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June 30, 2007

Jaksche admits Puerto link, discusses widespread doping

ESPN | Cyclist: Doctor in Spanish probe assisted doping

Former Telekom, ONCE, and Liberty Seguros rider Jörge Jaksche has admitted he was a client of Eufemiano Fuentes, and said he has used performance-enhancing drugs since 1997.

Jaksche spoke to the German newsweekly Spiegel. He has promised to provide information on doping to the World Anti-Doping Agency, the UCI, and national authorities.

He confirmed that he is the rider identified in investigators' files as Number 20 and “Bella,” the name of his dog, and that his blood is among the bags recovered from Fuentes' clinic.

“I believe it's important for the future of the sport that someone comes out and says, ‘OK, this is how it happens here.’ ”

Former Jaksche teammate Alexandre Vinokourov, the favorite in this year's Tour de France, dismissed Jaksche's allegations that doping was “either actively conducted by the team leadership or tolerated:”

“Jaksche was contacted by Der Spiegel and offered lots of money. It's easy to give evidence when's there's a big cheque being dangled in front of you.

“If you're given €5 000 to dish the dirt on someone, you're not going to do it. But if its €100 000, you'll find a story to justify the amount.”

Vinokourov also spoke to L'Equipe about his ties to former Lance Armstrong trainer Michele Ferrari. “Ferrari has never offered me any medication. He is just my physical trainer and if I'm talking as openly as this it's because I've nothing to hide,” Vinokourov said.

Update (7/3): Cyclingnews.com offers a lengthy story detailing Jaksche's Der Spiegel interview.

Also:

Spiegel Online | Jaksches Dopingbekenntnis: Das Geständnis von "Bella" (in German) | rough Google translation

VeloNews | 'Bella' speaks; Vino' concedes Ferrari link

cyclingnews.com | Jaksche admits taking banned substances & blood doping

Posted by Frank Steele on June 30, 2007 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Doping, Jorg Jaksche, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 29, 2007

Cañada replaces Gomez Marchante for Saunier Duval

Syklingens Verden: Marchante to Miss the Tour

David Cañada in yellow
David Cañada in yellow,
originally uploaded by Frank Steele.

Saunier Duval's José Angel Gomez Marchante will miss the Tour, after recent stomach problems were diagnosed as ulcerative colitis. He'll undergo a colonoscopy and other tests on Wednesday. The team hopes he'll return to action before the Vuelta a España.

Meanwhile, David Cañada will make his 4th Tour start in his teammate's place. Cañada was 3rd at the Tour de Georgia in April.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 29, 2007 in 2007 team rosters, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Z's in! CSC announces Tour roster

David Zabriskie
David Zabriskie,
originally uploaded by Frank Steele.

Team CSC | Team CSC Announces Line-Up for Tour de France 2007

    Team CSC 2007 Tour roster:
  • Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Norway)
  • Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)
  • Inigo Cuesta (Spain)
  • Stuart O'Grady (Australia)
  • Carlos Sastre (Spain)
  • Fränk Schleck (Luxembourg)
  • Christian Vande Velde (USA)
  • Jens Voigt
  • David Zabriskie (USA)

Two of the peloton's best time triallists in Cancellara and Zabriskie and two possible GC threats in Sastre and Schleck.

Left off were veterans Bobby Julich, and Karsten Kroon.

Update: And I somehow left off Jens Voigt, leaving CSC with only 8 riders. Fixed.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 29, 2007 in 2007 team rosters, Bobby Julich, Carlos Sastre, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Fabian Cancellara, Frank Schleck, Jens Voigt, Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jaksche to "speak out" on doping

IHT.com | German rider Joerg Jaksche offers to speak out on doping to WADA, UCI and justice officials

Jörg Jaksche, who rode for Telekom from 1998-2000 then worked for Manolo Saiz at ONCE and at Liberty Seguros, is set to speak to the press and anti-doping officials.

Jaksche offered no details of the testimony he would provide, but he is among the riders suspected of involvement in Operación Puerto, and was held out of the Tour de France last year.

His first interview will be with Germany's newsmagazine Der Spiegel, but he promises to also speak to officials of the World Anti-Doping Agency, the UCI, and German justice authorities.

As recently as June 20th, Jaksche told cyclingnews.com:

...he will not join the ranks of riders who have confessed to being involved in the Telekom 1990s doping scandal or Operación Puerto, in which his name had arisen. "I have nothing to confess," he said.

Jaksche signed with Tinkoff Credit Systems this spring, but was held out of the Giro d'Italia when Giro organizers asked teams not to include racers who appeared in the files of Operación Puerto investigators.

Jaksche, 30, has also ridden for Polti and CSC, and started 6 Tours de France.

Also:

VeloNews | Jaksche ready to talk

cyclingpost.com | Jaksche ready to reveal truth: “The rider's attorney announced that Jaksche will not only be admitting to the use of forbidden substances; he is also willing to witness against others.”

CyclingHeroes.com | Jörg Jaksche: no team without investigation

cyclingnews.com | Interview with Jörg Jaksche, December 7, 2006

Posted by Frank Steele on June 29, 2007 in Doping, Jorg Jaksche, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tour de YouTube

YouTube | Découvrez la route du Tour en 3D

The Tour organization continues its cautious experiments in new media. The new Tour website (French, English, German, Spanish) adds a smattering of Flash for navigation, but otherwise, it's what we've all come to expect.

Over at YouTube, however, there's an official new Tour de France channel. There are 11 videos so far, mostly in French, but with a smattering of other languages. The Tour isn't giving up all control, however, as comments and embedded video both are disabled.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 29, 2007 in Television, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Milram names Petacchi to Tour squad despite hearing

Yahoo! Eurosport UK | Tour de France - Petacchi named in Milram line-up

Alessandro Petacchi, suspended and facing a hearing next week on a high salbutamol reading registered during the Giro d'Italia, nevertheless highlights the Team Milram 2007 Tour roster.

Six-time green jersey winner Erik Zabel, who recently confessed to using EPO to train for the Tour while riding for Telekom in 1996, is also on the squad, which will likely focus on sprint wins by the pair.

    Milram 2007 Tour de France roster:
  • Alessandro Cortinovis (Italy)
  • Ralf Grabsch (Germany)
  • Christian Knees (Germany)
  • Brett Lancaster (Australia)
  • Alberto Ongarato (Italy)
  • Alessandro Petacchi (Italy)
  • Enrico Poitschke (Germany)
  • Marcel Sieberg (Germany)
  • Erik Zabel (Germany)
  • Andriy Grivko (Ukraine)
  • replaced Petacchi 7/4/07

Update: Andriy Grivko will replace Petacchi after a CONI official recommended a 1-year suspension for his salbutamol positive.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 29, 2007 in 2007 team rosters, Alessandro Petacchi, Erik Zabel, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

T-Mobile finalizes Tour roster

T-Mobile Team | T-Mobile Team selects Tour Nine

One Brit in, one Brit out at T-Mobile, as 22-year-old Mark Cavendish rides a string of early-season victories to a Tour start in London, but Roger Hammond misses out again.

The team will ride for Australia's Michael Rogers, who aims for a top-5 finish, with two sprint threats, Cavendish and Bernhard Eisel, and some experienced support riders in Kim Kirchen, Patrik Sinkewitz, Giuseppe Guerini, and Axel Merckx.

    T-Mobile 2007 Tour roster:

  • Marcus Burghardt (Germany)
  • Mark Cavendish (Great Britain)
  • Bernhard Eisel (Austria)
  • Bert Grabsch (Germany) starts for Guerini
  • Giuseppe Guerini (Italy)
  • Linus Gerdemann (Germany)
  • Kim Kirchen (Luxembourg)
  • Axel Merckx (Belgium)
  • Michael Rogers (Australia)
  • Patrik Sinkewitz (Germany)

Update: The team will start Grabsch instead of Guerini.

Gerdemann, Cavendish, and Burghardt all are slated to make their first Tour starts.

