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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for June 14, 2007

Edited by Sue George

Vinokourov ready to take on the Tour

By Jean-François Quénet

Stage winner
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)
Alexandre Vinokourov has had a quiet start to the year, leading to speculation on whether he could challenge for the Tour de France. However, the Kazakh rider has given the signal that his form is coming in the time trial of the Dauphiné.

Alexandre Vinokourov has changed some of his plans since he spoke with Cyclingnews at the end of March prior to the Critérium International. At that time during the 2007 season, he had finished 3rd in Tirreno-Adriatico despite riding in support of his teammate Andreas Klöden, and he knew he would compile only twenty days of competition before going to the Tour de France for which he is clearly now the hot favorite after he won the stage three time trial.

Vinokourov's next important test will be the stage four finish atop the giant of Provence. "Climbing the Mont Ventoux at the Dauphiné will be another interesting test for me," said 'Vino', I'll try to win that stage." He has a chance to get further confirmation of his form penultimate stage from Gap to Valloire, one that includes the Col de la Croix de Fer, the Col du Mollard and the Télégraphe. "This is my last step towards the Tour de France," he told L'Equipe before the French alpine event. "I have the feeling I have done an enormous amount of work during the past few weeks, the physio tests that I just underwent have proven that I'm on the right track."

The two Kazakhstans
Photo ©: Unipublic
(Click for larger image)

After winning the time trial ahead of his companion and compatriot Andrey Kashechkin, Vino seemed even more convinced of what he said previously: "We are both on the right track," he concluded after stage three. "I didn't need this result to become the hot favorite for the Tour de France. Everyone said I am. I can only say that I have prepared myself at 100% for that goal since December. The Tour de France is my only dream."

He repeated what he has already said a number of times, "At the age of 33, for me, it's this year or never." He has even thought of imitating Lance Armstrong and call it a career on the Champs-Elysées should he win the Tour de France next month. "But I haven't taken any decision like that. I think I'll be riding again next year and I'll quit after that. It would be ideal to win the Tour and do one last season just to enjoy the feeling of being a Tour de France winner."

Coming up on

Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of the Dauphiné Libéré live as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).

WAP-enabled mobile devices: http://live.cyclingnews.com/wap/

To read the complete feature, click here.

Clerc: "All riders are under suspicion"

By Antonio J. Salmerón

"Spanish cycling, like the entire cycling world, lives in a dark moment. The problem of the doping is old, and in this sense, cycling has ten years of advantage on the rest of sports' fight against doping. However, this it is not sufficient. The Tour de France organization is trying to find solutions as soon as possible, although at the moment it has only been partial," said ASO President Patrice Clerc to Spanish daily newspaper AS.

Alejandro Valverde is allegedly part of the Operación Puerto investigation. The Frenchman was asked if he thinks that Valverde is going to be able to take part in the next Tour. "This decision depends on Caisse d'Epargne because Valverde is not officially implicated in Operación Puerto. The thing that we want to clarify, and the sponsors should understand it, is that we cannot take any more risks... "

All riders are under suspicion," Clerc continued when asked if Valverde is a suspect. "Any cyclist's feat can be put to judgment...we have arrived at such an extreme."

The 2006 Tour de France suffered dearly from the post-race news of Floyd Landis' positive result for testosterone and the winner of that edition remains in doubt. "What is clear it is that Floyd Landis did not win it, at least for the Tour organization. ... But the UCI has yet to remove his title, and I suppose that Landis is going to go to all the courts he can to defend himself."

The 2007 Tour de France departs from London July 7.

Riders with non-negative Giro doping tests named

Iban Mayo (Saunier Duval-Prodir)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Wednesday, it was reported that there were three non-negative doping tests from the Giro d'Italia. Allegedly, two Italians tested positive for the presence of Salbutamol and one Spanish rider's test showed elevated testosterone levels. Eurosport has reported the alleged identity of the three riders: Italians Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) and Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval) and Spaniard Iban Mayo (Saunier Duval).

The two Italians have medical exemptions on file for treating asthma, while Mayo is known to be prone to natural testosterone variations, something he has documented previously with the UCI.

The Basque public television channel EiTB, who initially reported the identity of the Spanish rider as Iban Mayo said the UCI would not confirm Mayo's involvement. "All of the tests from the Giro are still being examined," Enrico Carpani told the television station.

Counter analysis is pending. The Italian Federal Sports Medicine anti-doping laboratory (FMSI) in Rome sent samples to Barcelona for further verification. The tests would seek to prove, like in the case of Floyd Landis, whether there is evidence of synthetic testosterone.

Bruyneel looking in China

Johan Bruyneel
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski
(Click for larger image)
Johan Bruyneel's search for a sponsor to take over from Discovery Channel has led him to China. "There are some serious negotiations underway," he told HLN.be. "China is a world power in full growth. It is logical that enough candidates for a team sponsor are there."

