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Latest Edition Cycling News, Friday, June 26, 2009

Date published:
June 26, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Boonen decision postponed to Tuesday

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step) was happy to get back to his winning ways.
    Article published:
    June 26, 2009, 8:50 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Nanterre court to settle affair four days before Tour start

    Tom Boonen will be at the national championships in Aywaille, Belgium, this weekend without knowing whether he will participate in the Tour de France starting one week later. A court case's verdict between team Quick Step and Tour organiser Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) is expected 15:00 Tuesday.

    The court in Nanterre, France, is hearing the case.

    Tour organisers asked Boonen to stay home after he tested positive for cocaine a third time. Officials tested him out of competition on April 27.

    Team Quick Step bases Boonen's defence around the fact that out of competition cocaine use an offense resulting in a disciplinary procedure. The team said that organiser ASO would have allowed him to race, but former French Secretary for Sports, Bernard Laporte, pushed ASO to exclude Boonen.

    ASO argued that the Nanterre court is not competent to judge the affair. It said it should French Olympic Committee court (CNOSF) according to a contract between the organiser and the teams.

    ASO's lawyer Jacques Nataf said there would be damage to the Tour's image should Boonen participate.

    "This is not a doping affair," said Nataf in court Thursday. "But when Tom Boonen, who is a very famous champion, wins a sprint in the Tour de France ... the whole world sees it."

    Boonen, 28, won the Paris-Roubaix for a third time this year and has six career stage wins at the Tour.

  • Favorites for the British championships

    Rob Hayles (Halfords) after winning the 2008 British road title
    Article published:
    June 26, 2009, 10:00 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Cyclingnews' shortlist for the riders most likely to triumph in Wales

    The British national road title in Abergavenny, Wales, on Sunday will see one of the strongest fields assembled in recent years. Cyclingnews examined the start list and, of the almost two hundred riders who will take the start line, we have selected twelve riders most likely to claim the champion's jersey.

    Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad)

    It seems only a matter of time before Cavendish will be wearing the British champion's jersey. The absence of his loyal Columbia teammates within the peloton on Sunday may be a chink in his armour. However, if the race comes down to a bunch sprint and the Manxman is there, he'll be a good chance of taking his maiden title.

    Steve Cummings (Barloworld)

    Cummings was second to Russell Downing in the 2005 British championship. He grew in stature as a road rider last year in his debut season for Barloworld taking several stage wins and high overall finishes at several European stage races. Cummings won a stage of the Giro del Capo in South Africa in early March and is a world class team pursuit rider on the track.

    Russell Downing (CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta)

    Winner of the 2005 road championship, Downing has been one of British cycling's most successful riders, winning consistently on the road since turning pro with in 2002. Four race wins in 2009 mean Downing will be a dark horse to win his second national title.

    Chris Froome (Barloworld)

    Racing on a British professional licence since 2008, Kenya-born Froome completed his second Grand Tour, the Giro d'Italia, where he finished 36th overall. He will ride the championships on Sunday alongside Barloworld teammates Steve Cummings and Geraint Thomas, the latter of whom is coming back after injury. If the three can work well together they have the pedigree to come away with a result.

    Roger Hammond (Cervélo...

  • Stahurskaia killed in training accident

    Article published:
    June 26, 2009, 10:22 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Former World Champion hit head-on by car

    Zinaida Stahurskaia, 2000 World Champion, died this week in Byelorussia while training for the national championships. She was 38 years old.

    Stahurskaia was riding behind a car when an oncoming Jeep crossed into her lane. The lead car was able to avoid the Jeep, but Stahurskaia hit it head on.

    Stahurskaia won the Women's Tour of France in 2002, but had a long history of doping problems. She was suspended for several months in both 2002 and 2004. In 2005, she was suspended for two years for testing positive three times within three and a half weeks for testosterone and stanozolol (anabolic steroid).

    A search of her house in December 2006 found a number of prohibited substances. The investigation later found her part of a drug trade for amateur and professional cyclists.

    Stahurskaia's suspension ended in June 2007. She rode both the national and world championships last year, and intended to do so again this year. (SW)

  • Columbia dominates national time trials

    Marco Pinotti (Columbia-Highroad) rides towards the Italian national time trial win.
    Article published:
    June 26, 2009, 10:52 BST
    Daniel Simms

    USA team's riders winning at home

    Team Columbia-Highroad's riders are collecting wins in their respective time trial national championships. Italian Marco Pinotti took the first win on Sunday in Imola, his fourth time trial title.

    Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen, Luxemburger Kim Kirchen and Czech Frantisek Rabon added to Pinotti's title with their wins yesterday.  They were repeat wins for all four men.  Swede Emilia Fahlin won Wednesday and Dane Linda Villumsen won yesterday for the women's team.

    "This is unbelievable, I think," said Fahlin of her win. She beat Susanne Ljungskog on the 30-kilometre course in Götene.

    Columbia could claim more titles today in Germany. World Champion Bert Grabsch and Tony Martin are strong favourites for the men's championships and Judith Arndt in the women's.

    Most road race championships are this Sunday. Some countries, like Australia, hold their titles in the off-season. Michael Rogers took Columbia's first win this year when he won the Australian time trial. (GB)

  • Valverde failed to use all legal options for Tour

    Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) kept his yellow jersey.
    Article published:
    June 26, 2009, 11:56 BST
    Shane Stokes

    Did political pressure make the difference?

    Contrary to a team Caisse d'Epargne statement issued Tuesday, it appears that the timeframe of the legal appeal by Alejandro Valverde is not the reason why he will miss this year's Tour de France. Neither the Spaniard nor his team used the full legal options, according to a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) official.

    Caisse d'Epargne announced Tuesday that Valverde was withdrawn from the squad for to the Tour de France due to the courts moving too slowly.

    "Under these circumstances and, knowing that a stage of the race will pass through the Italian territory, we are obliged to announce that Alejandro Valverde will not take the start of the 2009 Tour," said the team in a statement.

    CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb contradicted this version of events when he spoke with Cyclingnews. He stated the appeal against Italy's decision to ban Valverde from racing in its country is ongoing. He added that two fast-track options were open to the rider and his legal team, but that neither of these had been used.

    "The CAS could have set up an expedited procedure, with the agreement of the parties, in order to render a decision prior to 4 July 2009," he said.

    Reeb said Valverde alternatively could have requested "a stay of execution" in order to start in the 2009 Tour, but no request was filed.

    Italian anti-doping tribunal banned Valverde on May 11 from competing on Italian soil for two years. Investigators proved he was involved in 2006's doping investigation, Operación Puerto. The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) had reportedly matched DNA from blood bags seized to the blood samples the rider gave on the Tour de France's rest day in Italy on July 21, 2008.

    This year's Tour crosses briefly into Italy during the 16th stage to...