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Latest Cycling News for January 16, 2007

Edited by Gregor Brown

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Barcelona laboratory demands money owed for Operación Puerto analyses

Spanish Civil Guard seize blood bags
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Officials at the Barcelona laboratory said that they will not continue to examine Operación Puerto evidence if they are not paid €25,000 of owed money by the Madrid courts who requested work. According to El País, the laboratory is demanding the amount owed from the first round of performed analyses of blood bags before continuing other material seized by the Guardia Civil during its raid of Eufemiano Fuentes and José Luis Merino Batres' offices last June.

In late November, Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported that the antidoping laboratory of Barcelona detected traces of EPO in eight of the bags of blood analysed. The bags were allegedly identified as belonging to the code names "Klaus," "Sevillian" or number five, "Gemma," "Mari," "Falla" and "Valv. Piti" (number 18).

The guarantee of the identity of these nicknames is yet to be proven and for this the Guardia Civil has asked the laboratory to perform further examinations. But the procedures are expensive and the Barcelona lab, which is accredited by the International Olympic Committee and by WADA, is demanding its owed money before continuing with the requested analyses.

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

Cunego without improvisation

Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Fondital) rides in final Tour TT
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

"The years of improvisation are left behind. Now I attentively interpret the many particulars of riding and not only that, also this is part of maturing," said Damiano Cunego, 25 years-old, of his continued growth to La Gazzetta dello Sport. At 22 years of age he had already won the Giro d'Italia's maglia rosa but that seemed more by chance whereas now he is studious, with a head for the tactical game.

The little climbing sensation of three years ago, dubbed Il Piccolo Principe, has become more and more serious about his aim of being an overall contender in the grand tours. From his experiences this last summer in the Tour de France, where he won the maillot blanc with a superb final time trial, he has realized that climbing is not the only aspect of a rider; to be a overall tour contender you need to be able to go fast against the clock, like Lance Armstrong.

"It is something that I try, reflecting on what he [Armstrong] did and looking over everything about him," continued the rider from Verona. "I was not able to encounter him often in races but I observed how he applied himself in various situations and I imagine that this is able to be of use for me. I understand that the mental aspect of racing counts for a lot."

To that end, after the 2006 season Cunego made a trip to Texas to work specifically on his time trialing. "This winter I threw myself into the important fundamentals of a season. Now I will work in a manner more specific, attending to, most of all, the power output. And, then I am also working very hard on bettering myself in the time trial, after the test made in the Houston wind tunnel. The first true opportunity for discovering this work will be the Critérium International [March 31 - April 1 - ed.]."

Even before the 2007 racing season begins, Cunego can be happy with his training results. He and his close confidant, Director Sportif Giuseppe Martinelli, have recently covered one of their off-season climbing tests, the Querce (from Lenola, in Lazio); an eight kilometre climb with an average gradient of 8% and a maximum of 11. At the end of a six-hour, 210-kilometre day, Cunego recorded an average of 400 watts; 10% better than last year according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. This is considered thanks to the work done over the off-season and a further 2500 kilometres in his legs at the start of January.

Cunego's season will begin with the Ruta del Sol, February 18 - 22. Then, leading up the Giro d'Italia, May 12, he will race the Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia, March 7 - 11, Critérium International, March 31 - April 1, Pais Vasco, April 9 - 14, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, April 29 and Tour de Romandie, May 1 - 6.

Malabrocca's home burns

Last Saturday, January 13, a fire consumed the home where Luigi Malabrocca lived, in Garlasco, Italy. Burned in the fire were races relics, including trophies, race numbers, paintings, books, newspaper clippings and photos according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Malabrocca, well known for maglia nera of last position in the 1946 and 1947 Giro d'Italia, passed away this last October 1 at 86 years of age.

Team schedules season

Audrey Lemieux, Joëlle Numainville, Stéphanie Bourbeau (l-r)
Photo ©: Team
(Click for larger image)

Team, the only Canadian women cycling team with a UCI professional license, will start its season this February in Arizona with the Valley of the Sun Stage Race (16 - 18). The race follows on the heels of a training camp in Arizona (1 - 10), where the girls will become familiar with new team member and their equipment, such as the Argon 18.

After an early seasons spent in southwestern USA the girls will send a team to Europe to race several high profile races, including the women's Tour de Flanders (April 8) and La Flèche Wallonne (April 25). The summer will be highlighted by another big European race, the Tour de L'Aude (May 18 - 27). Several other races in both Europe and North America will lead the team to the world championships. Composed of mostly Canadians, the team should be able to field its riders in the national team for the Stuttgart race (September 26 & 29).

Elite team: Gina Grain (Can), Anne Samplonius (Can), Jessica Phillips (USA), Meshy Holt (NZ), Erinne Willock (Can) and Audrey Lemieux (Can). Development team: Joelle Numainville (Can), Stephanie Bourbeau (Can), Jennifer Stephenson (Can), Amanda Shaw (Can), Jennifer Magur (USA) and Alison Testroete (Can).

Cycling Tasmania rider-of-the-season 2006-07

The sixth annual Cycling Tasmania rider-of-the-season award is will go right to the wire with the winner not being decided until final races at this weekend's season-ending St Helens Carnival. With 15 points on offer, any one of eight riders are still eligible to win the title, which is currently being led by Devonport's John Rayner, with just one point ahead of Matthew Kent, also of Devonport.

