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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for October 10, 2007

Edited by Greg Johnson & Paul Verkuylen

Pereiro to receive Tour yellow on Monday

Caisse d'Epargne's Oscar Pereiro
Photo ©: AFP Photo
(Click for larger image)

An official ceremony has been announced for Monday at which Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne) will be formally awarded the 2006 Tour de France yellow jersey. The symbolic ceremony, which will be used to officially install the Spaniard as the event's winner, will be held in the presence of Tour director Christian Prudhomme, Amaury Sports Organisation president Patrice Clerc and Spanish Minister of Sport Jamie Lissavetzky.

The ceremony comes after Floyd Landis (Phonak) failed to have his sanction overturned at a arbitration hearing in the United States following a non-negative test during the 2006 Tour. UCI president Pat McQuaid was quick to set the record straight following the guilty verdict, telling Cyclingnews: "We can confirm that Pereiro will be the winner of the 2006 Tour de France, and that Floyd Landis will get a two year ban."

For Pereiro the ceremony, which will be held at 6 PM at the Upper Counsel of Sports in Madrid, will likely be bitter sweet. While Pereiro will be declared the winner of cycling's grandest race, the Spaniard has endured more than 12 months of speculation and questioning by the media over the topic. Additionally Pereiro has been robbed of the opportunity to ride down the Champs-Élysées in the yellow jersey as the event's rightful winner.

This is something that has grated on Pereiro, however he says he's now focused on the future rather than dwelling on the past. "I never say that I'm the winner of the 2006 Tour de France," Pereiro told Cyclingnews during this year's Tour. "I can't make a photo with the yellow jersey. My sponsors can't use me as the winner for promotion. This debate has lasted too long already.

"It's been almost a year now," continued Pereiro. "If one day the UCI decides to give me the win, okay, I'll be happy to take it but I will never be able to ride up and down the Champs-Élysées with the yellow jersey. For a while, it has bothered me a lot, but now I don't focus on the procedures and the if or maybe…"

Landis' non-negative test came after his seemingly superhuman comeback in Stage 17 of the 2006 Tour. Three days after the Tour finished the news of a presumptive positive by Landis was leaked to the media. Faced with the prematurely leaked information before he could even wrap his own head around the situation, Landis fired off a variety of possible explanations.

The findings indicated that Landis' testosterone ratio was well above the acceptable limit, which prompted the testing lab to look for exogenous testosterone. The French LNDD lab (Laboratoire de Chatenay-Malabry) found synthetic testosterone in Landis' samples.

WADA adds weight to Petacchi case

Alessandro Petacchi leaves the Olympic stadium
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) officials are expected to meet with their counterparts at the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) and Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after the world doping body joined the call for Alessandro Petacchi (Team Milram) to be banned and the Italian Cycling Federation's decision overturned, following the rider's non-negative during the Giro d'Italia. The three organisations will meet to discuss the case, with CONI considering combining both WADA and CONI's submission "considering the substantial uniformity" of their positions, a statement on CONI's website reported.

"[CAS] proposed to reunite the two arbitration procedures in consideration of the substantial uniformity of position of CONI and WADA," read the statement. "The Anti-dope Attorney's office express [a] favourable opinion."

Petacchi went before the Italian federation's disciplinary commission in July, where he was cleared of any wrongdoing after testing non-negative for Salbutamol on the Grio's Stage 11. The Italian rider has a special provision from the UCI to register a certain amount of the drug, which is found in asthma medication Ventolin.

Just two days after Petacchi was cleared CONI attorney Ettore Torri announced the organisation would appeal the FCI's decision. The federation declared itself unable to hear the appeal on August 11, passing the case on to CAS.

Kolobnev conquers white roads

Alexandr Kolobnev (Team CSC)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Alexandr Kolobnev (Team CSC) conquered the inaugural Monte Paschi Eroica yesterday, a 180-kilometre race composed of le strade bianche (white gravel roads) around Siena, Italy. The 26 year-old, who claimed silver at the UCI World Road Championships last month, completed the last 40 kilometres solo. Second was taken by Kolobnev's Swedish team-mate, Marcus Ljungqvist, and third by Ukrainian Mikhaylo Khalilov (Ceramica Flaminia).

