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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Date published:
May 04, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Di Rocco slams continued Valverde competition

    Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) celebrates as Igor Antón (Euskaltel-Euskadi) punches the air in anguish
    Article published:
    May 04, 2010, 9:40 BST
    Cycling News

    FCI boss expects Spanish star's sanction by Tour time

    President of the Italian Cycling Federation, Renato Di Rocco, has described Alejandro Valverde's continued participation in events such as the Tour de Romandie, which he won on Sunday, as "scandalous"

    According to Europa Press, Di Rocco added that he expects to see the Spaniard, who is currently banned from racing in Italy, to be sanctioned in line with his Italian suspension within the next few months.

    Valverde was handed a two-year ban from competing in races on Italian soil after the nation's authorities declared a match was made between blood taken from the rider during the 2008 Tour de France and that seized from the clinic of Dr Eufemiano Fuentes during the Operacion Puerto raids of 2006.

    Consequently Valverde has not raced in Italy since and was forced to miss last year's Tour de France which ran through Italian territory, although he has continued to compete and win, something that bothers Di Rocco; his comments came after Valverde wrapped up the Tour de Romandie title in soggy Sion on Sunday (right).

    "It is scandalous to continue seeing Valverde still race and win, [he] has to be suspended for some time. The UCI wants to do [it], but it takes a common position with the World Anti-Doping Agency," said Di Rocco.

    President of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), Gianni Petrucci, agrees with Di Rocco's stance. "We cannot wait. It doesn't give a good impression of cycling to see an athlete who continues to compete after the sentence has been confirmed by all agencies, sporting and judicial," he said.

    Meanwhile, Valverde is waiting for a decision on whether the Italian ban will be extended worldwide. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) dismissed his appeal against the sanction and the UCI has stated it wants to pursue an all-inclusive suspension.

    The CAS rejected his appeal against the initial sanction so the reigning Vuelta a España champion then appealed that decision in...

  • Freire doubtful for Giro due to allergies

    Oscar Freire (Rabobank) waves to the crowd
    Article published:
    May 04, 2010, 9:55 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    UPDATED Moerenhout replaced by Stamsnijder

    Oscar Freire may miss the Giro d'Italia as the Rabobank rider is suffering from allergy-related respiratory problems.  Teammate Koos Moerenhout, also suffering from a respiratory infection, will not be able to ride and will be replaced by Tom Stamsnijder.

    Freire has suffered from allergies throughout the spring, and attributed his weak performances in the Ardennes Classics to the onset of his breathing difficulties. His condition has not improved since then.

    “I have never before experienced anything like this,” Freire told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. “I could hardly breathe.”

    The three-time World champion underwent an examination by an ear-nose-throat doctor on Monday in the Netherlands.

    Moerenhout earlier was forced to miss Liège-Bastogne-Liège.  It was announced Tuesday morning that reserve rider Stamsnijder would take his place at the Giro. a

    There has not yet been an announcement concerning Freire.  If he is not able to ride the Italian Tour, his place would be taken by reserve rider and Steven Kruijswijk.

  • Rosendo's blood readings due to haemorrhoids?

    Jesus Rosendo Prado (Andalucia - Cajasur)
    Article published:
    May 04, 2010, 11:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Team suspends Spanish rider

    The Andalucía-CajaSur team have suspended Jesús Rosendo Prado after he was named as one of the three riders snared by the biological passport, but have also issued a statement suggesting a possible explanation for his dubious blood test readings.

    On Monday, the International Cycling Union (UCI) requested the appropriate cycling federations to open disciplinary proceedings against Rosendo, Franco Pellizotti and Tadej Valjavec, based on apparent blood value irregularities.

    In the statement, the Spanish Pro Continental team say Rosendo received a communiqué from the UCI on March 1 stating that they had detected an increase in his oxygen transference based on blood test results obtained between May 19, 2008, and September 27, 2009.

