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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for March 16, 2007

Edited by Laura Weislo

O'Neill, Tour de Georgia officials injured in car accident

Nathan O'Neill
Photo ©: Caroline Yang
(Click for larger image)

After recovering from being hit by a car while riding in Australia back in January, Health Net's Nathan O'Neill has had another car-related injury. While returning from a Tour de Georgia press conference with Tour de Georgia communications director Jackie Tyson and Judy Stanton of the Georgia Cancer Coalition, the trio were involved in a major highway accident that resulted in Tyson's SUV flipping over several times.

O'Neill was once again lucky to escape with lacerations to his left arm, requiring some 60 stitches, cuts to his face and a bump on his head, and was treated and released the same day. The two women were more seriously injured, and were transported by helicopter to an Atlanta hospital. Stanton is stable and recovering, while Tyson is in intensive care with extensive injuries and head trauma caused when the roof of the SUV collapsed.

O'Neill missed the Tour of California because of his January accident, and the latest wreck will mean that he will miss the Redlands Classic Race this month. He hopes to make his comeback in time for the Tour de Georgia in April.

10 year old doping case resurfaces

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Nineteen people have been named in the latest doping case to reach the Belgian courts, according to the French language Belgian newspaper, La Dernière Heure. The case dates back to the late 90's, when former Lotto rider Djamolidine Abdoujaparov tested positive for Clenbuterol during the 1997 Tour de France.

Allegedly, those named were involved with the former Lotto team directed by Jean-Luc Vandenbroucke, and include seven riders, a soigneur, the team doctor Peter Bailliere, Vandenbroucke and his wife, who was the team's secretary. Abdoujaparov was not named in the case, but former rider Peter Farazijn and current Française des Jeux rider, Thierry Marichal were named. Marichal abandoned the Paris-Nice stage race when he learned of the news.

VDB cleared

Frank Vandenbroucke (Acqua e Sapone)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)
Frank Vandenbroucke (Acqua & Sapone) has gained a new lease on his career with his successful acquittal on charges of possession of doping products. The Belgian Supreme court ruled that Vandenbroucke, who was caught in 2002 with a laundry list of banned products in his house, including EPO, Clenbuterol, growth hormones, testosterone, morphine, and amphetamines, had already served a sporting suspension of six months in 2002, and therefore would face double jeopardy if punished again.

According to Sporza, one of Vandenbroucke's lawyers, Johnny Maesschalck said "Vandenbroucke is enormously relieved. We have at last got our resolution in a matter which dragged on for many years."

Vandenbroucke reacted to the news from Italy on Sporza TV, saying "I've waited for this for five years. I very satisfied", said the former Classics star. "Do not forget that I have five difficult years behind me to heal... I have really paid too much for what has happened."

Ullrich tries again to block transfer of blood bags to Germany

By Susan Westemeyer

Jan Ullrich continues to fight. His lawyers have asked a higher Spanish court to block the turn over of bags of blood to German investigators for DNA comparison.

According to the El Pais newspaper, the German has appealed a decision which would have sent the blood to Bonn. Ullrich's attorneys had already filed a suit in December to block the transfer. The blood bags were taken into custody in Operación Puerto. The Spanish court announced last week that the charges against Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes and the other individuals name would be dismissed.

The Bonn, Germany, prosecutor's office is investigating Ullrich for fraud, based on the Operación Puerto evidence. It obtained a DNA sample from Ullrich the beginning of February for comparison purposes. Ullrich announced his retirement the end of February.

Ullrich's attorney, Peter-Michael Diestel, said that he could not comment on the story. "The matter is in the hands of our attorneys in Spain," he told the press agency dpa.

Roche out of Tirreno, Gallagher breaks wrist

By Gerard Cromwell

Nicolas Roche
Photo ©: Davide Tricarico
(Click for larger image)
Ireland's Nicolas Roche's first ProTour race of 2007 came to an abrupt halt when he crashed out of Tirreno Adriatico on yesterday's opening stage. With 50 kms remaining and a group of four up the road, there was a sudden stall in the bunch which resulted in a huge pile-up in the main peloton. The young Irishman was sandwiched between two riders and surrounded by at least a dozen others, including last year's winner Thomas Dekker (Rabobank).

"There was just a big smash and I ended up sandwiched between two riders, with one underneath me and another guy on top of me and bits of bikes in between," said Roche afterwards. "I banged my knee pretty badly and also had to get stitches in my shin, so that was the end of the road for me, unfortunately. I'm pretty disappointed, I was very motivated to do well and excited to be riding with some of the big names, but at least I'm okay, it's not too bad."

Murphy & Gunn / Newlyn Group / M. Donnelly's Stephen Gallagher will be out of action for at least a fortnight having crashed out of the Grand Prix Lillers in France earlier this month. The Irishman may now miss some of his main objectives, the hillier one-day races in April. "It was a silly crash," Gallagher said today. "Someone in front braked hard when there was no need to and there was a switch in the bunch. His back wheel went up in the air and I was directly behind him. I went head first over the handlebars and broke my left wrist / arm."

Gallagher is still hoping to be fully fit for his main objective, the FBD Insurance Ras in May. " I hope to be on the start line for Brandbitse de Pijl in Belgium at start of April. My main objectives were the hilly one days in April, along with the Tour Majorca and the Ras. I still hope to be competitive by the Tour of Majorca in mid-April but I may not be at full fitness for the one days at the beginning of the month."

No Het Volk for Melchers

The European cycling season will start for Team Flexpoint with the women's Omloop Het Volk on Sunday, but it comes too soon for Dutch star Mirjam Melchers-Van Poppel, who will not start due to an operation last week.

