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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for September 14, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

Vuelta stage 17 wrap-up

Vino takes the jersey in thriller; Danielson big winner in Granada

Tom Danielson (Discovery Channel)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) has taken the leadership in the Vuelta a España after a brilliant ride in stage 17 to finish second behind American Tom Danielson (Discovery Channel). Danielson was the lone leader when Vino attacked on the Alto de Monachil with around 2 km to the summit to drop Valverde and catch teammate Andrey Kashechkin and Saunier Duval's Jose Angel Gomez Marchante. The three were caught by Valverde on the descent, but Vino powered away again and closed the gap to Danielson with 5 km to go, the pair working together to put 1'39 into Valverde at the finish. That was enough to give Vinokourov gold by 9 seconds, setting things up for another great stage tomorrow.

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The 17th stage was marked by a lot of aggression on the first climb of the day, which eventually saw Danielson escape with Sergio Paulinho (Astana), Lars Bak (Team CSC), Stéphane Goubert (AG2R), Dmitriy Fofonov (Credit Agricole), and Eric Leblacher (Française des Jeux). The group managed to gain 4'30 on the Valverde bunch, but Caisse d'Epargne pulled them back to just over two minutes with 30 km to go as the last climb started. Danielson rode away from the rest of the break, as Kashechkin and Gomez Marchante attacked Valverde's group. Then Vinokourov played his card, using his teammates to perfection to eventually take the jersey while Danielson took a well deserved stage win.

"Today was an amazing day for me. I got away in the early breakaway and worked really hard to make the break work. I began to tire on the final climb but focused on just turning the pedals over and on trying to win the stage. This is the biggest win of my career," said Danielson.

Click here for the full results, brief report & photos and live report.

Valverde: "Now, I have to attack Vinokourov"

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Today was a bad day for ex-race leader Alejandro Valverde, who lost his leadership to Alexandre Vinokourov on the way to Granada thanks to Vino's relentless attacking on the Alto de Monachil. Valverde caught Andrey Kashechkin and Jose Angel Gomez Marchante on the descent into the finish, but Vino had already flown the coop.

"We all knew that it was going to be a tough stage, not only because of the Monachil climb, but also because of the fast descent to Granada," said Valverde afterwards. "My teammates worked well, but Vinokourov attacked, and, although he was close to me, he attacked again, and then it was impossible to catch him."

Valverde was clearly tired at the end, but not defeated. "I will not throw in the towel; on the Pandera (tomorrow) I will attack again with the help of my teammates."

The Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears leader looked for help from his companions at the end, but didn't find it. "I didn't have any luck in that respect," he said. "The only one who collaborated with me was Gomez Marchante (Saunier), but he did it without conviction. However, I don't have anything to reproach him for.

"Vinokourov is now closer than ever to winning this Vuelta...this Vuelta is not still decided. I hope that the next stages will be decisive."

Post-race comments from the directors

Johan Bruyneel (Discovery channel director)

"I have asked the guys to work very hard every day to be in the breakaways, not only to win stages but also to preserve our team classification lead. The Discovery riders have ridden a very aggressive tour and their hard work has obviously paid off. The team currently has two stage wins, four riders in the top 12 overall and is leading the team classification.

"With one more climbing stage and one time trial remaining, I think we can possibly have a few guys move up a little higher on general classification. But, regardless of what happens I am very satisfied with what we have done so far. To have had Brajkovic in the yellow jersey and win two stages is fantastic. If we can maintain our lead in the team classification into Madrid, the Vuelta will have been a major success."

Kim Andersen (CSC director)

"We were in deep trouble, when Valverde escaped and Carlos was in between the two groups, but he was fantastic and fought his way back on the descent. It might've been a mistake on Valverde's behalf not to wait for Carlos, because it was pretty obvious that he still had spare energy – otherwise he wouldn't have been able to bridge that gap. Regardless it was a fantastic stage, and again we showed, that we're one of the stronger teams in this race. Tomorrow's stage will without a doubt be extremely exciting, because there's not that much time separating the riders at the top. And today just went to show that the race is far from over yet."

Joxean Matxin Fernández (Saunier Duval director)

"I believe the team still have a lot to show in this Vuelta. It would be great to have Gómez Marchante on the podium, but I think this is quite difficult. However, his performance has been great. On the other hand, we can still grab a stage victory on Saturday with Millar or on Sunday with Ventoso. If this happens, our Vuelta will have been great."

Ullrich's house searched in fraud investigation

By Susan Westemeyer

"This morning a total of ten houses and offices were searched as part of an investigation directed at persons in cycling sport being led by the public prosecutor in Bonn," the German Bundeskriminalamt announced Wednesday afternoon. Among those buildings searched were Jan Ullrich's house in Scherzingen, Switzerland, the home and office of his manager, Wolfgang Strohband, in Hamburg, Germany, and the Belgian home of Ullrich's advisor, Rudy Pevenage.

