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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for May 2, 2007

Edited by Greg Johnson & Ben Abrahams, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

Puerto riders may be sued to obtain DNA

T-Mobile's Bob Stapleton
Photo ©: AFP Photo
(Click for larger image)

German ProTour teams T-Mobile and Gerolsteiner have suggested that Tour de France organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) sue all riders named in the Operación Puerto affair for suspected fraud, and require DNA samples from all of them.

T-Mobile team manager Bob Stapleton said that ASO should file suit in France against each rider whose name has come up in the affair, in an attempt to increase the pressure on the riders and the Spanish investigators.

"The Tour is a national institution in France whose reputation and financial condition is in jeopardy because of this unsolved problem," the American told Süddeutsche Zeitung. "The ASO could solve the Puerto affair with civil law, because this way you could get DNA samples from all the riders."

Gerolsteiner manager Hans-Michael Holczer supported Stapleton's suggestion. He also noted that a "further option" would be for the International Professional Cycling Teams (IPCT) to sue each individual rider, "because a DNA sample can only be made following a court order."

"[The IPCT] is a financial organisation whose members also want to make a profit," Holczer told the newspaper, and the lingering doping problems cause the members "financial problems - so we have to sue, in order to get an explanation through the DNA samples."

"This could be done in any country," said Stapleton. "We need an explanation for every bag of blood found in Spain."

The suggestions will be considered at the IPCT's meeting with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the ASO and the UCI on May 4.

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

German Olympic cyclists to provide DNA

German cyclists wishing to represent their country in Olympic competition must agree to provide a DNA sample first, Rudolf Scharping, president of the German cycling federation (BDR) announced on Tuesday. "No DNA sample, no Olympics," Scharping told press agency dpa.

"Doping has been following us like a plague since July 2006," continued Scharping. "The BDR's strict anti-doping course will become the standard in international cycling."

The new measures apply to all German riders, including those living outside the country or riding for non-German teams. All samples will to be stored at the Frieburg University Clinic according to BDR sport director Burkhard Bremer.

The clinic is currently investigating allegations from former Team Telekom soigneur Jeff D'Hont that two of its doctors, Lothar Heinrich and Andreas Schmid, provided EPO to former riders Bjarne Riis and Jan Ullrich. Scharping has said he expects the T-Mobile Team (formerly Telekom) to thoroughly investigate the allegations. "The clinic and T-Mobile will clear up the affair," he said.

Top level pro racing returns to Ireland

By Shane Stokes

Irish model Jenny Lee Masterson and Sean Kelly
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

Fifteen years after the final Nissan Classic was won by Phil Anderson, some of the world's top pro teams and riders will return for the new-look five-day Tour of Ireland.

Running from August 22-26, it will begin in Kilkenny and end five days later in front of Government buildings on Merrion Square, Dublin. It will be heavily backed by the Irish Tourism board, Bord Fáilte, and is expected to feature several ProTour teams.

Ranked as a 2.1 event, the race will be organised and promoted by the Events Group, previously responsible for the Nissan Classic and the hosting of the 1998 Tour de France in Ireland, as well as Shade Tree Sports.

The race will revisit many of the highlights of the Nissan Classic, which ran from 1985 to 1992. St. Patrick's Hill in Cork, perhaps the most famous 'wall' in the country, will feature, as will other Nissan staples such as the Healy Pass, Moll's Gap and Ladies View. It will also pass through Carrick-on-Suir, the hometown of four-time winner Sean Kelly, who said on Tuesday afternoon that the race will be of major significance for Irish cycling.

"It is of huge importance to have the event back on the road again," he stated. "It helps to promote cycling in this country and to get the race back will really help boost interest in the sport once more. It dropped off in the past, and while it has been building up a bit over the past couple of years, a professional event such as this will certainly help it grow.

"It will also help bring through the next batch of strong Irish riders. Things are improving now with young guys such as Nicolas Roche and Philip Deignan, and this will certainly be important."

