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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News for November 21, 2007

Edited by Gregor Brown

Astana looks ahead to 2008 and ProTour licence

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

Johan Bruyneel comments on 2007 Astana payments
Photo ©: John Pierce
(Click for larger image)

Incoming Astana General Manager Johan Bruyneel is aware of the financial issues from Team Astana's 2007 season. The Belgian explained to Cyclingnews that he is working with the Kazakh Cycling Federation and International Cycling Union (UCI) to correct matters.

"We are well aware of the payment issues with the Astana team from this season, and are working closely with the Kazakh Cycling Federation and the UCI to resolve these issues," said Bruyneel to Cyclingnews from his Belgian office Wednesday. The former Discovery Channel/US Postal chief was reacting to non-payment claims made by former Astana General Manager Marc Biver in Swiss newspaper Blick.

Bruyneel's company, Johan Bruyneel Sports (JBS), is poised to become the paying agent and administrator of the ProTour licence for the Team Astana in 2008, but Marc Biver's firm, Zeus, still has this responsibility until December 31, 2007. "We [JBS and the Kazakh Cycling Federation] are aware that Zeus has not been fulfilling its financial obligations to riders and team staff since September."

Bruyneel continued by explaining that "as I understand it, the confidence between Kazakh Cycling Federation [KCF] and Zeus is completely gone. At this point, I believe the KCF is looking to fulfil the financial obligations of Zeus directly with the riders and staff, and the UCI is aware of this." In particular, four Swiss riders have complained of unpaid salaries.

One crucial sticking point for the Kazakh Cycling Federation to release any payments to Zeus is a comprehensive financial accounting record of what funds may or may not be owed. Bruyneel explained to Cyclingnews that "I have not been a party to the documents or negotiations, but what I do know is that these financial issues with team riders and staff will be addressed. The KCF has every intention of taking its responsibility."

The Kazakh Cycling Federation will likely pay the team debts not through Biver and his sports marketing firm Zeus, but will work directly with team riders and staff to resolve the situation. The payments should help satisfy the UCI and allow a ProTour licence to be granted for the 2008 formation of Team Astana.

Garzelli plots 2008 season

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Stefano Garzelli after his 2007 Giro stage win in Bergamo
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

2000 Giro d'Italia winner Stefano Garzelli looks forward to the next edition of his home tour and the World Championships, which will be held just steps away from where he was raised. The 34 year-old Acqua & Sapone rider spoke of the 2008 season while he was at his usual winter training home – Valencia, Spain.

"My wife comes from here, and the weather is usually good for training," he said to Cyclingnews of Valencia. The Italian, winner of two spectacular stages in the 2007 Giro, usually trains with brothers Ignacio and José Enrique Gutierrez of Team LPR.

Last Sunday, Garzelli took part in the second edition of the Critérium Ciudad de Murcia alongside other cycling stars such as Alejandro Valverde, Samuel Sánchez, Carlos Barredo and Iñigo Cuesta. Next season, the rider born in Varese will return to fight "for winning in the Giro," as happened eight years prior.

"I have lived my best moments in my cycling career during that three-week tour, in addition, when I race at home my motivation is higher," he continued.

The Giro's route in 2008 is not yet known, but Garzelli predicted that, "it will be as hard as always, with the traditional high mountain and the time trial stages." Last year, Garzelli won two mountain stages (Bergamo and Lienz). His goals are "the same as in 2008, because I will race for one more season." Garzelli's voice and cycling knowledge could land him a job as the next Davide Cassani of television commentating after his season ends.

Garzelli is also very motivated to race in his home town of Varese, at the 2008 World Championships. "I know the route very well, and it is very demanding, sure, because it has two hard climbs – I think it is good for me. I will prepare in depth after disputing the Giro."

He last raced the Tour de France in 2006 with Liquigas, and does not feel the need to return. "Being in the Giro will be enough for me, I will not take part in the Tour de France," he explained.

Landis files appeal with CAS

By Susan Westemeyer

Landis during arbitration hearing
Photo ©: AFP Photo
(Click for larger image)

Floyd Landis has filed his appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), seeking to overturn his two-year suspension on doping charges. In the appeal, his attorneys continued their arguments that "a flawed test" unfairly stripped the USA rider of the 2006 Tour de France title, according to the AP.

Landis fully supports anti-doping efforts, the introduction to the appeal noted, and continued, "However, to wrongly strip a champion of his victory due to a flawed test is much worse than to have an athlete cheat his way to victory. To ensure a fair process and to protect against the travesty of wrongfully convicting a person for an act he or she did not commit, the anti-doping system must strike an adequate balance between the need for accuracy and reliability of laboratory test results and fairness in sports."

Maruice Suh
Photo ©: AFP Photo
(Click for larger image)

While riding for Switzerland-based Team Phonak the rider tested positive for testosterone after stage 17 of the 2006 Tour. The decision upholding the test and banning him was announced in September.

Maruice Suh will continue to legally represent Landis. "We welcome the opportunity to present this case to CAS," Suh noted. "We will prove, once again, that the French laboratory's [Châtenay-Malabry anti-doping laboratory (LNDD) - ed.] work violated numerous rules and proper procedure, rendering its results meaningless and inaccurate. We are optimistic that CAS will agree, and stop the miscarriage of justice that resulted from the earlier arbitration proceeding."

"I don't really have any comment on it," said Travis Tygart, head of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). "It's a right afforded them under the rules, and they've elected to go forward."

