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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition News for May 2, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

ONCE says it will do the Tour...with Igor

The ONCE-Eroski team has responded to the six month suspension (in France only) of its rider Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, who tested positive according to WADA rules and negative according to UCI rules for the asthma drug salbutamol during the Tour de France last year. The decision to sanction him was made by the Conseil de prévention et de lutte contre le dopage (CPLD), which is the national anti-doping body in France. If the suspension is effective, Gonzalez de Galdeano will not be allowed to race in the Tour this July.

The team issued a statement outlining its position in the matter, pointing out that it still hasn't received any form of official communication about the matter, and neither have the Real Federación Española de Ciclismo (RFEC), Consejo Superior de Deportes (CSD) or the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).

"We regret that aspects dealing with the health of a rider can be divulged and handled by a French national organisation, putting under suspicion the professionalism and honesty of the rider, and the medical specialists of the team and the UCI," read the statement.

ONCE added that it will be putting the case in the hands of its lawyers "to defend the interests of the rider and the team."

Finally, "Before doubts arise in the media and among the fans of this sport, the ONCE-Eroski team declares its intention to be present at the start of the next edition of the Tour de Frande, with all its leaders."

Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano has remained calm about the affair. "I believe I will be at the start [of the Tour]," he told AS. "I've been asthmatic since I was a child and I have all the documents that permit me to use Ventolin...It seems to me ridiculous that they think you can fly with that medication."

"I don't understand how an agency such as this can be above the UCI and the IOC," he added, referring to the CPLD. "It's as if any national association wanted to have more power than the international law."

Kroon out of Rabo Tour team

The winner of last year's Tour de France stage in Plouay, Karsten Kroon, will not ride in the Rabobank squad in this year's Grand Boucle. According to De Telegraaf, team manager Ardi van Houwelingen has decided to leave him out of the 13 man pre-selection, on account of his poor early season form. Eight members of the team, including Thorwald Veneberg and Remmert Wielinga, will travel to the Alps and the Pyrenees between May 20-28 to ride some of the stages.

New manager for SpaarSelect

The SpaarSelect cyclo-cross team has a new team director in Hans van Kasteren, replacing Jan Daems who is working for a new team. Van Kasteren was also Bart Wellens' manager, and he and Wellens threatened to leave the team at the end of last season unless more riders were brought into the squad. The team sponsors agreed, and Wellens decided to stay.

SARS threatens Tour of China

The outbreak of the SARS virus is already having an impact on cycling events in China, with the Australian cycling federation deciding not to send a team for the World Track Championships in Shenzhen in July/August. On the road, the fear of SARS could also force the cancellation of the Tour of China in July and the Tour of Quinhai Lake in August.

The Taiwanese based Giant Asia Racing Team has so far managed to avoid the problems associated with quarantine, with Australian riders Paul Redenbach, Luke Stockwell, Chris Carr (on trial) and Glen Chadwick being cleared to enter Taiwan en route to Korea, where they will take part in the Tour of Korea.

Another member of the team for that race is Iranian rider Ghader Mizbani, who has been training in Iran during the war in Iraq after his application for a French visa was rejected. Ghader meant to race in the International Presidency Turkey Tour, but the race was cancelled due to the war. As the defending champion of this race, Ghader was quite disappointed at the cancellation.

International teams announced for FBD Milk Ras

Kazakhstan will head the list of international teams for this year's FBD Milk Ras, which starts from the GPO on Sunday, May 18. In addition to Kazakhstan, the Irish national squad and 12 county selections will have to contend with a number of professional teams from Sweden, South Africa, Australia, the USA, and national and regional teams from Germany, Denmark, Britain and Wales.

Sweden is represented by the Bianchi Scandinavia team, directed by former pro Tommy Prim, winner of many classics and twice second in the Giro d'Italia. Team HSBC will travel all the way from South Africa while the Australian Team Down Under will continue its European tour by taking in Ireland's major stage race., a new American pro team, will ride the Milk Ras as its first major undertaking in Europe.

The Irish team of reigning champion, Ciaran Power and Tommy Evans, David O'Loughlin, Vincent Gleeson and Andrew Donnellan have a huge task to retain Power's title, having to cope with the professionals and strong national teams from Britain and Wales. British Cycling has selected its best riders including 2001 winner Paul Manning and current world points champion and Olympic bronze medallist, Chris Newton. An experienced Wales team, sponsored by Stena Ferry Line, will look to Julian Winn, winner of the FBD MILK RAS in 2000 and current British Champion, now a full-time pro with Danish based Team fakta. Winn scored another major success today in taking out the GP Villers Cotterets in France.

The eight days of racing will take in King of the Mountain climbs in the Slievebloom and Donegal mountains, with stage finishes in Roscrea, Clifden, Ballina, Letterkenny, Buncrana, Donegal Town, Oldcastle and the finale in the Phoenix Park on Sunday May 25.

24 Hours of Adrenalin National Championships

This year's 24 Hours of Adrenalin National Championships will take place in Monterey, California on May 17-18, just one week before the recently announced NORBA 24 Hour National Championship Race in Spokane, Washington. While this may affect the participation in both races, the 24 Hours of Adrenalin National Championships will certainly feature Tinker Juarez (Siemens Mobile/Cannondale), who is expected to defend his title and add a third championship to his palmares.

Challenging Juarez for the National Champion's jersey is three-time 24 Hours of Adrenalin World Solo Champion Chris Eatough (Trek/VW), as well as Joel Hennings and Nat Ross (Subaru/Gary Fisher).

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