"It was a very particular race," said Kolobnev after the finish. "At the beginning of the day I did not think I could do something for the finale."

The race swung Kolobnev's way when he made an escape of 11 men at kilometre 74. "It was good to be at the front in this race. I had made the selection and then my solo move. Plus, having Marcus behind gave me confidence." His team-mate attacked upon reaching the city limits of Siena, the city famous for its bi-annual horse races, Palio di Siena.

The Russian enjoyed the landscape of the new race, despite the difficult conditions it provided. "It is a great zone, with olive trees," he noted. "Unfortunately, I could not see but 30 metres in front of me because of the dust."

Another Italian who enjoyed the race's scenery was Quick.Step-Innergetic's Paolo Bettini, who beat Kolobnev for the World Championship title in Stuttgart, Germany. While he didn't contest the event Bettini enjoyed his rare chance to be a spectator, rather than a competitor. "It was a spectacular race to watch with all the dust," noted the dual world champion.

Manuele Mori (Saunier Duval-Prodir) was the first Italian to cross the finish line in fourth while two-time Giro d'Italia winner Gilberto Simoni, who rode the cyclo-tourist version on Sunday, finished 10th. Noted Classics riders Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) and Alessandro Ballan (Lampre-Fondital) finished with the main group.

Belgian continental teams drop for 2008

Next year will see fewer European Continental outfits registered in Belgium. Eight teams including Sunweb ProJob, Fidea, Davitamon-Win for life and Bodysol have applied for a continental licence for the 2008 season, down from 14 applicants for 2007. The applications are yet to be approved by the UCI according to

This season saw no less than 14 continental teams registered in Belgium. Jartazi is strengthening its lineup for 2008, with riders like Jens Mouris (DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed) and Hans Dekker (Agritubel), while others have had to take a step back due to the more stringent licence policies put in place for the 2008 season.

Some outfits, like Palmans-Collstrop, are still unsure what the future holds.

Southland route unveiled

PowerNet Tour of Southland organisers are hoping this year's event will attract a capacity field of 130 competitors, with the looming 2008 Beijing Olympic Games expected to increase demand locally. The quality of the field will boosted with the Oceania Road and Track Championships being held in Invercargill just days after Southland's final stage.

The event's manager, Bruce Ross, recently announced the route for this year's November 5 - 10 race, revealing that three American teams, plus a squad from Ireland and New Caledonia have indicated their interest in contesting the event. With entries closing in mid-October organisers are expecting a host of Australian and New Zealand riders to again contest the nine stage event that covers over 900 kilometres of New Zealand's Southland province.

The Tour of Southland's route for 2007 remains nearly identical to that of last year. The nine stage event will again kick off with a short Individual Time Trial in Queens Park and make its way through the Tuatapere, Winton and Lumsden areas before returning to finish in Invercargill.

While last year's PowerNet Tour of Southland was supposed to see the event celebrate its 50th anniversary, the race was overshadowed by a crash on the penultimate stage that saw Australia's Paul Crake undergo emergency spinal surgery. Crake was one of five cyclists blown off the road by a powerful wind gust as they headed into the final two kilometres of the 79 kilometre eighth stage from Te Anau to Lumsden.

The former stair climbing champion underwent an operation to stabilise his cervical vertebrae and to pin and secure the T5 and T6 vertebrae. The accident left Crake paralysed, with the doctor who performed surgery on him saying he'll never walk again, however the five-time Empire State Building stairs race winner has vowed to get back on his feet. "But I believe I can walk again, I will walk again," Crake told "I don't know when. I'm doing everything I can. Statistically I've been given a small chance. But I only need 1 or 2 per cent."

Tragedy again hit when the biggest revelation of the 2006 edition, 19 year-old Scott Peoples, lost his life after being struck by a Nissan Patrol four wheel drive while training at home in Shepparton, Australia just weeks after the event. The emerging young cyclist had claimed two stage victories in the 2006 race, putting his name up with the likes of fellow stage winners Greg Henderson (T-Mobile) and former Discovery Channel rider Hayden Roulston, and was on the verge of signing a professional contract at the time of the road accident.

