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First Edition TdF Cycling News for June 24, 2005

Edited by Anthony Tan & Jeff Jones

Blood transfusions tested for in Tour

Drug testing in the forthcoming Tour de France will test for homologous blood transfusions, but not autologous transfusions or growth hormone, the French national anti-doping laboratory announced on Thursday. According to lab director Jacques De Ceaurriz, the much promised growth hormone test, which was used at last year's Athens Olympics, is not able to be used because of financial reasons, citing the global supply of antibodies as a major problem.

Mr De Ceaurriz said that the homologous blood transfusion test will be used for the first time at the Tour, even though it was announced as going to be used at the start of last year's Tour. The controversial transfusion test has already been used at the Athens Olympics and during the Vuelta a España in 2004, with the then Phonak teammates Tyler Hamilton and Santiago Perez both testing positive for the presence of another type of red blood cell in their bodies. Appeals in those cases are still ongoing, with arguments about establishing a false positive rate and the possibility of having a "vanishing twin" being put forward by Hamilton.

During the Tour, riders will give 150 urine samples and 40 blood samples. The World Anti-Doping Agency has asked that samples be kept for three months following the Tour for possible later testing.

Saunier Duval for Tour

Saunier Duval Prodir team manager Joxean "Matxin" Fernandez has confirmed his line-up for the Tour de France and has commented briefly on the ambitions of each of the nine riders selected:

Angel Gomez Marchante: "He is the rider for the future. I can imagine him wearing the white jersey in the Tour! Angel is very strong and raced an excellent Dauphiné; he even gave shivers to the favourites!"
Constantino Zaballa: "He was already very impressive in the classics. He is a rider who likes to work and has a strong fighting spirit. His goal at the Tour is a stage victory!"
Juan Manuel Garate: "The specialist in big tours, Garate is a very experienced rider who raced an amazing Giro, finishing fifth. His goal is the general classification."
Nicolas Fritsch: "The Frenchy of the team! It's clear that Nicolas' biggest goal of the season is the Tour; he trained very hard in the mountains and raced a good Dauphiné as well."
Iñigo Cuesta: "Inigo is a perfect team-mate and will surely help Marchante win a stage! He recently won a stage of the Tour of Catalunya."
David Cañada: "David will also hope for a stage victory. He is really strong at the time trial and could also be part of some escapes... "
Chris Horner: "Chris just came back to competition at the Tour de Suisse after a broken leg; he won the sixth stage and finished fifth on GC. He is physically and mentally at the top for the Tour."
Leonardo Piepoli: "Leonardo is one of the best climbers in the world. He recently won a stage at the Tour of Catalunya and feels very good. Expect him to be fast in the mountains."
Manuel Quinziato: "Manuel is a very powerful rider and feels very good at the moment. He finished sixth at the Italian time trial championships."

Accompanying Fernandez in the team car at the Tour will be assistant directeur sportif Pietro Algeri.

New rules for Fantasy Tour de France 05

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This year's Fantasy Tour de France is under way, and you can begin building your teams now! Be a professional team manager for the 2005 Tour de France, with over 25 opportunities to win prizes in this year's game. Based on the live racing action, you will take up the challenge of using your knowledge and tactical skill as a race team manager to compete with managers from around the world. For more info go to fantasy.cyclingnews.com.

Prize update

The prize sponsors are being finalised. TREK has confirmed as our main sponsor and is providing a Madone Discovery Team bike. Specialized is providing its latest eyewear for the 21 stage prizes. Bontrager is providing us with two pairs of Bontrager Race X-Lite Aero wheels, one Race X Lite OS handlebars, one Race XXX Lite OS carbon stem, and one Race X Lite Pro saddle. More prizes will be confirmed shortly.

New Rules

In conjunction with feedback and suggestions from players of the game over three years, we have developed a new points system for the Tour games. We've awarded more points to a greater number of riders and given back more emphasis to GC placings. Thanks to all of you who helped us develop the new points system. Have a look for yourself in the points section.

Join for free

You can begin creating your team/s now. You can play the first eight stages for FREE! We will be adding additions to the startlist on a daily basis. The Tour games are easy to play, all you need to do to manage your own team is select 15 riders from the live start list then select 9 of these riders to race each day throughout the Tour. You score points according to how well each of the riders place each day in the Tour. So try your team today and see if it's for you. It's a great way to follow the Tour. Create your teams now at fantasy.cyclingnews.com

Good luck!

The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team

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