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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, February 23, 2008

Edited by Sue George & Paul Verkuylen with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

McQuaid reacts to RCS exclusion of Astana

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor with Kirsten Robbins in Solvang

Pat McQuaid faces questions from the press in California.
Photo ©: Mia Sullivan
(Click for larger image)

UCI president Pat McQuaid was present for the stage five time trial at the Tour of California, and attended the post-stage press conference. While he was first asked about the racing in California, the ongoing fight between the UCI and ASO was the hot topic. The most recent development, the exclusion of Astana from RCS events such as Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo and the Giro d'Italia, was put to McQuaid for reaction. And McQuaid responded that he understood the decision rationale of the RCS because they did not single out Astana like the ASO did in the exclusion from the Tour de France.

"I would say that the RCS has the authority to exclude Astana because the rules of participation of the RCS event are different than the rules of participation of the Tour de France," he said. "Last September the AIGCP had a meeting, during the meeting, the teams asked that the UCI put in a rule that the 18 teams of the ProTour be invited to participate in the Tour de France. That then went to the Professional Cycling Council. It was discussed and approved. It then went to the UCI management committee, it was discussed and approved. I think you will agree that is a fairly democratic process."

"The ASO refused to accept that," McQuaid continued. "The others were free to invite who they wish. RCS did not invite four teams into the Giro and I think that was unfortunate because those races should want the best teams in the world to give their races credibility. What has happened really proves to me that we need participation rules and organizers need to respect participation rules."

McQuaid's main beef with the ASO at the moment is that there is no apparent rubric behind their exclusion of Astana. "The [ASO] decision is not consistent," he said. "I think it is a completely unjust decision, and it is not consistent because if they say that Astana damaged the Tour de France last year, and therefore the Astana team should not be invited to the Tour de France this year, several teams... I don't want to name names... damaged the Tour de France last year. So several teams should have been excluded from the Tour de France this year."

read on for McQuaid's reaction to the RCS decision.

Court says riders should be allowed to compare their DNA with the blood from Operación Puerto

By Monika Prell

The Spanish Guardia Civil inspecting blood bags during the initial May 2006 raids
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

After the re-opening of the Operación Puerto, different judges of the court of Madrid have said according to El País that any rider who wishes should be allowed to compare his DNA with the 200 blood bags found in the custody of medical doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

Such comparisons would not be obligatory since judges have said such action would be "an illegitimate invasion in the privacy" of sportsmen who did not commit any offense.

In Spain, doping was not a crime when the Operación Puerto began (in May of 2006), but today it is. This judicial criterion yields an interesting turn in the case; now it will be possible that any willing rider to have the possibility of proving his innocence.

Previously, Antonio Serrano, who was the judge in charge of Operación Puerto refused this possibility, even when demanded by the prosecution of the Superior Tribunal of Justice. DNA evidence would allow precise identification of the cyclists to whom the blood bags belong - thereby revealing who visited Dr. Fuentes and haematologist José Luis Merino Batres for treatment, likely with the goal of undergoing autologous blood transfusions transfusions with a high level of erythrocytes - a treatment considered to be doping.

The court has clarified that in the eyes of the law, riders are witnesses and not accused although they could be punished by administrative or sporting authorities. Since the riders are considered to be witnesses, one question remains: what will happen with the blood bags that are deposed in a laboratory in Barcelona? For the moment, they are at the disposition of the Court of enquiry number 31 of Madrid.

This court has to decide now if the way that Fuentes and Merino Batres conserved the blood was a crime against the health of the riders.

During Operación Puerto, cyclists like Jan Ullrich, Ivan Basso, Óscar Sevilla and Francisco Mancebo were allegedly involved. It was proved that six of the 200 blood bags belonged to Jan Ullrich and others belonged to Ivan Basso. Ullrich's blood was identified after the Court of Madrid authorized the German authorities to come to Spain and to take a blood sample of the bags that Fuentes said belonged to the rider. Further DNA comparisons proved the link. Basso did not undergo such a test, but he confessed that some blood bags belonged to him and that he had attempted to dope.

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'

May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
May 15, 2009 - Valverde not welcome in Denmark
May 14, 2009 - Spanish federation wants proof in Valverde case
May 13, 2009 - Spanish Olympic Committee defends Valverde
May 12, 2009 - Valverde responds to sanction
May 11, 2009 - Italian tribunal delivers Valverde two-year suspension
May 8, 2009 - Valverde case: Italian Olympic Committee defends Torri
May 7, 2009 - Valverde to take legal action against CONI prosecutor
May 5, 2009 - WADA and Spanish federation join CONI and UCI on Valverde
May 1, 2009 - International Cycling Union joins in on Valverde's hearing in Italy

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Operación Puerto

Förster thanks team-mates for win

Robert Förster (Gerolsteiner)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Robert Förster won the third stage of the Volta a Algarve to comfortably hold on to the leader's jersey in the race. "With this win, I thanked my team-mates who once again did a super job of supporting me," he said. "Today was really hard - the rain, the course. And the guys worked hard all day to chase down the escapees."

