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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Date published:
June 16, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Tour win more than a dream for Farrar

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin - Slipstream) dons the white jersey for leading the young rider classification.
    Article published:
    June 16, 2009, 2:20 BST
    Gregor Brown

    American sprinter could bag a stage in France

    American rider Tyler Farrar is looking forward to this season's biggest challenge, the Tour de France, with confidence thanks to solid results so far in 2009. He finished the Giro d'Italia with two second places and won the overall of the Delta Tour Zeeland last weekend.

    "I think there is a reasonably good chance I can win a stage there [the Tour]," Farrar told Cyclingnews.

    Garmin-Slipstream's sprinting weapon finished second in Zeeland's second and third stages on Saturday and Sunday to take the overall win. He took the lead courtesy of a victory in Friday's 2.7km prologue.

    The Zeeland test against Alessandro Petacchi confirmed that Farrar's performances in Tirreno-Adriatico early in the spring and at the Giro d'Italia last month were no strokes of luck. He's now on track for his second Grand Tour appearance at the Tour de France, starting July 4.

    "I was pretty happy with my Giro as a whole, even if I would have liked to win a stage. I took a little rest after and just eased into training right before this weekend. I wasn't really sure where my form would be, but I was pleasantly surprised," explained Farrar.

    "It's a really good sign for the Tour and I will be able to be really competitive there."

    Garmin has yet to name its official nine-man Tour de France team, but should announce its decision following this week's Tour de Suisse. Farrar is confident in his selection, and is tailoring his preparation towards that outcome.

    He will continue training and race a few local criteriums near his European base in Gent, Belgium before heading to Garmin-Slipstream's 'headquarters' in Girona, Spain, prior to the Tour de France.

    "There will be several opportunities in the first week and a few more in the second week, but the third week looks pretty mountainous. I think there will be more opportunities than the Giro," said Farrar.

    If the 25-year-old gets his opportunity he will join a...

  • Junior world champion turns pro

    Article published:
    June 16, 2009, 3:21 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    A steady progression key to French hopeful

    Reigning junior world champion Johan Le Bon of France will start his professional career on July 1 with continental team Bretagne-Schuller, according to team president Joël Blévin. A deal has been struck with the promising Breton rider until the end of 2011, although many bigger teams have been following him closely.

    "To bring up riders from our region is what we aim for," said Blévin. The team is sponsored by the regional council of Brittany. A press conference is scheduled to introduce the 19-year-old neo pro during the French championships in Saint-Brieuc (June 25-28).

    Le Bon has heeded the advice of father Dominique, who was a professional himself for one year - 1984 - with the La Redoute-Motobécane team. He wants his son to develop progressively and not repeat his own mistake of moving too high too quickly and being forced to continue his career in the amateur ranks, like he did until 1995.

    The younger Le Bon, who was European and world champion in the junior category, confirmed his abilities as an Under 23 rider after he recently won the world cup event held in Saguenay in Canada.

  • Four more implicated in T-Mobile ring

    Blood doping boosts available oxygen allowing athletes to do more work. While EPO use can be detected, adding back one's own blood is still difficult to catch.
    Article published:
    June 16, 2009, 5:46 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Freiburg net widens for doctors involved in doping

    The investigation into two former Freiburg University Clinic doctors at the centre of controversy surrounding alleged doping of T-Mobile riders has been extended to include four more practitioners, according to sports agency SID.

    Prosecutor Wolfgang Maier confirmed that four more doctors have been implicated in the case, a process which is trying to establish the facts surrounding practices in the Freiburg University Clinic throughout the late 1990s and during this decade. This latest information is due to be published in today's edition of the Badischer Zeitung.

    The names of the doctors involved have not been revealed, but it's believed they were under scrutiny for "taking advantage" of those engaged in the practices but not for actual violation of anti-drug laws. Dr. Andreas Schmid and Dr Lothar Heinrich remain the only two practioners dismissed for direct violations in engaging in doping activities.

    According to SID it's alleged the four doctors accepted money from Telekom and T-Mobile riders, acting as 'intermediaries' for Schmid and Heinrich. Both were responsible for the medical monitoring of the Telekom/T-Mobile team until 2007 and admitted their role in systemic doping within the squad, after which they were dismissed from the clinic. The details of their actions were published during May with the release of the Freiburg Report.

    After two years of investigation, the commission of experts established by the University of Freiburg concluded that doping within the Telekom and T-Mobile was systemic from 1995 to 2006.

  • Astana's hour cometh?

    Astana manager Johan Bruyneel talks to the troops before the Giro d'Italia... Will there be a similar scenario come July?
    Article published:
    June 16, 2009, 6:50 BST
    Cyclingnews staff

    Kazakh crew faces another cash crisis

    While talk has been of Astana's prospects for the Tour de France, if the team doesn't honour its financial commitments by 5pm today (European Central Time) it may not be competing at all.

    According to Dutch daily De Telegraaf, the International Cycling Union (UCI) requires payment of six million euro by the deadline to ensure Astana's ProTour licence for the remainder of the season. Failing this payment, the team runs the risk of having this 'permit to race' suspended and its Tour plans thrown into jeopardy.

    Alberto Contador and Levi Leipheimer are currently two favourites for the Tour de France podium, although the cloud of pending financial doom has lingered over the team for several months.

    No comment has been made by team manager Johan Bruyneel or star riders Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer.