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Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News, October 18, 2008

Edited by Sue George & Les Clarke

Basso seeks to restore fans' faith

By Gregor Brown in Baveno, Italy

Ivan Basso and the massive portrait
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Ivan Basso has vowed to restore the faith in him lost as a result of 16-month suspension from cycling, and made it clear that he intends to do his fans proud upon returning to the sport. The 30 year-old Italian, winner of the 2006 Giro d'Italia, will make his comeback with Team Liquigas next week after serving a ban for his involvement in Operación Puerto.

"There are people that remain disappointed, but time heals these wounds. It is fortunate for me because I have a chance to return to racing and to show that what I did in the first part of my career was real," said Basso during a press conference Friday afternoon in Baveno, on the shores of Italy's Lago Maggiore. "I am happy for this chance to convince those in doubt."

Basso was suspended from racing on June 15, 2007, for his links with Spanish Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, the centre character in the Operación Puerto doping investigation of 2006. He admitted to Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) investigating prosecutor Ettore Torri during investigation that he gave blood to Fuentes.

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"During this period, when there was bad news of a rider testing positive, it was something outside, because inside of me I was only looking for the beautiful things - I needed the beautiful things," confessed Basso. He managed his training with race simulation. "There were often times when I was training solo that I would think of being solo on a climb, or with the leader's jersey on the last stage in a Grand Tour."

Team Liquigas announced in April that it had signed Basso for two years. Friday's press conference was the official presentation of Basso and a smaller part of an annual Liquigas sales convention.

Basso will race the Japan Cup on October 26, just two days after his ban expires. After a short winter break, his 2009 season will begin with the Tour de San Luis in Argentina. "With the start of the new year my races will be mostly concentrated on the races leading up to the Giro d'Italia," the Italian explained.

Doping problems in this year's Tour de France hit home for Liquigas as its experienced Spaniard Manuel Beltrán was the first rider to return a positive drugs test. Team Manager Roberto Amadio revealed the team is ready to adopt a system of internal controls.

"There is no longer space or the possibility to make mistakes," said Amadio "We will ask to an agency, known to WADA and UCI, to provide exams and controls - this is fundamental to provide credibility to you and [the company's] directors."

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Roberto Bettini/

Milram sponsor must reassess

The doping crisis may cost German cycling its final ProTour team, as sponsor Nordmilch AG reacted to the announcement that the 2009 Tour de France will not be shown on public German television. "We need to reassess the value of our sponsorship. This will be possible by the end of this year after we estimate the complete impact on the advertising effect regarding our brand, Milram, for 2009," said Martin Mischel, Director of Sales and Marketing.

In a statement, Mischel said that "We deeply regret the exit of the public broadcast stations ARD and ZDF regarding the live-coverage of the Tour de France. Some incorrigible persons succeeded in enforcing a cutback of the media coverage. Million of cycling fans will have to suffer from this."

"Cycling is again at a turning point," Mischel concluded. "We will participate actively in all discussions regarding a new way of cycling in Germany."

Austrian Federation supports continued Tour of Austria

Elk Haus-Simplon at the Tour of Austria
Photo ©: Klaus Titzer
(Click for larger image)
One day after organizers announced the end of the Tour of Germany, The Austrian Cycling Federation "voted unanimously in favour of the Oesterreich Rundfahrt" (Tour of Austria), saying "It is not only a great race in Austria with an advertising value of 4.5 million euro, but especially because it is very important to the Austrian teams."

However, the Federation can only make recommendations about the future of the race at this point. "Right now there are discussions and negotiations. The final decision about the next race will be made the beginning of the year. We will do all we can up to the end, to have the Tour again in the form that we now have it."

The federation's presidium had a meeting this week, and also under discussion was Bernhard Kohl. Federation president Otto Flum called his confession "very praiseworthy. But we now hope that he takes the next step and names the people in the background."

"If he does," Flum continued, "we are prepared to integrate him into the ORV. We want a sort of therapy program for the schools and the cycling clubs. Kohl, who one could say has gone 'from millionaire to beggar', could advise them on the dangers of drugs and doping. But this action would only be available if he names those in the background."

Tour de France route launch to be broadcast live next week

Tour de France.
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Just days after the Giro di Lombardia wraps up the 2008 season for many professional road racers, it will be time start thinking seriously about the 2009 Tour de France. On Wednesday, October 22, the Palais des Congrès in Paris, France, will host the annual presentation for the French Grand Tour.

Race director Christian Prudhomme will unveil maps of the stages before an audience including special guest Prince Albert II of Monaco, the nation which will host the 2009 Grand Départ. The past three Tour de France winners, Carlos Sastre, Alberto Contador and Oscar Pereiro, will also be on hand.

For the first time, Cyclingnews will bring you live coverage of the one-hour presentation, starting at 11:30 am local (Paris) time (5:30 am US EDT / 8:30 pm Australia (EDT)). Tune in for details on the next edition of the Tour de France and glimpses of the top favorites.

Wrolich supports Kohl as friend but not cyclist

Peter Wrolich (Gerolsteiner)
Photo ©: Ben Atkins
(Click for larger image)

Peter Wrolich says that he will continue to support his friend and former teammate Benhard Kohl as a person, but that "for me the cyclist Kohl is dead."

