Cycling News Extra for July 18, 2006
Edited by John Stevenson & John Kenny
Evans & McEwen confident
By John Trevorrow
The tough climbs of the third week begin today with stage 15's ride
to l'Alpe d'Huez. Finally, some sort of order should be imposed on the
general classification of the Tour de France. Cadel Evans believes he
has the form to match it with the best on the climbs, whereas Robbie McEwen
will concentrate on getting through the Alps unscathed to secure the green
jersey in Paris.
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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A motivated Cadel Evans,
Photo ©: Anthony Tan
"Always, the third week of the Tour everything changes for everyone.
I am sure this will be no different."
"So far so good, it is still going okay. I can't say a lot on how I am
and how I am going to be because this Tour is so different to the last
Tour - and it is only my second Tour - so I don't have a long history
to base everything on, or plan on, or know what to expect. So the third
week is where it comes down to the physique of the riders and riders who
are not only well trained and well prepared for the race, but haven't
stressed themselves earlier in the season and so on. For me it is the
interesting end of the race … and a tiring one. [Sunday's performance]
was a promising sign, but this Tour is so different to last year. And
for me personally, its hard to compare the two. I don't really want to
compare the two because they are contrasts.
"From the contenders [Landis] seems to be the one leading at the moment,
his time trial is better than the rest of us. So maybe it is for him to
"It's such a different Tour. [Formerly we would have had] Discovery making
a selection and [there would be] a couple of riders who could stay with
Armstrong for a while. But now we don't have such a strong team to make
the early selection. That alone changes [the race a] lot, plus [there
are the other] unpredictable factors in this sport and this race."
Q: When will be the decisive stage?
CE: "I don't know. I am waiting find out for myself.
The time trial probably. I am not counting numbers or anything. Just ride
a good Tour. Be there. Ride a good race. That always brings good results
in a race like this. I don't like to look at the numbers. It doesn't synch
with me. Put it this way, if say, I come fourth or I come fifth, everyone
will write something bad about me."
Photo ©: Anthony Tan
"I am riding my race according to my tactics and not according to somebody
else's wishes. For me the coming three days, not much should happen. Being
mountain stages [means that] none of the sprinters will win those stages.
Even the intermediate sprints are pretty hard to get to.
"I will just have to stay concentrated. It has been a hard competition
this year. In the last five years I have always been in the green jersey
competition. You can lose it so quickly. I know how close you can get.
Maybe with a little luck I would have had four [green jerseys].
"Most of the battle hasn't been televised."
Rest Day wrap: Tour 2006 still wide open
Freire vs McEwen in stage 9
Photo ©: AFP
It was billed as the most unpredictable Tour in years and so it has proved.
Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes looks back at an exciting week of racing,
documenting how some contenders have fallen by the wayside while others
have set up a possible bid for yellow in the final week.
Fourteen down, six to go: the 2006 Tour de France is over two thirds
of the way through, but the race is still very much an open affair. The
first seven riders are all within four minutes of the yellow jersey and
with three tough mountain stages, two road stages and a long time trial
still to come, a ding-dong battle looks set to be waged between here and
Click here for
the full round up of the second phase of the 2006 Tour.
French paper hits back at Armstrong
"Welcome to France asshole" was the headline on Monday's edition of the
newspaper France Soir, which carried an angry reaction to Lance
Armstrong's comments about the French football team over the weekend.
At the ESPY awards, Armstrong joked that all the French team's players
had "tested positive ... for being assholes."
Armstrong arrived in France yesterday to join his Discovery Channel team
at the Tour de France and the paper accused him of a publicity stunt intended
to distract attention from Discovery's performance at the Tour.
"Has Lance Armstrong lost the plot?" the paper asked in an editorial.
"The guy who doesn't speak out in public before consulting his lawyers
seven times? Apparently not.
"His outburst has been designed to bring publicity to his Discovery Channel
team. They are 10th in the race's team standings, and have been hugely
disappointing on the race."
Ullrich says he is "innocent until proven guilty"
By Susan Westemeyer
"Under our legal system, I am, like everyone else, considered innocent
until proven guilty," Jan Ullrich said on Monday in his first -- and possibly
last -- public statement on his implication in the Operation Puerto doping
scandal. He denied that he has gone into hiding, and said that contrary
to previous reports, his attorneys submitted a written position to his
team within the time limit the team had set.
