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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News, July 23, 2008

Edited by Bjorn Haake

John Vande Velde proud of his son

John Vande Velde saw his son go from super-domestique to team leader
Photo ©: John Vande Velde
(Click for larger image)

John Vande Velde is a former US Olympic and national champion cyclist, successful six-day track racer, former vice president of USA Cycling, builder of the infamous Vandedrome portable velodrome... oh, and father of current Tour de France GC contender Christian Vande Velde of Garmin-Chipotle. He is currently working with the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid committee on the cycling event venues and courses from his home in nearby Lemont, Illinois. Cyclingnews' North American Editor Mark Zalewski caught up with the elder Vande Velde while he and his mother were taking in some local cycling at Superweek.

"I was screaming at the TV!" John Vande Velde, father of Christian Vande Velde, said about watching the 10th stage of the Tour de France where his son was climbing in the lead group of contenders on the climb to Hautacam. "I was between praying, exercising and yelling at the TV! I woke everyone up in the household because I was going crazy."

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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).

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It is a familiar tale to have one's own father be your number one fan, and the tale is not any different with America's top Tour de France hope Christian Vande Velde. But having your father understand the intricacies of your sport at the highest level is a little more rare – such as with Tiger Woods and his father – for John Vande Velde is himself a former top-level cyclist that competed in two Olympics (1968 and 1972) and was a top six-day racer in Europe. This gives him enhanced insight into his son's ability and performance – though always taken with a grain of salt, as he is understandably biased.

When the Garmin-Chipotle team won the opening team time trial of the Giro d'Italia this year Christian was the one to don the maglia rosa, and he called his father from behind the podium just before the moment.

"He called me immediately after the team time trial in the Giro," said John. "He was standing behind the podium ready to get his pink jersey and he said, 'Dad, do you believe this?' And I said, 'Yeah, I believe it!'"

Read the full feature about Christian Vande Velde's father.

High-tech development caught Riccò

Riccò didn't make his calculations with the clever detector in the drug he was using
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Riccardo Riccò was caught by a special molecule placed in the banned substance he is said to have taken, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio today. John Fahey said that Roche Pharmaceuticals had placed a special molecule in the product CERA when it developed the drug, which would help the anti-doping authorities to detect its illegal use.

"I can't tell you the details of how he was detected," Fahey said. "I can indicate the particular substance is called CERA … which is a perfectly legitimate substance to deal with anaemia. In the development of that substance close cooperation occurred between WADA and the pharmaceutical company Roche Pharmaceuticals so that there was a molecule placed in the substance well in advance that was always going to be able to be detected once a test was undertaken."

Fahey noted that there was increased cooperation between sports authorities and drug manufacturers. "There's more and more of this occurring," he said. "The more cooperation the scientists can have with the drug companies in the detection of performance-enhancing drugs the greater the likelihood is they will be detected when tests are undertaken."

Riccò tested positive for EPO after winning two stages in the Tour. He was expelled from the Tour and fired by Team Saunier Duval-Scott. (SW)

2009 Tour of California route unveiled

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

Andrew Messick and AEG announced major changes to next year's Tour iof California
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

The route for the fourth edition of the Tour of California was announced Wednesday by AEG Sports, promoters of the race, during the U.S. broadcast of the Tour de France. As was the case in the second and third editions, the race will be expanding upon its foundation. The amount of racing increases again to nine days and will visit new areas of the state – including climbs in the Sierra Nevada mountains and the first ever stage south of Los Angeles in San Diego county.

The race's start will also be different with a road stage starting and finishing in Sacramento instead of a prologue time trial. While Sacramento has been a host city before, eight cities will be first-time hosts, including: Davis, Santa Cruz, Merced, Clovis, Visalia, Paso Robles, Rancho Bernardo and the overall finish in Escondido.

After three years of racing mainly on the coast, AEG is clearly answering fans' and riders' calls for a race that covers more of the state. "This year is a year of exciting firsts for us," said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports. "After getting input from riders and fans last year, we decided to expand the race to better showcase the great state of California. For the first time, the Amgen Tour of California will take place over nine days, we will make our first visit to the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada and visit San Diego County for what promises to be another exciting conclusion to the race."