The CT award includes all track carnivals and rewards consistency for the whole season. The first four riders in all handicap finals and graded scratch races are awarded a sliding scale of points, whilst keirins, derby's and elimination races do not count.

Rayner has amassed 36 points, including four wins and seven minor placings, while Kent also four wins to his credit. Breathing down on Rayner and Kent is Launceston veteran Jamie Perry, whose tally of 33 points also includes four wins.

The next two challengers, Daniel Jamieson and Nathan Clarke, along with the seventh placed Ben Grenda and eighth placed Ben Kersten are not entered for St Helens. Jamieson and Grenda are representing Tasmania at the Youth Olympics in Sydney, while Clarke is believed to be having a well-earned spell from racing at present. The only other rider in contention is veteran Stephen Martini, who is currenly 11 points behind Rayner and will therefore need two wins and a minor placing.

Launceston's Laura McCaughey has the women's award safely in her keeping and will carry a 30-point lead with her to St Helens. McCaughey has won 11 races this season and placed in seven others. She previously won the award in 2004-05.

George Town's Nathan Hinkley will win the junior title as he currently holds an unbeatable 19-point lead. Riding out of the Junior 3 age group, Hinkley leads from Junior 2's Jacob Fielding.

Top 10's

1 John Rayner               36 pts
2 Matthew Kent              35
3 Jamie Perry               33
4 Daniel Jamieson           27
5 Nathan Clarke             27
6 Stephen Martini           25
7 Ben Grenda                25
8 Ben Kersten (NSW)         20
9 Cameron Meyer (WA)        19
10 Jayden Veljacich (WA)    18
1 Laura McCaughey           71 pts
2 Harriet Kossman           41
3 Amy Cure                  41
4 Liz Williams (NZ)         28
5 Janelle Smith             25
6 Emma Heynes               25
7 Sarah Cure                21
8 Kirsty Broun              19
9 Tarrisha Jones            18
10 Alitta Laskey            16
1 Nathan Hinkley            90 pts
2 Jacob Fielding            71
3 Jackson Law (NSW)         53
4 Michael Docker (WA)       50
5 David Lyons               48
6 Drew Redman               47
7 Scott Law (NSW)           44
8 William McDonagh          35
9 Ed Robinson               35
10 Sam Brett                34

Phil Anderson classic criterium

CycleSport Victoria, with the Colac Cycling Club, has announced a brand new event on the Victorian cycling calendar - the Phil Anderson Classic Criterium - which will be held at Apollo Bay, Australia, on Saturday February 11. The criterium will be a part of the Great Ocean Sports Festival, a two-day sports festival which includes 11 individual events, such as swimming and running endurance events, board paddle events, land and boat fishing competitions and a sailing regatta.

It will offer over $5000 in prize money and has events for Under 11 kids all the way through to masters aged riders.

"This event will provide our riders with a great street circuit in a spectacular location and will definitely provide some high quality racing," said CycleSport Victoria General Manager Ian Maher.

"There is a high chance that this venue could become the future site of the Victorian State Criterium Championships (excluding Men/Women) in the near future."

More information on the event can be found at

Top New Zealand riders for Cycle Classic

The Trust House Men's Cycle Classic received a big boost with confirmation of 2002 Tour winner and member of the Athens Olympic road team Robin Reid. He will be entering a team in next week's New Zealand race around Wellington, Hutt City and the Wairarapa.

His team is made up of some of the best New Zealand riders; Jeremy Vennel, a very good all-round cyclist, professional, base himself in Belgium most of the year and races for team DFL-Cyclingnews all over Europe. He has never won a major tour but finish second in last year's Southland tour and have top placing in many races in Europe.

Reid will also have the experience of top New Zealand hill climber Aaron Strong from Auckland, Justin Kerr and Richard Speer.

"This team has got experience and youth," said Race Director Jorge Sandoval. "I expect to see Strong and Reid working hard for general classification whiles the young ones would be supporting them but at the same time creating their own chances for stage wins and final general classification. I know that Aaron Strong is coming to Wellington with great expectations and to prove that he is the best hill climber in this country."

Two more teams

Sandoval also announced today that two other teams have confirmed their participation for the Trust House Cycle Classic. World Cup medal winner and member of the 2006 New Zealand Commonwealth Games team Jason Allen is the leader of the Samsung New Zealand team. Jason Allen is now a well established member of the New Zealand Track cycling team pursuit squad and he was one of the quartet that won gold at the 2005 Manchester world cup meeting and a member of the winning team at the Sydney world cup meeting earlier in 2005.

"I'm always impressed with the amount of work Jason does at the front of the bunch every year. He is a guy that every other rider wishes to have in his team." Sandoval continued. Matt Gilbert, Dean Fulton, Ross Stewart and Aaron Wheeler will accompany him.

The Team Wellington Star - Mercedes comprises of up and coming riders. The team is lead by Shem Rodger fresh from representing New Zealand at the Bay Cycling series in Australia last week, Brad Carter, Mark Langlands, Ryan Willis and Peter Rennie.

The Trust House Tour starts on Wednesday, January 24, with a team time trial in Lower Hutt and finishes on Sunday, January 28 with the Petone Criterium.

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)

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