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Latest Cycling News for October 19, 2007

Edited by Gregor Brown

WADA in political power struggle

By Hedwig Kröner

The was-to-be successor of Richard Pound, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), has stepped down from his candidacy this week. Former French minister of Sports and current WADA vice-president, Jean-François Lamour, decided not to run for WADA presidency after a new candidate, Australian John Fahey, was named just one month before the election.

"I don't want to be the president of a World Anti-Doping Agency which has no clear and straightforward vision of its mission, and which cannot stand firm against outside pressure," Lamour told L'Equipe on Thursday, discrediting especially the Anglo-Saxon members of WADA.

"Every year, we fight to keep the list of banned substances coherent: that corticoids, against the will of the Anglo-Saxons, remain forbidden; that the detection of exogenous testosterone remains at a first threshold of four (4:1) when the Anglo-Saxons want to return it to six. I also note that the New Zealanders have been battling for the authorization of cannabis for a while now... And those who praise the liberalisation of doping aren't very far away."

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Lamour now wants to create a European Anti-Doping Agency with the help of the Council of the European Union, and feels that the European approach is under pressure within the Agency. "We could finance [this project] by reducing contributions to WADA and give them to this new entity. I would not – contrary to what WADA just did – reject the offer of financing by the European Broadcasting Union, which has proposed to make TV stations participate in the fight against doping. How can you just reject this offer if you're not trying to sideline Europe?"

Within WADA, Lamour described two camps, "One, more Anglo-Saxon, is for a more minimalist role of WADA which would stay a service provider for international federations and tempted to say 'the less doping cases there are, the better for us'. On the other side, there is a more political and more European vision of the Agency, holding on to ethics and the protection of athletes, fighting trafficking – a sort of international police officer in the fight against doping, as IOC president Jacques Rogge wishes. That's also my concept of the fight. I am ready today to build this new entity [a European Anti-Doping Agency]."

The election of the new WADA president to replace Richard Pound will be held on November 17 in Madrid.

Zaballa signed by LA-MSS

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Constantino Zaballa in the Euskal Bizikleta
Photo ©: Christine Grein
(Click for larger image)

Spaniard Constantino Zaballa, currently at Caisse d'Epargne, has signed a contract for the 2008 season with Portuguese Team LA-MSS.

"I want to succeed in Portuguese cycling. I am very motivated and very keen to repay the confidence the team has placed in me," said the 29 year-old to Cyclingnews. He will ride under Team Manager Manuel Zeferino. "I have very good references from other Spanish cyclists who have been under his [Zeferino's] command."

The Portuguese press looks forward to the return of Zaballa, who took his first victory as a professional in the 2001 Volta a Portugal. "I made my debut with Kelme-Costa Blanca ... I won the first stage, and I rode four days in the jersey of the leader."

Despite the difficult times of the last two years while riding with Caisse d'Epargne, 'Tino' is "quiet" and wants to turn the page. The 2005 Clasica San Sébastien and a stage in the 2004 Vuelta a España, together with the overall in the Euskal Bizikleta this year, are the most important victories for Zaballa. "One or two victories per season in addition to working for the companions of the team," he commented on his goals. He hopes to "above all, provide the team wins."

Zaballa will be joined at LA-MSS by Spaniards Xavier Tondo Volpini (winner of the 2007 Volta a Portugal), José Antonio Garrido and Pedro Romero.

Di Luca reacts to ProTour snub

Danilo Di Luca
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Even though the International Cycling Union (UCI) announced yesterday that it was removing Italian Danilo Di Luca from its ProTour standings for 2007 the rider from Abruzzo warned that the appeal process with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has yet to be completed. The 31 year-old of Team Liquigas led the competition that will conclude tomorrow with the Giro di Lombardia, however cycling's governing body controversially eliminated the 2005 ProTour winner after the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) suspended its rider for three months.

Di Luca was sanctioned by CONI Tuesday as part of his involvement in the 2004 Oil for Drugs affair. He had led the ProTour standings by 15 points over Australian Cadel Evans, a margin that was largely thanks to his Giro d'Italia victory in May.

"I want to say that my appeal with CAS is still pending," said Di Luca to La Gazzetta dello Sport after the news of the UCI's decision. "This new injustice reinforces my intentions of appealing the disqualification. The UCI will have to put me back in the ProTour [standings].

