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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for November 27, 2007

Edited by Paul Verkuylen

Hondo to Italian pro conti team

By Susan Westemeyer

Danilo Hondo with Gianni Savio and Marco Bellini
Photo ©: Diquigiovanni - Androni
(Click for larger image)

Danilo Hondo will ride for the Italian Professional Continental Team Diquigiovanni - Androni, the follow-up team to Selle Italia, next season, he announced on his website Monday.

He chose the team based on "the very good sporting possibilities and freedoms, the personal relationships and of course a financially acceptable offer."

Hondo joins Gilberto Simoni, Gabriele Missaglia and Alessandro Bertolini on the new look team. Diquigiovanni - Androni's main goals for the 2008 season centre around gaining selection for the Giro d'Italia, with that in mind they have outlined an early season preparation that includes Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo.

"Both sides, the team management and me, have already expressed interest in a longer contract," the German sprinter noted. "So it is up to me to make my comeback on a high athletic level and to be active in the fight against doping."

Hondo tested positive for Carphedon during the Tour of Murcia in March 2005. After being sentenced to a two-year ban from the sport, a Swiss court ruled that he was allowed to continue riding while he appealed the initial ruling. He rode part of the 2006 season for Team Lamonta. In 2007 he signed with Team Tinkoff, but in January his suspension was reinstated, which prohibited him from riding the 2007 season.

Boom: Dutch cyclist of the year

Lars Boom (Rabobank)
Photo ©: Isosport
(Click for larger image)

Lars Boom was announced the Dutch cyclist of the year in Den Bosch on Monday evening. The surprise choice for the award was decided after Boom claimed the most votes by readers of the Dutch cycling magazine Wieler Magazine as well as nominations by the retired riders club, Club 48.

The 21 year old Rabobank rider had an outstanding season. He became the Elite cyclo-cross champion early in the year and followed that up by winning the under 23 cyclo-cross World title. After a successful season in the under 23 ranks on the road, he also took his tally of world titles for the year to two, when he won the under 23 time trial World Championships.

The recent winner of the Dutch round of the cyclo-cross World Cup in Pijnacker, Boom beat riders the calibre of Thomas Dekker (Rabobank), Stef Clement (Bouygues Telecom), track star Theo Bos and the now retired Michael Boogard (Rabobank).

"I am really happy with this," Boom said in a reaction. "It is my best year so far. For now, cyclo-cross will remain number one for me. Definitely until the 2009 world championships in Hoogerheide."

Contador and Leipheimer happy to see Red

After yesterday's announcement that the Astana team will use SRAM's new ultra-lightweight Red component group, Astana riders Alberto Contador and Levi Leipheimer have both expressed their happiness with the new gear.

Contador, whose ability in the mountains was instrumental in his 2007 Tour de France victory, is especially happy about the low weight of the new kit. "The lightest gruppo in the world will only benefit a rider like myself," he said. "It has already improved my climbing."

Contador also likes one particular feature of the Red shifters. "I love the reach adjust, I can customize it for my hands," he added.

Leipheimer doesn't think there's any disadvantage to using the top-line parts from the new kids on the road components block. "There is no sacrifice with SRAM, unless you consider shedding nearly half a pound of weight from my componentry a sacrifice."

With the reigning Tour de France champion and 2007 third-placed rider on its equipment, SRAM is clearly aiming for big things next July. There is still, however, no official word about whose bikes Astana's SRAM components will be hung on.

Schumacher presents blood values

By Susan Westemeyer

Stefan Schumacher made public the results of his blood tests taken before the World Championships on Monday, with his attorney claiming that they prove that "This is not a case of doping," according to Eurosport. Schumacher, who is the highest ranked German in the ProTour, said that he felt he was the victim of false charges and noted, "It is not comfortable to sit here innocently and have to justify myself."

Schumacher underwent an unannounced out-of-competition doping control shortly before the World Championships in September, and showed questionable blood values. He claimed that they were due to a severe case of diarrhoea. He went on to finish third in the Worlds road race.

At a press conference Monday, he presented documents from the Institute for Biochemistry at the University of Cologne. The blood test from September 25 showed a hematocrit of 50.5 percent. A value of over 50 percent is usually considered an indication of the possible use of the forbidden product EPO and entails a two-week ban on riding for the protection of the rider's health, but the UCI and the German federation allowed him to ride. A urine test made one and a half weeks after the World Championships was negative.

Schumacher's attorney, Michael Lehner, noted that there would have been no reason to suspend Schumacher, since his haemoglobin value was 16.9 percent, and it must be over 17 percent to entail a suspension. He criticized the national anti-doping agency for publicizing the case and violating his client's privacy. "The Schumacher case should have been closed after the NADA [German national anti-doping agency - ed.] took one single look at the blood values. It is irresponsible to make such things public," he said.

