Latest Cycling News for July 5, 2006
Edited by Jeff Jones
An interview with Robbie McEwen
Robbie McEwen: life of a sprinter
Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen is firmly in the hunt for the green jersey
in this year's Tour after his spectacular win on stage two. Cyclingnews'
Shane Stokes sat down with Robbie McEwen the day he withdrew from
the recent Tour de Suisse with a sore knee. He was expecting to find the
sprinter in a disappointed mood but instead the rider was in top form,
talking happily for longer that was scheduled and showing clear confidence
that everything was on track for a strong Tour de France.
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).
WAP-enabled mobile devices: http://live.cyclingnews.com/wap/
Already a Tour stage winner.
Photo ©: AFP
When it comes to the final 200 metres of a major race, Australian rider
Robbie McEwen is one of the quickest and most tactically astute on two
wheels. Along with Thor Hushovd and Tom Boonen he's one of the top favourites
for stage wins and the green jersey as best sprinter in this year's Tour.
Mondays's road stage showed just why the Davitamon-Lotto rider has already
won two maillots vert; McEwen produced a hugely impressive burst of speed
to blast past Stuart O'Grady and Erik Zabel and win the stage. Last year
McEwen took a hat-trick of stages at the Giro and then did the same at
the Tour, taking the honours in Montargis, Karlsruhe and Montpellier.
However, a controversial tangle with compatriot Stuart O'Grady on day
three into Tours saw him disqualified, a decision he disagreed with and
which he feels ultimately cost him his chance of winning the race for
This time round he's hoping for more success. He once again took three
stages in the Giro and says that if history repeats itself and brings
an equivalent number of victories in this year's Tour, he'd be very happy
indeed. Over the course of a 25-minute interview a friendly McEwen gave
an in-depth look into his career and the world of sprinting, talking about
his abilities, his preparation, his career progression, his tactics when
dealing with top rivals such at Tom Boonen and Thor Hushovd and his surprisingly
relaxed approach vis-à-vis checking out the route of the race.
here for the full interview
Julich ready to stand up
By Brecht Decaluwé in Valkenburg
American Bobby Julich is going with the flow in this year's Tour de
France. He's still in the upper portion of the general classification,
so after Saturday's individual time trial, he could find himself in the
top 5. We asked whether this was an objective when he prepared for the
Tour de France.
"Now it is, but it wasn't an objective. I wasn't really thinking about
the individual accomplishments here in the race, but now I think it will
sort out the GC. I do like long time trials, but we'll have to wait and
see. It's all about saving the energy and using it all on that one day,
but I think everybody has the same plan. I didn't do any prologue training,
because I was busy doing long climbs, preparing to work for Basso in the
mountains; and without a team time trial, there was no real reason to
"The last two days I felt good and obviously I hope to get better, and
save as much energy for the time trial; without losing any time before
The Texas born Coloradoan finished third in 1998 and was also the proud
wearer of the first white ProTour leader's jersey last year, after his
win in Paris-Nice. The pressure must be mounting now, since team leader
Basso is out of the race: "I'm 34 years old...honestly, I'm too old to
feel that kind of pressure. If this kind of opportunity would've come
my way a few years ago, it would've been super, but I'm too old to put
that kind of pressure on myself."
In absence of Basso, maybe Julich will need to stand up and say to his
teammates that he's the one to support. Is he ready to do this? "If I
do a good time trial, and I'm in the front of the GC, absolutely. I did
that last year in Paris-Nice and the Tour of Benelux. I know how to do
it, but it's just a question of being able to do it; and after all, this
is the Tour de France, not Paris-Nice or the Tour of Benelux," Julich
Operacion Puerto has had a big influence on this edition of the Tour
de France, and we asked Julich how things have changed for him."I feel
fine, nothing special, but obviously it's a different mentality, a different
mindset, now that I have to adapt rather than coming here and have to
be a worker. Team CSC still has a plan as we have some other bullets in
the gun; I may be one them, but after the time trial it will be clear
who the leader is."
Tuesday was the first stage with hilly roads, which gave an indication
of who is fit and who isn't. "You can't really tell so much on climbs
like this. There are guys that are punchers, and there are guys that are
good in the long climbs. And obviously, the Cauberg is a climb for punchers,"
Casar downed by drunk spectator
Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux) finished 137th in yesterday's third
stage after being taken out by a drunken spectator at the foot of
the Cauberg. The spectator then got into an argument with Casar's DS Marc
Madiot, while others tried to steal the Frenchman's wheels.
Although Casar lost several minutes, he was credited with the time of
the first group (five seconds behind winner Kessler), and therefore is
just 39 seconds behind on GC.
O'Grady OK to start
Stuart O'Grady (CSC) was able to start stage 4 in Huy, despite breaking
one of his vertebrae in a crash during yesterday's third
stage. "Stuart is in pain, but we all hope that he will continue to
race," Team CSC's Brian Nygaard told Cyclingnews. "The pain is
bearable for him, and he decided to continue. We'll see how it goes inside
the bunch today. We don't expect him to sprint in Saint Quentin though,
that would not be fair." Both he and his team will see how he holds up
in the coming days, as to whether he can finish the Tour.