"With Fuyu Li we have a Chinese rider on our team. The composition of our team is unique. I have riders from 16 different countries," Bruyneel noted.

"Pro cycling is global. Absolutely no other sport can be found on every continent in every season," according to Bruyneel. "That makes cycling interesting for companies who do business worldwide."

He is not overly concerned about the effect of recent doping scandals on his search. "Sure, it is annoying. This is not an ideal time to sell a team," he said. "But there is still enough interest out there.

Lefebvre suspended for life

By Brecht Decaluwé

Maxime Lefèbvre
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
(Click for larger image)

It took more than five months, but cyclo-cross rider Maxime Lefebvre was finally suspended. As reported earlier, the French 34 year-old didn't show up for a doping control at the North Sea 'cross race in Middelkerke. Since the rider was suspended earlier in his career, he was subject to a longer-term suspension this time around. The Frenchman tried to avoid a suspension by saying he didn't know that there was a control, and he continued to show up to Belgian races; he almost upset the cyclo-cross world by winning in Sint-Niklaas.

Lefebvre was suspended this time with the strictest possible punishment, a life suspension, with the UCI and the Belgian Cycling Federation KBWB confirming the verdict. Lefebvre to cyclo-cross.info that he didn't know anything, "Suspended? Sorry, but I didn't receive anything. By the way, I applied for a new license in March and received it without a problem in Brussels, even though I asked them about a possible suspension."

"Last week I rode a BMX race, and the officials didn't disallow me to start." The French rider continued to question the actions of the UCI and warned he would sue for abuse of power from the federations.

Flandrien Hard Men exhibition opens next week

The photographer exhibition 'Flandrien, Hard Men and Heroes' starts in London next Tuesday. It highlights the central role of cycling for recreation and racing in the cultural and social life of Flanders, the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, where children grow up dreaming of being bike racers. The pictures show old women cheering on their heroes, bars packed to full capacity, and whole villages turning out when the race runs through.

'Flandrien' is sponsored by the Flemish Embassy who is organising a guided ride from the embassy (Flanders House, 1a Cavendish Square W1) to the Host Gallery (1 Honduras Street, EC1Y 0TH) at 6:00 pm to open the show on Tuesday, June 19. It will be led by the Minister of Culture and Sport and a host of current and former cycling heroes. The show will open with a Flemish-style street party with Belgian music, food and beer, which typically accompanies any cycling race in Belgium.

Johan Musseeuw, the Flemish champion also known as the "Lion of Flanders," who dominated racing in the 1990s and Tony Doyle, two-time World Track Champion and Tour of Britain organizer, will help launch the exhibit.

Admission is free for the show, which runs Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm and Saturday 11:00 am to 4:00 pm from June 20 through July 31.

RAAM diarists log experiences

Team Donate Life Diary

Team Donate Life (TDL) is a group of six teams, totaling 32 cyclists, which are participating in the 26th RAAM. Their mission is to use cycling as a platform to promote organ donation education and outreach. Jason Weckworth of El Dorado Hills, California is the founder of this non-profit foundation, having donated one of his kidneys to his father in 2003. This is TDL's third year of participation in RAAM and Weckworth's second year. He is team captain of TDL's four man team called 'Race 4 Life'.

TDL Race 4 Life left Sacramento bright and early on Sunday, June 10 to caravan down to the RAAM start line in Oceanside, California. We have four riders: Lorenzo Rossaro MD (transplant hepatologist), Dave Stoker (computer analyst), Chris Strutz (Agricultural Pest Control Advisor and triathlete) and me, Jason Weckworth, owner of an electrical contracting firm.

Our crew numbers eight, with "real job" titles that range from massage therapist to pharmaceutical rep to med student. What a great start! We have some terrific chemistry within our team already (we'll need that in about 3 days!). For me, the most amazing sight was Sunday evening at our TDL reception with about 200 people… a sea of TDL jerseys and windbreakers. This reception was held in Oceanside (the start line location of RAAM) and its purpose was to recruit interested riders for future TDL teams, as our goal is to have multiple teams nationwide.

To read the complete Team Donate Life diary, click here.

Team Strong Heart Diary

Greetings from the race course of the 2007 Race Across America. Team Strong Heart, with our rookie crew and racers are out on the course as I sit down in the RV for a bit of recovery time. We left Oceanside, California earlier today to a cheering crowd, media and random people who happened upon the race along the Pacific Ocean boardwalk.

After the 13 mile 'parade' rollout, our first rider, Bernie Kaeferlein was sent out onto the race course for the first shift of the day. Our strategy for the RAAM has been to break our four person team into two two-person sub-teams, working approximately half hour shifts for four hour blocks of time. Our expectation is that this will keep the pace high and allow our racers more time for recovery. Time will tell how this strategy will play out.

