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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for October 4, 2007

Edited by Sue George

Contador for a new Astana

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Contador is attentive
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Spanish media reported Wednesday that current Tour de France winner Alberto Contador was close to signing with Astana. Along with Contador would come Johan Bruyneel in a management role. Both Bruyneel and Contador are free to find new teams effective December 31, when their current Discovery Channel team comes to an end.

Contador told EFE Radio that his negotiation with the "new" Astana will surely be "closed shortly. It is an option that I like [very] much. It is very possible that it [Team Astana] is going to be my destiny," said Contador .

The 24 year-old climber had many offers from Spanish squads, but he said, "Not all these squads can support economically the acquisition of many riders of [a] high level. It is not enough just to want [me]."

Contador indicated the presence of Belgian Bruyneel, who has been long-time team director in the Discovery Channel, is decisive in the Spaniard's decision-making. Referring to his own and Bruyneel's opinions of Contador's future chances at Astana, the Spaniard said, "We have mutual confidence, and I believe that it is the best option for me."

The Spanish paper MARCA indicated the deal was accepted by Bruyneel and Contador but was still awaiting final signatures of other parties. One potential obstacle to the deal is that an arrangement must be reached with current manager Marc Biver who is under pressure after top riders like Andrey Kasheschkin and Alexander Vinokourov tested positive this season while the team was under Biver's tenure.

"We want a different Astana," said Contador, "with a new and different sporting structure. There are two riders who want to come with me: the Spaniard Benjamín Noval and the Portuguese Sergio Paulinho." Contador intends to start from ground zero with the team. "We are going to speak with the organizers and with the UCI." Another rider rumored to be headed to Astana is Levi Leipheimer.

The rider born in Pinto was not yet ready to talk about his racing calendar for 2008. Contador only said, "It would be very similar to this year." However, he said it may not include the Vuelta a España in September. "The Olympic Games in Beijing will take place only ten days after the Tour de France, and in this sense, I could take advantage of going to the Olympics with my form from the Tour."

Armstrong comments support Landis

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong sympathized with Floyd Landis after an arbitration panel recently ruled to ban Landis for two years.

"When you are giving someone the death penalty, which they essentially did, you cannot tolerate shoddy work, which they clearly did," Armstrong said to the Associated Press. "I don't understand that type of rationale. I don't understand the verdict.

"It's tough for Floyd; it's tough for cycling. But at the same time, it's also really tough and unfortunate for the fans of all athletes. You never know when you're in that position, when an athlete's in that position, and you want to make sure that everything's done right."

Armstrong, who has faced doping accusations directed his way, criticized the lab that handled Landis' samples. He also claimed an American jury would not have found Landis guilty of doping.

"I didn't follow Floyd's case that much, but I will tell you, if that's a jury trial in the United States of America, with eight or 10 or 12 of our fellow citizens, you get off every time," said Armstrong to the AP. "Not that you get off, but you're vindicated."

Armstrong said it wasn't just cycling suffering hard times. "I think all of sport is going through a tough time," he said. "There's a lot of money, a lot of pride, a lot of fame on the line. People are going to cut corners. It's the job of the governing bodies and the police and all these agencies to make sure what we're watching is pure and clear."

French anti-doping agency on Dynepo and its Tour performance

Pierre Bordry, President of the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD), said Wednesday that the samples of approximately ten athletes had revealed traces of Dynepo, the drug believed to be the new EPO.

Traces of this drug were discovered in the analysis of samples from Danish cyclist Michael Rasmussen. "I do not see why this issue is polarizing around Rasmussen. There are many athletes in the same case. In June already, I had mentioned that there had been ten cases in athletics," said Bordry according to the AFP. A test for Dynepo is in the works, but not yet approved.

AFLD also indicated it was pleased with the effectiveness of doping controls conducted at the Tour de France. AFLD officials as well as those from the French Cycling Federation (FFC), Amaury Sport Organization (ASO, race organizers), and principal collaborators of the agency were brought together around the same table for an evaluation. "This meeting will make it possible for the future to still improve the effectiveness of controls," said Bordry to the Associated Press. "We noted that good co-operation and professionalism allow more targeted strategy of controls.

The testing from the 2007 Tour de France led to the withdrawals of several race favorites, including Kazakh Alexander Vinokourov (Astana), who tested positive for a homologous blood transfusion; Italian Cristian Moreni, who tested positive for testosterone; and Spaniard Iban Mayo, a climber who tested positive for EPO.

The chasse à la canette

By Les Woodland

Tom Simpson helped ending the chasse à la canette
Photo ©: AFP Photo
(Click for larger image)

The rules in the Tour de France used to be a lot stricter than nowadays. Riders had to fix their own mechanicals and couldn't even think about taking a drink from the team car. Fortunately, things have changed in recent years.

