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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for March 15, 2007

Edited by Sue George

UCI extends Hondo ban

Rider to appeal in court

By Susan Westemeyer

Danilo Hondo
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

The UCI has told Tinkoff Credit Systems rider Danilo Hondo that his doping suspension will be extended and that he will not be allowed to start riding again April 1. The German has said that he will not accept the decision and that he still plans to start the Brabantse Pijl on that date.

On his website,, Hondo said that he received written notice from the UCI on Tuesday evening saying that the suspension was being extended "due to a CAS ruling." However, according to Hondo, the recent Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) announcement was not a ruling or legal decision, and did not constitute a new sentence.

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His attorneys Michael Lehner and Lucien Valloni spoke with the UCI Wednesday morning. The organisation "did not want to say anything further on the situation," he reported, and therefore "we will immediately file an appeal of this decision."

A small amount of the drug Carphedon was found in Hondo's system during the Vuelta a Murcia in March 2005 while he was riding for Gerolsteiner, and in June that year, the Swiss Cycling Federation issued a two year ban, but with one year to be suspended followed by a five year probation period. The CAS said later, in January 2006, that Hondo deserved a two year ban, thereby extending his ban by one year per the advice of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Yet a year ago, in March 2006, a Swiss court set aside the two-year ban, which opened the door for Hondo to resume racing. It was the first time a civil court has overturned a CAS decision. After completing the one-year suspension, Hondo returned to the peloton in April 2006.

However, his suspension was officially reinstated in January 2007 by the Swiss Supreme Court. CAS then ruled in a clarification over the weekend that the ban must be "effectively" served, yet Hondo's attorney Michael Lehner said that such a ruling would go against the wishes of the Swiss Supreme Court's January ruling, which said: "that an athlete may not be punished for taking advantage of his right to appeal."

Tour de Georgia is on

The bunch
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

Although the fate of the Tour de Georgia had been in question recently, organisers announced Wednesday that it will happen as scheduled from April 16-22, 2007. The 2.HC category race will be contested by 15 teams over 1,073 kilometres (667 miles), making it the longest stage race in the US.

In early March, Cyclingnews reported the Tour's future was uncertain because organisers had yet to replace last year's title sponsor, the Georgia Ford Dealers' Association, who had declined further sponsorship last June. At that time, Chris Aronhalt, Managing Partner of Medalist Sports and Executive Director for the Tour de Georgia, remained optimistic but put out an urgent call for additional sponsorship funds.

In a statement released Wednesday, he said, "On behalf of the Tour's Board of Directors (Georgia Partnership of Economic Development), the Georgia Cancer Coalition and Medalist Sports, we are genuinely appreciative of the numerous individuals and corporations who responded to the Tour's call to action for additional support.

"This is a powerful reflection of the importance of the Tour de Georgia to Georgia's tourism economy, to our corporate partners and host communities, and to the international cycling community. While we continue to explore additional opportunities for fundraising, we are confident and committed to making this race a reality for Georgia, for cancer awareness and for the global sport of cycling."

The Tour now lists twelve host community partners, and the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) as a presenting sponsor. Last year's Tour was won by Floyd Landis, then riding for Phonak Hearing Systems. Landis will not contest the Tour this year pending an outcome to an alleged doping case.

The Tour of Georgia stages are listed below.

Stage 1: Monday, April 16 - Peachtree City to Macon
Stage 2: Tuesday, April 17 - Thomaston to Rome
Stage 3: Wednesday, April 18 - Rome to Chattanooga, Tennessee
Stage 4: Thursday, April 19 - Chickamauga/Walker County to Lookout Mountain (Individual Time Trial)
Stage 5: Friday, April 20 - Dalton to Brasstown Bald Mountain/Towns County
Stage 6: Saturday, April 21 - Lake Lanier Islands/Hall County to Stone Mountain Park/Dekalb Country
Stage 7: Sunday, April 22 - Atlanta (circuit race)

Danielson gears up for Tour de France debut

By Jean-François Quénet in Maurs-la-Jolie

Tom Danielson (Discovery Channel)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Tom Danielson discovered Paris-Nice two years when he joined Discovery Channel following an unsuccessful European experience with Fassa Bortolo. Lance Armstrong made him his successor after the former mountain biker won the Tour de Langkawi in 2003 in a brilliant manner. This became more clear after Armstrong 'the boss' designated Brasstown Bald Mountain stage winner Danielson rather than Floyd Landis, who had moved to Phonak in 2005.