The escape group built up a maximum lead of 17 minutes before the peloton reeled them back in. Showing once again that the sprinters teams have chasing down escapes to a fine art, the reminisces of the break was swallowed up just 600 meters before the finish line. "Then it was my turn, and I took advantage of it," the 30 year-old said.

It was his second stage win within three days. "The first win was surely a bit more important because it was the first, it broke the ice, and I knew then that I could do it. That gives self-confidence," Förster said. "The second win is good confirmation - especially when you win in the yellow jersey, as I did."

Förster expects to lose the leader's jersey after Saturday's time trial. "Hopefully to a team-mate," he said. "But I will do all I can. The yellow jersey demands that."

High Road confident going into first World Cup

By Paul Verkuylen in Geelong

After taking two of the three stages on offer and placing a rider in second in each stage of the Geelong Women's Tour, High Road will head into Sunday’s first round of the Women’s World Cup in Geelong, Australia as the hot favorites.

Ina Teutenberg, High Roads top sprinter, has been training well over the German winter, opting to spend to time in the warmer climates of California to prepare for the opening rounds.

"I have been in California all winter, so I have been training well. I am in good shape," she said after placing second in the opening time trial on Thursday.

Teutenberg followed that up with another second place behind team-mate and Australian national road champion, Oenone Wood in the second stage of the Tour. "The results so far have come as a bit of a surprise," she explained, before adding "with the team we hope to do well in the World Cup on Sunday."

In the final stage, held in windy conditions on the Barwon Heads circuit, Teutenberg finally went one better than her two second places, outsprinting team-mate Wood for the win.

Both Wood and Teutenberg are confident that the team can do well on Sunday, "We have a fantastic team this year with a lot of the team from last year, and a couple of new ones. I think that we will be a lot stronger this year," Wood said.

High Road are expecting the main challenge to come from the in form Cervelo - Lifeforce team who will be on a high after Christiane Soeder’s overall win in the Tour.

"Cervelo Life-force has a strong team and we never underestimate them, they have some great sprinters," Teutenberg explained.

"Sunday’s a new race and everyone gets fitter after every race, but we pretty much have someone for every situation so we should have a very good race," she concluded.

Riders lucky after accident forces their withdrawal from Geelong Tour

By Paul Verkuylen in Geelong

The third and final stage of the Geelong's women's Tour was over before it started for three unlucky riders from the Landlink ACT team after being involved in a car accident on the way to the start of the race.

Vicki Whitelaw, Jenny Macpherson and Josephine Tomic were heading towards the stage start in Barwon Heads when a vehicle carrying barricades to close off parts of the days circuit, un expectedly did a u-turn in front of the car carrying the three young stars. With no where to go and travelling at around 100km/h their car ploughed straight into the Ute. All three women were not seriously injured but were taken to the local hospital with whip lash and soft tissue injuries.

"We're all right considering what happened - I think we're all very lucky," said reigning two kilometre time trail junior world champion Tomic.

Tomic smashed the world record twice.
Photo ©: Chris Winter
(Click for larger image)

"We were driving along the road to Barwon Heads and travelling at the speed limit (100km/h) when this car just pulled out and did a u-turn in front of us. There was nothing we could do and we t-boned it.

"It was pretty scary because we could see it happening and there was nothing we could do about. We were all wearing seat belts so we've got cuts and bruising from those and Jenny [Macpherson] was hit by the airbag when it inflated," Tomic explained.

Whitelaw was riding up front with Macpherson, while Tomic was in the back seat. Due to the speed of the accident, all three were taken to hospital, and are considered lucky that their injuries were not much worse.

"I had x-rays and nothing is broken and they did a urine test to make sure I have no internal bleeding. The other girls also passed the tests so it's a case of whiplash and soft tissue damage really," she said.

All three women are down to ride the first round of the Women's World Cup in Geelong on Sunday, but will make a decision on the day as to whether they will take part or not.

"Maybe we'll wake up tomorrow feeling great but I doubt it," Tomic said. "Personally I don't think I am going to ride it because I'm in pain just sitting here. I wouldn't have enough energy to react to things on the bike so it's better to not race."

Tomic and her colleagues may well have to miss out on Sundays race, but they are expecting a speedy recovery and hope to be back racing soon. "I don't think it's anything major [the damage] and I'm fit and healthy and I'll recover quite quickly."

Coming up on

Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of the Dauphiné Libéré live as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).

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A paralympian enters UCI event

Czech rider Jiri Jezek dreams of the Paralympics in Beijing, later this year. Jezek has only one leg, but what better way to prepare for the big event in August than a preparation race, competing against cyclists with two legs, in the Vuelta Ciclística Independencia Nacional (a UCI 2.2 event) in the Dominican Republic. Jezek has done so the last three years but told El that "this year is special because there are the Paralympics in Beijing."

In Beijing, Jezek will have to face the challenge of being the double defending champion in the road race, having won the gold medal in the past two Paralympics, in 2000 in Sydney and 2004 in Athens.

Jezek's determination has caught the attention of the media and even filmmakers. TV Checa from his home country is on hand to make a movie about this determined athlete. "The movie will be called Way to victory," revealed Sońa Jezkova, who is accompanying Jezek.