Course summary:
Stage 1: Queens Park (ITT) 4.15 km
Stage 2: Feldwick Gates - Bluff Hill 81.63 km
Stage 3: Invercargill - Gore 165 km
Stage 4: Invercargill - Tuatapere 101 km
Stage 5: Tuatapere - Winton 88.30 km
Stage 6: Lumsden - Crown Range 133.85 km
Stage 7: Winton - Te Anau 163.6 km
Stage 8: Te Anau - Lumsden 79 km
Stage 9: Winton - Invercargill 64.4 km

Jayco-Australian squad announce Sun Tour lineup

Australia's only Paris-Roubaix winner Stuart O'Grady (Team CSC) and Discovery Channel's Trent Lowe will lead the Jayco Australian National Team at the 2007 Jayco Herald Sun Tour. While O'Grady is the more experienced of the duo, it will be 23 year-old Lowe wearing the number one for the squad.

Lowe, who spent his second professional season with Discovery Channel this season, is relishing the opportunity of riding alongside one of Australia's best riders. "There's nothing Stuey hasn't done, so I'm looking forward to having a beer with him at night and listening to his experiences," said Lowe who has just returned home to Melbourne after a stint in Europe. "You learn a lot from guys like him."

The 2007 Jayco Herald Sun Tour begins in Bendigo this Sunday with the Jayco Herald Sun Classic, and concludes at the Kings Domain in Melbourne on Sunday 21 October.

Lowe, a former world junior mountain bike champion, said this year's Sun Tour route should suit him. The youngster hopes he will be able to contend for the overall victory with the assistance of a strong team. "You always have to be careful over the first few stages," noted Lowe. "Last year there was a big breakaway on the second stage which blew the race apart."

"The climb to Falls Creek should suit me and I don't mind the time trial so the course sets up pretty well," he added.

Lowe has the full support of Jayco Australian team manager Dave Sanders. "He's good," Sanders told the Herald Sun. "He can climb and he can Time Trial and you don't get picked up by the likes of Discovery unless they see something a bit special.

"He's a quiet achiever, an unheralded champion in the making," Sanders added.

It will be O'Grady's first race in three months following his heavy fall on a descent during Stage 8 of this year's Tour de France. The 34 year-old fractured eight ribs, a broken shoulder, collarbone, three vertebrae, a punctured lung and a resultant blood clot on the brain in the accident that ended his Tour and threatened his career.

In addition to O'Grady, Lowe will have the support of team-mates Nick Gates, last year's runner-up Chris Jongewaard, last year's Nagambie stage winner Trent Wilson, and youngster's Joel Pearson and Patrick Shaw.

Sun Tour gears up with Excelior Cyclismo

In the tradition of Italy's Gran Fondo, Jayco Herald Sun Tour organiser TL Sports will be running a mass participation event called Excelior Cyclismo on Saturday, October 13 as part of the opening weekend of tour and the Bendigo on Wheels festival.

The 'fondo' is an opportunity for cycling fans to ride with the stars. Members from the professional teams contesting the tour will join enthusiasts to ride some of the roads from Stage 1 of Australia's oldest road cycling stage race. The event is ridden on the exact circuit that ride patron and Sydney Olympic gold medallist Scott McGrory used in the lead up to the 2000 Olympic Games.

The event starts and finishes in Bendigo, in central Victoria, which holds a weekend cycling festival packaged around the Tour. The weekend will also include Heritage Uncorked, a wine festival showcasing Bendigo's local wine, restaurants and gold rush architecture.

Riders can choose between two routes on offer. A challenging 134.2 kilometres ride through the scenic rolling hills of the goldfields district surrounding Bendigo and Castlemaine. The route passes through the historic towns of Maldon, Newstead and Chewton before tackling the two King of the Mountain climbs featured during the first stage. The second option is a less demanding but equally scenic course over 83.5 km from Bendigo to Maldon before heading across to Ravenswood South and on to Harcourt North. The route then re-joins the longer course to wind its way back into Bendigo via Sedgwick.

Aid stations, first aid and technical support will be provided for all participants and each rider will receive a commemorative musette on the day. Following the ride the official team's presentation will take place in the heart of Bendigo's arts precinct at The Capital - Bendigo's Performing Arts Centre.

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