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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News, August 11, 2008

Edited by Gregor Brown

Spain's Moreno becomes 2008 Games' first doping case

Team Spain's Maria Isabel Moreno, 27, tested positive for EPO, July 31, during the 2008 Olympics
Photo ©: Bjorn Haake
(Click for larger image)

Team Spain's Maria Isabel Moreno, 27 years old of Huesca, tested positive for EPO and became the first athlete of the 2008 Olympic Games to fail a doping control, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced this morning.

"This is not good news for Spanish cycling," said the general secretary of the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC), Eugenio Bermúdez. "It diminishes our satisfaction, but does not blur the work performed yesterday by her companions ... or the medal of Samuel [Sánchez]."

Moreno travelled to the Olympics' host city of Beijing on July 30 with team-mates Anna Sanchis and Marta Vilajosana, and Directeur Sportif Mikel Zabala to represent her country in the road race (August 10) and time trial (13). The IOC tested her one day after her arrival, July 31. Before knowing the results, she left China the same evening – 22:00 – due to what she reported as an "anxiety attack."

"No one said it was an 'anxiety attack,' but she was crying and beyond herself. The team's doctor requested that she returned home and we expedited her return that same night. She was crying or sleeping 99 percent of the journey. The crisis was real," explained Bermúdez.

She released a statement on Saturday in which she apologised for her unavailability to the media and scheduled a press conference for today in Zaragoza. This morning the conference was delayed to a later day due to "low spirits."

Moreno, Spanish road champion, performed well leading up to the Olympics. She won a stage in the Vuelta a Occidente (May 25), finished fifth overall in the Grande Boucle Féminine Internationale (June 17 to 22) and 15th overall in the Giro d'Italia Femminile (July 5 to 13).

Cycling out of Olympics?

Will the World Anti-Doping Agency ask that the International Olympic Committee throw cycling out of its Olympic Games? World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) chief John Fahey stated his organisation might recommend that cycling and weightlifting be excluded because of doping problems.

"Some sports such as weightlifting have a pretty bad record and that is demonstrated time and again with numerous athletes from that sport," Fahey told the Associated Press. "I think weightlifting understands, as cycling understands, that there is a huge risk for both those sports if the cheating is continued and continued to be exposed."

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He added, "There is no sport that anybody can suggest is doping free. But there are some sports that have had a history, and I would suggest there's a level or a culture [of doping] that has developed in some of those sports."

The WADA is observing the Olympics to see whether each sport is complying with its regulations. It will issue its recommendations in November and will be forward to the International Olympic Committee, which has the right to exclude a sport that is not in compliance. (SW)

Di Rocco pleased with Team Italy's medals

Davide Rebellin, 37, of Team Italy won silver in the men's road race
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

The Italian cycling federation (FCI) President, Renato Di Rocco, is pleased with his athletes' performances over the weekend in the Olympics. Davide Rebellin took a silver medal and Tatiana Guderzo a bronze.

"I am very pleased for this result, which opened up Italy's medal count," said Di Rocco after Rebellin finished second to Spain's Samuel Sánchez in the men's road race. The medal gave Italy its first medal of the Games, a count that is currently at five.

Rebellin covered the move of Luxembourg's Andy Schleck, which produced the winning move with Sánchez, for team leader Paolo Bettini. He was unable to match the speed of the Spaniard in the sprint.

"I am even more pleased for Davide, who rode like a true champion," said Di Rocco of Rebellin, who celebrated his 37th birthday on the day. "Compliments to the whole team."

On day later, Guderzo ignited a rain-soaked women's race with numerous attacks in the finale. Like Rebellin, the 23 year-old was unable to defend herself in the sprint. She finished third behind Britain's Nicole Cooke and Sweden's Emma Johansson.

"It gives us goose bumps and it is a great result for Italian cycling. Tatiana and Noemi Cantele did a magnificent job, the whole squad did," Di Rocco said of the women's team, which also included Vera Carrara.

Wegmann "the last one left"

Germany's Fabian Wegmann marks Italian Paolo Bettini (r - l)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

The weather for the men's Olympic road race on Saturday turned out to be exactly as Germany's Fabian Wegmann feared. "More than 30° and humidity of 90 percent, that's not fun for any rider." The 28 year-old went on to finish 21st in the 245-kilometre event won by Spain's Samuel Sánchez.

The German team based itself around captain Stefan Schumacher. It had Jens Voigt and Bert Grabsch in an escape group, "but then they all had to give up, one after the other. In the end I was the last one left," he said on his website,

"Twenty-first place is OK, but I would rather have been further forward. I went with [defending champion Paolo] Bettini when he attacked and overdid myself. You don't have so many chances in a race like this," he noted. "And those weren't nobodies who picked up the speed and went for the win."

Looking to the upcoming time trial, which he will not ride, the Wegmann said that while Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara is his favourite to win, his Gerolsteiner team-mate Schumacher "can also have something to do with it. He certainly has the form, but the weather makes it difficult for him." (SW)

No Worlds for Voigt

German Jens Voigt will not race the World Championships
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

German Jens Voigt of Team CSC-Saxo Bank will not be riding in the Worlds in Varese in September. "This year I won't start in the World Championships," the 36 year-old told the Bund Deutscher Radfahrer (German cycling federation).