While specific routes are still to be finalised, the race will cross the infamous Golden Gate Bridge on stage 3, from Sausalito to Santa Cruz. As well, the individual time trial will likely be the same Solvang course as in the past two years. Conversely, after an epic stage down Highway 1 in 2008, some riders will be happy to find out that it was not included in 2009 for the first time.

The announcement of the route during the Tour de France broadcast illustrates the newly formed partnership between AEG and the Tour's promoter, the Amaury Sports Organization (ASO.) The release from AEG called the relationship between the two bodies, "a multi-year agreement for the organisations to develop and initiate comprehensive cross-promotional platforms for the world's most prestigious cycling event and America's most successful cycling race, as well as provide assistance with media and sponsorship sales for the races in their respective regions."

Stage 1: Saturday, Feb. 14 - Sacramento
Stage 2: Sunday, Feb. 15 - Davis to Santa Rosa
Stage 3: Monday, Feb. 16 - Sausalito to Santa Cruz
Stage 4: Tuesday, Feb. 17 - San Jose to Modesto
Stage 5: Wednesday, Feb. 18 - Merced to Clovis
Stage 6: Thursday, Feb. 19 - Visalia to Paso Robles
Stage 7: Friday, Feb. 20 - Solvang (individual time trial)
Stage 8: Saturday, Feb. 21 - Santa Clarita to Pasadena
Stage 9: Sunday, Feb. 22 - Rancho Bernardo to Escondido

Sastre happy with putting time in others

CSC's Tour de France is getting better and better. In yesterday's stage 16, Carlos Sastre moved up to fourth place, when Denis Menchov (Rabobank) and Christian Vande Velde (Garmin Chipotle - H30) lost time on the treacherous descent of the Cime de la Bonette-Restefond.

But the stage started out tough for Sastre. "The stage started out very fast. In the first 409 kilometres there were constant attacks, until the break finally formed."

From then on CSC did things right once again, according to Sastre. "From there [the beginning of the break], the team controlled the race very intelligently. The work in the first climb and down the descent to the beginning if the Bonette was sensational."

The Bonette itself didn't go quite as planned. "The strong headwinds didn't help us. The wind was blowing the entire climb." The flags of the fans were flying widely in the wind, underlining Sastre's words.

Sastre was once again happy with the team. "The team was solid once again. It was a day that wore everybody out. We dictated the pace on the two passes. Two of the top six lost time. The most important are the seconds that Denis Menchov lost in the descent."

Sastre was already thinking about L'Alpe d'Huez. "Tomorrow [Wednesday] is maybe the last opportunity to topple Evans and Menchov before the final time trial."

CAS to hear Rasmussen appeal

The Court of Arbitration for Sport will hear Michael Rasmussen's appeal of his two year suspension handed down earlier this month by the Monegasque Cycling Federation. The Dane has asked that the suspension be reduced or annulled. The CAS announced Wednesday that it has added the case to its list, but it is unlikely that it would be heard before September of this year.

The Monaco federation announced on July 1 that Rasmussen, who lives in that principality, for missing out-of-competition doping controls before the 2007 Tour de France. (SW)

Thomas speaks out on Dueñas

Geraint Thomas wants cheaters out of the sport
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

Geraint Thomas of Team Barloworld hopes that former team-mate Moisés Dueñas, who tested positive for EPO at the Tour, goes to jail.

Thomas confirmed to Cyclingnews his stance against Dueñas. "He should get what he deserves. One stupid guy who almost brought the whole team down."

Thomas was thankful that the team will continue. The team management and the Barloworld sponsor will have more talks either this week or early next week. Barloworld is committed to hold the team over until the end of the season. The team will hope to find a new sponsor for 2009. The one thing that will change sooner rather than later is the jersey. Barloworld does not seem to be interested in seeing its name in the races anymore.

While Thomas didn't know if Dueñas had a single room during the Tour, it hardly mattered to him. "Even if he had roomed with someone else, he likely would have found ways around to dope." Thomas did think Dueñas was an isolated case within the team. "We have good guys on the team. There was just one stupid rider who thought he could cheat the system."

Overall, Thomas thought cycling is on a good road. "You see guys doing well one day, then cracking the next. I don't know if that can be just attributed to cleaner cycling, but it is good to see." He especially praised the anti-doping programs of CSC, Garmin and Columbia.