Also:

Yahoo! Eurosport | Tour de France - Cavendish gets T-Mobile call

cyclingnews.com | Hammond hoping as Tour approaches: "The thought of the Tour in Britain is great," he said. "I am trying not to get too excited about it just in case… I don't like to get too built up for something and then not do it.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 29, 2007 in 2007 team rosters, Linus Gerdemann, Mark Cavendish, Michael Rogers, Patrik Sinkewitz | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Astana names final Tour 9

VeloNews | Friday's EuroFile: Tour rosters shaping up

The Astana team of Alexandre Vinokourov named its Tour roster today. Matthias Kessler and Eddy Mazzoleni both are off the Tour squad, while investigators look into possible doping involvement by each.

Vinokourov is the favorite going into this year's Tour, and even without Mazzoleni (3rd at the Giro d'Italia this year) and Kessler (who won a Tour stage last year), he brings a potent squad.

It includes Andreas Klöden, who was 2nd in the 2004 Tour, reigning Kazakhstan national champion Andrey Kashechkin, and double Giro winner Paolo Savoldelli.

    Astana 2007 Tour roster:
  • Antonio Colom (Spain)
  • Maxim Iglinskiy (Kazakhstan)
  • Serguei Ivanov (Russia)
  • Andrey Kashechkin (Kazakhstan)
  • Andreas Klöden (Germany)
  • Daniel Navarro (Spain)
  • Gregory Rast (Switzerland)
  • Paolo Savoldelli (Italy)
  • Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan)

Posted by Frank Steele on June 29, 2007 in 2007 team rosters, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Paolo Savoldelli, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rogers still suffering from April knee injury

Canberra Times | Knee injury threatens to knock Rogers out of Tour de France

T-Mobile captain Michael Rogers could miss the Tour, as a micro-fracture in his right knee continues to plague him. Rogers missed the last three stages at the Tour de Suisse, but says he's still 90 percent to start in London next Saturday.

“For this to happen now it's a kick in the teeth for everyone. We're just going to deal with it the best we can,” Rogers said.

“The team's been relatively stressed too because my whole year has been based around the Tour and for this to come up now isn't ideal.”

“It tests your nerves. I just get up in the morning to go for a ride and pray my knee will be fine.”

Rogers, a 3-time world time trial champion, finished 10th at last year's Tour.

After extensive Tour preparation, Rogers has cut back on his mileage, and said he'll likely need to ride back into top condition if he's able to start the Tour.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 29, 2007 in Michael Rogers, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 28, 2007

Piepoli also facing investigation

CNN.com | Piepoli, Petacchi in doping probe

Saunier Duval's Leonardo Piepoli initial “non-negative” finding from the Giro d'Italia came back alongside Alessandro Petacchi's and Iban Mayo's.

Like Petacchi, Piepoli tested positive for salbutamol, with some reports quoting a level of 1800 nanograms/milliliter, about one-third higher than Petacchi's.

Like Petacchi, he'll speak with an investigator from the Italian Olympic Committee about his Adverse Analytical Finding next week. He was left off Saunier Duval-Prodir's Tour squad.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 28, 2007 in Doping, Leonardo Piepoli | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Vaugrenard, Cancellara, Ascani win TT nats

With the Tour a little more than a week away, most of the European countries are holding their time trial championships, with road nationals this weekend.

Sweden: Gustav Larsson won the TT title ahead of TdFblog favorite Magnus Backstedt, with Thomas Lövkvist 8th.

France: Benoit Vaugrenard of Française des Jeux won the French time trial championship today, ahead of Dimitri Champion and Nicolas Vogondy. Last year's winner, Sylvain Chavanel, did not compete.

Switzerland: Fabian Cancellara showed why he wears those rainbow stripes, earning his 5th Swiss national title.

Italy: Luca Ascani of Aurum Hotels beat out '05 TT champ Marco Pinotti and Vincenzo Nibali to earn a maglia tricolore.

Germany: Former Phonak Bert Grabsch beat out Lars Teutenberg and Robert Bartko in Warnemünde on Sunday, while many of Germany's top TT men competed at the Tour de Suisse.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 28, 2007 in Fabian Cancellara | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tour TV prep

I want to take a moment here to once again, for the millionth time, express my gratitude to the Versus TV network for providing live coverage of most of the world's greatest bike race.

With the Tour a little more than a week away, let's run through the race's TV listings:

US: Versus | 2007 Tour de France broadcast schedule

Canada: OLN lives on north of the border, entering their 7th year of coverage. Here's their full schedule. They'll also broadcast a show called “Lance's France: The Travellers Guide,” first airing this Sunday, July 1st at 8 pm ET/PT.

UK: Reader MJ Ray notes that itv, the official British broadcast partner, has yet to publish a Tour schedule, but he's got a rundown on his weblog based on what he could get from the tvtv listings service.

Australia: SBS broadcasts the Tour for the 17th consecutive year. They've got live coverage of every stage, a pre-Tour special called “Aussie Onslaught: 25 Years of le Tour” on July 5th, and Belleville Rendezvous immediately after.
SBS: Tour de France (I love the headline “Vino poised to make glorious Tour benefit.”)

But what if you're trapped at work during the live coverage? I took advantage of a recent super deal at Woot.com to grab a refurbished Slingbox — my boss has been raving about his for months.

The Slingbox is a smallish box that hooks to your video source -- the coaxial cable that brings TV into your house, or the box that decodes a signal and sends it to your TV, and also hooks up to the internet. Through some awesome magic, when you leave your house, software on your PC, Mac, Windows Mobile device, Symbian phone, or certain models of Treo can find your box, and stream the video and audio over the internet.

The setup works well, even on my pokey 1.2-megabit first-generation ADSL connection, and the picture quality improves with your home connection speed. There's a model with HD support as well as the normal NTSC model at right.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 28, 2007 in Television, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mazzoleni, Di Luca, Petacchi called before CONI

VeloNews | CONI prosecutor summons Giro stars

Two separate doping investigations by the Italian Olympic Committee will bring Alessandro Petacchi, Danilo Di Luca, and Eddy Mazzoleni before investigators next week.

Petacchi hopes to present his therapeutic use exemption for the asthma medication salbutamol and be cleared to race in the Tour de France, after one of his 5 doping tests from the Giro d'Italia came back with a salbutamol level of 1320 nanograms/milliliter. His other Giro tests were all below the trigger value of 1,000 nanograms/mL.

Petacchi is suspended from competition until the committee reaches a decision, which puts him out of the Italian nationals and threatens his spot in the Tour.

Di Luca and Mazzoleni will appear before the same investigator as Petacchi, Ettore Torri, as part of a hearing on what's been called the “Oil for Drugs” case, resulting from raids conducted during the 2004 (!) Giro d'Italia. Di Luca has already ruled out a Tour ride, after winning the Giro, but Mazzoleni, 3rd in this year's Giro, may be is suspended during the investigation, which would will keep him off the Astana squad. The case apparently took its name from evidence that some ridres may have been trading massage oil for performance enhancers.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 28, 2007 in Alessandro Petacchi, Danilo Di Luca, Doping | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 27, 2007

Zabriskie signs The Pledge

David Zabriskie
David Zabriskie,
originally uploaded by Frank Steele.
www.cyclingnews.com | Zabriskie wants 100 percent transparency

US time trial champion and former Tour yellow jersey David Zabriskie has signed the UCI's Riders' commitment to a new cycling.

Cyclingnews.com reports that Zabriskie becomes the 4th American to sign, after Credit Agricole's Saul Raisin, T-Mobile's Aaron Olson, and Tyler Farrar of Cofidis.

Zabriskie's teammate Fabian Cancellara told tuttobiciweb.com the UCI statement “is truly stupid. I am 100 percent against it.”

Zabriskie awaits the CSC Tour squad announcement:

“I am sitting here in limbo, in space. ... I am waiting to see if I can go to the Tour,” he said. “I am should know in the next couple of days. The way I performed my chances should be good. I have improved a lot in mountains and I will help Carlos [Sastre] and Fränk [Schleck] in the mountains.”

