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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News, December 20, 2008

Edited by Laura Weislo and Peter Hymas

Kohl, Dueñas no-shows at French doping hearing

Bernhard Kohl, Riccardo Riccò and Moises Dueñas all missed a scheduled hearings with the French Anti-Doping Agency on Thursday. Riccò was represented by his attorney, while the other two were not represented in any way.

Riccò and Dueñas both tested positive during this year's Tour de France: Riccò made history as the first athlete to test positive for a new variant of the blood boosting drug EPO called CERA. He later admitted to having used the drug. Barloworld's Dueñas tested positive for old fashioned EPO.

With the urine test proving successful at catching at least one rider, the AFLD embarked on an unprecedented push to re-test blood samples from the Tour for CERA. The blood test, which is considered to be more reliable at detecting the drug, found Kohl positive twice. Kohl also confessed to using the drug.

All three riders face a two to six-year ban on racing in France. According to the APA press agency, the AFLD indicated that it intends to announce its final decision in about three weeks.

Tinkov brewing over cycling exit

Tinkoff Credit Systems owner Oleg Tinkov
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)

Oleg Tinkov is leaving cycling and the team he funded for the last two years – Tinkoff Credit Systems. The Russian businessman met Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown to explain why he will not be continuing in 2009 with Team Katusha.

Oleg Tinkov developed his Continental team into a well-established Professional Continental Team, Tinkoff Credit Systems, at the end of 2006. The Italy-based, Russia-funded team gained numerous victories, including two stages in the Giro d'Italia. The team announced midway through this season that it would expand with the help of new sponsors and be known as Team Katusha for 2009.

Igor Makarov's Itera backs the new team with additional funding from sponsors Gazprom and Rostechnologii. With the budget of 15 to 20 million Euro, it signed several key riders to bolster its ranks – Australian Robbie McEwen, Belgian Gert Steegmans, Italian Filippo Pozzato, Russians Vladimir Karpets and Alexandre Botcharov. The signing of former top professional Andrei Tchmil as general director in July did not make sense in Tinkov's eyes. The two tried to work side-by-side, but Tinkov decided to leave his loved sport in September.

Continue to the full feature.

Benfica to stop

Benfica riders Cândido Barbosa and José Azevedo
Photo ©: João Dias
(Click for larger image)

João Lagos, the president of Lagos Bikes, announced the end of the Portuguese cycling team Benfica on Friday.

"The projects has to be stopped due to the lack of sponsors. We were not able to find a family of sponsors," confessed Lagos according to the Portuguese newspaper Jornal Record. He would have liked the team to continue. "You have to know how to win and how to lose, and in this case we were not able to win. You have to have courage to make certain decisions."

Lagos is proud of the project he was able to lead for two years, taking the team into the Professional Continental status – one step below the highest level of the sport. "I believe that cycling won with our team. We did fantastic work. I only lament that none of the other teams followed our path of returning [Portuguese Cycling] to a high level."

Some of the riders have already find new team, amongst them Javier Benítez and Rubén Plaza who will ride for Contentpolis - Ampo. A big problem was Cândido Barbosa, who had signed a contract for the seasons of 2008 and 2009. Lagos Bike searched for a new team for him, and the 34 year-old finally signed a contract with the team Palmeiras Resort Tavira. (MP)

Giro faces dilemma over Coppi stage to Pinerolo

By Gregor Brown

Giro d'Italia organiser RCS Sport may have to modify the 250-kilometre high-mountain stage dedicated to Fausto Coppi which is set to take place as the race's tenth stage on May 19. The same landslide along the French/Italian border that forced the 2008 Tour de France to skip the Maddalena pass may force RCS Sport to take an alternate route around that same climb which would see riders climb the Colle dell'Agnello instead.

RCS Sport designed the stage to be a duplicate of the one in 1949 where Coppi won with a solo attack of 192 kilometres. The 2009 route would cover the five climbs: the Maddalena, Vars, Izoard, Montgenèvre and Sestrière, with a 55-kilometres descent to the finish in Pinerolo. The stage was made famous when Coppi took the overall leader's maglia rosa from Adolfo Leoni and put an 11:52 gap on Gino Bartali, who finished second. Coppi won the Giro two days later with 23:47 on Bartali.

