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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for February 14, 2007

Edited by Greg Johnson & Ben Abrahams

Pound still wants answers from Armstrong

Dick Pound, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) chief Dick Pound has said that a reprimand from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will not prevent him from seeking answers to the allegations from L'Equipe regarding retroactive testing of Lance Armstrong's urine samples from the 1999 Tour de France. "If Lance thinks this is going to make me go away he is sadly mistaken," Pound told Reuters yesterday.

"These are documents. This is an accredited laboratory that found EPO in [Armstrong's] urine from 1999 and it's been matched with forms you signed so if the analysis is right and the forms aren't forgeries you may have something to explain," said Pound. "He [Armstrong] has done nothing about the L'Equipe article and has done nothing except complain about me for some unknown reason. I've said those are the facts."

The IOC Ethics Commission has already said that it should "remind [Pound] of the obligation to exercise greater prudence... when making public pronouncements that may affect the reputations of others." But Pound, a Canadian lawyer, believes that the UCI still needs to look into the allegations.

"The UCI knows 15 samples showed EPO and six of them have been linked with [Armstrong], there are another nine that the UCI knows who they are that they aren't doing anything about," continued Pound. "It's there for the UCI to deal with. They may conclude it is not sufficient or they might conclude it was eight years ago and we're not going to do anything about it."

Armstrong was cleared of any wrongdoing in May last year after the UCI's appointed independent lawyer Emile Vrijman found that testing protocols had been violated during the investigation. The seven time Tour winner, who has previously called for Pound's exit from WADA, recently said, "It's not common that the IOC comes out and issues a reprimand or a warning about one of their members at all." Armstrong also called Pound a "clown" who is an "absolute disaster when it comes to giving interviews."

UCI against new Belgian cross series

By Hedwig Kröner and Brecht Decaluwé

Sven Nys
Photo ©: Ben Atkins
(Click for larger image)

Belgian Cyclo-cross organising company Promocycling has plans to launch a new race series in Belgium. This would be the fourth series taking place in that country after the World Cup, the Superprestige and the Gazet van Antwerpen Trofee, which is why the UCI is against the project.

"We want to bundle six to eight already existing races in Flanders, to make up one new highly qualitative circuit," initiator Luc Mattens told Sportwereld last week. Mattens, who organises the Flanders Indoor Cyclocross in Mechelen and the Scheldecross in Antwerp, reportedly already has two sponsors to back the series, which he wants entirely televised. But even before the presentation of the new project, scheduled to take place late March, the UCI has spoken out against it.

"They have to make something like this pass the UCI, and they certainly won't get our approval," said Peter Van Den Abeele, cyclo-cross coordinator at the UCI, who thinks that Northern Belgium has enough series to represent the popularity of the sport in that country. "If we let this happen, then cyclo-cross can close its books. And if they try to go through with this behind my back, then I'll throw their races off the calendar!"

In that context, Van Den Abeele's priority is the internationalisation of cyclo-cross, as opposed to building on its already enormous popularity in Belgium. "If they mean well, why don't they organise a circuit with foreign races! But no, they are just opportunists that want to make money out of the success of cyclo-cross [in Belgium]. They don't think about internationalisation."

The world's greatest cyclo-crosser, Sven Nys, is also against the project. "It's impossible to do a good job when betting on four horses," he commented. "Therefore, I have to choose and aim for two classifications only, which is why the World Cup isn't one of them. If I can earn a lot of money in Neerpelt, why should I travel abroad to a World Cup in the United States, where I have to win in order to make it worthwhile financially? Eventually it comes down to the money we get. The one who pays most gets us. As a result, the best riders will be competing in different race series; while people want to see us racing against each other. In the end the boomerang will come back into our faces as spectators will drop out."

World Cyclo-cross Champion Bart Wellens agreed, telling "We're already complaining that it's too busy. With a fourth competition we would need to make choices. Also, what are we up to if an indoor cross would be included, that should stay 'fun'".

Garzelli heads Acqua & Sapone for Tour Méditerranéen

By Gregor Brown

Stefano Garzelli
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Stefano Garzelli will make his debut in Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo colours on Wednesday in the Tour Méditerranéen. The 2000 Giro d'Italia winner joins the Italian Pro Continental outfit after spending two years at Liquigas where he took two consecutive victories in the Italian 1.HC Tre Valli Varesine race. "From here starts my preparations for the 2007 Giro d'Italia," said the rider from Varese. "There is still a lot of work to be done as I go towards the Giro, but the sensations are good."

