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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News, July 2, 2008

Edited by Gregor Brown

LPR signs super-sprinter Petacchi

Italian Alessandro Petacchi, 34, signs for LPR Brakes-Ballan
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

Fabio Bordonali signed Italian super-sprinter Alessandro Petacchi to race with Team LPR Brakes-Ballan though 2010. The 34 year-old, winner of multiple Giro d'Italia and Tour de France stages, will start racing with the team when his suspension expires in September.

"It is a great feeling to have the faith of Bordonali," expressed Petacchi after signing with the team of Bordonali. He indicated a new phase of his career has begun and he looks forward to forming another group of lead-out men.

Petacchi was suspended from racing though August 31 after being found positive for excess use of Salbutamol (asthma drug) during the 2007 Giro d'Italia. (For more details of the Petacchi read Innocently Guilty – the Petacchi case.)

The rider from La Spezia plans on returning to racing immediately with the Tour of Britain, September 7 to 14, or Paris-Bruxelles, September 13. He will build for Paris-Tours, October 12, which he won in 2007.

"I have to be on form in September to repay everything they [LPR - ed.] has done for me."

The Professional Continental Team has requested to Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) an invitation for Paris-Tours. "We have asked for an invitation for all of the ASO races," team spokesperson Milena Salazar confirmed to Cyclingnews.

Lance Armstrong talks Tour

Lance Armstrong was at the 2007 Tour de France
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

This year is the first in many when the Tour de France-dominating dynasty built by Johan Bruyneel and starring Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador won't be represented at the season's biggest event. Armstrong believes this has come about purely thanks to a "Lance Armstrong/Johan Bruyneel penalty", but Tour bosses ASO insist it is because of Astana's failings at the last two Tours. Procycling's Gary Boulanger secured a rare cycling-related interview with Armstrong, who talks about his Tour memories, picks his Tour favourite, and stokes the flames in that conflict with ASO.

Procycling: You're just back from the Boston marathon. How do your legs feel?

Lance Armstrong: My feet took more of a beating this time because of the hills. Not bad, though. Let's talk Tour de France.

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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Procycling: Tell us about your most memorable moment at the Tour.

LA: That's impossible to say; there were so many. Even before the overall victories, there was the first stage win in 1993. In 1995, the Casartelli stage, the prologue in 1999, Alpe d'Huez in 2001. Then the bad year - the crash - in 2003, it's hard to forget that; even the cobblestones in 2004. And Alpe d'Huez in 2004, the prologue in 2005 and then the final day in 2005. Those are the ones that stand out; I couldn't pick one.

I mean, I couldn't pick three.

Procycling: And what were some of your least favourite moments?

LA: [Laughs] There were a lot... The crash on Luz Ardiden in 2003 was probably the single most stressful moment I had. But I would view that as a good memory, because I was able to get up, get going and then win the stage. My least favourite moment was - well, it wasn't a moment, it was a time period. I never enjoyed the first week [of the Tour]. It's not that I didn't "like" it, but it was one of those times when you have a lot to lose and nothing to gain, and it was just filled with stress. You start with 200 guys that all want to be at the front, then you add in a little wind and maybe some rain, and it makes for a really stressful time. It got easier as the years went by because our team got stronger and more respected, so in a lot of ways we were able to reserve the front. But still, the first week is a bunch of flat stages that are very fast with a lot of crashes, especially in the finales.

Read rest of Lance Armstrong talks Tour (Part 2).

Rabobank ordered to pay Rasmussen fees

Dane Michael Rasmussen, 34, to receive payment
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

A Dutch court justice ordered that Team Rabobank had the right to fire 2007 Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen, but that the 34 year-old Danish cyclist was entitled to €700,000 in contract fees and interest, according to Agr.

The decision was based on last month's court hearing.

Rasmussen was withdrawn from the 2007 Tour de France after being fired by his team for missing three pre-race anti-doping controls. He reportedly missed two controls carried out by the Danish Cycling Federation and one by the International Cycling Union (UCI).

Yesterday, he was suspended for two years for the missed controls by the Monaco cycling federation, with whom he carries a racing licence.

Garzelli re-signs with Acqua & Sapone

Italy's Stefano Garzelli re-signs with Acqua & Sapone
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Italian Stefano Garzelli, winner of the 2000 Giro d'Italia, has re-signed with Italian Professional Continental Team Acqua & Sapone through 2010.