"The UCI will have to be able to demonstrate the decision's merit. My lawyer was in contact with [UCI ProTour Manager Alain] Rumpf, explaining that this is not a disqualification for doping and that the doctor in question was licensed, but it was of no use."

Di Luca is rumoured to be in negotiations with Teams Lampre, Saunier Duval and LPR, but the recent events could bring down his asking price. "Anyhow, at the end of this I will seek retribution," he concluded.

Riis convinced of Team CSC's anti-doping regime – and his team

By Katharina Schulz

Bjarne Riis confident in the teams anti-doping programme
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

In a reaction to the doping scandals of the last two years, Team CSC has developed one of the most ambitious anti-doping programmes in cycling together with Danish scientist Rasmus Damsgaard. The programme is now even setting an example for others, such as Astana and the International Cycling Union (UCI).

Team CSC's owner and manager Bjarne Riis is therefore very satisfied with this season's results. "So far our programme has made sure that we can document that we are clean," he told Danish newspaper Politiken. "Apart from that, the results tell you that we are the world's best cycling team. And those who may still be in doubt just have to keep their mouths shut."

Riis is determined to keep following this course, despite the programme's costs. "Our anti-doping programme has at least cost us over 2 million Danish Kroner [€267,000 - ed.]. I don't regret a single Krone, because this sort of monitoring is the only thing that counts if we want to get on.

"All that talk that you're clean doesn't count anymore. We don't have any use for that. It needs to be proved. Those are the terms, and everyone just has to follow them," Riis concluded.

Team CSC renew contract with Dane Allan Johansen

By Katharina Schulz

Allan Johansen at 2007 Tour Down Under
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
(Click for larger image)

Team CSC has renewed their contract with last year's Danish national champion Allan Johansen. The 36-year-old had originally thought about ending his career after this season, but then decided to continue for one more year. "I think I still have something to contribute," he told Danish TV2.

Milram's comings and goings

By Susan Westemeyer

Zabel and Petacchi (seen here after Paris-Tours) are staying together for 2008
Photo ©: Régis Garnier
(Click for larger image)

It remains unclear as to whether Team Milram will be a German or an Italian team next year, and who will manage the team and hold the license, but at least the team's line-up is starting to take shape. It was announced today that the team would retain its sprinter duo of Alessandro Petacchi and Erik Zabel.

"The subject is closed, Erik stays," business manager Gerry van Gerwen told the sid press agency. Zabel had recently indicated that the team management and sponsor had agreed to cut the final year of his contract. After Paris-Tours, however, team-mate Petacchi said otherwise, noting that the German "said he'd do his last season with us again next year." T-Mobile Team had expressed interest in signing Zabel.

Two definite newcomers to the team for the coming season are the U23 World Champion Peter Velits and his identical twin brother Martin, it was announced this morning. The Slovakians, who rode this year for Team Wiesenhof-Felt, which is stopping at the end of the year, signed for two years. Marcel Sieberg is said to be leaving Milram after only one year and heading to T-Mobile.

Complicating matters, this summer a spokesman for sponsor Nordmilch AG said that it would like to separate itself from Team Manager Gianluigi Stanga, who holds the team license, with the insinuation that Italian riders would be leaving, possibly with Stanga, and would then be replaced by German riders. However, it has also been rumoured this week that Mirko Celestino, Alberto Ongarato, Elia Rigotto, Fabio Sabatini, Carlo Scognamiglio and Marco Velo have all re-signed for 2008.

Under one scenario, Nordmilch would buy the ProTour license from Stanga and install van Gerwen as the new team manager. Alternatively, it was suggested that the team could take over the ProTour license from, which is ceasing operations at the end of the season.

The team is expected to present its plans for future in the next few weeks.

Bye bye Boogie

Boogerd won the 1999 Paris-Nice
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

This week sees another retirement of one of the nice guys of cycling. When he put the hammer down, Michael Boogerd's trademark grin/grimace exposed a gleaming, straight row of the whitest teeth that almost seemed to light the road in front of him. Cyclingnews' Ben Atkins looks back at the career of the Boogie-Man from Den Haag.

