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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for June 21, 2007

Edited by Sue George

Unibet left out of Vuelta looking normal
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Organizers announced Wednesday the complete list of 21 teams invited to the Vuelta España for the 2007 edition.

Invitees included Astana, winners of the 2006 edition, the 18 original ProTour teams per the announced Grand Tour team selection criteria of mid-December, and two additional teams, Andalucia Caja Sur and Karpin Galicia, selected from a pool of candidates who applied for the remaining spots.

Notably absent from the list was, which has been caught up in the ongoing dispute between the UCI and the promoters of the three Grand Tours. is the only ProTour team not invited to the Vuelta.

The Vuelta is scheduled for September 1 to 23. In 2006, Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) finished ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears) and Andrey Kashechkin (Astana).

Teams for 2007 Vuelta: Astana, AG2r Prévoyance, Bouygues Telecom, Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears, Cofidis Le Crédit Par Telephone, Crédit Agricole, Discovery Channel, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Française des Jeux, Gerolsteiner, Lampre-Fondital, Liquigas, Predictor-Lotto, Quickstep-Innergetic, Rabobank, Saunier Duval-Prodir, T Mobile Team, Team CSC, Team Milram., Andalucía Caja Sur, Karpin Galicia.

CSC to continue sponsorship

Team manager Bjarne Riis
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) said it will continue involvement in the sport of cycling going forward, including sponsorship of ProTour Team CSC.

"An important factor in our decision is Team CSC's groundbreaking anti-doping program, which has become a model for clean sports in general," said Henrik Bo Peterson, CSC executive in charge of sponsorship according to "[Director] Bjarne [Riis] has been instrumental in establishing the program, and we believe his continued leadership in Team CSC and the sport is critical to ongoing efforts to clean up cycling. Indeed, we strongly encourage all of the ProTour teams to implement anti-doping programs similar to the one in place at Team CSC.

"Needless to say, we are deeply disappointed by Bjarne Riis' recent admission of past doping," said Pedersen. "While we remain steadfast in our condemnation of doping, we accept Bjarne's apologies and believe that his candor -- and his commitment to cleaning up the sport -- represents a potential turning point for cycling. We have therefore concluded that we will continue our sponsorship.

CSC is a global IT company with approximately 79,000 employees.

Manzano slams Valverde, Aldag

Jesus Manzano
Photo: © Daniel Schamps
Alejandro Valverde "took the same stuff that they gave me," said his former Kelme teammate Jesus Manzano. He gave a concrete example in an interview with the German magazine Stern, saying "I remember an evening after one of the Vuelta stages in 2002. Valverde came to dinner with a testosterone plaster on. After an hour he ripped it off, otherwise he would have been tested positive."

Valverde has consistently denied all doping charges.

He blasted T-Mobile Sport Director Rolf Aldag's statement that doping was a personal thing and that teammates didn't know what each other was doing. "That is a big lie. He is stlll living from cycling. Sure, he is Sport Director, he has to ensure his income. If Aldag really told everything, then he would stand there alone against thousands of cyclists. He is aware of that. So he just talks about it being a private affair."

He added, "Doping is not just the private affair of a few people. It is a cancer that is growing. And everybody knows that."

Manzano also said that Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes was still in business, "but not in the big way like before. He has exchanged quantity for quality: "If he had 200 patients before, he now has maybe 20. Just the top ones."

He concluded, "It's this way in the cycling world: When you have started, you stay with it and just change your doctor. The riders who still speak to me say: Everything has stayed the same, but we are more careful now."

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'

May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
May 15, 2009 - Valverde not welcome in Denmark
May 14, 2009 - Spanish federation wants proof in Valverde case
May 13, 2009 - Spanish Olympic Committee defends Valverde
May 12, 2009 - Valverde responds to sanction
May 11, 2009 - Italian tribunal delivers Valverde two-year suspension
May 8, 2009 - Valverde case: Italian Olympic Committee defends Torri
May 7, 2009 - Valverde to take legal action against CONI prosecutor
May 5, 2009 - WADA and Spanish federation join CONI and UCI on Valverde
May 1, 2009 - International Cycling Union joins in on Valverde's hearing in Italy

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Operación Puerto

Kohl to be TdF co-captain

Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Bernhard Kohl and Markus Fothen will be co-captains for Gerolsteiner in the upcoming Tour de France, Kohl said in an interview on "A year ago, I would never have dared to even dream about that."