The route map
Photo ©: Tour of Ireland
(Click for larger image)

Stage one will take the riders 160 kilometres from Kilkenny Castle to Cork, passing through Carrick on Suir and Middleton before finishing with two ascents of the legendary St. Patrick's Hill. The following day the riders will pass through the Beara Peninsula, taking in the climbs of the Healy Gap and Moll's Gap along the 167 kilometre route to Kenmare.

Day three covers 190 kilometres from Tralee to Ennis, passing near Brian Boru's fort and through Limerick and Killaloe. The following day is the longest stage, a marathon 212 kilometre leg starting and finishing in Galway City and taking in Cong, Westport and Leenáun.

The event will then be settled with a final leg from Athlone to Dublin. The riders will slug it out on a route through Mullingar and Enfield, up the Strawberry Beds, though the Phoenix park and finishing off with a circuit of Merrion Square.

"This is huge for Irish cycling," said Giant Asia professional Paul Griffin. "A lot of the country's top riders got into the sport due to the Nissan Classic, and now there is a good chance that this will inspire the next generation to get involved."

He and other Irish pros will square up against some of the worlds' top riders in the race. More details will be confirmed in the coming months.

The planned scale of the event is certainly impressive. It will feature 112 of the world's best riders, 300 race personnel and media, 125 official vehicles and 28 civilian motorcyclists. The TV package will employ several cameras and helicopters, plus a fixed wing aircraft, and will be transmitted live on Irish national channel RTE. It will also be shown throughout the United States on the Versus network, and appear on television in Britain, mainland Europe, Australia, South Africa and Japan. Phil Liggett and Ireland's Jimmy Magee will commentate.

The conference
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

The principal event sponsor will be Bord Fáilte, while others backers include BMW and Tipperary Water. More will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

"We are very happy to be involved with the race," said Bord Fáilte's Paul Keeley at the launch. "It will be a great event and we feel it will showcase the beauty of Ireland to a huge global audience. Eight out of ten visitors cite landscape as a big part of their enjoyment of the country and there are few sports better than cycling to showcase that.

"Tourism is worth 5.1 billion to the exchequer, 3.1 percent of our GNP, and so something which highlights the country so well is very important. It will travel through some of the most scenic parts of Ireland and we think it is going to be a great spectacle."

The backing is a multi-year deal, making it likely that the race will develop and grow as time passes.

Event director Alan Rushton was very happy with the final confirmation. "We're all really excited to be able to undertake the race this year. We'd really like to thank Fáilte Ireland for coming on board to support this fantastic event.

"This will be one of the sporting highlights of the year where the atmosphere is sure to be electric and we hope that everyone will come out and support all the cyclists taking part."

Project manager Darach McQuaid was similarly positive. "I am hopeful that the Irish public will come out in huge numbers and give Irish riders as much support as Sean [Kelly] and Stephen [Roche] had in 1980s," he said.

Tour of Ireland, in association with Fáilte Ireland:

Stage 1 - August 22: Kilkenny - Cork (St. Patrick's Hill), 160 km
Stage 2 - August 23: Clonakilty - Killarney, 167 km
Stage 3 - August 24: Tralee - Ennis, 190 km
Stage 4 - August 25: Galway - Galway, 212 km
Stage 5 - August 26: Athlone - Dublin, 135 km


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Gerry McManus/

Images by Tour of Ireland/

Copenhagen first to get UCI Bike City branding

The world's first Bike City
Photo ©:
(Click for larger image)

UCI president Pat McQuaid met with the Danish Minister for Sport, Mr Brian Mikkelsen, and the Mayor of Copenhagen, Mr Martin Geertsen, to sign the UCI Bike City contract between the International Cycling Union and the city of Copenhagen yesterday. The Denmark city is the first city to be awarded the UCI Bike City label, which recognizes "internationally renowned cities wanting to get involved in cycling (from competition to sport for all), as an environmentally-friendly leisure sport and a gentle means of transport," according to a statement from the UCI.

