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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for May 10, 2007

Edited by Sue George

Tinkoff suspends Hamilton and Jaksche

Tyler Hamilton
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Team Tinkoff Credit Systems stated in a press release Wednesday that it would not only pull Jorg Jaksche and Tyler Hamilton from participation in the Giro d'Italia "due to the new circumstances and decisions made public in the last few days," but that it would also suspend the duo from the team in light of recent developments.

The team said the "decision is also aiming at relieving pressure created around the Giro, that will start Saturday, and on the team itself after the statements made by all the other teams" to not allow the start of any riders implicated in Operación Puerto.

Hamilton and Jaksche's suspension period is indefinite. It will remain in effect until "the competent authorities will have finally sorted out all the implication of the riders in Operación Puerto." Operación Puerto broke nearly a year ago, yet most implicated riders are still facing an uncertain fate.

The names of both have appeared on the list of riders who have allegedly had contact with Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, the man in the centre of an ongoing blood doping case.

Jaksche (Astana-Würth) had to leave the Tour
Photo ©: AFP
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Hamilton was hoping to use the Giro as a major comeback race. The winner of the 2004 Olympic time trial served a two-year suspension for blood doping prior to returning early in 2007 to competition.

The team said it is supporting the decisions of UCI President Pat McQuaid and Giro d'Italia race organizers to fight doping by suspending Hamilton and Jaksche as well as Danilo Hondo.

Hamilton and Jaksche join a list of other riders pulled from the Giro including Ivan Basso, Michele Scarponi, Constantino Zaballa, and Ruben Plaza. Basso has confessed to "attempted doping," and Scarponi has signed a confession with CONI.

Director of the Giro d'Italia Angelo Zomegnan has asked the UCI to provide a list of suspects in Operación Puerto and also requested that none of them compete in the Giro.

According to the AFP, Rome prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into doping in cycling. They have requested files for the Basso and Scarponi cases.

Vuelta a España organizers lament slow progress in Operación Puerto

The Vuelta a España organizers are frustrated with the relative lack of progress in the Operación Puerto case in Spain according to Reuters. They noted the contrast with how other countries are taking more expedient action against the implicated cyclists.

In March, the Spanish government shelved the OP case without bringing charges to any implicated Spanish cyclists. The judge ruled there was not enough evidence to press charges for endangering public health. Since doping itself was not punishable under Spanish law at the time the case broke last summer, the judicial system focused instead on doping providers. However, Spanish prosecutors have applied for a re-opening of the case.

Ignacio Ayuso, director general Unipublic, the organizers of the Vuelta, has asked more cyclists to follow Basso's example and come forward admitting their Operación Puerto involvement.

"We need more brave cyclists who will collaborate with the justice system," Ayuso said to Reuters. "To move things forward we need them to testify and to answer a simple question: 'Is it your blood in the bags found by Spain's Civil Guard?' If they deny it the prosecutor should ask that they back their statement by comparing some of their blood with that held in the bags."

Tour of Spain director Victor Cordero explained that implicated cyclists are facing more pressure in countries other than Spain. "Jan Ullrich has retired. Ivan Basso will complete at least a one-year ban... Outside Spain they feel more threatened," Cordero said to Spanish paper AS. "They look here, where it all originated, and the cyclists continue to race protected by the presumption of innocence. It is very difficult to explain that nothing is happening here."

But outside of their home country, Spanish cyclists may face charges elsewhere. "You can't rule out that some day in France, or in other places, they will bring charges against Spanish cyclists implicated in Puerto, for taking part in races in these different countries," said Cordero.

Although there may be no formal judicial resolution regarding implicated Spanish cyclists in time for the Vuelta in September, Ayuso said that the race will apply the ProTour ethical code to its race which means invited teams will not be allowed to enter any cyclists implicated in Operación Puerto.

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

Montreal-Boston race postponed to 2008

Following in the footsteps of many other races on the UCI America calendar, the much-touted Montreal-Boston race has been postponed until 2008. However, unlike many of the other races that have postponed due to sponsorship issues, race director Daniel Manibal said the reasons are logistical. "We had the option to do less and still go forward still, but we decided to make a great bike race instead of just a good bike race," he told Cyclingnews.

In a statement, the organisers were more specific. "The reason for the postponement is that the logistical complexity of an event of this scale, which demands close coordination between six different jurisdictions – Canada, Quebec, the United States, and three American states (Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts), was too great for such a short time period."

"Everyone was out of breath for the short amount of time we were asking to put this together," said Manibal. "But once you get over the initial disappointment you can see the scope of this and how good it can be."

Check back with Cyclingnews for a full interview with Daniel Manibal.

Savoldelli to lead Astana in Giro

Paolo Savoldelli (Astana) of Italy
Photo ©: AFP
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Italian Paolo Savoldelli is going into the Giro d'Italia with high hopes. Following a successful Tour of Romandie, Savoldelli is looking forward to another chance at victory in the Giro, which he won in 2002 and 2005.

