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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Date published:
January 11, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Mosquera attends Vacansoleil team presentation

    Ezequiel Mosquera in his new Vacansoleil jersey
    Article published:
    January 10, 2011, 14:54 GMT
    Susan Wesetmeyer

    A photo gallery of the riders in the new jersey

    Ezequiel Mosquera was presented at the official presentation of the Vacansoleil-DCM team in Rotterdam on Monday but it is far from certain if the Spaniard will be able ride for the team this year.

    There is still no word on a final verdict regarding his positive anti-doping control at this year's Vuelta a Espana, in which he finished second overall and so he is allowed to compete.

    Mosquera and his then Xacobeo teammate David Garcia Da Peña tested positive for Hydroxyethyl starch, which can be used as a masking agent for blood doping. Mosquera has repeatedly proclaimed his innocence.

    Hydroxyethyl starch is not a performance enhancing product, and Mosquera can only be suspended from competition when both the A and B samples confirm the positive test. Apparently the B sample has still not yet been tested and the Vacansoleil-DCM claimed the UCI has given Mosquera the green light to compete.

    According to the Dutch De Telegraaf newspaper Mosquera said: “I can only wait. It is not a pleasant situation but I'm learning to live with it. And maintain that I am innocent.”

    “My family and my training are getting me through this. But if there is really a suspension, then that will be it. I'm 35, and my image has been damaged. Then it's time for other things in life.”

    If he is allowed to ride this year, Mosquera hopes to ride his first Tour de France. “The Vuelta is my first objective, but I am going for both grand tours,” he said.

    Confident for the future

    Team manager Daan Luijkx tried to focus on the long-term hopes of the team of the team rather than the Mosquera case.

    “In 2009 we aimed to be ready for the highest division by the end of 2011. The fast development of the team, the ambitious sponsors and the 12th spot in the sporting hierarchy of the UCI accelerated our growth. The license and sponsor contracts will last three...

  • UCI reaffirm Spanish responsibility for Contador case

    Article published:
    January 10, 2011, 15:11 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Governing body only acting as consultant to RFEC

    The International Cycling Union has confirmed it is advising the Spanish Cycling Federation on technical aspects of the Alberto Contador case but has reaffirmed that the Real Federacion Espanola de Ciclismo (REFC) is wholly responsible for any decision regarding disciplinary action and any eventual suspension.

    Reports in the Spanish media had indicated that the RFEC hoped to somehow share responsibility for the case with the UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency to avoid accusations of national bias. However the UCI revealed it only acting as a consultant on the scientific content of a dossier send from Spain and assisting with translations.

    “This is completely standard practice, and the UCI welcomed the RFEC's request,” the UCI explained in a press release. “On 10 December 2010, the RFEC sent the UCI documentation relating to the preparation of the case, requesting an opinion by the UCI Anti-Doping Commission on the scientific content of this dossier.”

    “The UCI responded by letter on 20 December 2010 – the date of receipt of the dossier – to set a provisional deadline for response of 24 January 2011, subject to a possible extension relating to the translation of the appended documents from Spanish as well as a comprehensive examination of these by the UCI Anti-Doping and Legal departments.”

    “The UCI thus confirms that all the scientific information of the case is currently being studied by the above-mentioned departments and that the RFEC will receive the requested opinion as soon as possible.”

    “The UCI however reiterates that the RFEC's action is purely consultative as the responsibility for the decision at this stage of a disciplinary procedure lies solely with the rider's National Federation.”

    “If necessary, the UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency have the option to appeal the RFEC’s decision.”

    Reports in Spain...

  • Plasticizers test moves towards validation

    Alberto Contador during his press conference as he tries to explain how his urine sample became contaminated with clenbuterol
    Article published:
    January 10, 2011, 16:11 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    New test could prove a hugely useful tool for anti-doping investigators

    The validation of a test designed to detect plasticizers has moved a step forwards following the publication of a manuscript describing the method in a highly respected scientific journal.

    The manuscript, published in the journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry in December, sets out how labs would be able to assess whether an autologous blood transfusion has taken place by detecting the presence of the metabolites of the plasticizers that are used to increase the flexibility of blood bags.

    Today’s edition of Spain’s El País says the manuscript’s publication suggests a link to the doping investigation involving Alberto Contador, who tested positive for clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour de France. On 5 October, the New York Times reported that scientists at the laboratory in Cologne had detected the presence of plasticizers in the urine of the three-time Tour de France champion using a test that had not been validated.

    According to El País, just two weeks after the publication of that story, 12 investigators at the labs in Cologne and Barcelona and the universities of Bochum and Budapest sent a manuscript detailing the test to Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. After subsequent revisions, the manuscript was accepted for publication in November.

