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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for June 23, 2007

Edited by Sue George with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

Davis signs UCI anti-doping agreement

By Gregor Brown

Allan Davis (Discovery Channel)
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
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"I downloaded and signed it here at home, in Spain," said 26 year-old Allan Davis of Discovery Channel of the new UCI anti-doping agreement that was released on Tuesday. The UCI is requiring all ProTour riders to sign the document prior to the Tour de France.

"I do solemnly declare, to my team, my colleagues, the UCI, the cycling movement and the public that I am not involved in the Puerto affair nor in any other doping case and that I will not commit any infringement to the UCI anti-doping rules," reads part of the statement that Davis signed.

"At the same time, I declare to the Spanish Law, that my DNA is at its disposal, so that it can be compared with the blood samples seized in the Puerto affair." Davis was initially linked via Manolo Saiz in the investigation of Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes but, this last winter, was cleared and allowed to return to racing.

"There was no pressure by Discovery; it was a decision that I took on my own," he explained to Cyclingnews Friday afternoon. "I wanted to sign the document. I have not heard from anyone else in the team as to if they are signing it or not. I suspect that after the Tour de Suisse that there will be a lot more riders to sign." Along with Davis to sign are the Crédit Agricole riders, Mark Cavendish and Sandy Casar.

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The Australian believes that the UCI is progressing in the fight against doping and that the power given to them is justified. "I think it is a step in the right direction." But are the riders giving too much power to the UCI? "I think it is right. The UCI controls cycling so it is right they have more power."

Davis is ready to focus on racing. He would like to race the Tour de France and may have a chance but if not he will focus on the end of season. "I am on the long list of riders for the Tour team. I haven't done the Tour de Suisse and that is too bad. I know that if I don't go to the Tour then I will mostly likely race the Vuelta. I will focus on a good second half of the season. I think that the Vuelta will be a good race to prepare for the Worlds."

He commented that he would race in China at the Tour of Qinghai Lake if he is not racing the Tour de France.

CPA group reacts to UCI's rider anti-doping declaration

Two riders signed new doping declaration earlier this week
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The Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA) issued a statement Friday denouncing the UCI's approach to the new anti-doping declaration announced earlier this week as part of the UCI's ongoing effort to address doping problems in cycling.

"The CPA deplores the fact that the UCI did not expose the details of the 'riders commitment for a new cycling' during the meeting that took place on June 15 in Aigle," said the written statement. "It also regrets it was not informed about the choice of the riders who signed the document in the presence of the press. It considers that the UCI should have informed it, more in detail, about the step which it was going to take."

The organization acknowledged some riders saw the initiative as a positive way to show they are innocent, with nothing to hide. Some also see the agreement as a way to continue forward on level playing ground with fellow competitors. However, the CPA pointed out that other riders were frustrated by the lack of dialogue between the UCI and rider representatives prior to the announcement of the agreement.

"The CPA is conscious that it is time to stop beating about the bush and that it is necessary for the collective to definitively become aware of the fact that the profession is in danger and of the existing peril that, shortly, more and more sponsors could disappear," continued the statement. "As a consequence the contracts would be likely not to meet any longer the financial conditions compared with the hard job of professional cyclist."

Of the UCI's new agreement, which all participants of the Tour de France must sign before the July 7 start of the Grand Tour, the CPA's statement said, "It is obvious that this measure shows, once more, that a majority of clean riders continue to pay the consequences of some cheaters' irresponsible behaviours who must be excluded from the bunch. These cheaters have not understood yet that they are encircled by the zero allowance and that, sooner or later, they will irremediably be unmasked."

The CPA approved of the UCI's effort to focus the sport's clean-up not only on the riders, but also on staff and other professionals associated with the teams. "The CPA reminds that it expressed this wish on several occasion these last years to the UCI so that the riders are no longer the only ones to be punished," but the group asked also that the ethical code be extended still more to include organizers.

Pereiro calm

By Monika Prell

In yellow after his long escape
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
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Óscar Pereiro, the second of the Tour de France 2006, is quiet in these days before the Tour de France. Even if the "public pressure" is higher than in years past, the Spaniard will compete in the race with "the same responsibility" as always.