Fellow Italian Eddy Mazzoleni will support Savoldelli. Mazzoleni, who also showed strong form throughout Romandie, finished tenth in the Giro in 2003. The two Italians will be backed by five Kazakh racers, including Serguei Yakovlev, who finished third in stage ten last year.

The team will race under the direction of managers Mario Kummer, Giovanni Fidanza and Adriano Baffi.

Astana for Giro d'Italia: Assan Bazayev, Maxim Gourov, Benoît Joachim, Eddy Mazzoleni, Andrey Mizourov, Steve Morabito, Dimitri Muravyev, Paolo Savoldelli, and Serguei Yakovlev.

BMC opens European campaign

The BMC Professional Racing Team began racing in Europe Wednesday in the first stage of the Giro del Friuli Venezia Giulia. The all American team included neo-pro Scott Nydam, who recently finished sixth in the Tour of Georgia GC, Jonathon Garcia, Ian MckIssick, Ken Hanson, and Jackson Stewart. All but Stewart are new to racing in Europe.

Team Director Gavin Chilcott, said optimistically, "Today's first stage was a good sign for the future. Scott Nydam and Jonathon Garcia rode in the breakaway of 18 that gained about a minute on the main field. The team rode with exceptional confidence and class in their European debut."

In the car assisting Chilcott in the five-day Italian stage race is special guest John Lelangue. "It's a real pleasure working with John. He will be especially helpful tomorrow as we embark on the team's first ever team time trial. His experience in this unique event will be invaluable," said Chilcott.

Biondi to resume post following court ruling

Laurent Biondi will resume his post as AG2R team director. Wednesday, he was released by the Court of Appeal from involvement in the Pot Belge Affair, a doping product trafficking scheme that allegedly had those involved distributing amphetamines to riders and their entourage.

Biondi had always denied his involvement in the affair, but he was awaiting a formal decision on a three month prison sentence, initially under deferment. According to AFP, his case "was suspended while waiting for the final decision."

Twenty-three ex-professional riders, team staff and doctors were implicated in the affair, with many receiving fines and prison terms (often suspended) as punishment. The doping case commenced in early 2004 when a drug trafficking ring of pot belge (a mix of cocaine, caffeine, pain killers, sometimes amphetamine and heroin) between France and Belgium was uncovered. The business related to importation from January 2002 to January 2005.

Colavita/Sutter celebrates podium-filled week

Overall points leader Tina Pic
Photo ©: J. Lamont Brown
(Click for larger image)

Between April 26 and May 6, the Colavita/Sutter Home Cycling Team presented by Cooking Light captured five race wins, 10 podium appearances, and over 30 top 10 finishes.

Tina Pic became the overall winner of the USA Criterium Southeast Series after she placed first or second in more than half of the eight criteriums that took place in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina.

In the men's races, Luca Damiani stepped onto the podium in the Sunny King Criterium in third place, and both he and Italian compatriot Davide Frattini finished in the top 10 for the crit series on general classification.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the US, Dotsie Bausch conquered New Mexico's Tour of the Gila with a third place overall finish, capping five days of extraordinary racing that included a win in Stage 3 and second and third place finishes in the first two stages. Anthony Colby also finished strong in the men's Tour of the Gila, with a podium-worthy second place finish in the grueling final stage and sixth place on general classification.

Thanks to recent strong performances, five team members have been named to represent their home countries at the upcoming Pan American Championships in Venezuela. Pic, Bausch, and Powers will represent the US, while Wynter-Parks will race for Jamaica and Charles Dionne will compete for Canada.

Isasi surgery successful

Euskaltel-Euskadi rider Iñaki Isasi underwent a successful operation in Bilbao to repair his collarbone, which he fractured during the final stage of the Vuelta a Asturias. Isasi got a new plate on his left clavicle, the same one which was fractured earlier this season in a crash in the first stage of the Vuelta a Murcia.

Isasi will remain in the hospital until Saturday morning, and if his recovery goes according to plan, he will resume training on the rollers in seven to eight days and then return to the road in about 15 days.

Dekker suffers hip problems

Thomas Dekker (Rabobank)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Thomas Dekker won the Tour de Romandie despite a hip problem, which sent him to the hospital this week.

Examinations showed the irritation was caused by a length difference in his legs. "I know having supports in my shoes that will stabilize my hip," said the 22-year-old Rabobank rider.

Montana recovering after accident

Columbian rider Freddy Montana of the Boyaca Es Para Vivila - Marche Team was hit by a car last weekend while training on the road in Italy. His team was there training as preparation for several upcoming European races.

The 24 year-old Montana was unconscious for more than 48 hours with severe head trauma, but is seeing improvement. Montana awoke on his own Wednesday morning and was able to communicate well enough to complain of a headache.

He was ranked 28th in the UCI America Tour as of May 1.

No Ullrich for Volksbank?

Ullrich announces retirement
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
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Team Volksbank isn't quite ready to say that its highly-publicized cooperation with Jan Ullrich isn't going to happen, but the German's chances don't look too good.

