First Edition Cycling News for May 1, 2007
Edited by Greg Johnson & Ben Abrahams, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer.
Di Luca to rest ahead of Giro
After his stunning victory at the weekend's Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Liquigas' Danilo Di Luca will take some time out as the countdown to the first Grand Tour, the Giro d'Italia, begins. While the Italian will inspect the Zoncolan and Tre Cime di Lavaredo climbs over the coming days, the 31 year-old will not race again until the opening stage of the Giro on May 12.
Di Luca has enjoyed a successful season to date, finishing third at the Amstel Gold Race, and taking victories in the third stage of the Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale Coppi & Bartali, Milano-Torino and his most recent win at Liège-Bastogne-Liège which he described as: "The most important affirmation in [my] career, because [it was] obtained in the most beautiful and prestigious race."
Liquigas' team director Roberto Amadio is expected to unveil the squad's final roster for its home Grand Tour over the coming days.
European Commission calls on ASO for explanation
The European Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services, Charlie McCreevy, has sent a letter to ASO requesting an explanation of how the race organiser interprets French law regarding the Unibet situation. As reported by Cyclingnews on Friday, the European Commission believes that ASO is acting illegally by denying Unibet participation in its races because of French gambling restrictions.
"You cannot exclude a team from participating in a sport in any given country just because you don't like its sponsor," said McCreevy's spokesman Oliver Drewes.
Unibet has already won a judgement in a Liège court stating that ASO's position violates European law when the team is racing in Belgium. The court ruled that Unibet is entitled to race in its standard jersey and should not be forced to wear the now infamous question mark design used during early season races in France.
Unibet is also entitled to claim damages of five million Euros per day of missed racing, and the team has now sued ASO for 10 million Euros after being refused participation in Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
French Anti-Doping Agency to review lab procedures
The French Anti-Doping Agency has requested that independent experts review testing procedures carried out on Floyd Landis' doping samples, but said that it was a regularly scheduled review and not related to recent accusations of wrongdoing from the Landis camp.
The review is conducted every six months and examines the lab's software and analysis procedures. Landis and his lawyers have recently accused the lab of mishandling and erasing computer files relating to doping tests carried out during the 2006 Tour de France.
According to the Associated Press, French Anti-Doping Agency director Pierre Bordry said that he had asked for a review before the latest round of criticism. "What interests me is the positive B sample from August," Bordry said. "I have asked experts outside the affair to tell me if the analyses of this sample were conducted correctly.
"These results will be difficult to contest whatever their conclusion. I will forward the results to Landis' lawyers when I get them."
No Valverde or Schleck for Romandie
Two big names will be missing from the Tour de Romandie which starts today with a 3.5km prologue through the streets of Fribourg, Switzerland. Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde has cancelled his appearance, saying he wanted to prepare for the Tour de France, while CSC's Frank Schleck is taking time off to recover from a cracked vertebra sustained in the Amstel Gold Race.
"I had constant back pain and therefore had x-rays on Saturday," Schleck explained to Sportinformation Zürich. "That showed that a vertebra was cracked. But I wanted to ride Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday anyway."
Despite his injury, the Luxembourger finished third in Liège behind Valverde and Danilo Di Luca.
Quick Step and Saunier Duval for Romandie
ProTour squads Quick Step-Innergetic and Saunier Duval-Prodir have announced their lineups for the Tour de Romandie. The 61st event begins later today with a prologue in Fribourg, and runs through to Sunday where the event concludes with a 20.4 kilometre individual time trial in Lausanne.
Quick Step roster: Ad Engels, Mauro Facci, Alessandro Proni, Ivan Santaromita, Hubert Schwab, Andrea Tonti, Geert Verheyen, Davide Viganò.
Saunier Duval-Prodir roster: David Millar, José Angel Gomez Marchante, Leonardo Piepoli, David Cañada, Rubens Bertogliati, Chritophe Rinero, Guido Trentin, Remmert Wielinga.
Virginia concludes with 'aggressive violence'
Tour of Virginia's final stage has been overshadowed by an on track incident which resulted in an off-track brawl. Four riders and a team are facing disciplinary action following the incident, which reportedly snowballed after a dropped rider dangerously re-joined the field, which led to a post-race confrontation.
