News Shorts: Ferrari leads Lampre at the Tour Down Under, Santambrogio to fight doping case

Ferrari, Durasek and Grmay lead Lampre-Merida at the Tour Down Under

Sprinter Roberto Ferrari, Croatia's Kristijan Durasek and new Ethiopian signing Tsgabu Grmay have been named in the six-rider Lampre-Merida squad for the Tour Down Under.

The Italian WorldTour team hopes that Ferrari can use his speed in the sprint finishes while Durasek will be the protected rider for the overall classification. Grmay will make his debut for Lampre-Merida down under after spending the winter training in Africa. He is the current Ethiopian champion and rode for the MTN-Qhubeka team in 2014.

Also wearing the blue-fuchsia Lampre-Merida colours will be talented young Italian Niccolò Bonifazio plus hard working domestiques Matteo Bono, Davide Cimolai and Manuele Mori.

The Lampre-Merida team will travel to Australia on January 11, in time to acclimatize and prepare for the racing. They will ride the People's Choice Classic on 18 January, and then the Town Under between January 20-25.

Drug makers, anti-doping agencies will meet in Tokyo

The pharmaceutical and anti-doping communities will meet later this month to discuss the industry's role in the fight against performance enhancing drug use. The Second International Conference on the Pharmaceutical Industry and the Fight against Doping: New Developments for Clean Sport and Society, will take place on January 28 in Tokyo.

Representatives from across the pharmaceutical and anti-doping communities will explore ways to help protect the rights of clean athletes and to restrict the abuse of licensed and unlicensed medicines. The first such conference took place in Paris in November of 2012. The World Anti-Doping Agency; the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japanese Government; the Japan Anti-Doping Agency; and UNESCO will host the event.

Topics for discussion will include the societal and economic risks of doping, the challenges in anti-doping and the role of the biopharmaceutical industry, and the collaborative perspectives for the biopharmaceutical industry and anti-doping authorities in the future.

Santambrogio hoping to be cleared despite testosterone positive test

Mauro Santambrogio is expected to formally charged with a doping offence on January 20 after his lawyer asked for further time to present defence documents that explain why he tested positive for testosterone. The original UCI deadline was January 6.

The Italian rider, who was banned until November 2014 due to failing a test for EPO during the 2013 Giro d'Italia, tested positive for testosterone in October, with the UCI revealing the case on December 18. He claimed he failed the test due to being prescribed the drug to treat erectile and fertility problems.

In a letter sent to the Tuttobici website, Giuseppe Napoleone said he hopes to explain what happened so his client 'avoids becoming a sacrificial lamb of the legitimate fight against doping.'

Napoleone suggested that Santambrogio's case was complex, revealing that he could not have applied for a Theraputic Use Exemption (TUE) to use the testosterone because he was not a UCI licence holder at the time. Santambrogio had also apparently been removed from the UCI and Italian Federation testing pool. However the UCI anti-doping rules allow for the testing of riders during previous established ban for doping.

Giro del Trentino and Melinda join forces

The organisers of the Giro del Trentino stage race and the Trofeo Melinda one-day race have announced they have joined forces to strengthen what will be the 39th edition of the stage race.

GS Alto Garda and Consorzio Melinda said the 2015 edition of the race will be known as the Giro del Trentino-Melinda and be held between April 21-24. The Melinda apple brand will appear on the race leader's jersey and the final stage of the race will finish in Valli di Non, where the apples are grown. It is unclear if the Trofeo Melinda will continue to be held.

USA Cycling hires six new staff members

USA Cycling has hired six new staff members in three departments, including Director of Track Programs Andy Sparks and Technical Director Mark Guthart.

National Events Manager Laura Ryan, Race Director Certification Manager Cynthia Weisinger, Digital and Social Media Manager Steve Bitter and Sponsorship and Member Benefits Manager Daniel Gillespie will also join the governing body.

“It is a pleasure to welcome Andy, Mark, Cynthia, Laura, Steve and Daniel to the USA Cycling Family,” said USA Cycling's outgoing CEO and President Steve Johnson. “Each new staff member brings a unique set of skills that I expect will profoundly and positively affect their respective areas of responsibility.”

Formerly USAC's Endurance Track Head Coach and USOC Para-Cycling Track Head Coach, Sparks twice coached the Olympic track cycling team. He also directed the Performance-United Cycling Center in Mallorca, Spain, as well as the track cycling program at the UCI’s World Cycling Center in Switzerland. With USA Cycling, Sparks will manage elite and development track programs.

As Technical Director, Guthart will oversee referee development and education, direct national event officiating and manage technical advancement in the US.

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