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Latest Cycling News for January 12, 2007

Edited by Hedwig Kröner, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

Judge closes Manzano file

Jesus Manzano
Photo: © Daniel Schamps

The well-known "Manzano affair" has been filed definitively, according to The investigation to determine if the accused persons by the former Kelme cyclist have committed any crimes, has been closed. The judicial decision no longer admits any type of appeal to the case, which is why the filing is definite and uncontestable.

After the Professional Cyclists Association desisted, and the Mothers' Association against Drug Abuse exceeded the legal time limit for an appeal, the judge in charge of the case dated the closing of the affair on January 11, 2007. The decision of the judge puts a full stop to the story related by Jesus Manzano in the pages of the daily sports newspaper As, starting March 24, 2004.

After carrying out some tests and interrogations, the judge in charge of the judicial investigation chose to consider that there were no indications of crimes committed on Jesus Manzano by the group of doctors and team directors the cyclist was related to.

Also see: An interview with Jesus Manzano on June 10, 2006.
And: 2004 Jesús Manzano interview: The vicious circle

Zabel and Aldag speak out on Ullrich

Two of Jan Ullrich's former teammates have spoken out about him this week, but they had different takes on the German rider. Erik Zabel said that his former in-team rival should be allowed to ride again, while Rolf Aldag called for him to come clean.

Addressing Ullrich and others named in the Operación Puerto affair, Zabel said that all of them should be allowed to ride, or none of them. "As long as there's no evidence against riders who are allegedly involved, then Ullrich and Basso should be allowed to ride, even if there would surely be a big discussion if they were a the start of a race," he told German dpa press agency.

The Milram rider called on the Spanish authorities to "finally present their evidence." The situation at the moment was "anything but optimal - the disturbance accompanies our sport."

Rolf Aldag, now sports director for the T-Mobile team, told Sport Bild that he didn't understand why Ullrich didn't supply a DNA test. "Jan was offered a quick test before the Tour de France 2006. He would even have been able to start. If I had trained so hard and had good chances to win the Tour, I would have ripped a hair off my head to hand in - that doesn't even hurt."

That Ullrich chose not to make the test was not a sign of guilt, he said, but "it leaves a bad aftertaste."

Ullrich is currently looking for a new team for this season, but, according to Aldag, something even more important lies ahead of him. "He has to re-establish his image. Even if he comes out of this with no legal problems, some of it will continue to hang on him. So I would advise him: if he really has something to hide, then he should come clean and tell all." He added, "If he shows that he is sorry, then the public will have sympathy with him, maybe even forgive him. He was under immense pressure, everyone expected a Tour de France victory by Ullrich after Armstrong's retirement. He is not a superman."

While Aldag doesn't believe in a totally clean sport - "I'm not that naive" - he thinks things are getting better. "I believe that the Tour de France 2007 will be the cleanest one in a long time," he concluded.

Rower makes waves in Aussie time trial

By Mark Zalewski in Ballarat

Cameron Wurf from Tasmania
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
(Click for larger image)

Three months ago, twenty-three year old and Tasmania native Cameron Wurf was coming back from the rowing world championships with a bit of tendonitis bothering his wrist. So he decided to pick up cycling as a way of staying in shape as he recovered. Three months later, Wurf is faced with a decision - stay with the sport of rowing through his goal of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, or pursue his new found talent in cycling, after taking a surprising fourth place in the elite men's time trial in Ballarat?

"This was the first time trial I've ever done!" Wurf told Cyclingnews after the race. "In the last 8 km I found the going a little bit tough. I'm used to rowing and we only row for seven minutes. 49 minutes is like seven rowing races back to back!"

"After the rowing world champs I had tendonitis, and I needed time off to focus on Beijing. I started cycling for cross training, and for the past three months I've just trained... done a couple of local races too. I liked it, so I looked at the time trial because it's the closest thing to a rowing race. The bikes look pretty cool too, so I figured I'd have a crack at making one of them go fast, and here I am today."

With this result after only three months on a bike, especially ahead of some strong riders, Wurf is pondering the option of racing more. "I'd love an opportunity to pursue cycling. I loved it out there today! I have the Olympics in rowing, but I've enjoyed every training session the last few months, so I'd love an opportunity to pursue it. I'd take it if it was offered, but I'll wait and see what happens."

Before anything, the former U23 world champion rower will contest Sunday's elite road race, which should be a different experience all together as rowers do not race in packs. "I'm 72 kilos so I hope to get over the hills okay. The big thing for me is just learning right now, tactics and so forth. That is something you don't have to worry about in rowing, because you have your own lane. Pretty much the same with the time trial too."

In a perfect world, Wurf would be able to pursue both rowing and cycling, though he is unsure how feasible that may be. Regardless, he says he would not try both if it meant compromising either. "If I had the opportunity to row until Beijing and then go to cycling, that would be cool. But I feel you have to commit one hundred percent to something."

Of course, the money that is involved in cycling as a way of earning a living might be an argument some would think would sway him onto two wheels. But Wurf does not think in those terms. "There is a lot of money in cycling, and none in rowing. But that is the beauty of coming from rowing, I do it for the love of the sport."

Cipo investigated for tax evasion

Italian authorities are investigating former sprinting star Mario Cipollini for tax evasion. The sum in question is some five million Euros, according to the press agency sid. From 2000 to 2004, Cipollini claimed that his home was in Monte Carlo in order to avoid paying taxes in Italy, it is being alleged, although he never actually lived in Monte Carlo.

The former world champion is currently working as an advisor to Team Liquigas. He ended his active career in 2005 after 17 years and 189 victories.

Roulston out of TDU

New Zealand's Hayden Roulston has withdrawn from the Tour Down Under start list due to injuries sustained while training earlier this week. He has been replaced by Scott Lyttle from Masterton. Jeremy Vennell has also withdrawn and has been replaced by Gordon McCauley. 112 cyclists from 20 countries will take part in the Tour Down Under, which begins in Adelaide on Tuesday, January 16.

The New Zealand team at the start will thus be: Tim Gudsell, Pete Latham, Logan Hutchings, Matt Haydock, Gordon McCauley, Scott Lyttle, Clinton Avery and Heath Blackgrove.

'Ride to cure diabetes' to take place at TDU

Over 170 amateur cyclists from over Australia will converge on the Barossa Valley, near Adelaide, on Saturday, January 20, to participate in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) "Ride to Cure Diabetes". The annual fundraising ride will raise money for research to find a cure for type 1 diabetes and its complications.

The Ride - which coincides with the Tour Down Under - is sponsored by Jacob's Creek and supported by former Tour de France pro rider, Australia Stephen Hodge. Local sporting identity, Nathan Bassett from the Adelaide 'Crows' Aussie Rules team - who has type 1 diabetes - will join the cyclists on one of 35, 80 or 160km courses.

Mike Wilson, CEO of JDRF, said, "Unlike type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented and its causes have nothing to do with diet and lifestyle. We're working to find a cure so children and adults with type 1 diabetes no longer have to endure multiple daily injections, blood glucose tests, life threatening 'hypos' and the fear of developing serious complications. I would like to encourage everyone to support the Ride by making a donation. Or take up the challenge by registering for the Ride yourself."

The most serious form of diabetes, type 1 diabetes occurs when the body loses its ability to produce insulin. Generally striking children and young adults, it makes sufferers dependent on multiple injections of insulin every day, just to survive. It can't be prevented and there is no cure. Many people believe that insulin is a cure but even with insulin type 1 diabetes causes severe health problems over time, such as heart disease, amputation, blindness and kidney failure.

The Ride will start and finish at the Jacob's Creek Visitor Centre, at Barossa Valley Way, Rowland Flat, with staggered start times of 7.30am, 9.00am and 10.30am. For further information, to register online or to make a donation visit the JDRF website.

Teutenberg working for Schools in Africa

The T-Mobile team is working with Unicef to provide funds for Schools in Africa, and the lion's share of its contribution from last season was scored by Ina Yoko Teutenberg. She won 12 UCI ranked races, and for each win the team donated 3,000 Euros.

"This engagement was a motivation for the whole year for me and the whole team to win races," she told "When I stood on top of the podium at my first race in Australia, we said 3000 Euros are now going to Africa. That was a good feeling."

The 32 year-old hopes to keep up the good works this season. "I assume that I will have several wins. We have a lot of talent in the team this year, so that many riders can and will win. But for the project, it's not important which of us wins. I think we'll be able to bring in twice as often to stand on the podium."

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