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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for September 1, 2007

Edited by Laura Weislo

Klöden out, Valverde in GP Plouay

Valverde didn't intend to race the Vuelta, although he attended the route launch
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

The embattled Spanish star Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) will take the start of the GP Ouest France Plouay after all, according to the organiser Jean-Yves Tranvaux. The organiser had announced Valverde's non-participation on Thursday, but the situation with Valverde and the UCI's controversial decision to open an investigation into his alleged involvement in the Operación Puerto doping scandal changes by the hour.

"The manager of the Caisse d'Epargne team contacted me Thursday to announce to me that they were withdrawing Valverde from their roster," Jean-Yves Tranvaux explained to AFP. "They called me again today [Friday] to tell me they had changed their minds. As long as the International Union Cyclist (UCI) lets him ride, I do not have the right to refuse it. Alejandro Valverde will therefore be at the start on Sunday."

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The UCI announced on Wednesday that it would bar Valverde from the World Championships in Stuttgart, and asked the Spanish Federation to open disciplinary proceedings against the rider over alleged doping. The UCI claimed to have more closely examined the 6,000 page dossier on the case, and found sufficient information to warrant the ban.

The Spanish Federation has indicated it would look into the matter, it has not yet opened formal proceedings. Meanwhile, strong objections have come from the Spanish national team coach Francisco Antequera, who questioned the timing of the action.

Meanwhile Andreas Klöden, who was injured in a training accident on Thursday has decided not to start the race, his team announced Friday.

Transfer news: Bruyneel confirms Astana interest, Wiggins leaves Cofidis

Johan Bruyneel
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

The Discovery Channel team's director Johan Bruyneel was the subject of widespread speculation on Friday, when rumours hit the press that the Belgian might be moving over to the Astana team. Bruyneel, who announced he would retire following the team's decision to cease it's drive for a new sponsor and disband the operation at the end of the season, confirmed that he had been contacted by the Astana team, according to the team's website,

A statement by the team's communications director, P.J. Rabice, explained, "In a brief phone conversation with Johan Bruyneel, he confirmed to me that he was in fact contacted by the Astana Team with an offer to manage the Team beginning in 2008. However, he had just returned from holiday and knew too little about the offer at this time to say whether it is a consideration."

It would come as no surprise to see the man who directed Lance Armstrong to seven Tour victories back behind the wheel of a team car. However, the Italian press speculated further, with reporting that Bruyneel would bring Tour champion Alberto Contador, Portugese rider Sergio Paulinho and Lithuanian Tomas Vaitkus along with him to Astana. listed the riders who have confirmed new contracts, and these three riders do not yet have teams next to their names.

Tony Cruz is heading back to the North American scene with the BMC team, while Tom Danielson and Trent Lowe have confirmed with Slipstream, while Matt White is moving to that squad as a director sportif. Stijn Devolder will stay in his home country of Belgium with the Quick Step-Innergetic squad, while George Hincapie is confirmed to be heading to T-Mobile. Egoi Martinez will ride for the Basque Euskaltel-Euskadi squad.

In other transfer news, British Olympic and World Champion Bradley Wiggins will leave the French Cofidis team and don the magenta strip of the T-Mobile squad for the upcoming season, according to BBC Sport.

Finally, 22 year-old Lithuanian Ignas Konovalovas has signed with Crédit Agricole.

Slipstream announces full roster

Tyler Farrar to don the argyle

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Greenville, South Carolina

Jonathan Vaughters announces the Slipstream roster
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

Even though the majority of the "big names" of the 2008 Slipstream-Chipotle team have been unearthed one way or another over the past two months, team director Jonathan Vaughters still had to go about the business of officially announcing the roster for his team -- something he did in conjunction with this weekend's USA Cycling Professional road and time trial championships.

Despite the media and public attention around who was heading to the Vaughters outfit, a few names did stay under the radar. One of these is American Tyler Farrar, who has ridden the past two years for the French Cofidis team. Farrar scored his first professional victory in the GP CTT Correios de Portugal in June of this year.

Vaughters also said that one final roster spot will be decided in the coming days. When pressed for more details Vaughters only smiled, but did finally say that this weekend's championship races will be a major deciding factor for the spot.

Another outcome of the announcement was seeing who is and is not on the team from the current roster. Mike Friedman can rest easy after putting in strong performances in the second half of the season, despite being sidelined for six months by a rare blood disorder. However, Friedman's often compatriot Brad Huff will be looking for a different ride for next season.