According to todociclismo, Pereiro, who is waiting to be declared winner of the 2006 Tour de France if the positive doping test of Floyd Landis is upheld, affirmed that he will be in a good competition form when the Tour starts July 7, perhaps "better than last year."

The Galician cyclist participated in the videotaping the Vuelta a España announcement that was registered in Vigo, where the Vuelta will start. He was not willing to answer any questions about the charter the UCI wants all Tour de France participants to sign.

Euskaltel-Euskadi two weeks before the Tour

By Monika Prell

The Euskaltel-Euskadi Tour de France roster is coming together slowly. Seven cyclists are already on the list: Haimar Zubeldia, Igor Antón, Mikel Astarloza, Iñigo Landaluze, Gorka Verdugo, Rubén Pérez and Amets Txurruka. Three riders are fighting for their chance at the two last spots: Iñaki Isasi, Jorge Azanza, and Juanjo Oroz. Aitor Galdos will definitely not participate, after he abandoned the Vuelta a Suiza on Sunday due to stomach aches.

Igor González de Galdeano, the technical secretary of Euskaltel-Euskadi, would like to see Isasi in the Tour, even after he broke his collarbone twice already this season.

"If he is fine, I will choose him," said González de Galdeano according to Gara. "By reason of his experience, I prefer Isasi, even if he is not in top shape, to a rider who is very well but never rode the Tour." Azanza turned professional in 2005 and Oroz in 2006, both with the team Kaiku. Azanza broke his collarbone in the last stage of the Vuelta al País Vasco, and Euskaltel signed Oroz in May of 2007, after he showed a good effort in the Vuelta a Asturias, where he competed for his then-team Orbea-Oreka, a Professional Continental team.

González de Galdeano sees the team's preparation positively. "Later on, the race will show everybody his place, but the team will begin the race very well, without doubt." His plan is to let the cyclists train at home during the two weeks until the start of the Tour, "because the Tour is very stressful. Before the Dauphiné, the riders trained already in the Pyrenees, on the most important stages."

The team's goal is "winning a stage. It'd be best to win in the Pyrenees, at home, but every stage win would be welcome. We hope also that Haimar Zubeldia will be amongst the best in the general classification, because for the team it's important to have a man in front."

T-Mobile announces Tour pre-selection

13 T-Mobile riders are in the running for the nine places on the team's Tour de France squad, according to team manager Bob Stapleton and Sport Director Rolf Aldag.

Michael Rogers is set to the be team's captain. "Micheal is a leader. He has proven that many times this year, Aldag said on the team's website,

The remaining twelve candidates are: Lorenzo Bernucci, Marcus Burghardt, Mark Cavendish, Bernhard Eisel, Andreas Klier, Linus Gerdemann, Bert Grabsch, Giuseppe Guerini, Roger Hammond, Kim Kirchen, Axel Merckx, and Patrik Sinkewitz.

"In any case, we will have a strong team at the start," Aldag said.

Volksbank celebrates

Gerrit Glomser (Volksbank)
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Team Volksbank, the Austrian Professional Continental Team which is riding in the Tour de Suisse on a wildcard invitation, had multiple grounds to celebrate Friday. After Gerrit Glomser's second place finish on Thursday, he finished 11th on the Queen stage, moving up to ninth place overall. "At least I have reached my minimum goal, the top 10. I don't know whether I can defend this placing in the time trial, but it has made the trip to Switzerland worthwhile. I can finally start to smile again," he said.

The team also had three birthdays to celebrate Friday, oddly enough, three 35th birthdays. Team manager Thomas Kofler, his twin brother Johannes who is a mechanic for the team, and rider Harald Morscher all celebrated with the team. "This is crazy, I couldn't have imagined a better present," Thomas Kofler said. "But I have to praise the whole team, which together brought Gerrit to the last mountain. They really sacrificed themselves and put their own interests on ice. It makes an unbelievable amount of fun, every day there is a new joy."

Zabel removed as World's "Ambassador"

Erik Zabel
Photo ©: AFP
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Erik Zabel, the Milram rider who last month tearfully confessed to having used EPO in 1996 while at Team Telekom, has been removed as an honorary ambassador for the city of Stuttgart, Germany, which is hosting the World Championships in September. The city is "joining the antidoping front," it said.