    An anonymous source described by El País as “close to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s scientific committee”, says of the rapidness of the manuscript’s publication: “The publication fits exactly with what WADA would describe as an article of validation, which is necessary for official endorsement of the use of a method by laboratories as an anti-doping test.”

    The source added: “I can’t avoid the suspicion that all of this is related to the situation with Contador.”

    Also contacted by El País, the director of Madrid’s...

  • Saxo Bank voted Best Team of 2010 in Cyclingnews reader poll

    Team Saxo Bank dominates the Danish championships
    Article published:
    January 10, 2011, 17:25 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    HTC take second, Liquigas third

    Cyclingnews readers have voted Saxo Bank the team of the year for 2010 ahead of HTC-Columbia and Liquigas-Doimo.

    Saxo Bank obtained 5509 votes, 32 per cent of the total, and three percent more than HTC-Columbia. The two teams dominated the poll, with Liquigas-Doimo a distant third with 13 per cent of the votes. Garmin-Transitions was fourth with 12 per cent.

    Saxo Bank won a total of 45 races during the 2010 season and snatched top spot in the UCI ranking from Liquigas-Doimo at the Tour of Lombardy by just nine points.

    13 different riders in the team won races during the season. Fabian Cancellara confirmed he is currently the best classics rider in the world by dominating the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, while Andy Schleck may still be crowned the winner of the Tour de France if Alberto Contador is banned.

    Bjarne Riis has always relied on a core of loyal riders to get results but in 2010 neo-pro Richie Porte emerged as a key rider in the team. He wore the pink jersey in the Giro d’Italia for three days, won the best young rider’s white jersey and finished seventh overall. Later in the season he confirmed his talent by finishing fourth in the Eneco Tour and fourth in the world time trial championships.

    Jakob Fuglsang also showed his stage racing talent, winning the Tour of Denmark and finishing third overall in the Tour of Switzerland won by teammate Frank Schleck. Sprinter JJ Haedo won four races, time trialist Gustav Larsson took the final stage of the Giro d’Italia and Matti Breschel won Dwars door Vlaanderen.

    A year of change

    On paper 2010 was a great year for Saxo Bank but also marked a huge moment of change for Riis.

    The creation of the Leopard-Trek team and the mass exit of the Schleck brothers, Stuart O’Grady, Jens Voigt, Fuglsang and then Cancellara left him with a far weaker team for 2011.

    Riis initially took it badly but...

  • Di Luca insists he will ride for free at Katusha

    Danilo Di Luca and Katusha manager Andrei Tchmil
    Article published:
    January 10, 2011, 19:07 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian to pay 170,000 Euro fine to UCI

    Danilo Di Luca has confirmed that he intends to ride for the Katusha team for free despite UCI rules stipulating a rider must e paid a minimum wage.

    UCI rules specify that a professional rider must be paid a minimum of 49.500 Euro per year and the contract is checked and verified by the UCI accountants Ernst&Young.

    However Di Luca insists he will not earn a penny and revealed that making a comeback will cost him 170,000 Euro, the amount the UCI has fined him for testing positive during the 2009 Giro d’Italia.

    “I can confirm that I’m going to pay the fine of about 170,000 Euro the UCI wants and that Tchmil has really asked to register my contract with a salary of zero Euro,” he told Tuttobiciweb.

    “By choosing to sign a contract with Katusha I’ve given up on a good contract that Astana offered me. But I liked the idea (offered by Katusha) and followed my instinct.”

    Di Luca confirmed that he has signed his contract with Katusha today, in front of 500 school children and Don Marco Pozza, the priest who first persuaded him to talk about his doping.

    “I agreed to take part in Don Marco’s project and I’m convinced about its goals because it’s about telling young people what happened to me and the mistakes I made,” he said.

    Di Luca will join his new Katusha teammates in Calpe, Spain on Wednesday for a training camp.

    He is expected to make his debut at the Challenge Mallorca in early February and then ride the Trofeo Laigueglia in Italy, the Giro di Sardegna, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo. According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Di Luca also hopes to ride the Tour of Basque Country, Fleche-Wallonne, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and then the Giro d’Italia.

  • SpiderTech p/b C10 confirms season start in Italy

    SpiderTech rolls on the front of the peloton.
    Article published:
    January 10, 2011, 22:16 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Canadian Pro Continental squad bases itself in south France

    The SpiderTech p/b C10 team is scheduled to kick off its European racing campaign in Italy next month at the one-day Trofeo Laigueglia and Giro di Sardegna stage race. The first-year Professional Continental team will make its base in the south of France while it takes on a heavy schedule of European events.

    The team is stepping up a level this year and is looking to build upon its successes in Europe last year - two stage wins in the Mi-Août Bretonne by Guillaume Boivin and a win in the GP des Marbriers by Keven Lacombe - in higher-level events.

    "We want to continue to evolve the team on all levels, financially, our administration, media exposure and communication for our sponsors, infrastructure and competitiveness in high level races," Directeur Sportif, Steve Bauer told Cyclingnews.