Colavita/Sutter Home Men's Cycling Team Signs Marquis Riders for 2009

Colavita/Sutter Home Cycling Teams presented by Cooking Light is gearing up to position the pro men's team for international races next year. The team is currently ranked number two in the US. Three of the team's top riders, Alejandro and Anibal Borrajo of Argentina and Luis Amaran of Cuba, have re-signed for 2009.

Directeur Sportif Sebastian Alexandre announced the news. "We've re-signed our core riders early in order to ensure for our current and future sponsors that Team Colavita will remain one of the best teams in America in 2009 and beyond," said Alexandre. Team Colavita Sports is heading into its seventh year, making it the one of the longest-running supporters of both men and women's team pro cycling in the US. The team has achieved nearly 20 individual victories, three team wins, and 25 podium appearances to date in 2008.

Alejandro Borrajo arrived in the US after six years of racing in Europe, including rides on the Italian pro teams Miche and Panaria, where he achieved seven top 10 finishes at the Giro D'Italia and other notable world class results. He is recognised as a versatile cyclist primarily known for his powerful sprint, but with strength and endurance for climbing. Borrajo started the current season with a third place finish in the prologue of the Tour de San Luis in Argentina and has so far gone on to capture three US pro victories, including the prestigious Redlands Bicycle Classic. His younger brother Anibal has also established himself as a cyclist to watch, with top 10 finishes in most of the major NRC criteriums this season.

Luis Amaran, who ranks in the top 10 in USA Cycling's NRC Men's Individual Standings, raced with the Cuban national team from 1998-2005 before moving to Spain. In his first three months racing with the Colavita/Sutter Home Men's Cycling Team, Amaran delivered two wins and two podium appearances, clearly establishing that he has the speed, talent, and potential for future victories.

Additional signings for the men's and women's teams will be announced later this summer.

Leipheimer to host online video Q&A session

Levi Leipheimer
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Team Astana's Levi Leipheimer will appear in a live online video Q&A session on on Thursday, July 24 at 12:30pm ET (US). The two-time Tour of California winner and US National Champion will answer questions posted by readers about racing, training, or something else entirely.

Hosted by Cyclingnews and The Road Diaries and brought to you by SRAM, Trek and Astana, you can post questions to be considered for the Q&A session in advance or tune in on Thursday to participate in a live chat session.

Post your video or written question in advance of the broadcast. The hosts reserve the right to remove any submissions that we consider inappropriate.

Win a Columbia jersey!

Another round in the Cyclingnews live coverage jersey contest. This time, win a Columbia jersey with signatures from the Tour team. Rules are as last time. Guess the top three in the correct order at the finish of today's stage in Alpe d'Huez. Write the top three into the subject line and send the email to

Your email has to arrive before the first rider arrives at the 20-kilometre to go mark. Good luck! The winner will be announced in tomorrow's live coverage.

Your chance to win in the Cyclingnews-Felt TdF competition!

You can win this!
Photo ©: Felt
(Go to the competition page)

Here's your chance to win some great prizes while the 2008 Tour de France is underway, featuring a prize roster of kit that is being tested in the world's greatest bike race by some of the world's leading cyclists.

Our lead prize is the 2009 model Felt AR road frame, currently being ridden in the Tour de France by members of the Garmin-Chiplotle professional cycling team, as well as supplementary prizes from Craft - manufacturer of team clothing to CSC-Saxo - and eyewear from BBB, supplier to Team Barloworld.

The US-based Felt Bicycles is becoming one of the world's leading bicycle manufacturers, with its bikes now being raced by the USA's Garmin-Chipotle in the 2008 Tour de France. The team are riding the 2009 model Felt AR, which combines Felt's expertise in time trial and track bike technology, while maintaining the necessary ride and handling characteristics of premium road bikes.

But wait! There's more. All entrants in the Cyclingnews-Felt 2008 TdF competition will also go into the draw to win great supplementary prizes from our friends at Craft and BBB. Cyclingnews also has four 2008 model Team CSC jerseys, designed and made by Craft, one of the world's leading technical clothing manufacturers, as well as 10 sets of BBB's BSG-29 Attacker eyewear, the exact eyewear used by riders from Team Barloworld in this year's TdF.

Our thanks to our friends at Felt, Craft and BBB for providing such awesome prizes. Hurry and enter now to be in the draw. Good luck!

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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