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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for August 18, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Lelangue not amused

Phonak's team manager John Lelangue was not impressed by the news that one of his riders, Fabrizio Guidi, had returned an "A" sample positive for EPO at the HEW Cyclassics on July 31. Although the EPO test has been found to be suspect in certain cases, Guidi's positive still earned him a suspension from the team until the results of his "B" sample are known. Regardless of the outcome, it still puts the team under pressure, as three of its riders already tested positive in the second half of last season for banned substances or methods.

In the wake of the cases involving Oscar Camenzind (EPO), Tyler Hamilton and Santiago Perez (homologous blood transfusions), Phonak was ejected from the ProTour before it had even started. Only by firing several riders, team staff, and doctors, was the team allowed back in by the UCI. Thus for the new team manager John Lelangue, Guidi's "A" positive was the last thing he wanted to hear.

"If [the B sample] is also positive...then I'll not only be disappointed, but also angry," said Lelangue to "Guidi was the 25th and last rider that I took in the team before we joined the ProTour. In Gent-Wevelgem, he broke his arm but could work on his comeback in peace. There was no pressure from the team. Furthermore, he even had a contract for next year in his pocket! Therefore it amazes me that such a rider would take EPO."

Despite being disappointed, Lelangue denied that it was a personal defeat for him, even though he was brought in last year as the team's saviour. "Not true," he said. "I said to Rihs [Phonak boss] at the start that watertightness is impossible. Doping cases can keep surfacing, no matter how hard we try. Guidi passed all the hematocrit controls that we carried out in the team."

Strong line-up for Plouay

The next one day ProTour race will be the GP Ouest France in Plouay on August 28, a "new" entry into the late season classics program. Although it clashes with the start of the Vuelta a España, a strong line-up is predicted for the race, including ProTour leader Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas), Jan Ullrich and Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile), and George Hincapie (Discovery Channel).

The 20 ProTour teams will be present, along with five invited squads: Ag2r-Prevoyance, Agritubel, RAGT, Naturino-Sapore di Mare, and Lanbouwkrediet-Colnago.

Dutch team takes shape for the World's

With nine riders eligible to ride for The Netherlands in the Men's World Championship Road Race in Madrid next month, national coach Egon van Kessel is starting to form the team. Leon van Bon (Davitamon-Lotto), Max van Heeswijk (Discovery Channel), Erik Dekker and Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) are all virtually certain to go, along with Pieter Weening (Rabobank) as long as he can keep his form. And after his win in yesterday's Dutch Time Trial Championships in Zaltbommel, it looks extremely likely that Thomas Dekker will take one of the two time trial spots. Joost Posthuma, currently riding in the Deutschland Tour, is tipped for the other spot.

Quick.Step to Tour de Rijke

Quick.Step-Innergetic has named its team for the G.P. De Rijke (Beneden Maas) in The Netherlands this Saturday. The team is oriented towards the sprinters, with Tom Boonen, Dimitri De Fauw, and Wouter Weylandt all present, along with Ad Engels, Servais Knaven, Nick Nuyens and Jurgen Van Goolen. Directeur sportif is Wilfried Peeters.

Two riders for Ceramica Flaminia

The Italian Continental team Ceramica Flaminia has confirmed two riders for the 2006 season. The first is 24 year-old sprinter/climber Gianluca Geremia, who comes to the team from Zalf Fior Desire. "Geremia comes from a team that is synonymous with guarantee," said Ceramica Flaminia team manager Roberto Marrone. "He stands out in both the sprints and also has a good base and carries himself well on the climbs. He will be a precious element of our team in the sprints, especially in a group with a limited number of riders."

The team also confirmed the re-signing of 27 year-old Maurizio Varini, winner of the uphill time trial in this year's Course de la Solidarité Olympique in Poland. "Varini has a lot of talent, he's 27 and in 2006 will be in his third season as a professional," said Marrone. "With the experience and the confidence acquired this year, I think we will see the results of the work that he has done. Varini will be one of our main riders."

The team has a solid future ahead of it, as Ceramica Flaminia will continue its sponsorship for another three seasons. Next year, Zazzeri Rubinetterie will come on board as a co-sponsor. Marrone expects to sign at least three more new riders.

Rhodes and Yaxley bound for home

Australians Alexis Rhodes and Louise Yaxley will fly home from Germany soon after doctors this week gave them the all clear to travel. The pair, along with Kate Nichols, Katie Brown, and Lorian Graham were injured last month when a teenage female driver lost control of her vehicle, crossed to the other side of the road and ploughed into the six member Australian women's team. Champion cyclist and Olympic rower, Amy Gillett (nee Safe) was killed instantly and the other five riders admitted to hospital with varying injuries. The team was training for the Thüringen Rundfahrt due to start the next day.

