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Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for June 6, 2007

Edited by Ben Abrahams, Greg Johnson & Paul Verkuylen

Prudhomme: 'You can take the Tour seriously'

Christian Prudhomme
Photo ©: AFP Photo
(Click for larger image)

Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France, has said this year's Tour can be taken seriously, despite the ongoing controversy surrounding the sport's doping problems, but cautioned he cannot guarantee a clean Tour. Prudhomme's comments came as he met London mayor Ken Livingstone in the UK, where this year's race makes its grand depart and contests the prologue and first stage.

"You can take the Tour de France seriously because we have the real will to fight the doping problem," responded the Frenchmen when scrutinized by the attending media. "I cannot guarantee it will be completely clean but I can say that doping is the enemy of cycling and the Tour and that we are doing everything we can to combat it."

Speaking in London, Prudhomme noted that doping is an issue the entire sporting spectrum faces, and that cycling must concentrate on the future rather than dwell on the past.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone (L), British cyclist Chris Boardman (C) and Christian Prudhomme
Photo ©: AFP Photo
(Click for larger image)

"Cycling is not alone when it comes to doping," he said. "We don't have all the cheats in our sport and though we have been harmed we cannot always be looking back. Landis gave us a new hero but 48 hours later he was out. Now a new hero will arrive."

Reverting to the point of the press conference, the Tour's first visit to London, both Prudhomme and Livingstone spoke enthusiastically of its debut in one of the world's greatest cities.

"The Tour is coming to London for the first time, it will be a showpiece event in a wonderful city for millions of people to enjoy and it is much more than just a sporting competition," concluded Prudhomme.

Livingstone supported the sentiment of the Frenchman's remarks, adding: "The British capital's power and prestige will make the 2007 Tour stand out from all those that have preceded it."

Zabel out of Olympics, uncertain for World's

Erik Zabel (Milram)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Following a meeting with the German Olympic Committee (DOSB) on Tuesday, Erik Zabel will not be part of the German team at next year's Olympic Games in Beijing. Zabel, who admitted to using the banned blood booster EPO in 1996, met with DOSB president Thomas Back and secretary general Michael Vesper in Frankfurt where he decided to withdraw from the Olympic road race so as not to "burden the German Olympic team with his doping past," according to a DOSB statement.

The Milram rider's participation in this year's World Road Championships in Stuttgart remains undecided. Zabel has finished second twice at the World's, in 2004 and 2006, and the German cycling federation will decide in the coming days whether he is eligible for selection, although it has a policy of not selecting athletes convicted or suspected of doping.

CONI seeks 18 month ban for Scarponi

Michele Scarponi racing the Coppi e Bartali.
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

The Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) announced Tuesday that it recommended Acqua e Sapone rider Michele Scarponi be handed an 18 month suspension for his involvement in the Operación Puerto doping network. CONI anti-doping prosecutor Ettore Torri has now referred the case to the Italian cycling federation's disciplinary committee who will hear Scarponi then decide the official length of suspension.

The 27 year-old is accused of violating articles 2.2 (use or attempted use of a prohibited substance or prohibited method) and 2.6 (possession of prohibited substances or prohibited methods) of the World Anti-Doping Code.

UCI anti-doping rules state that a first offence should incur a two year suspension from competition. CONI did not state in its release why the period was less than that recommended by the UCI.

d'Hont continues accusations against Ullrich

Former Team Telekom soigneur Jef d'Hont is not backing down in his attempt to force a confession from Jan Ullrich. d'Hont appeared on German TV again on Tuesday evening where he once again pointed the finger at the 1997 Tour de France winner. "I repeat: in the second half of the 1990's Jan Ullrich used EPO and growth hormones," said d'Hont.

"I am certain of this matter," he continued. "I once injected EPO into his arm. Jan must tell the truth, just like Riis, Aldag and others have done in past weeks."

At a press conference in Gent, Belgium on Tuesday, former Telekom manger Walter Godefroot denied having ever encouraged or introduced doping within the team, something which d'Hont has previously claimed. Godefroot also said that while he considered d'Hont a friend, he intends to file suit against his former colleague.

