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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News, November 18, 2008

Edited by Gregor Brown

Contador suffers non-serious crash

Alberto Contador, 25, okay following crash on Sunday
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Alberto Contador, winner of this year's Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España, crashed during the ACP Criterium near Madrid on Sunday. Doctors released the Spaniard from the hospital following a check up that determined him unharmed, despite bruises and scrapes.

"I am doing well, I have some superficial scrapes on my face and shoulder. It was less than what I initially thought," said Contador to Marca.

"The crash was hard despite the fact that we were going slow. It is not a big thing."

The criterium was in honour of Olympic track gold medallist Joan Llaneras. As well as the 2007 Tour de France winner, other participants in the race were Alejandro Valverde, 2008 Tour winner Carlos Sastre and Olympic champion Samuel Sánchez.

Contador will travel to Tenerife at the end of this month for a Team Astana training camp. He will meet his 2009 teammates, including Lance Armstrong. It will be the duo's first meeting since the American announced his comeback.

Di Luca aims for Worlds title

Danilo Di Luca, 32, wants 2009 Worlds title
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Danilo Di Luca will target the World Championships in 2009. The Italian from Pescara wants to add the prestigious rainbow jersey to a palmarès that includes the Giro d'Italia and several important one-day classics.

"It is the win that I am missing. I am at the right age and the course is suitable," said Di Luca, 32, to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The rider known as 'The Killer' sat out the last two editions of the World Championships. The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) kept him busy in 2007 with its Oil for Drugs investigation and the technical director, Franco Ballerini, opted for a team built around Paolo Bettini this year.

"Ballerini made me a promise and I expect the next national team to be set up around me. The presence of Bettini this year was certainly an obstacle."

The World Championships will take place September 27 in Mendrisio, Switzerland, and Di Luca will build his early season around the Ardennes Classics and the Giro d'Italia. He won the Giro in 2007 and his LPR Brakes team should be invited by organiser RCS Sport for 2009. Last year, however, the team was not invited to the important Ardennes Classics despite his win in the 2007 Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

"I don't see any problems because we are abiding by the Biological Passport. This year was difficult because there was not the requested wildcard for the ProTour races. ... My races are the Amstel [Gold], Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. To also repeat at the Giro like in 2007, but I am more interested in the Worlds."

Di Luca will face a new challenger at the Giro d'Italia. Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong will ride the race for the first time, joining the usual rivals of Damiano Cunego, Ivan Basso and Gilberto Simoni.

"I am not afraid of Basso or Armstrong on the climbs. I know I can battle Ivan and I am curious to face the American, even if in the time trial I will pay dearly."

Albert faces long pause

Niels Albert, 22, faces time off bike
Photo ©:
(Click for larger image)

Niels Albert received the news from doctors that he cannot train outside on his bike for six weeks. The Belgian cyclo-cross rider will have no chance for the Superprestige title, GVA trophy or World Cup, and looks unlikely to ride either the Belgian or world championships.

The 22-year-old crashed while warming up for a race in Gavere, Belgium, this weekend, and tore his spleen. He remains in the intensive care unit of the University Clinic in Gent.

Albert's manager Christoph Roodhooft said Albert may be able to start riding on the roller at home in two weeks, but probably won't have enough time to get in shape for the championships. "The season is not entirely over, but almost," he said to "Niels can decide himself when he will train outside again, but I don't want to take any risks." (SW)

Confusion over the Olympia's Tour

Confusion reigns over the future of the Olympia's Tour, with conflicting announcements Monday whether the Dutch stage race would be held in 2009. Wim van Drunen, head of the organising committee, announced first that the race would not be held due to a lack of sponsorship. Hours later, Frank Boelé, director of the Amsterdam Six Day race, said that the race would take place.

The Olympia's Tour is International Cycling Union (UCI) 2.2 stage race for younger riders, which runs across the Netherlands. Organisers have run the race since 1909. Lars Boom of Team Rabobank Continental won this year's edition.

Van Drunen announced the cancellation on the race's website. Boelé later denied that report, saying that van Drunen was "no longer president. He therefore does not have the right to make such an announcement," according to

This year, five new board members were named to the organising committee. Van Drunen claims that the new board members were never officially appointed and that the new main sponsor which they had lined up was not serious.

Boelé said that the new board members are working hard to put the race back on its feet financially. "Olympia's Tour will be run next year as usual."

Boelé added that contracts for the coming year have been signed and that several teams have already confirmed their participation. Organisers shortened the race from nine to six days for 2009. (SW)

Contentpolis-Murcia: new sponsor and riders

Team Contentpolis-Murcia will bring on AMPO, an industrial metal company, as a second sponsor for 2009. The Spanish Professional Continental team also expects the edition of four riders.

The team, expected to be called Murcia-AMPO, will bring on board Aitor Pérez Arrieta (ex-Extremadura rider), Mikel Gaztañaga Echeverria (Agritubel), Dionisio Galparsoro (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Gorka Izaguirre (neo-pro).

Team Managers Manuel López and José Antonio Ortuño announced last month their search for additional sponsors. With AMPO's backing, they could meet their goal for 2009 and see their team race the Vuelta a España.

AMPO S COOP was started in 1964 and is based in the Basque country.

Bastianelli fractures jaw

Italy's Marta Bastianelli
Photo ©: Davide Tricarico
(Click for larger image)

Italian Marta Bastianelli fractured her jaw in a crash Sunday in Velletri, Rome. The 2007 World Champion, currently suspended for doping, faced reconstructive surgery and will be off the bike for 40 days.

Bastianelli was on a training ride with a group of amateurs and her brother-in-law and Team Quick Step rider, Alessandro Proni, reported La Gazzetta dello Sport. She lost control of her bike and crashed on the roadside shortly into the ride.

Upon arrival at the Velletri hospital, doctors immediately attended to her jaw with 10 stitches. Medics then transported her to a nearby clinic that specialises in facial wounds. The reconstructive surgery consisted of a metal plate that will be removed after four to five months.

Italy's anti-doping tribunal suspended Bastianelli for one-year in October as a result of her positive control for appetite suppressant flenfluramine. She can return to racing August 6.

Kohl hearing set for November 24

Bernhard Kohl's hearing before the National Anti-Doping Agency Austria is scheduled for Monday, November 24, in Vienna, the agency announced. An earlier date was not possible due to his vacation plans.

The former Gerolsteiner rider tested positive for CERA during the Tour de France. He confessed to having used the illegal substance, citing as his reasons the pressure to bring in wins and find a new team. (SW)

Jaksche to Austrian Continental team?

Jörg Jaksche had given up hope of riding again professionally, but he now may have a chance to return to the peloton. The small Austrian Team RC Gourmetfein Wels said it is in contact with the former rider and met with him in Salzburg, Austria, to discuss the possibilities.

Jaksche confessed to yearlong doping in July 2007. Authorities gave the German rider, who lives in Austria, a reduced one-year suspension for his extensive confession and cooperation. The suspension ended this summer.

It was not immediately clear what role Jaksche might have at the Austrian Continental team, which is also a local cycling club. Herbert Lindlbauer, vice chairman of the club's board of directors, told the Austrian that he had met with Jaksche. "I can imagine him appearing at lectures against doping, for example. Who can talk about that better than him?"

"Naturally I want to ride again. But I would also of course like to be with a stronger team," said Jaksche, 32. He announced in April that he would retire since he was unable to find a new team.

Lindlbauer indicated that he had already found a private sponsor to fund Jaksche's contract. The two are scheduled to meet again and they hope to have things settled by the middle of December. (SW)

(Additional editorial assistance by Susan Westemeyer.)

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