T-Mobile team manager Olaf Ludwig confirmed to the SID press agency
that the repot had been received, however, it said only that it was not
up to him to prove his innocence, and that there was no direct evidence
to prove his guilt.
Christian Frommert, director of Sports Communications for T-Mobile, confirmed
that the statement issued to the team by Ullrich's lawyer's did not meet
the standard the team has demanded. T-Mobile had requested a written report
proving Ullrich's innocence, which Ullrich had indicated two weeks ago
he would submit. Frommert said that what was received was "a statement
that no statement proving innocence would be submitted."
Ullrich's manager, Wolfgang Strohband, said that a further explanation
"would be possible in the future," without setting a date. In his press
release, Ullrich said that on the advice of his attorneys, he would not
make any more public statements. Strohband also confirmed that the attorneys
had advised Ullrich not to have a DNA test.
Voigt supports DNA bank
Jens Voigt has said he would support a UCI-wide DNA data bank which could
be used for comparison purposes in future doping cases. "What might really
help would be when we said: listen, on January 1, 2007, we're going to
take a hair and blood sample from everyone. Every rider who has a license
has to submit his genetic fingerprint. And these will be kept for 10 years
-- and when there's a question, like with this Spanish affair, then a
comparison will be made."
Voigt addressed the Operation Puerto doping scandal in an interview with
the German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung. He noted that he is
not immune from doping rumors. When he doesn't ride well or when he rides
well, or even the fact that he rides the complete season -- everything
creates rumors. "And all I do is train very hard, I know what I'm doing,
and my wife Steffi would knock my head off if I did that kind of shit."
Is he angry at his colleagues? "Yes, sure, that makes me sick! My wife
is worried every day when she brings the kids to school, that somebody
is going to say something dumb to her. And it really irritates me: I,
who have absolutely nothing to do with any of this and who is totally
innocent, have to talk about it -- and those who have brought all this
crap down on us, are hiding."
Voigt admits that the newest scandal caught him by surprise. "I really
thought that things had gotten better since the 1998 scandal. I really
thought that they had cut out the cancer. But now it's the same or even
bigger: different teams, more nationalities and different sports."
Would he support bans forbidding riders from working with certain doctors?
"Well, you'd have to write the [riders'] contracts more carefully. You
could just say: If you work with him -- you're out! That kind of provision
would make sense. But officially these sports doctors say that they only
advise on training. How can you make something bad out of that?"
Nordic chill between Riis & Basso
Operacion Puerto dossier may Decide Basso's fate
By Tim Maloney, European Editor
Since Ivan Basso was sent home shortly before the start of the Tour de
France, his once close relationship with CSC boss Bjarne Riis has reportedly
deteriorated to the point where the two are simply not talking. According
to the Gazzetta Dello Sport, Riis and Basso are no longer speaking
while other media are speculating that Basso is looking after a new team
after losing faith with Riis.
But the stoic Danish Tour winner just poo-pooed the chatter, telling
the media, "Basso's departure to Discovery is just one of those rumours
goes around at the Tour de France. I don't have Ivan (Basso) on the phone
every day, but we are still in regular contact." But before Basso is rehabilitated
and comes back on the CSC roster, Riis explained, "I've got to sit down
and go through everything with (Basso) before I make a decision. I'm just
waiting for the end of the Tour so that I can meet him."
But Basso isn't sitting pat; the 28 year old Italian, winner of this
year's Giro d'Italia is awaiting for the Italian translation of the Operacion
Puerto dossier to mount his defense. Basso's attorney Avv. Massimo Martelli
poured cold water on the possibility that Basso would go for a DNA test
to compare his blood to the samples collected in the Operacion Puerto
transfusion clinic. "A DNA test is traumatic, and not 100% reliable,"
Martelli said, but the Italian lawyer did criticise some of Operacion
Puerto's doctor Eufemiano Fuentes' use of the code-name "Birillo" to allegedly
refer to Basso in documents and wiretap conversations.
"Birillo is supposedly the name of Basso's dog. But yesterday, I heard
his daughter Domitilla call the dog 'Tarello, so I don't think that at
two years of age, a child could be wrong about the name of her dog." Perhaps
true, but despite Avv. Tarello's spin, Basso is still far from clear of
the serious implications fromcharges that may stem from Operacion Puerto.
Once the UCI gets the documents, they will be passed to the Italian Cycling
Federation, who will decide the future disposition of the case.
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
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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)