Perkins awaiting disciplinary ruling

Shane Perkins competing in the US last year.
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
(Click for larger image)

Emerging Australian track sprinter, Shane Perkins, will spend a pensive week awaiting the decision of a disciplinary tribunal of Cycling Australia (CA) where he was called to explain an incident that is said to have occurred in an Adelaide nightclub on Saturday, May 26.

It's understood that the incident may result in a code of conduct violation for the young rider, who is emerging as one of the key men in Australia's track cycling sprint squad. Perkins is a scholarship holder with the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and central to that support program is its code of conduct policy.

The tribunal of barrister and CA board member Klaus Mueller, Warwick Forbes and Mark Fulcher met for three and half hours on Tuesday, June 5, and it is expected to announce a decision by the end of this week, according to CA's chief executive office, Graham Fredericks.

If any charges are upheld against the rider, he could lose his AIS scholarship and in turn this could affect his chances of representing Australia at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Perkins represented Australia at the senior world track cycling championships in Majorca this year, where Australia failed to qualify for the team sprint, as well as at the Commonwealth Games in 2006, where he won two bronze medals.

In 2004, Perkins was suspended for six months after he tested positive for methamphetamine due to a nasal inhaler he purchased while in Los Angeles for the World Junior Tracy Cycling Championships. Perkins used the inhaler on the night he defeated compatriot Daniel Thorsen, Francesco Kanda (Italy) and Ryan Nelman (USA) to win the Keirin.

Perkins' case was heard in front of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and the Court took into account extenuating circumstances in that Perkins had inadvertently used a stimulant. "In America Perkins purchased a nasal inhaler of the same brand he regularly uses in Australia without realising it contained a different active ingredient, namely methamphetamine, which is on the banned list," said Cycling Australia in a statement.

Although Perkins tested positive in the Keirin, a subsequent test two days later after he won the Sprint was negative. Perkins' suspension ran for six months, starting from November 16, 2004.

In an interview with Cyclingnews in 2005, Perkins said of life at the AIS training base in Adelaide, where he moved from his home state of Victoria in 2005, "You're living with these people and sometimes little things come up, but at the end of the day you have a laugh and get over it."

Meanwhile, the program goes on. Today in Adelaide there will be a media and industry function to celebrate the career - so far - of Australian sprinter and world record holder, Anna Meares, while national sprint coach Martin Barras will also outline his plans for the squad in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics.

Danielson to the Dauphiné

Tom Danielson's main objective of the season is getting closer. The American rider, who will be riding the Tour de France for the first time this year, is sharpening his form and will line up for the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré on Sunday.

After the Tour of California, where he rode mainly in support of eventual winner Levi Leipheimer, Danielson expects his next few races to deliver results. "I rode the Tour of Belgium and my next race is the Dauphiné," the Discovery rider told "I was down to ride Catalunya, which I was looking forward to, but I got sick." he added, explaining the reason for his late inclusion in Belgium. "I had never raced the Tour of Belgium, but it was perfect preparation for Dauphiné. The tour represented all of my weaknesses as a rider and there is no better way for me to prepare than to ride that race."

Danielson hopes to show that he is capable of mixing it with the big guns during the Dauphiné. "There are many big names riding the Dauphiné, so I hope that I can show that I am at the same level as those guys," he said.

Danielson feels that the next step required before attacking his major goal of the season, the Tour, is another ProTour race, and like many other riders, believes that the Dauphiné offers the best preparation before the start in London on July 7. "I am going to target the Dauphine and try to do well in the overall. I live near the course and I know all of the climbs and the roads pretty well," he concluded.

Millar and Piepoli to Dauphiné

Saunier Duval-Prodir has announced its roster for the 59th Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, kicking off on Sunday with a 4.2km prologue in Grenoble. David Millar and recent Giro stage winner Leonardo Piepoli are the designated team leaders with support from Iker Camaño, Ángel 'Litu' Gómez, Christophe Rinero, Raivis Belohvosciks, Luciano Pagliarini, and Remmert Wielinga.