This year a landslide along the road of the Colle della Maddalena, or Col de Larche in French, forced the Tour de France to alter its 15th stage to Prato Nevoso. It substituted the climb with the Agnello.

The Giro may also use the Agnello, but from the opposite direction, to bypass the Maddalena. It would also have to skip the French Col de Vars in this proposed deviation. The route would resume on the original plan for the final three climbs, Izoard, Montgenèvre and Sestrière.

RCS Sport could, however, face additional problems by using the Agnello. The pass, at 2744 metres, is often still covered in snow in the month of May.

The Cuneo-Pinerolo stage appeared twice after Coppi won in 1949. Italy's Franco Bitossi won in 1964 and Frenchman Jacques Anquetil won the overall classification two days later. Italy's Giuseppe Saronni took victory in 1982 and Frenchman Bernard Hinault claimed the overall one day later. This year the Giro finishes 12 days later in Rome.

Coppi, winner of five editions of the Giro d'Italia, died of malaria in 1960.

Gianetti believes Fuji deserves California spot

By Gregor Brown

Mauro Gianetti is upset that his team Fuji-Servetto squad did not make the first round of invited teams for the February, 2009 Tour of California. Race organiser AEG named the first eight teams for its fourth edition yesterday.

"It seems ridiculous to me, if they don't take us then how many [other] teams," Gianetti said to Cyclingnews.

Doping scandals affected Gianetti's Saunier Duval team this year at the Tour de France. Positive anti-doping control results by his riders Riccò and Piepoli forced the team out of the race and a complete restructuring for 2009. The team now has a USA sponsor, Fuji, and a list of new riders that includes stage winner in the 2007 Tour of California, Ivan Dominguez.

Gianetti said that those cases should not affect his team, and pointed out that Liquigas, with Ivan Basso returning from suspension, was on the roster. "I don't know why [Riccardo] Riccò and [Leonardo] Piepoli would be different than Ivan Basso, Moisés Dueñas and all the rest," he said.

"We clearly have interests in participating. ... For the last month I have been calling the organiser, but they don't respond to my call. In e-mails or telephone calls, he [team liaison Kevin Livingston] never responded."

Gianetti hopes AEG will include his team in the final roster due out in February. He has handed the fight over to the newly appointed Team Manager, Italian Alvaro Crespi.

Rojas is ready to start in Australia

By Antonio J. Salmerón

José Joaquin Rojas Gil (Caisse D'Epargne) took out the Share the Road
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

José Joaquín Rojas is ready to make his 2009 debut in the Tour Down Under, with the support of Oscar Pereiro, Luis Leon Sanchez, Pablo Lastras, Imanol Erviti and the Frenchmen Nicolas Portal and Mathieu Drujon. Last year, the 23-year-old Caisse d'Epargne rider finished inside the top ten in nearly every stage, taking second in the first stage.

With this result, Rojas began his 2008 season in the second place in the UCI ProTour standings behind German Andre Greipel (Team Columbia). "I always start at a good level, and the truth is that there was nothing with me last year in Australia, but I failed to finish the task successfully. I hope to break the bad luck that was extended to the rest of the season," Rojas commented to Cyclingnews.

Upon his return home, the Spaniard will continue competing in the Challenge de Mallorca and in the Vuelta a Murcia. He took his only victory of the 2008 season in Mallorca, but when disputing the third stage he crashed. As a consequence of that, Rojas had to be off the bike for a month and a half.

Later will come the Tirreno Adriatico, where he held the King of the Mountains jersey in 2006. Then he will continue preparing for the Giro d'Italia by racing in the Milano-San Remo, GP Llodio (Spain), Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

"I love both Classics. I hope to have strong performances there," he said. Rojas took part in the Giro d'Italia in 2007, but he left the race in the tenth day. Alejandro Valverde will led the Caisse d'Epargne in the Tour de France, but the Spanish ProTour squad will also dispute the Giro d'Italia with Joaquin Rodriguez, Oscar Pereiro and David Arroyo.

Kiryienka signs with Caisse d'Epargne

Caisse d'Epargne reached an agreement with the Belarus rider Vasil Kiryienka and has signed the 27-year-old to a two-year contract.

Kiryienka rode for Tinkoff Credit System for the past two seasons and most notably soloed to victory in the 19th stage of the 2008 Giro d'Italia.