Team CSC-Saxo Bank agreed with his decision. "Jens has had a long season, with the Giro, the Tour and the Olympics," team spokesperson Brian Nygaard said to Cyclingnews. "No wonder that he feels like he can't give his best at the end of the season, too."

Voigt is in Beijing for the Olympic Games. He rode in the road race on Saturday, where he was part of an escape group. He will stay in China until August 14 as the back-up man for the time trial, in case either Stefan Schumacher or Bert Grabsch is unable to ride.

After the Olympics, Voigt is scheduled to ride the GP Plouay before looking to defend his title in the Deutschland Tour. Nygaard said, "Jens is probably going to plan the rest of his season with Directeur Sportif Kim Andersen before the Deutschland Tour." (SW)

Kupfernagel: Time on trial in gold rush

Hanka Kupfernagel wants to conquer the time trial course
Photo ©: Mike Kluge
(Click for larger image)

Hanka Kupfernagel is the reigning time trial World Champion. Her whole year was focused on repeating her performance at the Olympic Games in Beijing, but extended health problems have brought turmoil to her plans. Cyclingnews' Bjorn Haake discovered that once healed she had no time to lose.

Germany's Hanka Kupfernagel flew off to China one week before one of the most important races of her life. She had packed four – two time trial and two road – bikes, equipment and a mixed bag of feelings. Kupfernagel was worried about her shortened preparation on the one hand, but drawing confidence from her uncountable wins in the past with the other.

Kupfernagel and her coach/partner Mike Kluge had drawn up the plan for the Olympic season last winter. "We basically took the 2007 plan and shifted it up by a month and a half," Kluge explained.

A plan is only as good as its execution, as Kupfernagel learned when health issues started to occur after Flèche Wallonne. "Flèche is a really hard race and when you are strained you are very susceptible to viruses," she said. "I got sick a few days after the race."

Kupfernagel had caught a bug which was refusing to go away. She lost five weeks in total, with bronchitis and a sinus infection keeping her off the planned schedule.

The illness didn't only affect her training program, but prevented the rider from qualifying for the Olympic cross country mountain biking event. "I had to cancel the mountain bike races in the spring so I couldn't qualify," she said.

Read the full interview.

Bertagnolli hits back at Fanini's Ferrari accusations

Leonardo Bertagnolli of Team Liquigas faces Fanini's Ferrari accusations
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Italian Leonardo Bertagnolli, 30 years old, hit back at the accusations of Ivano Fanini that he trained under the supervision of Doctor Michele Ferrari in St. Moritz, Switzerland, in the days leading to his victory in the Gran Premio di Camaiore, August 7.

"I was astonished that Ivano Fanini spoke of me directly to the press... I categorically refute that I was in St. Moritz with Dr. Ferrari," stated Bertagnolli in a press release on Friday.

Fanini, Team Manager of Amore & Vita-McDonald's and outspoken anti-doping critic, took aim at Team Liquigas' Bertagnolli after his win in Camaiore. "He should be disqualified because he prepared in St. Moritz with Doctor Michele Ferrari, instead he is still racing and winning races," said Fanini, according to Agr.

Ferrari worked as a sport physician for professional cycling teams and riders from 1984 onwards. In 2002, Italian public prosecutors accused him of sporting fraud and other violations of anti-doping laws, but the charges were dismissed in 2006 due to the expiration of the limitation period.

"As I explained in the press conference following my win in Camaiore, I trained for a period at altitude where I stayed on Stelvio, Passo Pordoi and Eira," Bertagnolli continued to explain how he was not in St. Moritz. "Like Fanini knows well, the temperatures in these last weeks have not consented to training of more than a few hours a day."

He added that his team and the cycling organisations know his whereabouts. "The UCI, CONI and FCI know where I have bee in the last weeks ... I have updated them regularly via ADAMS [Anti-Doping Administrative Management System] and RTP [Registered Testing Pool]."

Bertagnolli has obtained legal advice based on Fanini's accusations. Fanini released a statement this morning, in which he asked for clarification from Bertagnolli.

Kleinmann takes Holland Hills Classic

German Larissa Kleinmann, 29 years old, of Equipe Nürnberger won the Holland Hills Classic on Sunday. On the famous Cauberg climb, she attacked out of a three-woman escape group to take the solo win by five seconds over Elisabeth Bram of Team Flexpoint and Vera Koedooder of Lotto-Belisol.

"This was a great race," said Nürnberger Directeur Sportif Jens Zemke. "Larissa Kleinmann showed a perfect race and deserved to win."

A six-rider strong group broke away only 25 kilometres into the race, which featured 15 climbs. Three of the riders were unable to hold the pace and forced out of the competition for the victory. The remaining three stayed together on the closing five-kilometre lap around Valkenburg. Kleinmann took off at the foot of the Cauberg and was able to take the solo win.

The women's race had the same finish as the men's Amstel Gold Race. (SW)

(Additional editorial assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer.)

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