Millar will be eyeing Wednesday's 40.7km individual time trial as a valuable pointer to his form ahead of the Tour de France prologue in London, while Piepoli will be looking to showcase his climbing prowess on the following day's 197km stage to Mont Ventoux.

Schleck not travelling to the US

Team CSC's young superstar Andy Schleck was originally scheduled to join his team-mates at the Commerce Bank Triple Crown series in Pennsylvania this week, but the Luxembourger has instead decided to take a break from his racing schedule and return for the national championships towards the end of June.

"I have been through a lot these past three weeks and I need to calm down a little bit after all this attention," said the 21 year-old Giro runner-up to "My next assignment will be the national championship and after that I will be going to a training camp in July to build up for the autumn."

Team Barloworld for Tour de France

Team Barloworld has announced six of its nine riders that will start the Tour de France on July 7. Lining up for the British registered team, where the Tour will start this year, will be South Africa's Robert Hunter, Russia's Alex Efimkin, Britain's Geraint Thomas, Colombians Felix Cardenas and Mauricio Soler plus experienced Italian Fabrizio Guidi.

The other three places will be probably filled next week by three of the eight riders short listed by the team: Kanstantin Siutsou, Enrico Degano, Gianpaolo Cheula, Paolo Longo Borghini, Giosuè Bonomi, John Lee Augustyn, Hugo Sabido and Pedro Arreitunandia.

The final decision will be made after seeing how the riders perform in upcoming races in Spain, Switzerland and Germany.

On June 8, Pedro Arreitunandia, Ryan Cox, Alex Efimkin, Paolo Longo Borghini, James Perry and Hugo Sabido will take to the start of Euskal Bizikleta in Spain. Led by directeur sportif Valerio Tebaldi the team is hoping for a strong result in the hilly terrain of the Basque Country. Kanstantin Siutsou will also make his return to racing with the team after recovering from long-term injuries.

The following day on the other side of Europe, Barloworld will field a team consisting of Geraint Thomas, Giosuè Bonomi, Diego Caccia, Gianpaolo Cheula, Enrico Degano, Fabrizio Guidi and Robert Hunter in Germany's GP Triberg. Four of these riders Caccia, Cheula, Degano and Thomas will also contest the Sparkassen Cup race held just two days later on Monday June 11.

Puncture free Giro for Saunier Duval

Meticulous preparation or just plain good luck? The Saunier Duval-Prodir team had a combination of both on their side at this year's Giro d'Italia, not suffering a single puncture throughout the entire 3442 kilometre route. In fact, team mechanics didn't even get out of the car once during the race.

The team itself took four stage wins thanks to its climbing trio of Gilberto Simoni, Ricardo Ricco and Leonardo Piepoli. For the full profile of Simoni's team bike, click here.

Armstrong helps Trek 100 break records

Armstrong wishes the riders well
Photo ©: Janet Peshek
(Click for larger image)

The 18th annual Trek 100 Ride, a charity event in Pewaukee, Wisconsin that benefits the Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer Fund (MACC) broke its previous fundraising record at the weekend, generating a combined total of $1.3 million from a Friday night reception and auction followed by Saturday's Trek 100 ride.

"If someone would have told me 18 years ago this ride would one day raise $1.3 million and host 3,300 riders, I would have said they were nuts," said John Burke, President of Trek Bicycles. "I want to acknowledge the terrific staff of the MACC Fund for their leadership and the thousands of riders who have chipped in to make this remarkable milestone."

Lance Armstrong was also on hand at both the reception and ride. Armstrong addressed the crowd on Friday night about the work of his cancer foundation and then proceeded to auction off a special edition Livestrong Trek Madone. When bidding was hovering around $25,000 Armstrong offered to match the winning bid. Two bidders remained until the price hit $40,000 and then the gavel fell. Victory went to Jim Hoyt, owner of Richardson Bike Mart in Dallas, who sold Armstrong his first bike at age 10.

Congressman Jim Oberstar, a leading bike advocate in Congress, also addressed the crowd with a speech on his intention to make cycling a safe form of recreation and transportation throughout the US.