The team will be lead by director sportifs Franco Gini and Bruno Cenghialta at the February 14-18 race. The complete eight-man team will consist of Garzelli, Dario Andriotto, Alexandr Arekeev, Gabriele Balducci, Massimo Codol, Andrei Kunitski, Giuseppe Muraglia and Aurélien Passeron. Frank Vandenbroucke, who won the event in 1996, will sit out the race due to problems with his left knee.

Aurélien Passeron is pointing towards the queen-stage Mont Faron. "I hope that I take it well," explained the young Frenchman. "I will be racing on home roads, I want to make a good impression and be amongst the protagonists."

Tuscan Gabriele Balducci, now in his third season with the outfit, will focus on the sprints. "In Donoratico I demonstrated that the condition is there. The team has given me the trust," noted the 31 year-old. "I hope to repay them with a win, hopefully at the Méditerranéen."

The Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo outfit is among the eight wild card teams selected for participation in the Giro d'Italia. Giro organiser RCS Sport will decide on Friday, February 16 which four of the eight selected outfits will by offered a start in the race.

German court upholds Ullrich injunction against Franke

By Susan Westemeyer

A court in Hamburg, Germany, has upheld an injunction preventing anti-doping crusader Werner Franke from claiming that Jan Ullrich spent 35,000 Euros in a year on illegal doping products. "This decision meets all our expectations. Franke can't get out of it," said Ullrich's attorney, Dr. Ulrich Theune, in a press release.

Franke made the claim this past summer, in light of the Operacion Puerto doping scandal. The court issued an injunction prohibiting further statements such as those made in August and has now twice rejected Franke's appeal of the injunction.

"I am happy that the Hamburg court has put a stop to these groundless claims. Whoever says false things about me must reckon with consequences," said Ullrich.

Iban Mayo: I feel better than before

By Monika Prell

Iban Mayo
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Iban Mayo says he feels good at his new team, Saunier Duval - Prodir, even if it is taking time to adapt to his new predominately yellow jersey after seven years in the Euskaltel-Euskadi orange.

"I took a look at myself and I looked strange, even more when I saw my former Euskaltel teammates," he confessed to Spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo. "Some mates did almost not recognize me, but that is normal after so many years with the same jersey."

The 29-years-old Basque added that in his former team he had too much pressure but feels more relaxed in his new team. "From time to time it was too much for me [at Euskaltel-Euskadi]. Saunier Duval is supporting me. They are looking after me and I'm a bit more relaxed because there is more than one leader and the ambiance is much more relaxed," Mayo told Spanish newspaper AS.

A lot is expected from the Basque rider in 2007, even though he will share responsibilities with Gilberto Simoni, David Millar, David Cañada, Koldo Gil, José Ángel Gómez Marchante and Leonardo Piepoli. Mayo will ride the Giro d'Italia, but only as preparation for the Tour de France. There, Mayo intends on helping Gilberto Simoni and has eyes on taking a stage win, but says he wont "be decisive in the general classification."

Talking about the Tour de France, the 29 year-old rider said: "If I had to choose between finishing 10th in the general classification and winning a stage, I would choose the last option. You always want more and I believe that I [will] still be more successful."

Mayo believes he will always struggle in time trials, which have hampered his efforts in recent years.

Flu and crashes shuffle up Six Day field

The current flu epidemic spreading out across Northen European countires has taken its toll at the Lotto Six Day in Hasselt, Belgium, where competitors are already decimated by several crashes. On Monday night, Andreas Beikirch, Peter Schep and Steve Schets were forced to give up the competition because of illness.

"We neutralised them on Monday night in the hope that we can include them again on the last evening [Tuesday]," race director Patrick Sercu told Sportwereld. It is not yet known whether the three track cyclists will be able to take up the race again. Meanwhile, the cards were mixed up anew at the Sixday to continue competition.

"Kenny De Ketele is forming a team with Andreas Müller," Sercu explained. "Marc Hester, who crashed badly on Saturday, is racing in the individual events. For the team races, Marc's shoulder is hurting too much. But there are also good news: Bobby Traksel has been released from hospital."