Doctors removed pins which Melchers-Van Poppel got after the crash in the Euregio Ladies Tour last year. After a short rehabilitation she will now focus on a later start to her season, now planned for the Italian one-day race Giro dei Comuni Ribardella-Montescudaio on Saturday March 24.

The second edition of the Omloop Het Volk for woman starts in Deerlijk and will finish after 126,7 km in Deinze. Team Flexpoint will start with seven riders - Loes Gunnewijk, Loes Markerink, Madeleine Sandig. Loes Gunnewijk, Trine Schmidt, Iris Slappendel and Suzanne van Veen.

British team for track worlds

British Cycling has announced their team for the 2007 UCI Track World Championships, to be held in Palma, Majorca on from March 29 to April 1. The team includes Bradley Wiggins, making his first appearance at the Championships since 2003, Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton, among others.

The team will also include a number of riders making their World Championship debuts. Notable amongst these are Junior World Champions Anna Blyth and Shanaze Reade. Blyth won the keirin at last year's Junior World Track Championships, but Shanaze's title was won in BMX. Shanaze made her Track racing debut only last month, picking up a silver in the women's team sprint with Blyth at the Manchester World Cup event. Also making their debuts are young endurance bunch-race specialist Katie Curtis and rower turned pursuiter Rebecca Romero, and endurance rider Jonny Bellis.

Sprinters: Anna Blyth, Victoria Pendleton, Shanaze Reade, Matt Crampton, Ross Edgar, Chris Hoy, Craig MacLean, Jamie Staff

Endurance riders: Katie Curtis, Wendy Houvenaghel, Rebecca Romero, Jonny Bellis, Ed Clancy, Rob Hayles, Paul Manning, Chris Newton, Geraint Thomas, Bradley Wiggins

Vuelta Lider begins in Chile

By Robinson Nuñez

Alberto Loddo will race Vuelta Lider
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)
The Vuelta Lider was created in 1997 by Lider, the largest supermarket chain in Chile. That first edition was only four stages in the south of Chile, and was won by the Chilean Jose Medina. Over its history, the race has seen a growth in the number and level of competitors and also the number of stages. Currently, the Vuelta Lider is the most important race in Chile.

This year the race runs from March 15-25, and will cover 1400 kilometres between Puerto Montt, in the southern part of Chile, and Santiago, the capital. Important stages will be the queen stage up to the ski station of Valle Nevado, with 2500 vertical meters of climbing; Stage 5 that will have three climbs in the last 40 km before arriving to Concepcion, and Stage 8 with a another mountain top finish in Maitenes.

These stages, along with the time trials, will surely decide the winner, but who might come out on top is no easy answer as this year's field contains several big names. Relax-Gam will be aiming for a win with Paco Mancebo; Lider has defending champion Andrei Sartasov and Marco Arriagada that is a world-class climber, Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Selle Italia with Jose Serpa (PanAm Champion), 2005 winner, the Argentinean Edgardo Simon and Tour de Langkawi standout Alberto Loddo for the sprints. Other important squads are Collavita-Sutter Home, Scott Brasil, Venezuelan national team and locals OGM and Glassex Bryc, who will all be aiming for stage wins.

Isle of Man Youth Tour entries filled

Organisers of the Isle of Man Youth Tour have been overwhelmed by so many entries that they have had to close the Junior Men and Youth A Boy's categories. Other categories remain open until the closing date on April 13, however, riders are requested to enter as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

The impressive list of entries include World, European and British champions, Dutch champions, Great Britain Olympic Development riders plus virtually all of the Youth and Junior British Olympic Talent teams and a team from as far away as Bermuda.

The Tour commences on May 4 with a prologue time trial, followed a road race and kermesse on the following day, and a circuit race on the third day. The Isle of Man Youth Tour forms part of the British Cycling National Junior Road Race Series and National Youth Circuit Race Series. Large crowds are expected as Greenlight Television will be filming the Youth Tour for Sky TV

For more information including course profiles and entries received so far please view the race website at

Women's clinic comes to San Francisco

Bay Area Women's Cycling (BAWC) has announced its seventh annual women's and girls' road cycling clinic to be held on Saturday and Sunday, March 24 and 25. The Clinic is for women and girls who want to learn how to improve their bike handling skills, to learn how to start road racing, or to improve their racing strategy. It is for beginner and intermediate racers, triathletes, endurance riders, and cycling enthusiasts.

The weekend will offer skills drills and classroom instruction that include basic bike handling skills, training, sports psychology, and racing skills/strategy, taught by former Cyclingnews diarist, Nicole Freedman. Freedman is a former professional cyclist who was a two-time U.S. National Champion and member of the US Olympic Road Team.

"We are excited about our 2007 event," said Brooke Kuhn, president of BAWC. "We have seen a tremendous increase in the number of female cyclists in the last few years. This event should be our best yet!"

The clinic will be held at Lucie Stern Community Center, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, in the Fireside Room, and runs from 9:00am to 5:00pm both days; registration and refreshments are from 8:00-9:00am. For more information visit

Targetraining for el Salvador

The Targetraining women's professional team will kick off their 2007 season at the UCI 1.2 Grand Prix de Santa Ana and UCI 2.2 Vuelta Ciclista Femenina a el Salvador this month. Representing the team will be Kathleen Billington, Megan Elliott, Hiroko Shimada, Anna Milkowski, Andrea Myers and Mandy Lozano. Razor maker Schick will act as the co-title sponsor of the team during the UCI World Cup and eight day international-level stage race.

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