First Edition Cycling News for September 15, 2006
Edited by Jeff Jones, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer
Vuelta stage 18 wrap-up
Vinokourov strengthens his grip, and Kashechkin takes another stage
Andrey Kashechkin (Astana Team)
Photo ©: AFP
In another impressive display of teamwork from the Astana team, Andrey
Kashechkin and Alexandre Vinokourov finished first and second atop Sierra
de la Pandera, the finishing climb of stage 18. The pair got together
a few kilometres from the summit of the murderously steep climb, after
Kashechkin bridged up to a Vinokourov attack, and Vinokourov generously
gave Kashechkin the stage win, even if it cost him a few bonus seconds.
José Angel Gomez Marchante (Saunier Duval) was third at half a minute,
closely followed by Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne), who now trails
Vinokourov by 53 seconds on GC.
The stage was marked by a non-threatening breakaway containing Nicki Sorensen
(Team CSC), Benoît Poilvet (Credit Agricole), Raúl García De Mateo (Relax-Gam),
Markel Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Pedro Horrillo (Rabobank) and Pierre
Drancourt (Bouygues Telecom), which got 4'30 before Caisse d'Epargne decided
the best tactic today was to ride as hard as possible and try to tire
Vinokourov out before the last climb. But in the end, Vino had the legs
and attacked with just over 5 km to go to put Valverde in a lot of trouble.
The Spaniard initially lost 38 seconds, but then fought back to limit
it to 32 seconds at the finish.
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Vinokourov and Kashechkin steal the show
Andrey Kashechkin (Astana Team)
Photo ©: Sirotti
The two strong riders from Kazakhstan in this year's Vuelta, Alexandre
Vinokourov and Andrey Kashechkin, again showed how it was done in today's
18th stage to
La Pandera. After Vinokourov attacked with 5 km to the summit, Kashechkin
joined him a few kilometres later, just as his captain was starting to
tire, and the pair worked together to increase their advantage over Valverde
and co. until the end, with Kashechkin winning the stage.
"I am very satisfied with what we have done yesterday and today," said
Kashechkin. "In the last days in the mountains, the team was very good,
we have tried to do good things and have managed it. Vinokourov has taken
the leader's jersey and today I have won, while Alexandre increased his
advantage on Valverde."
Kashechkin said he was happy with the fact that Caisse d'Epargne set
a high tempo for most of the day, just in case the Astana boys were weakened
after yesterday. He said that he did not speak to Vino when they came
together near the top of La Pandera. "No, we have not spoken because it
was not necessary. We are good friends and one day I work for him and
another he does it for me. We came to the Vuelta very motivated after
not being able to do the Tour de France, and I was also sure that if I
was taking the leader's jersey, Vino would work for me."
Vinokourov let Kashechkin have the stage win, but that meant that Vino
lost out on a few bonus seconds, which may or may not be important at
the end. "It was important that Vinokourov was taking time, but also that
I took an advantage over Sastre for the podium," explained Kashechkin,
who didn't believe he could beat Valverde to finish second overall.
Vinokourov, who now leads by 53 seconds, explained the team's tactics.
"This morning I said to all my teammates that the best defence was attack.
I saw that Valverde was not very good and, after seeing Kashechkin's assault,
I decided to attack.
"I believe that the race is not over until Madrid, but today I have
taken a lot of confidence and expect to be able to take slightly more
time in the time trial."
Finally, Vinokourov said that it was a "very important" victory, "because
it is great publicity for the team, for cycling and for our country."
By Antonio J. Salmerón
Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes
Photo ©: Sirotti
Alejandro Valverde won on La Pandera in 2003, but today,
the Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears leader lost almost all of his chances
of gaining the 2006 Vuelta. The steep climb was decisive in confirming
Vinokourov's position at the top of the general classification.