Jezek explained the reasons behind a movie about him. "People don't know my life. Many people only know the hotels Punta Cana and Juan Dolio, but not the Dominican country side."

As for the competition at the Vuelta Independencia, Jezek said, "Each year the bar is raised a little bit." He made clear that his training has to stay up to par with the rest of the competitors. He should know, having participated in the previous three editions.

Jezek was honored by a reception yesterday in the VIP building of the cycling federation of the Dominican Republic. His coach, Victor Zapletal, was on hand as well. The rider has made many local friends and was also welcomed by the current president of the cycling federation, Juan Luis Rodríguez.

The Czech rider is eager to hit the road. The race starts Friday with a time trial.

Colombia es Pasión-Coldeportes aiming for the Tour of California

Colombian outfit Colombia es Pasión-Coldeportes is looking to poarticipate in next year's Tour of California. The president of the UCI, Pat McQuaid, has underlined his support for the team. In a personal conversatiuon with the communications director of the team, Héctor Urrego Caballero, McQuad assured that he will be pleading to have the "red train," as the team from Columbia is affectionately known, included in the 2009 Tour of California.

Caballero is currently in California as a special envoy for Colombia es Pasión-Coldeportes. He is making contact with AEG, the company that runs the Tour of California, and the Tour's director, Andrew Messick. Messick has shown a great interest in adding the Colombian team to the start list next year.

McQuaid emphasized, "I will put all my support behind the participation of Colombia es Pasión-Coldeportes because I want a South American in this race. I understand that Colombia es Pasión-Coldeportes is very interested in coming in 2009. I know them, I know their results, and I will do everything I can so that the team will be present here next year."

The team was naturally delighted by the support of McQuaid and is hoping to be able to mix it up with some of the ProTour teams next year.

Ignatiev poised to defend Laigueglia title

Team Tinkoff Credit Systems' Mikhail Ignatiev is poised to defend his win at the 45th edition of the Trofeo Laigueglia.

"Laigueglia is an important race for the team with Igantiev wearing number oneon his back," said DS Orlando Maini, "and we have prepared well for this event. We know that team work makes the difference, and we are expecting one great collective performance."

After racing in France, Ignatiev is prepared for a strong Laigueglia performance, and accompanying him will be Luca Mazzanti, Daniele Contrini, Ricardo Serrano, Vasil Kiryenka, Nikita Eskov, Pavel Brutt, and Ivan Rovny.

"Serrano and Mazzanti are also well prepared after racing at the Tour Méditerranéen, and their condition improves day after day," said Maini.

Young Slovakian talent to lead Milram at Trofeo Laigueglia

U23 World Champion Peter Velits will be at the head of Team Milram on Saturday, February 23 for the 45th edition of the 185km Italian one day race Trofeo Laigueglia. In addition to Velits, three Italians will compete including Elia Rigotto, Luca Barla and Sergio Ghisalberti. They will be joined by Germans Dennis Haueisen and Sebastian Schwager, Slovakian Matej Jurco, and Ukranian Andrey Grivko.

It will be Velits' first European race this season. He's spent his early racing in South Africa at the World View Challenge in early February, when he raced with his twin brother Martin.

Milram is among nine ProTour teams for the event, which will cover three ranked climbs along the Riviera coast including the 677 meter high Passo di Ginestro (twice) and the 690 meter high Passo Ballestrini, the latter of which comes just 30km before the finish.

Milram for Trofeo Laigueglia: Elia Rigotto, Luca Barla, Sergio Ghisalberti, Andrey Grivko, Dennis Haueisen, Sebastian Schwager, Peter Velits, and Mateij Jurco under Directeur Sportif Vittorio Algeri.

Go By Bike Challenge kicks off

Residents of Omaha, Kansas City and St. Louis are invited to participate in the Go By Bike Challenge sponsored by Midwest Cycling and Trek Bicycle Corporation. A man and a woman from each city will be selected to receive a free bike and accessories, which they can keep if they complete the challenge.

For the Challenge, each of six winners will ride bikes on six short trips (under two miles) per week during the month of May, National Bike Month. Winners will post weekly online entries about the Challenge to share their experience with others in the community. Organizers are hoping to promote lifestyles that integrate bicycle use into daily life. Trips under two miles are targeted since they comprise 50% of car trips in the US.

The deadline for entries is midnight March 24, 2008. Visit for more info or to register.

PacificHealth sponsors sweepstakes

PacificHealth Laboratories is sponsoring an online sweepstakes with a grand prize of a Trek Madone 5.2 road bike. The company behind Accelerade sports drink, Endurox R4 recovery drink, and Accel Gel energy gel, is running an online sweepstakes with a grand prize of a new 2008 Trek Madone 5.2 road bike, worth US$3,360, and with Shimano Ultegra components and Bontrager Race Lite wheels. Other prizes includ 30 servings of Accelerade. Winners will be able to chose from sizes 50, 52, 54, 56, 60 and 62 cm for the bike and from their favorite flavors for the drinks.

Entries must be received by March 31 with prize winners being selected by random drawing on April 2. Visit to enter.

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