"The UCI is delighted with Copenhagen's commitment to cycling," read a statement from the organisation, "both in terms of the organisation of high level competitions as well is in the development of leisure cycling on a daily basis."

The awarding of the 'UCI Bike City' label is decided based on criteria such as the international standing of the city and its active commitment to develop cycling in the form of organisation of cycling events, network of cycle tracks and other quality facilities.

Cities that wish to obtain this label can submit an application to the UCI to organise events on the UCI international calendar such as World Cups, World Championships and other UCI races in any of the governing body's recognized disciplines.

Copenhagen will host UCI BMX Supercross World Cup races in 2008 and 2009, a UCI Track Cycling World Cup Classics race in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009, as well as the 2010 UCI Track Cycling World Championships and the 2011 UCI Road World Championships.


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Britain the king of world cycling?

British Cycling CEO Peter King has high expectations of the Great Britain cycling team at next year's Beijing Olympic Games, declaring the national team as "the most professional in cycling". The governing body's head-honcho spoke out about the squad's form, following a massive seven gold medal hall at the world track championships, in a candid interview with the BBC in which he slammed 'less exciting' sports.

"We were number one in 2005 and will be again this year," said King. "We are the most professional team in cycling and we are the most professional Olympic sport in Britain."

In addition to the strong showing on the track in Majorca, where the GB squad brought home an impressive 11 medals, British riders have also tasted success on the road, with 20 year-old Mark Cavendish beating his super-experienced rivals to win the Belgian semi-classic Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen. Additionally, Great Britain's Nicole Cooke has dominated the women's peloton in the early stages of this season, with the World Cup leader having taken five victories including the Tour of Flanders.

"In terms of the Olympics most of [the GB teams in] the other sports just aren't winning things, particularly athletics and swimming," added King. "Okay, rowing and sailing are doing well, but they are hardly the most accessible or exciting of sports are they? Cycling has always been a sport for everybody, perhaps more now than ever before."

Speaking at the Mountain Bike World Championships, which will be held at Fort William from September 3-9, media launch, King also declared his hopes for more cycling disciplines to get an Olympic call up.

"It's a shame the downhillers aren't in the Olympics. But these things take time. We will just have to convince the IOC that the downhill is more exciting than sports like rowing," King said cheekily.

Manager delighted with Kodak double take

Jesse Anthony wins Virginia's final stage
Photo ©: Jason O. Watson
(Click for larger image)

Kodak Gallery cycling team's general manager, Robin Zellner, is delighted with the team's form, following its double victory on Sunday. The American Continental squad enjoyed a fruitful weekend which started with Josh Thornton's second place at the Athens Twilight Criterium, followed by Dominique Rollin first and Thornton's third placings at the Roswell Criterium the following day. To top it all off, the squad also took victory with Jesse Anthony on the Tour of Virginia's final stage.

"These guys are showing what our team is made of," said Zellner. "It speaks great volumes about the depth and character of our team when we win two NRC races on the same day! Dominique and Josh are riding out of their skulls right now."

The crop of results should form a strong launchpad for the squad's next stage race, the Joe Martin Stage Race in Arkansas, from May 11-13.

Kelly Benefit Strategies upbeat after strong Virginia showing

Kelly Benefit Strategies performance director, Jonas Carney, believes the squad's strong Tour of Virginia campaign will set it up well for this month's FBD Insurance Ras in Ireland. A consistent ride throughout the seven stage tour allowed the American Continental team's Dan Bowman to take second place on general classification, a nudge over one minute behind Caico's winner Javier Zapata.

"I was extremely excited by the attitude and performance of all six of our guys throughout the Tour of Virginia," said Carney. "Dan Bowman and Dominique Perras were the only two athletes in the pack capable of staying with the Colombians on the category one climbs, and our squad never stopped attacking or missed a break in any stage of the race."

In addition to Bowman's podium placing, teammates Dominique Perras and Nick Waite both finished in the top 20, in 12th and 19th sports respectively.

"The team is right on track for the Pro Cycling Tour in early June and ready for the FBD Ras in Ireland - where we'll continue having a strong year," added Carney.

Murray tour to cross new borders

Australia's Tour of the Murray River will expand in 2007 to cover three states during an extended eight-day tour. The August 26-September 2 event, which will span dozens of towns in New South Wales, Victoria and for the first time South Australia, has a budget of $400,000 AUD for this year's edition.

"The tour, in terms of days, will be Australia's longest cycling event and is a tribute to its controlled growth," said tour convenor Cr. Eddie Warhurst.

The event's expansion into South Australia, where the final two days will be held, was generated by the District Council of Loxton Waikerie. The area's Mayor, Cr. Dean Maywald, said securing the tour was an "exciting venture" for the municipality.

"This is a big event," Maywald said. "It will bring top-flight international cyclists to our region and provide excellent publicity in Australia and overseas.

"The council sees this as a possible long-term tourism project where we can promote Loxton Waikerie in a previously untapped market."

Loxton will host two town and riverfront stages on Saturday, September 1, before the tour entourage moves to Waikerie for the final riverfront stage the following day.

The Tour of the Murray River was first held as a three-day event in 1996, known then as the Tour of Sunraysia. It was expanded into a four-day tour in 2002, five days in 2005 with a name change, and six days in 2006. Previous winners include Sydney Olympic Games gold medallist Brett Aitken and T-Mobile's Greg Henderson.

Tour director John Craven said the 2007 race would cover 750 kilometres broken across 13 stages and with $40,000 AUD in prize money on offer. "This is a unique concept in Australian sport," Craven said. "It is more than just a bike race - it is a community event bringing major sport to rural communities."

Canberra Cycling Club concerned for injured cyclists

The organiser of the Canberra Tour, the Canberra Cycling Club, has issued a statement following the tragic accident during the weekend's event which left an un-named Sydney rider in a serious condition in hospital after a group of riders tangled and fell into oncoming traffic.

"On behalf of the many cyclists in Canberra, the Canberra Cycling Club expresses its deep sympathy for the riders injured in [the] unfortunate accident at the 24th Canberra Tour," read the statement. "Our thoughts are with the injured riders and their families, and we look forward to their speedy recovery. The Club is providing direct support to those involved and is assisting wherever it can."

The 2007 edition of the race was the largest in its history and the first time such a serious accident had occurred. The rider, whose name has been withheld at the family's request, is believed to still be in intensive care in a Canberra hospital.

"While the Club does not wish to understate the risks of conducting competitive cycling events on our roads, thousands of cyclists do race on our roads across the country each week, and safety planning in close cooperation with both Police and local government has been very effective in minimising these risks."

"As the organiser of the event, the Canberra Cycling Club will be examining its procedures with relevant authorities to ensure that the most appropriate measures are implemented for all future events."

Amongst the possible safety measures being considered is the complete closure of roads to traffic during the event, race spokeswoman Tanya Sard told ABC Radio on Monday.

"Once again, the Canberra Cycling Club sincerely regrets the accident and expresses its concern for the injured cyclists, their families and all those affected by it," concluded the release issued by club president John May.

Mikic foundation launched

Following the tragic death of promising young New South Wales, Australia cyclist Ben Mikic last Friday, a foundation has been established at the request of the 15 year-olds' parents to be known as the Ben Mikic Foundation for Young Cyclists. The foundation will aim to further educate road users and support young cyclists pursuing their dreams.

"Ben himself dreamt of doing the Tour de France so some of the money raised through this Foundation might help other young cyclists like Ben achieve such a dream," said foundation spokesperson Michele O'Byrne.

Mikic passed away on Friday, April 27 as a results of injuries suffered when he was struck by a vehicle at an intersection that afternoon. Close friend Alex Tomlinson was also injured in the accident but was released from hospital on Monday.

For donation details visit the Southern Highlands Cycling Club's website.

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