After breaking free of the suburban sprawl of San Diego County, my sub-team partner, Greg Kostik, was treated to a 4,000 foot descent into the desert valley where the air was terribly dry and the pace was terribly fast. As I write, the desert continues to roll by and the sun is setting on the painted hills of California.

Read the pre-race and first race entry diaries from Team Strong Heart's Tim Case.

Milram to Dutch race & Tour de Suisse

Erik Zabel will lead Team Milram in the Tour de Suisse, which starts Saturday. "From an athletic point of view, the race is extremely challenging. The whole purpose of the race is to test your condition again in the high mountains," the German sprinter said. "There are two stages for sprinters. We want to make use of those."

Meanwhile, Alessandro Petacchi is continuing his Tour de France preparations with the Delta Profronde this coming Saturday. The race covers 199 km through the Dutch province of Midden-Zeeland.

Milram for Tour de Suisse: Erik Zabel, Mirko Celestino, Sergio Ghisalberti, Ralf Grabsch, Alberto Ongarato, Enrico Poitschke, Bjoern Schroeder, and Sebastian Schwager

Milram for Delta Profronde: Alessandro Petacchi, Alessandro Cortinovis, Mirco Lorenzetto, Elia Rigotto, Niki Terpstra and Brett Lancaster

Euskaltel-Euskadi for Tour of Switzerland

Euskaltel-Euskadi announced its roster for the Tour of Switzerland June 16-24. The team will include Juan José Oroz, Ivan Mayoz, Jon Bru, Aitor Galdos, Antton Luengo, Iban Velasco Murillo, Beñat Albizuri and Andoni Aranagand will be under the direction of Jon Odriozola.

Colorado to host US Paralympics selection event

More than 300 top athletes with and without disabilities from across the country will descend on Colorado to compete on bicycles and handcycles June 15-17. They will battle it out on the roads of Morrison, Golden, and Denver in a three-day cycling race that will double as a selection event for the US Paralympics Team on the road to Beijing, 2008.

The weekend's events put athletes with and without disabilities together on the same course, in front of the same crowds. More than 50 athletes with disabilities will travel to Colorado to compete for a prestigious spot on the American Paralympics Team. The racing kicks-off at Bear Creek Lake Park in Morrison on Friday, June 15 with a 14 kilometer individual time trial, and culminates in a fast, short-course criterium in Curtis Park in downtown Denver on Sunday. Paralympians will also compete in a road race on Saturday at the State Patrol Training course in Golden.

The eighth annual Rocky Mountain Cycling Omnium is sponsored by the US Paralympics, US Handcycling, and the Metro Denver Sports Commission, among others. Proceeds from the event benefit the local adaptive recreation program, Adaptive Adventures, which will run a clinic in conjunction with the event.

For more information, please visit www.rmomnium.com

Crit racers return to Arlington for Crystal City Classic

Perennial US Crit favorite Laura VanGilder (Cheerwine)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

The battle to win the first-ever Crystal City Classic presented by the US Air Force will unfold on Saturday, June 16 in Arlington, Virginia. The featured men's pro race will speed through the streets of Arlington's Crystal City neighborhood following an Air Force fly-over and a parade lap past the new US Air Force Memorial. The race is part of the National Racing Calendar (NRC).

Among the favorites to make the podium will be the 2006 USPRO Criterium Champion, Hilton Clark (Navigators), who had a third place podium finish two weeks ago at the CSC Invitational, also held in Arlington. Virtually unbeatable in the second half of last season, Clarke and his teammates dominated the criterium circuit, winning four of the biggest one-day criterium events in North America. Nine-time Argentinean National Champion, Sebastian Alexandre, will help lead team Rite Aid's campaign. He will be joined in this effort by teammate and top sprinter, Alejandro Borrajo, whose resume includes seven top-ten finishes at the prestigious Giro d'Italia.

The women's race will feature three-time CSC Invitational Champion, Laura Van Gilder from the Cheerwine team. This decorated rider's most recent win at that Arlington race two weeks ago over Rebecca Larson (Aaron's Corporate Furnishings) came in a photo finish.

Race day will bring amateur racing, a celebrity trike race, and a kids' race. The elite women start at 12:30 pm followed by the elite men at 2:00 pm. Spectators can catch the action from the sidelines while experiencing some of the Crystal City's most noteworthy restaurants and cafes.

Elkhorn Classic comes to Baker City

Racers from all over the US will converge on Baker City, Oregon June 22-24 for the Elkhorn Classic, a four-stage race. The courses run along Oregon's Elkhorn Mountain range, near the historic Oregon Trail route. New for this year is the Richland Road Race stage which winds and twists along the Snake River Wilderness Area. A kids' race will be held in conjunction with one of the stages.

For more information, visit www.elkhornclassicstagerace.com.

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