Update: The latest provisional start list at Cycling4All.com has 7 CSCs confirmed: Arvesen, Cancellara, Kroon, O'Grady, Sastre, Schleck, and Voigt; and says the final 2 riders will come from Lars Bak, Inigo Cuesta, Bobby Julich, or Nicki Sørensen.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 27, 2007 in Dave Zabriskie, Fabian Cancellara | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Discos fill out Tour dance card

ThePaceLine.com (free reg. req.) - Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Announces 2007 Tour de France Team Roster

Leipheimer @ '07 TdG
Leipheimer @ '07 TdG,
originally uploaded by Frank Steele.
No major surprises from America's Team, as Discovery Channel brings a Tour squad that can support the podium hopes (dreams?) of Levi Leipheimer as well as chasing a few stage wins.

    Discovery Channel 2007 Tour de France roster:
  • Alberto Contador (Spain)
  • Vladimir Gusev (Russia)
  • George Hincapie (USA)
  • Levi Leipheimer (USA)
  • Egoi Martinez (Spain)
  • Benjamin Noval (Spain)
  • Sergio Paulinho (Portugal)
  • Yaroslav Popovych (Ukraine)
  • Tomas Vaitkus (Lithuania)

Director Johan Bruyneel said he has three goals for the Tour: Leipheimer on the podium, a stage win for the team, and Contador in the Best Young Rider jersey in Paris.

Hincapie won Stage 15 of the 2005 Tour, and led the race for a day last year. Popovych took Stage 12 of last year's Tour, and was himself the Best Young Rider in 2005. Leipheimer was 6th overall in the 2005 Tour, and is coming off a win at this year's Tour of California and two stage wins at the Tour de Georgia.

Stijn Devolder, who had been racing very well, will watch the Tour from home, as will veterans José Luis Rubiera and Pavel Padrnos.

Also:

ThePaceline.com (free reg. req.) | Fresh Brew: Team DC at the Tour

PodiumCafe.com | Discovery Tour Squad Goes Final

With some discussion of Devolder's non-selection.

VeloNews | Discovery unveils Tour squad

Bruyneel tips Vinokourov, with nods to Cadel Evans, Vladimir Karpets, Denis Menchov, and Carlos Sastre.

He also admitted the doping craziness is impacting the team's search for a new sponsor.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 27, 2007 in 2007 team rosters, Alberto Contador, Egoi Martinez, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories, Tour de France 2007, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saunier Duval-Prodir announce Tour riders

Daily Peloton | Tour de France: Saunier Duval/Prodir Squad Announced

David Millar

Saunier Duval/Prodir is chasing stage wins at this year's Tour, as they've chosen an experienced squad with an eye on the mountains.

    Suanier Duval/Prodir 2007 Tour roster:
  • Iker Camano (Spain)
  • David Cañada (Spain) replaces Gomez Marchante
  • Juan José Cobo (Spain)
  • David de la Fuente (Spain)
  • José Angel Gomez Marchante (Spain)
  • Ruben Lobato (Spain)
  • Iban Mayo (Spain)
  • David Millar (Scotland, UK)
  • Christophe Rinero (France)
  • Francisco Ventoso (Spain)

Update: David Cañada replaces Jose Angel Gomez Marchante.

Reserves are Angel Gomez and Jesus del Nero.

Mayo won Stage 8 up Alpe d'Huez in the 2003 Tour and Stage 19 of this year's Giro d'Italia. David de la Fuente was the most combative rider of last year's Tour, after long attacks on Stage 2 and Stage 11. Rinero took the King of the Mountains in the 1998 Tour.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 27, 2007 in 2007 team rosters, David Millar, Iban Mayo, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Euskaltel announces Tour roster

www.cyclingnews.com | Euskaltel announce final Tour roster

Haimar Zubeldia will carry the GC hopes of the Basque team in this year's Tour. He'll be joined by one of cycling's greatest names, sprinter Iñaki Isasi, Mikel Astarloza, and Iñigo Landaluze.

    Euskaltel 2007 Tour roster:
  • Igor Anton
  • Mikel Astarloza
  • Jorge Azana
  • Iñaki Isasi
  • Iñigo Landaluze
  • Ruben Plaza
  • Amets Txurruka
  • Gorka Verdugo
  • Haimar Zubeldia

Zubeldia finished 5th in the 2003 Tour. Landaluze won the 2005 Dauphiné Libéré. Plaza won the final TT at the 2005 Vuelta a España.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 27, 2007 in 2007 team rosters | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Kessler suspended after testosterone test

Pro Tour 2007 | Kessler fails dope test

Astana's Matthias Kessler has been suspended from competition after an out-of-competition test in April was positive for testosterone.

Kessler said he will immediately request that his “B” sample be tested.

This may very well be the “non-negative” result the UCI had previously mentioned by one of the so-called “men in black,” riders who were training in plain jerseys.

Kessler won Stage 3 of last year's Tour with a monster attack on the Cauberg.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 27, 2007 in Doping | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Petacchi hearing will decide Tour fate

VeloNews | Petacchi fighting for Tour slot; French await Landis ruling

Team Milram's Alessandro Petacchi, one of the sport's outstanding sprinters, faces a hearing to explain his high reading for salbutamol during the Giro d'Italia last month. The UCI notified Italian officials yesterday that Petacchi is officially “non-negative” after registering a salbutamol level of 1,320 nanograms/millileter after his Stage 11 Giro win in Pinerolo.

Salbutamol is a common asthma medication that can have stimulant and anabolic effects at high doses. Many endurance athletes, including Petacchi, have therapeutic use exemptions allowing them to use inhaled salbutamol to address exercise-induced asthma. The World Anti-Doping Agency tries to control salbutamol levels by setting a limit of 1000 nanograms/milliliter in rider urine samples. A higher level is an “adverse analytical finding,” which shifts the burden of proof onto the athlete, who must prove the finding resulted from use of a salbutamol inhaler.

Petacchi has asked for an immediate hearing before CONI, the Italian Olympic committee, so he may clear his name before the Tour. He told La Gazzetta dello Sport:

“Why would I have done something different from other times? I have the responsibility of the team on my shoulders, with the sponsors that are always speaking against doping.

“Yes, I may have done one spray more, but I have done nothing illegal. I do not want to lose the Tour.”

At least one study suggests it is possible to reach levels above 1000 ng/mL through inhalation alone. Another suggests it may be possible to measure inhaled versus orally administered salbutamol.

Petacchi has won 4 Tour stages in his career, all in 2003. He was dominant in this year's Giro, winning 5 stages. He has been left off the start list for this weekend's Italian national championship.

Also:

eirpharm.com | Information on Salbutamol

Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian) | Petacchi: 7 giorniper non perdere tutto

cyclingnews | Petacchi heard by CONI over Salbutamol use

Posted by Frank Steele on June 27, 2007 in Alessandro Petacchi, Doping, Top Stories, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Landis kicks off "Positively False" book tour

FloydLandis.com | Book Events


Last year's Tour winner, Floyd Landis, is kicking off a book tour, promoting his new book, Positively False, with a book signing in Bryant Park in New York City today. Landis will be interviewed by John Eustice from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. at the Bryant Park Reading Room.

In the next 3 weeks or so, Landis will visit Lancaster and Philadelphia, PA; Washington, DC; Chicago; Seattle; and Sacramento, San Francisco, Thousand Oaks, Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Riverside, CA, in addition to the 3 New York City-area locations.

Landis is awaiting results of his hearing in front of a US Anti-Doping Agency panel, after returning a high testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio during last year's Tour.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 27, 2007 in Floyd Landis, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 26, 2007

Unibet.com sues for Tour place

Yahoo! Eurosport UK | Unibet to take ASO to court

Unibet.com is filing suit against ASO, the organization that runs the Tour de France, over their exclusion from the race.

Unibet.com is a ProTour team, but seemingly in name only. They've been denied entry into all three Grand Tours, initially because of complaints by organizers that the ProTour had expanded too far, preventing GT organizers from inviting wild card teams.

ASO has a stronger basis for preventing Unibet.com from racing, because their title sponsor is an online bookmaker. French law that prohibits the advertisement of foreign gambling concerns in French events.

Also:

cyclingnews | Unibet launches new action against ASO

Posted by Frank Steele on June 26, 2007 in About the Tour, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

If it's June, we must be awaiting the other shoe

Just like last year, cycling fans sit less than two weeks before the Tour, with doubts about many of the sport's biggest names.

