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Photo ©: Swift

Latest Cycling News for October 31, 2007

Edited by Gregor Brown

Prodi makes important decisions while cycling

Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi noted that he makes many of his important decisions while out riding on his bicycle. "The important decisions in my life I make while out riding my bike," said Prodi in an interview with City for the upcoming Milan bicycle trade show.

The leader of Italy is an avid cyclist, and enjoys riding in his precious free time. He started racing at a young age, after a stop he recommenced in the 1970s. Over the past thirty years he has ridden with the greats on some of cycling's famed roads: Cipollini, Ballerini, Merckx, Bugno and Bettini, over Stelvio, Mortirolo and Zoncolan.

"The bicycle unites two human elements: freedom and fatigue. It is a moment of concentration. The most important decisions I have taken in my life I have actually taken while on long rides."

In the interview he was asked about doping in the sport. "It is important to have controls as well as education," Prodi concluded.

McQuaid blasts Spanish authorities

UCI President Pat McQuaid
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid lashed out at the Spanish cycling authorities for not getting to the bottom of Operación Puerto – the doping investigation that started in May 2006 and centred round Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

"The Spanish authorities don't want to battle against doping," said the 58 year-old Irishman in an interview with dpa. Key events have likely led to McQuaid's belief: Judge Antonio Serrano shelved all Puerto cases this spring, and recently, before the World Championships, the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) refused to agree with the UCI President in not allowing its cyclist Alejandro Valverde to race in Stuttgart.

"I lost the hope; the clarification of Operación Puerto will never come."

27 year-old Valverde, winner of the 2006 UCI ProTour classification, was one of the key Spanish riders supposedly linked to Fuentes. Documents sequestered with 'VALV. (PITI)' and '18' were believed to be code names for the Caisse d'Epargne cyclist. (For more information read No EPO in Basso's blood bags but different for Valverde.)

"The number 18 is him," McQuaid added of Valverde. (Also read McQuaid challenges Spanish to do DNA analysis.)

Rogers distances self from 2006 Tour de France doping

By Susan Westemeyer

Michael Rogers at the 2007 Tour de France
Photo ©: AFP Photo
(Click for larger image)

Michael Rogers has told his team that he knows nothing about blood doping on the team during the 2006 Tour de France, as alleged by former team-mate Patrik Sinkewitz. "We spoke with Rogers, and he told us he was not involved in doping practices in T-Mobile Team in 2006," team spokesman Stefan Wagner told the dpa agency. "He is part of our strict anti-doping programme. And he follows this one hundred percent."

Sinkewitz is said to have told the German Cycling Federation that several Tour team members visited the Freiburg University Clinic days before the Tour started, and that blood transfusion took place during the Tour. Rogers is the only rider from that Tour team who is still riding for T-Mobile.

In addition, according to, sponsor Deutsche Telekom is starting to put some distance between itself and the team it has sponsored since 1991. "The sponsor has nothing to say [concerning Sinkewitz's statements]," said Christian Frommer, head of sponsoring communications for the company. "We have a clear anti-doping guideline and we are observing the current developments."

"Everything has been said that can be said," Wagner told "As we see it there is no break between T-Mobile and the team." He also denied that the team would become an American team. "The roots and the identity of this team lie in Germany. And it will stay that way.

"We see ourselves on a very good way, which is not easy. But we will continue to go this way in the 2008 season with a strict anti-doping programme," Wagner added. "We want to set a sign with our continuity and responsibility, which this sport needs."

Police search Uni Clinic in association with doping

By Susan Westemeyer

The German Bundeskriminalamt (BKA, national police) searched the offices of two doctors at the University Clinic in Freiburg this morning, as well their homes. The doctors are being investigated for having used prohibited pharmaceuticals on cyclists for doping purposes and for having supplied the cyclists with the preparations, the BKA announced.

According to the Badische Zeitung, the two doctors are Lothar Heinrich and Andreas Schmid, the two former team doctors for Team Telekom/T-Mobile, who were suspended from the Clinic after their role in doping at the team in the 1990s was made public.

"We figured that the prosecutors would start an investigation and we are interested on the explanation," Clinic Spokesman Rudolf-Werner Dreier told the dpa agency.