Traksel crashed during the scratch race on Saturday and had to undergo medical stationary medical treatment for a broken rib. Hester came down during the Team elimination when he and his teammate Christian Lademann touched wheels.

The leading duo Iljo Keisse/Marco Villa still have an advantage of two points in the overall classification going into the last night of racing. HK

Jongewaard charged after crash

Chris Jongewaard
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
(Click for larger image)

Chris Jongewaard has been charged with a series of offences following an accident that left Team O'Grady cyclist Matthew Rex with severe head injuries. Rex was riding his bike in Normanville, South Australia, on Saturday night when he was hit by the car, allegedly being driven by Jongewaard - a friend and training partner. The pair had been out celebrating Rex's 22nd birthday.

Jongewaard, who was due to leave for the US next month to ride for Continental team Jittery Joe's, has been charged with dangerous driving, dangerous driving causing injury, driving without due care, failing to stop at an accident scene and failing to render assistance. Police are still awaiting the results of the 27-year-old's blood-alcohol test.

The newly crowned Australian Cross Country Mountain Bike Champion will appear before Adelaide Magistrate's Court on February 20.

Yesterday, Rex was still in an induced coma, his condition described as critical but stable. "This is a horrible tragedy for all the families involved, not just the Rex family," said Rex's manager Max Stevens to the Adelaide Advertiser. Stevens said that it would be "inappropriate" for him to comment on the charges at this time.

Adam Hansen: T-Mobile's "techno geek"

Adam Hansen
Photo ©: Mark Watson
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T-Mobile's Adam Hansen came to professional cycling through a most unusual route. Once a database software developer, this Crocodile Trophy winner is now poised to take on the European road season on a top ProTour team. How did he manage that? Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer caught up with the self-confessed "techno geek" at his European home in the Czech Republic, between the T-Mobile training camp and his magenta debut in the Tour of California.

Adam Hansen is cycling's "Crocodile Man" - a two-time winner of the Crocodile Trophy, a race he describes as "a race you can't explain." One would expect this Cairns, Australia, native to therefore be a rough, tough, hard-edged and hard-speaking man, who rides on guts and instincts alone and makes his way along in the Outback with only a few rough tools. Instead, he is a soft-spoken man who worked as a database software developer for three years before becoming a pro cyclist.

When T-Mobile announced that they signed Adam Hansen, the name may not have been familiar to most of those who follow the European racing circuit, but it was certainly well-known to Lothar Heinrich, the team's doctor. "I have a lot of respect for this man. He is my coach, but I call him doctor because of my respect for him," Hansen said. "He says 'jump' and I say 'how high?'. That's how my training is with him."

How did all this come about? Crocodile Trophy organizer Gerhard Schönbacher became Hansen's manager and sent him to Europe to take his chances with road cycling. "I was between contracts with work (software developer) and I though, why not?" He went to Austria in 2001 and turned pro two years later, riding for a series of small Austrian teams.

For the full interview with Hansen, click here.

Arvesen in Norway for surgery

By Susan Westemeyer

CSC's Kurt-Asle Arvesen has returned home to Norway for surgery on the thumb that he broke in a training crash last week in California, the team announced Tuesday.

"I've come back to Norway to get a specialist to take a closer look and I'm having the operation tomorrow [Wednesday], so it's a bit of a bummer really," the Norwegian rider said. He does not yet know how this will affect the rest of his season. "Time will tell how fast I can get back into action, but I imagine about four weeks before I'm ready. I've been training on my home trainer though for two hours this morning, so it's no problem for me to keep fit, I just can't go on the road in the near future.

QuickStep for upcoming races

QuickStep Innergetic have released their team lineups for both the Tour of California and Ruta del Sol, both of which start on Sunday February 18.

World Champion Paolo Bettini will lead the squad in California with teammates Mauro Facci, Leonardo Scarselli, Bram Tankink, Matteo Tosatto, Jurgen Van De Walle, Geert Verheyen and Giovanni Visconti. Directeur sportifs will be Wilfried Peeters and Davide Bramati.

Tom Boonen should figure strongly in the sprints at the Ruta del Sol, the Belgian superstar will be supported by Serge Baguet, Wilfried Cretskens, Steven De Jongh, Kevin Hulsmans, Sebastien Rosseler and Kevin Van Impe plus directeur sportifs Luca Guercilena and Rik Van Slycke.

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