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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for August 9, 2007

Edited by Sue George

Kashechkin tests positive for blood doping

Andrey Kashechkin (Astana)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Astana suffered another blow Wednesday when Kazakh Andrej Kashechkin tested positive for a homologus blood transfusion following an unexpected control on August 1 in Belek, Turkey. Astana issued a statement saying Kashechkin was suspended effective immediately while waiting for the analysis of the B sample.

27 year-old Kashechkin's positive test further damages the reputation of an already vulnerable team, however management says the news only strengthens their resolve to "set up drastic measures for clean cycling."

"It shows that the UCI does a good job," said French Anti-Doping Agency president Pierre Bordry to Reuters by telephone. "I think one rider being tested positive for this kind of doping is a lot, two is too much. It is quite dreadful to see that in some teams, there is this kind of practice."

Star Alexander Vinokourov also tested positive during Stage 16 of the Tour de France for homologus blood doping. The day after, his entire team, including Kashechkin, withdrew from the Tour. Homologus doping involves the transfer of blood from another person. Vinokourov was fired from Astana following a positive B sample test, but he has maintained his innocence.

Astana had suspended itself from racing for the month of August, although team members were scheduled for a training camp in Switzerland to keep its riders in shape from August 11 - 24. Kashechkin was among the riders scheduled to participate prior to his positive test. Riders were expected to undergo various medical and psychological tests, and the team is planning to announce "new directives."

Vuelta announces plan to fight doping

Vino and Kashechkin have both tested positive since last year's Vuelta
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Unipublic, organizers of the Vuelta a España announced Wednesday a comprehensive plan to fight doping during their race. The move comes after various doping scandals during the Tour de France that saw several riders, and in some cases their entire teams, withdraw from the race.

Organizers said in a statement that they would "carry out as many controls as are considered necessary," although they kept the exact number confidential. The total budget for the anti-doping program will exceed 180,000 Euros or 30 million pesetas.

Before the Vuelta, during the month of August, the UCI, in conjunction with WADA, local officials, and various federations, will carry out a minimum of 80 surprise controls, with at least half being tests for EPO. During the morning of August 30 in Vigo, where all racers will be assembled, a team of 27 officials from the UCI will take samples from all participating riders for two controls: one to look at 30 parameters to determine the riders' physical states and fitness for the race, and another to check for doping. Those samples will be transported by private plane to ensure speedy testing at the University of Lausanne.

Surprise blood samples will be drawn and analyzed in situ by special teams of doctors and analysts during the Vuelta. Urine samples will also be done daily on some riders, including the leader of the overall classification. Doping inspectors, including the UCI, will have the right to approach any rider during the Tour, even during rest days to ask for samples for analysis.

The measures come as Vuelta organizers said they hope to improve the credibility of the sport and offer participants a level of testing that does not occur in sports outside of pro cycling.

The Vuelta will run from September 1 through 23.

Cyclassics refuse Contador with anti-doping measures

The Vattenfall Cyclassics ProTour race in Hamburg, Germany, is playing the hard line: "Our basic position is that no rider from the Fuentes list will be at the start." According to the race organizers, this includes Discovery Channel's Tour de France winner Alberto Contador (who is not scheduled to ride the race anyway), and they are extending their list to exclude such riders as Michael Rasmussen and Milram's Alessandro Petacchi.

"We are against doping. But we are convinced that the way has to go away from the populist challenges and lead to practical measures," said Michael Hinz, spokesman for race organizer Upsolut, to the German press agency dpa.

Some of the concrete anti-doping measures will be taken at the insistence of German ARD television, which will broadcast the race. The measures include an increased number of doping controls. "Right now we are coordinating with the UCI as to what measures we can plan and what makes sense," Hinz said.

Contador to hold press conference on Friday

Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Freshly crowned Tour de France winner Alberto Contador is scheduled to issue a public statement Friday along with Discovery Channel Team director Johan Bruyneel at the offices of Spain's Superior Council for Sports according to the International Herald Tribune.

The rider has been tied to Operación Puerto, the Spanish doping investigation. He is expected to make a statement, but not answer questions. No information was provided about the content of the upcoming announcement.

