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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News, February 8, 2008

Edited by Laura Weislo

US closer to signing anti-doping treaty

The United States took one step closer to signing a treaty intended to help fight doping in sport when President Bush asked the Senate to ratify the International Convention Against Doping in Sport on Thursday. The World Anti-doping Agency (WADA)-backed agreement, which was drawn up under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has already been ratified by more than 70 other nations.

The UNESCO treaty formalizes global anti-doping rules under the WADA code, getting around issues which prevented some governments, such as the United States, from being legally bound by documents of non-governmental organizations such as WADA.

The White House statement noted that the treaty was in agreement with existing US laws and policies, but the aim was to "solidify our Nation's place as a leader in the worldwide effort to rid athletics of cheating through chemistry."

The latest WADA code, which will go into effect on January 1, 2009, restricts the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to selecting host cities only in countries which have ratified the UNESCO treaty.

The accord, which was due to go into effect last year, could aid in the punishment of those who aid the athletes in procuring or using the doping products and to punish physicians based on their involvement in doping practices.

Aussie sprinters in a 'family feud'

By Paul Verkuylen in Sydney

Ryan Bayley was upset
Photo ©: John Veage
(Click for larger image)

The men's sprint title was one of the hottest contested titles Thursday night at the Australian track cycling championships in Sydney, with the action heating up both on and off the boards.

A clash in the third semi-final heat between Shane Perkins and Olympic champion Ryan Bayley sent Bayley sprawling to the deck, and resulted in him lashing out at his soon to be brother-in-law. Perkins proposed to Bayley's sister just four weeks ago.

After picking himself up from the floor, Bayley shook his helmet and yelled at his opponent before heading back to the pits to cool down from the effort. Later the judges ruled that the move by Perkins, which saw him come down on Bayley in the final bend, was illegal and Perkins was disqualified, leaving Bayley to ride off for the gold medal against Mark French.

Bayley's outburst didn't go un-noticed either and he received an official warning from the commissaries for his actions.

"It's sprinting, it happens unfortunately," Bayley said about his crash. "The thing was I actually don't like the guy, so it sort of made me a little more angry, during the race and after the race. It's an unfortunate incident. Perkins is going really well at the moment, but I don't care because I don't like him.

"We're sprinters, we race, we get angry when we race and when stuff like that happens we get angry when we get off the bike too," Bayley continued. "But like I said it was just an unfortunate incident."

Bayley was visibly worked up about the whole ordeal even after his final with French, where the Victorian got the better of him, but it is fair to say that there is no love lost between the two soon-to-be relatives.

"I am engaged to his sister and that probably doesn't help things either," said Perkins. "There is a personality clash, but I won't say too much.

"We are professionals to each other, but for what ever reason he has something against me. I don't have anything against him at all, you can't choose his family," Perkins concluded.

Quinziato doubles up in Africa

Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Manuel Quinziato started off his 2008 campaign with bookend victories in the South African Intaka Tech World's View Challenge on Thursday. After scoring a win in the first stage, the Italian had his encore on the final stage in Pietermaritzburg. The 28-year-old took the first stage in a solo breakaway, while Thursday's was won in a bunch sprint ahead of the U23 World Champion Peter Velits.

With another win by Leonardo Bertagnolli in the second stage, Liquigas' hat-trick made team manager Mario Scirea quite happy. "We return to Italy with a good plunder," said Scirea. Quinziato was also pleased. "I'm happy, for me and for the team: starting off on the right foot is good for the mood. To avoid the sprint, I tried to go away five and three kilometres to go," he continued. "but I saw that it wasn't going to fly. I played everything right in the final sprint and the result was fantastic."

German cycling under siege

The exclusion of Jan Ullrich from the 2006 Tour started a downward spiral of German cycling.
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

German cycling is struggling and hoping desperately to be saved. When did it all start? With Jan Ullrich's downfall, assisted by the Freiburg Clinic doctors? Or Patrik Sinkewitz's positive test and subsequent confession? However it happened, the sport is suffering in all its aspects, as teams and races disappear rapidly from the scene. Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer looked at the problems.

June 30, 2006 – The whole thing started with a news flash on German radio: Jan Ullrich thrown out of the Tour de France and suspended by T-Mobile Team for his involvement in Operación Puerto. The German had been named in the scandal from the very beginning but maintained his innocence throughout. His story dominated the German media that summer, with details of Hijo Rudicio, his alleged doping plan for the Tour and a police search of his home while on his honeymoon, all distracting from any actual racing going on. A DNA test was finally made the end of January and was followed only weeks later by his bitter announcement that he was retiring. His DNA was subsequently matched to blood bags taken from Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes' office.

One result of these problems was a new management at T-Mobile Team. Team Manager Olaf Ludwig departed involuntarily and was replaced by Bob Stapleton, a newcomer from the USA who promised a "new beginning" for a clean sport, supported by a strong anti-doping programme. The team ran into problems as early as spring 2007, as the story of team doctors' Andreas Schmid and Lothar Heinrich' participation in team doping in the 1990's slowly and painfully unfolded. It culminated in a tear-filled press conference in Bonn, Germany, the end of May, with Erik Zabel and Rolf Aldag confessing to their past doping practices and T-Mobile announcing that it would – despite everything – continue its sponsorship through 2010.

The next two blows to German cycling came from outside of T-Mobile, although both involved former riders of the team that was then known as Team Telekom; Matthias Kessler, who hadn't been offered a new contract by T-Mobile when the team changed hands, had gone with Andreas Klöden to Team Astana. Kessler's positive test for testosterone shortly before the Flèche Wallonne led to a two-year suspension, announced in January.

Continue to the full feature.

