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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for September 12, 2006

Coming up on

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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Edited by John Stevenson, John Kenny & David Collins

A-Team Of Alexandre and Andrey to fight on

'We can win this race'

By Shane Stokes in Almeria

Vinokourov awaits the next question
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
(Click for larger image)

Battling Astana duo Alexandre Vinokouov and Andrey Kashechkin said on Monday that they were determined to keep fighting to the end in this Vuelta a España, and that they were hoping that the third week of the race would expose a chink in the armoury of Alejandro Valverde, the current race leader.

"Kash and I are in a similar situation and both of us can still win," said Vinokourov at the team's press conference at the NH Cuidad de Almeria hotel. "Kash is only 48 seconds back and I am 1'38 down, so we can play one off the other to attack tomorrow and in the days ahead.

"I think that for us, the best thing is if the course is as hard as possible. If the group gets thinned down before the final climb then that is best for us."

Both riders took the fight to Valverde on the last big mountain stage contested so far, namely the race to the Alto de la Cobertoria on stage nine. The duo attacked early on and opened up a significant gap, although Valverde was able to respond in the final few minutes of racing and overtake Kashechkin. However, by that time Vinokourov had already flown the coup, and although the Spaniard chased hard in the hope of overhauling his rival as he had done two days earlier, he was unable to do so.

Kashechkin said that they would be aggressive in the days ahead. "It is not hard to attack," he said. "You just need the legs and the head. It is now the third week and things are much harder for everyone, so if you are strong, then you can attack and really change the general classification.

Vinokourov agreed, saying that, "the stage to La Pandera is hard, very hard. We will try to work together, finding the right time and conditions to attack there.

Click here for the full report.

Valverde: rivals must attack

By Shane Stokes

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Vuelta leader Alejandro Valverde expects a strong onslaught from his rivals in the mountainous stages ahead in the Vuelta. "I believe that [my rivals] will try to attack me [on the next] three stages. They are obliged to. I refer especially to both the Kazakh riders and mainly to Vinokourov, which is a rider able to attack at any time. I think that he is really the most dangerous, without dismissing Kashechkin. And if he feels well, it is certain that Sastre will try to attack too."

The next few days will certainly give plenty of opportunity for aggression, with the race moving back into the mountains today. Valverde analysed the principal difficulties. "The stage of the Pandera scares people more than the one which finishes at the top of Calar Alto, because of the difficulty of its slopes. For my part, however, I think that tomorrow's stage is even more difficult, especially due to the climb of the Velefique, which is absolutely terrible."

He has shown well there in the past. "Two years ago, I had a brilliant stage there and I do not forget it, but I also remember the difficulty of the day. It is certain that if tomorrow I feel as well as I did then, I will have the possibility to ride a great stage! I can't say now what will be my tactic, because it will depend on how I feel once that we start to climb. If I just feel okay, I will try to follow my adversaries but if I feel really well, I will still judge the form of my rivals first, before thinking of attacking."

Having performed strongly in the race against the clock on Saturday, Valverde is gaining confidence as the Vuelta enters the final six days of racing. "I wanted to see how the time trial in Cuenta would go to see how my condition really was," he said at a press conference at the Elba hotel in Almeria on Monday morning. "I did well in the last time trials I took part in [prior to the race] and I knew that I was able to perform well. But I was pleasantly surprised by my result, which was even better than I hoped. Consequently, it is obvious that I feel much more tranquil today than I was three days ago."

The possibility of winning the race encourages him greatly, especially in a year when he was forced to withdraw from his second successive Tour de France. "I had already finished third and fourth in the Vuelta, but I had never yet found myself in the position of leader. It is a big step forward. I am confident, however, because my feelings are excellent and I can count on the support of a great team.

"I do think that it may be necessary to wait until the end of the time trial before knowing who will get onto the highest step of the podium in Madrid. In the first mountain stages, the gaps were not big and if things go the same way during the three days which come, the time trial on Saturday could be decisive indeed."

Inspectors need to take account of stage starts - Astana

By Shane Stokes

Following reports that Astana team leaders Alexandre Vinokourov and Andrey Kasheshkin missed a random health check prior to Sunday's 15th stage of the Vuelta, the team have said that there has been no communication from the UCI since.

