First Edition Cycling News for July 14, 2007
Edited by Sue George
Astana fires Kessler after positive B-sample
"The B-sample confirms the A-sample," said Lorenz Schlaefli, the director of Swiss Cycling. Kessler is a German citizen who lives in Switzerland and therefore rides under a Swiss license.
It was announced two weeks ago that Kessler had tested positive for testosterone in a test before the Fleche Wallonne. He has always maintained his innocence.
Tour to strip Zabel of 1996 green jersey
The Tour de France will take away Erik Zabel's green points jersey from the 1996 Tour, Patrice Clerc, President of the Tour organizer, Amoury Sports, said on Friday in Bourg-en-Brasse. The step follows Zabel's confession that he used EPO during one week of that Tour.
Because of "technical reasons," Zabel's name has not yet been removed from the list of winners, according to the dpa. Zabel's former Team Telekom colleague, Bjarne Riis, who won the Tour that year, has already had his name removed from the list of winners, following his doping confession.
Gusev not fazed by superstition, aims to keep white
By Shane Stokes
Gusev started the day sixth overall, 45 seconds off yellow, and avoided bad luck to finish 37th. Although he dropped a place to seventh overall, he remains in the white jersey of best young rider in the race. It continues the good form he showed in the Tour de Suisse, where he won the queen stage of the race to the top of the Grimselpass.
"I am really happy. It is my first Tour de France, so it is great to have the white jersey," he told Cyclingnews.
"I will try to keep this jersey. It is going to be quite difficult as I need to train more n the mountains [to improve his climbing]. But if I do go well in the mountains then I will also be good in the white jersey competition because I am a specialist in the time trials."
Thomas riding well in Tour
By Shane Stokes
"It has been great to get stuck in and see what it is all about," he told Cyclingnews on Thursday, one day before he placed 15th on stage six. "It is the best and biggest bike race in the world. Everyone is in good shape so it enables to see where I am at on the bigger scale.
"My goal coming into the race was to get stuck in and to help Rob [Robbie Hunter] out. I see myself more as a leadout man at the minute. It is all about learning for that and seeing what I can do. I dont feel out of my depth or anything, I feel like I can still do quite a good job for Rob."
Hunter finished a very close second to Thor Hushovd on Wednesday. Thomas assisted in the lead-up to that gallop and while Hunter and the rest of the team were frustrated to miss out on the win, it has marked the South African out as a possible stage victor later in the race.
"Yesterday I was just there to help him out," said Thomas on Thursday, describing what he did. "I hit the front with about a kilometre and a half to go. I wasn't initially sure what to do as I didnt know where he was, but afterwards I had a good chat with Rob and he said that I did the right thing.
"He was pretty frustrated with the result. It is obviously not nice to come second and he has got the fastest legs in the race. There is nothing he could have done. Well, with a bit more luck it could have been different, but he had to come from the long way around and was still within a whisker of winning. I think it is definitely looking good for the rest of the race. If he can get up there and we have a bit of luck on our side, I think he can get a stage win."
Hunter finished eighth on Friday's stage, which went to former world champ Tom Boonen (QuickStep Innergetic) ahead of Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and Erik Zabel (Milram). It was probably Thomas' last chance to help him in the race, as the Tour now heads into the mountains. He is likely to call it quits soon.
"I am the youngest in the race," said Thomas. "I just want to get to the first rest day and then after that it is just a bonus. There is no pressure to get to Paris or anything.
"At the start of the year I didnt think there would be a chance of doing the Tour. When I found out that the Tour was going to be in London this year I was a bit gutted about it, to be honest, because I was hoping it would be in 2009 or 2010 as that is when I thought I would have a chance to be riding it. So to be here is special. I will just make the most of it."
He's currently in the first year of a two year deal with Barloworld. He's happy with the squad, although needs to master the lingo. "The team is very good. They mainly speak Italian so the language is a bit hard. I get on with Rob really well, I room with him. All the other lads are really easy to get along with too."
13th on the 13th: McEwen recovering but disappointed with stage 6 finale
Despite his injuries from his accident on stage 1, Australian sprinter and green jersey contender, Robbie McEwen (Predictor-Lotto), is feeling better and the effects of that spill may be all but behind him.
Commentators questioned McEwen's condition after his virtual no-show in the finale of stage 6 where he finished in 13th position, swamped by his major rivals in the points competition. McEwen was visible in the final kilometre but then virtually disappeared from view in the final mad scramble for the line, where Belgian superstar Tom Boonen recorded his first stage win of the 2007 Tour de France.
"I got a perfect position at 450 metres to go in Boonen's wheel," he told Cyclingnews after the stage. "(Erik) Zabel came by on the right and cut in on me, and then I got passed by 12 more riders as I was boxed in," he said of the chaotic finale into Bourg-en-Bresse.
"I can come out on top a lot in those situations, but not today," he said. "It was a shame because I felt good." In stage 1, McEwen crashed and was separated from the main field only 20 kilometres from the finish-line, and with the peloton ramping up the speed in the final hour.
The Australian was joined by his team-mates from Predictor- Lotto and they furiously chased back on. While almost all had written off the plucky Queenslander, he emerged from the fast-finishing peloton in the last hundred metres, to go clear and out-jump his rivals for a memorable stage win.
While he got by on adrenaline for that stage, the effects of that crash have certainly dulled his finishing speed in the following days. Today, McEwen will most likely take his seat in the autobus in the Tour's first foray into the Alps that finishes in Le-Grand-Bornand. Stage 7 includes four categorised climbs and finishes with the delightful ascent of the Col de la Colombière, a favourite climb among the sprinters, who show their appreciation for the 16 kilometre uphill slog at an average gradient of 6.8 percent by riding as slowly as possible to just avoid the time-cut.
Rabobank rider in coma
Rabobank's Kai Reus was put into an artificial coma after crashing Thursday. The team reported that he suffered a hemorrhage on the left side of the back of his skull, as well as breaking his left collarbone and three ribs on his right side. The 22 year-old was operated upon immediately in Grenoble and put in the coma. CAT scans showed no further problems.
Reus was in the French Alps to prepare for an upcoming team training camp on Monday. According to the team's website, rabobank.nl, he left the hotel Thursday morning at 11 am to train alone, and when he had not returned in the evening, a search was started. Shortly after 8 pm, it was reported that he had been found and was in the hospital. He was conscious when he arrived at the hospital, but it is still not known exactly what happened.
2012 London velodrome design team named
Organizers for the London 2012 Olympics revealed preliminary plans for a 6,000 seat velodrome. A design consortium of Hopkins Architects, Expedition Engineering, BDSP and Grant Associates won the bid for the facility which will go in the Olympic Park at Stratford in east London.
The structure's roof will feature uniquely shaped roof, including upward curves at either end, and the structure itself will also house a BMX circuit.
"Velodromes are often very boring or bland and they do not connect to the drama or geometry of the track," Hopkins Architects director Mike Taylor said according to the Associated Press. "The design has the curves and form that you would have in a cycle track, but it is also an efficient structure and very strong."
"The winning team impressed the design jury with their understanding of the need to plan games and legacy together," Olympic Delivery Authority chief executive David Higgins said.
Construction will start in 2009 and finish in 2011. After the games, the BMX circuit will move, but a one mile road and mountain bike course will be added.
Scarponi banned for 18 months
The Italian Cycling Federation suspended Michele Scarponi (Acqua & Sapone) for 18 months on Friday for his role in Operación Puerto according to the Associated Press. The Federation's disciplinary commission followed the suggestion of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI). His ban went into effect May 15 and will run through November 15, 2008.
For his cooperation during the investigation, Scarponi did not receive the full two year standard ban from the sport. The 27-year-old had admitted ties to the scandal, but not doping. Scarponi was charged with using or attempting to use banned substances or doping methods and possession such substances or methods.
Scarponi's sentence comes soon after Ivan Basso was suspended for two years for similar offenses.
Scarponi signed a ten-page confession in early May after being questioned by anti-doping prosecutor Ettore Torri.
Mazzoleni not cooperating
Eddy Mazzoleni has refused to cooperate with Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) in an ongoing anti-doping investigation. The third placed Giro d'Italia finisher appeared before CONI Friday.
The investigation is centered on Doctor Carlo Santuccione, who allegedly provided athletes with banned substances.
"Mazzoleni denied any responsibility and did not want to collaborate," said CONI's Ettore Torri to La Gazzetta dello Sport. Like former pole vault world champion Giuseppe Gibilisco, Mazzoleni would not answer questions. Gibilisco ultimately received a recommendation for a two-year ban from competition.
CONI's evidence allegedly implicates Mazzoleni in the form of documents that are recorded SMS messages associated with the Oil for Drugs scandal. The rider from Bergamo reportedly sent messages to doctor Carlo Santuccione mentioning Danilo Di Luca and hormone use.
Mazzoleni is presently suspended by his team Astana.
Arvesen extends with Team CSC
Team CSC has extended the contract with the only Norwegian rider in the team, Kurt-Asle Arvesen, for another two years, which will keep him on the team at least until the end of 2009.
Arvesen was Norway's national time trial champion in 2006. This year, he won stage 8 of the Giro d'Italia, the GP Herning, and took third in the Ster Elekrotoer.
Arvesen has been a pro since 1998. Prior to CSC, he rode for Asics (1998), Riso Scotti (1999), Amica Chips (2000), and Team fakta (2001-2003).
Koga-Miyata renews with Skil Shimano
After similar announcements by main sponsors Skil and Shimano, equipment and Dutch co-sponsor Koga-Miyata followed with news of its decision to continue its sponsorship of the Skil-Shimano cycling team over the next two seasons.
"We are very satisfied with the team's performances and exposure over the past two years," said Koga marketing manager Ruud de Vries. "In a short space of time the team has developed enormously and is now a highly professional and well-liked team with a unique personality all of its own. We expect that development to steadily continue and Koga would like to contribute to that."
The team has ridden Koga's Scandium road bikes for two years now. In the near future, Koga has plans for further bike development with the team.
Lotto wants Rosseler
Predictor-Lotto said it wants Sébastien Rosseler on its team next year according to sportwereld.be. Rosseler also received an offer some time ago to extend his contract and continue working under current team Quickstep-Innergetic with Patrick Lefevere.
"I have given him until the first rest day in Tignes," said his current manager. "I want by then an answer." Rosseler is also considering an offer from Francais des Jeux.
Trips for Kids Bike Swap raises US$15,000
Trips for Kids raised US$15,000 in a fundraiser at the Cougar Mountain Classic this past weekend in Sonoma, California.
"This was our first year holding the swap at Infineon and we were delighted with the results," said Marilyn Price, director for the non-profit Trips for Kids. "We know cycling enthusiasts, bargain shoppers and collectors found some good deals and the event proceeds will help almost 6,000 kids experience the joy and challenge of a Trips for Kids mountain bike adventure this year."
The 16th Annual Bike Swap featured a wide selection of bicycles, clothing, and accessories. Individuals and companies within and outside the bicycle industry donate merchandise all year round, which is sold at the swap meet and at the Trips for Kids' Re-Cyclery Bike Shop in San Rafael, California. The sale of these items covers more than half of the organization's annual operating budget.
To shop or make donations or for more information, visit www.tripsforkids.org.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)