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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News, July 20, 2008

Edited by Laura Weislo

Dueñas, Piepoli confessed

Moises Dueñas Nevado (now ex-Barloworld)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Two riders who have withdrawn from the Tour de France confessed to using EPO, the Spanish daily El Pais reported Saturday. The first, Moises Dueñas, a Spanish rider who was the second to test positive for EPO at the Tour de France, confessed to using the drugs after testing positive. After police uncovered doping products in his hotel room, Dueñas told investigators in Tarbes that he had purchased the products from a Spanish Doctor named Jesus Losa.

Losa, a former team doctor for Euskaltel-Euskadi, was quick to deny he had any involvement. "I have never given banned products to Moises Dueñas," Losa told El Pais. "In fact, I have worked with Dueñas, but only in matters of nutrition, diet and training. And indeed, I have received money from him, I do not know how much, but there are bills around."

Four years ago Losa was named by David Millar as providing him with EPO, but while he was suspended from Euskaltel-Euskadi after that revelation, Losa said he never was charged. "I was never called by a judge to testify as a witness or even less as a defendant," said Losa Saturday. "And if they call me to Tarbes I shall have no problem in going to testify."

Barloworld announced Saturday that it will withdraw its sponsorship from the team following the Tour de France because of the doping scandal.

In the same article, El Pais reported that Italian Leonardo Piepoli, the winner of stage 10, confessed to his directeur sportif Joxean Fernandez Matxin to using EPO. After his team-mate Riccardo Riccò was taken away by police after testing positive for EPO, Piepoli reportedly said to Matxin, "I have done the same as Riccardo."

No positive doping control has been announced yet for Piepoli, but the team's manager, Mauro Gianetti, pulled the entire squad out of the race. Riccò was indicted on the same charges as Duenas in a court in Foix, but denied using EPO.

Hamilton rides into yellow

By Paul Verkuylen in Xining, China

Tyler Hamilton (Rock Racing)
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
(Click for larger image)

Rock Racing's Tyler Hamilton looks set to take the overall victory in the Tour of Qinghai Lake in China tomorrow after he successfully defended his lead in the second to last stage through the high Mountains on the Tibetan Plateau.

Hamilton never looked to be in trouble during the ninth stage, even when Hossien Askari (Tabriz Petrochemical Team) had broken clear of the peloton with his team-mate Ghader Mizbani Iranaghand and took enough time to become a threat to the overall lead.

"I said that I wasn't going to try and follow [the Iranians] when they attacked," Hamilton explained to Cyclingnews. "I knew that if I just rode my steady tempo I would be OK. When they did attack, I rode within myself and things worked out. They are really explosive so they can get the gap, but after that we pretty much kept them in check."

With just the final circuit race on the streets of Xining remaining, Hamilton maintains a ten second lead over second place, Marek Rutkiewicz (Poland).

Before the Tour Hamilton was content to ride in support of team-mate Oscar Sevilla for the overall win, but once the opportunity presented itself for him to take the lead, he jumped at the chance.

"Everyone agreed before yesterday's stage that I had a better chance of winning the race than Oscar. Oscar was 14 and I was 15 seconds down. I took a bit of a gamble and it paid off.

"It is clear that Oscar is stronger than I am, but I am riding well to be still in the mix. When Oscar moves the sirens go off – so I probably have a little bit more freedom."

Hamilton took the eighth stage into Menyuan ahead of Rutkiewicz to take the overall lead, netting his first win since returning to competition in 2007 after serving a suspension for blood doping. But the American was realistic about his current form and his position atop the leader board.

"I am not the strongest guy in the race, but I made the best of the situation," he concluded.

Riis and Stapleton react to UCI's hardline against teams

By Gregor Brown in Digne-les-Bains

Team CSC and Columbia general managers, Bjarne Riis and Bob Stapleton, are upset that the International Cycling Union (UCI) is pushing legal action against teams not renewing their licenses for 2009 in the wake of reports of a newly forming teams' organisation. "They should try to take advantage of the fact that teams are working together – one of the few times that this happen. They should engage on solutions and not on negative comments and pushing people further apart," Stapleton said to Cyclingnews following stage 14 of the Tour de France.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) responded strongly to the announcement of ProTour teams not renewing for 2009. The UCI stated in a letter to the nine ProTour teams up for renewal (CSC not included) that they face "breach of contract" that "causes enormous material and moral damage to the UCI.

The UCI wrote that it would seek compensation from the nine teams – Astana, AG2R, Columbia, Milram, Gerolsteiner, Caisse d'Epargne, Lampre, Liquigas and Saunier Duval – for any loss of sponsor and/or television revenues.

"That is highly contentious," Stapleton said of the UCI's promise to sue. "No one likes to hear those sorts of things and it is hard not to react personally to those things. I am looking past it because I believe there are people in the UCI who want to do good things."

The new teams' organisation would like to have the UCI involved in the new system, and Stapleton agreed. "I believe there has to be an international body with international rules and law, and an international anti-doping programme that covers everybody," he said. "I think there is a real role and I would like to see them there. We have to get the groups together on governance, a uniform stance on anti-doping and a structure to the sport that fans are enthusiastic about."