"I congratulate Vinokourov, because he has practically won this Vuelta,
but when you did as well as possible, nobody can demand any more of you,"
said Valverde at the end of the 18th stage. His face could not hide the
disappointment, but even so, Valverde saw the positive side of things.
"I feel proud of everything I've done during this Vuelta, of the maillot
oro that I managed to wear, which I gave up to an extraordinary opposition,
and mainly of the affection that people show me wherever I go, without
forgetting all those who follow me."
The Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears leader again showed his gratitude
to his teammates. "They have done an commendable work, and I do not have
anything to reproach them for."
After a season of bittersweet moments, Valverde - who is still the ProTour
leader - believes it has been a good one, and could finish with a medal
in the world championships. "In spite of losing the Vuelta, I am really
very happy with all successes gained during this season, because I have
demonstrated that I am capable of fighting in the Vuelta as well as winning
great classic races. Now, the World Championships are waiting for me,
so that everything is still possible."
Ullrich may have no choice in DNA test
By Susan Westemeyer
More details of the German
investigators' search of houses and offices relating to the Fuentes
doping scandal emerged Thursday, and word came out of Spain that the officials
there were prepared to supply blood samples to their German counterparts
for a DNA comparison.
German investigators searched homes and offices belonging not only to
Jan Ullrich, Wolfgang Strohband and Rudy Pevenage, but also to former
T-Mobile team manager Walter Godefroot. Godefroot confirmed the search
but said, "I was treated as a witness and not as a suspect." The 63-year-old
Belgian is now an advisor to the Astana Team.
Pevenage's house was said to have been searched by eight investigators
for 2 hours. "I don't know how it will go further. I'm still waiting.
I haven't heard anything from the Belgian federation or the UCI. But life
goes on," he said. He couldn't explain what the police might have found
by him or by Ullrich. "You always have to be a little worried," he said.
The search of Wolfgang Strohband's home and offices took eight hours.
"My attorneys have protested," he said, and is sure that no incriminating
documents were found in his possession. "There was nothing that would
have anything to do with these groundless accusations."
According to Bild magazine, a total of 15 Swiss and German officials
conducted the search of Ullrich's house in Scherzingen, Switzerland. The
German cyclist was not at home, as he was on his honeymoon. The couple
has now returned home. "My wife Sara and I are deeply affected by the
search and confiscations, which have been thoroughly reported in the media.
Because of these events we have broken off our honeymoon and returned
home," Ullrich said on his website, www.janullrich.de. "My attorneys
have been instructed to discuss the case with the prosecutors in Bonn."
The German prosecutor's office will report on the results of the raid
"in several weeks" at the earliest, said prosecutor Fred Apostel. "We
have material in paper form as well as data and will begin with the analysis.
We don't have any comment at this time as to possible results."
In other news, it was announced Thursday that the Spanish judge in charge
of the Fuentes case, Andres Serrano, is prepared to help the German investigation.
Spokeswoman Elis Beni Uxabal told the dpa press agency that he
is "in principle prepared to deliver a blood sample to the prosecutors
in Bonn." The blood sample would be taken from the bags of blood which
the Spanish investigators believed to have come from Ullrich.
"The beginning of September a member of the Bonn staff was in Madrid
and asked for evidence. But there is still no official request upon which
the judge could act." The blood plasma which has been taken into custody
is in the doping control lab in Barcelona, and a result of their analysis
is not expected before the end of the month.
The German investigators will have a DNA sample from Ullrich to make
the comparison, reports the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The newspaper
reports that investigator took DNA traces from Ullrich's house during
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
Polemics abound in aftermath of Andreu EPO admission
By Tim Maloney, European Editor
When seven-time Tour De France winner Lance Armstrong recently read
about his former USPS teammate Frankie
Andreu's confession to NY Times reporter Juliet Macur that
he took EPO in the 1999 Tour, Armstrong
characterized the report as "distorted sensationalism". He said that
the statements were contrary to Andreu's sworn testimony in the arbitration
case with SCA Promotions, where Andreu said he had never taken any banned
On Wednesday, Armstrong told Macur that the reason for his success was
about his natural talent for cycling. "Some of us are born with 4 cylinders,
and some of us are born with 12," Armstrong explained. Now almost 35 years-old,
Armstrong, was the one of the youngest ever world professional road cycling
champions, a title he won in 1993, a month shy of his 22nd birthday.