The prosecutor's office also appeared at the T-Mobile offices in Bonn, Germany, and requested documents. "We cooperated with them, since it is in our interest," said T-Mobile spokesman Christian Frommert.

The office said that it has opened a fraud investigation, which is being handled by the BKA. "Based on the investigations conducted by Spanish officials, the persons involved are being charged with having used various performance enhancing products, which are forbidden in cycling, One of the parties involved is alleged to have provided help and in particular obtained the products," according to the BKA's press release.

"There is the possibility that the named persons have been guilty of fraud, in that they deceived those with whom they have contracts through the use of prohibited doping methods. In this way they have received payments under existing contracts, which they would not have received if the contract partners had known of the use of the prohibited doping methods. " The investigation is also looking into violations of the prescription drug laws.

Strohband confirmed the search of his facilities. "They have been with me since 9:30 this morning and are taking papers and documents. They're still not finished. This is an unbelievable situation, which someone will have to answer for," he said.

Ullrich is on his honeymoon and was not at home when the search was conducted. It was not immediately known whether searches were conducted at the homes of Oscar Sevilla and Rudy Pevenage, the other former T-Mobile persons involved in the Fuentes doping scandal.

Swiss still waiting for Ullrich papers

The Swiss cycling federation is still waiting for the certified documents from the UCI concerning Jan Ullrich and his possible involvement in the Fuentes doping affair. "We should finally get them in a few days," Swiss Cycling spokesman Lorenz Schläfli told the dpa press agency. "I have no doubt that there will be enough material to open proceedings against Ullrich."

Schläfli said he did not believe in an "artificial prolonging of the procedure by the UCI. Rather, he said, the delay is based on the different interests of the various investigating bodies. "The Spanish officials are not investigating riders for doping violations, but are looking into medication violations and endangering the public health, as it is written in their laws."

But Ullrich still optimistic

Despite of all the trouble around him, Jan Ullrich is planning to return to the pro racing scene, he just doesn't yet know with which team. He told Bunte magazine that he has several offers to consider. "I only have to decide which team I want to ride for. He is convinced that "Everything will be decided in my favour - I am sure of that. What is happening to me now is simply not right. I am innocent."

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

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Operación Puerto

Germans announce revised World's Team

Only 24 hours after announcing its team for the men's World Championship road race, the Bund Deutscher Radfahrer on Tuesday announced its revised team. Three riders have cancelled their participation in the World's - David Kopp due to injury, and Matthias Kessler and Jens Voigt due to end-of-season lack of condition. In addition, Andreas Klöden will ride on the time trial, at his own request.

The BDR announced the four reserves who will now ride the road race: Christian Knees, Ronny Scholz, Stephan Schreck and Marcel Sieberg.

Swiss team for World's

Elite men's road race: Fabian Cancellara, Michael Albasini, Steffen Wesemann, Oliver Zaugg, Aurélien Clerc, Martin Elmiger, David Loosli, Gregory Rast, Beat Zberg, Ersatz: Alexandre Moos, Johann Tschopp, Pascal Hungerbühler, Steve Zampieri

Elite men's time trial: Fabian Cancellara, Michael Schär

Elite women's road race: Nicole Brändli, Priska Doppmann, Anette Beutler, Patricia Schwager, Sabrina Emmasi, Jennifer Hohl, Ersatz: Andrea Thürig, Andrea Knecht

Elite women's time trial: Karin Thürig, Nicole Brändli, Priska Doppmann, Ersatz: Andrea Thürig

U-23 men's road race: to be announced Sept. 19

U-23 men's time trial: Thomas Frei

25 teams for 100th Paris-Tours

The end of season classic Paris-Tours, that will this year be celebrating its hundredth edition on Sunday, October 8, will see 25 teams take part. The peloton will leave Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines at 11:15am for a 254.5 kilometre race to the end of the Avenue de Grammont, just in front of the Tours city hall.

Teams selected:

ProTour teams: AG2R Prevoyance, Bouygues Telecom, Caisse d'Epargne – Illes Balears, Cofidis – Le crédit par téléphone, Crédit Agricole, Davitamon-Lotto, Discovery Channel Team, Eusklatel-Euskadi, Française des Jeux, Gerolsteiner, Lampre-Fondital, Liquigas, Phonak Hearing Systems, Quick Step – Innergetic, Rabobank, Saunier Duval – Prodir, T-Mobile Team, Team CSC, Team Milram, Astana

Professional Continental Teams: Agritubel, Chocolade Jacques – Topsport, Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, Skil-Shimano,

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