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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

Latest News for April 30, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Gonzalez de Galdeano suspended in France

Spanish rider Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (ONCE) may be prevented from riding this year's Tour de France, after the Conseil de prévention et de lutte contre le dopage (CPLD) decided to suspend him for six months following what it claimed was a positive doping test during last year's Tour.

Gonzalez de Galdeano, who wore the yellow jersey for a week during the race, was controlled after the sixth stage of the Tour last year. A level of 1360 ng/mL of the asthma medication salbutamol was found in his urine. According to WADA and the CPLD, any level greater than 1000 ng/mL is considered a positive test for an anabolic substance, and thus the rider should be suspended. However UCI rules state that these levels of salbutamol are allowed, provided the rider can show therapeutic justification for the medication, which Gonzalez de Galdeano did do.

The CPLD claimed it asked Gonzalez de Galdeano to produce the therapeutic justification in front of its members earlier this year, but got no response from the rider. Furthermore it considered that the high concentration of salbutamol in his urine sample "cannot be regarded as the consequence of the use of Ventolin according to normal therapeutic practices."

As the controlling anti-doping body in France, the CPLD can overrule the UCI in sanctioning the rider in France, and Gonzalez de Galdeano will have to appeal to the French Conseil d'Etat to get the ban overturned, which could take too long for a decision to be made before the Tour.

ONCE team manager Manolo Saiz would not react to the sanction until he heard of it officially. "I don't know about the sanction. We are waiting until they communicate it to us in the necessary fashion. The CPLD is not an agency recognised by us," said Saiz to Europa Press. "It should be up to the UCI to do something, as it governs us in the sport of cycling, or the Department of Education, Culture and Sport in Spain."

Daniel Baal, the director of the A.S.O., the company that organises the Tour, was quoted by AFP as saying "Our position is the same as it was last July: We regret finding ourselves confronted by a quarrel of experts, between the decisions of the UCI, which considers there is no doping, and the CPDL, which thinks the opposite."

Baal also called for the unification of anti-doping policy under the World Anti-Doping Agency. "This matter illustrates exactly what we deplore: the difference between the what rules of the UCI allow and what that of a national federation, in this case France, allows."

42nd Rund um den Henninger Turm

Billed as a showdown between Jan Ullrich and his former Telekom teammates, this year's Rund um den Henninger Turm takes place in Frankfurt on its traditional May 1 date. It's the biggest German one day race of the year, along with the HEW Cyclassics World Cup in August, and a large crowd is expected to turn out to watch on the May holiday.

Jan Ullrich will indeed be one of the favourites for the race, although after finishing 29th in Liege-Bastogne-Liege he still has some way to go until he is back in top form again. "I am fully going to plan, and my form shows that," said Ullrich, who was satisfied with his performance in Liege. "That race showed that I can keep up with the best again. The hard work of the last few weeks was worth it."

Ullrich has never won the Henninger Turm, but his former teammate and world number one Erik Zabel has done so on two occasions, in 1999 and 2002. Given the nature of the race and the strength of his Telekom team, Zabel will probably have the edge over Ullrich when it comes to winning the race. "For us the race has a special meaning. At the Henninger Turm, the pressure is always immensely high," said Telekom spokesman Olaf Ludwig, winner of the race in 1994.

There are several other favourites too in the UCI 1.1 classed event. Sprinter Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo) is looking for another big win, after a season of near misses so far. Also Rabobank's Oscar Freire and Michael Boogerd will be back in action, with Freire always a chance in a bunch sprint. Fassa Bortolo's Alessandro Petacchi is in good form, having won three stages of the Vuelta a Aragon recently. Petacchi's teammate Michele Bartoli won this race in 1997, and is slowly nearing his top form. Also Saeco's Danilo Di Luca, Igor Astarloa and Mirko Celestino will be bound to feature in the action, as well as Gerolsteiner's Davide Rebellin.

The 208 km race starts at 10:40am with a 17 kilometre neutral section, before the real race begins at 11:15. The course starts with a 70 kilometre tour around Frankfurt, followed by two and a half laps of a hilly 40 kilometre circuit. Once the riders exit the circuit, it's another 43 kilometres to the finish, which includes three laps of a 4.5 kilometre finishing circuit in Franfurt/Main.

Too high hematocrit for Astolfi

Italian rider Claudio Astolfi (Domina Vacanze-Elitron) was prevented from starting in yesterday's prologue of the Tour de Romandie, after his hematocrit was found to be above the 50 percent limit set by the UCI. In his defence, Astolfi presented the UCI with medical papers explaining that he is an insulin dependant diabetic, and that his high hematocrit had nothing to do with doping.

Christopher Myhre injured

Third division Team Ringerike's Christopher Myhre was taken to hospital with head injuries after colliding with a truck on his last training ride before the Ringerike Grand Prix. He is reported to have a minor skull fracture plus facial cuts. The accident happened at Furuseth subway station in the Norwegian capital Oslo.