"Riders now, they go faster than we did," Jean Stablinski used to say. "But they're not that impressive. Every time you get a technical improvement, the speed goes up, especially in the mountains. But above all, these days they don't finish with their heads caved in." Eh?

Well, Stablinski was a world champion and a French champion and the ally of Jacques Anquetil and then Raymond Poulidor. Raphaël Géminiani said of him that he was one of the craftiest riders in the world, a man who could pick the winning break even when it had unpromising riders in it, then slip into it and win.

So when a man with such insight says that riders finished with their heads caved in, you have to believe him. But what did he mean? Well, the full quote goes: "To tell you the truth, performances in the cols don't impress me all that much. Oh sure, they go fast! But everything has evolved so much: diet, equipment, preparation. Even the shorts and jerseys are technical marvels. All that makes a difference. Every time you make a technical improvement of five per cent, the speed goes up. And then, today riders are allowed food and drink up to 20 kilometres from the finish. We, we used to make the chasse à la canette permanently and we used to get to the finish towns with our heads caved in. Simply because we were dehydrated."

The chasse à la canette? Well, that translates into "hunting for cans" - drinks cans. Riders would get off their bikes at the sight of a bar, run inside, grab all they could off the shelves and out of the refrigerators and disappear with armfuls of booty which they had no intention of paying for. It was a colourful feature of the Tour de France until the organisers realised that what riders needed was more and not less to drink.

Until the 1960s, the Tour still followed the structures of its organiser, Henri Desgrange, who believed his race should be a pure competition between men. Not even man and his machine, because for decades he forbade riders to change bikes or let mechanics work on broken ones. It was only a strike by riders that stopped his introducing a rule that every rider eat precisely the same amount of food every day.

Banning riders from taking drinks from their team cars more than once or twice in a race - and stages could be 100 kilometres longer than today even in Jacques Anquetil's era - followed the belief that it was better to drink less rather than more. Soigneurs insisted that drinking filled the stomach with water, stopped riders digesting their food and leading to an uncomfortable, swimming sensation. Anquetil himself used to say "Driest is fastest."

To read the complete feature, click here.

Euskaltel-Euskadi finalizes 2008 squad

By Monika Prell

Euskaltel-Euskadi has closed its team roster for 2008 with one final addition - 26 year-old Josu Agirre, who rode the previous two seasons for the team Orbea Oreka.

In 2008, 26 riders will wear the orange jersey of the Basque team, directed by Moguel Madariaga and Igor González de Galdeano including 23 from the 2007 team: Beñat Albizuri, Igor Antón, Lander Aperribay, Mikel Astarloza, Jorge Azanza, Jon Bru, KoldoFernández de Larrea, Aitor Galdos, Dioni Galparsoro, Aitor Hernández, Markel Irizar, Iñaki Isasi, Andoni Lafuente, Iñigo Landaluze, Antton Luengo, Juan José Oroz, Alan Pérez, Rubén Pérez, Samuel Sánchez, Amets Txurruka, Iván Velasco, Gorka Verdugo and Haimar Zubeldia. Beside Agirre, the other two new riders are Javier Aramendia (Orbea Oreka) and Egoi Martínez (Discovery Channel).

Andoni Aranaga, Aketza Peña, Iban Iriondo, Iban Mayoz, Joseba Zubeldia, Unai Etxebarria and Unai Uribarri are the seven riders not continuing with the team.

Curvers signs with Skil-Shimano

Skil-Shimano signed Dutch rider Roy Curvers for 2008. The 27 year-old now rides for Time-Van Hemert, but he has inked a one-year deal with his new team. In 2007, Curvers won the Ronde of Midden-Brabant and a stage of the Olympia's Tour. He also finished second in the Omloop van de Houtse Linies, the Omloop van de Glazen Stad, the Profronde van Fryslan and the second stage of the Ronde van Midden-Brabant.

Three new riders for Flexpoint

Team Flexpoint announced three new signings for next season. German Bianca Knöpfle is probably the best known. She was junior world champion in the time trial in Hamilton, Canada (2003). The team also welcomes Elisabeth Braam (Therme) and Britt Jochems. Jochems has already ridden for the cyclo-cross squad of Flexpoint last year.

Flexpoint is now up to 10 riders for 2008 including Knöpfle, Braam, Jochems, Mirjam Melchers, Loes Gunnewijk, Loes Markerink, Iris Slappendel, Suzanne van Veen, Amber Neben and Elise van Hage, but the roster is still not complete.