In 2006, Contador rode for Liberty Seguros, which was disqualified from the Tour de France before the race; hence he did not contest that edition. He has maintained his innocence saying he was in the wrong place at the wrong time although his name has allegedly appeared in documents relating to Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, who was at the center of the Operación Puerto scandal.

Biologist Werner Franke recently turned over documents which he claims implicate Contador in Puerto to the German police, and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), has launched an investigation.

No Vuelta for Valverde

Program sends rider to lead Tour of Burgos team

Alejandro Valverde and his team Caisse d'Epargne at 2006 Vuelta
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Alejandro Valverde will not race the Vuelta a España, where he finished second last year to Alexander Vinokourov, then of Astana.

Valverde's team, Caisse d'Epargne, decided not to change his program; instead, they will keep it as decided at the beginning of the season. The rider from Murcia will take part in the Tour of Burgos and in the GP of Plouay to prepare the Road World Championship on September 30 in Stuttgart, Germany.

Caisse d'Epargne for Tour of Burgos (August 14-18): Alejandro Valverde, Florent Brard, Alberto Losada, Aitor Pérez, Fran Pérez, Ruben Plaza, Vicente Reynes and Constantino Zaballa under Director José Luis Jaimerena.

Gatto happy to be second

Oscar Gatto (Gerolsteiner)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Young Oscar Gatto of Team Gerolsteiner finished dead last in the Giro d'Italia, his first Grand Tour in his first pro year. "For now, I am only a kitten, but soon I will have my day as a lion," he told Cyclingnews at the time.

The kitten is growing up and showing its claws. Wednesday in the first stage of the Paris-Correze race, he finished second behind Edvald Boasson Hagen of Team Maxbo Bianchi. "Oscar rode a strong race on a difficult course," said Directeur Sportif Christian Wegmann. "That gives us hope for Thursday's stage.

Gatto was part of a 20-man strong group which escaped 60 km into the stage. About 50 km later a six-man group got away into the lead. "Oscar was near the front and reacted great," Wegman said. Only at the end did he give up the lead and let Hagen by him.

Moreni attends CONI hearing

Cristian Moreni with his wife, Claudia
Photo ©: AFP Photo
(Click for larger image)

Italian Cristian Moreni, who tested positive for testosterone in a sample taken after Stage 11 of the Tour de France, appeared before the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) Wednesday in a hearing.

Moreni acknowledged drug use after the positive test, and his entire team withdrew from the Tour de France.

According to the Associated Press, his lawyers due not believe Moreni will face further questioning. No date is set for a verdict, but Moreni may face up to a two year ban from the sport as well and may have to pay back a year's salary in accordance with a recent code signed by ProTour riders and team managers.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by AFP

Tour highlights: Climbing into polka dots

When British-registered Professional Continental squad Barloworld was granted a wild card entry into the Tour de France, the Italian based squad pronounced loud and clear its goal of taking stage wins. The South African backed squad did just that, twice in fact, but nobody expected the first to come a the hand of Cyclingnews' latest Tour highlights subject - Mauricio Soler.

The Colombian climbed to new heights, etching his name in the history books as he arrived in Briançon on the Tour's ninth stage, 38 seconds ahead of second placed Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne). After receiving encouragement in the form of a call from his homeland's president, Soler continued to storm through the Tour with the polka dot jersey; arriving in Paris as the King of the Mountain and with a two year extension to his Barloworld contract.

Watch Soler's rise to glory by clicking here.

Lloyd on the verge

By Steve Thomas

Lloyd can climb, time trial and sprint
Photo ©: Steve Thomas
(Click for larger image)'s Daniel Lloyd scored two close second place finishes in the past few weeks - both times missing a win by one heartbreaking second. The Briton seems to be teetering on the verge of nabbing his first big win.

Lloyd had yet another close shave this week - this time he watched the back wheel of a flying David Millar ride away to victory in the British Road Race Championships. The duo had been away for a large chunk of the race and on the uphill sprint to the line, the flying Scotsman used his form from the recent Tour de France to power away to his first national title.

Just two weeks earlier, Lloyd had been on the other side of the globe battling for seconds in the Tour of Qinghai Lake deep in China while Millar had been fighting for stage wins in the Tour de France. Qinghai is a long way from the Tour in many aspects - both geographically and as a race, yet for an up and coming rider such as Lloyd, a win in Qinghai would have meant a lot. Instead, Lloyd found himself fighting for time bonuses against the experienced Italian veteran Gabriele Missaglia (Serramenti-Selle Italia) and coming up just one second short of the overall win.

The prominence of the Qinghai race increases every year, and it's now Asia's second highest ranked stage race (just behind the Tour de Langkawi). This year's race included a number of Pro Tour riders, and not to distant Tour contenders, such as Paco Mancebo (Relax-Gam), who finished in third spot overall - one spot behind Lloyd.

To read the complete feature, click here.

Goubert and Arrieta extend with Ag2R Prévoyance

José Luis Arrieta and Stéphane Goubert have extended their contracts with the Ag2R Prévoyance team. At 37 years-old, Goubert, reversed his decision to put an end to his career. 2008 will be his 15th professional season. The Frenchman has ridden for Festina, Cofidis, Polti, and Jean Delatour, but has been with Ag2R since 2004.

Similarly, Arrieta will mark his 16th season. The 36 year-old has been with the team since 2006. He's also raced for Bannesto,, and Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne. He collected a stage win at the Vuelta a España last year.

Getränke Hoffman debuts in women's Tour de France

By Susan Westemeyer

Tina Liebig will go into her first Route de France Feminine as captain for Team Getränke Hoffman in its debut in the race. The seven-stage race starts with a prologue on August 11, and runs from Fecamp to Vittel, where it ends on August 18.

"Tina has ridden very strongly in the last few weeks, has sacrificed herself for her team-mates and still managed to bring in good placings for herself," said Directeur Sportif Torsten Wittig. "Even though the French Tour is a premiere for Tina, she carries our hopes for a top place in the GC."

The 27 year-old is counting on her team-mates for support. "For France, I hope that we can continue the good work of the last few weeks," she said. "We all have the capability of going in escape groups and aiming for top results. In the end we will see who has the best reserves in the mountains and can get a top ten placing in the tour."

Getränke Hoffman for the Route de France Feminine: Tina Liebig, Stephanie Pohl, Sandra Missbach, Christina Becker, Natalie Bates, and Elke Gebhardt.

Milram to Italy

Team Milram will send a squad, including two Stagiaires, to the Giro del Lazio Saturday in central Italy. The 196km course covers a hilly route and favors all-rounders.

Milram for Giro del Lazio: Mirko Celestino, Sergio Ghisalberti, Matej Jurco, Mirco Lorenzetto, Marco Velo, Fabio Sabatini, Salvi Efrem (Stagiaire) and Luca Barla (Stagiaire)

Liquigas for Deutschland Tour

The Liquigas Team announced its lineup for the Deutschland Tour, from August 10-18. The squad will be led by three captains: Franco Pellizotti, Leonardo Bertagnolli, fresh of his win at the Clasica de San Sebastian, and Magnus Backstedt.

Liquigas for Deutschland: Franco Pellizotti, Leonardo Bertagnolli, Magnus Backstedt, Patrick Calcagni, Mauro Da Dalto, Francesco Failli, Roman Kreuziger and Matej Mugerli under Team manager Stefano Zanatta.

Portland scene grows at Raceway

Portland International Raceway (PIR) has continued to grow Monday night racing with plenty of new racers coming to check it out. On the final night of the season, August 27, organizers are planning a special event for the women's categories (novice and open).

"There will be clinics, coaches, experienced racers and plenty of prizes and raffle items," said Jim Anderson, series organizer. "We are encouraging any women that are interested to stop by and learn more."

"We provide an easy way to get started in racing with little financial commitment and we make it easy to learn about the sport," said Anderson. "On Monday nights at PIR, we have always supported women's racing. We want to continue to expand that category, build a network of women interested in racing and end the PIR season in style."

However, all levels and abilities are welcomed and encouraged to attend and check out racing on the 1.9 mile loop.: all that's required is a helmet, a road bike and a sense of adventure. Experienced riders from local racing teams are on hand to provide guidance and answer questions. There are separate races for novice masters men (aged 30+), novice women (any age), two categories for more experienced masters men (aged 30+), and an open women (any age).

For more details, visit

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