    The statement says: "Between these dates the only blood test result that we can define as abnormal was the one taken on April 20, 2009, which showed haemoglobin and haematocrit levels were very low, suggesting anaemia as a result of bleeding that the rider had suffered on April 8, 2009, due to haemorrhoids (the UCI has a medical note confirming this bleeding). For this reason, the level of reticulocytes increased. As well as the medical note already mentioned, the rider also presented statements from haematology specialists who confirmed their confidence in the normality of this clinical data."

  • Aldag says HTC-Columbia gave up too early in Frankfurt

    Andre Greipel (HTC-Columbia)
    Article published:
    May 04, 2010, 11:38 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Team Director blames captain Greipel for team's poor showing

    HTC-Columbia Sports Director Rolf Aldag has expressed his disappointment with the team's performance at the Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt in Germany on Saturday, after their entire squad were part of a large group of riders to be withdrawn from the event on the first of three closing circuits.

    Milram's Fabian Wegmann won the eventual sprint finish from a 22-man group. The total shut-out of the HTC-Columbia team did not please Aldag, who said his riders didn't demonstrate strong enough will.

    “You can't give up that quickly. Such situations can happen at the Giro or the Tour,” he told the German website

    The problem started when Tony Martin crashed. He was “over motivated, he absolutely wanted to be up front and took a great risk,” said Aldag. Martin was not injured, but his bike needed replacing, and by the time that happened, he had fallen to the back of the race.

    Even though there were still 90 kilometres left in the race, the riders didn't make any great effort to bring Martin or André Greipel up to the front group of 28 riders, which included Wegmann. “We had five men together and were only a minute behind this 28-man group. We should simply have ridden and tried to bring André Greipel up to it.”

    The blame goes to Greipel, Aldag said. “As captain, Greipel should have given the order to catch them. After the race he said, 'they would have just dropped us again on the Mamolshainer Berg'. But then we could have caught them again in the last 30 kilometres.

    “They gave up too early,” Aldag continued. “You can't do that in Frankfurt. This not some 'tra-la-la', but a very important race and the close of the Classics season. Next year we must make it more important.”

    To make things worse, Aldag said he came down with a stomach bug on Saturday, and although he was in the team car, he was...

  • Liquigas-Doimo put faith in Pellizotti

    Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas - Doimo)
    Article published:
    May 04, 2010, 11:39 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Italian squad ready to take action pending internal investigation

    Liquigas-Doimo has put its support behind Franco Pellizotti following the International Cycling Union's (UCI) request on Monday for disciplinary action to be taken against the Italian due to irregularities discovered in his biological passport. The Italian squad said they will cooperate with the investigation, but will conduct their own internal investigation into Pellizotti's blood profiles before taking any possible action against him.

    "Further to the statement made yesterday by the UCI concerning Franco Pellizotti, Liquigas Sport would like to announce that it acknowledges the decision made by the responsible authorities in compliance with their current regulations," said the team in a statement issued on Tuesday.

    "In order to fully understand the situation and the factors which led to this decision, Liquigas Sport has tasked its own physician, Doctor Roberto Corsetti, to analyse the medical and scientific aspects relating to this case.

    "According to current analyses, the evidence which has been presented does not seem to scientifically prove with certainty any improper conduct by the athlete. Liquigas Sport has faith in the explanations that will be provided by Franco Pellizotti and by the experts whom he has hired."

    Pellizotti had been scheduled to race as one of his team's leaders at the Giro d'Italia, which begins in Amsterdam on Saturday. The 32-year-old finished second overall at the Giro in 2009, but was withdrawn from his team's roster for this year's event on Monday. The team expressed its disappointment with the timing of the UCI's announcement.

    "Liquigas Sport is extremely disappointed about the action that has been taken, with particular reference to the untimely notification of the athlete’s alleged abnormal values. These values actually date back to the summer of 2009 but have only now been made public on the eve of such an important engagement."

    Despite stating their support for their rider,...

