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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for April 28, 2007

Edited by Sue George

Plaza calls for fresh start in cycling

By Shane Stokes

Relax-Gam's DS David Plaza
Photo ©: Robinson Nuñez
(Click for larger image)
David Plaza, new manager of the Relax-Gam team, has said that he believes that cycling must start over after Operación Puerto, putting the past behind it.

"This situation will not be solved if everyone does not do their part," he told the Spanish newspaper AS. "Sooner or later it is necessary to look for a kilometer zero. The Operación Puerto is not solved by making 54 riders unemployed, creating 54 Ullrichs. A final outcome like that would shame us all."

The former pro said that his riders are playing things by the book and that he does not doubt their honesty. The Spanish squad signed Oscar Sevilla, Francisco Mancebo, Angel Vicioso, Jan Hruska, and Santiago Perez, all of whom were linked to the Operación Puerto investigation.

He justified the team's decision to offer contracts to the quintet and said that if necessary, they will do whatever tests are required.

"Before signing them we spoke with the CSD [Superior Council of Sports] and the Federation and they confirmed to us that they did not have open files. In return we offered our support. Our cyclists will be available 24 hours of the day to the CSD for the analyses that it wants.

"We have signed an agreement on the matter so that there are no doubts of their honesty. Here we can promise that there will be no irregularity of any rider. I don't know what happened in the past, nor does it matter to me. I am not going to judge anybody's past, but I can confirm that the present attitude is as desired."

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There is talk that those who were linked to Operación Puerto could be blocked entry to the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France, and Vuelta a España. He reacted to this news. "We will be respectful with the decisions that the Grand Tours and UCI make, but we have not yet received such news."

However, he said that Vuelta organisers cannot make such a ruling alone. "Such a serious decision cannot be made in a unilateral manner. It is necessary to do it in accordance with the UCI, the Grand Tours, the Federation, the CSD (Superior Council of Sports)."

As regards DNA, he believes that it can only be demanded by the right authorities. "We cannot force anybody to give their DNA. The only authority that can demand it is a judge."

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

A winning Cunego to Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Damiano Cunego (Lampre)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Fondital) won the Giro del Trentino on Friday for the third time. He also won in 2004 and 2006. Fresh off his overall victory, Cunego will lead his team as captain for Liege-Bastogne-Liege, where he was third last year.

Cunego will aim for the win this year, with the help of Matteo Bono, David Loosli, Morris Possoni, Daniele Righi, Sylvester Szmyd, Tadej Valjavec, and Javier Vila. Fabrizio Bontempi directs the squad, with the same help from staff who supported the team in Fleche Wallone.

Director Bontempi said, "The team is a good mix of cyclists with qualities. We will ready in every moment of the race. Damiano has just won Giro del Trentino; his morale will be very good."

Barloworld dreams of Tour de France

Robbie Hunter (Barloworld)
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

Team Barloworld has moved up to number one in the UCI's Europe Tour rankings and now leads the other Professional Continental teams. Team manager Claudo Corti is very proud of that and optimistic for the future, even casting his eyes to the Tour de France.

"We've done really well in the first part of the season and the UCI rankings are proof of that," Corti said. "We've had three riders out of action with serious injuries to (Kanstantin) Siutsou, (Diego) Caccia and (Mauricio) Soler, but first place in the UCI Europe Tour standings awards the efforts of the whole team: both that of the quality riders in the Barloworld team this year, and the professional work of the staff and management."

"We hope the fact that we are the best 'Professional' team in the Europe Tour will increase our chances of being invited to the Tour de France. For us it would be recognition of the impressive ability of the whole team."

The team also announced its line-up for Rund um den Henninger Turm next Tuesday. Alex Efimkin will lead the team, while Giosue Bonomi and Robert Hunter will be prepared for a sprint finish.

Barloworld for Henninger Turm: Alex Efimkin, Giosue Bonomi, Robert Hunter, Fabrizio Guidi, Paolo Longo Borghini, Mauricio Soler and Geraint Thomas.

