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Latest Cycling News for August 29, 2005

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

L'Equipe puts more pressure on

By Hedwig Kröner

In today's edition of the French sports newspaper L'Equipe, editors are calling to "break the silence". In its page two editorial running under that headline, the journalists see only one way out of the disillusionment the revelations of last August, 23, have provoked: "that of words and transparence."

"The sport in its entirety cannot, after such a revelation, stay like it is. [...] Since Tuesday, the supreme institution of cycling, the UCI has fenced itself in a deafening silence. This one, like other silences, has to cease," the editorial continued.

In the inside page dedicated to cycling, the paper cited Tour de France vice-directeur Christian Prudhomme, who is in favour of introducing retroactive testing as an additional means in the fight against doping in cycling. Talking about the Armstrong case, he said, "It's true, there will never be any legal proof and Armstrong's defense is only logical. He has been controlled hundreds of times, all negative, and he can therefore say: 'What have you done?'

"Now, the spark of hope in this case is that there will be a Damocles' sword over the riders who will want to cheat in the future. Those who have an advantage now might experience a setback two years from now. [...] If there are still frozen samples left, why not search the years 2001, 2002?" Prudhomme asked, alluding to the assumption that the test for EPO has been improved in recent years.

The Tour de France official thus expressed the same thoughts than French minister for Youth and Sports, Jean-Francois Lamour, who is also representative of Europe in the Executive Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency WADA. "To be able to detect products that were undetectable until now, that's an advantage that has to be looked into," Lamour said. "A stable legal structure has to be worked on, sort of like the automatisation of this principle: establish a protocol, the sample conservation times, their ways of preservation."

UCI breaks off negotiations with Grand Tours

Vuelta a España director Victor Cordero said that the International Cycling Union (UCI) told him it was breaking off negotiations about the ProTour calendar with the three major Tours at the start of stage two. The ongoing difficulties between French organiser ASO, Spanish RCS and Italian Unipublic might therefore have ended up in a dead end.

Cordero has nevertheless stated that he is still open for further talks. Put under pressure by these developments and the fact that the Vuelta a España isn't the most popular Grand Tour amongst the teams, the Spaniard told reporters, "We want to continue talking, and now it's more important than ever. There's no other way out." Whilst Cordero didn't want to speak for all three major Tours, he announced talks with his French and Italian counterparts (ASO: Patrice Clerc, Unipublic: Angelo Zomegnan) and said that there would be a formal reaction from the three in the next few days. "With my colleagues, we will think about a reaction," Cordero concluded.

Team transfer news

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

29 year-old Colombian climbing sensation, winner of two stages in this year's Giro d'Italia Ivan Parra has inked a deal with French formation Cofidis for 2006. Belgian Rik Verbrugghe looks likely to join Cofidis next year. Although Quick.Step boss Patrick Lefévère was sorry to see the prologue specialist depart, he acknowledged that his team couldn't meet the rich Cofidis offer. Alain Deloeuil, Cofidis directeur sportif explained that "Rik is more than just a solid rider; he'll fit perfectly into our team structure."

Although talented Slovenian Tadej Valjavec has been courted by several teams for 2006, he has chosen to sign a two year deal with the Lampre squad, which will likely be called Lampre-Valsir next season. Valjavec will focus on the Tour de France in '06 as well as help Lampre leader Damiano Cunego in some races. Also joining Lampre in 2006 is emerging Italian sprinter Daniele Napolitano of Team LPR, who just won two stages at the Tour du Poitou Charentes et de la Vienne in France. Departing Lampre for LPR next season is Samuele Marzano.

Discovery Channel's 2006 line-up already has some changes in store, with Basque climber Egoi Martinez coming from Euskaltel and solid young Belgian classics man Jurgen Van Goolen from Quick.Step. Aussie Trent Lowe, a former junior MTB XC world champ currently riding the road for Jittery Joe's (Subaru-Gary Fisher on MTB) was a climbing revelation in the Tour de Georgia this spring, finishing 11th on GC and will join Discovery Channel next year. And peloton whispers say that Discovery Channel is also close to signing CSC's young Russian classics talent Vladimir Gusev.

Dekker still looking to World's

Rabobank rider Erik Dekker, who broke his collarbone in a Dutch race one week ago, is recovering well and hopes to be able to participate in the World Championships in Madrid, Spain, later this month. The Dutchman will test his abilities in the upcoming Tour of Poland (September 12-18, 2005) to see if his form is sufficient for the International event on September 25.

"I'm more optimistic than last week," said Dekker, who has started training again, three hours a day. "All is going well as far as my collarbone is concerned, but I'm still having problems with my neck. I don't feel really fit yet - that might also be an after-effect of the anaesthetics - but I'll participate in the Tour of Poland for sure. There, it will show if I have the level to be part of a possible selection for the World's."

