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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News for June 28, 2007

Edited by Gregor Brown and Bjorn Haake

Petacchi suspended by Milram

The sprinter awaits CONI

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

Alessandro Petacchi has been suspended by his team, Milram, after the results of his post-Giro stage controls from May 23 were revealed 'non-negative' for Salbutamol. The ProTour team adheres to the Code of Ethics that requires stopping an athlete from competing while there is an ongoing investigation. The suspension comes after the Italian cycling federation (FCI) requested the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) anti-doping offices to investigate Petacchi's non-negative result.

Petacchi, a four-time Tour de France stage winner, risks missing out on this year's Tour depending on the timing of the CONI hearing. The Italian sprinter and Milram representatives are pushing CONI for a speedy process, though; the first date is Monday (tomorrow is a holiday in Rome).

"I am waiting for the official communication [from the FCI] and then I am available to start this immediately, the first day possible," explained Ettore Torri to La Gazzetta dello Sport. Torri was responsible for the investigation that resulted in Ivan Basso being suspended for two years.

"Petacchi's case is particular. It does not seem like a case to be pushed ahead. The details will be valued with absolute sincerity. I also intend on asking the option of medics to see if the abnormal values of Salbutamol are the same that were declared by the athlete."

CONI's investigation, and the possible shelving by the FCI Disciplinary Commission, will take some time and put Petacchi at risk for the 94th Tour de France.

Tumour forces Sébastien Joly to stop

Sébastien Joly (Française des Jeux)
Photo ©: Régis Garnier
(Click for larger image)

Française Des Jeux has announced that its rider Sébastien Joly has a tumour and will stop cycling immediately.

"My season is officially interrupted due to the recent discovery of a tumour," the 32 year-old Frenchman noted in a press release. "I will be operated on Tuesday, July 3, and after this procedure there will be the possibility of a precise diagnosis. In a subsequent communication, I will make known the duration of my period of recovery and the eventual treatment. Thanks to my family and my team for the support they have given me."

L'Equipe reported an operation is to determine if the tumour is benign or not and that its location is unknown. The eighth-year professional is the winner of this year's Paris-Camembert.

Euskaltel gets ready for Nationals

Markel Irizar (Euskaltel)
Photo ©: Christine Grein
Click for larger image

Basque outfit Euskaltel-Euskadi is preparing for the Spanish national title races. The time trial, not necessarily known as a speciality of the team, is 46 kilometres long and contains the climb of the Puerto de las Cabrejas, which has to be done three times. This might fare well with the orange-clad equipe that is better known for their climbing skills rather than the race against the clock.

The time trial starts in Cuenca, at an altitude of 940 metres. The main climb begins at 1010 metres and is four kilometres long. It tops out at 1180 metres. The three-peat means that the riders will have twelve kilometres of climbing, hardly an advantage for the aero-specialists.

Euskaltel-Euskadi is only sending one rider, Markel Irizar, to the desert-like area that has suffered substantial tree loss in the early 2000's. The team hopes he is at his best and will contend for a podium spot.

On the other hand they will send a full team of twelve riders to the road race, which will take place on Sunday, July 1. The lucky dozen selected are Beñat Albizuri, Lander Aperribai, Jon Bru, Iban Iriondo, Iñaki Flores, Markel Irizar, Andoni Lafuente, Iban Mayoz, Alan Pérez, Amets Txurruka, Unai Uribarri and Juan Jose Oroz Ugalde.

The road race is 189 kilometres long and also features a lot of climbing, with a two-kilometre long hill located close before the finish, which could be the race's decision maker.

Private TV airs Spanish Championships

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Spanish public national television, TVE, was not interested in airing the national championships that take place this weekend in Cuenca, so the Spanish Federation has reached an agreement with the Spanish private TDT television channel La Sexta. The national cycling event can be watched live on Sunday, June 30.

The only difficulty is that not many Spanish people have a TDT decoder at home or have difficulties receiving the digital TV signal, because the TDT (Terrestre Digital Television) is still being implementing in Spain. In fact, La Sexta had to negotiate the shared emission of the last Football World Championships with private TV channel Cuatro.

The elite amateur Spanish championships, which will take place on August 1 and 12 in Fortuna (Murcia), will be broadcast on the local public TV channel 7 Región de Murcia, which also broadcast the Vuelta a Murcia in March.

The Spanish Comisión Permanente del Consejo de Emisiones y Retransmisiones Deportivas, which is headed by Jaime Lissavetzky, State Sport Secretary (Secretario de Estado para el Deporte) has only considered the Vuelta a España and the World Championships in Germany to be of general interest. TVE interests have been decreasing since Unipublic (the Vuelta's organiser) was bought by the private broadcasting group Antena 3.