US Continental teams announced for FBD Insurance Rás

By Shane Stokes

It has been confirmed that two strong Continental teams will travel from the US for this year's FBD Insurance Rás, which starts in Naas on Sunday May 20.

Both the USA Nevada Brewing Co. and USA Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast Pro Cycling will line out in the 2.2 ranked Irish tour with high ambitions. Race director Dermot Dignam expects a strong performance.

"Last year the USA-TIAA CREF team went close to winning the event, with former world under 23 champion Danny Pate taking second in the closest-ever FBD Insurance Rás," he said this week. "We believe that the Nevada Brewing Co. and Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast Pro Cycling teams will also be a major factor, and look forward to see their riders fighting for stage wins and the overall classification."

Dan Bowman (KBS/Medifast)
Photo ©: Bill McCarrick
(Click for larger image)
One of the riders who helped Pate to that second overall will be part of the Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast Pro Cycling team. Dan Bowman placing 11th on stage one and eighth on stage six of the 2006 edition and, importantly, will come here with an important insight into the peculiarities and style of racing of the Irish event. Justin Spinelli, Ryan Roth, Jonny Sundt, and Nick Waite complete the lineup.

Spinelli has a strong level of experience, having competed with the professional Farm Frites, Saeco, Navigators, and Nerac teams in the past. Roth won the Canadian National Under 23 championship in 2005 and 2006, and last year also took Le Classique Montreal-Quebec

Sundt took second place in the sprints competition of the 2004 Wachovia Classic in Trenton, New Jersey, and is a valued team worker. As for Waite, he has competed as a member of the USA Cycling's elite U-23 road and mountain bike programs, splitting time each season racing in Europe and the US National Mountain Bike Series.

"The FDB Insurance Ras draws a phenomenal field of riders," said Jonas Carney, performance director of the team. "Our goal is to really be competitive in the overall GC against some of the top riders in the world and to pick up some stage wins along the way. We're sending a line-up of guys who know how to climb, so we'll be chasing a climber's jersey in the hills, too."

Meanwhile the Nevada Brewing Co. team will be led by three experienced riders. Reigning Canadian national champion Dominique Rollin will take part, fresh from his successes in the Comcast Jacksonville Crit (NRC) and Jacksonville Road Race.

He will be joined by another top Canadian, five time national champion Mark Walters. The 31 year-old has taken 29 pro victories during his illustrious career, including the 2002 First Union-Philadelphia (at 156 miles, North America's longest race). He recently placed second at the Sea Otter Classic Road Race.

Josh Thornton is currently in his first full season back after taking time off to start a family. He was junior national road champion in 1997, has also won the prestigious Tour D'Abitibi in Quebec, and was previously 22nd in the Under 23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège Classic.

The final two places on the team will be decided based on performances this week in the Tour of Virginia. First year pro Ben Raby, Jesse Anthony and Dan Timmerman are in the running. Raby was a stage winner in the 2006 Vuelta a el Salvador and a former silver medallist in the US National Elite road race championships, Anthony is the reigning Under 23 national cyclo-cross champion and Timmerman won a stage and took second overall in the 2006 Tour of Virginia. He was ranked number one amateur in the USA in 2005 and 2006.

'The Kodak Gallery presented by Sierra Nevada team is looking for a very high place on the overall GC and a stage win would be ideal for us,” said General Manager Robin Zellner. “We have a very strong team and look to be contenders in this year's FBD Insurance Rás.”

The 2007 edition of the Irish Tour gets underway on Sunday May 20th with a 157 kilometre stage from Naas to Templemore. The riders will cover almost 1,200 kilometres of highly competitive racing as they travel anti-clockwise around the country, taking in additional stage finishes at Loughrea, Sligo, Dungloe, Buncrana, Derry, Newcastle and Skerries.

Pollack looking to come back

By Susan Westemeyer

Olaf Pollack expects to be back on the bike in 10 days, after a successful operation on his collarbone, which was broken in two places. "I'm doing slowly better," he said. "Fortunately the operation went fine."

Pollack crashed shortly before the finish line Wednesday in the first stage of the Niedersachsen Rundfahrt.