Alessandro Petacchi and Leonardo Piepoli are still waiting on results from “B” samples taken during the Giro. One or more of the 2007-dominating Astana team has tested non-negative in out of competition tests while training in plain jerseys, leading the UCI to refer to them as “men in black.” “B” samples to come.

Meanwhile, four Giro racers will face interviews from Italian officials over suspiciously low levels of hormones. Giro champion Danilo Di Luca, Eddy Mazzoleni, Riccardo Ricco, and Gilberto Simoni all showed hormone levels that resembled preadolescents, which might result from the use of masking agents intended to hide doping.

The UCI is pushing a new Rider's Pledge as a stick to force riders to provide DNA samples. Back in April, I said “Six riders reportedly refused to join in [by providing DNA samples], but should suffer no consequences. For now, at least.” The Pledge is the UCI introducing consequences.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 26, 2007 in Alessandro Petacchi, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Danilo Di Luca, Doping, Gilberto Simoni, Riccardo Ricco | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cofidis finalizes Tour nine

Cyclingpost.com | Cofidis reveal Tour de France line-up

Cofidis has announced a GC-free roster for the 2007 Tour de France.

    Their Tour roster:
  • Stéphane Augé
  • Sylvain Chavanel
  • Geoffroy Lequatre
  • Cristian Moreni
  • Nick Nuyens
  • Ivan Parra
  • Staf Scheirlinckx
  • Rik Verbrugghe
  • Bradley Wiggins

Wiggins is focused on the race's first 7.9 kilometers: He'll judge his Tour by his performance in the prologue. Augé won Stage 8 of the 2002 Tour; Verbrugghe won Stage 15 of the 2001 Tour.

David Moncoutie is still recovering from a crash at the Tour of Romandy, and I won't get to make my favorite cycling nickname joke, since the team left off Leonardo “L” Duque.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 26, 2007 in 2007 team rosters, Bradley Wiggins, Sylvain Chavanel, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 25, 2007

Karpets is last Vladimir left at TdS

cyclingnews.com | Flying Karpets grabs Tour de Suisse

Caisse d'Epargne's Vladimir Karpets emerged victorious from the Tour of Vladimirs, as his teammate and former race leader Vladimir Efimkin faded in the time trial at the Tour of Switzerland Sunday.

CSC's Fabian Cancellara looks like a pretty good bet for the Tour de France prologue in London, as he took the day's 33.7-km time trial by 20 seconds ahead of Astana's Andreas Klöden. Cancellara also took the Swiss prologue, but Sunday was sweeter, coming in Bern, his hometown.

Gerolsteiner's Stefan Schumacher was 3rd on the day, at :33, ahead of Discovery's Stijn Devolder at 1:04, Discovery's Vladimir Gusev, who won Stage 7, at 1:05, and Karpets 6th at 1:06.

Efimkin could manage only 38th, dropping 3:22 to Cancellara.

Frank Schleck had promised to go all out to take the race lead, but he fell to 7th overall with a 29th-place finish on the day, 2:50 back.

Also:

VeloNews | Karpets wins Swiss tour; Cancellara bags final stage

cyclingnews.com | Stage 9 photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on June 25, 2007 in Fabian Cancellara, Stefan Schumacher, Top Stories, Tour de Suisse 2007, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

CSC takes ProTour team TT championship

procycling | Team CSC wins second ProTour TTT

Even with world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara competing (and winning) at the Tour de Suisse, Team CSC took the ProTour team time trial championship in Eindhoven.

Team Tinkoff took 2nd, a second behind CSC, with Milram about 13 seconds back. Discovery Channel led in the race's last kilometer, but Tomas Vaitkus and Steve Cummings wiped out in the greasy conditions, leaving Disco short at the line. They finished 4th at 24 seconds.

CSC's TT squad included:

• Michael Blaudzun
• Matthew Goss
• Bobby Julich
• Marcus Ljungqvist
• Luke Roberts
• Nicki Sørensen
• Christian Vande Velde
• Dave Zabriskie

Unfortunately, there is once again no Team Time Trial in this year's Tour.

Also:

VeloNews | CSC defends title in ProTour TTT

cyclingnews.com | Masters of the TTT, CSC makes it two for two | photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on June 25, 2007 in Bobby Julich, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 21, 2007

Dekker takes TdS Stage 6, Efimkin in yellow

With a major hailstorm striking during the race, organizers shortened the day's stage, skipping the Nufenenpass, and restarting the stage at Ulrichen at the 95 kilometers to ride point. Some riders reportedly needed medical treatment from hail strikes, and some team cars were damaged.

With the finish line just 1.7 kilometers below the day's last climb, the peloton's climbers had their eye on today's stage. Lampre's Damiano Cunego attacked on the slope, to be matched by (who else?) Saunier Duval's Gilberto Simoni.

When the select group brought those two back, Simoni's teammate José Angel Gomez Marchante attacked, but Cunego countered (shadowed by Simoni), and as the top of the climb approached, it looked like the strong group of 8 riders, including two Vladimirs, Karpets and Efimkin, as well as Simoni, Cunego, and Gomez Marchante, would come down to a sprint.

But Rabobank had a rider sitting quietly at the back of that group, fighting to hang on, and perhaps 200 meters before the top, Thomas Dekker gapped the leading group. Once over the top, Dekker streaked away on the downhill to the finish, going hard, tongue out, all the way to the 200-meter mark, when he finally felt comfortable sitting up, zipping the jersey, and enjoying the big win.

Former race leader Frank Shleck managed to stay with the climbers until the day's last 5 kilometers or so, but lost 1:20 on the day, and passes the jersey to Caisse d'Epargne's Vladimir Efimkin.

Dekker, the Tour of Romandy winner this year, said he was here starting his training for the Tour, and was surprised to feel so strong.

Tour of Switzerland Stage 6 Top 10
1) Thomas Dekker, Netherlands, Rabobank
2) Gerrit Glomser, Austria, Volksbank
3) Gilberto Simoni, Italy, Saunier Duval-Prodir
4) Vladimir Karpets, Russia, Caisse d'Epargne
5) Damiano Cunego, Italy, Lampre
6) José Angel Gomez-Marchante, Spain, Saunier Duval
7) Vladimir Efimkin, Russia, Caisse d'Epargne
8) Matteo Carrara, Italy, Unibet.com
9) Andreas Klöden, Germany, Astana
10) Uran

Overall standings after Stage 6
1) Efimkin, Russia, Caisse d'Epargne
2) Gomez-Marchante, Spain, Saunier Duval
3) Frank Schleck, Luxembourg, CSC
4) Carrara, Italy, Unibet.com
5) Vladimir Karpets, Russia, Caisse d'Epargne
6) Kim Kirchen
7) Damiano Cunego
8) Xavier Florencio
9) Gilberto Simoni
10) Stijn Devolder

Bennati holds the sprint jersey, while Alessandro Proni holds the King of the Mountains jersey.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 21, 2007 in Andreas Klöden, Damiano Cunego, Fabian Cancellara, Frank Schleck, Gilberto Simoni, Thomas Dekker, Tour de Suisse 2007, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 18, 2007

Monaco kick-off for '09 Tour

ABC News | Tour de France starts in Monaco in 2009

Looks like the Tour will start in Monaco in 2009. Le Parisien reported today that the '09 prologue will be 15.2 kilometers through Monaco's streets.

Tour director Christian Prudhomme has said he wants to shift to more international starts, moving from 50-50 foreign/French to 3 international for every 2 French starts.

Next year's race starts in Brest, in the northwest Brittany region of France.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 18, 2007 in About the Tour, Top Stories, Tour de France 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Proni wins at Tour de Suisse; Cancellara holds race lead

procycling | Tour de Suisse 3: Proni wins longest stage; Cancellara holds yellow

Proni - TdG '07
Alessandro Proni,
originally uploaded by Frank Steele.
Quick Step's Alessandro Proni took his first pro win on a big stage Monday, winning Stage 3 at the Tour of Switzerland.

