First Edition Cycling News for July 13, 2007
Edited by Sue George
Hamilton suing Tinkoff
Sidelined by his Tinkoff Credit Systems team and shunned by team owner Oleg Tinkov, Tyler Hamilton is now taking the team to court over contractual matters. Writing on his personal website, tylerhamilton.com, Hamilton reported that Tinkoff had offered him a new contract on May 3 with "very different financial terms" to his existing one-year contract signed in November last year.
"Since I did not think this was fair, I did not agree," wrote Hamilton, who has not raced since the Tour de Georgia in April. "As each race on the schedule has come and gone, I have been offered the same condition - agree to the new terms or not be added to the start list. Because I believe that my existing contract is valid and should be honored, I have filed papers with a court in Rome to ask for a judgment that would support my stance. My argument is scheduled to be heard later this month."
In an interview last month, team owner Oleg Tinkov told Cyclingnews: "I don't want to see him in the team. I want to fire him. That is it. To me he is fired. I don't know, with the legal perspective it is tricky. I am fed up with Hamilton's type of scandals."
Hamilton was prevented from starting the Giro d'Italia after race organisers pressured teams to exclude any riders named in the Operación Puerto investigation.
Amadio continues anti-doping stance regardless of UCI agreement
By Gregor Brown in Autun
Team managers and staff were recently requested to sign a similar document to that of the UCI riders' agreement of June 19, but Liquigas General Manager Roberto Amadio believes that the document will change nothing for his team's anti-doping programme and he plans to sign the UCI document after the Tour de France.
"We will make our evaluation of this document," said Amadio to Cyclingnews Thursday morning in Chablis. The Italian noted the team's position as a ProTour squad and reckoned its signature would be added soon. "We have to take into consideration that we are apart of the bigger associations and we are prepared to look over it and then take a decision."
"In signing the document, they promise never to encourage a cyclist in their team to dope himself, nor to turn a blind eye to any doping activities that occur within their team," stated a UCI document released on July 10.
"I have not yet signed, I am here at the Tour and my mind is on the Tour. I don't think you will solve the problem by signing documents," Amadio continued.
The document is supposed to be signed by August 1. "For me the date is not a problem. August 1, August 10, September 30... . For me it doesn't matter when. For me, even before signing any charter, I have been working against doping. So, for me the charter is inutile. It is not an issue, if the UCI tells me I have to sign this document then I have to sign it."
Like the riders, the staff would be forced to pay one year's salary if the pledge is broken. "For me it is not a problem because I am already working against doping," continued Armadio. "What we have to do I am already doing, it is not that I have to do something extra."
Evans solid on stage five
By Shane Stokes in Autun
GC contender Cadel Evans fared well on Thursday's fifth stage of the Tour de France, the hardest day of the race thus far. He finished 11th on the stage and is 15th overall, 56 seconds behind Fabian Cancellara and ahead of many of the other favourites.
"It was dehydrating," he said, when asked what the day was like. "There was no chance of getting a bottle in the last 70 kilometres.
"The climbs were okay but I think it was the downhills which were more selective, to be honest! I felt all right out there. We will see when we get to the real mountains."
Evans also commented on the crash and lost time of Alexandre Vinokourov. "It would have been hard to get back there [to the peloton] - it was really fast at that point. If you lose position there, then you are out of it."
He dismissed any suggestions that teams rode to distance the Astana leader. "The speed was on because the guys were trying to bring back the break. For guys like Zabel and Freire, it is good for them if they can make it to a sprint finish without Hushovd or McEwen and guys like that."
CSC did not target Vino crash
Like Cadel Evans, CSC team director Kim Andersen rejected the notion that teams capitalised on Alexandre Vinokourov's misfortune on stage five. A journalist asked him if the pace-setting in the finale was to eliminate the Astana leader.
"No way did we ride [to get rid of him]," he answered, clearly irked by the question. "Nobody waited when Carlos crashed. Stop that bullshit. That was the race. My team didn't know that he had crashed. And CSC was not pulling the most, it was Liquigas and Rabobank.
"It was just the race; the peloton needed to go fast then, because if not, they would not have caught the leading riders. The leaders were taking time at that moment."
When asked by Cyclingnews if he thought that Vinokourov was no longer in the running for the final maillot jaune, he said that it was not the case.
"No, I don't think so. It is a long, long way to go. Maybe tomorrow it is another one who loses something. Carlos also crashed today but he didn't lose time. He had to change bike and everything. It was just 5 kilometres before Vinokourov and nobody waited on him. When it is 100 kilometres from the finish line the peloton can wait. But if you stop there [at 25 kilometres to go], then the Tour was gone." SS
Sastre not injured
Like GC contenders Alexandre Vinokourov and Andreas Klöden, CSC's Carlos Sastre found himself on the deck during the fifth stage to Autun. However he was unharmed and quickly returned to the bunch.
"I am completely okay after the crash," the friendly Spaniard said. "Today my goal was to survive, not to lose time, to stay in the first group and nothing more. It was a hard day for everybody, it was not easy, it was windy, it was up and down and using roads with rough asphalt. It was not easy. But I feel okay so far."
He commented on the day's big GC news, the time lost by the Astana leader. "Vinokourov is a strong rider and the important thing is that he is okay after the crash. He is important rider for the Tour de France."
CSC have had a very strong Tour thus far, winning two stages and monopolising the yellow jersey thanks to Fabian Cancellara. They have consequently spent a lot of time on front of the main bunch but Sastre said that this was not a tactical mistake.
"We had to work this week but I think that the team rode with intelligence," he said. "We had to ride for Fabian. I was able to remain tranquil, keeping a good position in the peloton and remaining free of stress. It also helps in avoiding crashes. I think it was a pretty good week for us in the Tour de France."
Sastre finished fourth in the Tour de France last year [third if Floyd Landis is disqualified]. He is the undisputed leader of CSC and is clear as to what he must do. "My goal for the race is not to have an off day," he said. SS
Cavendish recovering, hoping for good showing on stage six
With its eight categorised climbs stage five was not the ideal day for Mark Cavendish. The T-Mobile rider finished 181st. Prior to the start, though, he said that he was feeling better after his crashes on Sunday and Monday and hoped to do something before withdrawing from the race.
"I am feeling a bit better," he said at the sign on area. "Yesterday was the worst day, it often is two days after a crash. But today I feel a lot better."
He placed ninth on stage three and 10th on stage four. He described how the latter finish evolved. "Yesterday was really fast, but there was not a dominant train like there was before with teams like Milram. There was a big fight behind. There was a couple of leadout men for every sprinter and nobody wanted to go too early. You could see from some of the positions [that it was unusual] - like even Robbie [McEwen] was 16th.
"It wasn't hectic, it wasn't too dangerous, it was just a strange finish.
"Bernhard [Eisel - ed.] led me out. The team were there, pulling for me at the end. It was just unfortunate it didn't work out better. Most of the guys gave 100%. Bernhard went with me on his wheel, but we were just too far back."
Cavendish is a first year professional and is riding his debut Tour. "I can't say I am that surprised by the size of the race," he said. "I have seen it on the telly. It is just a bit surreal to be here, though.
"It is good. I have been ninth and 10th in the past two days and been best young rider. It bodes well, but I would have liked to have done something more in the last three days. The team has been brilliant, they have given me a lot of support. I would like to repay them back with a stage win or something. I hope tomorrow [Friday] works out well, we will see how it goes.
"I think I should be here until the rest day. I am enjoying it so much I want to carry on but we will see what is the best thing for me." SS
Gerrans knows his stuff
Australian rider Simon Gerrans gave a pretty accurate predication of the day's events prior to the start of stage five.
"I think a breakaway will go for sure today. I guess the composition of it and the number of riders will determine if it goes all the way. If it is two or three guys are in then I am sure that CSC will ride again [to bring it back]. But otherwise they probably try to put someone in it."
He said that he expected some riders to lose time. "I think that the last five kilometres are pretty winding. It is quite a steep descent with a few corners so I am sure if it doesn't split up on the climb it will split up on the descent. I don't think you will see the whole peloton come in together."