The city also took the title away from Rudi Altig, who was the last male German road world champion 41 years ago. Altig, now 70 years old, has not taken a position against doping, the city said, according to the dpa press agency. He has, in fact, shown understanding for those who have confessed. "That he cannot believably stand for a new beginning because of his attitude towards doping, we do not see any way for a continued cooperation with him as ambassador," according to the city's press release. Stuttgart sees it "as of overwhelming importance that the believability of a new beginning in cycling be achieved with the UCI road world championships."

The three remaining "ambassadors" are 2004 World Champion Judith Arndt, 2005 World Champion Regina Schleicher, and Gregor Braun, who won two gold medals in the 1975 Montreal Olympics and was three times world champion in track events.

Jaksche under investigation for fraud

Jaksche (Astana-Würth) had to leave the Tour
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Jörg Jaksche is the next German pro cyclist to come under investigation by German authorities, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, which says that the public attorneys in Ansbach, Germany, are investigating the Team Tinkoff rider, who lives in Kitzbühel, Austria.

The newspaper says that the investigation is on the suspicion of having defrauded race organizers. The Bundeskriminalamt (federal police) asked the Bavarian law enforcement agency to conduct the investigation after repeatedly running across Jaksche's name in the Operación Puerto documents, it claimed.

USPRO board keeps crit nationals open for 2007

Communication still a problem between USAC, teams

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

The bunch comes through as fans look on.
Photo ©: Jon Devich
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Last year's debacle involving USA Cycling's decision to close the US criterium nationals to foreign riders without informing the teams ended with USAC reversing its decision, and saying that the format for the 2007 edition of the race would be open to discussion with the USPRO board of trustees. That decision has apparently been made and the 2007 race will run under the same format as last year's event -- open to riders of all nationalities who are on UCI registered team rosters competing in the race.

However, with communication breakdowns cited as the root cause of the original problem in 2006, it seems that only part of communication process has been fixed in 2007, as team managers not on the USPRO board were only informed of the decision within the last month -- not much different to last year's situation.

"We didn't even know that was going down!" Jelly Belly director sportif Danny Van Haute told Cyclingnews regarding the criterium nationals decision. Van Haute said that the decision was finally communicated to all US team managers at a meeting the day before the Philadelphia International Championship. "I think there was a problem among the USPRO board members not communicating to the other managers, and I think we got that point across. There needs to be more discussion amongst all the team managers."

Nick Sepke, race director for the National Criterium Championships, confirmed to Cyclingnews that the format has been decided. "That is happening and that is from USA Cycling," he said. "The USPRO board met and they decided on keeping it open to foreign riders."

Though there was talk last year that USAC wanted this event to match the now closed format of the road and time trial national championships, the decision was made by the USPRO board that the open format is best for the event at this time. "Ideally it was supposed to be in conjunction with the other events, but we are here to agree upon whatever USAC wants to do," said Sepke, who personally is in favour of the open format for the fans. "I think it's great for the event, it has been like that for 21 years and they bring fast competition."

USPRO trustee Franke Andreu spoke with Cyclingnews about how the decision was made. "USAC sent out a request to the USPRO board for their opinion, and we all sent back that is should be open and that the team size should be limited," he said. "Then USAC had to check with the rules and make the best decision.

Andreu confirmed that the communication of the decision did not filter down to all team managers until Philly week, but that the representative nature of the USPRO board did serve as a good instrument in making the decision.

"It was brought up there that none of the other directors knew about it, but I think the mix of people in the board is a pretty rounded group. There were definitely different opinions but that would have been the same thing if we had opened it up to everyone for discussion."

When asked his personal opinion, the former US racer believes that like the road and time trial events, American cyclists can perform at the level on their own. "I think it should only be open to Americans. We are able to put on a great show with only American racers. But there are a lot of foreigners on a lot of American teams."

T-Mobile & Wiesenhof for team time trial

Former Italian national time trial champion Marco Pinotti will lead T-Mobile Team in the ProTour International Team Time Trial Sunday in Eindhoven. Pinotti wore the leader's "Maglia Rosa" for four days in the recent Giro d'Italia.

