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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, November 22, 2010

Date published:
November 22, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Petacchi unsure of status of doping investigation

     Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) was a somewhat controversial starter at this year's Vuelta.
    Article published:
    November 21, 2010, 13:50 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Italian determined to ride three Grand Tours in 2011

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) has said that he is still waiting to hear if the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) will refer or drop an inquiry against him concerning dopöing allegations. .

    In June, Petacchi was placed under investigation by Italian police as part of a widespread doping probe, while in September it was reported that CONI was deliberating on whether to refer or drop its own inquiry.

    “I know less than you,” Petacchi said, according to “I haven’t heard anything more from anybody. Time is dragging on too much, but I want to stay calm because I’m at peace with my conscience."

    Petacchi has been accused of using PFC (Perfluorocarbon), which boosts the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood without raising haematocrit level, and human serum albumin, which can be used to reduce haematocrit levels artificially. He has already served a suspension for a positive test for salbutamol in 2007 and so any new doping infraction would incur further sanctions that would effectively end the sprinter’s career.

    When his former LPR Brakes teammate Danilo Di Luca had his suspension for CERA use reduced by CONI in October as a result of his collaboration with investigators, he publicly denied having named Petacchi during meetings with prosecutor Benedetto Roberti.

    Petacchi didn’t travel to the Tour de France route presentation in October due to the ongoing investigation. However, he did compete in this year’s Tour, where he won the green jersey, and in the Vuelta a España, even though the police inquiry into the allegations against him was underway.

    Meanwhile, the 2005 Milan-San Remo winner earned a very public vote of confidence last week when Italian national team manager Paolo Bettini declared that the route of the 2011 world championships in Copenhagen in tailor-made for Petacchi. After visiting Denmark, Bettini stated that...

  • Fahey, Ljungqvist re-elected to WADA posts

    WADA president John Fahey gives an address at a symposium in Lausanne, Switzerland.
    Article published:
    November 21, 2010, 21:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Australian to remain as president through 2013

    The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) approved a second three-year term for its president John Fahey and vice-president Arne Ljungqvist today. The pair were re-elected by WADA's Founation Board during the Third World Conference on Doping in Sport in November 2007 in Madrid, Spain.

    Fahey, 65, took over as WADA president from Dick Pound in 2008.

    "Over the past three years, this fight has continued to make significant strides under WADA's guidance and coordination," said Fahey. "As the first government representative to serve at the helm of WADA, I will continue to focus much attention on maximizing the role of governments for enhanced cooperation and sharing of information between governments and sport authorities."

    "High-profile doping cases and investigations underscore the fact that no sport and no country are immune to the threat of doping, as well as the critical need for strong sport-government collaborative efforts in confronting doping."

    Fahey's comments come after reports that US officials met this week with anti-doping authorities and police from several different countries in Lyon, France as part of the ongoing US federal investigation into doping at the US Postal team.

  • Page's season plagued by problems

    Jon Page (Planet Bike)
    Article published:
    November 22, 2010, 1:19 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    American 'cross rider faces poor results and no sponsor

    This season American cyclo-cross star Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) has struggled to gain the results he's wanted in Europe while being forced to search for a new title sponsor. It all adds up to a rather forgettable Continental campaign thus far.

    The 34-year-old, who took silver in the 2007 cyclo-cross world championships, hasn't captured a win so far during the 2010-2011 season and at the big European 'cross events he's failed to even crack the top 10.

    Meanwhile, Page found out that his current title sponsor, Planet Bike, will not extend his contract.

    "It's a bit of a roller-coaster right now. It's much more than just the bike racing. I'm not performing on the bike as I would want to, my wife is pregnant and I don't have a title sponsor for the next season," explained Page.

    "I talked with Bob Downs, the owner from Planet Bike. He's selling the company and the new people are not interested in the cyclo-cross team; my contract will not be extended," he added.