LPR for Franco Belge & Memorial Cimurri

Borut Bozic (Team LPR)
Photo ©: Team LPR
(Click for larger image)

LPR announced its return to racing for the Circuito Franco-Belga from October 4 - 7. Director Mario Manzoni said, "Our attention will be focused on Daniel Nardello, Borut Bozic and Luca Solari as men in a position to make a difference. But our eye will also be on Daniele Callegarin and Luca Celli, who are always ready to go in a break."

Another LPR squad will be busy at the Memorial Cimurri on October 7. "Our objective is to enliven the race," said Enrico Paolini, team director for that race. He was aware that his team gave him many cards to play. "If the race is selective, Paul Bailetti and Raffaele Ferrara could be our points of reference, otherwise Riccardo Chiarini, Alessandro Maserati, Maurizio Bellin and Roberto Traficante will be able to try."

LPR for Franco Belge: Borut Bozic, Daniele Callegarin, Luca Celli, Enrique Gutierrez Cataluna, Daniele Nardello, Nazareno Rossi e Luca Solari under DS Mario Manzoni

LPR for Memorial Cimurri: Paul Bailetti, Maurizio Bellin, Riccardo Chiarini, Andreas Dietziker, Raffaele Ferrara, Alessandro Maserati, Walter Proch and Roberto Traficante under DS Enrico Paolini.

Quick.Step-Innergetic for Memorial Cimurri

Quick.Step-Innergetic announced its roster for the Memorial Cimurri on October 6 in Italy. The squad will be led by recently re-crowned World Champion Paolo Bettini.

Quick.Step for Memorial Cimurri: Paolo Bettini, Mauro Facci, Dmytro Grabovskyy, Leonardo Scarselli, Andrea Tonti, Matteo Tosatto, Davide Viganó, and Giovanni Visconti under directors Serge Parsani and Davide Bramati.

Wind tunnel testing to North Carolina

A2 wind tunnel test facility
Photo ©: A2 Wind Tunnel
(Click for larger image)

This month, wind tunnel testing comes to North Carolina. The A2 facility in Mooresville, just a few miles north of Charlotte, was designed by Gary Eaker, the same designer of the AeroDYN Wind Tunnel which is the test facility of nearly 100% of NASCAR race teams. It will be open for year-round testing of cyclists and manufacturers alike.

A2 General Manager Dave Salazar said testing will be managed by bicycle specialist Mike Giraud. Mike has 15 years of cycling experience and has worked top athletes including Nathan O'Neill (eight-time Australian TT Champion), Chris Horner (three-time NRC Champion), Robbie Ventura (retired US Postal Cycling Team rider), Saturn Cycling Team, the Equipé Rona Cycling Team, and the Timex Multi-sport Team.

The lab boasts a sophisticated data collection system, including real-time rider feedback. For more information, visit

Slipstream Sports development program grant applications welcome

Slipsteam Sports, the owners of Team Slipstream, announced a development program called "Causing the Slipstream" which will provide US$20,000 in financial support to outstanding youth cycling programs across the US.

The program opened for applications from youth cycling programs across the country Wednesday and will continue to accept them through October 31. Applicants who meet the eligibility requirements listed at will be considered for grants, which will be available at three levels.

Grant winners will also receive access to private training from Slipstream/Chipotle team members and renowned Sports Physiologist, Allen Lim, PHD, along with discounts and support from Team Slipstream/Chipotle sponsors.

"Slipstream Sports was founded on the basic principal of developing the next generation of American cycling champions," said CEO/President, Jonathan Vaughters. "We're excited to be in the position to help more young cyclists achieve their dreams through this program.

Boston Luna Chix to lead Rooster Ride

The Boston Luna Chix are inviting both men and women to join in their final road ride, called the "Rooster Ride" on October 6 at 9:30 am local time. They will lead a leisurely 25 mile ride at a 15 mph pace through the rolling countryside beyond historic Concord, Massachusetts. Expect a stop at an apple farm for a cider break en route.

The Boston Luna Chix are a group of women who serve as ambassadors for the sports of cycling, running and triathlon. The team leads rides, conducts clinics, and raises awareness for the Breast Cancer Fund. For more information on the ride, visit

Club Road Nationals to Auckland

500 riders will converge on Karaka in New Zealand, Thursday, October 18 for the first of four days of competition in the National Club Road Cycling Championships, which will include individual time trial and road events.

Riders in various classes from Under 15 to Masters 7 (over 65 year olds) will compete. There will also be events for Athletes With Disability. The time trial will feature and out and back course on Blackbridge, Muir, Stan Wright, Batty and Irwin Roads while the road races will be contested Friday through Sunday. Distances vary by categories but happen over a 26 km lap including Kingseat Road; Irwin, Batty, StanWright, Muir and Blackbridge Roads.

For further information contact John Coker of Cycling Auckland at (09) 537 2561 or email

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