Sinkewitz denies naming names

Former T-Mobile rider Patrik Sinkewitz denied giving any names to prosecutors in the case of the doping alleged to have taken place at the Freiburg University Clinic. The German news magazine Focus reported that both Sinkewitz and his former girlfriend have given detailed information to investigators.

In an audio interview on he said, "I only spoke about my own case, and I can't say where people get these names," Sinkewitz said. Focus reported that Sinkewitz gave names of those who, like him, went to the Freiburg University Clinic on the evening of the first day of the Tour de France 2006, including, allegedly, Andreas Klöden.

Freiburg chief prosecutor Wolfgang Maier would not confirm the Klöden naming, but told the dpa press agency that the findings from the case would not be released until February.

Werner Franke, the German anti-doping crusader, told the magazine, "I cannot understand why Klöden has not yet been called to testify."

Schumacher going ahead with AFLD suit

Stefan Schumacher is going forward with the promised lawsuit against the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD), calling for that organisation to "immediately close" its investigation of him. He called the agency's charges that he used illegal doping products "arbitrary" and "defamatory".

The AFLD announced in October that Schumacher had twice tested positive for the EPO product CERA in tests of blood samples drawn during the Tour de France, charges which the rider continues to deny.

Schumacher's attorney Michael Lehner issued a statement protesting the investigation. According to the sid news agency, he called the test procedures "inadmissible and uncertain", and filed an appeal against all the results.

Lehner further charged that there were procedural errors in the analyses of the samples and questioned the chain of custody. "These were conducted without the control of the athlete, with multiple possibilities for blood contamination, for substitution or other circumstances which could negatively affect the results."

There is no reason for his client not to receive a license for the upcoming year, Lehner added. He said Schumacher is preparing for the coming season and just finished a training camp on Cyprus. "We have applied for the 2009 pro license from the Bund Deutscher Radfahrer [German Cycling Federation] which must be directly and without difficulty granted."

Elk Haus for 2009

Team Elk Haus is holding its first training camp for the coming season, which it will face with 16 riders. The small Austrian team noted that "It was not easy to maintain our Professional Continental team status, but in the end we were able to."

The team has gathered in Austria for two days of climbing at the Therapeutischen Kletterzentrum Weinburg, which should "strengthen the mutual trust" within the team, according to manager Bernhard Rassinger. The climbing will be followed by yoga. "That is rather unusual, but I want us all to find our peace together," said Rassinger.

The team will have only 16 riders in 2009, instead of the 17 men of this year. "That is too bad, but it wasn't possible to do it otherwise," Rassinger said. "In the last few years we have made a name for ourselves internationally and I cam convinced that we will continue to make our presence known at races both in Austria and throughout Europe."

The Elk Haus roster for 2009 includes Markus Eibegger, Jochen Summer, Wolfgang Murer, Stefan Rucker, Martin Schöffmann, Stefan Denifl, Gerhard Trampusch, Clemens Fankhauser, Harald Totschnig, Harald Starzengruber, Daniel Schorn, Georg Lauscha, Matthias Brändle, Jan Valach, Björn Thurau, Steffen Radochla.

Gilmore prepares for Beijing World Cup

Australian Rochelle Gilmore
Photo ©: Dan Peters
(Click for larger image)

Rochelle Gilmore has planned her program leading to January's Track World Cup round in Beijing, January 16 to 18. The Australian, a member of Team HP-Teschner, will attend local road events immediately after the New Year. She will race on the road at the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic, January 2 to 6, and the national championship, January 10.

Gilmore will join her HP-Teschner track teammates – Peta Mullens and Tiffany Cromwell – in China for the fourth round of the International Cycling Union's World Cup. The three met recently in Adelaide, South Australia, for a publicity photo shoot.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Dan Peters/

Milram donates to Nepali children's home

Team Milram has donated 3,575 Euro to the "SOS Kinderdorf" charity, to support a home for handicapped children in Jorpati, Nepal.

Part of the funds came from the team's kitty, in which riders paid "fines" over the season for such "crimes" as being late or having their mobile phone ring during team meetings, according to team manager Gerry van Gerwen.

"For us as a team this is a good solution, that the money we paid for our own transgression be used for charity," said team captain Christian Knees. "It is important for a professional athlete to know what is happening outside of his sport and to be open to help people who don't have it so good."