German teams' youngsters in Spain

A trio of young riders from the two German teams are writing on-line diaries from the Vuelta a España. Here's a look at their first two stage experiences:

T-Mobile's Bernhard Kohl, 23, surely hoped to finish better than 160th in the first non-time-trial stage of his first Grand Tour. He understood why it happened, though: "I felt good and attacked together with Aitor Osa and Gorka Gonzalez." The attack was short-lived and he was soon back in the 25-man leading group. "On a short descent before the mountain ranking, my teammate Andreas Klier and my team captain Oscar Sevilla crashed. But that wasn't enough. Oscar's bike broke and our team car with the replacement bikes was 10 minutes behind us. I gave Sevilla my bike and waited 10 minutes for the replacement. We're almost the same size, so that he could use my bike without problem. Good for him, not for me. That's the way it is in cycling. It's more important that our man for GC finishes in the first group than that I have a chance in a breakaway. I'll have more chances in the next three weeks." (bernhardkohl.at)

Compared to Kohl, Gerolsteiner's Thomas Ziegler is an old hand, being 24 years old and already having ridden the 2004 Giro. But Sunday wasn't his day either: "I was hoping to do something today and I'm a little disappointed that nothing worked. I went up the last climb in the leading group, fully motivated. But then I ran out of air. The heat was unbearable. 45 degrees in the shade - but there was no shade. We rode the whole day in the glaring Andalusian sun. My arms and legs are as red as a crab. I drank 13 or 14 bottles today. Normally nobody can last more than five minutes in the swimming pool by such temperatures. I don't know how we managed to last five hours on the bike." (radsportnews.com)

21 year-old Matthias Russ from Gerolsteiner had the rudest introduction to the Vuelta, describing his time trial this was: "At a quarter to three there I was, totally motivated at the start, after all, it was the start of my first Grand Tour. Somehow I went into the first curve too fast and fell quite elegantly... well, nothing bad happened, the bike was OK, so I got back on it. But that was it for me. I just tried to get to the finish in halfway ok time. During the massage I watched some of the other riders, and Joseba Beloki crashed at the same spot." (procm.ch/matthias-russ)

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

Quick.Step to Britain

Belgian team Quick.Step-Innergetic will participate in the upcoming Tour of Britain (August 30-September 4) with the following riders: Davide Bramati, Wilfried Cretskens, Nick Nuyens, Luca Paolini, Michael Rogers and Ivan Santaromita.

Landbouwkrediet for l'Avenir

Landbouwkrediet-Colnago's team management has announced its line-up for the Tour de l'Avenir (September 1-10): Maxime Monfort, Steve Cummings, Sven Renders, Gregory Habeaux, Jean-Paul Simon and Jurgen Van Loocke will represent the squad in France. Team manager Gérard Bulens is happy to be able to make his young riders participate in the race.

"Our team has a sufficiently great number of young riders to be able to participate in the Tour de l'Avenir without one single stagiaire," he said. "This confirms or main objective, which has been forgotten by the UCI: give young riders a chance to prove themselves in a professional structure with an international programme, without having to put up with the tight schedule and stress of the ProTour."

More Tour prizes for LA Foundation

The Tour Baby! filmmaker Scott Coady followed the entire 2005 Tour de France and scored some amazing and exclusive Tour memorabilia, which are now on offer in his final online raffle to benefit the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF).

Coady has raised over $120,000 to date and is now aiming even higher. "My goal is to be the number #1 Peloton Project Fundraiser this year. I am currently #3 on the list, but with this last raffle, I might make it!," said Coady. $21,000 was raised for the LAF in Coady’s previous online raffle where Kevin Dorsey from Chicago, Ill. won a 2003 USPS Tour jersey signed by Armstrong and the team.

The memorabilia prizes are: a 2006 Discovery Team jersey signed by Lance and the team, a signed LIVEStrong wristband, Lance’s water bottle from the Tour and a Trek Lunch Box (very limited edition). Tickets are $50 each, tax deductible and will be on sale until September 16. The winner will be drawn on October 22 at the Ride for the Roses by a famous cycling personality who will call you to tell you that you have won! Click here for details: www.thetourbaby.com/cycling_package_raffle/index.html

Bridge 2 Bridge Women's Classic

The Bridge 2 Bridge Women's Classic, a Women's Cycling race will be held September 24 in Bargo, NSW, Australia. The A, B & C Grades race with $3,600 up for grabs is to promote women's cycling and as well as promoting Bargo and the Wollondilly Shire (SW Sydney) as a cycling destination. Entries for the Hot Dog Race over a 3.4km circuit (no significant hills) can be made at Cycling NSW www.nsw.cycling.org.au/raceentry.html , more information is available at www.bargo.info/cycle.htm

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