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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, October 4, 2009

Date published:
October 04, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Vandenbroucke to publish blood values online

    Frank Vandenbroucke (Cinelli-Down Under)
    Article published:
    October 03, 2009, 19:08 BST
    By:
    Richard Tyler

    Belgian recruits the help of Aldo Sassi as he searches for new team

    Frank Vandenbroucke has announced that he will publish his blood values on the internet in an effort to attract a new team. The Belgian has says he has made the decision in order to clear his name of what he feels in a general perception of him as a doper.

    "I carry around the stigma of a doping rider, but this is not the case," Vandenbroucke told Belgian newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen. "I need to address this and I have been in contact with Dr [Aldo] Sassi of the Mapei-training center in Milan."

    Vandenbroucke said that Italian cycling coach Aldo Sassi has agreed to support the former Mapei rider with his training and the ongoing publication of his blood values. "Sassi will work with me from now on. He will also regularly test my blood and we will put my blood [values] on the net."

    A well known figure in the cycling world, Sassi currently acts as a coach to both Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas). He has been instrumental in Basso's return to cycling's top level after he agreed to coach the Italian, on the condition that his blood values be open to public scrutiny.

    For Vandenbroucke, the motivation for transparency comes from his desire to find a new team. In a career that dates back to 1994, the now 34-year-old has ridden for 11 different squads, most recently Cinelli-Down Under. He left the Australian-registered squad in June and has been unable to find a new team.

    "My financial requirements are not high," he told Gazet van Antwerpen. "It must have to do with my past."

    Vandenbroucke was a prodigious figure early in his career. He won races including Gent-Wevelgem (1998), Paris-Nice (1998), Liège-Bastogne-Liège (1999) as well as two stages of the Vuelta a España. He rode for Mapei from 1995 to 1998 and Cofidis from 1999 to 2000. His career began to falter in the early 2000s as he battled problems on and off the bike.

    In 2004, he admitted to taking performance...

  • Valverde calls an end to 2009 season

    Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) is surrounded at the finish in Velefique
    Article published:
    October 03, 2009, 21:06 BST
    By:
    Richard Tyler

    Spaniard to rest ahead of 2010 and impending CAS decision

    Alejandro Valverde has called a close to his 2009 season. The winner of this year's Vuelta a España said he will skip the final races of the season in order to rest prior to a resumption of training for the 2010 season.

    "After I won the Vuelta, I went directly to the World Championships in Mendrisio without any transition," said Valverde on Saturday. "Now I need to rest a little bit, physically and mentally, before I think about next season and start training again."

    Valverde will race in a series of end-of-season criteriums, however he has, at his own request, been left out of the Caisse d'Epargne squad for Paris-Bourges and Paris-Tours. The 29-year-old's decision means that his ninth place in last week's World Championship road race was the last major race of 2009.

    While he missed a medal at the Mendrisio Worlds, Valverde has enjoyed the most successful season of his eight year career. His first Grand Tour win in last month's Vuelta was preceded by overall victories at the Vuelta a Burgos, Dauphiné Libéré and Volta a Catalunya.

    Though successful, Valverde's season has not been without controversy. In May, he was handed a two year ban from racing in Italy after he was linked by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) with the 2006 Operación Puerto blood doping investigation.

    The ban saw him miss this year's Tour de France due to that race's passage through Italy on stage 17. Valverde is currently awaiting a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) that could see the International Cycling Union (UCI) extend the Italian ban to rule him out of all competition for up to two years.

    The CAS has not yet announced a date for a ruling on Valverde to take place.

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  • AFLD begins re-testing of 2008 Tour doping controls

    The French National anti-doping Laboratory
    Article published:
    October 04, 2009, 10:38 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Kohl says agency has a list of 40 riders, results due within two weeks

    French anti-doping authorities have a list of 40 riders under suspicion of doping in the 2008 Tour de France, according to a report published in an Austrian newspaper. The French National Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) has started testing samples taken from those riders during the 2008 Tour, with results expected in the next fortnight.

    According to  Austrian newspaper Kurier, Bernhard Kohl was officially questioned by representatives of the AFLD. After the official interrogation, Kohl met privately with Jean-Pierre Verdry, the director of the agency controls department. Verdry showed him a starting list from the 2008 Tour with about 40 names marked on it, with those riders being under suspicion of doping.

    “When I saw this list, I was beside myself,” Kohl said. Verdry confirmed the meeting. “Yes, I showed him the list.”

    AFLD director Pierre Bordry said that “Before the start of this year's Tour in Monaco, we informed about 15 riders that they samples from 2008 would be re-analysed. We expect to be able to announce the results within one to two weeks.”

    Kohl, who tested positive for the EPO-CERA during the Tour de France, was not surprised at the thought of others using the drug. “For most of the top riders, I could imagine that they had taken CERA. After all, we were all sure that it couldn't be proven.”

    The top riders' mood changed during the Tour, he said. “Many were tense.” Things got worse when Ricardo Ricco was the first to be tested positive for CERA. But as a few days passed with no further positives, they relaxed. “We convinced ourselves that nothing would happen.”