Unemployed riders sue Relax-GAM

By Monika Prell

Two members of the now defunct Relax-GAM team are suing the companies which were to sponsor the squad. Dani Moreno and Raúl Santamarta filed charges against the president of Deporpublic, Augusto Castañeda, against the Relax-GAM team, and against the two companies that were to sponsor the team.

Both riders had a sportive agreement and a pre-contract for this season with the team, which fell apart after the loss of GAM and the team's subsequent failure to get a UCI license, and claim economic and damage to their careers because it is too late to find another squad.

Antonio Vaquerizas, the representative of Moreno and Santamarta, announced that Dani Moreno had a contract with Relax Fuenlabrada "for one year and with the option for one more year", and that "they owe him 17,000 euro for last year's season and his salary for this one amounts 120,000 euro." Vaquerizas also said that they had taken up the situation with the UCI in hopes of getting funds from the bank guarantees from the team for 2007 and 2008.

26-year-old Moreno, who won the 2007 Escalada a Montjuic, one stage of the Vuelta a Chihuahua and finished second in a stage of the Vuelta a España, has been unable to find another team. Vaquerizas said, "We are talking to the ProTour teams, because our intention is that he will participate in one of the Grand Tours this year, but the majority of the teams don't have the money to pay him. He might have to ride gratis or for half of his salary if he finds a team", added Vaquerizas. 2008 would have been Santamarta's first season as professional rider.

The parties met Wednesday with Castañeda and other representatives of Relax-GAM, but no agreement was reached, so that now the case will be taken to the courts.

Alarcón out of Saunier Duval Mallorca line-up

Saunier Duval-Scott's promising young Spaniard Raúl Alarcón would have been on the team's roster for both the GP Cost degli Etruschi and the Challenge-Volta a Mallorca, but the Valencia-born rider suffered a collision in training and will be forced to rest and recover. A car failed to brake at a stop sign and ran into Alarcón, who was taken to the hospital but escaped without serious injury. The 21-year-old will return to training in several days.

The Saunier Duval team will field a strong eight-man team in the Italian race, with Luciano Pagliarini, Riccardo Riccò, Manuele Mori, Aurélien Passeron, Eros Capecchi, Ermanno Capelli and Ángel "Litu" Gómez under the direction of Matteo Algeri.

For the Challenge-Volta a Mallorca from February 10-14, Joxean Fernández "Matxin" and Sabino Angoitia will lead the team of José Ángel Gómez Marchante, Juan José Cobo, David De La Fuente, Manuele Mori, Denis Flahaut, Arkaitz Durán, Jesús Del Nero, Rubén Lobato, Héctor González and Beñat Intxausti.

Caisse d'Epargne, Quick Step name Mallorca teams

Alejandro Valverde will lead the Caisse d'Epargne team for the 17th Challenge of Mallorca which begins on Sunday. Valverde is satisfied with his early season form, but sees himself working for the team's on-form sprinter, José Joaquín Rojas, who took third in the Tour Down Under . "I feel really motivated to start the season and I am hungry for competing again," Valverde said, "and I hope that thanks to José Joaquín Rojas capacity as a sprinter, we will have the possibility to win something here."

The Spaniard will race alongside David Arroyo, Arnaud Coyot, José Vicente Garcia, Joan Horrach, Vladimir Karpets, Pablo Lastras, David López García, Alberto Losada, Luis Pasamontes, Fabien Patanchon, Oscar Pereiro, Francisco Pérez, Joaquím Rodríguez, José Joaquín Rojas and Xabier Zandio.

Quick Step: Carlos Barredo, Matteo Carrara, Stijn Devolder, Addy Engels, Mauro Facci, Juan Manuel Gárate, Alessandro Proni, Leonardo Scarselli, Hubert Schwab, Gert Steegmans, Kevin Van Impe, Davide Viganò, Maarten Wynants, Wouter Weylandt.

Trek-Marco Polo for Langkawi

The Trek-Marco Polo team is focusing its Tour de Langkawi on setting up wins for fast finishers Fuyu Li and Sergey Kudentsov and keeping Australian Jai Crawford or Ken Onodera high up in the general classification ahead of the final climbing stage. Team director Michael Carter hopes that the team can take advantage of a more open race, now that Genting Highlands is not included in the race. Carter sees bigger possibilities for his time now that the race cannot be decided by just one strong climber on the second to last stage.

Trek - Marco Polo for Langkawi: Fuyu Li (China), Xing Yan Dong (China), Ken Onodera (Japan), Sergey Kudentsov (Russia), Jai Crawford (Australia), Loh Sea Keong (Malaysia)

Mills joins Kelly Benefits

The US continental squad Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast will mark its 2008 season professional debut at the Amgen Tour of California, and in anticipation of a heavy season, has announced the addition of Ken Mills as Performance Manager.

Mills was directeur sportif for the TargeTraining squad in 2006 and Jittery Joe's-Kalahari prior to that, as well as a guest director of both Navigators Insurance and Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast pro cycling teams in 2007. It was this guest appearance that secured the full time position on the squad as the season gets underway for 2008.

"We've known and watched Ken's work for some time now," said performance director, Jonas Carney. "I was particularly impressed with Ken's work for us in Mexico [at the Vuelta Chihuahua] last season so it was an easy decision to bring him on board for 2008. He's going to be a terrific resource for the team and really help us race at our best."

Mills, who is based out of San Antonio, Texas will work directly with Carney on all team race logistics, athlete training and race preparation and will have little time to settle in with the Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast's selection to race in the Amgen Tour of California next month.

"I really learned the short hand of the team last season racing with the guys in Mexico," says Mills. "So it's great to come back this year and build on that with a full race calendar out in front of us. Jonas has made some significant new hires for 2008 and we're expecting great things out of the athletes returning. It's going to be an interesting and wildly successful season."

For the full Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast roster, visit Cyclingnews' teams database.

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