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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News, July 16, 2008

Edited by Bjorn Haake

A bad week for Barloworld

Team Barloworld packed up in Pau this morning and headed to the start
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Team Barloworld is in shock after the breaking news of its rider Moisés Dueñas returning a positive A sample for EPO.

Claudio Masnata, the press contact for the team, recapped the dramatic morning events for Cyclingnews. "We received the info this morning that Moisés Dueñas returned a non-negative sample after the time trial in Cholet. The police searched his room. No other rooms were searched."

The team itself did not get a chance to talk to Dueñas, who was taken by the police for questioning.

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Despite the bad news, the team planned to start stage 11 and was assigned car number 13 in the caravane. It indicates that Tour organiser ASO considers this an isolated case of doping, giving the team a second chance.

Masnata described the morale in the team. "The team is in a bad mood. We already had bad news last week, with Soler crashing out of the Tour. We are in shock."

Team manager Claudio Corti had a similar reaction. "I am stunned, but I want to go deeper in this story before telling something definitive and planning our next actions. The one thing I can certainly state, by now, is that the team is not involved in this story at all."

Moisés Dueñas suspended

The team has suspended Dueñas immediately. The next step is for Dueñas's B sample to be tested by an independent doctor. These results will then be submitted and ratified, a process which could take up to five days before a final, conclusive result will be known. The way forward for both Dueñas and the team will only be determined upon receiving these results.

Team Barloworld is concerned about this development and supports the decision by ASO, the Tour de France race organisers, to exclude Dueñas. The team will be assisting ASO in all further investigations.

Chris Fisher, head of corporate marketing at Barloworld commented "We are disappointed and concerned about one of our cyclists testing positive. Team Barloworld has a zero tolerance policy towards doping and, as such, Dueñas has been suspended from all team activities with immediate effect."

Soler back to Colombia

Earlier bad news for Barloworld were the abandonment of Mauricio Soler in stage five, after crashing with about 20 kilometres remaining on Stage 1. After the accident Soler headed to Italy, where he was seen by orthopaedic specialist Dr Archetti. Archetti put Soler's left hand in a plaster and also recommended that Soler wears a stiff brace on his right hand for two weeks.

Soler then left Europe on Sunday, heading home to his native Colombia. The Barloworld captain will also undergo a scan in the near future to study the healing of his fracture in his left wrist; he will also undergo physiotherapy on both injuries.

Soler is expected to return to Italy in the first week of August when other check-ups will be carried out with Team Barloworld's medical staff.

"Mauricio will probably race again at the end of August but it's a little early to say exactly when and where," Team Barloworld manager Claudio Corti said.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by AFP Photo

Sport responds to ProTour meltdown

By Greg Johnson

Cadel Evans was officially awarded the ProTour winner's jersey
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

The question hanging over the fate of cycling's highest echelon has been answered: the UCI ProTour is most likely in its final year. While the 17 ProTour teams announcing they will not re-new their licenses in 2009 effectively kills off the ProTour concept, it leaves those within the sport with an even bigger questions.

"Who is going to replace the ProTour, and decide the calendar, the rules?," Dauphiné Libéré race director Thierry Cazeneuve asked AFP. "Who will make the decisions and will they have backing?"

Cazeneuve's questions are valid at a time when smaller race organizers are the most exposed to the consequences of the Union Cycliste Internationale Vs. Grand Tour organizers war. Unlike the main players - UCI and the Grand Tour organisers - and even the teams, which have now exercised their position of power, smaller race organizers are incredibly exposed to developments such as these. It's a situation that has several worried about the future, while others feel it will work itself out.

"I still believe that no matter what happens the Tour Down Under will remain as part of the elite of events with the UCI," Tour Down Under director Mike Turtur told ABC Radio. "If that is the case, then that's what we always wanted to achieve for the race, to be part of the elite program of events."

Read the full feature.

Garmin Chipotle line-up named for Tour of Ireland

By Shane Stokes

Young Irishman Daniel Martin will ride his home tour for Garmin in August
Photo ©: Pierre Carrey/VC La Pomme Marseille
(Click for larger image)

A strong Garmin Chipotle team has been announced for the Tour of Ireland, with David Millar, Magnus Backstedt, Julian Dean, Christophe Laurent and Martijn Maaskant joining Irish road race champion Daniel Martin for the 2.1 ranked race.

The event runs from August 27th to 31st and will feature sixteen international teams. Double Tour de France stage winner Mark Cavendish has already been named by the organisers as competing with the Team Columbia squad, and the Garmin Chipotle line-up is another good addition to the event.

Martin said that he was looking forward to showing off his new Irish champion's jersey. "I can't wait to get back to racing on Irish roads again," he said. "I know that a really hard course has been announced and the team is really motivated to do well. There was a real fight to get into the team for this one but obviously being Irish champion helped me get in. The guys are excited to be coming to Ireland to race. We should be one of the strongest teams."

Martin is a reserve for the Olympic Games road race but even if he ends up not riding in Beijing, he has a busy schedule in August.