Speaking to Cyclingnews after the press conference, the team's management insisted that the only reason the two riders missed the check was that the inspectors were not there early enough. "There is no problem with the UCI after yesterday. What happened was that the inspectors arrived too late at the hotel to do the control - we were due to leave at 7.30 and the inspectors arrived at 7.36 am," said directeur sportif Herminio Díaz Zabala. "The bus was already gone [Vinokourov and Kashechkin travelled this way] and the cars were about to leave."

The team's stance is that with the earlier than usual stage start [the stage started at 10 am rather than 1 pm, as is more usual on the Vuelta], the inspectors need to be there earlier to take account of this and also of the distances the teams need to travel to the start. "We don't know when they are going to arrive. That is normal, as the controls are surprise checks. But we can't plan our schedules according to the inspectors, they have to plan their own schedules relating to what the teams have to do on that particular day," he stated.

Cyclingnews has heard reports that members of the Rabobank team also missed tests yesterday, as they were leaving for the start when the inspectors arrived.

Weekend stages on this year's Vuelta have been held earlier than usual in order to maximise TV exposure.

Landis camp files motion for dismissal

Late Monday, Floyd Landis' attorney Howard Jacobs submitted a motion for dismissal of Landis' case to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) Independent Anti-Doping Review Board.

According to a statement from Jacobs, the motion focuses on problems with the tests that showed Landis as positive for exogenous testosterone after stage 17 of this year's Tour de France. In particular, the Landis camp alleges flaws in the carbon isotope ratio test which allegedly proves that Landis' elevated testosterone:epitestosterone is caused by exogenous testosterone.

Jacobs's submission alleges that:

"WADA's own protocols require that all testosterone metabolite differentials provide clear evidence of testosterone usage to find an athlete positive. Given the data, three of the four testosterone metabolite differentials tested in Landis' sample are reported as negative considering the margin of error.

The only testosterone metabolite that can be argued as positive under the WADA Positivity Criteria resulted from an unknown laboratory error and is not the result of testosterone usage.

The one metabolite that has been identified by WADA-accredited laboratories as the best, and longest-term indicator, of exogenous testosterone usage was reported as negative in Landis' urine samples."

Jacobs argues that "the single [positive] T/E [Testosterone/Epitestosterone] analysis in this case is replete with fundamental, gross errors. These errors include inconsistent testosterone and epitestosterone levels from testing on the 'A' sample as well as multiple mismatched sample code numbers that do not belong to Landis. In the case of the mismatched sample identification codes, the alleged confirmed T/E data on the 'B' sample is from a sample number that was not assigned to Landis. The differences in sample identification numbers also point to issues in the chain of custody of the Landis sample.

"Clinical laboratories making these types of gross errors could easily find themselves answering to a wrongful death lawsuit, and often do," said Jacobs. "At a minimum, those laboratory errors must go to the defense of the athlete and must result in a finding that the T/E results are wholly unreliable."

Landis special guest at Univest Grand Prix Criterium

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

Three years ago, Floyd Landis led the Univest cyclosportif ride as a member of Lance Armstrong's victorious team in the 2003 Tour de France. On Sunday, Landis returned with his family to the Univest Grand Prix Criterium in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, not far from his their Farmersville, Pennsylvania home via the invitation of Univest Grand Prix race promoter John Eustice. In an impromptu interview, Landis told Doylestown Intelligencer sports reporter Bill Keen that he has a had a lot of support from American fans since news of his positve test for testosterone in the Tour de France emerged in late July. "I started at races like this and doing local races and this is a good one where amateurs and professionals race together," said Landis, "(The support of the fans) means a lot because, obviously I've been focusing on this whole thing and I haven't been out and doing things much, and it feels good."

Univest organizer John Eustice told Cyclingnews, "I knew it was a risk to have Floyd here and frankly, I didn't know how he would be accepted by crowd. But I know I believe in him and my sponsors trusted me. So when race speaker Michael Aisner introduced Floyd, it was just an incredible moment. To have Floyd back at our race was great. We had a large crowd and they cheered wildly for him. So did all the riders; they were in awe that he was here. To have the entire Landis family, his father, mother and three sisters was great."

Landis discussed his case in some depth with the local media, and said he was sure he would be able to clear his name. "I do feel confident," he told The Philadelphia Inquirer. "Things are going to be fine, for sure. First of all, I'm confident because I know I'm innocent. Secondly, if, like I've been told, they're going to give me a fair hearing, then things will be cleared up."

The next step for Landis and his defence team to submit a formal motion to dismiss the case to the US Anti-Doping Agency. He believes his case is boosted by the full documentation of the b-sample test, which he received Friday. "We were given now, 300, almost 400 pages of documents for the actual tests to analyze," Landis told The Intelligencer.

