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Latest Edition Cycling News, Friday, June 19, 2009

Date published:
June 19, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Astana's Tour de France pre-selection announced

    Astana Team Manager Johan Bruyneel said Contador would remain in the squad
    Article published:
    June 19, 2009, 8:55 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Six riders confirmed, three still uncertain

    On Friday, the Astana Cycling Team announced a list of 13 riders from which the nine final riders will be selected to contest the 2009 Tour de France, beginning July 4 in Monaco. "The complete 2009 Tour roster will be chosen based on the strongest team from both sports and team-spirit criteria," said team manager Johan Bruyneel.

    The following six riders are certain to be on the final roster, including, of course, seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and three-time Grand Tour winner Alberto Contador. Joining them will be Andreas Klöden, Levi Leipheimer, Yaroslav Popovych and Haimar Zubeldia.

    Of the remaining seven riders on the pre-selection list, three will make the final cut. These riders are: Jani Brajkovic, Chris Horner, Benjamín Noval, Dmitriy Muravyev, Sergio Paulinho, Gregory Rast and Tomas Vaitkus.

    The final squad roster is expected to be announced soon.

  • Dehaes released by Katusha

    Kenny De Haes will be riding for a different team come July 1
    Article published:
    June 19, 2009, 9:30 BST

    Belgian to move to "another" ProTour team

    Katusha released Belgian Kenny Dehaes from his contract effective July 1. He revealed that he has entered negotiations with another un-named ProTour team.

    "Katusha is a closed chapter. I will go with another team to work," Dehaes told Belga. "A signature is not yet on the contract for my new team."

    Dehaes, who is currently racing at the Ster Elektrotoer Tour, is uncertain what his race programme will be beyond July 1. He will race for Katusha at Halle-Ingooigem and the Belgian national championships before leaving the team.

    "How my programme will look, to me is a huge question mark. Maybe [I will race the] Vuelta? We'll see," said Dehaes, 24. "I am now satisfied that I can close the chapter with Katusha. We are now entering a new era for me."

    Dehaes' release from Katusha follows a report earlier this month that he was one of a number of riders who refused to sign a new anti-doping policy the team introduced to all of the riders' contracts. The new contract requires a rider found guilty of a doping offence to pay a fine of five times their annual salary.

    Already this season, two Katusha riders, Christian Pfannberger and Antonio Colom, have tested positive for blood booster EPO. The team suspended Pfannberger in May and Colom in June.

  • AG2R La Mondiale: Five riders confirmed for Tour

    Cyril Dessel will be joint leader of AG2R at this year's Tour
    Article published:
    June 19, 2009, 11:18 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Final selection to be made after national champs

    French ProTour team AG2R La Mondiale has confirmed five riders to participate in the upcoming Tour de France, starting in Monaco on July 4. The team will be led by Vladimir Efimkin and Cyril Dessel, with Stéphane Goubert, Lloyd Mondory and José-Luis Arrieta as the main helpers.

    The remaining four riders to contest the event will be designated after the national championships' week-end at the end of the month. "Like last year, as usual, we will select the remainder of the Tour roster based on their performances at the French championships," AG2R La Mondiale press officer Céline Mazard told Cyclingnews. Six riders on the long list, namely Nicolas Roche, Ludovic Turpin, Rinaldo Nocentini, John Gadret, Sébastien Hinault, Hubert Dupont thus still have to earn their participation at the 'Grande Boucle'.

    Morale within the squad is finally on the rise as the team had a long drought of results this first part of the season. As the Tour de Suisse unfolds, Tadej Valjavec retains the overall lead, and his teammate Nicolas Rousseau won the first stage of the Route du Sud.

    "Turpin is coming back well, too, as he finished second in stage three of the Dauphiné. He was injured all of the end of last season and the beginning of this one," continued Mazard.

    "As for Tadej [Valjavec], he will not come to the Tour because he had a baby girl in spring, so he preferred to aim at the Giro - where he finished within the top ten - and do the Vuelta later on."

