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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, June 18, 2009

Date published:
June 18, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • UCI names first five biological passport violators

    Astarloa, Caucchioli, De Bonis, Serrano and Lobato Elvira were the riders named by the UCI
    Article published:
    June 17, 2009, 11:00 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Caucchioli, Serrano suspended, De Bonis responds to allegations

    Two riders have been suspended by their teams pending disciplinary action by their national federations following abnormal testing results as part of the UCI's biological passport system.

    Lampre's Pietro Caucchioli and Fuji-Servetto's Ricardo Serrano have been suspended their teams after being named by the UCI as riders who showed abnormal values in the year-old system. Both teams stated that the riders showed the abnormal results during the 2008 season while riding for other teams.

    Caucchioli rode for Crédit Agricole in 2008, while Serrano was part of the Tinkoff Credit Systems team last year.

    The UCI announced Wednesday that it has requested that disciplinary procedures be opened against five riders for "apparent violation of the Anti-Doping Rules on the basis of the information provided by the blood profile in their biological passports". The passport system measures a variety of blood parameters over the course of the season in order to detect the effects of doping.

    The Lampre team responded to news about Caucchioli, stating that his abnormal values were measured before he signed on to the team. "The value that brought about a warning about a potential anti-doping rule violation concerns a blood test taken in September 2008 before Tour de Pologne, when the cyclist wasn't in Team Lampre-NGC," said team doctor Guardascione.

    Fuji-Servetto issued a statement on Serrano, saying, "According to the documentation received, the anomalies into his blood values were found in samples from controls made in 2008, when Serrano was part of another team, with no remarkable variations found in the 2009 samples –a s well in the blood passport as in the internal controls by the team - since the rider signed with the team."

    Also named were former world champion Igor Astarloa, former Saunier Duval rider Ruben Lobato Elvira, who is without a team for this season, and Italian Francesco De Bonis (Serramenti PVC...

  • Fallen Angel: The Passion of Fausto Coppi

    "Fallen Angel: The Passion of Fausto Coppi" by William Fotheringham
    Article published:
    June 17, 2009, 21:48 BST
    William Fotheringham

    An excerpt of William Fotheringham's new English-language biography of Fausto Coppi

    Voted the most popular Italian sportsman of the twentieth century, Fausto Coppi was the campionissimo - champion of cycling champions. The greatest cyclist of the immediate postwar years, Coppi’s scandalous divorce and controversial death convulsed Italy in the 1950s and were still making headlines half a century later. A new book by William Fotheringham, "Fallen Angel: The Passion of Fausto Coppi", provides the definitive English-language account of Coppi's life off and on the bike, including this excerpt for Cyclingnews about Coppi's tumultuous 1949 Tour de France.

    "After Bartali had won the 1948 Tour and taken seven stage wins along the way, Coppi had told his gregario Ettore Milano that if he didn't win the 1949 Tour he would give up - he was sick, he said of hearing people talking about Bartali's win on the radio. In the event he came within an ace of ignominious failure. Just five days after the race began, he was standing by a roadside in the depths of Normandy, holding a broken bike, and asking plaintively if he could go home. It was the greatest crisis of his career, with his vulnerable side brutally exposed. The most dominant cyclist of that generation was also a fragile man who was easily destabilised.

    Coppi had begun his Tour with a tour of his own, a trip around the sights of Paris on his bike. By stage five, which ran over 293 kilometres from Rouen to Saint Malo in blazing heat, the Italians were not showing well; both Coppi and Bartali were 18 minutes behind the race leader, the Frenchman Jacques Marinelli. But on that day, Binda ordered his Italians to go on the attack, and Coppi worked his way into what looked like the stage-winning escape. Best of all, he left Bartali well behind him, in a tactical fix: the older man could not set up a chase, because he could not ride against his own team mate.

    As the race passed through the village of Mouen, with 100 miles remaining to the finish and the...

