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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, October 16, 2008

Edited by Sue George

Kohl admits doping

Bernhard Kohl
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Two days after news broke that he had tested positive, Austrian Bernhard Kohl, who won the mountains jersey and finished third in the Tour de France, admitted that he doped with EPO CERA. He spoke of his offenses on Wednesday evening in a press conference in Vienna, Austria.

The 26-year-old Kohl accepted responsibility for doping and said in a statement that he was withdrawing his option to have his B samples tested. Two of Kohl's A samples had tested positive after testing by the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD).

"I want to clean the slate," said a tearful Kohl in a conference broadcast by Austrian television.

The AFP reported that he began doping following a crash at the Dauphiné. Kohl said his team, including Gerolsteiner manager Hans-Michael Holczer had no knowledge of his doping, which he undertook on his own. Kohl also apologized to Holczer, who had previously said he felt "betrayed" by Kohl's actions.

"I succumbed to temptation. The pressure was incredibly strong. I am only a human being and in this exceptional situation, I showed weakness," Kohl said.

Kohl had previously announced that he would speak at a press conference on Thursday in Vienna, but instead he talked on Wednesday evening to the ORF and other media at the Viennese airport.

Kohl faces a possible suspension of up to two years plus a fine of one year's salary and presumably the return of his winnings from the Tour de France. Prior to news of his doping, Kohl had signed a contract with Silence - Lotto, the team of Cadel Evans, who finished second at the Tour de France.

Riccardo Riccò became the first pro cyclist to admit doping with EPO CERA earlier this summer after he was caught doping following testing of his urine samples from the Tour de France. In the interim, Stefan Schumacher and Leonardo Piepoli have also tested positive for the same substance.

Piemonte provides possible sprint duel

By Gregor Brown

Alessandro Petacchi (Team LPR Brakes) at the Tour of Britain
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

The 94th Giro del Piemonte is likely to come down to a sprint duel between two of cycling's top sprinters when it is run Thursday. Italy's Alessandro Petacchi of Team LPR Brakes and Daniele Bennati of Team Liquigas will bank on a bunch gallop after 199 kilometres of racing from Novi Ligure to Lagnasco.

Bennati won the race over Swiss Gregory Rast and Australian Gene Michael Bates when the organisers last held the race, in 2006. The 2007 edition was not held due to funding problems, but race organiser RCS Sport – organisers of the Milano-Sanremo and Giro d'Italia – rolled it out again for 2008.

The race serves as a warm up to Giro di Lombardia, two days later, so the riders' form will be on target. Petacchi and Bennati's teams will have to control any escape attempts before their sprinters will have a chance at victory. Protagonists include World Champion Alessandro Ballan of Team Lampre and Olympic Champion Samuel Sánchez of Team Euskaltel-Euskadi. Gilberto Simoni (Diquigiovanni), Leonardo Bertagnolli (Liquigas), David Zabriskie (Garmin Chipotle - H30), Alexandr Kolobnev (CSC-Saxo Bank), Giovanni Visconti (Quick Step) and Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) will also be ones to watch.

The climbs of Monforte d'Alba, Novello and La Morra mark the first part of the parcours, while the final 53 kilometres are flat.

Giro del Piemonte, in northwestern Italy, is one of the country's oldest races. This year will be the 102nd year of the race that started in 1906, when Italian Giovanni Gerbi won. Organisers did not hold the race in 1943 and 1944 due to World War II, in 1968 due to bad weather, in 1975 and 1976 for organisational reasons and in 2000 because of road construction.

Teams ready for Giro del Piemonte

Teams are getting ready for the 199km Giro del Piemonte on Thursday. A few squads announced their rosters, including some last minute changes in their line-ups.

For Milram, Marco Velo is replacing Andrey Grivko, who is saving himself instead for the Giro di Lombardia on Saturday. In addition, German Sebastian Schwager will replace Grivko's countryman Volodymyr Diudia.

"Andrea had a full race program the last few weeks and wanted to prepare himself intensively for the challenging Giro di Lombardia," said Milram's Vittorio Algeri. "He asked us for a short racing break and we approved it. With Marco Velo and Sebastian Schwager we increase our chances in a mass sprint at the somewhat flatter Giro del Piemonte."

Ceramica Flaminia - Bossini Docce's Mikhaylo Khalilov will not start the Giro del Piemonte on Thursday. He is suffering from a fever. Instead, Maurizio Biondo will take his place.

Liquigas for Giro del Piemonte: Daniele Bennati, Leonardo Bertagnolli, Valerio Agnoli, Kjell Carlström, Vladimir Miholjevic, Matej Mugerli, Andrea Noè and Gorazd Stangelj under manager Roberto Amadio and D.S. Mario Scirea.

Milram for Giro del Piemonte: Brett Lancaster, Fabio Sabatini, Luca Barla, Marco Velo, Martin Velits, Matej Jurco, Sergio Ghisalberti, Sebastian Schwager under DS Vittorio Algeri.

Barloworld for Giro del Piemonte: Enrico Gasparotto, Diego Caccia , Patrick Calcagni , Steve Cummings, Geraint Thomas, John Lee Augustyn, Gianpaolo Cheula and Mauricio Soler under DS Alberto Volpi.

Astana for Giro del Piemonte: Chris Horner, Benoît Joachim, Roman Kireyev, Berik Kupeshov, Steve Morabito, Gregory Rast, Michael Schär and Andrey Zeits under D.S. Alexandr Shefer

Tinkoff Credit Systems for Giro del Piemonte: Pavel Brutt, Nikita Eskov, Walter Pedraza, Mikhail Ignatiev, Alexander Serov, Evgueni Petrov, Sergey Klimov and Yuahen Sobal, with Luca Mazzanti

Lombardia promises thrilling 2008 finale

By Gregor Brown

Will Damiano Cunego celebrate for a third time?
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Just two days after the Giro del Piemonte, the 102nd Giro di Lombardia promises to send the season out with a fierce battle this Saturday in Italy. Olympic Champion Samuel Sánchez and 2007 winner Damiano Cunego are some of the favourites who will fight through autumn's falling leaves to arrive on Como's lakefront victorious.

Many riders, like Australia's Cadel Evans, mark this monument down on their list of races they would like to win. It's the historical importance of the race – one of only five Monuments in the sport – and the parcours – the famed climb of Madonna di Ghisallo – that is lending it its myth.

The race first came about as the Milano-Milano in 1905 and took on its Giro di Lombardia name in 1907. Its "Monument" status took hold with the addition of the Madonna del Ghisallo in the 1920s. First unpaved, the climb is the race's highlight at 8.6 kilometres long and 511 metres in elevation gain. The climb hits percentages of 14% near Mulini del Perlo and another sharp kick before reaching the Sanctuary dedicated to cyclists.

The race has finished along the lakefront in Como since 2004, where it finished in the 1960s and 1970s. Back then the race started in Milano, but now heads off from Varese. Between 2004 and 2006 the race started in neighbouring Switzerland, in Mendrisio.


Cadel Evans always marks this race in his calendar
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

The race travels towards Como after leaving Varese, where Alessandro Ballan recently won the World Championships. It passes through Como and heads up the western shores of the lake for the first climb – Intelvi. The next obstacle comes on the eastern shores of Lago di Como with the climb out Bellano and into Valsassina.

The race kicks into top gear with the descent into Lecco and the snake-like path back along the lake towards Bellagio. The riders leave the homes of the rich and famous and climb towards the cyclists' sanctuary – the Madonna del Ghisallo. It tops out with 44.3 kilometres remaining.

Like last year – in a move that included Cunego and Evans – an escape will likely form and see a battle amongst cycling's elite on the roads back to Como. There are two final smaller climbs – Civiglio at 15.7 kilometres to go and San Fermo della Battaglia at 5.7 kilometres – before the finish on Como's Lungo Lario Trento for a total of 242 kilometres.

Read the complete preview.

Tour of Britain confirms dates for 2009

The peloton in the Tour of Britain
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

The Tour of Britain confirmed its dates for the 2009 edition on Wednesday. Again classified as a UCI category 2.1 event, the Tour will run eight days from Saturday, September 12 through Saturday, September 19.

According to UCI regulations, up to 50% of the teams will be ProTour teams. Professional Continental, Continental and domestic teams, along with a British national squad, will make up the remainder of the roster.

The 2009 Tour of Britain will finish in central London, on the same circuit used in the opening stage of the 2008 edition. Full route details will be announced in the spring.

Team Type 1's Wilson dons climbers jersey at Sun Tour

2007 Sun Tour winner, Matt Wilson (Team Type 1)
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

Team Type 1's Matt Wilson pulled on the green-and-white polka-dot Cyclismo Bendigo King of the Mountains jersey after stage three on Wednesday at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour. Wilson, the winner of the 2007 edition of the race, saw his achievement as a step along the way to defending his title.

Wilson was the first rider over the top of the category one climb that came 25 miles from the finish of stage three in Marysville. He went on to finish seventh in the 85-mile (137 km) stage, the longest in the seven-day event, and his performance moved him into 13th overall.

Baden Cook (Barloworld) was Wednesday's winner, ahead of Dominique Rollin (Toyota-United Pro Cycling) and Simon Clarke ( Wilson and his team-mate Glen Chadwick were part of a 16-rider group that finished in front of a peloton that shattered due to the two's aggressive riding. Chadwick sits in seventh position, 35 seconds behind overall leader Stuart O'Grady (CSC Saxo Bank).

"Matt and Chady looked really solid on the climb today. They took several shots but did not get much cooperation," Director Ed Beamon said. "Chady went hard at the top with Matt coming around for top points. Unfortunately, 10 kilometers of descent allowed some dropped guys like O'Grady, Rollin and Clarke to get back on."

Wilson now leads the King of the Mountains competition by 16 points over Hugo Sabido (Barloworld). While the 2004 Australian national road champion could become the fourth rider from Team Type 1 to win a mountain competition at a stage race this year, Beamon said Wilson's focus is on winning the race again overall. Only 50 seconds down, he is one of 17 riders within a minute of lead. Last year, he won the race by a scant two seconds.

"Tomorrow [Thursday] the climb is more difficult and the finish is at the top," Beamon said. "Matty is in good shape for the KOM, but we'll be riding for (the) GC."

On Thursday, racers will tackle a 115km stage with a 16km final ascent to the summit of Mt. Buller, the last rated climb of the race.

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour.

Continuing tech coverage of the 2008 Interbike show

Had enough of Interbike yet? The show doors may have closed a few weeks back but Cyclingnews technical editor James Huang still has more information on new items to come for the 2009 season. In the most recent edition, we cover another round of road and track bikes from BH, Blue and Dolan plus a wealth of seating options from fi’zi:k and Prologo. Also, be sure to pay a visit to our video section for interviews from the show with such notables as SRAM president Stan Day, FSA's Matt VanEnkevort and Salvatore Micelli, and Jim Felt of Felt Bicycles. Check back regularly to see what's coming down the pipe in the months ahead as we begin to wind down our coverage from Las Vegas, Nevada.

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