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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News, December 25, 2008

Edited by Peter Hymas

Piepoli admits mistake

Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval-Scott) in the 2008 Tour
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Leonardo Piepoli admitted his mistake of doping during the Tour de France in July. The Italian faces a two-year suspension and the end of his cycling career.

"I made a mistake and it is right that I pay. I was advised by the wrong people in difficult moments, but I made the mistake," Piepoli said to La Gazzetta dello Sport following a hearing last week.

The French anti-doping agency (AFLD) found him positive for the third generation Erythropoietin – CERA – from tests conducted on July 4 and 15 during the Tour. Piepoli won stage 10 to Hautacam, July 14, before the announcement of his positive doping control.

His team, then known as Saunier Duval-Scott, withdrew from the race on July 17 after the French agency reported Piepoli's teammate Riccardo Riccò positive for CERA.

He confessed he injected himself with the doping substance, but did not seek to collaborate in a hearing Thursday with Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) anti-doping prosecutor. Piepoli, unlike Riccò, did not name Doctor Carlo Santuccione as a supplier, according to the newspaper.

"It is futile to name names, it is a lot of people who were already prosecuted," he said

The anti-doping prosecutor, Ettore Torri, called for a two-year suspension shortly after the meeting. Piepoli, known for his climbing skills, faces the end of his career.

Italy's anti-doping tribune will act on the suspension request and determine the final sentence. It issued Riccò a ban of two years in October. (GB)

Pozzato gets early start in Moscow

Filippo Pozzato with the flag of Russia,
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Italy's Filippo Pozzato is making an early start to his 2009 season that includes a trip to the sponsor's base in Moscow. The winner of the 2006 Milano-Sanremo accompanied his new Katusha teammates to the Russian capital for the team's presentation.

"I have never been to Moscow. Negative six degrees [Celsius], snow, traffic. I saw only one guy on a bike, doing balancing acts on the iced asphalt," said Pozzato to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Pozzato joined Team Katusha this year after two years with Team Liquigas. In 2007 he won the Omloop Het Volk and a stage in the Tour de France, but passed 2008 without a win despite many placings.

Pozzato re-started his training early to be prepared for 2009 and has ridden 2000 kilometers since the start of December. He intends to be ready for the season along side new teammates Gert Steegmans and Robbie McEwen.

"I want to start strong. I will begin racing in Qatar, dedicating myself to the Northern Classics. I will go on to race the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France. Too much? No, I have already done it, and I can do it again."

Pozzato aims to win immediately because he believes it is his responsibility to do so. (GB)

Sastre's yellow jersey auctioned for 15,000 euro

Sastre auctioned this jersey
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

The yellow jersey worn by Tour champion Carlos Sastre during the final stage of the 2008 Tour de France sold for 15,000 euro on eBay according to AFP.

The money from this auction will go to the Victor Sastre Sports Foundation, founded and chaired by Carlos Sastre's father, that helps children in need. A portion of the revenue will be also be donated to a non-governmental organization, SID-CAN, which fights AIDS and cancer.

On July 29, 2008 Carlos Sastre donated 10,000 euro to the University Hospital of Gent while he visited young cancer patients being treated at the facility.

Armstrong to be father for fourth time

It will be a memorable year 2009 for seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, not only for his return to professional cycling, including an anticipated start in the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France, but also for the birth of a child with girlfriend Anna Hansen.

"Anna and I are thrilled to confirm that we are expecting in June and our families are ecstatic and grateful," said Armstrong. "We are very much looking forward to what 2009 brings on many fronts. We appreciate respecting our privacy, as we are both eager to celebrate the holidays as a family."

Armstrong and Hansen met at a charity event and have been a couple since July.

Armstrong, 37, has three children with his ex-wife Kristin, a son Luke and twins Isabelle Rose and Grace Elizabeth.

UCI awards three Professional Continental Team licenses

The International Cycling Union (UCI) granted three teams, Spain's Murcia-Contentpolis AMPO, Ireland's LPR Brakes and San Marino's Amica Chips-Knauf, Professional Continental Team licenses for the 2009 season. The applications of these teams had initially been considered incomplete by the UCI. The teams appealed to the UCI Management Committee and on the basis of the additional information provided by the teams the Management Committee has decided to approve the teams' registration.

These three teams join the 18 already registered as Professional Continental Teams which includes Elk Haus (Aut), Vorarlberg-Corratec (Aut), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago (Bel), Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator (Bel), PSK Whirlpool-Author (Cze), Andalucía Cajasur (Spa), Xacobeo Galicia (Spa), Agritubel (Fra), Barloworld (GBr), Ceramica Flaminia-Bossini Docce (Irl), CSF Group-Navigare (Irl), Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo (Ita), ISD (Ita), Skil-Shimano (Ned), Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team (Ned), Cervélo Test Team (Swi), BMC (USA) and Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli (Ven).

Murcia-Contentpolis AMPO relieved by UCI registration

By Antonio J. Salmerón

The Spanish Murcia-Contentpolis AMPO team received Professional Continental Team status for 2009 by the International Cycling Union (UCI) after submitting all the required documentation. It came as a relief of the team's management and riders.

