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First Edition Cycling News for June 22, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

Prosecutor asks for sentences in 'Cahors affair'

The prosecutor in the 'Cahors' trial has asked the judge to give former pro Laurent Roux a suspended sentence of 2.5 years for his role in the drug trafficking affair. The prosecutor also asked that Laurent's brother Fabien be given a 1.5 year suspended sentence, but for Belgian ringleader Freddy Sergant to receive a four year unconditional prison term. The others accused may receive suspended sentences of between one and 18 months.

23 people have been named in the trial, which has focused on the trafficking of 'pot Belge', a mix of cocaine, caffeine, pain killers, sometimes amphetamine and heroin. Sergant and his wife Monique are accused of buying it in the Netherlands and selling it to the Roux brothers, who then distributed the drug mix further within French amateur and, to a smaller extent, professional cycling while keeping some for their own consumption.

Meanwhile, former pro and now French TV colour commentator Laurent Jalabert has denied supplying pot Belge to attendees at one of his end of season parties in 2001. In court statements, Fabien Roux claimed that Jalabert had started his addiction to the drug, and that he had seen Jalabert "...injecting himself in the garage of his house that evening". Laurent Roux subsequently denied Fabien's story, saying that although his younger brother had used the drug at the party in 2001, Jalabert was not present and did not supply the drugs.

In a statement, Jalabert, who was interviewed by Cahors police in 2005, said that he was "totally oblivious to the current process" and that "Laurent Roux and his brother Fabien have chosen the defence strategy oft-used by all guilty parties, everyone is doped in the world of cycling, doubtless to minimise the impact of their acts.

"Fabien Roux claimed in front of the prosecutors and especially to the media, to have been 'initiated' during the fan-club parties, notably in Mazamet. I am under obligation today to state that I do not know Fabien Roux personally, even if it is possible that he participated in my fan-club parties, among hundreds of other people."

Saunier Duval-Prodir announces Tour line up

Saunier Duval-Prodir has finalised the nine riders who will take part in the Tour de France, and the team looks to be a competitive one. Gilberto Simoni, who finished third in the Giro D'Italia will captain the squad and is aiming at a victory in Alpe d'Huez. He will be joined by José Ángel Gómez Marchante, David Cańada, Ruben Lobato, Francisco Ventoso, Riccardo Riccň, David De La Fuente, Christophe Rinero and David Millar. It will be the latter's first race since admitting to EPO use in 2004, as his suspension runs out on June 23. Millar does have three Tour stage wins to his credit, and will be an asset to the team, which will be directed by Joxean Matxin Fernández and Sabino Angoitia.

Liquigas ready for the Tour

Liquigas team manager Roberto Amadio has confirmed the nine riders who will take part in the Tour de France. The all-purpose squad will feature Stefano Garzelli, Danilo Di Luca, Magnus Backstedt, Luca Paolini, Michael Albasini, Patrick Calcagni, Kjell Carlström, Matej Mugerli and Manuel Quinziato. The team will be directed by Stefano Zanatta and Mario Scirea.

"We'll start with a team that may be at ease both in the flat stages and in the mountain ones," said Amadio. "We are definitely aiming at performing well, but we are perfectly aware that each day here at the Tour is like a World championship. Our goal is one stage win. We also want to be among the key-players in the decisive moments of the race."

Before the Grande Boucle, the riders will take part in the various national championships. Garzelli and Di Luca will be among the stars of the Italian national championship. All the other Italian Liquigas riders will also compete in the championship, including defending champion Enrico Gasparotto, but not Franco Pellizotti or Dario Cioni.

Di Luca is happy with the parcours at Gorizia. "The circuit fits both my qualities and Garzelli's ones," he said. "The win is within reach for our team but the opponents will be very dangerous. Let me tell you just one name: Paolo Bettini."

Quick.Step at the National's

Quick.Step will have riders competing in six countries in this week's European national road championships. The team will have its biggest representation in Belgium, with reigning champion Serge Baguet, title favourite Tom Boonen, as well as Wilfried Cretskens, Kevin Hulsmans, Nick Nuyens, Sebastien Rosseler, Jurgen Van De Walle, Kevin Van Impe, Geert Verheyen, and Wouter Weylandt all presented, with Wilfried Peeters acting as D.S.

In France, Cedric Vasseur will fly the Quick.Step colours, while in Italy, Paolo Bettini will race alongside Francesco Chicchi, Filippo Pozzato, Ivan Santaromita, Matteo Tosatto and Davide Viganň, with Serge Parsani as D.S.

In the Dutch championships, Steven De Jongh, Ad Engels, Servais Knaven, Bram Tankink and Remmert Wielinga will ride, with Rik Van Slycke as D.S. In Spain, it will be reigning champion Juan Manuel Garate and José Antonio Garrido, and in Switzerland, Hubert Schwab.

Lampre-Fondital at the National's

As expected, Italian team Lampre-Fondital will have a big contingent at the Italian national championships in Gorizia. Alessandro Ballan, Daniele Bennati, Matteo Bono, Marzio Bruseghin, Matteo Carrara, Claudio Corioni, Giuliano Figueras, Enrico Franzoi, Marco Marzano, Ruggero Marzoli, Danilo Napolitano, Morris Possoni, and Daniele Righi will all race. Also, Evgeni Petrov will be doing the time trial and road race in Russia, while Tadej Valjavec will race the Slovenian road race, and David Loosli the Swiss road race championships.

On the Italian front, Salvatore Commesso won't be able to go for his third victory in national championships after having a training accident recently. Commesso, hit by a car, suffered a dislocated left shoulder with a micro-fracture of the collar bone. He may still be able to take part in the Tour de France, but won't know until next Monday at the earliest.

Khalilov favourite in Ukraine

Mikhaylo Khalilov (LPR) will be aiming to defend his Ukrainian national championship, which will be held a week before his 31st birthday. He will be up against approximately 30 other elite riders, but doesn't expect an easy race.

"I am the favourite, that is true," said the sprinter from Nikolaev. "But it will not be a walkover. On the one hand, the reduced number of riders restricts the number of favourites, but on the other, it gives the race a very risky unpredictability. It would be necessary to form some alliances, but to trust blindly in the help of some teammate could also be a huge mistake. The route is nice, it's suited to my abilities, but it will be a difficult race to read. Every attack will be treated with the greatest caution, avoiding surprise. Well, I will also be the number one favourite, but there are a lot of unknowns in this race."

Khalilov has recovered from an intestinal virus that almost knocked him out of the Tour de Suisse last week, and appreciated the efforts of his teammates to help him get to the finish.

Miche going for national championships on two fronts

Team Miche Cinerama Tinkoff will have a significant representation in both the Polish and Italian national championships this week. A favourite for the Polish title is Przemyslaw Niemiec, who rode an excellent Route du Sud and finished fourth overall. He will be joined by the Kohut brothers and Arkadiusz Wojtas in Sunday's road race.

In the Italian championships, Miche will be represented by Mauro Gerosa, Pasquale Muto, Antonio D'Aniello, Tommaso Caneschi, Leonardo Caneschi, Eddy Serri and Giuseppe di Grande. Also in Uzbekistan, Denis Shkarpeta will be in action.

Barloworld aiming for Spanish success

Team Barloworld will be focusing its attention on Mostoles in Spain at the weekend, where the Spanish national road race championships will be held on Sunday. Igor Astarloa, Pedro Arreitunandia and Amets Txurruka will form a small but aggressive trio and are in search of the Spanish title and the red and yellow champion’s jersey.

Barloworld will also be in action in other championships around the world. Hugo Sabido will race in the Portuguese race at Castelo de Vide, Alex Efimkin will be on the start line of the Russian Championship in Penza, while Enrico Degano, Giosue Bonomi, Gianpaolo Cheula, Mauro Facci and Diego Caccia will be riding for the Italian title in Gorizia in the north-east of the country. Tom Southam is enrolled at the British race that will take place in Beverley. Ryan Cox was unable to defend his South African national title due to racing in Europe last weekend.

Mattan crashes, but not seriously hurt

Nico Mattan (Davitamon-Lotto) crashed early on in Wednesday's Halle-Ingooigem, and was taken to hospital as a result. Fortunately, he only suffered superficial abrasions, and won't need stitches. He will therefore start in Sunday's Belgian championship in Antwerpen.

Austria Tour shortens time trial

The Hervis Tour (Tour of Austria) has shortened its last stage time trial from 39 to 31 kilometres, citing potential traffic problems. Tour Director Ursula Riha said, "If we had kept the planned course, then it would most probably have come to massive traffic backups along part of the course. Since a time trial entails entirely closing the road for other traffic, our originally planned route seemed too risky for a Tour-deciding stage." The decision to shorten the course was made jointly by the the Tour organizers, the town of Podersdorf am See and the Burgenland Tourisumus, the local tourism agency.

The decision was met with approval from the Austrian rider and two-time Austrian Tour winner Gerrit Glomser, who rides for the Austrian GS-II Volksbank team. "No rider will be angry about this," he said. "And especially the Austrian favourites for the overall victory - Kohl, Trampusch and me, none of whom are time trial specialists - are not unhappy with the shortened course."

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

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