Thanks to the latest results Garzelli had many requests to change teams, confirmed Cyclingnews. "I'm satisfied with the last two years," Garzelli noted. He won two stages in the Giro del Trentino and two in the Vuelta Asturias this season.

Problems at the beginning of this year threatened Garzelli's desire to continue racing. Despite winning two stages in the 2007 Giro d'Italia – in Bergamo and Lienz – Garzelli and the Acqua & Sapone team were not invited to the 2008 edition.

Garzelli believes there will be a place for his team in the 2009 edition. "We are faithful," he continued. He reckoned that Acqua & Sapone is as certain to race next year's Giro d'Italia as any other team.

There were offers from ProTour teams and some team even wanted him to sign him for this year's Vuelta a España. Garzelli, like before the start of this year's Giro d'Italia, decided not to jump ships.

Jongewaard, Graham lodge Olympic appeals

By Greg Johnson

Cycling Australia has received two appeals from competitors regarding the nominations for the Olympic Games squad it will send to Beijing, China, in August. Both mountain biker Chris Jongewaard and women's road rider Lorian Graham have lodged appeals over their non-selection for the XXIX Olympiad, a Cycling Australia representative confirmed to Cyclingnews.

Both competitors lodged their appeal by yesterday's deadline after the nominees were announced last week. The two riders will be heard by a Cycling Australia selection appeals panel in Melbourne on Wednesday, July 9. The panel includes a lawyer and an athletes' representative – usually a former competitor.

Jongewaard is Australia's highest ranked mountain biker, but has been left off the squad due to a pending court case hanging over the South Australian's head. The rider is due to answer charges later this year regarding a hit-and-run incident, in which Jongewaard stuck training partner Matthew Rex, leaving Rex with head injuries and in a medically-induced coma for 12 days.

While the incident took place in February 2007, and Rex has since recovered, court proceedings over the charges have been delayed on numerous occasions. The trial is scheduled to take place in December of this year.

"The committee believes it cannot in good faith nominate Chris Jongewaard," a Cycling Australia representative told media last week. "We acknowledge he met the performance criteria but nomination for selection in the Australian team for the Olympic Games is based on more than results."

Jongewaard's case received additional media attention in Australia following the case of Nick D'Arcy, who was thrown off the Australian Olympic swimming squad within days of making the team. D'Arcy was charged with assault after allegedly striking former swimmer Simon Cowley at a Sydney bar on the evening he qualified for the swimming team.

A Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) appeal by the swimmer found that while he had brought the sport into disrepute, Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates didn't have the authority alone to remove D'Arcy. The AOC board then took a vote which saw the swimmer striped of his position, a decision upheld by a second CAS hearing.

Graham's lodgement is expected to be a relatively straight-forward selection issue, with the rider hoping to gain selection for the position allocated to 2006 Australian road champion Kate Bates. Graham was one of the Australian National Team members injured in the 2005 training accident which claimed the life of team-mate Amy Gillett in Germany.

If either of the appeals from Jongewaard or Graham is unsuccessful, the individuals can choose to take the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Dario Frigo faces one-year prison term

Albertville public prosecutors have requested that Italy's Dario Frigo serve a one-year prison term relating to the 2005 Tour de France anti-doping sting involving his wife, according to French newspaper Dauphiné Libéré.

The sentence request will be heard September 15.

Before the start of stage 11 in Courchevel, police found ten doses of EPO (Erythropoietin) in Susaana Frigo's car as part of a boarder-crossing search. The couple were arrested for carrying prohibited substances.

Dario Frigo faced similar problem in 2001. He was thrown out of that year's Giro d'Italia following a surprise police raid that uncovered doping substances. He subsequently served a six-month ban.

Former Tour winner Ullrich criticises race

Winner of the 1997 Tour de France, German Jan Ullrich, has criticised the Tour de France for lacking the grandeur of past.

"I don't think that the Tour can still be defined as the greatest race in the world," said 34 year-old Ullrich according to Agr. "It is not how it was once before. Before there were the best riders starting as favourites, but there were always the possibilities of surprises."

Ullrich retired from racing at the end of 2007 in the heat of allegations that he was linked with Eufemiano Fuentes and Operación Puerto.

Franco Magni passes away

Italy's Franco Magni, head of well-known team Magniflex throughout the 1970 and 1980s, died yesterday at the age of 73, according to Agr.

Magni saw many of cycling's big names pass through his ranks. Riders Gianni Motta, Marino Basso, Italo Zilioli and Pierino Gavazzi all wore the Magniflex jersey.

Services are to be held today in Fontanelle di Prato.

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