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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for September 7, 2007

Edited by Bjorn Haake

Redondo's manager denies contract cancellation

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Jose Redondo (Astana)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

The Spaniard José Antonio Redondo declared through his manager that "Redondo has not been dismissed from Astana. On Wednesday, September 5, he received a letter from Astana's team manager Marc Biver in which it was communicated to him that his contract was broken 'due to the rider not being present at the training camp before the Vuelta,' but Redondo had permission from his directors to not go there [to the training camp]."

Buenache added that, "all of that has generated confusion, so that we want to explain that Redondo spoke with his team directors in order to know if it was really necessary to travel from Spain to Switzerland to train facing the Vuelta. His team directors gave him permission [to stay in Spain]," Buenache insisted.

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"We have called the Astana cycling team office, and they said to us that Biver did not work [today], so that the team directors told us that there is no problem with Redondo, because he had a permission. Conclusion? Then Jose Antonio Redondo continues being an Astana rider."

Bernucci speaks out on dismissal

By Gregor Brown

Lorenzo Bernucci has spoken out about his dismissal by T-Mobile this last Tuesday, September 4. The Germany-based team immediately released the 27 year-old Italian after being informed that he tested positive in the Deutschland Tour for using Sibutramine, an appetite suppressant. He was also forced to leave the Vuelta a España after being informed of the positive test.

"I made two errors," he noted to La Gazzetta dello Sport in his first interview since being released. "I took Ectiva, that contains Sibutramine, from 2004 [on]. I did not know that from 2006 the substance was inserted in WADA's [World Anti-Doping Agency] doping list, and that was the first mistake. At the first team meeting this year, in Mallorca, I notified Stephan Prettin that I was using this product. However, the medical staff changed and I did not communicate anything to the new medical team. My second negligence."

Bernucci, from La Spezia (Liguria), resides in Monaco and carries a racing license from the principality. He would buy the drug in his home country.

"Not from the black market," explained Bernucci when asked how he obtained the drug. "I have a prescription for it, and usually I would buy it, with a receipt, at the pharmacy in Ventimiglia [Liguria, Italy, on the French border - ed.] Why use a drug that suppresses hunger when I could have simply paid attention to my diet? It helped my psychologically; I took it when I knew that I had an excessive desire for food."

The rider, defended by lawyer Federico Cecconi, will be heard by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) anti-doping prosecutors because his case concerns Italy. He has competed for the Italian national teams in the past, taking part in the 2005 World Championship as part of the Squadra Azzurra.

"I heard about the dismissal on T-Mobile's website. However, I have faith because I did not try to utilize a drug to enhance my performance."

Valverde to sue UCI

By Hedwig Kröner

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) wins
Photo ©: Freddy Guérin
(Click for larger image)

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) plans to sue the UCI for the bias caused by the publication of his missed out-of-competition control at his home in Murcia on June 23, according to L'Equipe. At the time, the Spanish rider was in Holland for the next day's Eindhoven team time trial, and had advised the UCI of the change of his racing schedule in mid-June.

Unfortunately, Valverde noted his participation in the ProTour event, where he was even subject to a regular doping test, on the Q3 form, normally used for the third trimester of the season (July, August, September), which was the cause of the confusion. The doping inspectors still relied on the Q2 form (April, May, June), which had been sent to the UCI at the end of March, and outlined the rider's whereabouts had he not been forced to abandon at the Dauphiné and amend his programme.

Still, the Spanish federation had to report the missed test to the governing body of the sport under UCI rules. Valverde, who has also been linked to Operación Puerto, feels "persecuted" and has made known his intention to engage a lawsuit.

Boonen getting better

Tom Boonen's fourth place finish in yesterday's Vuelta a España sixth stage was his best sprint finish in the race so far, and the ambitious sprinter was satisfied with his placing.

"It was a messy sprint because of the wind," he told the Belgian website Sportwereld. "Three teams were working but were all blown away. It was impossible to control things. I chose the wheel of Allan Davis, but they came from all sides. And when a few 'kamikaze riders' came up, it was all over. It went too fast, and I couldn't do anything. However, I am very satisfied with my last 50 metres."

Race director Victor Cordero has picked the Quick.Step-Innergetic rider to win today, though. The race "goes right by the headquarters of the firm Innergetic," he noted yesterday evening.

Nuyens doubtful for Worlds

The most painful way to end a bike race
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

The crash that took Nick Nuyens out of the Eneco Tour while he was wearing the leader's jersey may have ended his season, including any chance of riding in the World Championships, where he was to be one of the Belgian team captains. He will decide next week as to whether he will try to race again this year or not.

"I rode an hour today, but it did not go well," he told the Belgian website Sporza. The crash in the Eneco Tour left him with a crack in his right elbow and back pains. "They said it would heal within six weeks, but of course I don't have that much time, if I want to ride in the Worlds." Nuyens has ridden at home on the roller but admitted "that is not ideal."

