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Cycling News Extra for July 21, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones, Shane Stokes and John Kenny

No new revelations from Fuentes and Merino

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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The Operación Puerto investigation moved forward to the next stage on Thursday with the questioning of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes and Jose Luis Merino today at court number 31, Plaza de Castilla in Madrid. According to Spain's news agency EFE, both of them remain with the same charges against them. The judge will now decide whether to dismiss the case or send it to trial.

"There is an open procedure and my client's situation as an accused person doesn't change after today's presentation," said Fuentes's lawyer Julian Perez Templado. "He has been declaring for more than two hours. The process will be opened up to investigation depending on the judge's decision. We do not know when the following procedural steps will take place, because among other things, there are pending blood analyses."

He then added that "my client ratified his first declarations...denying before the judge that he has practiced actions contrary to public health."

Meanwhile the lawyer of Jose Luis Merino, Agustín Tornos, explained to EFE that, "my client is in the same situation as the first time that he spoke before the investigating magistrate."

Another two men involved in the case, former mountain bike rider Alberto Leon and former Comunidad Valenciana's assistant director Ignacio Labarta, must appear tomorrow at the same court.

Courtesy of Hernan Alvarez and Antonio J. Salmerón

German charges against Ullrich, Sevilla and Pevenage?

Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

The District Attorney's office in Bonn, Germany, is considering a request to file charges against Jan Ullrich, Oscar Sevilla and Rudy Pevenage concerning fraud and pescription drug violations. State Attorney Monika Nostadt-Ziegenberg confirmed that her office had received a complaint on July 7 from Britta Bannenberg, a criminologist and professor at the University of Bielefeld.

The complaint is being investigated, and the attorneys expect to come to a conclusion in the next weeks, as to whether to pursue the case. Nostadt-Ziegenberg would not indicate how the investigation might end or what further steps might be taken.

In her complaint, Bannenberg said, "It must be assumed that Ullrich misled T-Mobile about the use of unallowed substances and that based on this error, the sponsor continued to pay him his salary and premiums."

Meanwhile former rival Lance Armstrong gave his thoughts on the case. "It's logical to advise Jan Ullrich to make a DNA test," he said. "That's the best way to clear his name." But, he notes, "I feel sorry for Jan. I really like him. I'm sure that he would have won this Tour."

In an interview at www.tagesspiegel.de, Armstrong stated that he has not spoken with either Ullrich or Basso, but said that he had telephoned Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc on the Friday before the Tour started. "The suspensions really surprised me," he said. Leblanc "was surprised, too. I wished him luck and strength, because nobody wants this kind of a crisis.

"We have to continue the fight against doping. Every rider should be ready for unannounced tests 365 days a year, around the clock. Everybody who loves cycling should be ready to stand behind it now."

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

More codenames published

Following the list disclosed earlier this month of those under suspicion of being involved in the Operacion Puerto affair, the Spanish cycling newspaper Meta2Mil has published the codenames of still-unidentified collaborators and cyclists connected to the case.

The collaborators include those known as:

El Manos Pequeñas, Alibabá, Alessandro Kalc, El Bigotes and Jandro.

The codenames of riders still to be identified and disclosed are:

Cowboy (2003)
Panticosa (2003)
Pavarotti (2003)
Pepito (2003)
Obelisk (2003)
Nibelungo (2003)
LAS (2003)
María (2002-03-04)
Rosa (2003-04)
Valv. (Piti) (2004)
Urco (2004)
César (2004-05)
MZD (2005)
Huerta (2006)
Clasicómano (2006)
Clasicómano Luigi (2006)
Amigo de Birillo

It is expected that some or all of these names will be identified in the coming months. The first list of names had a dramatic effect, appearing to implicate Jan Ullrich, Ivan Basso, Francisco Mancebo, Joseba Beloki and many others. All of these were unable to ride the Tour de France as a result, although it has not been proved thus far that they were doping.

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

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Operación Puerto

Godefroot to manage Astana

Former T-Mobile manager Walter Godefroot is set to return to cycling by managing Alexandre Vinokourov's Astana team, according to yet to be published information from Belgian newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen. Following the chaos that led to the team not taking part in the Tour de France, and the subsequent transition to an all-Kazakhstani sponsorship, top rider Vinokourov saw that there was a need for an experienced manager. He turned to Godefroot, who retired from T-Mobile last year and has always had a good relationship with Vino. Godefroot will take care of the managerial issues, including the renewal of the team's ProTour licence. Astan should take part in the HEW Cyclassics race in Hamburg, Germany, on July 30.

