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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

Lasest Cycling News for May 9, 2007

Edited by Gregor Brown

Paolo Bettini wears Giro's number 1

World champion Paolo Bettini
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
(Click for larger image)

After the admission of Ivan Basso to involvement in Operación Puerto, last year's winner will not be participating in the upcoming 90th Giro d'Italia. The honour of the number one back-number will instead be given to World and Olympic Champion Paolo Bettini (Quickstep-Innergetic).

The organisers of the Giro d'Italia have invited 22 teams to make up the 198 rider field, but due to the voluntary exclusion of riders who have been named in Operación Puerto, several teams are making last-minute subsitutions.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Caisse d'Epargne issued a statement just three days before the start of the Giro that read, "Constantino Zaballa and Rubén Plaza will not ride the Giro because it was not in their program." In fact, the riders were originally listed on the start list, but pressure from the sport's organizations meant the two riders linked to Eufemiano Fuentes were not welcome in Sardegna.

Zaballa was part of Caisse d'Epargne last year before the Operación Puerto investigation came to the public's attention, while Plaza was signed this last winter. The team's sponsor, a French bank, is said to have also influenced their non-participation.

With their exclusion there will not be one rider from the first list (June 2006) of 58 riders linked to the Spanish investigation. The biggest names missing are Jan Ullrich (retired) and Ivan Basso (soon to be suspended). Michele Scarponi (Acqua & Sapone-Caffč Mokambo) will also stay at home after a voluntary withdrawal, added to yesterday admission that "I am Zapatero."

Two Tinkoff Credit Systems riders are due to have their exclusions confirmed today by team owner Oleg Tinkoff according to La Gazzetta dello Sport . American Tyler Hamilton, who had hoped to make the Giro his biggest race back in 2007, and German Jörg Jaksche both have been allegedly linked to Eufemiano Fuentes.

T-Mobile confirmed that Serguei Gonchar will not take part. The 36 year-old, who spent two days in the maglia rosa in last year's Giro is complaining of tendonitis while his team is stating he has a cold.

In an unusual switch, Wladimir Belli will take part in his 14th Giro d'Italia. Belli rides for the Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Selle Italia squad, which did not earn an invitation to the race. He will instead wear the jersey of Tinkoff Credit Systems after being given the green light by his team manager Gianni Savio. Belli has finished inside the top ten of the overall classification three times, taking sixth in 1997 and seventh in 2000 and 2004.

All riders will undergo UCI sanctioned medical controls Thursday morning.

Giro riders presented

Friday afternoon the 198 riders of the 90th Giro d'Italia will be presented to the public. The riders will line up on the Giuseppe Garibaldi aircraft carrier off the island of Sardegna.

The race will make its way around the island the following three days; a 24 kilometre team time trial on Saturday, 205 kilometres to Bosa on Sunday and 181 kilometres to Cagliari on Monday. Then, after arriving on the mainland, the riders will enjoy their first day of rest before departing from Salerno on Wednesday.

In total there are 21 stages and 3486.2 kilometres before the riders arrive in Milan on June 3.

Scarponi: "I am Zapatero"

Michele Scarponi racing in Coppi e Bartali
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

"Yes, I am Zapatero and Il Presidente," said Italian Michele Scarponi yesterday during a two-hour hearing with Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) anti-doping prosecutor Ettore Torri. The 27 year-old rider had been linked with Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, and yesterday confirmed his code name and other secrets. "They are nicknames that they gave to me," he confirmed, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The ten pages that Scarponi agreed to sign as part of his confession are being kept a secret by Torri and his assistant Franco Cosenza. The reason is speculated to be that the contents have names of other riders not yet known to the public.

"They are afraid to talk," explained Torri. "They are afraid to be cast aside."

Torri explained that he was content with what Scarponi and Ivan Basso revealed. "They recalled the grave mistakes that were made." Scarponi's admission followed two days after Basso agreed to cooperate with CONI's investigation.

"He was able to detail the 'system' of doping and how the riders come into contact with this web of easygoing doctors, teams without scruples and traffickers."

The details given by Scarponi were prepared by his lawyers. He is expected to appear before CONI in the coming days.

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'

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

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Operación Puerto

Hoy preparing for record attempt

Photo ©: AFP Photo
(Click for larger image)

Olympic Champion Chris Hoy has a date with his "first love" May 12 in La Paz, Bolivia -- the Kilometre. He will attempt to break the world record in what will be "my farewell to an event that has shaped my sporting life."

Hoy, who is currently training in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, called the attempt a "once in a lifetime thing." He will have to ride faster that 58.875 seconds to take the record. He has twice ridden the non-altitude kilometre at one minute.

According to, Hoy travelled the end of April to the hypobaric chamber at the UK Sport Centre of Excellence in Bisham Abbey. Things were setup there to replicate the conditions in La Paz. "I spent an hour and 40 minutes in the chamber and did my full competition warm-up drill and, touch wood, felt pretty good. I then came out and did two of my full-on lactic tests which I occasionally endure to see exactly where I am," he told the Telegraph newspaper.

Hoy's father, David, explained, "It's like Chris is a teenager again, and we're loading up the car and setting off on an adventure, not really knowing where we'll stay or how it'll all turn out."

