Latest Cycling News for July 6, 2006
Edited by Hedwig Kröner, with assistance of Susan Westemeyer
Bad luck for Mayo, but without consequences
Iban Mayo (Euskaltel)
Photo ©: Sirotti
One of the serious rivals of Lance Armstrong three years ago, Iban Mayo,
has struggled with a bit of bad luck lately. During the first days of
the Tour de France, the team leader of Basque Euskaltel crashed in the
finale of stage 4, and it was only with the help of his team that he was
able to come back onto the peloton before the sprint.
"Somebody tried to ride where there wasn't any space and several of
us went down," Mayo told Todociclismo. "I looked at my bike
quickly, and there was something wrong with it so Ińigo Landaluze gave
me his. Like this, I didn't lose much time and we saved the situation.
The distance to the finish was short; there wasn't any time to lose! My
teammates waited for me and took me back to the group without problems.
I fell on my right side, but it wasn't bad."
But it wasn't the only mishap the winner of the 2003 stage to L'Alpe
d'Huez encountered until now. "That makes two days where I've had problems;
it's bad luck," he continued. "The day before, I punctured at 25 kilometres
from the finish, and had to make an extra effort, too. Finally, I lost
12 seconds, but I don't give that a lot of importance." Mayo knows from
experience that it could have been worse: "With the help of my team, I
got out of these situations without losing much time," he said. "If you
can't avoid ill fortune, I'd rather have it like that. These first Tour
stages are always nervous; there's still a lot to come and you notice
it in the rhythm of the race. The guys go strong, but it has only just
started. It's a different Tour this year, but as always, it will be very
As for his options in the race, Mayo plays it low. "It's a test every
day, and we have to take it step by step," he commented. "The most positive
thing is that I feel good."
Fuentes: "High-level sport is not healthy"
In an extensive interview broadcast by Spanish radio Cadena Ser,
gynaecologist and doping expert Eufemiano Fuentes has talked about his
behind-the-scenes activities in the sport. First of all, he insisted on
his belief that he was not a criminal and only attended to his medical
duty of preserving the athlete's health.
"I'm don't feel like a criminal; I haven't killed anyone and I haven't
destroyed anyone's health," he said. "I'm a health professional; my priority
is to cure my patients because I think that the sport at high level is
not healthy. I'm accused of crime against public health, but they should
sanction those who play at being doctors." So instead of boosting the
rider's performances, Fuentes considered that he only "supplemented and
adjusted" those bodily functions of the riders which showed a deficit.
"[Cyclists] are very special sportsmen because they reduce their heart
rate by half when resting," he continued. "Their hearts are big, and when
they stop cycling their hearts reduce their size to normal within six
months, which results in what we call 'sudden death'."
Fuentes, who added that his treatments also concerned other sports than
cycling (football, tennis, athletics), said that it was possible to ride
the Tour de France without "medical" help, but not at that speed. "You
just can't ride four of these mountain stages successively at that speed,
it's very harmful," he said, adding that in his opinion it was more dangerous
for a cyclist to start the Tour de France with a hematocrit level of 31
percent, than one of 51 percent - even though this meant that the rider
would be excluded from competition.
The Madrid-based doctor named two cyclists, Alberto Contador and Vicente
Ballester, but only to say that he did not know them and that he did not
know why their names were on the list established by the Spanish criminal
investigators. He also said that there were riders still participating
in the Tour de France that he had treated and that he "had enough of the
hypocrisy. The Tour direction sent home riders that I never treated, and
there are now clients of mine in the peloton. I'm furious. People were
named that I don't even know but other names were concealed."
Moreover, he stated that the bags of blood that were found were destined
"for use in the next ten years", and that the quantities of EPO seized
"for a family member who might need it." he also added that he had been
threatened not to reveal any persons involved with him. Fuentes felt "lynched
by the media" and "killed professionally".
Leipheimer in Ferrari hotel
German press agency dpa has reported that Gerolsteiner team manager
Hans-Michael Holczer had confirmed information according to which his
Tour de France leader, American Levi Leipheimer, had possible contacts
with controversial preparatore Michele Ferrari. At the start of
stage five in Beauvais, Holczer admitted that Leipheimer had stayed in
the same hotel during a training camp on Spanish island Tenerife last
year. "But he assured me once again that he isn't working with the Italian,"
Paulinho to Discovery
Portuguese rider Sergio Paulinho is changing to Discover Channel next
year, although he was one of the riders apparently implicated in the doping
affair around Madrid-based doctor Fuentes. But team manager Johan Bruyneel
does not think that there is a problem according to Belgian Sporza.
"He doesn't have to do anything with the case at all," Bruyneel said.
"He has a certificate from the Portuguese federation which clearly states
that he has been linked wrongly to the case. In these matters, I don't
take any risks."
Astana buys out Saiz
On Tuesday, the Kazakhstan sponsors of the soon-to-be Astana cycling
team have bought the remaining shares of former team manager Manolo Saiz.
Present at the deal was Tony Rominger, who is rumoured to become the new
manager of the squad. Former pro Alexander Shefer has been named as a
directeur sportif for the team.
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
"Tom Boonen apparently said in an interview, that the Tour is a race
for masochists. He could be right, when you consider what pains the Tour
is associated with," said Gerolsteiner's Fabian Wegmann on his website.
"But winning the mountain jersey makes up for it."
Everything is not going so well for him, though. On the sprinter's stage
on Wednesday, the German had some problems. "My back hurts a little. That
comes from my crash in the prologue."
His teammate René Haselbacher isn't riding the Tour this year, but he
doesn't let that stop him from commenting on it for sport1. "The
fight for the green jersey will be hard," the sprinter wrote. Robbie McEwen
had good chances, "and is super motivated." Haselbacher cast some doubts
on World Champion and yellow jersey wearer Tom Boonen. "The first two
sprints were for nothing. I'm not entirely convinced that he is top fit.
But he is a fighter, who rides for every single point in the bonus sprints."
Haselbacher also likes the chances of Erik Zabel, "although he's not
the youngest anymore." But "why shouldn't he win the green jersey in Paris
for the seventh time?" Still, Haselbacher was certain about the winner.
"This time Thor Hushovd will win the green jersey, for the second year
in a row. I'm sure of that," he said.
Hervis Tour notes
Wiesenhof-Akud's Austrian rider Gerhard Trampusch finished third on
the Kitzbüheler Horn Wednesday. "I gave everything I had today," he said.
"I was simply one minute too slow to win. I tried to ride up on my tempo.
I compliment Christian Pfanneberger, and I'm happy for him. Tomorrow will
be a big fight, everything is open. The heat was not the problem today
- my legs just couldn't go any faster."
T-Mobile's Austrian rider, Bernhard Kohl, went into the race as the
favourite for the overall win. However, he now finds himself in seventh
place, over two and a half minutes down. "Sometimes it seems like you're
jinxed," he wrote on his website. "When you really want something, concentrate
on it and believe yourself to be perfectly prepared - then it just doesn't
work out. Of course I wanted to win, that's no question." But he doesn't
look for excuses: "You can search for reasons why it worked out that way
today, but I can tell you: I just couldn't do it." However, he still hopes
for a stage win on Thursday to thank his team, "which has worked so well
for me the last few days."
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)