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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News for September 19, 2007

Edited by Gregor Brown

No Moreau in French Worlds selection

By Hedwig Kröner

Christophe Moreau skips World Championships
Photo ©: Cyclingnews.com
(Click for larger image)

French team director Frédéric Moncassin has announced his pick of riders going to the Stuttgart World Championships next week. Surprisingly, French Champion Christophe Moreau has not been included in the team, which gives the impression that Moncassin preferred current racing form to merit for his selection this year. The team captain of Ag2r Prévoyance, who will be joining Continental Team Agritubel next year, has lost his pre-Tour de France drive lately and will therefore stay at home.

Instead, a very competitive and young squad was presented by the national federation on Tuesday, notably listing Stéphane Augé (Cofidis), Sandy Casar (Française Des Jeux), Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis), Pierrick Fédrigo (Bouygues Telecom), Ludovic Turpin (Ag2r Prévoyance) and Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom). Young talents like Romain Feillu (Agritubel), Amaël Moinard (Cofidis) and Benoît Vaugrenard (Française Des Jeux) have also been included.

While there won't be a designated captain for the road race on Sunday, September 30, the hilly course is suited to finishers like Sylvain Chavanel and Thomas Voeckler, who recently won the GP Plouay. Last year in Salzburg, 23 year-old Romain Feillu won the silver medal in the U23 road race, and while he is still young, Moncassin did not hesitate to include him in the team after his recent victory at the Tour of Britain.

Coming up on

Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of the Dauphiné Libéré live as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).

WAP-enabled mobile devices: http://live.cyclingnews.com/wap/

The full French line-up lists as follows:
ITT U23 Men: Jérôme Coppel (CR4C Roanne), Tony Gallopin (SCO Dijon)
ITT Women: Maryline Salvetat (VSLL Castres), Jeannie Longo (Uniqa)
ITT Elite Men: Dimitri Champion (Bouygues Telecom), Benoît Vaugrenard (Française Des Jeux)
RR Women: Marina Jaunatre (Vienne-Futuroscope), Jeannie Longo (Uniqa), Magali Mocquery (Team Pro du Genevois), Edwige Pitel (Uniqa), Maryline Salvetat (VSLL Castres), Elodie Touffet (Menikini)
RR U23 Men: Jérôme Coppel (CR4C Roanne), Blel Kadri (Albi VS), Mickaël Larpe (Roubaix Lille Métropole), Guillaume Levarlet (Auber 93), Julien Simon (SuperSport 35-ACNC), Florian Vachon (EC Montmarault-Montluçon)
RR Elite Men: Stéphane Augé (Cofidis), Sandy Casar (Française Des Jeux), Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis), Pierrick Fédrigo (Bouygues Telecom), Romain Feillu (Agritubel), Amaël Moinard (Cofidis), Ludovic Turpin (Ag2r Prévoyance), Benoît Vaugrenard (Française Des Jeux), Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom)

Spanish Federation confirms Operación Puerto dossier is unusable

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Alejandro Valverde at middle of controversy
Photo ©: Andrea Hübner
(Click for larger image)

The Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) went yesterday to Madrid's Court of Investigation 31, according to El Faro de Murcia, to take further steps to confirm that the Operación Puerto dossier cannot be used by the International Cycling Union (UCI) for disciplinary purposes against Alejandro Valverde. RFEC Secretary Eugenio Bermúdez later confirmed the actions to Cyclingnews. The fight is coming to a head as the World Championships approaches, September 30 in Stuttgart. Valverde finished with a bronze medal in the 2006 Worlds.

Judge Antonio Serrano shelved the criminal proceedings against the persons accused in the sweeping Spanish doping case known as Operación Puerto in March. He shelved the case based on a legal argument that the suspects named or identified in Puerto did not commit an offence in Código Penal terms (the Spanish penal code). When the investigation started in May 2006, doping was not a criminal offence in Spain.

Before the 2007 Tour of France, the RFEC assured to the UCI that Valverde was not involved in Puerto, in addition, the International Association of Professional Cycling teams (AIGCP) limited the rider's involvement in the investigation during a heated meeting.

The UCI could appeal any decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) that allows Valverde to take part in its flagship race, the World Championships. In this case, and due to the fast approaching race, Valverde's representatives may be forced to bypass CAS with the court system in Switzerland, where UCI is based, or Germany, site of the Worlds.

Valverde's manager, Sánchez Sabater, will visit legal experts in the matter today in Lausanne. The recent request by the UCI for Valverde to supply his DNA to clarify any possible Puerto involvement is likely to be nullified since a rider is not required to do so if there is not an open legal investigation.

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'

May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
May 15, 2009 - Valverde not welcome in Denmark
May 14, 2009 - Spanish federation wants proof in Valverde case
May 13, 2009 - Spanish Olympic Committee defends Valverde
May 12, 2009 - Valverde responds to sanction
May 11, 2009 - Italian tribunal delivers Valverde two-year suspension
May 8, 2009 - Valverde case: Italian Olympic Committee defends Torri
May 7, 2009 - Valverde to take legal action against CONI prosecutor
May 5, 2009 - WADA and Spanish federation join CONI and UCI on Valverde
May 1, 2009 - International Cycling Union joins in on Valverde's hearing in Italy

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Operación Puerto

Spain's Superior Council responds to UCI's accusations

By Antonio J. Salmerón

President of Spain's Superior Council of Sports (CSD) Jaime Lissavetzky has responded to the International Cycling Union's (UCI) insinuations that his organization is trying to cover up the case of Alejandro Valverde relating to Operation Puerto. Lissavetzky reiterated CSD's "commitment to fight doping" and the policy of "zero tolerance."