"On Monday we'll submit a request for the case to be dropped because, based on the B and the B sample, there are too many contradictions for the two to be the same sample," he said. "Assuming they disagree with that [request], then we will go to arbitration with the US Anti-Doping Association, their agency, I should say... So Monday we make a submittal, later in the week, Friday I guess, they will decide whether it goes to a hearing or not and if it does they'll decide on a date then, and I assume it will be December or January. That's the status at this time."

According to the Inquirer, Landis is taking heart from the recent Marion Jones case, in which the printer was cleared of using EPO after an apparent positive A-sample test.

"As you see, they just demonstrated that they misrepresented their test," he said. "They've been doing the same thing with the testosterone test. It's not cut-and-dry like they say... . They need to proceed from here on out with my case and everyone else in the interest of science and fairness, instead of making a name for themselves."

Cyclingnews' coverage of the Floyd Landis case

May 29, 2009 - French authorities summon Landis and Baker
September 28, 2008 - Landis takes case to US federal court
September 10, 2008 - Landis signing with current Health Net-Maxxis team for 2009
July 1, 2008 - CAS delivers final blow to Landis legal challenge
June 30, 2008 - Landis loses final appeal
June 28, 2008 - Landis decision due Monday
March 12, 2008 - Landis' judgment day nears
October 21, 2007 - Landis files appeal with CAS
October 18, 2007 - AFLD takes another look at Landis case
Thursday, October 11 - Landis continues fight, appeals to CAS
Saturday, September 22 - UCI officially names Pereiro 2006 Tour champion, Landis case raises issues
Friday, September 21 - Landis' appeal denied, two year suspension levied

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the Floyd Landis case

Germany announces World's team

The Bund Deutscher Radfahrer (German Cycling Federation) announced its team for the upcoming 2006 UCI Road World Championships from September 19-24 in Salzburg, Austria.

The team features Tour de France podium finisher Andreas Klöden and the two top german riders of the moment, Stefan Schumacher and Jens Voigt. Klöden has been nominated to start in both the road race and the time trial. The BDR (German Cycling Federation) has not yet announced who the team will ride for. The women's road team features reigning world champion Regina Schleicher.

Men's Road Race: Linus Gerdemann, Matthias Kessler, Andreas Klöden, David Kopp, Stefan Schumacher, Patrik Sinkewitz, Fabian Wegmann, Jens Voigt, and Erik Zabel. Reserves: Christian Knees, Ronny Scholz, Stephan Schreck and Marcel Sieberg .

Men's Time Trial: Andreas Klöden and Sebastian Lang. Reserve: Stefan Schumacher.

Women's Road Race: Judith Arndt, Claudia Häusler, Madeleine Sandig, Theresa Senff, Regina Schleicher, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, and Trixi Worrack. Reserve: Angela Brodtka

Women's Time Trial: Judith Arndt and Trixi Worrack. Reserve: Charlotte Becker.

U-23 Men's Road Race: Matthias Belka, Gerald Ciolek, Alexander Gottfried, Tony Martin, Dominik Roels and Carlo Westphal. Reserves: Niko Keinath and Michael Muck.

U-23 Men's Time Trial: Tony Martin and Dominik Roels. Reserve: Stefan Schäfer.

Danish men for world's

The Danish Cycling Federation has announced its team for the elite men's road race in Salzburg on the 24th of September. They are Jakob Piil, Lars Bak and Nicki Sørensen from team CSC. Michael Blaudzun and Martin Pederson, also from CSC, will be the team's substitutes for the race.

USA world's teams

USA Cycling announced, yesterday, the elite teams that will represent the United States at the 2006 UCI Road World Championships from September 19-24 in Salzburg, Austria.

In the elite men's division, nine riders will compete in the road race and will field a team consisting of six UCI ProTour veterans and three domestic-based pros. ProTour riders Chris Horner (Davitamon-Lotto) Fred Rodriguez (Davitamon-Lotto), Christian VandeVelde (CSC), Tyler Farrar (Cofidis), Patrick McCarty (Phonak), and Guido Trenti (Quickstep-Innergetic) join U.S.-based riders Jackson Stewart (Calif), Danny Pate (TIAA-CREF) and Chris Baldwin (Toyota-United).