"I don't want to say what final placement I am aiming for," he told "It's important that I don't let the whole Tour atmosphere make me crazy. But I'm not really worried about that."

The Austrian crashed in the final stage of the Dauphiné Libéré but says it wasn't too bad. "The important thing is that nothing is broken. Worst off is my wrist, but fortunately I don't need my hands to pedal." The injuries won't affect his Tour preparations, either. "I'll take it a little easier the next few days, but after the strenuous training week I would have done that anyway."

Stanga: Milram ready for Tour

Alessandro Petacchi (Milram)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Gianluigi Stanga, Milram team manager, is looking forward to the Tour de France for his two top sprinters, Alessandro Petacchi and Erik Zabel. "We want to get as many sprint wins as possible with Alessandro and Erik," he said in an interview on "And we will try to get the green jersey for Alessandro."

Petacchi is in good form, having recovered from his injuries of last year and having just won five stages in the Giro d'Italia. "He is quieter and more relaxed, and very motivated for the Tour." Fellow sprinter Zabel "is an enormously worthwhile rider for us. His experience and talent give him the right to stand next to Petacchi." Zabel has said that he will ride for Petacchi in the Tour this year, and "that just shows what a sportsman Erik is," said Stanga. "The two of them get along fine. But I wouldn't have any problem with it, if Erik turned out to be the first across the finish line. The important thing is that a Milram rider stands on the podium."

Concerning Zabel's confession that he used EPO in 1996, the manager said, "We considered Erik's mistake in light of the situation at that time, and also, that it was a one-time mistake that happened a long time ago. Everyone can make a mistake. The important thing is not to repeat it. The way in which Erik confessed his doping story convinced us that he really regretted this mistake. Together with the sponsor we decided to give Zabel the chance to rehabilitate himself with the cycling public and his fans."

Looking to the future of his team, Stanga noted that "At the moment we are totally based on our sprinters. But in the future we want to build a team that will ride for the win in every race." He also says that "it is time for a generation change." One member of the younger generation on his team is Marcel Sieberg, who will be making his Tour de France debut next month. He "should especially help our ace sprinters Petacchi and Zabel. Marcel integrated himself well into the team right off. He will help us a lot at the Tour."

Thürig takes first major road victory

Karin Thürig (Switzerland)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Team Raleigh Lifeforce Creation's Karin Thürig won the first stage of La Grande Boucle Féminine from Saint-Gilles-Croix to De-Vie. The Swiss rider was in a break with Emma Pooley (Team Specialized DFW), whom she outsprinted at the end.

It's Thürig's first international victory ever in a road race although she is a two-time World Time Trial Champion (2004 & 2005) and a top former triathlete and two-time duathlon World Champion. She goes into stage 2 Thursday as the leader.


Hushovd sets his sights on national jersey again

By Jean-François Quénet

Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Thor Hushovd entered Tour de France history quietly when he won the team time trial with Crédit Agricole in 2001, but he struggled in 2002 on a German road due to cramping. In the past two editions, he won the green jersey (2005), and the prologue and last stage (2006), but Hushovd really became well known internationally when he won the stage in Quimper, clad in the red and blue cross jersey of Norwegian National champion in 2004.

This might be why Hushovd has decided on another attempt at the National Championships, to be held on July 1 in Brummundal near Hamar where Norway organized the track world championships back in 1993. "I really want to get the jersey again this year," Hushovd said. Last year, he didn't participate because the race was located in the far north of Norway, and it was too complicated to travel only one week before what would be a successful prologue in Strasbourg.

Two years ago, he won the national title for time trial, but he was marked during the road race. This year, the Norwegian championship might be even more interesting, tactically speaking. Beside Hushovd, his teammate from Crédit Agricole, Mads Kaggestad, and CSC's Kurt-Asle Arvesen, a stage winner in the Giro d'Italia will be racing at hom. Also, Edvald Boasson Hagen, 20, a future member of T-Mobile, hails from this part of Norway, 200km north of Oslo, and he'll be helped by Team Maxbo Bianchi captained by Gabriel Rasch, a former Norwegian National champion himself.

"It's not going to be easy," Hushovd warned. He'll take part in the Eindhoven TTT with Crédit Agricole on Sunday before heading back to Norway.