"SOS Kinderdorf" is a worldwide children's charity. The home in Jorpati, near Katmandu, cares for physically and mentally handicapped children and helps prepare them for an independent future.

Irish federation seeking new high performance director

By Shane Stokes

Cycling Ireland has begun advertising for a new High Performance Director, seeking to fill the role previously held by Frank Campbell.

The Irish federation indicated recently that it wanted to get fresh blood in at the end of this Olympic year, with an eye of a strong showing on the track in London 2012 one of the stated targets.

According to the brief laid out by CI, the new High Performance Director will oversee the development and management of CI's high performance plan, recruiting and managing high performance staff, devising selection criteria, helping develop coaches, athletes and support staff, dealing with the Talent Identification and Talent Transfer programmes, liasing with CI's funding partners and running high performance activities.

The successful candidate should have an education to degree standard or equivalent – preferably in spots science – a full driving licence, experience in management and dealing with world-class athletes, as well as proven leadership and teamwork abilities. Good oral and writing communication skills, IT competence and networking ability are also of high importance, according to the ad.

Those interested in the role should contact CI's Executive Office Geoff Liffey by emailing, sending a CV and cover letter. The closing date for applications is January 16th. The post will be based in Dublin, but travel is clearly likely.

Pennsylvania native wins Cyclingnews end of season sweepstakes

Easton, Pennsylvania resident Richard Fay has been declared the grand prize winner of our end-of-season sweepstakes, and will take home the CycleOps Powerbeam Pro Series indoor trainer – the only wireless electronic trainer on the market which has the added bonus of measuring power, heart rate and cadence. Its PowerTuned flywheel has a smooth, real-world feel to take the pain out of riding indoors, and comes with PowerAgent Workout Creator software to manage all those trainer rides.

It is a perfect stroke of luck for our winner, since winter weather is punishing his area this week. Fay is 48, married and has two children, so no doubt he has indoor riding on his itinerary. Fay is a frequent Cyclingnews visitor who follows every level of the sport to fuel his passion for riding and racing.

Like many cycling enthusiasts, Fay began riding as a child for transportation and fun, but took it up as a sport when running had taken its toll on his joints. "When I hit my 20's, I returned to cycling after some knee and ankle problems developed from running. Later in graduate school, I got bit by the racing bug and did pretty well in the local training races until my dissertation committee asked why I didn't have any data to speak of," Fay said.

School and work interfered with racing until Fay moved to Easton, where he found a new club near his new home and is now a category 4 racer on the road. "When I moved to eastern Pennsylvania I had much more time to ride and eventually joined a local racing club out of Phillipsburg, New Jersey (Cycle Funattic). Since then, I've employed Bill Elliston, a local pro, as a coach to see what level of racing I can achieve."

Congratulations to Richard, and thanks to all of you who took the time to enter the contest! For the record, Allen Lim is the Doctor of Integrative Physiology who helps CycleOps develop the Power Training tools used in the PowerBeam home trainer, and the DiNotte Lighting systems are built in Hampton, New Hampshire.

We received 3,000 correct entries, and also named runner-up prize winners of the DiNotte Pro Series headlight/tail light system: Miles Ediins of Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Torsten Wambold of Charlotte, North Carolina.

We hope these tools will help our winners with their winter training, and many thanks to CycleOps and DiNotte for helping to provide these incentives to stay fit in the off season!

Last chance to take the 2008 Cyclingnews reader poll!

(Click for larger image)

You've got just minutes to complete 2008 Cyclingnews reader poll for your chance to win big! The poll will close this Friday, December 19, at midnight GMT, so hurry up and make your choices. The deadline of Friday, December 19, midnight GMT equals Friday, December 19, 19:00 on USA's east coast. If you are in Australia, it will be December 20, 11:00.

Each year, we give you the chance to select the riders, teams, races, moments, equipment and photos that have really stood out from the pack in the last 12 months or so. To keep things simple, we'll be asking you to vote from a fixed selection in each category, as well as some 'free text' fields, so the survey should take you less than 10 minutes to complete.

As an incentive, we'll be giving away a pair of Zipp's 81mm deep 808 tubular wheels on the new 88/188 hub to one lucky entrant... So if you want to fly like Fabian Cancellara this Christmas, let us know your thoughts on the rider of the year!

(Additional editorial assistance by Susan Westemeyer and Monika Prell)

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