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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for June 9, 2007

Edited by Laura Weislo with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

Two in custody in Belgian raids

Additional searches by Belgian authorities have turned up more prohibited substances, and two people remain in custody following this week's raids near Kortrijk. Authorities are claiming to have found just the 'tip of the iceberg', and are holding ex-racers Rik Coppens and Pierre Herinne as alleged dealers. The pair, both 38 years old, will appear before the magistrate on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Quickstep soigneur Johan Molly and another former racer David Windels were released.

Authorities allege that Herinne sold doping products to Coppens, who would then split his sales between East and West Flanders. "Yesterday [Thursday -ed.] we have tackled the smaller dealers, today we sit a step higher," said the spokesman for the Kortrijk authorities Tom Janssens of the continuing investigation. "This does not mean that the riders are on ice. We searching for the dealers now, but at a later stage we will seek out the users."

The arrests follow Thursday's raids on homes that allegedly turned up large amounts of prohibited substances, and saw 13 people brought in for questioning. Quickstep soigneur Johan Molly was the most notable name on the list, but the team vigorously denied that he had any involvement in the dealings.

Aldag apologises to his riders

Rolf Aldag
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Rolf Aldag, directeur sportif for T-Mobile Team, has apologised to his riders for his having used doping products during his career and for the results of his public confession. He has met with general understanding, but it was not unanimous.

The riders "have nothing to do with the affair, but it affects them today," he told the Frankfurter Rundschau. "Gerald Ciolek, for example, was nine years old when I doped. But now he has no more medical care and could hear catcalls when he trains, because he happens to wear the magenta jersey. Naturally we have to discuss these things. I have been very concerned with the question, do the riders still trust me?"

Most of the riders did, and said something to the effect of "It was wrong, but I don't know how I would have reacted in this situation, We judge you by your work today. And that is better than anything we have ever had in this or any other team. So we want you to keep on," he reported.

But at least one rider, whom he did not name, reacted more critically, saying "You didn't tell the truth for 12 years, how should I know whether you are telling the truth now?"

UCI to add skateboarding to Olympic menu?

The UCI has put forth a proposal to the International Olympic Committee to add skateboarding to the 2012 Olympics, according to the London Times. In order to add the sport more quickly, the UCI is proposing add the sport as a discipline under their organisation, which could gain faster approval. "We are doing our best to introduce skateboarding for 2012," confirmed Olivier Quéguiner, the UCI director of sport. The proposal includes holding the skateboarding events at the Olympic velodrome by erecting a number of half-pipes for the skaters to perform their tricks.

"The venue could be wonderful. All we need now is the green light from the IOC. Technically, logistically and in terms of cost, it would not be a problem to stage the event in 2012," said Quéguiner. Both organisations are looking for ways to gain a broader appeal to the youth of the world, similar to the addition of snowboarding to the Winter Olympics and BMX racing to the Summer Olympics.

IOC spokesperson Emmanuelle Moreau explained, "The IOC are very keen on having a programme that appeals to the youth and we said we would welcome such a proposal. The first step is for the UCI to include skateboarding themselves and then make a formal proposal to the IOC. It is possible for skateboarding to be at the Games in London - in terms of time scale it would be feasible."

It remains to be seen of the addition of skateboarding would result in any further cuts of cycling events. Track cycling lost the men's and women's kilometre and 500m time trial events to accommodate the addition of BMX racing.

T-Mobile for the Dauphiné

Scott Davis (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: Brian Townsley
(Click for larger image)

T-Mobile is taking a mixed squad of only seven riders to the Dauphiné Libéré, without great expectations. The team's main hopes will rest on Bert Grabsch, who recently finished second in the Bayern Rundfahrt, and on sprinter Andre Greipel, who will have his chance in the first stages. After that the race heads up in to the mountains.

T-Mobile for Dauphiné Libéré: Scott Davis, Bert Grabsch, Andre Greipel, Servais Knaven, Andre Korff, Frantisek Rabon, and Stephan Schreck

The eighth rider on the team was to have been Serguei Gonchar, who was withdrawn from racing by the team when his blood values came back as questionable. The 30-day period expires on Saturday, but the Ukrainian is still being held out. "We still don't have any definite results from Gonchar's blood tests, so he will not ride any races for us for the time being," team spokesman Stefan Wagner told the sid news agency. Earlier this week, team manager Bob Stapleton questioned the 36-year-old's future with the team.

Rabobank announces Tour team preselection

Thirteen riders are competing for the nine spots on Rabobank's Tour de France Squad, team manager Erik Breukink announced Friday. No less than six of the riders have already won stages in the Tour.

Michael Boogerd has the most Tour experience, with 11 Tours so far. Three of the nominees have finished within the top ten: Boogerd, Denis Menchov and Michael Rasmussen. Three of the riders would be making their Tour debut: Thomas Dekker, Theo Eltink and Mathew Hayman.

Breukink and Directeur Sportif Erik Dekker will make their final selection during the national championships on July 1.

The pre-selected riders are: Michael Boogerd, Bram de Groot, Thomas Dekker, Theo Eltink, Juan Antonio Flecha, Oscar Freire, Mathew Hayman, Pedro Horrillo, Denis Menchov, Koos Moerenhout, Grischa Niermann, Michael Rasmussen and Pieter Weening.

Panaria to Tour of Ireland

By Shane Stokes

Following announcements that T-Mobile and Unibet squads will compete in the Tour of Ireland, the start list has expanded further with the news that the Ceramica Panaria-Navigare team will compete in the world-ranked event.

Although the line-up will be confirmed closer to the August 22 – 26 race date, the Professional Continental team is expected to make a good impression in the 2.1 Irish tour.