"Some days I have hopes, because it seems to be going better," he was cautiously optimistic, but also noted that he was going to have his back scanned.

Brother's advertising pays off

When Vladimir Efimkin won the fourth stage of the Vuelta a couple of days ago, he declared that his twin brother Alexander was even more talented than he and expressed his astonishment that his brother was going to be without a team in 2008. This was enough advertising to get him in contact with Spanish outfit Karpin Galicia, according to The young Russian talent, currently riding for Barloworld, has received an offer by Karpin Galicia Team Manager Alvaro Pino.

McDonald 11 points clear at eve of Timbercorp series conclusion

By Rod Morris

Peter McDonald (NSWIS/FRF)
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

Peter McDonald, winner of the recent Fishers IGA Tour of the Murray River, will carry an 11-point lead into the final leg of the Timbercorp Cup National Cycling Series with him next month. The 35-race series will be concluded with the 11-stage Tour of Tasmania from October 2-7 where McDonald can expect some hot challenges to come from his nearest rivals, Grant Irwin (Qld) and Patrick Shaw (Vic). McDonald won the 13-stage Tour of the Murray River in grand style, claiming two stages, the Moama to Barham road race and the Loxton Criterium.

Earlier in the series he won the criterium in the Australian Grand Prix at Ballarat. The Timbercorp Cup replaces the Tattersall's Cup, which originated in 1996 and has been the stepping stone for many young Australian cyclists on to the world stage. The first ten riders in each stage are awarded a sliding scale of points, while the leading 15 riders in each tour can also take bonus points. Cyclists are offered start and finishing points to further boost their tallies.

Defending champion of the Timbercorp Cup is Tasmania's Wesley Sulzberger, who recently finished fourth in the Tour of Ireland, and he is now preparing for the Tour of Britain. This week he was named into the Australian Under 23 team for the World Championships in Germany. McDonald has amassed 171 points from the 24 completed races of this year's Timbercorp Cup and is only marginally ahead of Irwin, who has won four races, including the Bairnsdale Criterium, which was the last stage of the Tour of Gippsland and three stages of the Tour of the Murray River, the Kerang Criterium, Kerang to Cohuna road race and the Merbein Criterium.

Irwin also finished second to McDonald in the general classification in the Murray River tour. Third on the points tally – with 140 - is Victorian Patrick Shaw, but as yet he has not been on the podium. Instead he has consistently been in the top ten with a best effort of fourth in the Bairnsdale Criterium.

The six-day Tour of Tasmania will be unlike the Murray River tour which was suited to sprinters. Instead, it will be the hill climbers that should emerge. Mountainous road stages, particularly on the State's North-West Coast will test the very best climbers. The Tour of Tasmania will start in Devonport on October 2 with a 21-kilometre criterium and conclude in Launceston on October 7 with a 34-kilometre street race criterium around the Brickfields Reserve.

Timbercorp Cup leaderboard (after Tour of the Murray River) – 1 Peter McDonald (NSW), 171 points 2 Grant Irwin (Qld), 160 3 Patrick Shaw (Vic), 140 4 Nicholas Sanderson (Vic), 79 5 Zakkari Dempster (Vic), 71 6 Ben Mather (Tas), 70 7 Chris Jory (NSW), 68 8 Robbie Cater (NSW), 65 9 Leigh Howard (Vic), 65 10 Cameron Hughes (Qld), 62

Slipstream and others to visit local schools ahead of Univest GP

Team Slipstream will head to the Univest Cycling Grand Prix on Saturday, September 8, with a strong team, featuring Danny Pate and Tim Duggan, who came in second and third in the recent 32.4-kilometre US Pro Cycling time trial Championships. But the athletic aspect is not the only interest of the squad led by former racer Jonathan Vaughters. A day prior to the race, on Friday, they will visit the Oak Ridge Elementary School in Harleysville and talk about its goal of "celebrating pure athletic accomplishment."

The team, with the goal of the 2008 Tour de France in mind, is subjecting itself to one of the most aggressive anti-doping programmes in the sport of cycling. The more than 1,200 controls carried out during the season is about 20 times the number that the UCI requires. The pressure on teams has increased due to the ongoing doping scandals and CSC and T-Mobile have similar strict internal anti-doping programmes.

Other teams are also stopping by various schools to share their stories with the kids. The Italian Kio Ene team will visit the Doyle Elementary School, while Colavita, with local favourite Tyler Wren of Rosemont, Pa., is slated to speak with students at Oak Park Elementary. AEG-Toshiba team will visit the Indian Valley Middle School and the Canadian Jet Fuel Coffee team will be featured in an assembly at the Walton Farm Elementary School.

The course on Saturday is 107.3 miles long, with start and finish in Souderton. There also will be a 50.4-mile circuit race in Doylestown on Sunday.

Gerolsteiner and Caisse d'Epargne for Poland

The 64th edition of the Tour of Poland is the last multi-day event in the ProTour calendar and starts this Sunday with a three-kilometre team time trial in Warsaw.

Gerolsteiner will be headed by Fabian Wegmann in the 1224.5-kilometre long race. The Freiburg,Germany resident had won the fifth stage in 2005. Gerolsteiner will also bring along Robert Förster, Heinrich Haussler and David Kopp for the sprint decisions. The team will is completed by Sebastian Lang, Matthias Ruß, Peter Wrolich and Beat Zberg, who is in his last season as a professional.

Fabian's brother Christian will be the directeur sportif. Last year's overall winner, Stefan Schumacher, is not defending his title, as he is currently participating in the Vuelta a España.

Caisse d'Epargne will be sending Iván Gutiérrez, Pablo Lastras, Alberto Losada, Aitor Pérez, Mathieu Perget, Nicolas Portal, Joaquím Rodriguez and José Joaquín Rojas to the Tour of Poland. The directeur sportif will be José Luis Jaimerena.

Ag2r Prévoyance announces rosters for upcoming races

Ag2r Prévoyance has announced its roster for the next ProTour event, the Tour of Poland. The eight-man team will be headed by strong climber John Gadret who is supported by Julien Loubet, David Navas, Carl Naibo, Rinaldo Nocentini, Christophe Riblon, Nicolas Rousseau and Blaise Sonnery. Former pro Arturas Kasputis of Lithuania will act as directeur sportif.

Two stagiaires, Tanel Kangert and Paul Moucheraud, will get to ride in the Coppa Placci, in Italy, on Saturday, September 8. The will be eager to get some tips from the experienced professionals Martin Elmiger, Simon Gerrans, Samuel Dumoulin, Laurent Mangel and Christophe Moreau. They will be coached by Gilles Mas.

The very same team will stay together for the next day, when the team will participate in another Italian race, the Giro Di Romagna.

Brandenburg-Rundfahrt resurrected

Smaller races have always felt the pinches first when sponsor money got tight and the Brandenburg-Rundfahrt was no exception. But after a three-year hiatus it is finally back in business. It was a tough struggle to get the 2007 event going, but thanks to the efforts of Gerd Müller (not related to the former football player) and Walter Röseler the event started yesterday, despite showing up on the UCI calendar as canceled.

100 under-23 riders took the start in Prenzlau to tackle the first 143.5 kilometres, with Sebastian Forke from the Continental Milram team winning the stage. The four-day event has five stages and also features a 12-kilometre time trial today with a split stage. The second stage gets underway at 10:00 local time and covers 115.3 kilometres, while the stage three time trial is scheduled to start at 17:00.

As part of the event there is a Jedermannrennen, an event that is open to anybody without a license. That event is run partially on the same route as the U23 race, but the stages are generally shorter, with the exception of the time trial, which is six kilometres longer.

Eight Russian riders questioned by Belgian police

Eight young Russian riders from the St. Petersburg espoir Premier team and two accompanying members of the team have been subjected to questioning by Belgian police after they were found to have amphetamines and other products in their possession. The team was staying on a vacation farm in Waanrode, east of Brussels, according to The team had been there several weeks and was participating in multiple espoir races, including events in France.

Spinelli returns to racing at Univest

Talk about break neck speed
Photo ©: Justin Spinelli
(Click for larger image)

Justin Spinelli becomes yet another member of the Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast pro cycling squad to bounce back quickly from injury, making his return to the road at Univest this weekend after a dramatic fall shattered his collarbone 500 metres from the line in Philadelphia earlier this season.

Spinelli, who shattered his collarbone so badly that it required immediate surgery, a metal plate and ten screws, joins Dave McCook on the Univest roster. McCook was hospitalised for a concussion during track training for the US10K last Friday, then got on a plane to Atlanta and took third place on the podium alongside Emile Abraham of Priority Health and Karl Menzies of Health Net/Maxxis. Also in the Univest roster is Reid Mumford, back from a serious Tibial Plateau injury that showed no signs of slowing him down in the hills of the USPRO Road Race.

"We look after our guys well," said Jonas Carney. "It's the first order of business for a team whose title sponsors are all about health, wellness and nutrition. These guys know the team is behind them 100 percent and that helps them recover even faster. We've seen it with Reid Mumford, with McCook's broken hand early this season and we're sure Spinelli will be no exception. We're excited to have him back and at an important race like Univest."

Despite injuries, Carney noted that the Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast team really found its groove in the past couple of months. "Look at the results," he said. "Two podiums at Altoona, two podiums at Elk Grove, winning the USPRO Criterium Championship, then fourth at Chris Thater and third at the US10K. That's an impressive run for a first-year team and we hope to continue it with Univest next week and Leelanau after that."

The team's roster for the two Univest races this weekend consists of Dave McCook, Reid Mumford, Justin Spinelli, Jonny Sundt, Dan Bowman, Ryan Roth and Dominique Perras.

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