and it was great to see her repeat at that stage this year," said TIBCO team manager Linda Jackson. "She's within striking distance of the Series sprint lead and I'm expecting her to claim it at the Tour de 'Toona later this month."
There were no surprises in the other Series competitions. Mara Abbott (Webcor Builders) kept the Series individual lead with an impressive second place finish at the Nature Valley GP, despite the win by TEAm Lipton's Kristin Armstrong, who had missed the Series opener at Redlands with a knee injury. Abbot continues to dominate among young riders, claiming the Boost Best Young Rider competition at Nature Valley and likely locking in her win for the Series for that classification. And Webcor stretched their team lead, with a point total that is almost double second-placed TEAm Lipton.
The Women's Prestige Cycling Series continues at the International Tour de 'Toona (July 23 - 29) and then finishes at the CD&P Bermuda Grand Prix (September 20 - 23).
Women's Prestige Cycling Series standings:
1 - Mara Abbott - Webcor Builders, 330 points
Best Young Rider
1 - Mara Abbott - Webcor Builders, 440 points
1 - Rebecca Larson - Aaron's Pro Cycling Team, 308 points
1 - Webcor Builders Cycling Team, 1,042 points
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)