    Page has never experienced a calm build-up to the world championships and this year is turning out to be no different. In 2006 he broke his collarbone before claiming an unexpected second place at the world championships in Hooglede, Belgium.

    A year later he had a row with his Belgian Sunweb-Projob team and manager Jürgen Mettepenningen, ending his term after one year instead of completing his two-year contract.

    Last year Page missed a post-race doping control after the World Cup in Koksijde and although he eventually wasn't suspended for the incident he did miss a large part of the season.

  • Hunter breaks ankle while training

    Robert Hunter (Garmin-Transitions) used to race for Barloworld.
    Article published:
    November 22, 2010, 9:55 GMT
    Cycling News

    South African rider to miss Pegasus' first team camp

    Robert Hunter has suffered a fractured ankle while training on Monday morning. The South African rider announced the bad news via Twitter.

    "Not a good way to start the 2011 season. Broken ankle while out training. Now I'm bed ridden for 10 days," he tweeted.

    The accident occurred in a curve, nobody else was involved. "Front wheel slipped in corner, put my foot down to stop from falling and felt my ankle go! Think I'm getting old," Hunter added.

    On top of the injury, which means a setback in his 2011 season build-up, the sprint veteran will have to miss out on the first meeting of his new team Pegasus in Australia this week.

    "Most of all I'm gutted to be missing training camp. Was really looking forward to it with the new team," he added.

  • Kristoff looking to move up along with BMC

    BMC's Norwegian Alexander Kristoff took the best young rider jersey into stage two.
    Article published:
    November 22, 2010, 10:02 GMT
    Cycling News

    Norwegian to ride Giro d'Italia as his first Grand Tour

    Alexander Kristoff finished in the top ten a number of times during his first year with BMC Racing Team, even finishing third two times in 2010. In the coming season, the young Norwegian is looking forward to even more, and hoping to move up with the squad, as it looks to attain ProTeam (formerly ProTour) status.

    Kristoff rode for Continental-ranked Norwegian teams from 2006 to 2009 before signing with BMC. The sprinter's best results this year were third place finishes in the first stage of the Tour of California and in the Philadelphia International Championship.

    In 2011 he will make his Grand Tour debut and in order to prepare for the Giro d'Italia, his spring schedule will be changed, with less emphasis on the Classics. Kristoff will start out at the Tour Down Under before taking on the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman. He will then return to Europe for Paris-Nice, Milan-San Remo , Gent-Wevelgem and the GP Scheldeprijs.

    From there, Kristoff will ride one more stage race, the Giro di Trentino, before heading to the Italian Grand Tour on May 7.

    There's a reason for all those early season races in the Middle East. “They were afraid that I would not be able to train properly in Norway. So they put me in all the early races,” he told , adding that he had been in poor form at the team's first meeting early this year partially because of the cold weather conditions in his homeland.

    Looking at his racing calendar for 2011, he said, “Up until the Giro , it is pretty tight, but it's better than the program I had this season. At one time I had five weeks racing, a week at home and then six weeks on the road again. I wanted to run fewer races than last year.”

    He is particularly looking forward to his debut at Milan-San Remo. “In the years to come, this is probably the Classic that fits me best. I know that Mark Cavendish has won there. When we rode together...

  • Visconti motivated for 2011 after Giro d’Italia invitation

    Giovanni Visconti (ISD - Neri) was disappointed not to take the win
    Article published:
    November 22, 2010, 10:46 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian national champion to begin the season in Qatar

    Italian national champion Giovanni Visconti described the confirmation that his team has been assured a place in the 2011 Giro d’Italia as ‘the first victory of the new season’ and the news gave him and his team extra motivation as they begin to prepare for next year.

    The Tuscan-based team was known as ISD-Neri this year but will be become Farnese Vini-Neri in 2011 after swapping sponsors with the Lampre team.

    “Knowing that we’re doing the Giro allows me and the team to start the season more relaxed but also more confident. There won’t be a need to get result at any price,” Visconti told Gazzetta dello Sport.