Team Wiesenhof-Felt, a Professional Continental team, is happy to have received a wild-card invitation to the ProTour Team Time Trial Sunday in Eindhoven. "This is a super confirmation of our good work and performances this spring," said manager Raphael Schweda.

Unfortunately the team will have to do without the services of captain Steffen Wesemann, who on Thursday had to drop out of the Ster Elektrotoer with stomach problems.

T-Mobile for Team Time Trial: Michael Barry, Lorenzo Bernucci, Scott Davis, Servais Knaven, Marco Pinotti, Frantisek Rabon, Stephan Schreck, and Thomas Ziegler.

Weisenhof-Felt for Team Time Trial: Bas Gilling, Stefan van Dijk, Martin Velits, Peter Velits, Torsten Schmidt, Olaf Pollack and Robert Wagner.

Play the Fantasy Le Tour game
Giro d'Italia Fantasy Game

Top tips on Fantasy Le Tour

Éric wins Wilier Triestina Izoard bike

You can find out how to play the Fantasy game first-hand from Éric from Québec (Canada), one of the Grand Prize winners from this year's games.

Grand prize winner - Éric and his team mates from Québec, Canada
Grand prize winner - Éric and his team mates from Québec, Canada

"Since there were many sprint stages this year and few stages for escapees in the Giro, I picked 6 sprinters using the first stages as a clue to who could perform in the sprints. I tried to pick a few sprinters whom I thought would make it to the end, this makes a big difference in the stage points. Then I picked 9 riders for GC using stage 4 as a reference, but took a chance with Savoldelli which paid off in the end. I didn't bother taking a good climber which wasn't going for GC as many GC contenders/helpers were amongst the best climbers. And I won a great prize with a little luck! Thanks for a great game! Éric"

If you play the 2007 le Tour game you could win a Cervelo Soloist Carbon bike. The full details of the specifications of this bike will be released shortly. It's free to play the first three stages - you could be our first winner of the great Daily Stage winner prizes from BBB. Registration has already begun.

Be a professional team manager for the 2007 Le Tour and create your own dream team from any of the real life riders in this year's Tour. In what's set to be the most open Tour in decades, based on the live racing action, you will take up the challenge of using your knowledge and tactical skill as a race team manager to compete with other virtual managers from around the world. Follow the races live and use your skill and knowledge to win some great prizes.

Update - Le Tour Fantasy Game Prize List

Descente Classic Chevron designer clothing
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Prize summary: From one Grand Prize and one First Runner-up to three each Second, Third, and Fourth Runner-up prize packages, there are eleven chances for you to win based on your overall performance in the 2007 Le Tour Fantasy Game. There are also 21 daily prizes for each stage's top performer. All prizes are as listed (substitution requests cannot be honored). The roster of prizes so far is as follows:

Grand Prize from Cervelo, Soloist Carbon bike

Daily Prize from BBB Parts - 21 pairs of BSG-23 Winner Quick-Step World Champion glasses designed for Tom Boonen.

Giro Atmos Helmet - x3 Giro Atmos Helmet
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10x Runners-up Prizes

  • Set of Shimano Dura Ace WH-7801-SL Wheels - three sets on offer
  • Maxxis Courchevel road tyres - 10 sets on offer
  • Descente Classic Chevron design clothing - four sets on offer
  • PRO Carbon Bottle Cage - x10 on offer
  • Giro Atmos Helmet - x3 Giro Atmos Helmet
  • BBB's BSG-23 Winner Team Quickstep glasses - one for each day of tour

More prizes will be announced in the coming days. To find out more visit the prizes page.

Play for free in the Fantasy Le Tour 2007 game

BBB's BSG-23 Winner Team Quickstep glasses
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(Click for larger image)

Remember you can play for free for the first three stages! Try the game out and see how best to play. It's easy to play the Tour games - all you need to do is pick your dream team of 15 from the riders racing in this year's Le Tour start list. Then each day pick nine riders to race for your fantasy team from these 15. You'll need a good combination of climbers, sprinters, and general classification riders.

For more details go to the rules section of the site. There's also some great tips and tricks in the downloads and winners sections of the site. It's a great way to follow Le Tour 2007.

Good luck!
The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team

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