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First Edition Cycling News for April 30, 2007

Date published:
April 30, 2007, 1:00 BST
  • Milram for Romandie

    Article published:
    April 30, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé in Ans

    Team Milram's Sergio Ghisalberti finished ninth overall last year in the Tour de Romandie, and the...

    Team Milram's Sergio Ghisalberti finished ninth overall last year in the Tour de Romandie, and the team is hoping he will repeat it this year - if he has overcome back problems.

    Also on the team's squad is Fabio Sacchi, who is recovering from severe bruising received in Gent-Wevelgem. "The race is very important for riders like Fabio Sacchi to test their condition," said Directeur Sportif Vittorio Algeri.

    Milram for Romandie: Alessandro Cortinovis, Matej Jurco, Mirco Lorenzetto, Fabio Sacchi, Sebastian Schwager, Sergio Ghisalberti, Brett Lancaster, Martin Müller

  • Volksbank for Henninger Turm

    Article published:
    April 30, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé in Ans

    Rene Weissinger and Florian Stalder will lead the Austrian Professional Continental Team Volksbank...

    Rene Weissinger and Florian Stalder will lead the Austrian Professional Continental Team Volksbank in Rund um den Henninger Turm Tuesday.

    "To hit the target in Frankfurt, the guys wil have to ride cleverly and budget their strength," said team manager Thomas Kofler. "They have trained well and are very strong."

    Volksbank for Henninger Turm: Florian Stalder, Pascal Hungerbühler, Sven Teutenberg, Rene Weissinger, Gerrit Glomser, Andreas Matzbacher, Patrick Riedesser, and Harald Morscher

  • Gerolsteiner for Romandie and Henninger Turm

    Article published:
    April 30, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé in Ans

    Team Gerolsteiner is looking to climbers and newcomers Bernhard Kohl and Oliver Zaugg to do well in...

    Team Gerolsteiner is looking to climbers and newcomers Bernhard Kohl and Oliver Zaugg to do well in the Tour de Romandie, which starts Tuesday. Markus Fothen is also on the team and will try to win the 20.4 km time trial which closes the stage race.

    Meanwhile, Gerolsteiner's Ardennes Classics team will cross the border from Belgium to Germany. Davide Rebellin and Stefan Schumacher will lead the team in Tuesday's Rund um den Henninger Turm in Frankfurt.

    Gerolsteiner for Romandie: Robert Förster, Markus Fothen, Johannes Fröhlinger, Torsten Hiekmann, Bernhard Kohl, Marcel Strauss, Oliver Zaugg and Beat Zberg.

    Gerolsteiner for Henninger Turm: Heinrich Haussler, Tim Klinger, David Kopp, Davide Rebellin, Ronny Scholz, Stefan Schumacher, Fabian Wegmann and Markus Zberg.

  • Stapleton disappointed by other teams

    Article published:
    April 30, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé in Ans

    Bob Stapleton, team manager of T-Mobile, is disappointed by a lack of action and interest by the...

    Bob Stapleton, team manager of T-Mobile, is disappointed by a lack of action and interest by the other ProTour teams in the Fuentes affair. "I have the impression that some people are afraid, personally and politically, to take any action," he told the sid press agency.

    The team managements met Saturday in Liège, to develop a joint strategy to ensure that the blood bags taken in Operación Puerto are turned over to the appropriate authorities. They are scheduled to meet again this week with race organizers and representatives from the UCI before presenting their plan publicly on May 4.

    Stapleton said that it was urgent that something be done. "If need be, we can force action," he said. "That can also happen from outside, through pressure from the sponsors."

    Roger Legeay, manager of Credit Agricole, said that at the upcoming meeting, "we will discuss what measures to take. A country cannot simply sit on 200 bags of blood," according to the sid. He added that the bags must be opened and tested to find out which athletes they belonged to, and which sports were involved.

  • McQuaid, Lefevere and Prudhomme to meet

    Patrick Lefevere
    Article published:
    April 30, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé in Ans

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Ans After a meeting in Liège between the AIOCC and the ASO on Saturday...