Since Paris-Nice in March, TVE has not transmitted any other stage race, while the leader in the cycling events on TV ranking is the local public Basque TV channel ETB.

Florencio is ready for the Tour

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Xavier Florencio is already thinking about the Tour of France, his main goal for the current season. The Bouygues Telecom rider started the second part of the year with renewed forces and in promising form, after recovering from a bad start to 2007 marked by health problems.

Florencio, who won the 2006 Clásica de San Sebastián, has targeted the Spanish road championships for some time; they will take place this Sunday in Cuenca. "The objective is to do as well as possible. The bad thing is that I cannot count on my teammates [he is the only Spaniard on the team - ed.], so I know that it will be a very difficult task. I had a strong performance in Switzerland, but it is better to wait for what will happen," Florencio expressed to the Spanish newspaper Diario de Tarragona.

The Spaniard will take part in the 2007 Tour de France, which starts July 7. He has been training with his Bouygues Telecom teammates in France. The 27 year-old rider dreams "to be among the best ones and hope to win a stage." In his second season with Bouygues Telecom, the Tour will pose a great, difficult challenge but he is ready to enjoy the experience.

Oil for Drugs case opens

Italian Olympic Committee's (CONI) Oil for Drugs hearings begin Monday or Tuesday in Rome according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The case stems from drug raids in the 2004 Giro d'Italia and some riders' relationships with Doctor Carlo Santuccione.

Eddy Mazzoleni (Astana) from Bergamo will be the first to be heard by CONI anti-doping prosecutor Ettore Torri. Giuseppe Muraglia (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo) and 2007 Giro Winner Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) could also be summonsed.

Di Luca was recorded in several phone conversations with Mazzoleni in which he allegedly talked about doping products, the investigation led to Di Luca's non-participation in the 2004 Tour de France.

Torri is suspected to ask for suspension of activity while the investigation is ongoing and this could lead to Mazzoleni missing this year's Tour de France.

For more details on the Oil for Drugs, read NAS blitz nets nada and NAS raid Giro again from 2004.

Rasmussen College Women's Cycling Summit

By Kirsten Robbins

On Tuesday, June 19, cyclists from across North America congregated at the Rasmussen College Women's Cycling Summit for a chance to be involved in discussions on the opportunities and obstacles women face in the cycling community.

The women's summit began in 2003 and has been successfully promoting women's cycling across the US and has been combined with Cycling Made Real, a program that started in 1995 designed to increase interest and awareness in women's cycling.

Christina DeKraay has been at the forefront of Cycling Made Real and is one of the Summit's key speakers. DeKraay covered women's cycling issues on recruiting and participation, maintaining involvement, collegiate racing and technical and tactical skill development.

This year's summit showcased the Ryan's Collegiate Cycling Team in lieu of the 2007 Nature Valley Grand Prix. A large number of the women's peloton have stemmed from collegiate racing including Erica Allar, who won this year's Liberty Classic U23 category and recently placed second in stage two of the Nature Valley Grand Prix.

Allar held a high regard for the Ryan's Team after providing her and five other collegiate champions across the country a spot to compete in the Nature Valley Grand Prix. "Six of us were chosen at the collegiate all-star program to go race Nature Valley and it is a great opportunity for all of us," Allar said.

Allar has been affiliated with Cycling Made Real in Pennsylvania and offered her experiences to the cyclists in attendance at the Women's Summit. "A lot of people came out to learn about how to start racing bikes," Allar said. "I gave a little speech on my experience with the Cycling Made Real program to let people know the options that are available to them. I think it is awesome to see so many women getting involved in this sport and who continue to promote cycling."

Sarah Hammer and Felt award bicycles Junior Nationals

World champ Sarah Hammer
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
(Click for larger image)

World Champion Sarah Hammer announced a new partnership for the American Women's Track Cycling Fund (AWTCF) today. Following Hammer's partnership with Felt Bicycles prior to the World Track Cycling Championships in March, Felt is now strengthening their commitment to women's cycling and junior racing as the official bicycle sponsor for the AWTCF.

"It's one thing for a company to say they support women's cycling," stated Hammer, "it's another thing to show it. With this partnership Felt has shown that they believe in the future of women's cycling."

The AWTCF and Felt will be awarding complete Felt TK2 track bikes to each female omnium winner at the upcoming USA Cycling Junior Track National Championships. Hammer will personally present each Felt in person at the event. Hammer stated, "We're excited to redirect the focus on what's most important in this sport. That is, that cycling, and the character that it instills, can create extraordinary young individuals."

"Most of the cycling community is very aware of Sarah on the bike, but fewer know of her committed and active promotion of the sport off the bike. The AWTCF is a cause we are 100% behind and are proud to be able to contribute to," said Felt President Bill Duehring. "It supports what is important in this great sport."

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