To support his claim that the blood values were caused by dehydration caused by the diarrhoea, Schumacher presented studies which supported his claim. He further claimed that the NADA did not follow the UCI's standard procedures when conducting the tests, as they were taken outside the standard times imposed by the UCI.

Olympic selection up for grabs at 2008 Australian titles

Darren Lapthorne (Drapac Porsche)
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

Cyclists contesting the 2008 Scody Australian open road cycling championships at Ballarat, held in January, 2008 will have their eyes on selection for the Being Olympics next year.

The championships will serve as part of the nomination process for the Beijing Games, after they were extended to five days to comply with the Australian Olympic Committee nomination criteria.

Cycling Australia chief executive officer Graham Fredericks said Australian winners of the men's and women's open time trials and road races would gain entry into the initial squad for the Games.

"If the winner of the women's time trial on Wednesday, January 9, averages at least 44.7kms an hour on the 28km course, she will earn automatic nomination to the Australian Olympic Committee, provided she meets all other selection criteria," Fredericks said, stressing that Olympic team selection was conducted solely by the AOC.

Ballarat City Council Mayor Cr. David Vendy said he was delighted that the championships now carried upgraded status.

"Ballarat has had a long history of involvement in top class sport, and this reinforces the council's commitment to attract and support major cycling events," he said.

"Having races in Ballarat that impact on the nomination of riders for the Olympic Games will bring more cyclists and spectators here, together with increased media exposure, and will inject over two million dollars into the local economy."

The championships comprise road races and time trials for women, men and under 23 riders as well as a people's recreational ride on the popular Buninyong circuits in the City of Ballarat.

The Australian open road championships were held at Buninyong from 2002-2004, and returned again this year.

Lissavetzky won't argue with the UCI over 'Mayo affair'

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Spanish Secretary for Sport, Jaime Lissavetzky commented on the treatment of Saunier Duval professional, Iban Mayo while in the Basque city of Tolosa on Monday for the launch of the first specialized technical cycling sport centre in the Basque Country. Lissavetzky advocated that "a balance between the fight against doping and the respect for the rights of cyclists," needs to be found, but at the same time expressed that he didn't want to "enter into polemics with the UCI".

Recently the UCI decided to re-apply for a new (third) analysis of the B sample, which was tested 'negative' in the tests carried out in both Gent and Sydney.

"When I heard that the B sample was not 'positive', I said that the rules had to be fulfilled, that is, Iban Mayo was free of doping. But then we come into some formal legal aspects used by the UCI as a reason for claiming a new analysis of the B sample, so that I do not want to argue with the UCI", Lissavetzky told Europress.

Rhodes chasing triple

Reigning Australian women's national criterium champion Alexis Rhodes heads the women's field to contest the South Bank Grand Prix which doubles as the National Criterium Championships.

Rhodes has won the title for the past two years, and will be aiming to make it three from three this weekend. Her main challenge will come from Commonwealth Games points race silver medallist Rochelle Gilmore following her win in the inaugural Noosa women's criterium on November 3 and victory in the Oceania Games Road Race held in New Zealand recently, a feat which earned her an automatic selection to the 2008 road World Championships in Varese, Italy.

Gilmore's win in Noosa was all the more impressive after being confined to bed for the week prior suffering the flu and the effects of jet-lag after travelling home from Europe.

"My expectations weren't high at all in Noosa so I was quite surprised but I've been back training I am hoping I can put in another good performance and give myself every chance to grab the title," said Gilmore.

"It's really important that we support these women's events in Australia. Like the men we have some of the best female cyclists in the world. I'd like to acknowledge how appreciative we are to the event organisers," added Gilmore.

After getting her wisdom teeth removed just two day prior to the Noosa criterium, which forced her withdrawal, Sara Carrigan will line up for the championships this weekend.

"It wasn't a nice experience getting them out and I was really disappointed about missing the event at Noosa but I'm back on track again and looking forward to the races, especially on our home turf," said Carrigan, who is the defending Olympic road race champion.

Australian Lorian Graham showed just how determined and gutsy she is making the Australian Team for this years road racing championships in Germany and will again line up at South Bank where she made first return to professional racing last year since the accident in Germany.

The women face a 30 minutes plus three laps around a tough circuit in the café district of South Bank in Brisbane. The program also features the elite men's championships where 60 of Australia's best cyclists are expected to fight for the title.

The South Bank event is the first leg of the Grand Prix Series with the final race in Surfers Paradise on Sunday 9 December.

For more information visit the South Bank Grand Prix official website.

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)