Latest Cycling News for June 29, 2006
Edited by Hedwig Kröner, with assistance of Susan Westemeyer
Guardia Civil report expected very soon
According to Spanish newspaper El País, the Central Operating
Unit of the Guardia Civil has conducted an exhaustive report on the Operación
Puerto investigation, which will be transmitted to the Spanish Secretary
of State for Sport, Jaime Lissavetsky, very soon. The 500 page-thick summary
will detail all the names of the 58 riders supposedly implicated in the
doping scandal, as well as the circumstantial evidence on their implication
produced by the investigators.
Lissavetsky, who had met with the public prosecutor in the affair, Manuel
Moix, and the head of the Guardia Civil operating unit, Colonel Félix
Hernand French counterpart Jean-François Lamour, on Friday - one day before
the Tour de France gets under way. The race organiser has already said
that it wanted to "clean up the peloton" before that start of the event.
o on Wednesday, will get together with his
El País further wrote that all the documents and allegations
published by the paper last Sunday and Monday would be found in the official
report as well, including the suspicions about "Jan" and "the son of Rudy".
According to sources close to the investigation, "many of the 58 cyclists
that are named are non-Spanish and some are elite cyclists."
Politician Lissavetsky had also initialised the new anti-doping law,
which was unanimously voted for in Spanish Congress on Thursday, June
28, and which is due to become law in the beginning of November. A similar
legislation, penalizing the production, use and distribution of doping
products, exists already in France.
ASO reacts to UCI "recommendation"
By Tim Maloney, European editor in Strasbourg
Cyclingnews spoke to Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme
on Thursday morning in Strasbourg, and asked him about his reaction to
the communiqué issued by the UCI yesterday, in which UCI president Pat
McQuaid "strongly recommended" the ProTour teams to ask their riders to
a written statement certifying that they are not involved in the latest
Spanish doping case. Upon refusal, they would be replaced by another rider;
and if they lied, immediately removed from the team and asked for a substantial
"I have nothing to say about that," Prudhomme replied. "We are waiting
for the decision made by the Court of Arbitration for Sports on the Astana-Würth
team, as well as for further developments." Spanish investigators is expected
to hand over a detailed report on the doping case to Spanish Sports minister
today, who will meet his French counterpart on Friday.
The general consensus of many observers in the Tour de France press
room in Strasbourg is that the UCI is not showing great leadership in
the current situation, and that it is more interested in protecting the
ProTour system than getting active in the biggest doping scandal that
has shattered the sport since the Festina affair in 1998.
Spanish cycling chief "had doubts" for years
Fugencio Sanchez, head of the Spanish cycling federation, said that
he had suspicions for years about those persons caught up in Operación
Puerto, and called the present situation "one of the greatest crises
in Spanish sport."
"We've had doubts. We had heard comments," Sanchez told The Associated
Press. "I always thought that this day had to come in order to clear
up those doubts.
"I know all of these people. They have spent their lives in Spanish
cycling and all of them have an important career in cycling," Sanchez
said. "I was always suspicious. His skepticism started during the 1998
Tour de France and increased after Roberto Heras tested positive for EPO
at the 2005 Vuelta a España.
"The police operation was necessary. We had gone astray in anti-doping
issues in Spain," Sanchez said. "We had the duty to start persecuting
Ullrich to be questioned?
Jan Ullrich and his T-Mobile teammates arrived in Strasbourg yesterday
evening, to be met by numerous journalists at their hotel. Ullrich again
denied being a client of the recently uncovered Spanish doping network
around Dr. Fuentes, and said, "I have nothing to do with the situation
being described in the Spanish newspaper and have therefore turned the
matter over to my attorneys. They will take the necessary steps."
When asked if he would submit to a DNA test, Ullrich responded, "I have
not been accused of anything. But I will discuss that with my attorneys,
too - but first I will ride the Tour."
Ullrich's attorneys may have to become active during the Tour de France,
according to the German press agency sid. The Tour's 11th stage,
on July 13, ends in Val d'Aran - on Spanish soil. "It is possible" that
Ullrich will be taken in for questioning by the Spanish police, the Guardia
Civil, when he arrives there, the media outlet said.
Judge Serrano opens investigation on El País
Judge Antonio Serrano, in charge of the Operación Puerto affair,
has asked the newspaper El País to identify all the journalists
who were involved in the reporting of the confidential information related
to the doping scandal. Serrano will probably ask the journalists to explain
how they have had access to a summary that in principle was secret to
guarantee the security of the investigation. Newspaper El País
already stated that the Spanish Constitution protects the right of the
journalists not to reveal its sources.
Courtesy of Antonio J. Salmerón
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
De Rooy: "Everybody for Menchov"
By Anthony Tan in Strasbourg
Rabobank team manager Theo De Rooy
Photo ©: Anthony Tan/Cyclingnews
With a multi-talented team of nine, and five Tour stage winners in their
own right, Rabobank cycling team's general manager Theo De Rooy has an
enviable though difficult task of managing varying expectations and ambitions
in the 2006 Tour de France. However, when crunch time comes, the name
of Denis Menchov currently sits at the top of the priority list.
"It's obvious that Menchov is the leader of the team," De Rooy told Cyclingnews.
"So when it really comes [down] to it, everybody will be working for
Menchov, especially in the last week of the Tour in the mountains. On
the flat stages, he will always have riders protecting him, too; we can
always have one or two riders taking care of Menchov."
Leading up to the Grande Boucle, the 28 year-old Russian enjoyed a promising
ride at the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, but tailed off towards the end
to finish sixth overall. Nevertheless, the Vuelta a España champion's
stage win atop Le Mont Ventoux, coupled with the fact that he was still
a little off his best form, gives De Rooy and the team more than hope,
"I don't think he was 100 percent, because at the Dauphiné, you are always
at the stage of building up your form for the Tour de France," said De
"The stage where he lost a few minutes, he had a crash and he came back
to the car a couple of times asking for glucose, so he was getting a little
empty. I think the crash was the final blow... At the foot of the last
climb, he immediately lost contact, but then we saw on the second part
of the climb he was gaining momentum and was able to follow Hincapie's
group, so the loss was less than we expected."
A little uncertainty also surrounds wunderkind Thomas Dekker, who was
replaced by Bram de Groot at the last minute. After last Sunday's Dutch
national road championships in Maastricht, de Groot was given the nod
ahead of Dekker the younger, the former part of the winning move while
the latter finished four and a half minutes down on winner Michael Boogerd.
Explained De Rooy: "We asked him after the race, 'How are you feeling,
what are you thinking?' - and he was having doubts, so we agreed the best
decision was to pull him out [of the Tour de France]. Because I mean,
a 21 year-old guy like him, so talented, so motivated, to let him go in
such a difficult race... you have to be fresh at the start, ambitious,
convinced, eager, eager to work, eager to perform for the team - but if,
less than a week before the Tour, you are having your doubts, it's...
"We didn't want to give the signal last week; we thought it would be
best to wait until the national championships to see how he was going.
If he had been very good [in the road race], then okay, maybe we saw the
signs incorrectly - but we didn't see a good Thomas Dekker that day. We
also contacted his trainer [Dr. Luigi Cecchini - ed.], and his trainer
was also saying it was not the Thomas he knew before."
The eleventh hour change shouldn't have an effect on Menchov's chances
in terms of attaining a high overall classification; the question is more
how well will he perform in the greatest cycling race of all. De Rooy
says he is eager to prove his Vuelta victory was no fluke.
"He certainly wants to prove that his Vuelta victory last year was not
because of luck or because of the disqualification of Heras, but that
he's just a very good rider.
"On the other hand, Menchov is not a Tour favourite," said De Rooy. "We
are not one of the teams expected to take immediate responsibility when
there is a situation - there are other teams like CSC and T-Mobile, because
they have the big favourites and they have the pressure of the race, day-in,
day-out. Our situation's a little bit different."
The full interview with Theo De Rooy will be published soon.
Sastre approaching Tour form
Out of all the riders at Team CSC, just one has all three grand tours
on his program: Carlos Sastre. The Spaniard has already done well at the
Giro d'Italia and is getting ready for Tour de France at the moment, while
he will be finishing off with Vuelta a España in September. But throughout
the season, the Tour de France has been the most important race for Sastre,
even though he still did really well in helping Ivan Basso achieve his
victory in the Giro this spring.
"I'm quite pleased with my efforts," said Sastre. "To me it was just
preparation for the Tour. I knew I wouldn't be able to help Basso a hundred
percent, but I ended up doing some good work for him in some of the stages."
The 30 year-old hasn't been racing since the Giro, but he has not been
taking it easy.
"I can feel that I'm getting very close to my Tour form," he continued.
"It feels better and better when I train, so it looks like perfect timing
Although he is focusing one hundred percent on helping Basso at the
Tour de France, Sastre also has a very exciting Vuelta a España ahead
of him later this season. Last year, he was second in this race.
"We'll deal with the Vuelta nearer the time," Sastre added. "Inigo Cuesta
didn't get selected for the Tour squad, so he's relaxing a bit over the
next couple of weeks, but will start preparing after that, and then we'll
have to help each other as much as we can. Whether it will be me or Cuesta,
who will end up captain at the end, we'll have to wait and see, because
he's a strong guy as well."
So far this season Sastre has had one victory, when he won Klasika Primavera,
and hopefully he will add to his list later in the year.
Paolo and Simonetta Savoldelli have become parents again. Simonetta
gave birth to the couple's second daughter on Monday morning at 2 a.m.
Guilia weighed in at 3.8 kg and joins elder sister Marika, now 3 years
old. All are doing well.
Critically injured cyclist needs support
By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
Bret Neylon (Heroes Foundation Cycling Team), a middle school history
teacher and running coach from Brownsburg, Indiana, crashed while racing
at the Summer Solstice road race in Wilmington, Ohio. Nylon, 39, suffered
a fractured C3 vertebra causing him to lose all feeling from the shoulders
down. Surgery was performed to fuse the C3 and C4 vertebrae and a plate
was placed on the break to stabilise the bone.
The crash occurred during the finish sprint in front of Neylon, giving
him no place to go. He was thrown from his bike and landed on his head.
Friend and fellow cyclist Brent Dawes was the first on the scene. "He
had a look on his face and a fear in his eyes, and he was just gasping
for air," Dawes told the Indianapolis Star. "He kept saying, 'I
can't move. I can't move.' That memory has been really hard for me."
While he is still in critical condition at hospital in Dayton, Ohio,
Neylon has been making some steady progress - breathing for increasingly
longer periods without the assistance of a ventilator and beginning physical
therapy. Doctors are still unsure of the long-term prognosis at this time.
However, Neylon now needs to be moved to a special facility in Atlanta
to begin his rehabilitation, with the transportation costs of almost $8,000
needed to be paid up front. A special support fund has been established
and can currently cover about half of the transportation cost. For more
information or to make an online donation, visit www.morristrucking.com/race/race.html.
Eddie Tobin Memorial this Sunday
By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent/Evening Herald/Sunday Independent
The Eddie Tobin Memorial is the main attraction on the cycling scene
this Sunday. The inaugural event last season was won by Ciaran Power of
the Navigators Insurance Team who finished runner-up to David McCann in
the National road championship last weekend.
"Unfortunately, I have other commitments and have to bypass the race
this time," said Power who admitted that McCann was a worthy winner of
a well organised event in Westport.
The race is being sponsored by the Riverside Hotel, but the sign on
is at the 1798 Centre at the 66 mile-race start.
"We are using the Enniscorthy-Monageer-Enniscorthy circuit which includes
‘Whites Hill’ and this should make things interesting for competitors
and spectators alike," said race organiser Liam Ruth, who is very happy
to run this event in memory of the late Eddie Tobin, who not only worked
tirelessly on behalf of the community, but had time to make a huge contribution
to the sport. "Racing gets under way at mid-day with local hope Frank
Dunne expected to do well."
Hopefully the South East club will be rewarded with a good turnout as
the organisers of the Nationals (Ladies and Gents) last weekend, Mayo
Wheelers, were left scratching their heads, asking themselves, ‘Where
have all the cyclists gone!'
Win a T-Mobile team bike - play le Tour Fantasy Game
Giant TCR Advanced
BBB's BSG-23 Winner Quick-Step
World Champion glasses
Speedplay Zero pedals
Deda Alanera handlebars
DedaTre RS Corsa clincher
Reynolds SV KOM carbon wheels
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to play the first five stages - you could be our first winner of the
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The full Le Tour Fantasy Game Prize List
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Runner-up Prizes - Set of wheels from Reynolds. - Cirro SV KOM carbon wheels
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Play for free in the Fantasy Le Tour 2006 game
Remember you can play for free for the first 5 stages! Try the
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For more details go to the rules section of the site. There's also some great
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The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)