"That was the second broken collarbone in my career. The first one was in a training crash 17 years ago, said the 33-year-old. "I think that I will be back by the end of May, in the Neuseen Classics or the International Bayern Rundfahrt.

Pino wants Vuelta wild-card

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Karpin Galicia
Photo ©: Antonio Salmeron
(Click for larger image)

Karpin-Galicia director, Alvaro Pino, made a satisfactory assessment of the first three months of his Spanish professional squad.

"I must emphasize the fighting attitude of all the riders. In this sense, we always have maximum aspirations of success, but there are also many other rivals who want the same thing," said Pino.

"In the Challenge de Mallorca, Ezequiel Mosquera led at times and finished third overall," Pino summarized. "He is an extraordinary rider. Mosquera has consistency. In fact, I requested of him that he prepare for the early season, but where he really surprised me was in the recent Vuelta al Pais Vasco. He had a strong performance. He always was fighting among the best racers. I think he only needs to improve his time trial stages".

The Karpin Galicia director mentioned that other riders, such as Gustavo Domínguez, David Garcia, and even Vorganov, arrived short of form, but still "did good things." But not all things were good for the team. "Eladio Jiménez was injured in the Challenge de Mallorca, and since then he has been out of competition along with David García, who broke his clavicle, and David Herrero, who has a fissured vertebra."

On the other hand, Pino believes Karpin-Galicia can still improve and will "reach all its potential going forward, because its theoretical leaders Marcos Serrano, Isidro Nozal, and Santos González are getting their peak form." Pino did not include David Herrero because poor health has been keeping him from regular competition.

The team looks forward to the Vuelta a Asturias, the Clásica de Alcobendas, and the Volta a Catalunya in May and considers itself hopeful for a wild card entry into the Vuelta.

Two-time World Champion Hammer to lead US Pan Am team

Sarah Hammer en route to her second World Championship.
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
(Click for larger image)

Two-time individual pursuit champion Sarah Hammer will lead the 12-member US team at the Pan American road and track championships May 21-27 in Carabobo, Venezuela. Track events will happen May 21-24 while the road competition runs May 25-27.

Six men and six women will travel to South America for the annual Continental Championships where significant international ranking points will be on the line. The women will compete in track, road, and time trial events, but the men will not field a team for the time trial or road race.

Michael Blatchford (track sprint)
Adam Duvendeck (track sprint)
Brad Huff (track sprint)
Colby Pearce (track endurance)
Kevin Selker (track endurance)
Kenny Williams (track endurance)

Dotsie Bausch (road race and TT)
Sarah Hammer (track)
Tina Pic (road race)
Alison Powers (road race and TT)
Jennie Reed (track)
Becky Quinn (track)

T-Mobile for Henninger Turm

Patrik Sinkewitz and Linus Gerdemann will lead T-Mobile in Rund um den Henninger Turm Tuesday. Sport Director Rolf Aldag explained on, "If a group escapes, we want Patrik or Linus to be there with them. If it ends in a sprint, we'll play our trump card -- Gerald Ciolek." The young sprinter won the third stage of the Niedersachsen Rundfahrt Friday.

T-Mobile for Henninger Turm: Marcus Burghardt, Gerald Ciolek, Linus Gerdemann, Bert Grabsch, Adam Hansen, Andreas Klier, Patrik Sinkewitz, and Thomas Ziegler.

Line-ups for LBL

LBL peloton in 2006
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Alexander Vinkourov will lead Team Astana in Liege-Bastogne-Liege, in an attempt to repeat his victory there in 2005. He will be joined by Matthias Kessler, who just missed the podium in this year's Amstel Gold Race and Fleche Wallonne.

Astana for LBL: Igor Abakoumov, Antonio Colom, Thomas Frei, Maxim Iglinskiy, Andrey Kashechkin, Matthias Kessler, Alexandre Vinokourov und Serguey Yakovlev.

Frank Schleck is heading up CSC in the last of the Ardennes Classic. "His results in Amstel Gold Race and Fleche Wallone clearly showed that Frank is our best bet on Sunday," said Directeur Sportif Kim Anderson on

CSC for LBL: Bobby Julich, Alexandr Kolobnev, Karsten Kroon, Frank Schleck, Andy Schleck, Nicki Sorensen, Christian Vande Velde, and Jens Voigt.