Farrar brings sprinting power to Slipstream
Photo ©:
(Click for larger image)

On the domestic side, Ryder Hesjedal comes to the team after spending fruitful time with the Health Net-Maxxis programme -- continuing the tradition of sending North American riders upwards towards the elite European ranks.

In a typical Vaughters twist, the 2008 Slipstream-Chipotle jersey design will come from the general public in the form of a contest. The top five designs submitted to the team's web site will be voted on by the public and the winner announced at Interbike. One major rule is that argyle MUST be used in the design, along with a few other details like including all of the sponsors.

On the sponsor front, Chipotle has signed on for 2008 and in a bigger way, leading Vaughters to say that the team will continue to eat a lot of burritos next year.

2008 Roster:

David Millar
David Zabriskie
Christian Vandevelde
Tom Danielson
Julian Dean
Magnus Backstedt
Christophe Laurent
Tyler Farrar

Huub Duyn
Martijn Maaskant Daniel Martin
Trent Lowe
Danny Pate
Jason Donald
Pat McCarty
Chris Sutton

Kilian Patour
Lucas Euser
Steven Cozza
Timmy Duggan
Mike Friedman
Will Frischkorn
Tom Peterson
Ryder Hesjedal

Armstrong makes appearance in Korea

Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Seven time Tour champion Lance Armstrong headed to South Korea to meet with cancer survivors and appear at the Tour of Korea, which begins Saturday. Armstrong, who supported Tailwind Sports' decision to pull out of the sport, ending its search for a replacement sponsor for the Discovery Channel team, forcing dozens of riders and staff to scramble for jobs at the end of the season, still felt optimistic about the future of the sport, according to Reuters.

"I think cycling will survive and ultimately thrive," Armstrong declared at a press conference in Seoul, South Korea. "It's been around for a while, it's not the first decade of scandals, and it's still here and still strong."

The sport's tumultuous year was unique in many ways - from the multiple doping positives announced during the Tour to Rabobank's Michael Rasmussen being fired while riding the yellow jersey. Armstrong commented on the season, saying, "It was definitely a very interesting year .... a rider in a yellow jersey fired by his team while he's in the yellow jersey. I don't think that's ever happened before."

However, the American reiterated what he's said for years, that cycling has done more to fight doping than any other sport. "I commend cycling for what they do," Armstrong commented. "I don't think any other world sport can compare to what cycling has done."


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by AFP Photo

Images by Jonathan Devich/

Riders face Vuelta's one-two punch

The arid, windy conditions of the Vuelta
Photo ©: Unipublic
(Click for larger image)

The 2007 Vuelta a España will start without not only last year's winner, but without the entire 2006 podium. Despite this, the racing will be as close and exciting as ever. Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown picks out the favourites.

The riders of the 62nd Vuelta a España will start their 3291-kilometre journey this Saturday, September 1, from Vigo, heading out onto a parcours that, along with the composition of the peloton, should make for a gripping 2007 edition of the race. Organiser Unipublic has continued to do what it does best by offering an exciting three-week journey, this year delivered in the form of a one-two punch.

The fight for the Maillot Oro will take place as the roads guide the riders from north-western Spain in a clockwise direction. It takes in Galicia and Asturia on its way east before skirting down the coast for the southern stages. It is the northern stages of the first week and the southern stages in the third week that will pack the biggest punch. After the sprinters have had a chance in the first three days, the GC contenders will come out to play, and we should have an early glimpse of the final winner as early as Tuesday - just four days into the race - when the riders meet their first big obstacle: the 12.6-kilometre ascent of Lagos de Covadonga.

After stage four, the second big appointment will be the 52-kilometre time trial in Cariñena to Zaragoza. The slightly downhill parcours will be shaped by the wind, which is always a factor in the Spanish Tour.

Read the full preview here.

Hincapie set to defend road title in hometown

Levi Leipheimer & his pal George
Photo ©: Mitch Clinton
(Click for larger image)
For the second year in a row, the US professional road and time trial championships are only open to Americans, and Greenville, South Carolina will play host to most of the top US racers in a battle to wear the coveted national colours for the next season. George Hincapie, the defending road champion, is back in his hometown -- but what will happen is still anybody's guess.