US Time Trial Champion David Zabriskie (CSC) and Baldwin were also selected to compete in the men's time trial.
All UCI ProTour riders were automatic selections to the team by virtue of their spots on UCI ProTour teams. Stewart was an automatic selection as the highest-ranked American in the UCI America Tour standings. Baldwin was the sole discretionary selection for both the road race and time trial.

The elite women's squad will consist of Amber Neben (Buitenpoort Flexpoint), Kristin Armstrong (Lipton), Tina Pic (Colviata Cooking Light), Christine Thorburn (Webcor Platinum), Kim Anderson (T-Mobile) and Kimberly Bruckner (T-Mobile).

Neben earned an automatic selection for the time trial based on her win at the Pan American Championships earlier this year. She was also an automatic selection for the road race as the highest-ranked American in the world.

Armstrong was also an automatic selection for both the road race and the time trial. Her win in the road race at the 2006 USA Cycling National Festival at Seven Springs earned her a nomination for the road race while her bronze-medal performance in the time trial at last year's world championships secured her spot in that event this year.

Pic was an automatic selection for the road race based on her two top-five finishes in UCI World Cup races this season.

US world's teams

Elite men time trial: Chris Baldwin, David Zabriskie

Elite men road race: Chris Baldwin, Chris Horner, Tyler Farrar, Patrick McCarty, Danny Pate, Fred Rodriguez, Jackson Stewart, Guido Trenti, Christian VandeVelde.

Elite women road race: Kim Anderson, Kristin Armstrong, Kimberly Baldwin, Amber Neben, Tina Pic, Christine Thorburn.

Elite women time trial: Kristin Armstrong, Amber Neben, Christine Thorburn.

Teenager Ciolek outsprints his elders

Teenager Gerald Ciolek, last year's German national champion, surprised the cycling world again by winning "Rund um den Nürnberger Altstadt." Ciolek, 19, who rides for the Continental Team Wiesenhof-Akud, outsprinted Tilo Schüler (Team Sparkasse) and Harald Morscher (Team Vorarlberg), as the participating Pro Tour teams all missed the podium.

A breakaway group of four riders led the race until 17 km to go. Despite many attempts, no further breaks were successful, and the peloton came en masse to the finish. Ciolek, who turns 20 in nine days, took the sprint. "To win against a field with so many good sprinters, is a real success for me," said the winner, who next year will ride for Team T-Mobile.

US cyclocross season kicks off

The US cyclocross season gets underway Saturday, September 30th and Sunday, October 1st with the fourth annual Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup in Southampton, NY.

Reigning U.S. National Cyclocross Champion Todd Wells will have his hands full against northeast cyclo-cross stalwarts Mark McCormack, Tim Johnson, Jesse Anthony and Jeremy Powers. Bolstering the lineup for the men's field are racers from team Rock Lobster, Richard Sachs- RGM watches-Rex Chiu and Independent Fabrications.

The race has equal prize lists for the women's and men's races, with prize lists of over $4000 for each race. The women's field will include 2006 Canadian National Champion Lyne Bessette, who will take on former national team members Christine Vardaros, Maureen Bruno-Roy and more top northeast competitors.

Both events are UCI sanctioned (C1 status for Saturday and C2 status for Sunday).

US collegiate track champs

The USA's top collegiate track cyclists will converge on Indianapolis later this month for the National Collegiate Cycling Championships aqt the Major Taylor Velodrome, September 20-24.

Winners of the event in eight of the last 10 seasons, host team Marian College cycling team will compete among 20-30 teams for the 2006 championship. An estimated 120 athletes will race individuals and relays, sprint and endurance.

Racing begins Thursday, September 21 with morning and evening sessions and the schedule continues for three days through the championship sessions on Saturday, September 23. Sunday, September 24 is a rain day (if necessary). The event is free of charge and fans are welcome.

Cycling fans at the 2006 NCCA Track Championships are invited to also visit the Marian College campus near the Major Taylor Velodrome. Plans for the state-of-the-art Marian College Training Center (MCTC) will be available. Currently under construction, the MCTC combines world class physiological and biomechanical testing services with a choice of Computrainer training sessions or spin classes for the fitness enthusiast. The facility, scheduled to be completed in late-2006, will be open to the general public.

Correction: Fionn Griffiths

In our coverage of Sunday's final round of the four-cross mountain bike world cup we mistakenly said that this was Fionn Griffiths' last race before retirement. In fact, according to Mark Schmid of Griffiths' bike sponsor Norco, Griffiths' "return to the top of a World Cup podium has increased her passion for racing."

Cyclingnews apologises for the error.

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