"It is something similar to a Christmas gift for all of us because we have been working very hard," said team manager José Antonio Ortuño to Cyclingnews. "We are very thankful to all our sponsors, but especially to the local Government of Murcia and AMPO. Without their contributions it would be impossible for us to be celebrating today.

We want also to thank our riders for having confidence in the viability of our team. It was a matter of waiting because much of our budget comes from local government. First it had to be approved and that requires a lengthy process."

The team was at the Vuelta a España presentation in Madrid and look forward to the 2009 edition. "It is spectacular, with many mountains," Ortuño said. "That is good for us, but so are the time trial stages. Two stages (10th and 11th) will take place at home (in the Region de Murcia), and that is very motivating for us as well. Both of the stages are very favorable for breakaways, but first we have to gain Unipublic's confidence.

"ùThere is no doubt that the Vuelta is our most ambitious goal of the next season, but not the only one. We have increased our ability to hire high-caliber and versatile riders. We must keep alive the fighting spirit that characterized us in 2008."

The Challenge de Mallorca will be the team's first race in the 2009 season. "We are also expecting an invitation from the Tour of Qatar's organizer," Ortuño said. "But before the season starts we will have our first training camp in the Centro de Alto Rendimiento Infanta Cristina, next to the Mediterranean Sea in Murcia. We were also there last January and it was a great experience for all of us."

World Cup kicks off holiday 'cross-fest

By Peter Hymas

Sven Nys leads the World Cup
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

The seventh round of the Cyclo-Cross World Cup takes place this Friday on the grounds of the Circuit Zolder motor racing track in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium, site of the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix on 10 occasions in the 1970s and 1980s and also the location of Mario Cipollini's 2002 road world championship. This round of the World Cup will see the Elite men compete for the seventh time, Elite women for the sixth time, while the U23 and Junior men race for only the third time. Friday's World Cup also kicks off an intense block of post-Christmas 'cross racing in Belgium which offers eight races in the ten-day span from December 26 to January 4.

Sven Nys, leader of both the World Cup and UCI cyclo-cross rankings, doesn't need to score a single point to maintain his World Cup lead over Bart Wellens going into the eighth round in Roubaix, France. The ever-consistent Nys, however, will undoubtedly be looking to please a partisan Belgian crowd and extend his 81 point lead by trying to attain his third World Cup victory this season. Wellens, fresh off his first World Cup podium of the season last weekend in Nommay, France, looks to be coming into good form with a late-race charge in Nommay coming up just short of Nys and race-winner Lars Boom.

Continue to the full World Cup preview

Drapac Porsche to race Trust House Cycle Classic

The Australian-based Drapac Porsche Cycling Team will make their first ever appearance in New Zealand for next month's Trust House Cycle Classic taking place January 21 to 25, according to race director Jorge Sandoval.

"I wanted to have this team here for years, but because of their reputation they are never short of invitations to other bike races in Asia or the Middle East at the same time as our race," said Sandoval. "Now they are coming and should be a top contender to give Australia another win in the 22-year Tour of Wellington history."

Drapac Porsche will be led by 1999 Junior World Champion and current South Australian Champion Gene Bates, who has lived and raced in Europe for the past eight years. Bates rode professionally for the Swiss team LPR in 2007 and 2008, competing in ProTour events including Tirreno-Adriatico, Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Lombardy. Also included on the team's roster are fellow Australians Peter McDonald, Pip Grinter, Mark O'Brien and Thomas Palmer.

"I have seen this team in action at other races overseas and they are very professional," said Sandoval. "They are coming to Wellington very well-prepared with a full team of riders, masseurs, mechanics and coaches. Obviously they want to do well and collect valuable UCI points. There will be other top riders in the Trust House Cycle Classic but if this team rides as they should, they would have to be considered a top contender to win the event."

Drapac Porsche, registered as a UCI Continental Team in the Oceania Region, will compete at the Trust House Cycle Classic as part of its 2009 schedule of UCI-classified events which also includes races in Asia, Europe, Australia and North America.

New women's UCI race for New Zealand

The New Zealand Community Trust (NZCT) Women's International Cup of Cycling, a new event for 2009 in Masterton, New Zealand on March 1, has been granted a 1.1 rating by the UCI according to race promoter Jorge Sanodval.

"My team and I have been working to bring the World Cup back to Wellington," Sandoval said. "It didn't work out this time but the UCI has offered us encouragement with the 1.1 rating one-day race. It's ranked just below a World Cup race and there's plenty of UCI points on offer.

"This is great news for our sport and the region," continued Sandoval. "One-day races graded 1.1 usually only take place in European cities. I'll be running the event as though it was a World Cup race on the platform already established in the Wellington region by sponsors, officials, organizers and supporters. We must reproduce the momentum created in the World Cup rounds of 2005 and 2006. To have the NZCT on board for a second time is very special. It gives us the confidence to put on two first-class women's events on our own soil in 2009, and beyond."

Prior to the one-day race on March 1 will be the New Zealand Community Trust Women's Tour of New Zealand, a UCI-sanctioned stage race in the Wairarapa region from February 25 to 27.

NZCT chief executive Mike Knell said his organization was happy to help. "We are the largest founder of amateur sport in New Zealand and we're pleased to contribute to the success of these outstanding events. The one-day classic is a great challenge for participants, and an added boost to cycling's already high profile in the region."

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