Courtesy of Arild Reidarsen

Tour of the Gila preview

By Stephen W. Medcroft

The 17th annual Tour of the Gila rolls out in Silver City, New Mexico today. The event puts on USA Cycling National Race Calendar sanctioned races for pros and amateurs and expects more than 700 racers to line up at the start. Pro men will cover 330 miles from Wednesday to Saturday. Pro women will race a little more that 250 miles.

Silver City is tucked in the southwest corner of New Mexico in the foothills of the Pinos Altos mountain range. Founded in 1870, it sits at 6,000 feet in what is considered a dry-arid desert climate. Which means, for riders, they'll be gasping for air up and down dry desert mountains all week (a total of 24,000+ feet of climbing for the pro men) and getting dehydrated and sun-burned for their trouble.

Gila was the site of a spectacular performances last year by Chris Wherry and his Mercury squad and Geneviève Jeanson of Rona, and is traditionally well attended by top U.S. domestic professional teams. In the mix this week, we'll see Saturn Cycling, Trek/VW, T-Mobile Women's National Team, and 7-Up/Nutra-Fig to name a few. Which is a draw for any racer within travelling distance who wants to test themselves against the best.

Oh yes, defending multiple Tour of the Gila champion and women's road racing phenomenon Geneviève Jeanson is scheduled to be there. And if you've followed her form so far this year, you'd understand that the rest of the women's field needs to rise above themselves to be ready. In 2003, she's already won the overall of the Valley of the Sun stage race in Arizona, the Pomona Valley Stage Race, the Redlands Bicycle Classic, and Sea Otter. This week's story from the women's race will be whether it's possible to beat her.

Tour of the Gila is also popular with mountain bike pros who use it as a final tune up of their race fitness before their season begins in Big Bear in the middle of May. Expect to see, for example, U.S. Olympian and Trek/VW racer Travis Brown on the start line. We probably won't see UCI mountain bike World Champion Roland Green though - he took a nasty spill in the Tour of Georgia and is recovering in preparation for the Big Bear NORBA National Championship season opener later in the month.

Besides stiff competition, tough terrain, and lengthy stages, racers will find no hiding from the environment either. It's expected to be moderately warm (low 80's) and clear for the first two days of competition, but the weather guys are calling for overcast and cool skies into the weekend. Wind is always a factor in the desert southwest at this time of year also. Mornings in Silver City can be nippy. Riders will need to manage themselves thorough cold morning starts on into possibly hot, dry, windy late morning finishes for the longer stage races.

Racers will contest for position and advantage in the overall standing beginning Wednesday with a 16 mile individual time trial. Then it's up early Thursday for the 92 mile Silver City to Mogollon Pass road race. This point to point race features 2,100 feet of climbing in the last ten miles. Friday's Inner Loop Road Race runs 73 miles. Saturday sees a test of racer's criterium skills in downtown Silver City.

If there's anything left in racer's tanks, they'll need to pull it out on Sunday. The notorious Gila Monster Road Race covers a brutal 100 miles taking the race up and down 5 to 7.5% grades for much of it.

Team to watch: Trek/VW All-stars. This current contingent of racers wearing the Trek/VW banner will include strong regional pros as well as some of Trek's mountain bikers. Landis/Trek/VW Drew Miller is fresh of a stunning win at La Vuelta de Bisbee where he rode away from Saturn's Viktor Rapinski and Team HealthNet's Gord Fraser in the final climb of the final stage to take it all. No doubt, other teams will be taking notice of his position within the peloton this week but if he carries his form into Tour of the Gila, we could see a repeat of Bisbee's fireworks. will have a complete start list and race coverage after each day's stage.

Stages (all distances for pro men):

Stage 1 - April 30: Dan Potts Memorial Time Trial, 15.7 miles
Stage 2 - May 1: Silver City to Mogollon Pass Road Race, 92 miles
Stage 3 - May 2: Inner Loop Road Race, 61 miles
Stage 4 - May 3: Downtown Silver City Criterium, 43.2 miles
Stage 5 - May 4: Gila Monster Road Race, 100 miles

Paris-Roubaix on SBS

Australian television viewers will have a chance to watch highlights of this year's Paris-Roubaix on SBS television this Sunday, May 4. The program starts at 11:00am and runs for an hour.

Bedford 2 Day cancelled

The organisers of the Bedford 2 Day stage race in the UK have announced its cancellation, due to circumstances beyond their control. The race was due to take place over the weekend of May 24-25, but roadworks in the area between Cardington Village and Old Warden village have meant that the proposed course is impossible, as are changes to the routes.

"Discussion with the highways department at Bedfordshire County Council have proved fruitless - they are not willing to be more specific about the dates upon which the works will be undertaken, nor are they wiling to consider amending the programme of works. Therefore, we cannot take the chance that the road will be clear again on the weekend of the race," said the organisers CJ Farquharson and Suzanne Lawrence in a statement.

"It is with heavy hearts that this decision has been taken. This was to have been our fourth and final year of organising the event and the third that it will have taken place in the Bedford area. We would like to thank all those who had already pledged their support to the event - sponsors, officials and marshals and all those who have supported the event in the past."

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)