Rietumu Bank recruits Raudsepp

Latvian continental team Rietumu Bank, managed by Igo Japins, has recruited 25 year-old Tarmo Raudsepp from Estonia. Raudseep has been racing as an amateur in France for six years. He's the sixth professional to emerge from the ranks of Team U Nantes-Atlantique, directed by Pascal Déramé, a former teammate of Lance Armstrong at US Postal who helped start the careers of Simon Gerrans (AG2r); Mathieu Drujon and Christophe Diguet (Auber 93); and Johan Lindgren and Mikaël Chérel (Française des Jeux).

Raudsepp will join his compatriots Caspar Austa and Raivo Maimre at Rietumu Bank. He will make his pro debut in Poland next month.

Fastest Man on Wheels at Lehigh Valley Velodrome

Roberto Chiappa of Italy beats Leandro Bottaso
Photo ©: Todd Leister
(Click for larger image)

The Lehigh Valley Velodrome will host its third consecutive UCI-sanctioned race, the OAA Institutes Fastest Man on Wheels featuring the KidsPeace BRL Finals on Friday, June 22.

Multiple world champions and Olympians from 15 different countries are expected to attend, including World champion Roberto Chiappa from Italy, worlds medalists Tim Veldt and Yondi Schmidt of Holland, German World Champions Max Levy and Christin Muche, Olympian Josiah Ng from Malaysia, Team Rite Aid's Alejandro Borrajo, Denmark's Kasper Jessen, Pete Fitzpatrick of Australia, Haseem Maclean of Trinidad, Michael Gonzalez of Puerto Rico and the Argentinean, US, and Canadian National Teams along with the T-town Express Team featuring 2004 Olympian Giddeon Massie, Junior World medalists Ryan Nelman and Andy Lakatosh, and Ben Barczewski.

Gates will open for the qualifying rounds of the Fastest Man on Wheels at 10:00 am for men and women. Admission is free in the morning, and there will be festival-style seating available for spectators. The gates will re-open for the evening at 6:30 pm and racing will begin at 7:30.

Win Cervelo Soloist carbon bike

Play Le Tour fantasy game

Maxxis Courchevel road tyres
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)

Play the 2007 Le Tour game and win a Cervelo Soloist Carbon bike. The full details of the specifications of this bike will be released shortly.

It's free to play the first three stages - you could be our first winner of the great Daily Stage winner prizes from BBB. Registration has already begun. Be a professional team manager for the 2007 Le Tour and create your own dream team from any of the real life riders in this year's Tour. In what's set to be the most open Tour in decades, based on the live racing action, you will take up the challenge of using your knowledge and tactical skill as a race team manager to compete with other virtual managers from around the world. Follow the races live and use your skill and knowledge to win some great prizes.

Update - Le Tour Fantasy Game Prize List

Descente Classic Chevron designer clothing
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)

Prize summary: From one Grand Prize and one First Runner-up to three each Second, Third, and Fourth Runner-up prize packages, there are eleven chances for you to win based on your overall performance in the 2007 Le Tour Fantasy Game. There are also 21 daily prizes for each stage's top performer. All prizes are as listed (substitution requests cannot be honored). The roster of prizes so far is as follows:

Grand Prize from Cervelo, Soloist Carbon bike

Daily Prize from BBB Parts - 21 pairs of BSG-23 Winner Quick-Step World Champion glasses designed for Tom Boonen.
Giro Atmos Helmet - x3 Giro Atmos Helmet
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)

Runner-up Prizes

  • Set of Shimano Dura Ace WH-7801-SL Wheels - three sets on offer
  • Maxxis Courchevel road tyres - 10 sets on offer
  • Descente Classic Chevron design clothing - four sets on offer
  • PRO Carbon Bottle Cage - x10 on offer
  • Giro Atmos Helmet - x3 Giro Atmos Helmet
  • BBB's BSG-23 Winner Team Quickstep glasses - one for each day of tour

More prizes will be announced in the coming days. To find out more visit the prizes page

Play for free in the Fantasy Le Tour 2007 game

BBB's BSG-23 Winner Team Quickstep glasses
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)

Remember you can play for free for the first three stages! Try the game out and see how best to play. It's easy to play the Tour games - all you need to do is pick your dream team of 15 from the riders racing in this year's Le Tour start list. Then each day pick nine riders to race for your fantasy team from these 15. You'll need a good combination of climbers, sprinters, and general classification riders.

For more details go to the rules section of the site. There's also some great tips and tricks in the downloads and winners sections of the site. It's a great way to follow Le Tour 2007.

Good luck!
The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team

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