  • Albasini wins at Serfaus

    Michael Albasini (Team Columbia-Highroad) at the start of stage five.
    Article published:
    June 17, 2009, 23:09 BST
    Peter Hymas

    Third stage victory at Tour de Suisse for Team Columbia-Highroad

    Switzerland's Michael Albasini (Team Columbia-Highroad) won stage five of the Tour de Suisse, outsprinting compatriot Fabian Cancellara (Team Saxo Bank) and Italy's Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC) on a difficult uphill finish to Serfaus, Austria. Albasini accelerated away from a group of race favorites inside the last kilometre of the mountainous 202-kilometre stage to earn his team its third victory in five stages at the Tour de Suisse.

    "I had to push myself hard to win, but it was worth it to win the hardest stage of the race," Albasini said. "I didn't know the climbs at all, either, because it's a long way from my home in Switzerland. Fortunately I was able to get on [rival] Fabian Cancellara's wheel when he went for another rider who'd already attacked in the last kilometre. Then immediately after that I got past Fabian and just gave it 100 percent.

    "It wasn't really a sprint because it came at the end of a long day in the mountains, but somehow I managed to keep going," continued Albasini. "I've been targeting this race since the beginning of May, because this is my home race and so obviously it's a big goal for me. Winning here in Switzerland is always special for a Swiss rider."

    Looking further ahead, Albasini said he did not rule himself out for the overall classification, although not the top three. "I wanted to go for a podium place, but in the first couple of stages I suffered more than I expected. I didn't have good legs, and it was very difficult for me to say with the favorites. Still, if I finish with a top 10 place overall as well as this stage win, I'll be more than satisfied."

    Team Columbia-Highroad's Bernard Eisel won stage two of the Tour de Suisse and Mark Cavendish followed up with a win on stage three. Albasini's victory is the 38th for the team this season, the most of any ProTour squad.

  • Gusev back in action after CAS decision

    Vladimir Gusev (Discovery Channel)
    Article published:
    June 17, 2009, 23:24 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Astana to pay Russian's back salary, legal costs and damages

    Next week Vladimir Gusev will be a competitive cyclist again as he'll take part in the Russian national championship but it's still unknown which trade team he'll ride for. Since his appearances at the world championships and the Chrono des Nations in October, he awaited a decision of the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS) concerning his conflict since September 1, 2008, with his previous team Astana that he joined from Discovery Channel at the end of 2007.

    On Tuesday, June 15, CAS declared that Astana was wrong to fire him after an interpretation of blood values by Danish expert Rasmus Damsgaard. The judges have instructed the current team of Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong to pay the Russian his salary, as well as damages and legal costs, Gusev's agent Raimondo Scimone made public on Wednesday.

    "I'm happy for Vladimir as a person first and as a rider," he said. "He had nothing to reproach to himself and he has suffered quite a bit but he has kept training and living the life of a bike rider."

    "I have even more determination than before. Cycling is my life and my passion," said Gusev in a press release.

  • Terpstra scorches Ster Elektrotoer prologue

    Dutchman Niki Terpstra (Milram) takes over the race lead after stage three.
    Article published:
    June 17, 2009, 23:43 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Team Milram Dutchman continues to show good form

    Niki Terpstra (Team Milram) powered to the victory in the prologue of the Ster Elektrotoer with a blistering 51.86 km/h effort over the parcours in the centre of Gement. The Dutchman donned his second yellow jersey in a week after his stage win and stint in the leader's jersey at the Dauphiné.

    "I am very happy. When I saw the course, I hoped that I could do well here," said Terpstra. "That it was good enough for first place is of course fantastic. Apparently, yellow is my colour. I will try to defend the jersey - I can, because we have a good team. Our team will be highly motivated for the next few days and we will do all we can to hold on to the overall lead"

    Terpstra leads his compatriot Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil) by two seconds in the general classification. Westra had his own success in France before coming to the Tour, having won the Tour de Picardie last month.

    In third was Piet Rooijakkers (Skil-Shimano), with Quick Step's Tom Boonen following in fourth.