Riis disagrees with the UCI's hardline tactic, although his team would not face legal action. "That is not the way to do it. It will be very difficult for them," Riis said to Cyclingnews. "I think the UCI has to come to the same table as us and discuss solutions instead of just problems."

Riis added his support to getting the UCI on board. "I would like to have the UCI involved," he said. "I am favour of everyone finding solutions, which is what the sport needs. The ProTour does not matter, it is just important that everyone is finding solutions."

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split

October 4, 2008 - New ASO chief to maintain values
September 26, 2008 - UCI declares peace, appoints new VP
August 30, 2008 - UCI re-signs five ProTour races
August 22, 2008 - ProTour: Bouncing back or lame duck?
August 19, 2008 - Stapleton analyses 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - Feedback on 'world calendar'
August 18, 2008 - UCI announces 'world calendar'

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split

Aerts replaces Devolder on Belgian Beijing line-up

Silence-Lotto rider Mario Aerts has agreed to replace Stijn Devolder on the Belgian team for the Olympic Games, it was announced Saturday. After consulting with his Quick Step team on Friday, Devolder decided to withdraw his name from the Beijing squad in order to rest up after the Tour de France for his main goal of the late season, the World Championships in Varese, Italy.

Aerts and Liquigas rider Frederik Willems were the reserves for the Belgian team, but Willems refused his spot, citing fatigue from riding the first week of the Tour while sick. He told, "I can not get ready in time for the Olympics. If I had to go, I think my season would be finished."

Aerts, by contrast, was excited to have a chance to go to the Games. "I had already put the Games out of my mind," he told, "but after Devolder pulled out, I thought it over again. Cadel Evans told me I couldn't miss it, so I will go and do my absolute best."

Aerts will join Christophe Brandt, Maxime Monfort, Jurgen Van den Broeck and Johan Vansummeren in the road race on August 9. Van den Broeck and Monfort will contest the time trial on August 3.

Jongewaard rejected after winning Olympics appeal

Mountain biker Chris Jongewaard was not named to the Australian Beijing Olympics squad despite having won an appeal to be nominated to the squad. Jongewaard, his country's top mountain bike racer, failed to gain a nomination from Cycling Australia (CA) because of his involvement in a hit-and-run automobile accident in February, 2007. He appealed the decision and won, but the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), which has the final say in who goes to the Games, did not approve his selection.

According to The Australian, AOC president John Coates explained the decision in a letter to Jongewaard, citing the incident where Jongewaard struck his friend Matthew Rex with his car and then drove off. Rex suffered head injuries and was placed in a medically-induced coma for 12 days. He has since recovered.

Coates wrote, "...driving while likely in my view to be under the influence of alcohol and being involved in an accident while in that state are sufficient for me to form the view, within the discretion I have under the selection by-law, that your conduct was likely to and did bring yourself into disrepute."

Jongewaard has one final avenue to appeal the decision with the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but has not comment on whether he would pursue it.

Marco Villa retires

Villa at the Gent Six Day in 2006.
Photo ©: Emory Ball
Click for larger image

Noted Six Day rider Marco Villa was forced to retire early when he learned that he had an irregular heart rhythm, reported this week. The 39-year-old Italian was intending to retire next February, but learned of his condition after a medical control for Olympic candidates earlier this year.

Villa said, "Originally it was my plan to stop after next winter, with the Six Days in Cremona in February 2009 as my definitively last race. But as a member of the group of Olympic candidates in Italy, I was called in for the normal health-control. That control showed some irregularities in my heart rhythm.

"They couldn't exactly tell me what was wrong, but the doctor's advice was that I should refrain from racing for at least a few months," he explained. "At my age it is not so easy to take a longer break, so I decided to stop now instead of taking any risks. I have had a wonderful career and I have a lot of good memories, and I want to let it be like that."

Villa's successful career had its peak when he partnered with Silvio Martinello to take two Madison World Championships (1995 and 1996) and a bronze medal at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000. The pair also took 16 Six Day titles. After Martinello's retirement in 2004, Villa went on to serve as a 'taxi driver' in the Six Day circuit, partnering with whichever rider the organiser paired him with, often an up-and-coming rider or a road star like Paolo Bettini.

In total, Villa scored 24 career Six Day victories, which places him as best Italian in Six Day history.

Superweek series leader down but not out

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

Sterling Magnell (Rock Racing)
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski
(Click for larger image)

Superweek's overall series leader from day one, Sterling Magnell (Rock Racing), had been frustrated over the past seven races that his leader's jersey acts as a target making it nearly impossible to get into a breakaway. That was not the case in Friday's race in Ripon, Wisconsin, a 1km course that was always up or down with power climbs. Magnell found himself in a strong four rider break up half a lap early in the race, but in a case of bad luck or perhaps karma, his rear wheel flatted into one of the technical turns, sending him to the ground hard and out of the race.

"I was in the break with a half lap up and my rear tire just blew in the middle of turn three," he told Cyclingnews. "The next thing I know I woke up on the curb!"

With a rider losing consciousness the assessment by the safety team resulted in Magnell being sent the the hospital. Magnell had a cat scan, but fortunately the diagnosis was not serious. "I had a concussion. I went to the ER and they stitched me up, seven above my eye and my lip is swollen. People take one look at me and they just turn away. It's like I have leprosy or something!"

Of course, Magnell was frustrated that he was in his first good breakaway since day one. "I know! I was just giving it out there because I am good at small courses with power climbs, so I was stoked."

Since his injuries are mostly superficial he said he is planning on starting today - not so much to defend his lead but to not get out of the rhythm of racing 17 days. "I would really like to start. Any other situation I would take the day off, but I know from experience if you take the day off you get really stiff and tired. Even if it's raining, I love the rain. So I'll go out there and see what happens."

Indeed, the forecast is for rain all day at the race in Waukesha, Wisconsin -- which again features many tight turns that caused the race to be stopped twice last year.

As for defending his lead, Magnell is looking forward to next week where there are two road stages with double points on the line. I'm really riding stronger in this race, each day."

Brooks on his way to recovery

By Kirsten Robbins

Ben Brooks (Team Type 1)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

Doctors at the St. Charles Medical Centre ICU in Bend, Oregon brought Team Type 1's Ben Brooks out of an induced coma and moved him into a recovery unit on Sunday. The 29-year-old Australian was hospitalised in stable condition following a violent crash last Wednesday during the opening stage of the Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic.

"He is doing pretty well," said Ed Beamon, Team Type 1 director. "He was stepped down again when they moved into a recovery room yesterday. He was also up and walking around a little bit."

Brooks was induced into a 24-hour coma and held in the ICU for more than ten days. He will be moved into a rehabilitation/therapy program before his Doctors can determine a release date.

"I think they are trying to evaluate what his strengths and weaknesses might be," said Beamon. "It takes time to ascertain what kind of short term or long term injuries he might be affected by." Upon hospital release, Brooks hopes to transfer to a facility close to his San Diego home.

His father and wife, Rachael are currently at his hospital bedside. "So far everyone is happy with the progress and he's already talking about getting back on the bike," said Beamon.

Brooks crashed over a cattle guard crossing more than half way into the 133.5 kilometre Prineville road race on July 9. A rescue squad rushed him to the local hospital after finding him unconscious. Doctors induced him into a coma to assist in a faster recovery. "To minimize further brain trauma they kept into a sedative state," continued Beamon. "The doctors said that the first 16-18 hours are the most critical for recovery of any potential trauma to the brain."

Pezula Racing re-structures under DMC Sports Ireland

The Pezula Racing team was given new life shortly after it learned that the title sponsor could not fund the team for the rest of the season. David McQuaid, a friend and former team-mate of Pezula rider David O'Loughlin, and the eldest son of UCI president Pat McQuaid has stepped in to support the squad after team owner Declan O'Loughlin stopped funding the squad citing the economic climate in the construction industry.

McQuaid runs DMC Sports Ireland, distributing bikes and components to the cycle trade in Ireland. "The economic climate in the construction industry has meant Declan can not afford to fund the team any further this year," said McQuaid. "However I am delighted to say that nothing will change in the team. We have some super technical sponsors in Terry Dolan and Santini and we have had other offers of support."

The team is currently racing at the Tour of Qinghai Lake, and McQuaid indicated it would continue to operate normally. "Pezula Construction has made a big contribution to the team in the past and we will continue in our current team colours for the forthcoming Tour of Ireland," he said.

"We have restructured team funding with myself and two others chiefly in charge of the team's financing. The two other contributors have chosen to remain anonymous and I will be managing the team and making the key decisions. I have stepped in because not only is it a solid team but my decision also concerns supporting the livelihood of some good friends whom I have raced with since I was 14."

The Pezula team roster includes Cameron Jennings, Kieran Page and Ciarán Power who are all expected to feature in the Tour of Ireland which starts in Dublin on 27th August. David O'Loughlin is one of three Irish riders heading for the Beijing Olympic Games next month.

"It has been a tough start for me with preparation for the Tour of Qinghai Lake dropped on my desk with a week to go," explained McQuaid. "We are now moving ahead with plans for the Tour of Ireland where we will be bringing in two new riders."

Glencoe GP raises prize purse

An Illinois criterium, the Glencoe Grand Prix, announced it had signed AT&T as a new supporting sponsor and raised its prize purse. The August 10 race has also lowered entry fees and added winner's jerseys, chip timing, more premium lap prizes, SRAM Neutral support and better overall amenities surrounding the course. In addition, the Village of Glencoe will re-pave a portion of the picturesque 0.90-mile criterium-style race course, which weaves throughout the village's downtown business district and tree-lined residential streets.

"The tremendous support we have received from AT&T and numerous important local sponsors is helping us turn the Glencoe Grand Prix into an exceptionally special event," said Jon Knouse, Race Director and Glencoe Educational Foundation President. "In just its second year, this race has begun to establish itself as a significant stop for competitive cyclists of all levels, as well as a great family event for the community."

The inaugural race in 2007 attracted more than 300 riders and raised nearly $11,000 for the Glencoe Educational Foundation (GEF), which supports creative learning programs in three local schools.

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