Some people were expecting a change in the overall lead, but he felt otherwise. "I think Cancellara is definitely good enough to hold on. It is just a case of do they [CSC] chose to ride for that, or do they put one in a break instead?
"I think they are all very well placed so they could just drop someone into a breakaway and then that would put pressure on other teams to try to keep it close." SS
Bradley Wiggins has had a solid start to his Tour, even if he didn't achieve the prologue win he was chasing. He was lying sixth overall until stage five. Prior to the start of the stage he said that he is coming on a lot as a rider.
"I definitely feel a lot stronger this time," he said on Thursday morning. "Last year was a baptism of fire, really. This year I seem much more in control. I think that comes with a lot of confidence and morale from victories and good prologues.
"I think I have moved up a level in terms of my condition. I learned a lot from last year. That has made the difference this year. I definitely feel a lot better. I feel much more like I am part of the race now. I guess that comes from sitting sixth overall."
Wiggins placed 124th on stage six, losing 4'57 to winner Filippo Pozzato. He said prior to the start that he was hoping to ride aggressively.
"The race is going okay. The last few days have been a bit quiet, really, there has been nothing to do. The team have told me not to go in any breaks or anything because I am still up therein GC. But today will be a bit of a shitfight. They are saying it will be like Liège, even though it doesn't look like that on the profile.
"I think you will either lose time or gain time today, so I'd like to get in a move. If it starts to break up later I can stay with what is left of the peloton. I think it will be the hardest day so far in the race." SS
Lancaster out of Tour
Australian Brett Lancaster (Milram) has withdrawn from the Tour de France during the fifth stage due to injuries sustained during a crash on stage one from London to Canterbury. Back pain and damage to his sciatic nerve are believed to be the problem, according to SportWereld.
Tour boss Prudhomme wants Zabel's help
Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme wants the help of Erik Zabel to eradicate the use of doping products in the peloton.
The German admitted to using EPO during the 1996 Tour de France, when he won the green points jersey. According to Prudhomme, Zabel can help to explain why doping products are used within the peloton. "This way he can help to stop the use of drugs in cycling," Prudhomme told SportWereld.
In the interview Prudhomme repeated his support for the decision by team managers Gianluigi Stanga (Milram) and Bjarne Riis (CSC) to stay away from the Tour. "We spoke with all the involved sponsors. By staying away from the Tour, Riis and Stanga have shown they support our stance," he said.
Down Under set for brilliant anniversary
By Khairunnisa Schebella
The 10th Anniversary Tour Down Under was launched by organisers at Adelaide Festival Theatre's Space Theatre yesterday. In a celebratory party mode, resplendent with party hats and orange cupcakes, all the familiar faces from the past 10 years were on hand to present next year's program.
Oppy the race Kangaroo pointed the way through to the theatre, where race caller Jimmy Jacques kicked off a hi-tech sound and light show, featuring jerseys and podium girl fashions from the inaugural race in 1999 through to next year's space-age skin suit.
Premier Mike Rann made an impromptu appearance, confirming the State Government's ongoing commitment to the event. State Tourism Minister Jane Lomax-Smith was also on hand, having just returned from a meeting with UCI officials at the Tour de France's start in London, to announce an expanded line-up for next year's event, which will span two weekends in 2008.
Lomax-Smith was also excited about the State Government's push towards the Adelaide race being a 'natural' first non-European race on the ProTour calendar. A decision on the UCI ProTour, and whether the Tour Down Under has earned a spot on it, will be made in September.
"What has happened, the passion for cycling in South Australia, over the past ten years, is nothing short of phenomenal", said Lomax-Smith. "I remember the first launch back in Ayer House - I knew nothing about cycling. We now understand, and with a passion, about this sport. We now know what it means to be in the peloton. We watch the Tour de France and the stars we see there are the same stars we see here."
To read the full Tour Down Under launch article, click here.