Dekker leaves hospital
Erik Dekker (Rabobank) was able to leave the hospital in Verviers after
an overnight stay following a bad crash in stage
3. Dekker had serious facial wounds, broken teeth, a torn lip, and
concussion, and was kept unconscious by doctors while they treated him.
Tour visits Flanders in 2007
The Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt has confirmed that the Tour
de France will pay a visit to cycling-mad Flanders next year. The second
stage, which starts in Dunkirk, will finish in Gent. The following stage
will start in Waregem, some 30 km west.
Five points in the Basso-Fuentes link
The withdrawal of Ivan Basso from the Tour de France on the eve of the
race was one of several shocks resulting from the Operacion Puerto affair.
As Basso was named in the investigation, under ProTour rules he had to
pull out of the Tour. Jan Ullrich, Oscar Sevilla, Francisco Mancebo, and
the whole Astana-Würth team (even though all weren't named) couldn't start
the Tour for similar reasons.
Since the operation hit the public eye on May 23, Basso and his Team
CSC mentor Bjarne Riis have always denied that they were involved in the
investigation. However, a 38-page summary of the full 500-page Operacion
Puerto dossier provided enough circumstantial evidence to link the CSC
captain to the affair. Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport
published the information concerning Basso, which focused on tapped conversations
between Dr Eufemiano Fuentes, and the former director of Comunidad Valenciana,
In a phone conversation on May 14, at 21:46, the two discuss the Giro
stage to Maielletta,
won by Basso. Fuentes allegedly said in a 'wink wink' tone, "A stranger
won, Basso, Ivan Basso." Labarta responded, "A certain Ivan Basso."
After that stage, Basso and José Enrique Gutierrez Cataluna (a Dr Fuentes
client) were lying first and second on the general classification. Labarta:
"Well done boy, first and second with a certain Basso and a certain Guti."
Fuentes: "Good heavens." Labarta: "Hey...first and second."
On the previous day (May 13), Labarta called Fuentes at 20:02 and spoke
about the great performance of the "Buffalo" - Gutierrez' oft-used nickname
- who finished fourth in stage
7 on that day. A surprised Fuentes said, "Buffalo?", to which Labarta
responded in the affirmative, also listing the stage placings behind Rik
Verbrugghe: "Savoldelli [2nd - ed.], yes, and behind at 16 seconds, Birillo
arrived with Simoni, at 20 seconds Zapatero [who was identified as Scarponi],
at 24 seconds, Uno [La Gazzetta claimed it was Unai Osa, but he finished
at 34 seconds - ed]. All very well. I want to say that all those who you
are looking after, or who you are interested in, are in the race and also
In addition to Basso and Simoni, only Rebellin and Gonchar finished
at 16 seconds on the seventh stage. Both those riders, as well as Simoni
and Savoldelli, have been excluded from having any connection with Dr
Fuentes. But "Birillo" happens to be the name of Basso's dog. In Fuentes'
code key, it is associated with number 2. The 226 bags of blood and plasma
that were seized from Dr Fuentes' apartments in Madrid are encoded with
similar numbers and nicknames, and presumably a DNA test could verify
whether the blood contained in a "number 2" bag is the same as Ivan Basso's.
The fourth link is a document with Dr Fuentes' company letterhead on
it that features a list of "contributors and participants in the festival
taking place in the month of May." Basso, Marcos Serrano, Michele Scarponi,
José Enrique Gutierrez and Jan Ullrich are all on the list. The Civil
Guard has interpreted the 'festival' as being the Giro d'Italia, since
all those riders took part in it.
The final link is contained in details of payments for products and
services. There is no direct naming of Basso, but a handwritten note by
Fuentes appeared to give 'Birillo' instructions to take certain products.
"Birillo: take 2 x plasma; 3 x HM (gonadotropin); 10 patches (testosterone);
code Swiss account."
Fuentes says he treated more athletes
The doctor at the centre of the Operacion Puerto affair, Eufemiano Fuentes,
has said on Spanish radio that there are riders still in the Tour de France
that he has treated. Speaking on the sports program El Larguero (SER),
Fuentes said, "There are names there that I don't even know, and there
are riders among those I have treated who are still riding the Tour de
Despite the Spanish court's declarations that there were no footballers
or tennis players involved in Operacion Puerto, Fuentes said that he did
not treat cyclists alone. "I have done the same thing with other sports.
I have given advice on treatments for football teams, athletes, and tennis
players, among other sports. My professional oath forbids me from revealing
their names. There have been only selective leaks. I am indignant about
Fuentes doesn't believe he has committed a crime against public health.
"As any doctor of this country, my objective is to preserve the health
of my patients, not to damage it."
He concluded by saying that he will tell the truth. "I make one condition:
what must be said, I will say it. I must tell the truth, although it hurts,
I will say it."