  • Lloyd looking forward to second Giro with Cervélo

    Daniel Lloyd (Cervelo TestTeam)
    Article published:
    May 04, 2010, 13:08 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Briton primed to support Sastre's general classification ambition

    Cervélo's Daniel Lloyd will start his second Giro d'Italia on Saturday ready to support Carlos Sastre's ambitions of overall victory at the three-week race. The Briton will head to the Netherlands on Wednesday, where he will make final preparations for what will be the second Grand Tour of his career.

    "I'm looking forward to it. I haven't raced for about four of five weeks, I've just been training, but you've got the Giro on your mind the whole time and I'm ready to go," Lloyd told Cyclingnews on Tuesday.

    This year's Giro will be the second successive appearance at the race for the 29-year-old. In contrast to his measured preparations for the event this season, his debut in 2009 came after a last minute call-up and followed a bout of illness which saw him start the race short of form.

    "Last year's lead up was atrocious. I came in as a last minute replacement. I'd been sick at Amstel and had to take ten days off the bike. The team said 'take your time to recover', but then Hayden Roulston was injured and I got called into the squad," he said. "I was nervous because it was my first Grand Tour, but secondly because I was in some of the worst form of my career. This year I'm a lot better prepared."

    Cervélo will head to the Giro with the sole focus of supporting Carlos Sastre's bid to improve his third placing overall at last year's race. Lloyd is again aiming to protect the Spaniard on the flatter sections of the course, but with his vastly improved preparation is also hoping to prove his ability in the mountains.

    "I'll play a similar role to last year when Jeremy Hunt and I were looking after Carlos on all the flatter stages," he said. "Carlos says he's up for it and this is his first big objective of the year, so he'll be our out-and-out leader.

    "From my own perspective I'm hoping to see whether I can get over the climbs with the front group of 60-70 riders, rather than just slipping back into...

  • Valjavec claims innocence in Biological Passport case

    Tadej Valjavec (Ag2r-La Mondiale)
    Article published:
    May 04, 2010, 14:30 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Slovenian cites illness as explanation for irregular blood values

    Tadej Valjavec has proclaimed his innocence after being named by the International Cycling Union (UCI) as being suspected of breaching Anti-Doping regulations under the biological passport programme.

    Valjavec claimed that his blood values were skewed by a continuing illness last year which his team should have reported to the UCI, but the team doctor failed to do so.

    “I have no words,” the 33-year-old said. “My sporting career has ended.”

    Valjavec said the illness accounts for the variations in his blood profile, and claims he had a certificate regarding his illness and subsequent treatment, but, “a doctor on our team did not do his work. The certificate was not forwarded to the International Cycling Union, which then began proceedings against me," he wrote on his personal website

    “I can't believe how it is possible that the system does not work and that this can happen.”

    On Monday, the UCI called for disiplinary action to be taken against Valjavec, Franco Pellizotti and Jesus Rosendo Prado after variations were discovered in each rider's blood profiles as part of their biological passports. Valjavec was immediately suspended by his team, AG2R-La Mondiale.

    The Slovenian also explained why he missed a doing control in April 2009, saying he was at the hospital for the birth of his daughter and had turned off his mobile phone.

    “I am not so stupid, so I really can't believe this is happening,” he said.

  • Rabobank celebrates Giro with special jersey

    Rabobank directors Frans Maassen and Nico Verhoeven display the team's special jersey for the Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    May 04, 2010, 15:10 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Italian tricolore and Right To Play logo on display throughout May

    Rabobank will celebrate the 2010 Giro d'Italia's visit to the Netherlands with a special jersey. The team will debut the new kit on Saturday at the first stage in Amsterdam.

    The jersey features the traditional Rabobank colours of orange, blue and white, with an accent of the Italian “tricolore” – small stripes of green, white and red.

    Another addition is the Right to Play logo. The Dutch team has supported Right To Play for a number of years.The international not-for-profit organisation uses sport and play programmes to help the development of children in disadvantaged areas of the world.

    The riders' jerseys will be auctioned off by the team through their website, as will a custom team bike and a visit to the Tour de France finale in Paris in July.  All proceeds from the auctions will be donated to Right To Play.