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Ans

    After a meeting in Liège between the AIOCC and the ASO on Saturday resulted in a request for teams to withdraw all riders who have been implicated in the Operación Puerto investigation from the Liège-Bastogne-Liège start list, Cyclingnews spoke with Quickstep director and IPCT president Patrick Lefevere about the move. The Belgian expressed his exhaustion with the never-ending case. "It took six hours to reach that statement... I'm getting tired of it.

    "The CONI clears Basso, and six months later they re-open the case. Same thing with the ASO, they wait six months and now - two months before the Tour de France - they expect us to take quick decisions. Why can't the organizers take decisions themselves, in their rule books there is a rule that gives them the possibility to exclude riders with a bad reputation. Everybody's always passing on the chore to us," Lefevere said at the start of Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

    There is a glimmer of hope on the horizon, however. "Anyway, the good thing is that on May 4 there's a big meeting scheduled with [UCI president Pat] McQuaid, [ASO director Christian] Prudhomme and myself," said Lefevere, "That should deliver something."

  • T-Mobile responds to 1996 doping charges

    Rolf Aldag and Bob Stapleton
    Article published:
    April 30, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    By Susan Westemeyer T-Mobile Team is not taking the newest charges of doping in the team's past...

    By Susan Westemeyer

    T-Mobile Team is not taking the newest charges of doping in the team's past lightly. "Those are serious charges. We will look carefully at the evidence," said Sport Director Rolf Aldag to sid. "We aren't interested in just getting out of this matter. It must all be explained."

    Jef D'Hont, a former soigneur for the-then Team Telekom, has claimed that in 1996, when Bjarne Riis won the Tour de France for the team, there was "systematic doping" within the team, administered by the team doctors, who still work for T-Mobile. In a book to be published shortly, he further claims that the former team manager Walter Godefroot organized and financed the doping system.

    Aldag, who was a member of the Telekom team at that time, said that it was "unimaginable, that there was systematic doping," and claimed to have a clean conscience and never to have doped. He was supported by team manager Bob Stapleton, who said, "I trust Ralf 100 percent, and also our experiences with the doctors from (the University Clinic) Freiburg have so far been positive."

    The two doctors named in the book, Lothar Heinrich and Andreas Schmid, still work for the team and administer the team's highly-vaunted, newly-introduced anti-doping plan. Stapleton admitted that it would be a major blow to the team and the program if the claims were proved to be true. "That would destroy our program. We will take out time and see which information is true."

    Heinrich denied the charges through the T-Mobile press office, but did not make a public statement. "The University Clinic Freiburg will be very interested in clearing up this matter," Aldag noted. Stapleton added that if the charges come to nothing, then the doctors could turn to the courts for satisfaction.

    Godefroot told Spiegel magazine, which is publishing parts of the book, that he does not want to have his...

  • Basso meets Spanish lawyer

    Ivan Basso
    Article published:
    April 30, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Tim Maloney, European Editor

    By Tim Maloney-European Editor Late last week, embattled Discovery Channel rider Ivan Basso...

    Discovery's Bruyneel in Madrid before critical C.O.N.I. hearing

    By Tim Maloney-European Editor

    Late last week, embattled Discovery Channel rider Ivan Basso travelled to Madrid, Spain to meet Spanish lawyer Juan Zernoza, who previously represented Jan Ullrich in an unsuccessful attempt to block the transfer of the German riders blood bags from Operación Puerto in Spain to German prosecutors in Bonn.

    After the meeting with Zernoza, Basso also met with Discovery Channel sports manager Johan Bruyneel. According to the Corriere della Sera's Paolo Tomaselli, Bruyneel and Basso discussed the upcoming May 2 meeting with the Italian Olympic Committee's anti-doping prosecutor Ettore Torri. Bruyneel and Tomaselli speculated that Basso may also have discussed with Bruyneel the fact that his contract with Discovery Channel Pro Cycling team has a zero tolerance clause that calls for the immediate firing of any rider found guilty of a doping offence.