There was no explanation as to why the unannounced searches were made at this time or as to whether it is associated with Patrik Sinkewitz's apparent testimony that blood doping occurred on the team during the 2006 Tour de France with the help of the team doctors.

2008 Giro d'Italia to Locarno

The 2008 Giro d'Italia is likely to arrive to in Locarno, Switzerland, according to the city's mayor, Carla Speziali, as reported by Rai. The official route of the three-week race wil be presented December 1 in Milan.

The desire of Locarno, located on the northern tip of Lago Maggiore, is to promote its international film festival that takes place every year in August in the Piazza Grande. A stage finish is expected to arrive in the same piazza.

Locarno often hosts the Tour de Suisse and it is the base of Swiss Oliver Zaugg of Gerolsteiner and German Danilo Hondo.

Stéphane Augé joins the Riders' Council

Stéphane Augé after winning the 30th Cholet-Pays De Loire
Photo ©: Régis Garnier
(Click for larger image)

French cyclist Stéphane Augé joined the Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA) Riders' Council, an organisation established at the beginning of 2006. The 32 year-old of Team Cofidis will take Cédric Vasseur's place, who was elected president of the CPA October 19 in Como, Italy.

The CPA Riders' Council is composed of Jens Voigt, José Luis Rubiera, Michael Rogers, Philippe Gilbert, Iñigo Cuesta, Thomas Dekker, George Hincapie, Filippo Pozzato, Fabian Cancellara, Roger Hammond, Denis Menchov, Thor Hushovd, José Azevedo (who represents the continental professional teams) and Dario Cioni (deputy member).

Koldo Gil and Alberto Fernández head west

By Monika Prell

Koldo Gil will change teams for the 2008 season. According to El Correo he signed a contract with the Portuguese Continental team Liberty Seguros, and will leave current team Saunier Duval-Prodir. Gil, who has been allegedly implicated in Operación Puerto, signed a one-year contract.

The rider from Pamplona had a great first half of this year's season – he won the Subida al Naranco and the Vuelta a Asturias. However, due to Puerto suspicions and problems with his knee, he was not able to participate in many races of the second half of the year.

Amateur Alberto Fernández, who has competed this year in the ranks of Supermercado Froiz, signed a contract with the Professional Continental Team Karpin-Galicia. The 26 years-old Spaniard will make his professional debut on the Galician team along with previous signings Jesús Cobelo, Delio Fernández and Alejandro Paleo.

Velodrome constructed for Milan bike show

Fourteen truckloads of wood arrived this week to construct the 200-metre track to be used as part of the Milan bicycle trade show, EICMA, 8 to 11 November. Three crews of workers (70 in total) working 24 hours a day are expected to construct the velodrome that will host exhibition races – Bikes4Show – of some of cycling's biggest names: Paolo Bettini, Filippo Pozzato, Alessandro Ballan and Danilo Napolitano.

The track arrived directly from Germany and is being assembled in Milan's trade exhibition centre, Fiera Milano.

Saunier Duval closes successful season

Manuele Mori topped the Japan Cup podium for Saunier
Photo ©: Makoto Ayano
(Click for larger image)

Saunier Duval-Prodir has closed its best season since the team was established four years ago, with Manuele Mori winning the Japan Cup on Saturday.

The team, managed by former professional Mauro Gianetti, climbed to the sixth position in the UCI ProTour rankings after 29 victories grabbed by 15 different riders. This amounted for 11 victories more than in 2004, which is the second best year so far.

2007 included four stage wins, the maglia verde and team classification in the Giro d'Italia, plus several accomplishments in the Vuelta a España and other UCI ProTour races such as Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, Eneco Tour and Vuelta al País Vasco, which have placed the yellow squad among the ten top cycling teams worldwide.

Ascani denies EPO use

Italian Luca Ascani, who tested positive for EPO (Erythropoietin) after taking top spot in the national time trial championships, has been heard by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) anti-doping prosecutor Ettore Torri. The 24 year-old cyclist from Le Marche stated that he never took performance drugs according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Ascani tested positive for EPO following the national event in Novi Ligure on June 26, and faces up to a two-year ban. Torri is expected to hand over a decision to the Italian cycling federation (FCI) disciplinary commission in the following week.

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