Route du Sud for Contador and Quintana
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) will have spent 40 days away from racing by the time the Giro d’Italia gets underway in San Remo on May 9, but the Spaniard will not face a similar lay-off between the corsa rosa and the Tour de France.
As Contador bids to become the first man since Marco Pantani in 1998 to land the Giro-Tour double, L’Équipe reports that he will break up the 33-day gap between the two races by participating in the Route du Sud, which takes place from June 18-21.
The route of four-day race in the Pyrenees was unveiled on Wednesday and stage three from Izaourt to Bagnères-de-Luchon features three mountain passes, the Haut-Balestas, the Col du Val Louron-Azet and the Port de Balès, where Contador famously attacked Andy Schleck at the 2010 Tour de France.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) is also set to take part in the Route du Sud, which will be his sole race between the Tour de Romandie, where he is currently competing, and the start of the Tour in Utrecht on July 4. Quintana will return to Colombia after the Tour de Romandie for a lengthy spell of altitude training, before travelling to Europe in time for the Route du Sud.
Rebellin cleared of tax evasion and criminal doping charge
Davide Rebellin has been cleared of tax evasion by a court in Padua, which also found that he had no criminal case to answer for his positive test for CERA at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, when he became the first Italian athlete ever to be stripped of an Olympic medal due to doping.
Rebellin was accused of evading almost €7 million in taxes in Italy between 2002 and 2007, when he claims he was resident in Monaco. The prosecution had looked to prove that he had in fact spent the majority of that period living in Galliera, near Padova, and he risked a prison sentence for the offence.
“I demonstrated that Rebellin’s real residence is in Monaco, where he owns several buildings,” Rebellin’s lawyer Antonino De Silvestri told Il Gazzettino. “The prosecution said he was resident in Galliera because his wife lives there, but we showed that he’s abroad for half the year.”
The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) sought €500,000 in damages from Rebellin for his 2008 positive test for CERA as well as a year’s imprisonment. Italy’s law number 376, introduced in 2000, states that athletes who dope can be jailed for a period of between three months and three years. Judge Beatrice Bergamasco found in Rebellin’s favour in both cases. “Inside of me I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong,” Rebellin told Gazzetta dello Sport from the Tour of Turkey, where the 42-year-old is currently the overall leader.
The verdict in the criminal case has no effect on the sporting sanction that Rebellin received from CONI for his positive test, when he was stripped of his silver medal from Beijing and handed a two-year ban.
“The principal of guilt in Italian law has to be proved ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’ while for the International Olympic Committee, ‘comfortable satisfaction’ can be enough,” Rebellin’s lawyer De Silvestri explained.
Organizer promises Rund um Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt in 2016
The organiser of the Rund um Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt has vowed that the race will return in 2016 following its cancellation this year when it emerged that it was the possible target of a terrorist attack.
Police arrested a married couple in Oberursel, Germany, near Frankfurt, and found large quantities of ammunition, chemicals used for making bombs, and weapons in their home, as well as a "functional pipe bomb” and the decision was taking to cancel the race for safety reasons.
“We are looking forward to 2016. We will hold our race again next year on May 1,” said Bernd Moos-Achenbach, organizer of Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt. He added that sponsors and team have already indicated their support for the event, and “That is a major signal for cycling and for the race,” he said, according to the dpa news agency.
Markus Frank, head of the Frankfurt sport department, promised further support from the city. “We will not let ourselves be restricted by sick people. It will continue.”
Tuft ruled out of Giro d'Italia
Svein Tuft, the first maglia rosa of the 2014 Giro d’Italia, has been ruled out of this year’s race after he sustained a fractured rest and a chest injury in a crash on the opening road stage of the Tour de Romandie on Wednesday.
Orica-GreenEdge confirmed that Tuft will miss the Giro in a report on the team website, saying that “scans have revealed a minor wrist fracture and injured sternum and at the recommendation of medical staff, the team will take a cautious approach to his recovery.”
Tuft crashed towards the end of stage two of the Tour de Romandie while carrying bidons from the team car back up to the main peloton. The Canadian led GreenEdge across the line in the opening team time trial in Belfast at last year’s Giro. He was one of just two GreenEdge riders to make it to the finish in Trieste three weeks later, after a spate of crashes took its toll in the third week of the race.