Courtesy of Antonio J. Salmerón
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
May 15, 2009 - Valverde not welcome in Denmark
May 14, 2009 - Spanish federation wants proof in Valverde case
May 13, 2009 - Spanish Olympic Committee defends Valverde
May 12, 2009 - Valverde responds to sanction
May 11, 2009 - Italian tribunal delivers Valverde two-year suspension
May 8, 2009 - Valverde case: Italian Olympic Committee defends Torri
May 7, 2009 - Valverde to take legal action against CONI prosecutor
May 5, 2009 - WADA and Spanish federation join CONI and UCI on Valverde
May 1, 2009 - International Cycling Union joins in on Valverde's hearing in Italy
complete coverage of Operación Puerto
UCI to appeal Gonzalez and Landaluze cases to CAS
The UCI will appeal the Spanish federation's non-sanctioning of Aitor
Gonzalez and Iñigo Landaluze, who tested positive in the 2005 Vuelta a
España and Dauphiné Libéré, respectively. Gonzalez was positive for methandriol/methandienone/methyltestosterone,
while Landaluze had too high a testosterone level. The RFEC did not suspend
them, but the UCI wants some sort of penalty imposed.
Shefer to direct new Astana team
Kazakhstani Alexandre Shefer will become a director sportif of Alexandre
Vinokourov's 'new' Astana team, which will be sponsored purely by Kazakhstan
interests after the withdrawal of co-sponsor Würth. Shefer was a pro between
1993 and 2003, and won the Giro dell'Appennino and the Giro della Toscana,
among other races.
Cioni to Davitamon-Lotto
Davitamon-Lotto will sign Italian Dario Cioni (Liquigas) for next season,
reports Sportwereld.be. Cioni is a strong all round rider, and
finished sixth in the Tour de Romandie this year. Davitamon will also
gain the services of LPR team director Roberto Damiano, and is negotiating
with young Wallonian rider Gil Suray
First Fantasy winners - still time to join
BBB's BSG-23 Winner Quick-Step
World Champion glasses
Giant TCR Advanced
Photo ©: Santini
Speedplay Zero pedals
Deda Alanera handlebars
DedaTre RS Corsa clincher
Reynolds SV KOM carbon wheels
There's still time to join the Fantasy Le Tour Game. Register
your teams now and win some amazing prizes!
You can join
until stage 6 begins and there's ample time to learn how the game
works. There is
no disadvantage in joining the game once the Tour has started so try
the game out for FREE until stage 6 begins. Experiment with different
team selections and see how they fare every day live here at Cyclingnews.
First Fantasy winners announced!
The first four winners of daily
stage prizes have been confirmed. Winning a pair of BBB
Parts BSG-23 Winner Quick-Step World Champion glasses, designed for
Tom Boonen. Their teams had the highest cumulative stage points for the
first stages of the Tour.
Daily Stage Prize winners
Prologue winner - Team McGuire (Manager - McGuire)
Stage 1 winner - www.jjcycling.co.za/3 (Manager - Johann Ribbens)
Stage 2 winner - Once More (Manager - Hercules III)
Stage 3 winner - Bleu Touchpaper (Manager - Nigel)
There are plenty more winners to come with over 49 prizes confirmed for
the prize rosta this year, with more to come.
The Fantasy game is a great way to get to know the Tour in more detail,
as you take on the role of being a team manager during each day of the
Tour, making the best of your team selections as the Tour unfolds stage
by stage. Depending on how the riders finish each stage in real life you
will score points for your Fantasy team to win some great prizes. You'll
get a much more intimate knowledge of the lesser seeded riders as you
watch their progress in your own teams and in other Fantasy manager's
teams each day. You'll also get a much more in depth insight into how
the riders perform over the coming weeks through the sprints and the mountains.
Remember you can change your 15 riders right up until stage 6 begins
so there is no need to worry about the recent changes to the start list.
There is plenty time to get your team right before the game closes to
The full Le Tour Fantasy Game Prize List
Grand Prize from Giant TCR Advanced T-Mobile Team bike.
Daily Prize from BBB Parts - 21 pairs of BSG-23 Winner Quick-Step
World Champion glasses designed for Tom Boonen.
Runner-up Prizes - Set of wheels from Reynolds. - Cirro SV KOM carbon wheels
Runner-up Prizes - Ten pairs of tyres from DedaTre.
Runner-up Prizes - Handlebars from Deda Elementi.
Runner-up Prizes - Three Giro Atmos helmets.
Runner-up Prizes - Three sets of Speedplay's Zero pedals.
Runner-up Prizes - Three fi'zi:k saddles.
Runner-up Prizes - 6 complete sets of Santini ProTour replica team kit.
Play for FREE in the Fantasy Le Tour 2006 game
Remember you can play for free for the first 5 stages! Try the
game out and see how best to play. It's easy to play the Tour games -
all you need to do is pick your dream team of 15 from the riders racing
in this year's Le Tour start list. Then each day pick 9 riders to race
for your fantasy team from these 15. You'll need a good combination of
climbers, sprinters and general classification riders.
For more details go to the rules section of the site. There're also some
great tips and tricks in the downloads and winners sections of the site. It's a great way
to follow Le Tour 2006.
The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)