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First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Date published:
June 17, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • No payment yet for Astana

    Could Armstrong be the knight in shining armour for Astana?
    Article published:
    June 17, 2009, 3:32 BST
    Cyclingnews staff

    Could Armstrong take over liabilities?

    Astana has failed to meet the deadline for payment of six million euros owing to the International Cycling Union (UCI) for the continuation of its ProTour licence.

    Mediator for the Kazakh federation, Rinus Wagtmans, told Belgian broadcaster Sporza, "The Kazakhs have told the UCI that they have tried to raise the funds, but that they were not successful.

    "Wednesday Astana will try [to pay] again. However, I had advised them not to do so, because lawyers have rightly noted that the UCI cannot demand that extra guarantee."

    Wagtmans explained that if the UCI does revoke Astana's ProTour licence, the sport's governing body should expect a claim from management of the Kazakh-backed squad, although that may not include Johan Bruyneel.

    "If this [the licence was revoked] happened, manager Johan Bruyneel would throw in the towel," said Wagtmans. He speculated that, "It could be that Armstrong acts as a sponsor, which would replace Astana... Although I don't believe it."

    Continuing the hypothetical scenario, Wagtmans explained, "Contador and the others would have an interim manager that can ride without Armstrong. This may be a possible scenario, even though the money is paid. That is my advice."

  • Hamilton and Ball speak about suspension

    Tyler Hamilton was popular with fans at this year's Tour of California
    Article published:
    June 17, 2009, 3:43 BST
    Les Clarke

    Former rider looks to future off the bike

    Tyler Hamilton has commented on the eight-year suspension handed down by the US Anti-doping Agency (USADA) yesterday, calling it, "unfortunate and disheartening". Rock Racing owner Michael Ball has also labelled the sanction "unfortunate".

    Hamilton tested positive for the banned steroid Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) earlier this year and in April he announced his retirement from the sport. The controversial American rider said the substance was an ingredient in a vitamin supplement he took in an attempt to alleviate depression, and he spoke about the illness in a public statement.

    "The eight-year suspension is unfortunate and disheartening. At this time, however, my focus remains on my mother, my family, battling my depression and getting better. This has been an extremely difficult and trying period, but I am determined to get through it," said Hamilton.

    "I would like to thank Michael Ball, the Rock Racing team, my fans, family and friends, for their continued support during this time. Moving forward, I am going to put a lot of my time and energy towards helping others who face severe depression overcome the obstacles this illness brings."

    Michael Ball was understated in his appraisal of the situation and complimentary to the man who had defended Rock Racing's record throughout some recent trying times. "While we understand Tyler was given the minimum suspension under the current rules, it is unfortunate that this young man who has so much left to give to cycling both on and off the bike, will not have the opportunity to continue in the sport he dedicated so much of his life to," said Ball.

    Meanwhile, Hamilton's lawyer Chris Manderson explained, "Tyler took an herbal anti-depressant in a moment of crisis, with no intention or possibility of enhancing his cycling performance. Despite that, the rules do not distinguish between an intentional doping violation and Tyler's attempt to self medicate for depression, and the USADA...

  • Names of investigated doctors released

    Article published:
    June 17, 2009, 3:52 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Confirmation from prosecutor yet to come

    The four doctors implicated in the Freiburg University Clinic investigation have been named by the Badische Zeitung newspaper.

    According to the publication, Andreas Blum, Stefan Vogt, Stephan Prettin and Carsten Temme are being investigated for their role in doping of T-Mobile riders during the past decade, accused of "taking additional money for the practice of the medical profession without the approval of their employee".

    The newspaper reported that Blum left the Clinic in 2006, Prettin is still employed there while Vogt was fired in 2008. Temme's whereabouts were unknown.

    Chief prosecutor Wolfgang Meier has only confirmed that there are four doctors involved in an expanded investigation, refraining from disclosing the names of those under scrutiny.

    It's also been revealed that prosecutors looking into organised doping with Team Telekom/T-Mobile and the University of Freiburg Clinic are also investigating three former team leaders, for conspiring to commit personal bodily injury, although their names are yet to be announced.

  • Six of the best for Skil-Shimano

    Article published:
    June 17, 2009, 3:59 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Skil-Shimano announce first six Tour de France squad riders

    Dutch Professional Continental team Skil-Shimano has announced the first six riders selected for its Tour de France roster, with the final squad due to be announced on June 29.

    Dutch riders Albert Timmer, Piet Rooijakkers and Kenny van Hummel, Frenchmen Jonathan Hivert and Cyril Lemoine plus German rider Simon Geschke are scheduled to line up for the opening time trial in Monaco on July 4.

    Skil-Shimano was a surprise invitation to this year's Tour de France, although given the priority Amaury Sport Organisation places on the 'clean' reputation of teams competing in its blue riband event, the Dutch team was an understandable inclusion on the list of wildcard entries for the Tour.

  • Six-year deal for Australian nationals

    Article published:
    June 17, 2009, 4:02 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Historic Victorian city to continue hosting national championships

    While European nations prepare to hold their national road championships, the city that hosted this year's Australian titles has announced a deal to keep them there for six years.

    In addition to the six-year time period, the new agreement between Ballarat City Council, Cycling Australia and event promoter Caribou Publications sees the combining of all three national road disciplines - time trial, road race and criterium - as part of the championship series.

    "Cycling Australia's decision to keep the Australian Open Road Championships in Ballarat is further reinforcement of Ballarat’s capacity to host premier cycling events. Council has worked tremendously hard to cement its place as the home of Australian road cycling and I am delighted we will have the opportunity to continue to host the event and showcase our great city to the nation for the next six years," said Ballarat Mayor, Councillor Judy Verlin.

    Next year's Australian Open Road Cycling Championships will be held in Ballarat from January 6-10.