One of the biggest unknown factors is how he react to the altitude. The air in La Paz is said to have only 67% of the oxygen as sea level air, and it is possible that he could lose consciousness. Hoy will have medical support on the scene, including a body bag with its own oxygen supply.

"I wouldn't say I'm scared, but I am apprehensive," Hoy told the newspaper. "There are risks involved, and I am aware of them, but I'll have full medical support. It's going to be grim, I know that, but if you've got the world record, you've got the world record. You can handle a bit of pain then."

Hoy is scheduled to fly to Bolivia on May 11 and go for the record on the next day. If he is successful, he will also try for two other records: the flying 500 metres (25.850"), and the flying 200 metres (9.772").

Zomegnan writes second letter to McQuaid

ACCPI questions riders' participation

Yesterday, Angelo Zomegnan, events director of RCS Sport, sent a second letter to UCI President Pat McQuaid. The head of the Giro d'Italia followed up on his letter of May 4 ("Now it is the turn of the UCI ... to take suitable responsibility and make it known who can race and who can not."), and asked the Irishman for clarification..

Zomegnan still does not possess the official list of riders involved in Operación Puerto. He expressed his concerns that the UCI was not being considerate to the Giro's needs, including the secondary companies that help support the three week tour.

Association of Italian professional riders (ACCPI) also sent a letter to the UCI. Its complaint was that there are some cyclists barred from riding by their federations while riders from other nations continue to ride.

Wiggins buoyed by time trial win

Wiggins in the leader's jersey
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Bradley Wiggins tanked confidence with his win in the opening time trial stage of the 4 Jours de Dunkerque, and hopes to carry it over to the prologue in London of the upcoming Tour de France.

"That gives me perspectives," the happy winner told HLN. "AS a matter of fact, it has been a while since I won in a time trial. Two years to be exact, at the Circuit de Lorraine."

"I hope that the weather in London is better than it was here," he continued. "That was an awful wind."

The Englishman is looking forward to today's stage. "I start with the pink leader's jersey. This race may have lost some of its lustre with the arrival of the ProTour, but it is still a great win."

No boycott for Catalunya anticipated

Ruben Peris, director of the Volta a Catalunya, does not expect teams to boycott his race in response to the Operación Puerto situation, saying he believes that "good sense will rule in the end."

Peris said that have been rumours of boycotts of Spanish races on the ProTour calendar. That kind of action would not contribute anything, he told EFE, "and the only ones it hurts are the organizers."

Currently on the starting list for the race are riders whose names have appeared in connection with Operación Puerto, like Francesco Mancebo and Oscar Sevilla. Peris said that "these athletes are not punished by anybody," and would allow them to appear in the race "because the UCI does not say that they cannot ride."

"La Volta will not veto anyone, because if a judge does not punish them, neither will we," he said. He called for an end to the investigations, "the sooner, the better."

Peris noted that "those who make a mistake must pay for it," but that after they fulfil their ban, the riders should be allowed to return to racing.

Glomser aiming for Tour de Suisse

Gerrit Glomser of Team Volksbank has turned his entire attention this year to the Tour de Suisse, for which his Professional Continental team has received a wild card invitation.

The proposed team for the Tour de Suisse will ride together in several races leading up to the highlight in June, "to optimise our form, harmony and togetherness," according to a team press release.

Glomser plans to ride the Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt from May 16 to 20 and the Bayern Rundfahrt from May 20 to June 5. In between, he and teammate Florian Stalder plan to check out the most important portions of the Tour de Suisse course.

The Austrian especially wants to check out the third stage, with its arrival in Nauders, Austria. "The mountaintop finish is the most important for me. It is no secret that I want to do well in my homeland." He also hopes to use this stage to position himself well in the overall GC. "If I'm not near the front, then it's over. Then I could poker with the following stages."

Glomser is putting the Tour de Suisse ahead of the Österreich Rundfahrt this year. "That is not a goal," he said. "The Rundfahrt is good, but a win in the ProTour brings more internationally. My goal is Switzerland. That's what I'm orienting myself on."

CCCC/SHM team launch

Four-time Olympian and World Champion Shane Kelly will lend his support to the establishment of Australia's first club based elite cycling team. Carnegie Caulfield Cycling Club and SHM Bikes are launching Australia's first club based elite cycling team on Friday, 11 May, 2007.

The CCCC/SHM team is aiming to provide development opportunities for up and coming young riders and try to bridge the gap between individual racing and trade teams.

The establishment of the CCCC/SHM Elite Team is one of two initiatives the club has established to support CycleSport Victoria's 'teamsracing07' Victorian Super Series. CCCC's second initiative to support teams racing is the promotion of the inaugural Degani Café Bakery Phillip Island Cycling Grand Prix (over 111 km), which will be held on Saturday, 12 May 2007. The event will be the CCCC/SHM team's first hit out in its newly-designed jerseys.

The club believes these initiatives help support CCCC's mission statement "to provide safe and enjoyable opportunities for cyclists of any age or ability to participate in competitive cycling, and to provide pathways for members to reach their full potential whether it be enthusiast or world champion."

At the elite end of the spectrum, CCCC riders regularly achieve success representing Australia at the Commonwealth, Olympic and Paralympics Games, and at Junior, Senior and Masters World Cycling Championships. Kelly will be on hand to inspire and motivate the team at the launch.

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