Proni broke away along with Luis Pasamontes of Unibet.com and Daniel Navarro of Astana early in the Tour de Suisse's longest stage, and the trio stretched their advantage to 11 minutes. Near the base of the last climb, Proni shed his breakmates, with the peloton closing fast. Over the top, with about 10 kilometers to race, Proni led the field by 10 seconds, and held off the slashing field to take the day by 7 seconds, with Bouygues Telecom's Xavier Florencio 2nd and T-Mobile's Kim Kirchen 3rd.

“It's not only the biggest win of my career, it's the first win of my professional career,” Proni said. “I'm used to winning as an amateur but not as a pro. This is still hard for me to believe.”

Swiss race leader Fabian Cancellara was 1st Saturday in a TT, 3rd Sunday in a sprint, and 12th today in a mountain stage. David Zabriskie isn't the only CSC time trialist who's improving their overall skills:

“It's a very tough, very long stage,” Cancellara said. “But the yellow jersey was just too beautiful. I didn't want to give up. I think I've shown I've made a lot of progress and I'm no longer just a time trial specialist.”

Proni, racing in just his 2nd year as a pro, moves up to 2nd overall, 2 seconds back, with Kirchen 3rd at 14 seconds. Pre-race favorites are lurking 20 seconds and more back, including Vladimir Karpets, 9th at :21; Michael Rogers, 12th at :23; Chris Horner, 14th at :25; Damiano Cunego, 27th at :34; and Carlos Sastre, 33rd at :36.

Also:

cyclingnews.com | First pro win for Proni as race leader impresses once more | Results | Photo Gallery

VeloNews | Cancellara holds Swiss lead as Proni nails first mountain stage

Posted by Frank Steele on June 18, 2007 in Carlos Sastre, Chris Horner, Damiano Cunego, Michael Rogers, Tour de Suisse, Tour de Suisse 2007, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 15, 2007

Basso gets 2-year suspension

ABC News | Basso Suspended 2 Years For Doping

Ivan Basso received a two-year supension for doping today.

The 2006 Giro d'Italia champion, who was 3rd in the 2004 Tour and 2nd in 2005, admitted in May that he was a client of Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor at the center of the Operación Puerto investigation. Basso maintained that he hadn't actually doped, but only banked blood he intended to use at the 2006 Tour.

“I accept the sentence," Basso said. "I'm going to continue to train and plan to return in 2009. I've got to look to the future.”

The Associated Press reports that Basso's suspension ends October 24, 2008, because “Basso was already suspended for nearly eight months by his teams this year and last.” Apparently, they're adding the ~6 months, including some outside the racing season, that CSC held Basso out of competition, and the nearly 2 months since Discovery Channel suspended him, and backdating the suspension. That seems a little unfair, since Basso was in competition at the Tour of California and Tirreno-Adriatico during that time. Thoughts?

Posted by Frank Steele on June 15, 2007 in Doping, Ivan Basso | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Colom, Vinokourov win Dauphiné Stage 5 side by side

VeloNews | Colom, Vino' tag-team stage 5 at Dauphiné

Astana teammates Antonio Colom and Alexandre Vinokourov finished one-two in Digne-les-Bains today, the second time in the last three days that Astana has taken the day's top two podium spots.

Colom and Vinokourov were both in a 22-man break that shattered on the Col du Corobin, about 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the day's finish. Colom went first, with Vinokourov bridging up and away from the likes of Tom Boonen, Magnus Backstedt, Stef Clement, Rik Verbrugghe, and Leonardo Duque. Over the top, the Astanas had 35 seconds, which got out as far as a minute, but fell to 15 seconds at the finish, where Leonardo “L.” Duque was charging.

The main field, which had trailed the break by 6:30 at one point, finished 3:26 back, with AG2R doing the lion's share in protection of Christophe Moreau's 2nd place overall. Moreau, the 2001 Dauphiné champ, has a good shot at overall victory with a very mountainous stage tomorrow.

The main impact of the stage on the overall classification was to catapult Vinokourov back into the Top 10, even after he lost more than 7 minutes on yesterday's stage to the summit of Mont Ventoux.

Abandoning during the stage were Alejandro Valverde and Bobby Julich.

1) Antonio Colom, Spain, Astana
2) Alexander Vinokourov, Kazakhstan, Astana
3) Leonardo Duque, Colombia, Cofidis, at :15
4) Matej Mugerli, Slovenia, Liquigas
5) Stef Clement, Netherlands, Bouygues Telecom
6) Preben Van Hecke, Belgium, Predictor-Lotto
7) Anthony Charteau, France, Crédit Agricole
8) Egoi Martinez, Spain, Discovery Channel
9) Heinrich Haussler, Germany, Gerolsteiner
10) Philippe Gilbert, Belgium, Française Des Jeux

Overall:
1) Andrey Kashechkin, Kazakhstan, Astana
2) Christophe Moreau, France, Ag2r Prévoyance
3) Denis Menchov, Russia, Rabobank
4) Cadel Evans, Australia, Predictor-Lotto
5) David Zabriskie, USA, Team CSC
6) Levi Leipheimer, USA, Discovery Channel
7) Alexander Vinokourov, Kazakhstan, Astana
8) Stef Clement, Netherlands, Bouygues Telecom
9) Sylvester Szmyd, Poland, Lampre-Fondital
10) Haimar Zubeldia, Spain, Euskaltel-Euskadi

Posted by Frank Steele on June 15, 2007 in Alejandro Valverde, Bobby Julich, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Dauphiné Libéré 2007, Dave Zabriskie, Levi Leipheimer, Magnus Backstedt, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Danielson to miss 2007 Tour

Danielson @ '07 TdG
Danielson @ '07 TdG,
originally uploaded by Frank Steele.
Buried in the VeloNews coverage of today's stage at the Dauphiné Libéré, there's a story:

Tom Danielson's illness will keep him out of the Tour de France this year.

“Tom is off the Tour team,” Discovery Channel boss Johan Bruyneel told VeloNews's Andrew Hood. “He’s sick. We’re trying to find out exactly what the problem is. He’s had stomach problems throughout the year at several key moments. It’s definitely a disappointment.”

Danielson, 29, won the 2005 Tour de Georgia, and led Discovery Channel at the 2006 Vuelta, where he won Stage 17, and was 6th overall. He was expected to make his first Tour start this season.

Also:

VeloNews | Friday's EuroFile: No Tour for Danielson

VeloNews follows up:

Bruyneel suggested Danielson would likely race the Vuelta a España, where he won a stage last year and twice finished in the top 10.

Depending on the speed of his recovery, he could also race the Tour of Austria (which he won last year) as well as the Tour of Quinghai Lake (which he won in 2002) in China, where the team will be going for the first time.

TomDanielson.com | Official web site

Posted by Frank Steele on June 15, 2007 in Tom Danielson, Top Stories, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Valverde exits Dauphiné after weak Stage 4

SuperCycling | Valverde pulls out of Dauphine Libere

Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde, who finished 2nd-to-last on yesterday's climb to Mont Ventoux despite being an early Tour de France favorite, abandoned on the road at the Dauphiné Libéré today.

Valverde and teammate Francisco Perez pulled out at the 40-kilometer mark, complaining of a stomach virus. As for Thursday's result:

“It was the hardest stage of my life,” Valverde told journalists on Thursday. “I finished out of pure stubbornness.”

Posted by Frank Steele on June 15, 2007 in Alejandro Valverde, Dauphiné Libéré 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 14, 2007

UCI pushes for 2-year Basso ban

IHT.com | UCI recommends maximum two-year ban for Basso

The UCI is recommending a 2-year-ban for 2006 Giro d'Italia winner Ivan Basso, who admitted last month he saved blood for later doping, but stopped short of saying he had used the refrigerated blood.

The Italian Olympic Committee has recommended a 21-month suspension “since it is Basso's first offense.”

The UCI made the recommendation in a letter to Italian cycling federation president Renato Di Rocco. The federation meets tomorrow to decide on disciplinary action against the former CSC and Discovery Channel rider.

Should the Italian federation give Basso the lesser penalty (which would allow him to start the 2009 Giro d'Italia), the UCI's anti-doping chief promised to appeal the ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 14, 2007 in Doping, Giro d'Italia 2006, Ivan Basso, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Moreau conquers Ventoux

AG2R's Christophe Moreau took a 2nd win at this year's Dauphiné Libéré, riding the wheels off the whole peloton on the leg-breaking climb to Mont Ventoux.