The Austrian Wrolich, who rode for Team Gerolsteiner for nine years and will ride for Team Milram next season, said that he had telephoned with Kohl after his televised confession about taking the performance enhancing drug EPO CERA, and congratulated him for it. He noted that Kohl has "a strong character", but wasn't strong enough. Perhaps Kohl is still a bit immature, "he ran into people who he shouldn't have trusted. And he had an enormous pressure on him to succeed," Wrolich told

"I have known him a long time and won't let him fall. I have to forgive him, even if I am one of those he harmed. I can especially forgive Bernhard Kohl, because he's a good guy and knows how to deal with his mistakes," Wrolich continued.

Wrolich added that he doubted Kohl would ever return to cycling after his positive test and subsequent confession, and that he would actually be against such a return. "As soon as he would come back, then the people would only talk about doping. That doesn't help cycling."

CSC Saxo Bank among teams concluding season at Lombardia

Team CSC Saxo Bank is one of many teams that will close the books on its 2008 season on Saturday at the 102nd edition of the Giro di Lombardia in Italy. The race, which took place for the first time in 1905 under the name Milan-Milan, will be starting in Varese this year after having begun in Vendrisio in Switzerland for the last few years. On the way round Lago di Como, riders will attack the Madonna del Ghisallo, Civiglio and S'Germo della Battaglia before the race is decided in Como after 242 kilometers.

"Our guys are fired up and ready for this challenge. Alexandr Kolobnev is absolutely amongst the favorites and both Karsten Kroon and Gustav Larsson are also very keen on doing well, also Chris Anker Sørensen has recovered fully after being ill this weekend," said Kim Andersen according to

The team has a history of good results at the race including fourth by Andy Schleck and 11th by Kolobnev last year as well as seventh in 2006 and third in 2005 by Fränk Schleck in 2006.

Historically the race has been won by Italian riders for 66 editions. Last time a non-Italian rider won the race was Raimundas Rumsas in 2000. 167 riders are set to line up on Saturday morning.

Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast wraps up in France

The Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast team is putting an end to its 2008 season this weekend at the Criterium de Levallois, just outside Paris on October 19. It will be the team's second French outing this year, after the Tour des Pyrenees in August, where the team took second.

"Returning to France is a perfect way to close out a very successful, busy season," said Jonas Carney, performance director, Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast. "We had a great first trip this summer at the Tour des Pyrenees coming first in the overall points classification and we're hoping to bring a similar success home this time. It's a fantastic race and a strong international field."

Four of the team's riders will race 108km: Reid Mumford, Jonny Sundt, Jake Keogh and David Veilleux, winner of the Tour of Pennsylvania, the Tour of Elk Grove and the Kelly Cup this season

"Europe is a big target in our cross hairs for 2009," said Carney. "We've progressed as a program to the point where we will, of course, continue to compete in the top domestic races, but to really develop and build our team, we will want to go head to head with the international programs. It's the best way to take our program to the next level."

Gerolsteiner fire sale

Team Gerolsteiner is holding a "going out of business" sale. The team is opening its doors on October 25, giving fans "an ideal opportunity to obtain a final, unusual souvenir."

Everything will be sold – "whether bikes, frames, clothing, components, radios, massage tables or muesli bars." The sale will be on Saturday, October 25, as of 9am, at Cranachstrasse 15, in Guelstein, Germanz.

Taillefer to Roubaix Lille Metropole

Cyrille Guimard is hoping that the talented young Frenchman, Fabien Taillefer, will join his Roubaix Lille Metropole team for 2009. Taillefer, who won the junior edition of the 2007 Paris-Roubaix, has previously ridden for the Norman Pavilly-Barentin club and also spent some time at Quick Step.

Taillefer is known as a strong rider both in the mountains and in time trials. "He is a rider of a character that reminds me of Bernard Hinault," Cyrille Guimard said to the AFP. Hinault won the Tour de France five times during his career.

Dekkers to Garmin-Chipotle

Hans Dekkers signed a two-year contract with the American Garmin-Chipotle team according to De Telegraaf. The 27 year-old Dutch racer won the Nationale Sluitingprijs in Putte-Kapellen, Belgium, by outsprinting Tom Boonen (Quick Step) earlier this week, bringing to a close a season plagued with a knee injury.

Copa Chile stops next in Santiago

The third round of the Copa Chile Jeep 2008 mountain bike series will head to Cajón del Maipo in Santiago, Chile, October 18-19. Cross country races will be held Saturday and downhill races on Sunday. 300 racers are expected on Saturday and 400 on Sunday.

The race is just one of three UCI category one mountain bike events in South America. Pan American champion Cristóbal Silva leads the series, but will have to defend it against a host of foreign riders expected to attend. In the elite women's race, Bernadita Pizarro will return to competition and be among the favorites.

After a serious crash in round two in La Serena earlier this month when he broke his femur, Chilean national champion Antonio Leiva will not be racing the downhill, leaving the race wide open for his competitors.

"The Pan American Championship will be held here, so the construction of the track will be at the highest level," said promoter Thomas Hardy.

Continuing tech coverage from the Interbike trade show

In today's ongoing coverage from the recent Interbike trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada, Cyclingnews technical editor James Huang reviews some upcoming high-end offerings from Fox Racing Shox, powerful new lights from Light & Motion, an enticingly inexpensive power meter and enough tools to keep you tied to your repair stand for weeks. Also, be sure to check out the latest video interviews with Speedplay's Richard Bryne, Cervelo's Gerard Vroomen and Zipp's Andy Ording, Ridley Bicycles owner Joachim Aerts and Fulvio Acquati of Deda Elementi.

(Additional editorial assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer.)

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