Nichols, Brown and Graham have already returned to Australia and Australian Institute of Sport Director, Professor Peter Fricker, says the doctors treating Rhodes and Yaxley have deemed it safe for them to fly home.

Rhodes suffered serious chest trauma and spinal injuries including fractures of parts of her thoracic spine and seven broken bones in her back. "Alexis underwent a procedure on the weekend to her left lung which went extremely well and has assisted in speeding her recovery," said Professor Fricker. "There are no complications and no signs of infection and this week she went for a half hour walk outside the hospital with no problems.

"When she returns home she will continue her rehabilitation and there will be some medical follow up work to make sure her lungs and broken bones continue to heal," he said.

Yaxley suffered head and chest trauma and sustained a puncture wound to her abdomen. She also suffered a broken wrist and severe grazes and abrasions to both arms and legs. She has already undergone successful skin graft surgery on her arms. "Louise is improving in leaps and bounds and because she's responded so well it's likely she'll have surgery in the next few weeks to remove the pins from her left wrist," said Professor Fricker. "There are no ongoing problems with the wound in her abdomen and her heart, lungs and liver are all terrific."

Yaxley will need, in the short term, assistance at home with feeding and dressing because of the skin grafts and surgery she has undergone on both arms. "I can't speak highly enough of the ongoing work of the doctors in Germany," said Professor Fricker. "They have not only excelled with the treatment they provided for all five women but they have now gone overboard to provide us with detailed medical histories covering the past month and recommendations for ongoing treatment.

"In a couple of months time after the girls have settled back in Australia we'll be extending an invitation for them to come to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra so they can undergo intensive daily physiotherapy," said Professor Fricker.

Amy's family and Cycling Australia have established the Amy Gillett-Safe Cycling Foundation to honour her memory. The Foundation will assist with the recovery of her injured team mates, fund a sporting and academic scholarship program for promising female cyclists, and promote road safety awareness amongst cyclists and motorists. People wishing to donate to the Foundation should visit the Cycling Australia website at and follow the links from the home page.

Related stories:
August 14: Yaxley and Rhodes continue to make progress
August 8: More support for Gillett-Safe Cycling Foundation
August 3: Rhodes and Yaxley out of intensive care
July 29: Amy Gillett's life recalled in moving service
July 28: Rhodes and Yaxley recovery 'amazing'
July 24: Yaxley improving, Rhodes still unconscious
July 21: AIS head 'optimistic' about recovery; 'Brownie' tries his best
July 19: Unprecedented carnage in Germany
July 18: Amy Gillett dead after crash in Germany

Reward offered for hit-and-run death of cyclist

A $2,500 reward for information in the August 6 hit-and-run accident that killed a Little Rock, USA bicyclist is on offer from a local cycling advocacy group, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Jason Pratt, 29, of Little Rock, was killed as he pedaled to a friend's home, police said.

Police said that no one has come forward as an eyewitness to the accident and have no leads on the make and model of the vehicle that struck Pratt. "Our original call was to investigate a body found near the roadway," said Little Rock police spokesman Sgt. Terry Hastings. "We are determined to catch this individual."

Monty Cole, vice president of Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas, announced the creation of a reward fund, saying the cyclist's death has affected the organization. "His tragic death has saddened and deeply touched the central Arkansas cycling community," Cole said. "Both drivers and cyclists must find ways to share the road."

The organization's Web site,, has information about bicycle safety. Contact Little Rock police with information at +1 501-371-4636.

Greenville celebrates George Hincapie Day

The South Carolina, USA town of Greenville will hold a day of celebration for George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) on September 9. Hincapie was the winner of Stage 15 of this year's Tour and is the only teammate to accompany Lance Armstrong during his record seven Tour de France victories.

George Hincapie Day festivities will include a parade up Main Street and special presentations by Greenville Mayor Knox White and other dignitaries, followed by live music at Greenville's Main Street Jazz and children's amusement activities.

Bicycle club and organization members are invited to walk with George in the parade beginning at Broad Street and continuing up Main Street to the Hyatt Regency Greenville. Five representatives from each club or organization will be permitted to ride their bicycles in the parade leading their respective groups, while additional group members are encouraged to show their support by walking behind their leaders in the procession. A special bicycle wheel salute will be conducted near the main stage at Main Street near the Hyatt. Riders will salute George by holding up the front wheel of their bicycles as he proceeds to the stage for the presentation ceremony.

Interested club and organization presidents should contact Megan Ray on +1 864-467-4485 or at on or before August 31, 2005 to confirm their group's participation in the parade.

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