Latest Cycling News for August 29, 2006
Edited by Hedwig Kröner, with assistance of Susan Westemeyer
Vuelta a Espańa feature: Foreigners need not apply
The Vuelta a Espana took nearly thirty years longer to get off the ground
than the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia. The early years of the
race were wrecked by the Spanish Civil War and World War II. The organisers
of the Vuelta did not help its cause in the long term by discouraging
foreign participation. By Les Woodland.
Fausto Coppi was told to go home
Photo ©: AFP
My mother-in-law wasn't impressed by the Vuelta. And nor was I, to be
honest. We'd planned to drive up the col de Tourmalet and take the cable
car from La Mongie to the observatory at the top of the Pic du Midi. Just
before the mountains, though, a policeman stopped us and told us we had
to wait because a bike race was coming through.
We asked which race and the policeman told us, as though it was as much
a nuisance to him as it was to us, that it was the Tour of Spain. So we
had lunch and awaited the spectacle.
It never came. Junior races have caused more commotion. There was a rush
of cars driving importantly through the village, then a gap of several
minutes and finally a great gaggle of riders who seemed in no great hurry
to get anywhere. Moments later things were as quiet as they had been before.
The dozen or so people on the street turned and went off, maybe as unimpressed
as we were, and the Vuelta rode on towards the Tourmalet.
Click here to read the full feature.
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Vuelta: climbs coming up
By Antonio J. Salmerón
Although the Vuelta a Espańa is until now a sprinter's business, the
terrain will soon point upward - as soon as stage five on Wednesday, in
fact, leading to the Covatilla climb. This summit was discovered for the
Vuelta by former professional Laudelino Cubino, and may hurt those who
lack competition badly this early on the parcours. One of the 2006 Vuelta
favourites, Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) lost more than two minutes
there in the 2004 edition of the race, compared to Roberto Heras (Liberty)
and Santi Perez (Phonak) - both riders were later discovered to have been
boosting their performances with blood doping.
After a bridging stage, another summit finish will see the riders on
the top of El Morredero, where Heras, with Kelme at the time, started
his palmarčs in 1997. Galicia will be the waiting room of one of the decisive
stages, two days later: the La Cobertoria climb, known as the "Spanish
Tourmalet". This was the scene where Alex Zülle (ONCE) or Pablo Escartín
(Kelme) had to bury their hopes for general classification. It consists
of ten kilometres of climbing at a maximum gradient of 9.4 percent. But
before even getting there, the riders will have to master the difficulties
of El Puerto de Connio and El Rańadoiro, of first category, El Cerredo,
of third category, and San Lorenzo, an Hors Catégorie climb.
Cuenca will be the scene of 33 kilometres against the clock will be
disputed, and where the specialists may recover the lost time in the mountains.
The riders will return to Andalucia in the Vuelta finishing straight with
the very hard final stage on Calar Alto. There will be three days of great
efforts, including the Monarchil and La Pandera climbs, where two years
ago Vinokourov triumphed.
The last time trial will take place in Rivas Vacimadrid, on the penultimate
day of competition. It will replace the traditional stage in the Madrilenian
mountain range before the race finally gets to stroll along the capital's
roads on Sunday, September 17.
280 water bottles
It's a good thing that Robert Förster's team sponsor is in the bottled
water business: the Gerolsteiner rider and his teammates needed it in
Monday's Vuelta stage. "It was total chaos back by the team cars, because
thousands of riders were constantly getting water," he wrote in his Vuelta
diary on Radsportnews.com. "I asked one of our helpers: we nine
Gerolsteiner riders used 280 bottles today! The most of them were to drink,
of course, but some of them we poured over our heads But you'd better
not do it like the British rider Wegelius did: He took a bottle from another
team, and poured half of it out over his head before he noticed that it
was coca-cola... We all laughed like crazy!"
The average temperature in Spain that day was 39,5 degrees, at times
underway it was well over 40. "It was so hot already at the start that
we didn't want to get out of the air-conditioned bus."
And when 'Frösi' got to the hotel after the stage, he knew it couldn't
be good news when someone asked him, "Have you heard the news?" Turns
out that his and his roommate Marcel Strauss' suitcases got left behind
in the last hotel...
Basso case to he heard
Italy's Ivan Basso will be heard in front of the anti-doping commission
of his country's Olympic Committee on Tuesday. The suspended CSC rider
will have to explain the presence of his name in the evidence gathered
in the Operation Puerto case by the Spanish Guardia Civil, which has led
to his exclusion of the Tour de France this year.
Basso's lawyer, Massimo Martelli, who will be present throughout the
hearing, has therefore prepared the defense of his client thoroughly.
"We prepared a very precise statement which consists of an evaluation
of what happened," Martelli told tuttobiciweb. "First of all we
emphasize the absolute inadmissibility of the circumstantial evidence,
and then, step by step, we contest all of the presumed links that relate
my client to the practices of Eufemiano Fuentes. In addition, we present
an extensive medical documentation which shows that Basso does not recur
to any stimulating and exogenous practices."
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
McQuaid on Pevenage, Hamilton, testing
Could the UCI take action against Rudy Pevenage, Jan Ullrich's mentor,
whose name has figured prominently in the Operation Puerto papers? UCI
president Pat McQuaid does not rule it out. "If we have evidence that
a manager is an accomplice, or even the initiator, then he should be punished,"
McQuaid told German Welt magazine. "And this applies to anyone
on a team, if it can be proved that he is involved in doping. If it turns
out to be true that Mr. Pevenage is actively involved in the case, then
we can say: He shouldn't be allowed to work in cycling any more."
McQuaid also said that there will be further procedures against Tyler
Hamilton. "With the new information that we have received, we will definitely
open a a new disciplinary hearing against him. If it can be established
without a bit of doubt, then it will be considered a new, independent
doping case, under our rules. That would be his second and would entail
a life ban."
In addition, he rejected criticism from WADA President Pound that taking
blood tests in the morning allowed riders time to use doping products
before the actual race start. "The blood levels are most representative
in the morning," he said. "We test four or five teams, about 40 riders.
Does Mr. Pound expect us to appoint someone to watch over all of those
riders from seven in the morning to the start at 11? Who will organise
that, who will pay for it? What do we do with the other 160 riders? When
an athlete wants to, he will find a few seconds to dope. We can't be big
brother and constantly watch the athletes."
Klöden shoots back
Andreas Klöden is not going to leave quietly. In German BILD
magazine he responded angrily to comments from his soon-to-be-former team,
T-Mobile. "I'm not running away from the responsibility, but leaving because
my wishes couldn't be fulfilled," he said. Christian Frommert, director
of sports communications for T-Mobile International, the team sponsor,
had said, "In this difficult time for cycling, we offered Andreas Klöden
a prominent and responsible position. We accept that he apparently cannot
or will not take it."
The Tour de France podium finisher also shot out at outgoing team management
Olaf Ludwig and Mario Kummer, saying, "If they hadn't been so incapable,
we would have won the Tour!" Meanwhile, rumour in Germany has it that
T-Mobile does not intend to extend the contracts of Steffen Wesemann,
nor Serguei Honchar - who scored two stage wins at the Tour de France
for the team, and rode several days wearing the yellow jersey.
Gerolsteiner Team Manager Hans-Michael Holczer has "received signals"
that his Pro Tour license will be extended through the 2010 season, and
he has contract with his sponsor through 2008. Jörg Croseck, marketing
director for the company, said in the team's yearbook that the sponsoring
contract "offers us ideal conditions for continuing to write the ongoing
Gerolsteiner success story as well as establishing a solid yet dynamic
foundation for the Gerolsteiner brand - one that will long continue to
offer us competitive advantages."
But that was before Operation Puerto and the other doping problems that
have arisen during the 2006 season. More and more negative headlines appeared
in Germany and throughout the world, a consideration for a company that
exports to 35 countries. In addition, the German public television broadcasters
have announced that they will seriously consider cutting back or even
eliminating their coverage of cycling. Now, Stefan Göbel, director of
Corporate Communications at Gerolsteiner, told Cyclingnews: "If
cycling loses its attraction, we would naturally have to think about our
engagement. The media presence is an important part of that decision."
Australian team for Road World's announced
Cycling Australia has announced the 'Cyclones' to contest the 2006 UCI
road cycling World Championships being staged in Salzburg, Austria from
September 19 to 24. In the Elite Men category, the final nine riders to
contest the road race and three to contest the time trial will not be
confirmed until the September 13, but selectors have announced a long
team and will finalise the starting line up after taking into consideration
health, injury, availability and form issues in the lead up to the event.
Elite Men - Long Team Time Trial: Ben Day, Cadel Evans, Bradley McGee,
Elite Men - Long Team Road Race: Baden Cooke, Ben Day, Scott Davis, Cadel
Evans, Nick Gates, Simon Gerrans, Mathew Hayman, Aaron Kemps, Trent Lowe,
Robbie McEwen, Bradley McGee, Stuart O'Grady, Mark Renshaw, Luke Roberts,
Michael Rogers, William Walker, Matthew White.
Elite Women - Time Trial: Kathryn Watt, Oenone Wood.
Elite Women - Road Race: Katherine Bates, Natalie Bates, Olivia Gollan,
Emma Rickards, Oenone Wood. The sixth position will be confirmed from
the following riders based on a review of additional race results in end
of season competition: Nikki Egyed, Helen Kelly, Jenny Macpherson.
U23 Men - Time Trial: Mark Jamieson, Shaun Higgerson.
U23 Men - Road Race: Jonathon Clarke, Simon Clarke, Matthew Goss, Shaun
Higgerson, James Meadley.
18 months for Neiwand
Former champion cyclist Gary Neiwand has been sentenced to 18 months
jail for stalking.
The Olympic silver medallist, who is in jail for breaching an intervention
order to stay away from his ex-wife, was today sentenced to 18 months
jail with a minimum term of nine months. Neiwand yesterday
pleaded guilty to five charges of stalking, two of theft, three of
using a carriage service in a harassing manner and one of breaching an
Chief Magistrate Ian Gray said today that Neiwand's offences were very
serious and a clear message needed to be sent out to the community that
such conduct was unacceptable. Gray also said he accepted the father of
two was suffering depression at the time and was experiencing difficulties
with his marriage break-up.
Houston's Alkek velodrome needs funds
After 20 years, the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department
is transferring the management of the Alkek Velodrome in Houston, Texas
to a non-profit foundation; the Greater Houston Cycling Foundation (GHCF)
scheduled for November 1, 2006. The next few months will be critical for
the foundation to raise the funds to continue the programming at the track.
The GHCF has begun an Adopt a Meter Campaign for those who are wishing
to contribute to the cause. In addition, items may be donated for a charity
Ebay auction in October. A pdf file of the Fundraising Campaign can be
found at: www.houstontx.gov/alkekvelodrome/GHCF.htm.
The GHCF will be working with the City of Houston Parks Department to
transition the management of the Alkek Velodrome for the 2007 season and
beyond. To learn more there will be a meeting at the Alkek Velodrome office
(18203 Groeschke) on August 30, 2006 at 6:30 pm.
Fantasy Vuelta - Still time to win BH bike L75D!
One pair of BBB Winner Quickstep
Photo ©: BBB
One pair of HED Bastogne
Photo ©: HED
10 sets of Maxxis Courchevel
Photo ©: Maxxis
Three sets of Speedplay CSC
Photo ©: Speedplay
$200 worth of Sockguy socks
Photo ©: Sockguy
There's still plenty
of time left to join in the Fantasy Vuelta game. You can
join and change your riders right up until
stage 7 begins this year. There is no
disadvantage in joining now that the Vuelta has begun. If you are
new to the idea of Fantasy Sports Games then please have a look at the
tips on strategy and gameplay in last year's winners
pages on the main Fantasy
Bikes have confirmed they are providing the Grand
Prize in this year's Fantasy game! The L75D Global Concept G-1 Ultegra
D bike worth 3499EUR/4499US$ comes with an impressive component list worthy
of the some serious competition performance fantasy or otherwise. In addition
to the Grand Prize the prizelist so far is as follows:
- Grand Prize BH Bikes L75D Global Concept G-1 Ultegra D bike
- Daily Prize 21 pairs of BBB Winner Quickstep glasses
- Runners-up Prizes 1 pair of Hed Bastogne wheels, special silver
- Runners-up Prizes 10 sets Maxxis Courchevel tires
- Runners-up Prizes 3 sets Speedplay CSC edition pedals
- Runners-up Prizes $200 worth of Sock Guy vouchers
- Runners-up Prizes 3 Giro/Bell helmets
First Fantasy winners announced!
The first three winners of daily
stage prizes have been confirmed. Winning a pair of BBB
Parts Winner Quickstep glasses. Their teams had the highest cumulative
stage points for the first stages of the Vuelta.
Daily Stage Prize winners
Stage 1 winner - team Stage Winner (Manager - Mountain to Climb,
Stage 2 winner - team The Empire (Manager - Zeeman, AUS)
Stage 3 winner - team 3VueltaStimul (Manager - Stimulleke, BEL)
There are plenty more prizes to win in the overall prize competition.
The Fantasy game is a great way to get to know the Vuelta in more detail,
as you take on the role of being a team manager during each day of the
Vuelta, making the best of your team selections as the Vuelta unfolds
stage by stage. Depending on how the riders finish each stage in real
life you will score points for your Fantasy team to win some great
prizes. You'll get a much more intimate knowledge of the lesser seeded
riders as you watch their progress in your own teams and in other Fantasy
manager's teams each day. You'll also get a much more in depth insight
into how the riders perform over the coming weeks through the sprints
and the mountains.
your teams today. Be a professional team manager for the 2006 La Vuelta
and create your own dream team from any of the real life riders in this
year's Vuelta. Based on the live racing action, you will take up the challenge
of using your knowledge and tactical skill as a race team manager to compete
with other virtual managers from around the world. Follow the races live
and use your skill and knowledge to win some great prizes.
Play for FREE in La Vuelta 2006 game
Remember you can play
for free for the first 6 stages! Try your teams out and see which
rider combination is best.
We hope you enjoy this year's game and look forward to seeing your winning
team online soon.
The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)