Backstedt says pulling out of the Tour was the right choice

Magnus Backstedt (Liquigas)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Former Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt retired from the Tour de France prior to the final rest day, ill with a cold. Short of important racing after spending much of the early part of the season out due to injury, the Liquigas rider was trying to ride himself into form. However, digging in while sick on the gruelling mountain stage to Pla de Beret made things very tough.

"I'm disappointed of course not to make it to Paris," he said after returning home, "but for once I've made the decision based on what is best for my health. I lost the first half of 2006 to injury and I didn't want to lose the second half to sickness caused by destroying myself through the Alps.

"I missed out on the Classics because of the tendon problem with my knee," he elaborated. "I have the Hamburg Classic, The Tour of Denmark and the Vuelta coming up and I really want some good results before the end of the season."

After much speculation about his destination for 2007, Backstedt will stay with Liquigas for another year. "Yes I will stay in green next year. I do feel that there are some issues relating to why the team has not had the season they had last year, but we have a great bunch of guys and believe that we can regain that killer attitude of 2005," Backstedt concluded.

Gilmore breaks thigh and kneecap

Matthew Gilmore
Photo ©: Nick Rosenthal
Click for larger image

Belgian Matthew Gilmore (Chocolade Jacques) has broken his thighbones and kneecap in a race in Ninove on Thursday. The crash happened when he hit a pole early in the race. He was operated on on Thursday in Aalst.

Schär to Phonak

Young Swiss rider Michael Schär, the current U23 national time trial champion, will ride for Phonak from August 1 until the end of 2008, the team reported. "Switching to the pros and also riding for the only Swiss pro team is a dream come true for me," said the soon-to-be 20 year old.

Schär's results this year also include a fifth place at the U23 European championships, 4th at this year's U23 Paris-Roubaix and 10th at the U23 Tour of Flanders. He is considered one of the most promising young Swiss cycling talents.

Phonak's new recruit comes from a cycling family. Michael Schär is the son of former pro Roland Schär, who now manages a bike shop in Geuensee.

USA Cycling team for Junior Worlds

USA Cycling has announced its automatic and coaches’ selection nominations for the UCI Junior Road and Track World Championships in Belgium August 5-13.

The nine-day event begins with track competition August 5-8 in Ghent in which five athletes were named to the team via coaches’ selection. Catherine Fiedler (Long Beach, Calif./Home Depot Center) and Lauren Shirock (Emmaus, Pa./South Mountain Cycles) were appointed to the women’s squad while Justin Williams (Los Angeles, Calif./Major Motion), Shane Kline (Bally, Pa./Team Fuji) and Nik Reinert (Mertztown, Pa./Team Fuji) comprise the men’s squad.

The road events are scheduled for August 10-13 and will feature both a road race and time trial for men and women. Tejay Van Garderen (Fort Collins, Colo./Team 5280-eSoles) earned an automatic nomination to compete in time trial event after capturing a national title at the USA Cycling National Festival at Seven Springs in July. Also, his international results led to a coaches’ selection for the road race.

Ben King (North Garden, Va./Hot Tubes) also earned a coaches’ selection to compete in the time trial event based on international results.

Seven additional riders were named to a long team from which additional riders will be chosen to compete in the road race. Bjorn Selander (Hudson, Wis./Alan Factory), Peter Salon (Brooklyn, N.Y./GS Mengoni), Daniel Summerhill, (Centennial, Colo./Team 5280-eSoles), Ben Bradshaw (Winchester, Calif./IE Bikes Racing), Chris Barton (Ojai, Calif./Bicycles of Ojai) and Walker Savidge (Breckenridge, Colo./Team 5280-eSoles) were named to the long team. The four remaining riders that will compete in the road race will be chosen from those six plus King.

For the women’s road events, Arielle Filiberti (Worcester, Mass/Hot Tubes Development) and Jacquelyn Crowell (Maitland, Fla./Colavita) will each compete in both the road race and time trial.

Filiberti was an automatic nomination for the road race based on her national title and a coaches’ selection for the time trial. Crowell was an automatic nomination for the time trial as the national champion and a coaches’ selection for the road race.

USA Cycling license sales outstrip 2005 total

By Andy Lee, USA Cycling

After selling 54,190 licenses last year, USA Cycling announced yesterday that number had been eclipsed on July 10, illustrating the growth in competitive cycling in the United States and continuing a four-year trend.

American cycling has attracted unprecedented attention in recent years. Much of that attention can be attributed to the success of Lance Armstrong and the growing popularity of American athletes at the sport's highest level. In fact, since Armstrong captured his fourth Tour de France crown, USA Cycling membership has increased by over 27 percent. During that same four-year period, the number of competitive road cyclists has increased from 25,803 to 35,010 - a 36 percent jump amongst those who complete in the same discipline as Armstrong.

"Obviously if you look at the number of competitive cyclists licensed by USA Cycling, it's evident that the sport has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years," noted seven-time Tour de France winner Armstrong. "The climate of American cycling at the elite level of competition is extremely healthy and the attention the sport has received has helped stimulate tremendous growth and interest."

Following the retirement of Armstrong after the 2005 Tour de France, Americans have continued to excel in cycling's flagship event. George Hincapie and Floyd Landis became the fourth and fifth Americans in history to wear the coveted yellow jersey in the Tour de France earlier this month, keeping the success of Americans alive and likely fostering similar growth.

"There are a lot of positive things happening in American cycling right now," added Armstrong. "The number of people racing their bikes from the junior level into the U23 class and on up through the master categories is an encouraging sign of where our sport is heading. It's a trend I hope continues."

"We're ecstatic at the continued growth of USA Cycling," commented Steve Johnson, chief executive officer. As the governing body for the sport in the United States, it is ultimately our mission to grow the sport of competitive cycling in our country. From a membership standpoint, we are working diligently on a daily basis to create more value in a USA Cycling membership with the hopes of better serving our existing licensees and attracting new members to the sport."

Of the current licenses, 35,010 are road and track specific and 10,476 are mountain bike specific. Other licenses include USA Cycling coaches licenses (1,071), officials licenses (1,914), collegiate cycling licenses (3,383), BMX licenses (183), mechanics licenses (170), professional cyclist licenses (294), UCI international licences (2,130) and gold and silver premier memberships (171).

At the conclusion of 2002, USA Cycling had 42,499 members, followed by 43,944 in 2003, 48,867 in 2004 and 54,190 in 2005.

Those numbers represent a 3.4 percent increase in 2003, an 11.2 percent increase in 2004 and a 10.8 percent increase in 2005.

Another statistic that points to the marked growth in organized competitive cycling is the increase in USA Cycling sanctioned teams and clubs. As of July 19, USA Cycling has sanctioned 1,748 clubs - a 12 percent increase over the 1,554 sanctioned clubs at this time last year. Of those 1,748 clubs, 257 are new.

Tour of California route announced

The organisers of the Tour of California have announced the route for the 2007 Tour of California. The 650-mile eight stage event will involve 12 'host cities' and run from February 18-25.

The tour will begin with a prologue in San Francisco. More than 150 of cyclists will then race through 12 'host cities' including, Sausalito, Santa Rosa, Sacramento, Stockton, San Jose, Seaside, San Luis Obispo, Solvang, Santa Barbara and Santa Clarita and concludes in Long Beach.

"From the world-class riders and competition to the overwhelming support from over one million fans who attended the inaugural Amgen Tour of California and the critical acclaim from the international cycling community, the bar has been set extremely high," said Shawn Hunter, president, AEG Sports, producers of the event.

1.3 million spectators attended last year's event, setting records for a single sporting event in the State of California as well as any cycling event ever held on U.S. soil.

The Tour of California attracted some of the world's most renowned and respected riders. 2006 winner Floyd Landis (Phonak) went on to win the Tour of Georgia and Paris-Nice stage races and is closing in on a maiden Tour de France win after his phenomenal ride on stage 17.

"I know I'm not alone in looking forward to competing in the again," said David Zabriskie (CSC), runner up last year, "This year's course was great, the field of competitors was excellent and the race ran like clockwork - it's hard to see how it could get better next year, but I know it will. America deserves a world-class bike race and now it has one."


Prologue - February. 18: San Francisco
Stage 1 - February 19: Sausalito to Santa Rosa
Stage 2 - February. 20: Santa Rosa to Sacramento
Stage 3 - February. 21: Stockton to San Jose
Stage 4 - February. 22: Seaside to San Luis Obispo
Stage 5 - February. 23: Solvang time trial
Stage 6 - February. 24: Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita
Stage 7 - February. 25: Long Beach circuit race

The Tour de France of give-aways and competitions

Don't miss out at Tour time!

Resident freebies expert, Rufus Staffordshire, sniffs out some competitions where over $600,000 in prizes are on offer as manufacturers clamber for your eyeballs. Woof!

Scratch - but don't sniff
Photo ©: Trek
(Click for larger image)

The Tour de France is not only a reasonably popular bike race, ahem, it's also a great opportunity to win an incredible range of prizes and competitions on offer from manufacturers, publishers and distributors.

Many of our sponsors are offering Cyclingnews readers a schwag-fest of give-aways during the lap-around-France. The prizes on offer range from pedals and laptops through to trips to Paris for the 2007 TdF, as well as actual kit being ridden by top pros in the Tour - including top bikes from Trek, Blue, and Avanti.

So that you don't have to go hunting around the Internet for all these goodies, we've assembled the Cyclingnews complete guide to Tour freebies and competitions.

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