"I have got a heavy program in the next few weeks," he said: "The Tour of Portugal finishes a couple of days before Ireland. The Portuguese tour is 12 days long and it will be interesting to see how I cope with so much racing, but I will definitely be taking it a bit easier there and saving something for Ireland. The last stage into Cork will be really hard so I am definitely thinking about that one. There will be an incredible atmosphere up on St Patrick's Hill and we are hoping that we can do something on the stage and in the overall classification."

The Tour of Ireland will run from Wednesday August 27th until Sunday August 31st. It goes from Dublin to Cork and will feature sixteen teams and a total of 112 riders.

Tour of Ireland stage details:

Stage 1: Dublin to Waterford, 192km - Wednesday 27th August
Stage 2: Thurles to Loughrea, 158km – Thursday 28th August
Stage 3: Ballinrobe – Galway, 201km – Friday 29th August
Stage 4: Limerick to Dingle, 186km – Saturday 30th August
Stage 5: Killarney to Cork, 155km - Sunday 31st August

Saunier Duval relaxes after stunning first week

Leonardo Piepoli wins ahead of team-mate Juan Jose Cobo, demonstrating the strength of Saunier Duval-Scott in the mountains
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

With three stage wins in five days (two for Riccò and one for Piepoli), Saunier Duval-Scott had a quiet, relaxing rest day. The team stayed in the Novotel Pau Lescar Hotel. The leaders of the Spanish squad held a press conference, where they discussed the first part of this year's Tour de France and anticipated the second half.

Leonardo Piepoli and Rubens Bertogliati - who's back has been hurting since he crashed in stage 2 to Saint Brieuc- took the day off. Riccardo Riccò, on the other hand, had a short training session, using the rollers at the hotel. The other riders went riding for two hours with paralympic champion Javier Otxoa, who was honoured by the Tour's organisers for his stage win in Hautacam.

Riccò explained why he wasn't as dominating in the second mountain stage. "Yesterday, I paid the price for my attack the day before. I had a bad moment, but I kept the pace and eventually managed to be in the group of favourites. Evans is one of the leaders in this race; he's been training for the Tour and it shows. But there's no clear pattern anyway. Personally, I'll go on taking one day at a time."

The Italian climber enjoyed the relaxed approach for his Tour. "Not being under pressure, as I was in the Giro, where I had to be in the lead in all the stages, has been good. I've been more relaxed in France so far and the results have been excellent. The team put up a great show in the last two stages, and I'll put in as many attacks as my legs allow me to."

Riccò's team-mate Juan José Cobo has his sight on the overall. "I'm glad I've gone back to my original goal, being among the top ten, after a bad week resulting from my lousy performance in the time-trial. I've improved my climbing skills, and it shows here. After what we did yesterday [stage 10], I could even dream of being among the top five, but it's better not to get ahead of ourselves. Taking one day at a time has been a good strategy so far. It's too early to think of the final podium."

Cobo revealed where he would like to claim a victory. "I don't care where. Any stage. Riccardo says he wants to win in L'Alpe-d'Huez, so let's leave stage 17 to him. Any other will do for me: flat, hilly, time-trial, it's the same."

And Leonardo Piepoli had quite some unusual feelings for a stage winner in the early part of the race. "Yesterday I didn't have a perfect day. In the early slopes I was only thinking of being among the ten best riders. But then I began to feel better. I didn't think the attack with Schleck would be the good one as it was the first one, but sometimes you're wrong in your perceptions. This victory is very dear to me. Winning in this team's outfit and in a one-two with Cobo, who's been with me since the beginning of Saunier Duval, is just great. The team's key to success is a good atmosphere. Being part of a small team involves extra motivation, and having been together for so long is of great emotional help."

Lack of time bonuses makes no difference

Even if the time bonuses from last year's Tour de France would have been used, Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) would still lead Fränk Schleck by one second. The bonus system last year saw the winner receive 20 seconds, the second place 12 and the third place eight seconds. Evans finished third in stage six, the same placing Schleck managed up in Hautacam.

In the 2007 Tour, further time bonuses were awarded at the intermediate sprints. Six, four and two seconds for the first three, respectively. None of the top six scored in this category. The first was Kim Kirchen, currently ranked seventh. But his total bonifications of 16 seconds (second in stage 2 and second in a sprint on stage 7) would not make up for four-minute plus beating in the first HC finish in this year's Tour.

In the top 10, the only difference would be the swap of places between Riccardo Riccò and Juan José Cobo. But then again, they both ride for Saunier Duval-Scott.

Despite no time bonuses awarded in time trials, the winner of the race against the clock in stage 4, Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner), would have gained a place, thanks to receiving a 12-second bonus in stage 7.

The only rider to gain more than just one spot would have been Spain's Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne). But sitting in 12th place at 4'17 is hardly a consolation for the dashed hopes of overall victory.

Only around half a dozen riders would in fact move up or down if the bonus system would be used. It wouldn't even have affected the fight for the lanterne rouge, the battle for the somewhat famous last place in the overall standings. Wim Vansevenant (Silence-Lotto) still has a commanding lead of 1'42 over Frenchman Matthieu Sprick (Bouygues Telecom). Vansevenant looks all set to defend his 2007 title.