Event organisers announced following the stage that it has disqualified four riders under UCI penalty "30.1 - Serious aggression". The four riders were Alliance Environmental riders Jame Carney, John Delong, Boyd Johnson and UVA rider Mark Hardman.
As a result of its rider's involvement in the scuffle Team Alliance was fined 1000 SFR for "aggressive violence and unsportsmanlike conduct".
A statement from event organisers read: "The Race Commission will recommend to USA Cycling that riders number #86, 81, and 84 for suspension for their initiation of the fight that resulted right after the finish of Stage 7 at the finish line in full view of the spectators and race officials."
The Race Commission decided to used the first sprint results to determine the group's finishing order. "The time gap between the break and the main field will be 2:15 which is the last legitimate split taken before the circuit finish fell apart," concluded the organiser's statement.
University clinic to examine charges
The Freiburg University Clinic has denied the charges made against it by former Team Telekom soigneur Jeff D'Hondt but said that it will investigate the matter. D'Hondt, who worked for Telekom during the 1990s, has claimed that team doctors associated with the clinic provided EPO at the request of riders.
"The clinic directors, especially the Sports Medicine Department, deny the charges emphatically," said a press release issued on Monday.
"Even if the clinic management can't recognize what the basis for the new charges is, it will do everything it can to explain the background, as it affects the clinic," continued the release. "In order to do this, the Freiburg University Clinic, in agreement with the President of the University, has called for an independent advisory committee, which will have only one purpose: to lay out the details of this case. The committee will be competently staffed by experts from various disciplines."
The T-Mobile Team, which still uses the clinic, has said that it may end its association if the allegations can be substantiated. "If the claims about the Freiburg University prove to be true, then we will look for an alternative (source of medical care)," said T-Mobile Team manager Bob Stapleton last week.
Cardenas spearheads Barloworld in Spain
Colombian Felix Cardenas will spearhead Team Barloworld's roster at today's Subida al Naranco and the Vuelta Ciclista Asturias, May 3-7.
The British-registered Professional Continental team will also take Pedro Arreitunandia, John Lee Augustyn, Gianpaolo Cheula, Ryan Cox, James Perry and Hugo Sabido to the Spanish events. The squad's main priority will be to assist Cardenas in making the breaks.
"We will have a motivated team here, and each of the riders have already shown well in their races so far this season," said directeur sportif Valerio Tebaldi.
During the two races Team Barloworld will wear a special jersey displaying the Barloworld Finanzauto logo.
Nature Valley adds sixth stage
This year's Nature Valley Grand Prix will be longer than the previous eight editions with the announcement of a sixth stage for the five day stage race. Organisers announced overnight the addition of the Downtown St Paul Criterium, a six-corner course staged around St Paul's Mears Park.
The Downtown St Paul Criterium will kick off the 2007 edition of the American National Racing Calendar event which then moves on to the Cannon Falls Road Race, a 60-mile road race of rolling hills and cross winds in and around Cannon Falls. Riders return to St. Paul on Friday morning for five-mile time trial and then race in the Minneapolis Downtown Classic that evening. Stage five is the Mankato Road Race, which finishes on a challenging circuit in downtown Mankato. Racing finishes in Stillwater where the famed Chillikoot Hill, with a gradient of more than 20 percent, is one of the biggest spectacles of the Nature Valley Grand Prix.
The Downtown Saint Paul Criterium will attract the top professional cyclists from around America.
Sunny King Crit adds juniors
The Sunny King Criterium, a National Racing Calendar event, has added a junior race to the men's and women's races for this year's event, to be held on May 5. "We recognize that these kids are the future of the sport and getting them into development programs early is key," noted Curtis Cupp, one of the race organizers.
Nine members of the Frazier Cycling Juniors will be joined by several other junior competitors for this year's event in Anniston, Alabama. "We plan to expand our Juniors category in coming years to become a major component of the Sunny King Criterium," said race director Mike Poe.
Many of the Juniors racers will participate in the Cheaha Challenge Century the next morning, riding some or all of the 102 mile course which contains almost 8,000 feet of climbing.
Amongst those confirmed for the professional field at this weekend's event is the Jittery Joe's, Colavita/Sutter Hom, Kelly Benefit, and Kodak Gallery men's teams. HealthCoach/TravelGirl, Cheerwine, Aaron's, and Colavita/Sutter Home are amongst those entering squads in the women's professional event.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)