Moreau won Tuesday's stage to Saint Etienne, which put him into the overall race lead, a lead he relinquished to Alexandre Vinokourov after yesterday's time trial.

Vinokourov quickly fell away on the day's final climb (finishing 7:20 back), but he had suggested yesterday that he wasn't interested in chasing an overall here at the Dauphiné, and his teammate, Andrey Kashechkin, took over the race leadership by finishing 2:04 behind Moreau.

The day's revelation had to be the climbing of CSC's Dave Zabriskie, who stayed with the main chase group almost to the summit, and finished just out of the day's top 10 at 2:01.

Moreau's teammate Sylvain Calzati spent more than 190 kilometers leading the race, first with 3 breakaway companions, then alone, before finally being caught a few kilometers from the observatory atop Mont Ventoux.

Top 10:
1) Christophe Moreau, France, AG2R
2) Sylvester Szmyd, Poland, Lampre, at 1:08
3) Igor Anton, Spain, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 1:21
4) Cadel Evans, Australia, Predictor-Lotto, at 1:51
5) Denis Menchov, Russia, Rabobank, same time
6) Haimar Zubeldia, Spain, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 1:55
7) Miguel Beltran, Spain, Liquigas, same time
8) Levi Leipheimer, USA, Discovery Channel, s.t.
9) Leonardo Piepoli, Italy, Saunier Duval, 1:57
10) Alberto Contador, Spain, Discovery Channel, same time
Also:
11) Dave Zabriskie, USA, Team CSC, at 2:00
13)Andrey Kashechkin, Kazakhstan, Astana, at 2:04

General classification (CORRECTED 4:40 p.m.):
1) Andrey Kashechkin, Kazakhstan, Astana, in 16:17.21
2) Christophe Moreau, France, AG2R, at :14
3) Denis Menchov, Russia, Rabobank, at :25
4) Cadel Evans, Australia, Predictor-Lotto, at :26
5) Dave Zabriskie, USA, Team CSC, same time
6) Levi Leipheimer, USA, Discovery Channel, at :53
7) Sylvain Chavanel, France, Cofidis, at 1:50
8) Haimar Zubeldia, Spain, Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 3:15
9) Alberto Contador, Spain, Discovery Channel, same time
10) Manuel Beltran, Spain, Liquigas, at 3:34

Moreau leads the points, mountains, and combination jersey competitions.

Also:

cyclingnews.com | Moreau reaches his nirvana on the Ventoux | Full Results

VeloNews | Moreau wins atop Ventoux; Kashechkin leads Dauphiné

Posted by Frank Steele on June 14, 2007 in Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Dauphiné Libéré 2007, Dave Zabriskie, Denis Menchov, Leonardo Piepoli, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dauphiné Stage 4 on the road

A 4-man break of Sylvain Calzati, Stephan Auge, Cedric Vasseur, and Willems are off the front with around 5 minutes on the field as the riders climb the lower (non-moonscape) portion of Mont Ventoux. Calzati attacked with just 2 kilometers ridden.

Auge is dropped with more than 12 kilometers to the top, and shortly thereafter, Calzati attacks off the front of his group.

Inigo Cuesta, Lampre's Sylvester Szmyd, and AG2R's Christophe Moreau have attacked from the leading chase group.

Alejandro Valverde is idling off the back of the pack -- a little bit of a surprise from an early Tour favorite.

Cuesta is back with the Astana-led main group. Contador, Evans, Vinokourov, Chavanel, Cuesta, Kashechkin, Kohl, Botharov, Leipheimer, Piepoli and about 20 others are there.

Astana comes off the front, and 2 CSCs move up. Vinokourov is now around the middle of the main chase group, and the front of that group is very nervous, with a lot of little attacks getting 10 bike lengths, then getting absorbed. Moreau and Szmyd have almost 2 minutes over the main chasers.

Vinokourov, who predicted yesterday that teammate Kashechkin would take the Dauphiné overall title, has gone off the back. Oscar Pereiro sits at the back of the chasers.

Moreau and Schmidt catch Auge.

Beltran is building a lead over the chase group. Zabriskie's in there too. The survivors are 2:29 behind Calzati. Pereiro's off the back. Moreau and Szmyd have caught Willems and Vasseur, with only Calzati left between them and the top of the Ventoux. They're 1:34 behind Calzati.

The chase group is spread way out, with splits appearing regularly. It's down to 8 or so riders: Piepoli, Beltran, Menchov at the back, Sanchez, Zabriskie!, Kashechkin, Menchov, don't see Leipheimer. There's 7 kilometers to the top, and the trees are thinning along the roadside.

A few riders are clawing back onto the back, including Igor Astarloa.

Szmyd and Moreau have Calzati in sight, the trees have vanished, and we're on the signature final section of the Giant of Provence.

Leipheimer is reported in the chasing group. There are 3 CSCs - Zabriskie, Gustov, and Sorensen. Beltran, Zabriskie and Gustov are setting pace. Calzati still holds a gap on Moreau and Szmyd, who are only about 20 meters behind.

Moreau pats Calzati on the back as he and Szmyd finally make the capture, and Calzati goes immediately off the back.

Moreau started 2:20 back, so he needs that big a gap at the top to Kashechkin to take the leader's jersey.

Moreau drops Szmyd like a rock. Moreau's tongue goes into high gear as he climbs toward the observatory. His gap to the chasers is around a minute. In the chasers, I see Leipheimer, Evans, Zabriskie, Beltran, Fofonov, Gustov, Sorensen, Menchov, and a few others. Fofonov attacks, and the chasers raise the pace to bring him back.

Cadel Evans goes, Beltran matches him, and Gustov is off the back. Chavanel is falling away. Calzati is caught by Euskaltel's Igor Anton, who's attacking off the front. Chavanel fights back onto the chase group.

With 3 kilometers to ride, Moreau has more than a minute in hand. Fofonov, Zubeldia and Beltran lead the chase, with Anton in no-man's land in between.

Fofonov launches, but it's going to be very hard to pull back Moreau.

Moreau is in the last kilometer. Now the chasers pass through. No one's going to catch Moreau now -- he's got his 2nd victory of this Dauphiné Libéré!

Posted by Frank Steele on June 14, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rabobank announce Tour squad

Cyclingpost.com | Rabobank ready for Tour de France

CyclingPost.com reports that Rabobank has named its final Tour squad:

    Rabobank Tour squad:
  • Michael Boogerd (Netherlands)
  • Thomas Dekker (Netherlands)
  • Bram de Groot (Netherlands)
  • Juan Antonio Flecha (Spain)
  • Oscar Freire (Spain)
  • Denis Menchov (Russia)
  • Grischa Niermann (Germany)
  • Michael Rasmussen (Denmark)
  • Pieter Weening (Netherlands)
Alternates are Spain's Pedro Horrillo and Koos Moerenhout of the Netherlands.

Menchov is the team's GC threat, and was best young rider of the Tour in 2003. Rasmussen won the king of the mountains competition in 2005 and 2006. Six Rabobank riders have won Tour stages: Boogerd, Flecha, Freire, Menchov, Rasmussen, and Weening.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 14, 2007 in 2007 team rosters, Denis Menchov, Michael Rasmussen, Oscar Freire, Thomas Dekker, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Petacchi, Piepoli, Mayo "non-negative" at Giro

IHT.com | Petacchi, Piepoli and Mayo are three cyclists named in doping reports from Giro d'Italia

Giro organizers reported earlier this week that 2 Italians and a Spaniard had “non-negative” dope tests at the Italian grand tour last month. Today, Gazzetta dello Sport reports the riders are Alessandro Petacchi, Leonardo Piepoli, and Iban Mayo.

All three won stages, with Petacchi winning 5. Milram's Petacchi and Saunier Duval's Piepoli reportedly tested above the allowed threshold for asthma medication salbutamol, while Mayo, also riding for Saunier Duval, reportedly tested above the limit for testosterone.

Petacchi and Piepoli both carry medical clearances to use salbutamol, and Mayo reportedly has a high natural testosterone level. Officials must consider possible clearances and exemptions, and the rider's “B” sample, before calling the test results a positive and beginning any possible disciplinary measures.

