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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News, October 15, 2008

Edited by Gregor Brown

Basso closes Operación Puerto case

Ivan Basso's sporting and criminal case closed
Photo ©: AFP
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Ivan Basso closed his Operación Puerto case yesterday by negotiating a six-month sentence into a financial penalty of €10,800, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The 30 year-old rider from Varese served his 16-month sporting suspension with the Italian cycling federation (FCI) but faced criminal charges from local Busto Arsizio prosecutor.

"It is just that Ivan re-starts free of any thoughts and leaves this case behind him definitively," said Basso's lawyer, Massimo Martelli. The cyclist was not present in the hearing with Judge Luca Labianca.

Basso was banned from racing on June 15, 2007, for his links with Spanish Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, centre 2006's Operación Puerto doping investigation. During the hearings, he admitted to the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) prosecutor that he gave blood to Fuentes.

His sporting suspension ends October 24 and he will race the Japan Cup two days later -- his only race in 2008.

Biological Passport suspensions possible in 2009

Suggests CERA riders were on watched list

By Shane Stokes

UCI President Pat McQuaid: Biological Passport suspensions in 2009
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
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Although the International Cycling Union's (UCI) biological passport is still gathering data and is not yet running at full capacity, Pat McQuaid said that riders could face suspensions as early as 2009. The UCI president told Cyclingnews yesterday that in addition to blocking suspect riders from starting races, some could face tougher measures due to the longitudinal data gathered.

"The development of the biological passport is an ongoing thing," he stated. "I am still very confident in the programme; I am very confident in the information I am hearing from it and I am very confident in the ability that it will give cycling in keeping the sport clean.

"We will continue with it right through the winter and into the spring and summer of next year. It will be very well established... I reckon by the beginning of next season we will be able to use data within the biological passport for sanctioning purposes. I would be confident that we could arrive at that stage by the start of the season, both with regard to the no-start rule and for tougher measures."

If this does occur, it will be a new departure in the battle against doping. Thus far, federations have sidelined riders for long periods of time only if they returned a positive test.

The UCI launched the project earlier this year, but due to a number of factors, including the sheer scale of monitoring over 600 riders, it is behind the projected schedule. McQuaid confirmed that the recent peace deal negotiated with the Tour de France organisers ASO should move the project along.

The delay in implementing the system has been criticised by some. ASO's decision to sanction its race meant that the UCI did not gather data for this year's Tour de France. The French anti-doping agency (AFLD) did its own tests and nabbed several riders for CERA-EPO, including recent positives Leonardo Piepoli, Stefan Schumacher and Bernhard Kohl. McQuaid suggests that the latter two were already on the hot list.

"I am probably giving away a big secret when I say that some of these riders who have been tested positive here in the last couple of days were already in the radar with the biological passport. Therefore they would have been eventually caught anyway, one way or another. The biological passport gives us a wonderful opportunity to target riders, which we have done. I do feel that there is a big future for the passport within the sport and that everybody should embrace it.

"I think the results that have happened over the last couple of days will prove to be very beneficial to the experts who are currently studying the profiles of certain riders as well."

Piemonte to decide Coppa Italia

Will LPR Brakes' Danilo Di Luca keep the Coppa Italia lead?
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
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This year's Giro del Piemonte will decide the 2008 Coppa Italia series with only ten points separating the top two riders. Italy's Danilo Di Luca of Team LPR Brakes leads compatriot Stefano Garzelli of Team Acqua Sapone-Caffè Mokambo.

"The other day, I saw that we were up in the classification," said LPR Brakes Team Manager Fabio Bordonali to Cyclingnews. "We've not thought about the overall all year, but we see that Danilo now leads by ten points. It's pleasing, even if I only found out this last week."

The Italian cycling federation (FCI) only yesterday sent out the classification, giving Bordonali little time to plan for the overall win. Di Luca previously announced the end of his season with the Giro dell'Emilia and the team will fight for Giro del Piemonte victory with Alessandro Petacchi.

Di Luca holds 324 points in the series that takes into account Italy's biggest races, excluding the Giro d'Italia, Milano-Sanremo and Giro di Lombardia. His advantage over Garzelli grew with the win in Saturday's Giro dell'Emilia. Italy's Enrico Gasparotto of Team Barloworld is in third at 266 points and he holds an 11-point advantage on Francesco Ginanni of Team Diquigiovanni.

Ginanni and his team lead the young rider and teams' classifications. Ginanni, 23, holds a 43-point lead over Mauro Finetto of Team CSF Group Navigare and a 45-point lead over Francesco Masciarelli of Team Acqua Sapone.