Cyclingnews' coverage of the Floyd Landis case

May 29, 2009 - French authorities summon Landis and Baker
September 28, 2008 - Landis takes case to US federal court
September 10, 2008 - Landis signing with current Health Net-Maxxis team for 2009
July 1, 2008 - CAS delivers final blow to Landis legal challenge
June 30, 2008 - Landis loses final appeal
June 28, 2008 - Landis decision due Monday
March 12, 2008 - Landis' judgment day nears
October 21, 2007 - Landis files appeal with CAS
October 18, 2007 - AFLD takes another look at Landis case
Thursday, October 11 - Landis continues fight, appeals to CAS
Saturday, September 22 - UCI officially names Pereiro 2006 Tour champion, Landis case raises issues
Friday, September 21 - Landis' appeal denied, two year suspension levied

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the Floyd Landis case

García considers Grupo Nicolás Mateos-Murcia's goals

By Antonio J. Salmerón

The new Spanish Professional Continental team is a tangible reality in the eyes of public since two of its three sponsorships – Grupo Nicolas Mateos and the Municipality of Murcia – announced their intentions to the media in an impromptu conference, coinciding with the dispute of the second edition of the Critérium Ciudad de Murcia.

"We will have a professional cycling team next season," said Grupo Nicolás Mateos-Murcia Directeur Sportif Ginés García to Cyclingnews. There will be an official presentation "in January" noted García, who was Spanish national selector in 1992.

"We have tried to achieve an adequate balance – riders with a certain degree of experience, marked by their fighting spirit, who will serve as great examples for the young promising riders who constitute our hope for the future." However, García added, "we can win with José Miguel Elías, Julián Sánchez, Manuel Vázquez or Adrián Palomares."

García will count on the younger riders in the beginning of the 2008 season, "because it is when they have greater opportunity of showcasing, in addition, it will give rest to the more experienced riders who are reserved for later."

The team will use the Vuelta a Murcia to make an impression, while keeping in mind the possibility of achieving one of the coveted wildcards from Vuelta a España race organiser, Unipublic. "There is no reason to hide that to take part in the Vuelta a España is our main goal, but it should not become in an obsession because we need to gain experience."

Grupo Nicolás Mateos-Murcia will not only be seen in Spain during 2008. The team will also race "in France, Portugal and Italy," where the media coverage can be greater than in its home country.

New start for the Brabantse Pijl

By Susan Westemeyer

Brabantse Pijl race organisers announced that the Belgian one-day race will start in Leuven for the next five years, moving away from Zaventem, where it had started the last three years. The race will continue to finish in Beersel, near the top of the Alsemberg climb.

Brabantse Pijl, which has been held since 1961, is typically about 200 kilometres long. It will next be held on March 30 in 2008. Oscar Freire of Rabobank has won the race the last three years running, this year ahead of Nick Nuyens.

Orbea-Laukiz F.T. and Euskaltel-Euskadi team camps

By Monika Prell

The riders of Orbea-Laukiz F.T. and Euskaltel-Euskadi will make first contact with their new team-mates in two training sessions in Derio (Bizkaia), Spain.

This meeting is particularly important for Orbea as almost all riders from 2007 have either joined other teams or advanced to the ProTour Euskaltel team; only David Martín Velasco, Iván Melero Coco and Igor Romero Etxebarria renewed their contracts. Newcomers in the team led by Álvaro González de Galdeano are Jonathan Castroviejo, Mikel Nieve, Sergio de Lis, Miguel Minguez, Daniel Sesma, Aitor Olano and Eriz Ruiz de Erentxun.

The Orbea team will meet today in Derio, where they will undergo a medical examination, a lunch for the entire team and a short training run in the afternoon. The professionals of Euskaltel will meet from November 26 to 29 in Derio. This first meeting will serve to coordinate the schedules for the 26 riders of the ProTour formation. Team leader Miguel Madariaga has planned different training sessions, discussions, medial examinations and media encounters.

The 26 riders that will wear the orange jersey in 2008 are Beñat Albizuri, Josu Agirre Aseginolaza, Igor Antón, Lander Aperribai, Javier Aramendia Lorente, Mikel Astarloza, Jorge Azanza, Jon Bru, Koldo Fernández, Aitor Galdos, Dionisio Galparsoro, Aitor Hernández, Markel Irizar, Iñaki Flores, Andoni Lafuente, Iñigo Landaluze, Antton Luengo, Egoi Martínez, Juan José Oroz, Alan Pérez, Rubén Pérez, Samuel Sánchez, Amets Txurruka, Iban Velasco Murillo, Gorka Verdugo and Haimar Zubeldia.

Cycle tours with Van Petegem and Baguet

By Susan Westemeyer

Best friends Serge Baguet and Peter Van Petegem rode together and retired together, and now they will stay together in their "new life" after their cycling careers, according to The two Belgians plan to start a new firm, which will offer cycling trips to individuals and companies, with the emphasis on the Spring Classics. Van Petegem, winner of the 2003 Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders, will serve as a guide on trips through the Flemish Ardennes. In addition, he will provide lodging for cycling tourists in Horebeke, Belgium, at a facility to be run by his wife Angelique.

Valentino Fois returns with Amore & Vita

Italian Valentino Fois is returning to professional cycling following a three-year ban for doping. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the 34 year-old from Bergamo signed for Ivano Fanini's Amore & Vita-McDonald's Italian Continental team.

Fois turned professional in 1996 with Panaria, and was known as a domestic for Marco Pantani. Following his ban in October 2002 by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), he dealt with personal problems including depression, alcohol and drug use.

He will make his racing return this Saturday in Madrid with the support of 1996 Giro d'Italia winner Pavel Tonkov. "He is the one true friend," said Fois. "I want to demonstrate that my motor is still good, to close [out with cycling] without regrets."

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)