In recent weeks the team competed in the Giro d'Italia and made a strong impression there, with Emanuel Sella finishing 11th overall and Luis Felipe Laverde taking stage six. Fortunato Baliani got into important breaks on the mountain stages and finished in second place in the mountains ranking and third in the most combative rider classification.

Team sprinter Maximiliano Richeze has been confirmed for the race and is likely to be in the centre of the fight for stage wins. He has been riding strongly this year, just missing out on Giro stage victory on the final day in Milan when beaten by Alessandro Petacchi. He also finished on the podium six times in the Tour de Langkawi, which was held earlier this season.

The five day Tour of Ireland is sponsored by Fáilte Ireland and is organised by The Events Group in co-operation with Shadetree Sports. More teams will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Patxi Vila re-signs with Lampre

By Antonio J. Salmerón

The veteran Basque rider Francisco Javier 'Patxi' Vila has decided to continue on with his Lampre-Fondital team. He has renewed his contract with the Italian Pro Tour squad for two more seasons. Now, Vila confronts the Euskal Bizikleta with plenty of morale and optimism, aiming for the general classification.

Vila, who finished his fifth Giro d'Italia in 15th place said, "The two first weeks were very good for me, and then I hoped to finish better than tenth," Vila explained to the Diario Vasco, but he had a bad day during the last week and lost many minutes. Now, in the Euskal Bizikleta, racing at home, "I will check how I really feel after Giro. I believe that there will be many riders who arrive here more rested than me, so they have an advantage with respect to me."

Garrido has signed by Benfica

By Antonio J. Salmerón

The ex-Quickstep rider José Antonio Garrido has reached a contractual agreement to return to competition with the Portuguese professional-continental squad, LA-MSS (Maia), directed by Manuel Zeferino. The 32 year-old rider had finished his contract with Quickstep last December, and since then, he has not found any opportunity to continue his long cycling career.

The Basque rider made debut in 1999 with Benfica cycling team. The next season, Garrido left Benfica for riding for the now defunct Costa de Almeria team (directed by Miguel Moreno) until 2004, when he was signed by Quickstep. This squad is led by the Spaniard Xavier Florencio and the local Joao Cabreira, who is aiming for the Volta do Portugal, in August.

Martin chasing pro deal

By Shane Stokes

Irish rider Daniel Martin could become the latest rider from the VC La Pomme-Marseille team to secure a pro contract following some strong performances in recent weeks. Last Sunday he raced to overall victory in the Tour de Savoie, starting the final day 14th overall but then seizing yellow with a dominant performance in the mountains.

The 20 year old Irishman attacked on the final climb of the Col du Glandon, shedding the other contenders and reeling in and dropping lone leader Dalivier Ospina (Centre Mondial du Cyclisme - UCI). He hit the finish line 1 minute and 26 seconds clear, with Ospina's team-mate Haijun Ma a further 15 seconds back in third. Martin ended the race 28 seconds clear of Ma, with Ospina 37 seconds down.

Martin's last stage race success was in the 2004 Junior Tour of Wales, but strong performances in recent weeks meant that he went to the Tour de Savoie aiming for a big performance. He rode well in the 1.2 ranked Paris - Mantes on April 29th, was fourth overall and placed fifth on two stages in the Vuelta al Bidasoa, and then won the hot spot sprints jersey and finished 12th overall in the Tour de Chablais.

After that he went to the important Ronde d'Isard stage race and also rode strongly there, winning the King of the Mountains classification, finishing second on two tough mountain stages and placing fourth overall.

Martin was born in England but declared for Ireland prior to last season. His father is former GB professional Neil Martin; he was eligible for a green jersey due to the Irish nationality of his mother Maria, who is the sister of Irish star Stephen Roche. He is the first cousin of Crédit Agricole rider Nicolas Roche.

The priority now is to get a professional contract for 2008. "I had an offer and could have turned pro last year, but I think it was a bit too soon," he said. "I didn't think I was ready. I wanted to stay where I was and win races this season."

Martin will be back in action next Thursday when he lines out in the 2.2 ranked Ronde de l'Oise. He is currently taking a break from racing and is doing a training camp with his VC La Pomme squad, but will pin on a number again for the four-day event.

T-town kicks of 31st season

The Lehigh Valley Velodrome kicks off its 31st season of racing next week with the opening night of the 2007 Valley Preferred Professional Race Series on Friday, June 15. The event will feature the Red Robin 21st Annual Keirin Cup, the Alaric Gayfer Junior Memorial 5-mile race for Junior men, and scratch races for elite men and women.

The Keirin Cup is a UCI sanctioned event, and will attract a quality field of champions from 15 different countries including Italian Roberto Chiappa, world medalist Tim Veldt and Yondi Schmidt of Holland, Germany's world champions Max Levy and Christin Muche, Olympian Josiah Ng from Malaysia, the Argentinean National Team, Team Rite Aid's Alejandro Borrajo, Denmark's Kasper Jessen, Pete Fitzpatrick of Australia, Haseem Maclean from Trinidad, Michael Gonzalez of Puerto Rico, the USA and Canadian National Teams.

Also on the start sheet is the USA Cycling Track Training Center's own 'T-town Express' featuring 2004 Olympian Giddeon Massie, junior world championship medalists Ryan Nelman and Andy Lakatosh, and Ben Barczewski. Gates will be open for the qualifying rounds of the Keirin Cup at 10:00 a.m. on the 15th for men and women. Admission is free in the morning. The gates will re-open for the Keirin Cup that night at 6:30 and racing will begin at 7:30. For a complete schedule of the 2007 Valley Preferred Professional Race Series please visit

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