Diquigiovanni leads the teams' ranking with 853 points; it is a 33-point lead on Bordonali's LPR Brakes team. Acqua Sapone-Caffè Mokambo is in third with 767 points.

"We won last year with Team Tenax," Bordonali continued. "It will be hard to make up the points to Diquigiovanni, but there are 40 points if we win."

Europe gets ready for the muddy cyclo-cross World Cup

Sven Nys is the dominant factor in cyclo-cross
Photo ©: Isosport
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While most of the road cyclists are slowly getting tired both physically and mentally by the end of the summer when there's only the Giro di Lombardia and foul weather left, some cyclists seem to be fresh and keen on riding some races. It's that time of the year again for cyclo-cross. Cyclingnews' Brecht Decaluwé will guide you through this rather unknown discipline.

The World Cup – which is more of a European Cup – has ten events of which three are in Belgium, two each in The Netherlands and France, one in the Czech Republic and one in Italy. In Spain there's only a men's race. The last couple of years there has been a lot of talking about a World Cup in the USA and it seems like Cross Vegas has the biggest chance of gaining a spot on the World Cup calendar in 2009. For now the World Cup stays in Europe and the first stop is in Kalmthout, Belgium, on Sunday October 19, 2008.

Peter Van den Abeele, a Belgian former professional rider who is the cyclo-cross coordinator for the UCI, is on a mission to internationalise the sport. Last year he managed to introduce a name sponsor, resulting in a changed name: the UCI World Cup presented by Safety Jogger. This year Van den Abeele managed to sell the TV-rights to more than twenty channels who will be showing a race report of 26 minutes in the United States, South Africa and countries in Asia. In Flanders, the northern part of Belgium, where veldrijden is unbelievably popular all World Cup events will be shown live on TV.

Van den Abeele opted to stop the confusion that existed around the World Cup and the UCI-ranking during previous years. Until last year there was a blue jersey for the leader in the UCI-ranking, which included all UCI-races and not only the World Cup events. The World Cup on the other hand didn't have an overall ranking.

This year the leader's jersey of the UCI-ranking has disappeared. The blue jersey has been swapped with a white jersey for the leader in the World Cup. The start money riders receive at the World Cup races is decided by this World Cup ranking as well. But the UCI-ranking remains extremely important as well since it decides the starting position in all UCI-races around the world, including the world championships.

Read the full feature.

Furious Rebellin forced out of home Classic

Davide Rebellin to miss Giro di Lombardia
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Italy's Davide Rebellin will not race in his home Classic, the Giro di Lombardia, this Saturday due to recent doping cases in his team. This last week, the French anti-doping agency (AFLD) announced his Gerolsteiner teammates, Stefan Schumacher and Bernhard Kohl, tested positive during the Tour de France.

"I am very sorry because Lombardia means a lot to me," said Rebellin, second at the Olympics, to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "It is a race that I like and that I have never been able to win. ... I can't do anything about it. I don't agree with it, but I am forced to respect it."

Schumacher and Kohl tested positive for a third generation of EPO – CERA (Continuous Erythropoietin Receptor Activator) – based on controls taken at the Tour de France, July 5 to 27. The AFLD tested blood samples from the race in the last two weeks after urine samples were inconclusive during the race.

Gerolsteiner suspended its racing for eight days based on its membership in the Movement for a Credible Cycling (MPCC). MPCC's rules require a suspension of the whole team when there are two positive tests results within 12 months. Lombardia was due to be its last race and so its season ended with Paris-Tours last Sunday.

"This decision was maybe taken in the heat of the moment," said Rebellin, 37, of Gerolsteiner's non-participation in Lombardia. "This morning [yesterday - ed.] I tried to call them and they did not respond. In the afternoon, I received a two-line email."

Rebellin's highest placing in Lombardia came in 2002 when he finished second to Michele Bartoli. He finished fifth in 2007.

Bastianelli suspended for one year

The Italian national anti-doping court has suspended Marta Bastianelli, 21, for one year based the positive control for appetite suppressant flenfluramine in July. The court will backdated her suspension to August 7 of this year.

Bastianelli, the 2007 women's world road race champion, tested positive for the stimulant flenfluramine at the European under-23 championships in July. She said that she took the drug as part of an appetite suppressant, and did not attempt to enhance her performance.

The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) anti-doping prosecutor requested a two-year suspension in September following its investigation.

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