The CSD has sent out an official release, where it anticipated the information published by the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia yesterday, and in which UCI President Pat McQuaid accused Lissavetzky of hiding the implication of Valverde in the Operación Puerto.

"Only if Alejandro Valverde makes available his DNA will he be able to confirm or deny his involvement in Operación Puerto," UCI President Pat McQuaid wrote in a letter to Lissavetzky and Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) President Fulgencio Sánchez. "The elements contained in the dossier reveal a solid link between Valverde, the name 'Piti,' the number 18 and the bags of blood, in which were EPO, that were sequestered. In Spain there is the desire to cover up the information of this event." (For more information read No EPO in Basso's blood bags but different for Valverde.)

The CSD reiterated "its commitment and determined policy against doping" through the approval of Statutory Law of Protection of the health and fight against the doping, that not only guarantees a cleaner sport, but that promotes sport's values and its healthily practice by the citizens.

CSD emphasized its support from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) for its new laws. "A legislative initiative inspired by the principle of 'zero tolerance,' that put our country in the vanguard of the countries that fight against doping," continued CSD in an official press note.

Lissavetzky assured that he would answer specifically to McQuaid's "unfounded declarations" in a separate letter. He requested for a "joint operation" of all the countries, while "respecting the legal norm. ... The sportsmen should not be judged on the basis of speculations."

CSC misses out on the win

Alexandr Kolobnev of Team CSC came very close to winning yesterday's stage in the Vuelta a España, but was unable to match the sprint of the Colombian Leonardo Duque of Cofidis. He ended up in second place.

The Russian was part of an 18-man escape group that formed after kilometre 58. With 20 kilometres to go, the group fell apart, and Kolobnev, Duque and Joan Horrach of Caisse d'Epargne got away in the lead. They were able to hold their slight advantage to the end, "in spite of a small disagreement about sharing the work load," as the CSC website, team-csc.com, put it. The three eyed each other warily until nearly the end of the stage, when Duque opened the sprint with 200 metres to go and was able to hold off Kolobnev.

"It was as close as it possibly could be. Alexandr made absolutely no mistakes whatsoever the entire day, and was totally cool in the finale, but Duque was just that tiny bit faster in the end," said CSC Directeur Sportif Kim Andersen. "It was almost inevitable that a break would end up lasting so we had to get up front and do the hard work, because we didn't have anyone in the initial break.

"As it turned out Alexandr was the perfect choice to send because he was so strong today. It was a big shame we missed out on the victory, because we could really have used one. But we'll just have to grab the chance again, because our guys are definitely fit enough to try for a big result this last week."

Italian Worlds U23 and women teams

Italian flags at the Worlds
Photo ©: Andrea Hübner
(Click for larger image)

The announcement of the elite men's Squadra Azzurra is of high importance for Italy, in addition, the names of the Elite Women and Under 23 Men for the World Championships were also released yesterday. Noemi Cantele will lead the women and the U23 men will be co-captained by Francesco Ginanni and Simone Ponzi.

DS Edoardo Salvoldi will lead a women's team consisting of Monia Baccaille (Saccarelli), Marta Bastianelli, Luisa Tamanini, Giorgia Bronzini (Safi-Zara), Noemi Cantele (Bigla) and Tatiana Guderzo (AA Drink). Fabiana Luperini (Menikini) and Silvia Parietti (Frw) will be the two reserves. The time trial team will consist of Anna Zugno (Safi-Zara), Silvia Valsecchi (Menikini) and Tatiana Guderzo.

The U23 men's team, led by DS Sandro Callari, will be formed by Mauro Finetto (Filmop), Federico Canuti (Monsummanese), Marco Frapporti (Unidelta), Francesco Ginanni (Finauto), Stefano Pirazzi (Saclà) and Simone Ponzi (Zalf). The two men for the time trial will be Adriano Malori (Filmop) and Marco Coledan (Trevigiani).

Jaksche hearing today

The Austrian cycling federation is holding its hearing of Jörg Jaksche today. The German cyclist, who lives in Austria, confessed to having been a client of Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

Jaksche confessed to having blood transfusions conducted by the doctor at the centre of Operación Puerto and his helpers, among other things. He also said that he wanted to help cycling in its fight against doping. He is hoping for a reduced sentence in light of his confession.

The hearing will be conducted by a three-man panel, led by Gernot Schaar, head of the anti-doping committee. The hearing will not be open to the public, and it is not expected that any details of the hearing will be released, only the result.

It was not known whether the hearing would be concluded in one day. If the ruling goes against Jaksche, he has the right to appeal the sentence to the federation's independent judicial committee and eventually to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland.

Barloworld signs two African riders

Team Barloworld has signed two African riders for the coming season: Daryl Impey of South Africa and Chris Froome of Kenya. "Team Manager Claudio Corti has decided to continue his strategy of bringing talented young riders to the team, and is naturally pleased to have two African riders in the 2008 line-up because the team is sponsored by Barloworld, a major South African company," the team said.

Impey, 22, currently rides for the MTN Microsoft team. He won the prologue and a stage at the Giro del Capo, and is considered fast and strong on the flat. Froome, 22, was born in Kenya but lives in South Africa. Barloworld describes him as "an eclectic rider who has also done well in mountain biking." This year he won a stage in the Giro delle Regioni and the Tour of Japan. He also won a silver medal in the time trial at the B World Championships, held in New Zealand.

"Cycling needs to find new faces and new talented riders and that's our strategy at Team Barloworld. We're convinced that by inserting talented young riders in our already successful team, we can continue to achieve even more excellent results in 2008," team manager Claudio Corti said.

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