The fact that the US professional national championship for the road is held September, and not in June like most other countries, means that the tactics and outcome of the race could be affected by the inevitable transfers that are often inked in the weeks leading up to the race. Such was the suspected case last year with the final two riders left contesting the win, Discovery Channel's George Hincapie and then Gerolsteiner's Levi Leipheimer who had announced his transfer to Discover for the following season.

Despite denying that he was planning to help Hincapie, Leipheimer had been spotted receiving water from the Discovery team car. As well, CSC's Dave Zabriskie was known to have stayed at Hincapie's house in Greenville and definitely played a role in thinning the field up the Paris Mountain climb.

When taking this into consideration this year, with so much turnover occurring throughout the ProTour and domestic scenes, the guess as to who will ride for whom is as uncertain as who will pull on the stars and stripes jersey. Hincapie has been rumoured to be going to the T-Mobile team next year, something that team-mate Alberto Contador confirmed this week. And with no more Discovery Channel after this year, the motivation to work together will be much less.

Read the full preview here.

Oscar Pereiro: Getting better all the time

Caisse d'Epargne's Oscar Pereiro
Photo ©: AFP Photo
(Click for larger image)

Oscar Pereiro has shown great form in the lead up to the second major goal of his season, the 2007 Vuelta a España. In only his first outing since the Tour de France and his last before the Vuelta, he finished just six seconds behind winner, Pierrick Fedrigo in the small four day event the Tour du Limousin in France.

With team-mate Alejandro Valverde not taking part in this years event, the humble Spaniard will start the event as the sole leader of the Caisse d'Epargne team with the ambition of wearing the Golden Fleece into Madrid in 21 days time, Cyclingnews' Jean-François Quénet in Limoges after the finish of his final test before returning to Spain.

Old recipes still work in modern cycling. While explaining how Miguel Indurain, who dominated the early 90's with his Banesto team, built the form necessary to take victory in the 1992 Tour of Italy, team manager José Miguel Echavarri said Indurain used "the humility of riding the Circuit de la Sarthe as a preparation for the pink jersey." What he meant was, Indurain used a four-day stage race with little prestige and small fields but nice roads and acceptable organisation in the centre of France to fine tune himself for the bigger and more prestigious event in May.

The Tour du Limousin in August is the equivalent of the Circuit de la Sarthe in April. Its terrain is a bit more undulating than la Sarthe, but that is precisely what attracted Oscar Pereiro to use the race for a pre-Vuelta warm up. "Initially, my plan was to not race at all between the Tour de France and the Tour of Spain, but the Tour du Limousin appeared to me as an opportunity to check out my condition before my big goal of the second part of the season," the Galician explained.

After running the change of heart by his team, the Caisse d'Epargne management was more than happy to offer him something to do. "I asked my team to line me up in a stage race in August and they offered me the Tour du Limousin; I said OK, it sounds good." Much like Indurain avoided the bigger races in the lead up to the Giro, Pereiro reckoned the bigger ProTour races like the Tour of Germany or the Eneco Tour were too long and stressful for a tranquilo build-up to his country's national tour, compared to the small and friendly French race built around the legend of Raymond Poulidor, who is still the race radio commentator of the Tour du Limousin, at age 71.

Pereiro set himself two peaks for this season, the first and most obvious one was in July for the Tour, the second was for September and in particular his national Tour but Pereiro is also thinking of the worlds, he believes that the Stuttgart course should suit him well and has every intention to come out of the Vuelta in good form and contest the championships at the end of a long season. "If I come out of the Vuelta with good form, I'd like to do the Worlds as well," Pereiro added.

But for now, he has set his sights on his national Tour. The race begins Saturday, in Vigo, the capital of his region but he added that "As far as I know, there's nothing special organised for me, but of course there will be high expectations from my fans." He's well aware of the higher expectations after his tenth place in the Tour this year, following his second place in 2006.

Read the full feature here.

Women's World Cup heads to Plouay

Beltman congratulated by a team-mate after winning the last World Cup
Photo ©: Petra Rossner
(Click for larger image)

The women's World Cup series is heading down the home stretch as it approaches the next to last race, the GP Plouay. The French event is always an important race on the women's calendar, and this year will be no different. World Cup leader Nicole Cooke will be keen to defend her series title for the second year in a row, and will rely on the help of her Raleigh Lifeforce Creation team to help her extend her 51 point lead over the World Champion, Marianne Vos.