    "Our objective to grow and improve is constant because globally there are so many things to work hard on, however, if we could pick one objective it would be in the sporting area such as the World Championship gold."

    SpiderTech p/b C10 recently signed former Garmin-Transitions rider Svein Tuft. The Canadian is arguably the squad’s best chance at a world title having secured the silver medal at the 2008 UCI World Time Trial Championships in Varese, Italy.

    However, the roster is full of talent including UCI World-Cup silver track medalist Zach Bell, Canadian National Champion Will Routley, Mark Batty, Bruno Langlois, François Parisien, Lucas Euser, Ryan Anderson, Hugo Houle, Pat McCarty, Martin Gilbert, Keven Lacombe, Andrew Randell, Ryan Roth, Guillaume Boivin, David Boily and Flavio De Luna.

    The 17-man squad plus staff will unite at a team launch held on February 3 in Toronto, Canada. Shortly after, the riders will travel overseas and set up a team base in Carcassonne, France. "That area is a good central location with access to two main airports," Bauer said. "We found a quality place to house the whole...

  • Operación Galgo suspect found dead

    Article published:
    January 11, 2011, 11:54 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Former mountain biker Alberto León commits suicide

    The Operación Galgo investigation into an alleged blood doping ring in Spain has taken a tragic turn with the announcement of the suicide of Alberto León. The former mountain biker was one of 14 people arrested by Spanish police in December. He had previously been detained as part of the Operación Puerto blood doping investigation in 2006. 

    The Spanish press has reported that 37-year-old León was found hanged in his brother’s home, where he was staying after recently separating from his wife.

    León had been one of the stalwarts of the Spanish mountain biking scene in the 1990s, riding for the Coronas-BH team that was for many years regarded as the country’s best.

    León came to greater prominence when he was arrested as part of the Puerto investigation in mid-2006. According to the Spanish police, León was trusted with key tasks by Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor at the centre of both the Puerto and Galgo investigations, including the cleaning and maintenance of machinery used in the transfusion process.

    León was also alleged to have transported blood bags to athletes for use during competition. When arrested, León was found to have a plane ticket to Milan, which coincided with the finale of that year’s Giro d’Italia. Four years on, a verdict has still to be delivered in the Puerto case.

    On December 9, León was arrested for crimes against public health while in the process of giving Spanish middle-distance athlete Alemayehu Bezabeh a blood transfusion. Bezabeh later admitted to blood doping and said that he thought León was medically trained. He said he used to call him ‘The Doctor’.

    Wiretap evidence presented by the Spanish police has also suggested that León had a key role in the blood doping network, to the point where he was storing blood bags at his apartment and planning programmes for...

  • Basso dreaming of Tour de France win

    Thumbs up. Vincenzo Nibali and Ivan Basso lead the Liquigas-Cannondale charge.
    Article published:
    January 11, 2011, 16:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Photo gallery from Liquigas-Cannondale presentation

    The jersey design for the 2011 Liquigas-Cannondale team was unveiled today at the team presentation in Milan, with team leaders Ivan Basso, winner of the 2006 and 2010 Giro d'Italia, and Vuelta a Espana winner Vincenzo Nibali sporting the white, green and blue design.

    Basso may give up the chance to defend his Tour of Italy title in order to focus on his dream of gaining his first ever Tour de France victory, while Nibali will be the team's designated leader for the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana.

    "If I participate [in the Giro], it will be to help Nibali," Basso said according to AFP. "I will calmly decide in the coming months. " Basso remembered his trainer, Aldo Sassi, who died Dec. 13 at age 51. "He told me to wear the yellow jersey," said Basso. "His death was a blow. He will be missed."

    The team's manager Roberto Amadio said his aim is to have the Liquigas-Cannondale team as a main protagonist in every race. "We will be competitive, I have no doubt," Amadio said. "We will try to be an example of a team which achieves the best sporting results with sacrifice and hard work. What matters to us, first of all, is the way in which you achieve the victories."

    The 2011 Liquigas-Cannondale team:

    Valerio Agnoli, Ivan Basso, Francesco Bellotti, Macej Bodnar, Eros Capecchi, Damiano Caruso, Davide Cimolai, Mauro Da Dalto, Tiziano Dall'Antonia, Timothy Duggan, Mauro Finetto, Jacopo Guarnieri, Ted King, Kristijan Koren, Paolo Longo Borghini, Alan Marangoni, Dominik Nerz, Vincenzo Nibali, Daniel Oss, Maciej Paterski, Simone Ponzi, Fabio Sabatini, Jurai Sagan, Peter Sagan, Cristiano Salerno, Silwester Szmyd, Alessandro Vanotti, Elia Viviani, Cameron Wurf.

    View our complete Liquigas-Cannondale presentation photo gallery here.