The next day a record 3,300 riders, including a certain seven-time Tour de France winner, took to the roads of Pewaukee for the Trek 100. "Lance Armstrong was an incredible addition to the Trek 100 this year and could account for an increase in 1000 additional riders," said ride director Colleen O'Neil Moran. "It was a thrill for everyone to see Lance at the start of the ride on Saturday."

The Trek 100 raises money for childhood cancer research and related blood disorders and is the MACC Fund's largest fundraiser of the year having raised $7 million for the fund since its inception.

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Janet Peshek

Images by Carpe Imago Photography

Mercer to host US GP of Cyclo-cross

The Mercer County Park will host a round of the 2007 US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross, the park's executive Brian M Hughes announced. The park was revealed as a host of this year's series at a press conference overnight, attended by Mika Ryan, Mercer County Sports and Entertainment Commission CEO, and Robin Morton of the US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross.

"Hosting the 2007 US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross is another example of how the Mercer County Sports and Entertainment Commission continues to bring high caliber sporting events to Mercer County," said Ryan. "Cyclo-cross is the fastest growing discipline in cycling - we are proud to be on the cutting edge of bringing up and coming events to Mercer County."

The round in Mercer County Park, from November 17-18, will hold the third and fourth races of the six-race series. The series, now in its fourth season, is used by USA Cycling for the body's team selection process and includes automatic world championship berths to the series champions.

"The 2007 USGP is going to bring the best cyclo-cross racing in America here to Mercer County," said Morton. "We would like to thank Brian Hughes, the Mercer County Sports and Entertainment Commission and Mercer County Parks Commission for their enthusiasm in hosting the 2007 USGP."

The USGP kicks off on October 27-28 in Louisville, Kentucky. The will then head to be Mercer County Park in West Windsor, NJ, before returning to Portland, Oregon for the fourth consecutive year for the final races on December 1-2.

Commerce Bank announce women's teams

Commerce Bank Liberty Classic organiser, Pro Cycling Tour, has announced the women's squads that will participate in the Philadelphian event on June 10. Amongst those slated to take part are top German squads T-Mobile and Nurnberger Versicherung, who have listed top riders including Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Kate Bates (both T-Mobile), Regina Schleicher and Trixi Worrack (both Nuerberger Versicherung) on their respective rosters.

The visitors will face a strong contingent of local riders with the likes of Tina Pic (Colavita/Sutter Home), Gina Grain (Team and Kirstin Armstrong (TEAm Lipton) amongst those representing the North American scene.

Full women's teams roster: Nuernberger Versicherung, Aaron's, ADG-Joe's Bike Shop, Advil-Chapstick, BMW-Bianchi, Cheerwine, Colavita-Sutter Home, Hub Racing, Jazz Apple, Juice Plus+, T-Mobile, TargeTraining, Team Expresscopy.Com, TEAm Lipton, Team Tibco, Team Ultralink, ValueAct Capital, Verducci/Breakaway, Vitesse Cycling, and Webcor Builders.

Leasher takes on TdF Challenge

Ryan Leasher of Burbank, California will be riding Stage 14 of the Tour de France, on the same day as the professionals, to raise money for the Dylan Fitzgerald Carlton Scholarship. The Tour de France Challenge for Dylan Fitzgerald Carlton Scholarship Fund is a fundraiser with a unique twist.

With 197km winding through the Pyrenees, it is one of the most difficult stages of this year's Tour. That fact aside, Leasher is going to tackle the stage to help raise funds for the scholarship.

When asked about his motivation, Leasher stated: "I figured if I was going to ask for help raising funds for the scholarship that I should earn it."

Along with the standard pledge, donors have the option of doing a 'pledge contract'. With a pledge contract, a donor can set certain goals for Leasher, such as completing the stage. If he meets that goal, the donor must throw in a bonus by doubling the donation. If Leasher fails to meet that goal, he has to match the donation.

The Kent State University scholarship was created in memory of Donna and Jimmy Carlton's son, Dylan, who passed away in 2002 from a congenital heart defect at age 15. For more about the fundraiser and the challenge, see the Tour de France Challenge's website

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