Update: VeloNews offers a translation of Piepoli's comments:

"It's true that I take Salbutamol to treat my allergy.

"Mauro (Gianetti) asked me how much I had taken. But I don't know how many puffs I took. I take it each time I need it. It depends on the seasons."

Update 2: Mayo has been cleared: The UCI says an IRMS test ruled out “any possibility of testosterone administration.”

If the reports are true, they bring to mind the case of Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano. He showed a high salbutamol level in the 2002 Tour, but wasn't punished. CyclingForums.com had a good discussion of the threshold values for salbutamol in 2003. In the Gonzalez de Galdeano case, the UCI ruled that they had no upper limit on salbutamol concentration, while representatives of the (then-new) World Anti-Doping Agency maintained that 1000 nanograms/milliliter was the maximum permissible level. Petacchi reportedly showed salbutamol levels of 1200 and 1400 nanograms per milliliter.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 14, 2007 in Alessandro Petacchi, Doping, Giro d'Italia 2007, Iban Mayo, Leonardo Piepoli, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Cunego won't race Tour

Yahoo! Sport | Cunego opts out of Tour de France challenge

Defending white jersey winner Damiano Cunego of Lampre-Fondital won't participate in this year's Tour de France.

On the team website, Cunego detailed his upcoming race schedule: The Tour of Swizerland next, then the Italian national championship and “rest for some weeks.”

Cunego, 25, won the Giro d'Italia in 2004, finished 5th this year, and was best young rider at the Tour last year.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 14, 2007 in Damiano Cunego, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 13, 2007

Versus releases '07 US Tour schedule

Versus | Versus gives viewers all-access pass to the 2007 Tour de France

Versus continues its tradition of heavy Tour de France coverage, with an average of 17 hours per day of Tour coverage. As in previous years, they'll join the race at 8:30 a.m. Eastern most days, with coverage as early as 6:30 a.m. Eastern for key mountain stages.

Looks like the same broadcast team, too: Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen doing live coverage; Bob Roll and Al ("Average American Sports Fan") Trautwig hosting the prime-time reruns; and Craig Hummer, Frankie Andreu, and Robbie Ventura providing color and features reporting.

It looks like Sunday coverage is improved -- I seem to remember that CBS had rights to Sunday stages, trumping Versus live coverage, and limiting them to evening reruns. This year, Versus will run the live coverage on Sunday mornings, skip the Sunday afternoon show that might conflict with CBS Sports, then rerun the footage during the prime-time show at 8 Eastern.

Here's the full US schedule.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 13, 2007 in Television, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (7)

Preride the prologue with BBC Sport

BBC SPORT | Win Tour de France tickets and kit

The prologue of this year's Tour is a 7.9-kilometer (4.9 mile) circuit of central London. It will probably take the pros something like 10 minutes to complete the circuit.

But what if a reasonably fit cyclist tried to do the same course without benefit of road closings and barricades? Check out this video to see how the prologue route rides on a normal day:

BBC Sport is running a contest to guess how long it took “the most athletic person in the office” to ride the prologue course (in a T-Mobile jersey) during London rush hour.

Winner gets VIP tickets to the Skoda hospitality tent and a signed T-Mobile team jersey. A runner-up will win a second autographed jersey. E-mailed guesses must be received by midnight, London time, this Sunday, June 17th.

“I'd just like to point out here that I'm not actually a professional cyclist.”

Posted by Frank Steele on June 13, 2007 in About the Tour, London, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Vande Velde visits hospital at Dauphiné

www.cyclingnews.com | Latest Cycling News for June 13, 2007

A couple of stories of interest in today's CyclingNews roundup:

CSC's Christian Vande Velde had to be taken to the hospital last night after Stage 2 at the Dauphiné Libéré, and was a probable starter for today's time trial -- I haven't seen confirmation that he did or didn't start yet. (Update: VeloNews had him riding in the team car while Zabriskie raced today, but he's going to try to gut out the rest of the race. VN quotes him: “It's looking good for the Tour.”) He crashed out of last month's Tour of Catalonia.

Caisse d'Epargne director Eusebio Unzue says he's still unsure of his Tour squad. Despite a published report by Het Laatste Nieuws, Unzue says Vladimir Karpets is still in competition for the team's last Tour spot, with José Ivan Gutierrez, Joaquim Rodriguez, and David Arroyo the other candidates. And lest anyone coast for the next 3 weeks, Unzue added, “There are still riders like Luis León Sánchez, García Acosta or Fran Pérez who should justify their nomination. Pereiro is not at his best, either.”

Posted by Frank Steele on June 13, 2007 in Christian Vande Velde, Oscar Pereiro | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Vinokourov wins Dauphine TT, takes race lead

Vinokourov takes the leadAstana put on a time trialing show in Anneyron today, with Alexandre Vinokourov powering in 9 seconds faster than teammate Andrey Kashechkin, and 38 seconds ahead of CSC's Dave Zabriskie.

As expected, the TT shuffled the leaderboard ahead of the stage up Mont Ventoux tomorrow. Vinokourov, the defending Vuelta champion who was prevented from starting last year's Tour because many of his teammates were allegedly connected to Operación Puerto, showed he's the pre-race Tour favorite. He moves into the overall race lead.

Discovery Channel's Levi Leipheimer finished 8th on the day, 1:11 slower than Vinokourov, while teammate George Hincapie was caught on the course by Kashechkin, his 2-minute man.

Denis Menchov of Rabobank, currently in 4th place and 40 seconds back, won the climb of Ventoux at the Dauphiné last year, where Vinokourov was a disappointing 81st, 13:10 back. Tomorrow should be an interesting race.

Preliminary Top 10:
1) Alexander Vinokourov, Kazakhstan, Astana, in 52:08
2) Andrey Kashechkin, Kazakhstan, Astana, at :09
3) Dave Zabriskie, USA, Team CSC, at :38
4) Cadel Evans, Australia, Predictor-Lotto, at :39
5) Denis Menchov, Russia, Rabobank, at :40
6) Stef Clement, Netherlands, Bouygues Telecom, same time
7) Sylvain Chavanel, France, Cofidis, at 1:10
8) Levi Leipheimer, USA, Discovery Channel, at 1:11
9) Alejandro Valverde, Spain, Caisse d'Epargne, at 1:18
10) David Millar, UK, Saunier Duval-Prodir, at 1:40
Also:
13) George Hincapie, USA, Discovery Channel, at 2:10
28) Bobby Julich, USA, CSC, at 3:02
Christian Vande Velde, USA, CSC, at 5:48

Preliminary overall:
1) Alexander Vinokourov, Kazakhstan, Astana
2) Andrey Kashechkin, Kazakhstan, Astana, at :02
3) Dave Zabriskie, USA, Team CSC, at :32
4) Denis Menchov, Russia, Rabobank, at :40
5) Cadel Evans, Australia, Predictor-Lotto, at :41
6) Levi Leipheimer, USA, Discovery Channel, at 1:03
7) Stef Clement, Netherlands, Bouygues Telecom
8) Sylvain Chavanel, France, Cofidis
9) Alejandro Valverde, Spain, Caisse d'Epargne

Also:

VeloNews | Kazakhs crush in Dauphiné TT

cyclingnews.com | Vino in perfect timing promotes Kash | Photo Gallery | Results | Standings

Posted by Frank Steele on June 13, 2007 in Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andrey Kashechkin, Cadel Evans, Dauphiné Libéré 2007, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Denis Menchov, Georg Totschnig, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

Moreau takes Dauphiné stage, overall lead

cyclingnews.com | Christophe Moreau restores the French panache

Moreau takes Stage 2AG2R's Christophe Moreau took over the lead at the Dauphiné Libére with an attack into Saint Etienne, dedicated to his new daughter.

With Aleksandr Kuschynski of Liquigas and Jerome Pineau of Bouygues Telecom off the front, Moreau launched a testing attack, saw it was working, and drew company in the form of Astana's Jose Redondo, Quick Step's Kevin Seeldrayers, Credit Agricole's Alexandre Botcharov, and Caisse d'Epargne's Xabier Zandio. Moreau, Seeldraeyers, and Redondo were the final survivors, and had about a minute with 20 kilometers to ride.