In the same NY Times interview, Armstrong's bête noire,
chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency Richard Pound, said of the revelations
by Andreu and an unnamed rider, "They were on the same team, (as Armstrong)
weren't they? I think you have to draw one conclusion from that. It certainly
indicates that there were a whole bunch of people around him using drugs.
It doesn't prove that he did anything, but you look all around him and
everyone else is doing it, so what should you think?"
Armstrong defused Pound's conclusions by saying "(Pound is) kind of
a blowhard. It's a long, long running feud (with Pound). He has nothing
good to say about me, and I don't have many good things to say about him."
On the other side, Steve Johnson, the chief executive of USA Cycling,
commended Andreu - a member of the USA Cycling board - for his admission.
"The truth is the best policy," Johnson told the NY Times. "That's
what my mother always said."
But Johnson's boss Jim Ochowicz, the president of the USA Cycling Board
of Directors, is not on the same page as his CEO regarding Andreu's admissions.
Ochowicz said USA Cycling didn't condone the use of performance-enhancing
drugs, and Ochowicz also told the NY Times that he saw things differently
than Andreu regarding whether pro cycling had secrets and doping was widespread.
"It's not (USA Cycling's) position that people are hiding the facts (about
doping)," explained Ochowicz, but then conceded "Frankie certainly is
entitled to his opinion."
UCI president Pat McQuaid stated that he was not sure of the point of
Andreu's confession. McQuaid told the NY Times that Andreu's confession
would have "no effect at all" and also declared that "It's debatable whether
the lead rider (in a team) is any faster because his teammates are doping.
Most of the doping is done individually, and it doesn't mean anyone else
on the team would know."
Both USA Cycling's Ochowicz and the UCI McQuaid's comments seem to ignore
the recent legacy of hidden, organized team doping in the sport of cycling
like the Festina affair in 1998 and Operacion Puerto this year.
Luis León Sánchez will say "no" to Antequera
By Antonio J. Salmerón
Luis Leon Sanchez will decline his selection in the Spanish World's
team, according to El Faro de Murcia. The promising Astana rider
was asked by the national selector, Francisco Antequera, to do the world
championship time trial, but Sánchez had to abandon the Vuelta due to
"I would like to participate, in particular in my favourite specialty,
but I do not want to disappoint any expectations, as well as Antequera's
confidence," said Sánchez. "The virus detected during the Vuelta means
I cannot train, neither can I do a test."
Sánchez hopes to take part in the team's celebration of an Alexandre
Vinokourov victory in the Vuelta this Sunday, should everything go to
plan in the coming days. Sánchez will discuss with Vinokourov his possible
incorporation to the new Astana team.
De Groot named as last rider for Dutch team
Rabobank's Bram de Groot has been named as the ninth rider for the Dutch
men's team for the World's road race in Salzburg. The full team is thus:
Michael Boogerd (Rabobank), Jan Boven (Rabobank), Max van Heeswijk (Discovery
Channel), Karsten Kroon (Team CSC), Gerben Löwik (Rabobank), Joost Posthuma
(Rabobank), Bram Tankink (Quick.Step) and Maarten Tjallingii (Skil-Shimano).
Tom Stubbe has extended his contract with Chocolade Jacques for another
season. The Belgian finished third in the recent Tour de l'Avenir and
was strong in the GP Wallonie. Despite interest from other professional
continental teams, he chose to stay where he was with an eye on the ProTour
circuit in 2008.
Courtesy of www.acso.be
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)