Predictor-Lotto for LBL: Christophe Brandt, Dario Cioni, Cadel Evans, Chris Horner, Josep Jefre Pou, Peter Mertens, Wim Vanhuffel and Johan Vansummeren.

Quick-Step Innergetic for LBL: Carlos Barredo, Paolo Bettini, Ad Engels, Bram Tankink, Matteo Tosatto, Jurgen Van De Walle, Cedric Vasseur, and Giovanni Visconti.

Elliott named next BikeNZ Performance Director

Effective June 18, Mark Elliot will become Performance Director for the New Zealand Federation. Elliot will transfer from his current position as Performance Director for the country's Winter Performance Programme. He has been working to support athletes through until the 2010 Winter Olympics.

"BikeNZ is very happy to recruit Mark to a lead position within our team," said Rodger Thompson, BikeNZ CEO. "When one reviews Mark’s track record in performance sport, it is clear BikeNZ has recruited a quality operator that we believe has the skills and qualities to develop a World-leading high performance cycling programme."

Elliott also has experience working for Triathlon New Zealand and Swimming New Zealand.

"I have been privileged to work across a number of High Performance 'teams' over the last 10 years. I see this opportunity as a challenge to create a truly World Class High Performance Programme that supports cyclists, coaches, and their support staff to develop and succeed on the International stage," said Elliot looking forward to his new role.

Michael Flynn had served as Performance Director, but he announced his resignation in November due to family reasons.

Bisbee celebrates 29th edition

By Mason Ibas

Leaving the mountains behind at the 2006 Bisbee
Photo ©: Mason Ibas
(Click for larger image)
Sunshine and warm temperatures will serve as the backdrop this weekend for the 29th edition of the La Vuelta de Bisbee stage race in Arizona. Traditionally, the race offers an opportunity for young riders to mix it up with seasoned pros in a "blue collar" stage race. One such pro will be defending 2006 champion Phil Zajicek (Navigators).

Ages of riders in this year's peloton range from 18 to 45. The race lets veterans to show their experience and youngsters make an impression. In 1977 and 1979, it was Bob Cook. In 1978, it was Greg Lemond, and other winners have included Jeff Pierce, Kent Bostick, Inga Thompson, Alexi Grewal, Jeannie Longo, and Scott Moninger, all of whom went on to successful careers.

Wedged into the steep canyons of the Mule Mountains, Bisbee will host 240 riders for three days including the Mule Pass Time Trial, the Sulpher Springs Road Race, the Warren Time Trial, and the Tombstone Road Race.

The 2.8 mile (4.5 km) prologue course travels through "Old Bisbee" and climbs a brutal 837 feet (255 m) to the top of "The Divide". Malcolm Elliot holds the course record (9:18), which has stood since 1993.

The 79 mile (127 km) Sulphur Springs Road Race heads east out of the mountains to the high desert grasslands on Saturday morning. The course covers 2366 feet (721 m) of climbing. Later that afternoon, racers tackle the Warren Time Trial, an out and back 8.3 mile (13.4 km) race toward the US/Mexico border.

Sunday's Tombstone Road Race packs 6,427 feet (1959 m) of climbing into the 87 mile (140km) course (58.4 miles (94 km) for the women). The fields will head west over the Mule Mountains and into the "basin and range" landscape of southeastern Arizona. Riders face a challenging 17 miles (27.4 km) of climbing in the last 21 miles (33.8 km) of the stage (including two 5 mile 6% grade climbs in the last 15 miles (24.1 km)).

Queensland women's road series starts

Saturday sees the start of the five-event Trek Ladies Road Cycling Series in Albert Bishop Park in Nundah, Queensland. Each event begins with "Come and Try Session" at 11 am for all women interested in trying their hand at road racing. Experienced coaches will cover topics such as bike set up and basic road cycling skills.

Racing will commence at 1 pm in a criterium format and will include four divisions with up to 80 women, catering to both the experienced and the new rider. For more information, contact Haylie Lack at

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