27 year-old Danielson, who started racing with the American teams Mercury and Saturn, hasn't met all expectations yet, but a stage win and a seventh position overall at last year's Tour of Spain show him making some progress upward through the hierarchy of cycling.

After three stages in Paris-Nice, he was in 56th place on the GC, 34 seconds down, but he lost 17 seconds in Limoges. "Alberto Contador and myself were well positioned in the downhill preceding the difficult finish in town, he explained. But a Française des Jeux rider crashed [actually, it was Ag2r's Samuel Dumoulin - ed.] in front of us. We got stacked behind and we could never see the front of the bunch; that's how we missed the split."

Paris-Nice is usually a race where every second counts. This incident might have a serious influence on the final result of the Discovery Channel team at the end. "Personally, I don't know the state of my form really; we'll see in the big hills," Danielson said. "I came in the 2007 season in a very good condition. I did a lot of work for Levi [Leipheimer] at the Tour of California. There are a couple of good stages in Paris-Nice. Levi and Contador are the guys who have the best form and ambitions for GC."

2007 is an important year in Danielson's career. "I'll do the Tour of Georgia, the Tour of Catalunya, and the Dauphiné before my debut in the Tour de France," he announced. The arrival of a new American hero may be like a breath of fresh air at the Tour de France.

Team Milram happy with season so far

Alessandro Petacchi
Photo ©: JF Quenet
(Click for larger image)

Team Milram is happy with the balance the first part of the 2007 season. With six stage wins, a tour victory, ten second places, and two third places, the German-Italian team said it was off to "a perfect start."

After a long break due to injury, top sprinter Alessandro Petacchi seems back on track. After three second places in the Tour of Qatar, he scored his first win since last year. The win came as a relief to Petacchi on his road to recovery and opened the door to further successes. At the upcoming Milan-Sanremo, Petacchi will be joined by teammate, another favourite sprinter, Erik Zabel.

Already in 2007, Petacchi has won a stage at the Gran Premio Costa degli Etruschi, a stage and overall at the Volta ao Algarve, and a stage win in the Valencia Tour. The team takes Petacchi's performances as a good sign. They noted that two years ago, he won Milan-San Remo after winning the same stage of the Valencia.

"So far the season has passed very well for us. I am pleased particularly for Alessandro that he found his way back to his old form," said Team Manager Gianluigi Stanga optimistically,

Italian Mirco Lorenzetto brought the team a final stage win at the Mediterranean Tour, and new acquisition Marcel Sieberg took second at the Belgian Kuurne Brussels Kuurne. "It's nice to see how well our new signings like Marcel Sieberg have slotted into the team," said Stanga.

After a long six-day season, Zabel is taking a slower approach to the beginning of the road season, but Stanga expects he will find his form later in the season.

Kelly comeback targets Olympics #5

Shane Kelly
Photo ©: Gary Newvine
(Click for larger image)

Australian Shane Kelly described plans for his try to make a fifth Olympics in Beijing in 2008. The four-time world champion announced his intentions at the Joe Ciavola Velodrome in Thornbury.

Despite taking seven months off in 2006, Kelly said to Cyclesport Victoria, "I still have the drive and ability to beat the best there is, and I am determined to give it all that I have got." During his time off from competition, Kelly worked as the High Performance Project Manager for Cycling Australia.

"Seeing cycling from that other angle was a real eye opener," said Kelly. "I had always been exposed to it whilst racing, like the strength and conditioning, testing etc, but just to see the work that goes in behind the scenes, it amazing. We have a great system and set up out here." Kelly worked with Australia's talent identification program to find and train developing racers.

Kelly will return to his home and the Australia Institute of Sport in Adelaide where he will begin a serious training program. Look for him at various UCI selection races this summer and during the 2007-08 track season while he turns his focus from the kilo to the team sprint and keirin.

"I have no illusions about making this team without hard work. But that's what drives me, the challenge," said Kelly to Cyclesport Victoria. "It is going to be hard, I mean there are 8 guys or so and only 3 or 4 spots available. The strength in Australian men's sprinting at the moment is unbelievable, I mean with the likes of Perkins, Bayley and French, I know that it will be tough."

Hoy to attempt kilo world record

Cruising to another gold
Photo ©: John Veage
(Click for larger image)

Chris Hoy announced that he will attempt to capture the world kilo record in May in La Paz, Bolivia. The Olympics may have dropped the kilo, but Hoy is still motivated to try for the record during what will be his final kilo.

"You can't really talk about the greatest ever," he said to "With all the changes in equipment and training, it's like comparing apples and oranges. But if, in the modern era, I can retire from the event as Olympic champion, world champion and world record holder ..."