    Visconti wore the pink leader’s jersey at the 2008 Giro for eight days but will target stage victories in 2011.

    “I still haven’t won anything big, so I’ve got ground to make up. But I think 2011 will be my year," Visconti predicted.

    “I think I’ve got the ability to do something but it’s not the right moment yet. I’m 27 but I’m not physically mature yet: I’m about three years behind my age. Going for a result between 15th and 20th doesn’t make sense. We’ll see what happens in the future.”

    Visconti was close to leaving ISD-Neri for Liquigas in the summer. He wanted to ride the big classics and break out of the Italian scene. But the Professional Continental team is built around him and his departure put the whole team at risk.

    He reportedly fell out with his mentor and directeur sportif Luca Scinto but then backtracked and decided to stay. He will again lead the team in 2011, alongside Patrik Sinkewitz and Italian veteran Andrea Noe, who will ride his last-ever Giro at the age of 41 before retiring.

    “Things are fine now. And to be honest I’m sick of talking about it all the time. It just makes me angry," he said.”

    “I realised that I...

  • Contador's meat contamination more than possible, says Spanish agricultural association

    The area around the Reservoir venue is cattle and horse country
    Article published:
    November 22, 2010, 10:54 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Massive meat imports from South America could explain doping positive

    A representative of the biggest Spanish agricultural association ASAJA, Ramón Riestra, has supported Alberto Contador in his defense line regarding a positive anti-doping control for Clenbuterol at the Tour de France this year. The 2010 Tour winner claimed that his test result was the outcome of contaminated meat that had been bought in Spain.

    Riestra now suported this explanation, telling that it was "more than possible" because great amounts of meat are imported from Sout America, where the fattening of cattle with Clenbuterol is not prohibited, unlike in Europe.

    "I want to denounce that Spain imports Clebuterol-contaminated meat coming from South America and that Contador is only a scapegoat," Riestra said.

    "The European Union has signed an agreement with Mercosur, South America's common market, to import 20 million tons of meat over three years for the 27 European countries. Spain, which is meat-deficient, receives a minumum of two million tons. And in South America, it is not prohibited to fatten cattle with Clenbuterol."

    Of course, imported meat has to undergo sanitary controls in Europe, but Riestra said these were insufficient and ineffective. "I'd like to see those controls. It's really easy. They send a first, correct lot and then, after the controls, the full package. Or they fix it with a bribe. I had a relative who was working as sanitary inspector and he told me there was nothing to do."

    Riestra continued by explaining that Contador could have been contaminated with the forbidden substance if he ingested beef bought in the border region between Spain and France. "It's more than possible. One of the main entry ports for this meat is in Saint Jean de Luz, a French town very close to Irún [where the contaminated meat was allegedly bought - ed.]. It wouldn't be uncommon at all that some meat market in Irún would sell this meat."

    The Spaniard added that the situation...

  • Tosatto to Saxo Bank-Sungard for one year

    Matteo Tosatto (Quick Step)
    Article published:
    November 22, 2010, 12:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    36-year-old signs from Quick Step

    Matteo Tosatto will ride for Saxo Bank-Sungard in 2011. The Danish team announced the one-year contract with the Italian on Monday morning.

     “With Matteo we will have a remarkably solid and loyal cyclist who will glide into the role as road captain in a natural way. Throughout his long career, he has been much appreciated and respected at both former teams and the Italian national team. He will fit in well and we're all looking forward to welcoming him on board,” team owner Bjarne Riis said.

     “As so many others in the world of cycling, I have been fascinated by the way Bjarne runs his team and I'm really proud about becoming a member of the well-respected organisation. Coming to this well-organised team gives me new motivation and I can't wait to meet my new teammates and the staff around us,” said Tosatto.

     Tosatto, 36, turned pro in 1997 with MG Maglifico-Technogym, and rode for Ballan and Fassa Bortolo before joining Quick Step in 2006. He has won stages in the Tour de France (2006) and the Giro d'Italia (2001).