This question was just one of many interesting ones Cyclingnews received during the Tour.

The top 10 would look like this:

1 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence - Lotto                           42.29.01
2 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team CSC - Saxo Bank                        0.01
3 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Chipotle p/b H30        0.46
4 Bernhard Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner                                0.54
5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank                                    1.05
6 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC - Saxo Bank                 1.36
7 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia                                 1.48
8 Riccardo Riccò (Ita) Saunier Duval - Scott                      1.57
9 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Saunier Duval - Scott                2.06
10 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale                        2.28

The full virtual standings are also available here.

Chavanel rests up

Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) may have lost polka dot, but after some rest he is eager to go for a stage win.
Photo ©: Isabelle Duchesne
(Click for larger image)

Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) writes a diary for Cyclingnews from the Tour de France. The Frenchman recapped his rest day, which he took literally.

Hello again... I'm calling in just after waking up, but it's already 4.30pm! In fact I took a three-hours siesta this afternoon. That feels so good! Rest days always fly by so quickly. This morning, I got up at about 9am, and we rode out for an hour and a half at 11am. Then, I had lunch, and then I slept... now, I'll get a good massage, followed by dinner, and then, it's bed time again! A pretty relaxed day, isn't it?

Other riders had their families coming for the day, but mine is too far away. They were with me at the beginning of the Tour, but couldn't come so far South.

The race here in the Pyrenees has become quite hard. I try to manage my efforts as best as I can. But with the pure climbers centre-stage, I'm bound to stick to leftover groups that ride my pace. Compared to the pure climbers, it's been practically impossible to continue competing for the maillot à pois, so I've stopped thinking about that. I finished the stages within the time limit and tried to focus on the days to come, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The next stages correspond more to my profile as a rider; they will suit me better than the high mountains. I'll try to get into the right breakaway again and hopefully get the best possible result, i.e. a stage victory. We'll see how my body will react after a day's break.

Read the entire entry here.

Win a Garmin jersey!

Cyclingnews has another jersey give away during the live coverage. After the many entries of last week, today you have the chance to win a Garmin Chipotle - H30 jersey. And it is signed by the entire Tour team!

Rules are as last time. You have to guess the top three (in order) of today's stage. Entries have to be received when the first rider hits the 20 kilometres to go marker. To make it easier on sifting through the emails, please specify your 1-2-3 in the subject line.

Email to the commentator inbox:

US Cyclo-cross gets new series

Eight American UCI Cyclo-cross races have banded together to form a coast-to-coast series. The North American Cyclocross Trophy Points Championship will begin in September with the Redmond and Lakewood, Washingtotn races, and then move to the other coast for the Gloucester, Massachusetts events in October. The November Boulder, Colorado and Southampton, New York races round out the series. All eight races are UCI sanctioned.

The Trophy will have $7,000 in series bonuses, and is a done deal, according to RAD Racing GP's Jim Brown, "The series is made up of races with a proven track record. They are the classic cyclo-cross races in North America. The races are already on the UCI calendar, the financial backing for the series is already in place and the advertising has already been negotiated."

Brook Watts of the Boulder Cup emphasized that the plans have been completed. "This isn't one of those outrageous pie-in-the-sky plans that gets announced at InterBike and never materializes. I don't think anybody's ever put together a National Series (in America) made up completely of successful already-existing races. The plans for the North American Cyclocross Trophy aren't contingent on anything. It's ready to go right now. The series begins at the FSA Star Crossed on September 20, and it will have more prize money and more UCI points than any cyclo-cross series in North America."

Myles Romanow, promoter of cyclo-cross in the Hamptons detailed some of the prizes. "It's only July, and right now the series is already committed to race prizes in excess of $40,000 cash – plus appearance fees and an additional $7,000 in year-end cash bonuses for the top three season finishers in both the men's and women's divisions. That's all cash, not merchandise."

North American Cyclocross Trophy 2008 Schedule:

September 20:
FSA Star Crossed presented by Gerk's Ski and Cycle - "The Twilight Floodlit Cyclocross Party"
King County's Marymoor Park, Redmond Washington (C2)
September 21:
Rad Racing GP presented by Kona and FSA – "The Kona Knapptime Run-up"
Ft. Steilacoom Park, Lakewood Washington (C2)
October 10-11:
Gran Prix of Gloucester – "The New England Worlds"
Stage Fort Park, Gloucester Massachusetts (C2/C2)
November 1-2:
Boulder Cup – "The High-Altitude Classic"
Harlow Platts Park, Boulder Colorado (C2/C1)
November 22-23:
Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup – "The Hamptons"
Southampton Youth Services Park, Southampton New York (C1/C1)

Stage video highlights and podcasts

Just can't get enough of the Tour? Well fear not because Cyclingnews has expanded its coverage once again this year to bring you video highlights of every stage plus daily podcasts courtesy of and Procycling magazine.

Our video comes directly from Tour de France owners Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), and will be online shortly after the finish of each stage. We've also got highlights from classic Tours of the past so click here to see the full archive.

Check out the podcasts page in our Tour de France section for a full round-up of news and views from the Tour.

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