The former Worlds course in Plouay is the perfect World Cup course: it has the same challenging climbs that the men will face, the last one in the final five kilometres, but features a very fast finish. After six laps of the circuit and 114.6 kilometres of racing, the climbing should knock some of the wind out of the pure sprinters' sails, but will favour the true World Cup contenders like Cooke, Vos and the speedy Australian Oenone Wood.

Of the 173 riders from 29 teams, several names jump out as serious contenders, depending on how the race unfolds. T-Mobile's Ina-Yoko Teutenberg is just coming off of two consecutive stage wins in the Trophée d'Or, upping her season wins to ten. Her team-mates Judith Arndt, Wood and winner of the Open de Suède Vargarda World Cup, Chantal Beltman, will give that team plenty of options.

"All in all I think we have a great team. Both Judith Arndt and Oenone Wood have been on the podium here before so I think both are capable of winning this race," said T-Mobile directeur sportif Anna Wilson on the team's website. "Chantal Beltman is fresh from her victory in Sweden and also has a good history in Plouay having secured the silver medal in the world championships when they were in Plouay" added Wilson.

Wilson expects strong competition from the Swiss Bigla team, who are coming off a one-two finish at the Trophée d'Or. "Bigla had a very strong showing at Trophee d'Or and they have a good history at the Plouay World Cup so we expect them to be very strong again."

However, with the race as part of the World Cup series, the overall standings will be high on the list of priorities for two of the favourites, who might nullify each other. "I think it is possible that Nicole Cooke will focus only on Marianne Vos to secure the overall title and that may allow others to escape to fight for the victory in Plouay," predicted Wilson.

The T-Mobile roster in brief: Kim Anderson (USA), Judith Arndt (Germany), Chantal Beltman (Netherlands), Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Germany), Linda Villumsen (Denmark), Oenone Wood (Australia).

Gerolsteiner for upcoming races

Team Gerolsteiner is sending riders to France and Belgium the next few days to appear in three races. On Sunday, it will try to equal or better its record in the GP Ouest France-Plouay on Sunday, where it placed three riders in the top six last year. Fabian Wegmann will lead the team there.

In addition, sprinter Robert Förster will lead the team in two races in Belgium, the Schaal J.C. Sels Merksem and the GP Jef Scherens. Two stagiaires, Thomas Wagner and Mathias Frank, will also appear for the German team.

Gerolsteiner for G.P. Plouay: Heinrich Haussler, David Kopp, Volker Ordowski, Ronny Scholz, Fabian Wegmann, Peter Wrolich, Beat Zberg, and Markus Zberg.

Gerolsteiner for Schaal J.C. Sels Merksem and the GP Jef Scherens: Robert Förster, Thomas Fothen, Mathias Frank, Oscar Gatto, Sven Krauss, Volker Ordowski, Thomas Wagner, and Carlo Westphal.

Toyota for US Championships

The Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team heads into this weekend's USA Cycling Pro Championships with two former national champions who will be gunning for another stars & stripes jersey. Chris Baldwin, a two-time US National Time Trial champion (2003, 2005) and Chris Wherry, the 2005 US PRO champion, will lead the team in this year's championship event.

Chris Baldwin will ride the time trial Saturday, then join Justin England, Burke Swindlehurst and Chris Wherry in Sunday's road race. Wherry, ninth place a year ago and the national road champion in 2005, said he would like nothing more than to don the stars-and-stripes jersey again.

"That was such an awesome year to have that jersey and go through that experience," Wherry said. "Winning this race is going to be a goal of mine from now until to the end of my career."

In the time trial, Baldwin aims to earn what would be his first win of the year. In last year's championship time trial, he suffered a heartbreaking loss to David Zabriskie when he crashed in a tight right-hand corner after leading at the final time check. Subsequently dubbed "Baldwin's corner", the turn has been removed from this year's course.

New EPO study needs subjects

Erythropoietin (EPO) continues to be at the forefront of drug testing in athletes. Humans produce natural EPO in their bodies that is required for function; however some athletes boost natural EPO with artificial EPO to gain a performance advantage in sports.

In an effort to improve understanding of EPO synthesis and excretion as well as the accuracy of EPO detection, researchers at the University of Sydney are conducting a study to determine the effect of repeated prolonged exercise in the heat, on urine EPO excretion.

If you are a cyclist aged 18-35 yrs, training a minimum of 4 times per week, you have the opportunity to be part of this study, subject to a medical screening. As a participant in the study, you will have access to your fundamental performance data, including: VO2max, power to weight ratios, cycling efficiency, sweat rate responses, physiology and personal adaptation to the heat. You will also obtain essential information on successfully acclimatising in the heat. This information may assist in improving cycling performance.