Team manager Thomas Kofler wouldn't confirm Ullrich's resignation as advisor, telling the dpa that "We have laid the matter on ice, until it is clear how the case will go." He made clear, however, that Ullrich would not be with the team at the Tour de Suisse and the Deutschland Tour.

In order to receive the wildcard invitation to the Deutschland Tour, the Austrian Professional Continental team had to sign the Ethic Code, which, among other things, forbids the teams from working with persons under suspicion of doping.

Van Huffel with back problems

Wim Van Huffel will start the Giro d'Italia Saturday, but isn't sure whether he will finish it or not. The Predictor-Lotto rider is having back problems.

He had the back scanned on Tuesday, and told Het Nieuwsblad, "I didn't understand all of it, but it could possibly the start of a hernia. I can put my shoes on only with difficulty, and had to stop training early."

Nevertheless, he has set off for Sardinia for the start of the Giro. "I hope that a couple of days rest will do me good. But if it gets worse, then I won't have any choice but to drop out."

Van Huffel finished 17th in the Giro in 2006 and 11th 2005.

Tour of Britain 2007 stage 3 unveiled

Organizers of the Tour of Britain announced Stage 3 of the 2007 edition of the race. Running from Worcester to Wolverhampton on Wednesday, September 12, stage 3 is expected to be one of the toughest stages of this year's tour.

Races will tackle three King of the Mountain climbs at Malvern, Ridgeway Cross, Ankerdine Hill. They'll also pass through Three Counties Showground and Ironbridge Gorge. After many undulations, the race will approach Wolverhampton from the direction of Bridgnorth. The last three miles of the race will see the riders heading in from Compton, rising up past Wolverhampton Grammar school before turning onto the finishing straight, the ring road between Penn Road island and Chapel Ash. With several climbs this finale could provide a springboard to victory for anyone with the energy to launch an attack at the end of this gruelling stage.

Wolverhampton previously hosted a stage start in 2006, and Councillor Peter Bilson welcomed the race back. "It is fantastic that Wolverhampton has again been given the opportunity to host this major National sporting event. It is thanks to the people of Wolverhampton, who gave the sport such a warm welcome last year, that organisers have invited the City to host this event for the second year running".

"2007 will be the third consecutive year that the Tour of Britain has visited the West Midlands region and this route is the most ambitious to date," said Paul Rowlands from the Tour of Britain.

Fantasy Giro game starts soon!

(Click for larger image)

Register your teams now!

There are only days to go until the Giro game kicks off this Saturday, May 12 with the 24km team time trial from Caprera to La Maddalena. We've updated the start list with the latest riders in this year's Giro. You can play for free for the first five stages!

Try the game out and see how best to play. It's easy to play the Grande Tour games - all you need to do is pick your dream team of 15 from the riders racing in this year's Giro 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. It's a great way to follow the Giro.

Shimano join the prizes

In addition to the Grand Prize, the fantastic Wilier Triestina Izoard Lampre-Fondital team replica bicycle worth US$4,750, there are 39 other prizes on offer this year. A pair of Shimano Dura Ace WH-7801-SL Wheels worth US$980 could be yours if you are one of the three lucky "second runners-up" winners this year.

Dura-Ace WH-7801-SL scandium wheelsets
Photo ©:
(Click for larger image)

Dura-Ace WH-7801-SL Wheelset SS, with low road and wind resistance, have been driving the development of Shimano wheel technology for many years. The WH-7801-SL scandium wheelset combined with the new tubeless tires reach new levels of performance on all counts: speed, traction, cornering, climbing. These performance goals are straightforward: to win races and provide more riders with a professional-level cycling experience.

The new 24mm aero rim profile is combined with a wider flange, offset rear spoke placement, aluminum axles and reduced butted and bladed spoke count to achieve an ultimate balance between weight, rigidity and aerodynamics. The wheels accelerate faster. Because of the compliant - rather than high strung - design, they roll faster with less road resistance under a wider range of pavement conditions than any other wheel system. Speed, remarkable comfort, and freedom from cross winds are what riders will notice first about the wheels. Then they'll notice how well they corner and climb.

Wilier Triestina Izoard Lampre-Fondital team replica bicycle
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)

Full prize roster

- Grande Prize Wilier Triestina Izoard Lampre-Fondital team replica bicycle
- Daily Stage Winner prizes of Tifosi Optics "Forza" featuring High Speed Red Fototec lenses
- Zipp SL handlebars, 145 Stem, 300 Crankset and 185 Bottom Bracket
- Dura-Ace WH-7801-SL Wheelset The WH-7801-SL scandium wheelsets
- Saris Bones Rack
- HED handlebars
- Giro Atmos helmets
- Cheetah Bars for optimum performance

There's plenty time to join in the fun at this year's Fantasy Giro game at Cyclingnews. You can join until stage 6 begins on Friday May 18 and you can compete equally with players that have joined earlier in the tour.

To register your teams for the game go to

Good luck!

The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team

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