    But it did happen. Kohl and his Gerolsteiner team-mate Stefan Schumacher tested positive for CERA. Kohl is sure that they weren't the only two to have used the drug, but not really surprised that they were the only two to be caught, as the team was set to...

  • Horner signs on with RadioShack for two years

    Chris Horner (Astana)
    Article published:
    October 04, 2009, 12:26 BST
    By:
    Richard Tyler

    Armstrong's squad a homecoming for Horner

    Chris Horner has confirmed that he will race with Team RadioShack in 2010. He told American newspaper The Oregonian on Saturday that he has signed a two-year contract with Lance Armstrong's new team.

    Horner will join a number of his current Astana teammates including Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Klöden, plus team manager Johan Bruyneel at RadioShack next season.

    "I did talk with other teams," Horner told the newspaper, "but wanted to stay here."

    Horner's move to RadioShack ends two seasons at Astana, and will mark his return to an American squad for the first time in five years. He has been racing in Europe since 2004, when he left a prolific US-based career to join Saunier Duval. After year with the Spanish squad he went to Davitamon-Lotto, where he was a key lieutenant for Australian Cadel Evans.  He joined Astana in 2008.

    Horner's 2009 season has been beset by misfortune. Crashes in the Tour of California, Vuelta al Pais Vasco, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España all resulted in broken bones. A return to competition in between the Italian and Spanish Grand Tours saw him take second place overall at the French four-day race, the Tour de l'Ain.

    Horner has spent the last month in the United States as he recovers from injuries sustained in his most recent crash, on stage four of the Vuelta into Liege. Although the injuries turned out to be more serious that initially thought - with a broken pelvis diagnosed upon his return to the United States - Horner told Cyclingnews two weeks ago that he was confident of a return to Europe in time for the final races of the season.

    He is expected to line up in the final UCI World Calendar event, the Giro di Lombardia, on October 17. Horner finished in seventh place in last year's edition of the Italian one-day race.

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  • Gerdemann denies doping

    A very concentrated Linus Gerdemann (Milram).
    Article published:
    October 04, 2009, 18:52 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    German television programme claims he had questionable blood values in 2006

    Linus Gerdemann of Team Milram has denied reports that he used doping products in 2006. A German television programme had charged that it has reports that his blood values indicated manipulation. The "Sportschau" programme also claimed that Jan Ullrich had questionable blood values in 2006.

    Ullrich declined to comment on the report, according to his attorney. The retired rider has consistently denied ever having used any kind of doping.

    Gerdemann, 27, said, "I have never manipulated. I can totally deny that," on the programme. The show, on the German ARD network, claimed to have a blood analysis based on the report of investigators looking into organised doping at Team Telekom/T-Mobile at the Freiburg University Clinic. The analysis is said to show noteworthy variations in his hemoglobin values in the first half of 2006.

    When asked if he could explain the varying values, Gerdemann said, "That doesn't mean anything to me. I am not a doctor."

    Gerdemann has been outspoken against doping in recent years. He previously admitted working with the controversial doctor Luigi Cecchini, but ceased his association with him in May, 2006.

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  • Columbia-HTC recruits Saramotins

    Winner Aleksej Saramontins from Latvia
    Article published:
    October 04, 2009, 19:42 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Münsterland Giro winner to Columbia in 2010, Designa Køkken search for replacement

    Winner of Saturday's Münsterland Giro, Aleksejs Saramotins has capped of a big weekend with the announcement that he will race for Columbia-HTC in 2010. The 27-year-old Latvian is one of two riders that will leave Danish Continental team Designa Køkken for a ProTour squad at the end of the current season.

    "I have had a great season which I would like to thank Designa Køkken for," said Saramotins on Sunday. "They have really managed to help me develop into an even better rider."

    Despite his imminent departure from Designa Køkken, Saramotins gave the team reason to celebrate on Saturday, as he rode to a six-second victory at the Sparkassen Münsterland Giro in Germany. He finished ahead of Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil) and Thierry Hupont (Skil-Shimano). Saramotins also upstaged his soon-to-be ProTour colleagues; Columbia-HTC's André Greipel finished sixth.

    Saramotins had also been courted by Dutch Pro Continental squad Vacansoleil, but reached an agreement with the management of Designa Køkken that he would stay with the team unless an offer was made by a ProTour team.

    "We reached an agreement with Saramotins to extend his contract with us," said Designa Køkken team manager Christian Andersen. "He had received an offer from Vacansoleil, but yet he chose to stay with us. However, we made a deal that he could sign with a ProTour team if an offer came before October 15. Columbia did that, and we would never stand in the way of such an opportunity."

    Designa Køkken has recently proven to be a breeding ground for ProTour talent. Saramotins will join teammate Laurent Didier in the move from the Continental level to cycling's top-flight. Luxembourger Didier will commence racing with Saxo Bank next season, a move that mirrors the one made by Dane Jakob Fuglsang last year.

    Designa...