All testing will be conducted at The University of Sydney, Cumberland campus, in a specialised climate chamber during August-November 2007. Subjects will not be taking EPO or any other substances during the study. Subjects will be given some financial support at the successful completion of their part in the study.

If you would like further information or to be included in the study please contact the researchers directly.

Dr Corinne Caillaud –, George Fatseas – 0414 707 170

There's still time - join the Vuelta 2007 today!

There's still time to join the Fantasy La Vuelta Game - create your teams now and win some amazing prizes! You can enter new teams until Stage 4 begins (10:00 UTC/GMT+2 Tuesday, September 4).

New prizes confirmed!

SRAM Rival
Photo ©:
(Click for larger image)

From one Grand Prize and one First Runner-up to three each Second, Third and Fourth Runner-up prize packages, there are eleven chances for you to win based on your overall performance in the 2007 Vuelta a Espana Fantasy Game. There are also 21 daily prizes for each stage's top performer.

SRAM's Rival groupset is the latest to join this year's prize roster. Built for serious and competitive riders who hammer their gear day in and day out, the SRAM Rival grouppo delivers the same features and functionality of SRAM Red and Force but with different materials and finishes.

Crowned with controls featuring SRAM's Double Tap Controls which offer a performance advantage that other competition-level shifters can't touch. From the hoods, the drops, or even when you're sprinting, the single-lever design puts unmatched control in your hands while saving weight and limiting shifting motion to an optimized 15-degree sweep. The 10-speed Rival groupset includes shifters, front and rear derailleur, OCT crankset, bottom bracket, brakes, cassette and chain.

Photo ©:
(Click for larger image)

Also on offer in this year's Fantasy Vuelta the roster includes some great prizes from Speedplay's Zero Stainless pedals, Maxxis Courchevel road tyres, Udderly Smooth Chamois Cream, and Giro's Ionos helmets. To find out more have a look at the prize list.

Play for free

Remember you can play for free for the first four stages. Try your teams out and see which rider combinations work out best. We hope you enjoy this year's game and look forward to seeing your winning team online soon.

Choosing your Mountains and Sprints Riders

In what's set to be an interesting race following the events of this summer picking your team of 15 riders couldn't be more challenging. If you are relatively new to the Grande Tours it can be a daunting prospect choosing your 15 riders from Saturday's start list of over 200 riders. You need to choose your riders carefully for all 4 elements of the game. The new ranking system can tell you some of the answers you need to know based on last year's results. Here's some direct links to real life riders that scored well in the 2006 Vuelta Fantasy Game:

Top 2006 Mountains Riders
Top 2006 Sprinters
Top 2006 Finishers
Top 2006 Game Stage Points Riders

Fantasy Upgraded

BBB eyewear
Photo ©:
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We've added some great improvements to the game this year:
1. New ranking and results service, offering new depths of rider statistics on races over the last four years.
2. See your friends exact selections in the this year's game as it happens.
3. Look up the winning managers team selections for last year to improve your selection this year.
4. Follow the progress of the key fantasy managers whilst also tracking your friends' progress in the new "Watch Teams" tool.
5. Build your own Mini-Leagues.
6. Try out the Forum/Chat area, which provides new ways to communicate with your fellow players from around the world in real time as the races unfold.
7. New stage selection system to make sure you never miss a stage pick again.

What is Fantasy Vuelta all about?

The online game allows you to assume the role of a professional team manager for the 2007 Vuelta and create your own dream team from any of the real life riders in this year's Vuelta. Based on the live racing action, you will take up the challenge of using your knowledge and tactical skill as a race team manager to compete with other virtual managers from around the world. Follow the races live and use your skill and knowledge to win some great prizes.

Remember you can still enter teams until stage 4 begins. You can re-edit and re-enter teams for stages 1-3 of the Vuelta 2007 competition up until stage 4 begins. Unlike most Fantasy games, this gives you the chance to try out the game for FREE and experiment with different strategies without having to pay for mistakes. If you join the Vuelta after the start date you can still take part with just as good a chance of winning as a manager who joined before stage 1. Try out a team today!

Play for free Remember you can play for free for the first 4 stages! Try your teams out and see which rider combinations work out best. We hope you enjoy this year's game and look forward to seeing your winning team online soon.

Good luck!

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