Frenchman Arnaud Tournant set the record in the same location, a velodrome located at 3,417m altitude, where thin air and decreased wind resistance help speed times. Hoy's best time thus far, ridden at Sea Level in Athens at the Olympics, is almost two seconds behind Tournant's 58.875 second record.

Hoy told the that it took him one year to raise the £40,000 to cover the record attempt, but lots of uncertainties remain.

"I've never been to that altitude and I don't know how I'll cope with it until I get there," he said. "Some people respond well, others don't. I competed in Mexico, which is at 2,000 metres, and I was okay. But I saw one guy vomiting blood after competing. It was quite gruesome." While in Bolivia, Hoy will also try for the 200m and 500m records, but not until after his primary attempt - the kilo.

Records fall at New Zealand Track Nationals

National sprint record holder Nathan Seddon (Otago)
Photo ©: BikeNZ
(Click for larger image)

On Wednesday, two more national records were broken by New Zealand riders at the track national championships in Invercargill.

Auckland's Myron Simpson and Canterbury's Natasha Hansen broke the 200m record. Simpson recorded 10.878 seconds for the 200m qualifying event for the Under 19 category. The former record was held for the past five months by Eddie Dawkins with 10.997sec.

Hansen logged a 12.463 second time to set a new record in the women's Under 19 category. She defeated the previous record, which stood for eight years at 12.524 seconds.

Earlier this week, more records were broken by Sam Webster (Under 17 500m TT), Stephanie Mackenzie (Under 15 girls 500m TT), Pieter Bulling (Under 15 boys 500m TT), Fiona Carswell (Elite Women 200m TT sprint qualifying), Nathan Seddon (Elite Men 200m TT sprint qualifying), Lauren Ellis (Junior women's pursuit), Jason Christie (Under 19 Men's pursuit).

The many records are probably a result of a combination of the new, fast velodrome and ever-more-talented racers.

For complete Cyclingnews coverage of New Zealand Track Nationals, click here.

12 teams for Australian Madison Championships

The 2007 Australian Madison Championship will be contested by 12 teams this on Saturday in Melbourne. The winning team will be awarded the Ron Webb trophy, while the top Australian pair will win the national title.

Favourites include Victorian Mitch Docker and West Australian Cameron Meyer, who are looking for a good ride to help secure a berth on the Australian track team at the Track World Championships in Majorca, Spain at the end of the month.

A group of six younger riders will be trying to attract attention to earn a spot on the Junior Worlds squad for the championships in Mexico later this year. The junior teams include Travis Meyer / Leigh Howard, Thomas Palmer / James Langedyk and Jack Bobridge / Glen O'Shea.

Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for complete coverage.

San Dimas warm-up for Redlands

The San Gabriel Mountains will serve as a backdrop to the eighth annual San Dimas Stage race March 16-18. Over 800 cyclists will compete during three days.

Several pro teams have already committed to the race, a warm-up for the Redlands Classic next weekend. National criterium champion Kayle Leogrande and local pro Jeremiah Wiscovitch will lead the Rock Racing of Rock & Republic Clothing team. They will face off against Jittery Joes, Team BMC, the Polish National Polish Team, and Navigators Insurance team. On the women's side, Team Lipton returns as defending champions.

Day one starts off with a 3.8 mile time trial up Glendora Mountain Road. On stage two, the peloton will do a road race anywhere from 72 to 96 miles, depending on the category, around Bonelli Park and up Canon. A criterium on a six-corner course through downtown Old San Dimas will wrap up the stage race.

Anthony going bald

Jesse Anthony, a member of the Kodak Gallery Pro Cycling Team, has volunteered to shave his head to raise awareness and money for pediatric cancer research. The March 17 shaving will be held in conjunction with St. Patrick's Day and supports the St. Baldrick Foundation.

Anthony will take to the barber's chair Saturday in Boulder in between two races on Saturday and a road race on Sunday. A silent auction of a 2007 Kodak Gallery Pro Cycling Team jersey, signed by the team, will be held in conjunction with the shaving.

Auction raises money for MVA track programs

On a cold and rainy Seattle night last weekend, the Marymoor Velodrome Association raised US$20,000 for its track programs. On an evening with conditions about the furthest from the ideal for track racing, supporters gathered to hear nine-time Tour de France finisher Frankie Andreu regale the crowd with tales from his amateur and pro racing days.

The money will go toward children's cycling classes and new rider and women rider development programs. In 2007, MVA will have programs dedicated to sprint competitions, time trials, and rider development in addition to regular Wednesday Night and Friday Night Racing.

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