Aged 35, Michael Boogerd chose to end his fourteen season career while still riding at the top of the sport. Unlike some before him, he chose to quit while he's still able to be competitive in the Classic races that he loves and specialises in. However, an infected knee landed him in the hospital earlier this week, dashing his hopes of having Saturday's Giro di Lombardia as his last big professional race. He still plans to make a showing at his farewell criterium in the Netherlands and likely the Amstel Curaçao Race on the tropical Dutch island on November 3.

Not starting Lombardia, Boogerd's career will now end with an uncharacteristic fizzle, which is a sad end for a rider who has spent his career animating races with his relentless attacks. In 2006, his team manager Theo De Rooy that he and his older team-mate Erik Dekker looked like a couple of juniors at the start of the Dutch championships: "A heartbeat of 120, waiting for the start, then 'Whoof!', full gas y'know, like, 'Let's see if we can make a decisive split on the first lap of this circuit,'" he recalled.

This youthful spirit has followed Boogerd throughout his career, and while sometimes it propelled him to victory, such as that 2006 Dutch championship, two stages of the Tour de France, the 1999 Amstel Gold race, and the 1999 Paris-Nice, it more than not saw him overhauled in the finale by a fresher rider. Boogerd finished second in no fewer than eight Classics – twice in Lombardia, twice in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and four times in the Amstel Gold race. However, his misses never dampened his spirit, and in the next race he'd be back on the attack in his familiar manner.

Read the full Boogerd news feature.

Franke and Ullrich next court date set

By Susan Westemeyer

German anti-doping crusader Werner Franke has his next court date with Jan Ullrich on November 2, concerning an injunction which prohibits him from claiming that Ullrich paid Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes €35,000 a year for doping products. The court in Hamburg, Germany, has twice upheld its injunction, but Franke expects a different outcome this time.

Since the last court hearing, the German investigators have announced that they have uncovered payments from Ullrich's bank account in Switzerland to one of Fuentes' accounts. Franke claimed to have known that, and more, he said in an interview with the Frankfurter Rundschau.

"Because of the injunction, I can still not say what the Bonn investigators already have announced," he said. "In all, 4.5 litres of Ullrich's blood were stored by Fuentes. The Bundeskriminalamt [German federal police] have questioned me, and I could even tell them the name of the bank, where Ullrich's money went to. So now I expect the prosecutors to file charges against Ullrich of lying under oath."

Eisel not resigned to lead-out work

By Susan Westemeyer

Bernhard Eisel
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
(Click for larger image)

Bernhard Eisel isn't quite ready to bury his own ambitions and limit his role to preparing sprints for his younger and faster colleagues, as he indicated in an interview earlier this week. "I'm not giving up, I still have goals," he said in a press conference in Vienna, according to

For him, that means "Back to the Roots" – the Spring Classics, which have always been his first love. He is even willing to sacrifice the Tour de France. "The Tour would be great, because it is the biggest thing in cycling and therefore important to me too. But my full concentration for the next season will be on the Classics," he said. He rode the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix this year, but finished well back in both. "Maybe because I was sick before the races or because I trained too much sprinting? I don't know, but I don't want to search for excuses, either."

He looks optimistically to cycling's future, and thinks that the sport is getting a grip on its doping problem. "If T-Mobile had stopped sponsoring, then cycling in Germany would be dead. Other sponsors would have followed their example. But this way, things will continue."

"No one will ever have doping entirely under control," he admitted. "There are always dumb people around and there always will be, and in every sport."

The Austrian added that the T-Mobile riders are also financially involved in the fight against doping, as they are required to pay three percent of their annual income to the German National Anti-Doping Agency. "With a total of six million euro yearly salaries, that comes to quite a bit."

Angeloni and Marczynski renew with Ceramica Flaminia

Team Ceramica Flaminia is completed for 2008 with the renewal of Adriano Angeloni and Tomasz Marczynski. The Italian Professional Continental Team will rely on 16 riders for the coming season, including three neo-pros.

The team directed by Roberto Marrone consists of Adriano Angeloni, Antonio D'Aniello, Vladimir Duma, Mikhaylo Khalilov, Hubert Krys and Tomasz Marczynski as returning riders. New signings are Maurizio Biondo, Gianluca Coletta, Leonardo Giordani, Dainius Kairelis, Ricardo Martins, Luigi Sestili and Filippo Simeoni. Finally, the team brings onboard three new professionals, Julian Dario Atehortua, Davide Bonuccelli and Cristiano Fumagalli.

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