Italian judge dismisses Di Luca case
An Italian judge cleared Giro d'Italia winner Danilo Di Luca of involvement the Oil for Drugs case on Thursday. Di Luca had been under investigation for the 2004 probe which also tied in Carlo Santuccione, a doctor who allegedly supplied athletes with doping products. The dismissal was requested by public prosecution.
Di Luca's chances of avoiding a ban or other punishment have improved with this decision, but he is not completely off the hook yet. He meets Saturday with Italian Olympic Comittee (CONI) anti-doping prosecutor Ettore Torri to answer questions pertinent to the investigation.
"I have always maintained that the case would be dismissed," said Di Luca according to the team's website teamliquigas.it. "So I can't really say that I'm surprised, nevertheless I'm still very relieved. The next important step now awaits me: a meeting with CONI's anti-doping prosecutor, Ettore Torri. The judgement of the sport's judicial system is just as important to me as that of the courts.
"I know that many young people look up to me as a role model, especially after my win at the Giro. This is another reason why I don't want, and can't allow, my credibility to be questioned. I'll be facing Saturday's hearing without any contention, as some have mistakenly speculated; on the contrary, I'll attend the meeting with a positive frame of mind in the certainty that I can prove my innocence as I have done in the courts."
Astana's Eddy Mazzoleni, who finished third in the Giro d'Italia, will be also be questioned as part of the same investigation. Mazzoleni is scheduled to meet with CONI on Friday.
Kemmelberg crash victim to race again
French rider Jimmy Casper (Unibet.com) was one of the worst affected when several riders fell on the descent of the Kemmelberg during Gent-Wevelgem this spring. He has not raced since that fall which saw him take the brunt of the impact with his face.
This Sunday will mark the return to the peloton for the sprinter. He will line up in the Boekhoute Kermesse in Belgium according to his team.
"I have trained hard for the last few weeks and feel that I am ready to race again," Casper explained. "The injuries to my face have finally healed and the pain in my wrist has all but gone away. I am avoiding cobbles at the moment, but am trying to get my racing rhythm back. The Tour of Denmark begins in August and that will be my first real race back."
Casper's fall on the Kemmelberg resulted in the rider sustaining several fractures to his face, a torn tongue, a pierced sinus and a broken wrist. He also lost several teeth.
More VDB controversy
Frank Vandenbroucke continues to make the news in his home country for non-cycling related reasons. This time it has been reported that the Belgian has run away with a married woman from Deinze, Belgium and her 22 month-old child to Normandy, France. The woman's partner Yannic D'Haese has contacted police regarding the matter according to Belgian TV station VTM.
According to D'Haese, Vandenbroucke has taken his wife and daughter to the house of Bernard Sainz, the French soigneur who is due to come before French courts for the possession and sale of doping products.
Just what relationship Vandenbroucke has with the woman is unknown. D'Haese has also contacted the French police but they cannot begin investigations as so far been nothing illegal has been done.
Recently Vandenbroucke was admitted to a psychiatric hospital after a failed attempt to commit suicide at the beginning of June.
Armstrong to ride Tour of Courage
The inaugural BC Cancer Foundation Tour of Courage Community Ride will take place on Sunday September 23 from the University of British Columbia's Thunderbird Stadium through the streets of Vancouver's Westside. Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong will be there taking part in the event in support of the charity.
The event, benefiting the BC Cancer Foundation, will raise funds for blood cancer research at the BC Cancer Agency.
Armstrong was a virtual unknown when he last raced in the area, winning Vancouver's Tour de Gastown back in 1991 at the age of 19. The Tour de France champion and cancer survivor is now a full-time fundraiser and advocate for cancer research.
BC Cancer Foundation Tour of Courage chair Sindi Hawkins, MLA for Kelowna-Mission and a cancer survivor, said, "We cheered on the best riders in BC at the Westside Cycling Classic in June and now we will be back in September on these same roads to cheer on and ride with one of the greatest cyclists in the world."
Armstrong will launch the Community Ride with an inspirational talk and then lead a group around the course before individual riders and teams make their way over distances of 30, 60 or 90 kilometres finishing with an informal, family-style picnic and party.
Individual riders and teams can register online at www.tourofcourage.ca
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)