  • Quick Step to challenge Tour on Boonen

    Lefevere is meeting with Quick Step's lawyers
    Article published:
    June 19, 2009, 11:44 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Lefevere and Quick Step lawyers preparing to take on Tour organisers

    Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere has expressed his anger at the news that Tom Boonen would not be allowed to participate in the upcoming Tour de France. He had hoped that Tour de France organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) would welcome Boonen into its event despite his recent problems with the recreational drug cocaine, however ASO officials preferred to protect the image of the world's biggest race and shut the door to Boonen.

    Speaking to L'Equipe on Thursday, Lefevere had not yet received ASO's statement, and was both surprised and angry at the news of Boonen's exclusion. "Their answer is really 'no'? If that's what they want, then I will take them to court and it's going to go very far. As of now, I will turn off my phone and discuss with my lawyers which official stance we will present," said Lefevere.

    Johnny Maeschalck, Quick Step team lawyer, was ready to get to work. "How can you judge or exclude someone on the basis of a report that doesn't even exist?," he asked. "That's the whole contradiction of this sport where, for some people, law does not count inside the sport's stadium. There is no reason – be it based on the law or on sports rules – to prohibit him from racing the Tour de France."

    According to L'Equipe, Lefevere had thought that chances were good for his star rider to be included in the 2009 Tour roster because the International Cycling Union (UCI) had reportedly refrained from launching a disciplinary procedure "for damaging the image of cycling" against Boonen. A few days ago, ASO officials still said they would make their decision based on the UCI's stance in the case. Lefevere's only resort now will be to mount an appeal at the Chamber of Arbitration for Sport (CNOSF).

  • Rabobank announces finalised Tour team

    Rabobank have named a squad who have 35 Tour de France starts between them
    Article published:
    June 19, 2009, 13:05 BST

    Russian Menchov to lead Dutch charge

    Rabobank announced its final nine-man roster for this year’s Tour de France, on Friday. Giro d’Italia champion Denis Menchov will lead an experienced squad when the three-week stage race starts in Monaco July 4.

    "Denis is our absolute top man," said Rabobank team manager Erik Breukink when the team was announced. Robert Gesink, Laurens ten Dam, Stef Clement, Joost Posthuma, Oscar Friere, Juan Antonio Flecha, Juan Manuel Garate and Grischa Niermann have been selected to support Menchov in his bid for the malliot jaune.

    Koos Moerenhout was named as Rabobank's reserve for the Grand Tour.

    The Dutch squad’s only Tour debutant will be Gesink, 23. Breukink has indicated that he will be one of Menchov’s key teammates when the race visits the mountain stages.

    "Robert is new, yet we expect him to play an important role in the mountains. That is his domain and he showed us in the Dauphiné that he is in form."



  • Rooks admits to EPO use

    Steven Rooks in the polka dot jersey at the 1988 Tour de France. Next to Rooks is Dutch PDM teammate Gert-Jan Theunisse and yellow jersey Pedro Delgado.
    Article published:
    June 19, 2009, 14:17 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    1988 polkadot jersey winner and two other former Dutch riders reveal their use of EPO

    Steven Rooks, runner-up to Pedro Delgado at the 1988 Tour de France, has admitted using to prohibited blood booster EPO during his career. He said that he used EPO after 1989 in a book entitled "Het laatste geel" [The last yellow - ed.] published this week by Dutch journalist Marc Smeets.


    "Yes, I've taken EPO. It was necessary to finish high up in the classification," Rooks said.

    The Dutchman won the mountains jersey, finished second overall and won stage 12 to L'Alpe d'Huez at the 1988 Tour. In 1989, he came seventh in the overall classification and won another mountain stage.

    Rooks' other career highlights include Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 1983 and the Amstel Gold Race in 1986. From 1986 to 1989, he rode for the PDM team, later for Panasonic, Buckler, Festina and TVM.

    Two other former riders of the same generation, fellow Dutch men Gert Jakobs and Matthieu Hermans, have also admitted using the drug. Hermans also won a stage in the 1989 Tour, stage 11 from Luchon to Blagnac, and ten stages of the Vuelta a España.