    Basso's lead attorney, Italian Avv. Massimo Martelli told La Republica's Eugenio Capodacqua "We'll see on May 2nd what the truly new elements are that the authorities have. Many of the elements were already in the previous dossier, the one that was previously shelved by C.O.N.I," explained Martelli, "the phone call between Fuentes and Labarta; the money that 'Birillo' was supposed to pay [Fuentes], etc. Regarding the SMS that Ivan allegedly sent, he says he never sent it; for the bags of blood, we'll have to see."

    However, Capodacqua points out other potentially damaging information for Basso: a yet unverified telephone call between Fuentes and his alleged collaborator, ex-mountain biker Alessander Kalc, who according to the documents collected in Operación Puerto was a courier who brought blood to Number Two (allegedly Ivan Basso) at the 2006 Giro d'Italia.

    With the evidence stacking up against Ivan Basso,...

  • Post Liège reactions

    Frank Schleck (CSC)
    Article published:
    April 30, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Ans Schleck rides with cracked vertebra, happy with third "On Saturday my back...

    By Brecht Decaluwé in Ans

    Schleck rides with cracked vertebra, happy with third

    "On Saturday my back hurt a lot and after examination it was revealed that I have a broken vertebra. I offered up so many things to get to this race so I wanted to start. I attacked at the right moment but Di Luca was stronger on the final climb. I'm happy with my third place. I've dreamed about winning this race in the past so I hope to come back here and realize my dream," Schleck said to Sporza.

    In a first reaction after the race Fränk Schleck was hammered. "It was so fast, so hard," Schleck sighed. When asked if Di Luca exploited his hard work in the final kilometre, Schleck wasn't angry on the Italian winner. "Di Luca had the right to ride like that. Anyway, if I would've been stronger I would've won," Schleck said to Cyclingnews at the finish line before heading to the podium.

    Gerolsteiner content

    Gerolsteiner did a good share of the work to bring back the breakaway late in the race, and had a good chance with Stefan Schumacher's attack, but had to be satisfied with Rebellin's fifth place. ""We can really be very satisfied with these results. For me, it was the strongest team performance to date. We have never had such a strong team here," said director Christian Henn.

    Stefan Schumacher: "We can live well with Davide's fifth place. That was a good result to end up our strong week in the Ardennes." Schumacher, as to why his escape near the end of the race wasn't successful: "It's too bad that the others in my leading group didn't want to share the work and lead." He tried it on his own, "but in the end I just didn't have enough left."

    "When I had [just] 30 seconds, I knew that it would be really, really difficult," he told Cyclingnews after the finish. "If I had some luck and if maybe there were some attacks from the favourites and they neutralized each other, then perhaps I...

  • Di Luca completes his Ardennes collection

    Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas)
    Article published:
    April 30, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Brecht Decaluwé in Ans

    "The Killer" has returned to make amends to the missing piece from his magical 2005 season by...

    A dream come true in Ans

    "The Killer" has returned to make amends to the missing piece from his magical 2005 season by winning Belgium's oldest Classic, the Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Italian Danilo Di Luca escaped with Fränk Schleck just after the Côte du Saint-Nicolas and then attacked the Luxembourger at 400 metres to go to add the third of three Ardennes classics to his palmarès. Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown was in Ans to hear Di Luca's reaction to his win.

    "I thought of this race for the past nine years - since I turned professional," said Di Luca, who turned professional with Riso Scotti in 1998. He had just captured the 93rd running of Liège in front of Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) and Fränk Schleck (Team CSC).

    After 262 kilometres of racing and more than six hours through the rolling Ardennes in Southeast Belgium, Di Luca noted that this race was one that was always on his mind. "I always thought that this was the most beautiful race and the one for me. Today I am very, very satisfied with what I have accomplished."

    As in the Amstel Gold and Flèche Wallonne, where he finished third in both races, Di Luca had the help of a strong Liquigas team. Riders like Franco Pellizotti and Alessandro Spezialetti were there helping him be positioned for the win.

    "Danilo showed he was the strongest, I am happy for him after his miss two years ago," recalled the curly-haired Pellizotti after the finish. "It is also important for him after he was so close in Flèche Wallonne. The team worked very well and we did well in these Belgian races."

    Di Luca was proud of his companions and repaid them in the best way, with a win in Ans. "I dedicate this win to all of my team-mates," continued Di Luca on the hot day in Ans. "They truly...