At 7 km to go Seeldraeyers lost at least his chain, and the gap to the field was dropping. Redondo looked for a deal, but Moreau just kept powering toward the line, chasing a day in yellow.

And it worked: Moreau, 36, took the stage, 33 seconds ahead of Alejandro Valverde leading in a group that included all the overall contenders.

Tomorrow, it's a 40.7-kilometer (25.3-mile) time trial. In what I hope is about 5 different quotes strung together awkwardly, Moreau downplayed his chances in the TT:

"it's going to be hard to maintain the yellow jersey after the time trial. The time I've gained today, I'll lose it tomorrow; it might be a good balance. My favourite terrain is switching slowly from time trialling to climbing. But I've showed today that my legs of an old man still work correctly. I haven't decided anything for my future. We must see how the old machine goes before calling it a career."

No GC listing, because there still are 90 riders within a minute of the lead. Notably, three good US TT riders sit top 10: Levi Leipheimer, 4th at :25; George Hincapie, 6th at :27; and David Zabriskie, 8th at :27. David Millar sits 11th, at :30.

Gerolsteiner's Heinrich Haussler leads the points classification, while Sylvain Chavanel holds the mountains jersey lead, and Moreau leads in the combination classification, for the rider ranked the lowest in all the jersey competitions.

Also:

cyclingnews.com | Results

VeloNews | Moreau wins Dauphiné stage, grabs lead

Photos:

GrahamWatson.com | Dauphiné Libéré Stage 2 photo gallery

cyclingnews.com | Dauphiné Libéré Stage 2

Posted by Frank Steele on June 13, 2007 in Christophe Moreau, Dauphiné Libéré 2007, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cipollini gets Punk'd

Mario “The Lion King” Cipollini was set up a few years ago, in every cyclist's worst nightmare. During a training ride, he's stopped and told his house was broken into and his bikes stolen. Then, before he can get home, a crappy mobile home passes by, with two of his bikes strapped to the back. You don't need to know Italian to enjoy what comes next...

(Via Velochimp).

Posted by Frank Steele on June 13, 2007 in Mario Cipollini | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 12, 2007

T-Mobile pulls Tour advertising in Germany

France24 | T-Mobile withdraw Tour TV sponsorship

T-Mobile has withdrawn its sponsorship of the Tour de France TV coverage in Germany.

The company is apparently trying to distance itself from admissions by former riders for its team (then called Telekom) that team members, including 1996 Tour winner Bjarne Riis, used EPO and other banned performance enhancers while racing for the squad.

T-Mobile has pledged to sponsor its team through 2010, the end of its current contract.

In case anyone misses the symbolism, the company has asked that the money be used to strengthen the German anti-doping agency instead.

Former T-Mobile star Jan Ullrich, who won the Tour in 1997, has never admitted to doping, but retired this year after being linked to Operación Puerto. He was turned down for an audience with German Chancellor Angela Merkel today, where he apparently hoped “ ‘rehabilitate’ the reputation of Ullrich and recall his merits and performances.”

Posted by Frank Steele on June 12, 2007 in Doping, Jan Ullrich, Television, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Danielson exits Dauphiné early

thepaceline.com | Stomach problems knock Danielson out

Discovery Channel's Tom Danielson exited the Dauphiné Libéré yesterday, complaining of stomach problems. Danielson was expected to make his first Tour de France start next month, but missed the Tour of Catalonia with a stomach virus and now will miss the Dauphiné's climbs.

Gerolsteiner's Heinrich Haussler won Stage 1, and looks to be a lock for Gerolsteiner's Tour squad.

Also dropping out was former world champion Igor Astarloa of Team Milram, suffering from toxoplasmosis. VeloNews reports Astarloa requires two weeks of rest, and will not start the Tour.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 12, 2007 in Igor Astarloa, Tom Danielson, Tour de France 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 11, 2007

Caisse d'Epargne's Tour squad emerges

cyclingnews.com | Caisse d'Epargne for the Tour

Quoting HLN.be, CyclingNews reports that, barring last-minute changes, Caisse d'Epargne has chosen its Tour squad.

    Caisse d'Epargne Tour riders:
  • Alejandro Valverde
  • Oscar Pereiro
  • Vladimir Karpets
  • Xabier Zandio
  • Luis Sanchez
  • Florent Brard
  • Nicolas Portal
  • José Vicente Garcia Acosta
  • Francisco Perez

Update: They dropped Brard and Sanchez in favor of David Arroyo and José Ivan Gutierrez.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 11, 2007 in 2007 team rosters, Alejandro Valverde, Oscar Pereiro, Vladimir Karpets | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 10, 2007

UCI schedules meeting with teams June 19th

IHT.com | UCI calls cycling teams to special meeting before Tour de France to deal with sport's scandals

The UCI has summoned all 20 ProTour teams to Geneva for a meeting a week from Tuesday with no agenda.

Speculation is that the UCI has gone through the 6,000 pages related to Operación Puerto, and will release a list of riders who are not to start the 2007 Tour.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 10, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wiggins wins Dauphiné prologue

Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins, clearly focused on the London Tour prologue less than a month away, stormed the Dauphné Libéré prologue TT in Grenoble today.

Wiggins edged Discovery Channel's Levi Leipheimer, the 2006 Dauphiné champion, and Astana's Andrey Kashechkin at the biggest tuneup for Tour contenders. Wiggins, with a long list of palmares on the track, takes the Dauphiné leader's jersey.

Discovery Channel placed 3 riders in the top 10, with Leipheimer 2nd, George Hincapie 4th at :02, and Egoi Martinez 9th at :05. Caisse d'Epargne leader Alejandro Valverde was 5th on the day.

Saunier Duval's David Millar, the other British hope for the prologue, was 11th on the day, at :06. Millar may have been slowed by wet roads that hampered earlier starters.

A strong prologue (7th) has Tom Boonen well positioned to take over the race lead with a sprint bonus during the race's early stages.

Top 10 (Stage and Overall)

1) Bradley Wiggins, UK, Cofidis, 4:50

2) Levi Leipheimer, USA, Discovery Channel, at :01

3) Andrey Kashechkin, Kazakhstan, Astana, at :02

4) George Hincapie, USA, Discovery Channel, at :02

5) Alejandro Valverde, Spain, Caisse d'Epargne, at :03

6) Dave Zabriskie, USA, Team CSC, at :03

7) Tom Boonen, Belgium, Quick Step, at :04

8) Nick Nuyens, Belgium, Cofidis, at :05

9) Egoi Martinez, Spain, Discovery Channel, at :05

10) Sebastien Joly, France, Française des Jeux, at :06

Also:

VeloNews | Wiggins wins Dauphiné prologue

GrahamWatson.com | Dauphiné Libéré prologue photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on June 10, 2007 in Alejandro Valverde, Bradley Wiggins, Dauphiné Libéré 2007, Dave Zabriskie, David Millar, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 07, 2007

Vandenbroucke attempts suicide

VeloNews | Vandenbroucke in grave condition after apparent suicide attempt

Frank Vandenbroucke, the Belgian rider whose early promise has been somewhat overshadowed by a doping suspension and sometimes erratic behavior, attempted suicide today in Milan.

Vandenbroucke, 32, is currently with the Italian Acqua e Sapone squad, and withdrew from the Giro last month with ongoing knee problems.

After turning pro with Lotto in 1994, Vandenbroucke won Ghent-Wevelgem and Paris-Nice in 1998 and Liége-Bastogne-Liége in 1999 (with Cofidis). With the turn of the century, VDB bounced from team to team, including Lampre, Quick Step, Fassa Bortolo, MrBookmaker/Unibet.com, and Acqua e Sapone.

Doctors are reportedly declining comment on Vandenbroucke's prognosis.

Update: New Associated Press story from IHT.com:

The hospital said Vandenbroucke's life was not in danger. Citing privacy rules, officials declined to provide details about the suicide attempt.

Acqua & Sapone team director Palmiro Masciarelli said Vandenbroucke was depressed because his wife had left him.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 7, 2007 in Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack