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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for November 8, 2007

Edited by Sue George with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

T-Mobile team awaits decision

Team T-Mobile at the Eindhoven Team Time Trial
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

T-Mobile team is patiently waiting for the Patrik Sinkewitz documents to be turned over and also waiting for a decision by Deutsche Telekom as to the future of its sponsorship. The telecommunications firm met Wednesday morning to discuss the matter, but "there is nothing to report", a spokesman told the dpa agency.

The team is waiting to have a look at the files in the Sinkewitz investigation, which it announced Tuesday it would request. "The stand now is that the BDR [German cycling federation] will let us see them as soon as Sinkewitz' attorney, Michael Lehner, gives his ok," said team spokesman Stefan Wagner. "That hasn't happened yet."

Lehner confirmed that he is delaying the turnover. "Naturally we wouldn't reject a direct discussion with T-Mobile," he said.

Wagner added, "The BDR has sent the files on to the UCI, which has assured us of a thorough investigation." The team wants to be sure that "everything we do or don't do is based on facts," Wagner said.

Holczer supports T-Mobile

Gerolsteiner general manager Hans Michael Holczer
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
(Click for larger image)

Gerolsteiner team manager Hans Michael Holczer usually considers T-Mobile Team as the competition, but right now he is supporting the magenta team. "If the biggest German sports sponsor of all should stop, then that would leave a big hole," he told the Stuttgarter Nachrichten according to the dpa agency. "That wouldn't be good for any sport."

Holczer is currently looking for a new sponsor for his team, since Gerolsteiner said that it would stop its sponsorship after the 2008 season. He has not yet been successful but hopes to have an answer by April of 2008. "The contract has to be signed before the Tour de France 2008."

He added that he could not imagine organized doping on his team, such as Patrik Sinkewitz described for T-Mobile in the 2006 season. "I can practically deny the possibility, but of course I can't guarantee it," he said.

Four picked for Spanish Olympic mountain bike team

Iñaki Lejarreta
Photo ©:
(Click for larger image)

Four mountain bikers were chosen Wednesday to represent Spain at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Based on the 2007 UCI rankings, selector Cristóbal Sanchez summoned three men and one woman: Jose Antonio Hermida, Iñaki Lejarreta, Carlos Coloma and Marga Fullana. Ruben Ruzafa and Rocío Gamonal were picked as alternates "in case some exceptional event takes place, like an injury or a disease."

Final nations' rankings from 2006 and 2007 will be used to determine how many athletes each country can send, and while those standings aren't finalized yet, as of October 18, 2007, Spain was sitting third in the rankings for the men, but did not make the top five for the women. To send the maximum team of three men or two women to Beijing, a nation must have a top-five ranking in the men's standings or a top-eight ranking for the women.

"If I give the selection with this much time in advance [of the Games], the athletes will be as prepared as possible for Beijing," said Sanchez, who was also pleased about the Spanish men earning three spots. "Our immediate goal was to obtain the third [men's] Olympic seat, something we never had and finally we have done so. The quest to do so was very positive for the riders, who have given it everything. I want to publicly thank the cyclists and their teams for their collaboration and support."

Lejarreta, who suffered illness in 2005 and 2006, but returned for strong 2007 season, was satisfied and said, "For me today is a great day, because I know that I will be in the most important competition for a sportsman. Now I have almost a year to prepare for this appointment and to repay all the confidence that has been shown in me. I want to thank for my family, to my fiancée and all around me who supported me in the bad moments. Just a year ago, I was thinking about leaving the cycling, and now I am preparing for the Olympic Games. Without them, it would not have been possible."

The Olympic mountain bike races are set for August 22 and 23, 2008 in Beijing, China.

Soler flies as "The Condor of Colombia"

By Hernan Alvarez

Soler takes 2007 Tour de France stage to Briançon
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Colombian riders have always been distinguished in the international peloton for their ability and skills in the big mountains. None of them were able to repeat what Lucho Herrera did in the 1985 Tour de France when he won two mountainous stages until Mauricio Soler appeared this year and prevailed on the mythical Col du Galibier while in his first Tour de France.

On a sunny July day in the Alps, Mauricio Soler did the impossible – he won the Alpine stage nine to Briançon when nobody thought he could do it. The rider born in Ramiriqui surprised the world when he "attacked like loco" and stormed to his first Tour de France stage win. The victory also paved the way for him taking – and winning – the maillot blanc à pois rouges of best climber.

12 days after his stage win, he was able to get the mountain jersey and wear it on the final day in Paris. One month later, he managed to win five-stage-long Vuelta a Burgos in Spain proving his consistency following the French Grand Tour. He took stage two of Burgos along with the overall maillot, which he held through the final stage.

However, Soler's 2007 season wasn't all magic, and it ended with some health problems. After crashing in the Coppa Agostoni, Soler was afraid he had broken his elbow. But the injury turned out to be just a bruise. While the pain from the elbow lessened, it became clear that his wrist was more seriously injured than he had known, and he ended up having surgery on it to repair some torn cartilage. Finally, he had another surgery on his nose. Cyclingnews caught up with him in the days after the second operation.

Foremost in the mind of the promising Colombian was his health. "I am a bit better," explained Soler. He spoke with some difficulty as his nose was not completely recovered. "Today [October 27], they took out the stoppers I had in my nose and it seemed everything went alright. I am trying to recover; I already feel better today. Maybe in three days I hope to be almost completely recovered."

The 24 year-old attended the 2008 Tour de France unveiling in Paris on October 25. After this year's performance he will no longer be considered just an ordinary rider in the most important race in the world. "In Paris it [the presentation] was something very nice, something very different, very particular, very pleasant," Soler commented.

The 2008 Tour de France may be a great chance for him to shine again on French soil, considering it was designed especially favourable for climbers. "It is a different Tour from the others, especially if you compare it with this year's. It will be a Tour with no [time] bonuses. The time trial [the first one] will be a bit shorter and it [the parcours] will have very tough mountain stages. This will mean a lot for us, the climbers. I think it will be an advantage for us," said Soler knowing the conditions will suit the mountain specialists.

To read the complete feature, click here.

Schleck aims for Tour de France 2008

Andy Schleck (Team CSC)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Team CSC's Andy Schleck is looking ahead to the Tour de France for 2008 according to Wielermagazine. The Luxembourg rider has already made a strong appearance at a Grand Tour. In 2007, he finished second in the final general classification behind Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) and he also won the best young rider classification. Schleck recently renewed his contract with Team CSC through the end of the 2009 season. If he did the Tour de France in 2008, he would be following in the steps of his father, who raced the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España during his own career.

D'Hont writing second book, about Ullrich

Jef d'Hont's book Confessions of a Cycling Soigneur set off shockwaves throughout pro cycling when it was issued this spring. Now the Belgian has said that there is more to come. "I am writing a second book with more doping disclosures," he told SportBild. And those disclosures will center on one very prominent name: "There will be new evidence against Jan Ullrich."

"Jan Ullrich doped with EPO in 1996," d'Hont said bluntly, even though a court has issued an injunction prohibiting such statements, at Ullrich's request. "I am not afraid of the attorneys, because I am writing the truth," d'Hont said.

Landis witness speaks against Tour testing

Bruce Goldberger explains at Landis' hearing
Photo ©: AFP Photo
(Click for larger image)

After testifying as the first witness on behalf of Floyd Landis earlier this year during the racer's hearing before the American Arbitration Association (AAA) in May 2007, Bruce Goldberger was under a gag order not to speak publicly about the case.

With the case now closed in the eyes of the American Arbitration Association and on its way to appeal in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Goldberger spoke critically about the work of the French labs. "I've kind of stayed silent for a long time, but it's time to make some noise," he said to the Gainesville Sun. He used words like "inexcusable" and "garbage" in describing some of the evidence used to determine Landis had doped.

Goldberger, who works as a University of Florida forensic toxicologist and is president of the American Academy of Forensic Scientists, cited poor methodology and record keeping in the testing of Landis' urine samples. He claimed he found instances of errors in sample-tracking paperwork and of the use of White-Out, a practice not generally accepted in testing circles, to correct mislabeled paperwork.

Goldberger's testimony only addressed the first test run on Landis' samples and he said he only reluctantly became involved in the case. "I looked at the data and I couldn't believe what I saw," he said. "So I called [Landis' lawyer] Howard [Jacobs] and said, 'I'm in.'"

The AAA panel ultimately agreed with Goldberger's analysis that the on the first test, a testosterone-to-epitestosterone test, was not conducted according to World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules; however, the AAA considered the results of a second test, that was more precise and more expensive, to be accurate and ruled against Landis.

Goldberger does not expect to be involved in the appeal which is tied to the second test; however, he supported Landis' expenditures to make the appeal. He lamented what he considered the effects of poorly conducted testing on the case. "In this case, bad science has ruined the career of Floyd Landis," he said. "The damage has been done.

Young British pursuiters to take on Spainish talent at next Revolution

Peter Kennaugh at Revolution # 14
Photo ©: Richard Robotham
Click for larger image

Up and coming young team pursuiters from the British Academy will test their talent against experienced Spanish pursuit specialists at the next Revolution on November 17.

The British riders Andy Tennant, Steven Burke and Peter Kennaugh will race for the 100% me team. Despite a high speed crash in qualification at the British Track Championships, Tennant and Burke were part of a quartet – that also included Jonathan Bellis and Russell Hampton – which won the national championship. Kennaugh helped the squad take the U23 European Team Pursuit title in July earlier this year.

The UK riders will take on Spanish pursuit specialists Sergei Escobar, Antonio Tauler and Miguel Alzamora for a three kilometer race. Escobar is a former World Champion in the individual pursuit and he and Tauler finished third and fourth respectively in this discipline at the World Track Championships earlier this year.

"The Spanish riders have plenty of experience," said Tennant. "We're feeling pretty good though and are back in training after a short break. The crowd is always a big help at Revolution so hopefully they will inspire us to beat the Spanish." Tennant missed last year's Revolution season while away at a training camp in Italy.

"I can't wait to get back. I really missed it last year. With this season being an Olympic year, Revolution will provide the majority of the racing for the Academy riders so we're all looking forward to it and want to make a strong impact and win a few races."

In addition to the team pursuit, the endurance programme will also include a motor paced elimination, a one kilometer madison time trial, scratch race and points race.

Flatiron Flyers introduces juniors-only program

A new program in the Boulder Valley of Colorado will support competitive junior cycling through mentorship and coaching. The Flatirons Flyers Project (FFP) announced Wednesday the inception of a Junior Cycling Program for the 2008 season. The FFP will provide fun and affordable means to develop juniors into competitive cyclists.

The non-profit Boulder-based squad will focus on competing in the 2008 Tom Danielson Junior Cup, the Colorado State Championships and the USA Cycling Junior National Road and Track Cycling Championships. Boy and girls between ages 8 and 18 are encouraged to participate.

"We are really excited about starting a program that will help juniors to grow into elite riders and have fun in a healthy environment. There seems to be a missing piece of the puzzle in the Boulder cycling community and surrounding areas with a lack of junior-only programs and we aim to fill that void," said Missy Thompson, co-founder and coach of FFP.

"After volunteering at the Junior National Track Championship, we found that there is a ton of support from parents in the Boulder Valley for a quality grassroots organization to expand the number of kids racing locally," said Cari Higgins, co-founder and 2007 national track champion.

For more information, visit

Trips for Kids raises $125,000 for 20th anniversary

Trips for Kids (TFK) raised US$125,000 last weekend at its Twentieth Anniversary Gala Dinner and Auction held last weekend. The fundraiser was attended by 200 people, including honorary board members Robin Williams and Gary Fisher.

"The anniversary event was a wonderful tribute to the generosity of hundreds of individual donors, companies, foundations, and members of the cycling industry that have supported us through the years," said Founding Director Marilyn Price, who holds a place in the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame for her work with the organization.

"We were excited to see Robin and so many of our long time supporters. Their message to us is always: 'Keep up the good work.' With the money we raised and the support we felt, we are ready to launch Trips for Kids into the next 20 years!"

Marin County and the cities of San Rafael and Mill Valley proclaimed November 3, 2007 as "Trips for Kids" day in recognition of the group's work.

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