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September 28, 2007

Leipheimer, Contador to join Bruyneel at Astana?

Deseret Morning News | Levi's not blue: Utah's Leipheimer relaxing after big cycling season

Anybody need a team leader?In an interview with Levi Leipheimer in today's edition, Salt Lake City's Deseret Morning News reports that Leipheimer and Alberto Contador will follow Johan Bruyneel over to the Astana squad, along with Tomas Vaitkus and former Liberty Seguros and Astana rider Sergio Paulinho.

Leipheimer refused to comment on his next team, but said, “I'm not really a free agent ... We just can't say anything yet, but I'm not really on the market anymore.”

Astana suffered through drug scandal after drug scandal in 2007. They may see Bruyneel, whose teams have escaped any significant positive tests, as a chance to make a new start for 2008.

In other Disco news, George Hincapie has formally announced his 2-year contract with T-Mobile.

Also:

cyclingnews.com - September 1: Bruyneel confirms Astana interest | September 18: Leipheimer following Bruyneel to Astana? | September 28: The new Astana is "under surveillance" by the UCI

Posted by Frank Steele on September 28, 2007 in Alberto Contador, Andreas Klöden, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 21, 2007

Scott Moninger retires

Scott Moninger
Congratulations and best wishes to Scott Moninger of BMC, who announced his retirement with 275 wins.

Moninger, who turns 41 in October, has raced professionally since 1991, and was twice the National Race Calendar points champion. Moninger won most of the biggest US races, including Redlands, the Tour de Toona, the Tour of the Gila, the Red Zinger Challenge, La Vuelta de Bisbee, and the Tour of Utah. He won the Mount Evans Hill Climb six times.

Although Moninger never raced on the European circuit, he represented the US at the amateur world championships in 1990 and at pro road race world championships in 1999, where Oscar Freire won his first title.

At right, Moninger was called out for the front row at the USA Cycling Pro Championships earlier this month, and recognized as the all-time US victory leader.

Posted by Frank Steele on September 21, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 20, 2007

Landis loses appeal, stripped of title

SI.com | Landis must forfeit title after losing doping appeal

Floyd LandisFloyd Landis, who won the 2006 Tour de France with a stunning Stage 17 solo victory, has lost his appeal of a positive doping finding.

Immediately after last year's Tour, Landis was accused of cheating when a urine test suggested Landis had an elevated ratio of epitestosterone-to-testosterone, which should normally be approximately equal. Landis has fought the charge, and still has the option of appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The three-man panel found that the Chatenay-Malabry lab near Paris mishandled Landis's sample, but 2 of 3 panelists felt that a follow-up test with a mass spectrometer was convincing evidence that Landis had used synthetic testosterone. Chris Campbell, who was named by the Landis team and also dissented in the Tyler Hamilton case, was the dissenting voice. “The documents supplied by LNDD are so filled with errors that they do not support an Adverse Analytical Finding. Mr. Landis should be found innocent.”

Pat McQuaid:

“It's not a great surprise considering how events have evolved. He got a highly qualified legal team who tried to baffle everybody with science and public relations. And in the end the facts stood up.”

Right -- we wouldn't want to get science mixed up in all this.

TrustButVerify notes that the suspension is to run through January 29, 2009, which, to me, seems a bit punitive, given that Landis has not competed since the end of July, 2006.

CyclingNews quotes Pat McQuaid that Pereiro will inherit the 2006 Tour title, but I don't think, given the state of relations between the ASO and the UCI, I would take that to the bank. We've already got a Tour without a winner, the 1996 edition, since Bjarne Riis admitted to doping during that Tour. I'm sure the ASO will weigh in shortly.

Also:

USADA | Arbitration Ruling: Floyd Landis AAA Decision (84-page PDF)

USADA | Arbitration Ruling: Floyd Landis Dissent (26-page PDF)

USADA | Floyd Landis Receives Two-Year Suspension For Doping During the 2006 Tour de France (2-page PDF)

cyclingnews.com | Landis' appeal denied, two year suspension levied

VeloNews.com | Breaking news: Landis loses

Posted by Frank Steele on September 20, 2007 in Doping, Floyd Landis, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

September 04, 2007

Leipheimer rides away with US road championship

Disco sign-inLevi Leipheimer took his first US national championship on Sunday, riding away from the elite field and soloing in from 23 miles out.

Leipheimer said the win put the cherry on top of the cherry on top of the sundae that's been his 2007 season, which started with his win at the Tour of California, included road and TT stage wins at the Tour de Georgia, and a stage win and podium placing at the Tour de France, as well as wins at Paris-Nice and the Tour de Georgia and the overall Tour de France title for Leipheimer's Discovery Channel team, which is disbanding after this season.

Leipheimer and HamiltonLeipheimer has yet to announce his 2008 plans, but at 34, another go at an overall Tour de France title doesn't seem out of the question.

Leipheimer looked to be the dominant rider in the 2006 US championships, as well, but worked for hometown hero George Hincapie. This year, the two reversed places, with Hincapie covering attacks and finishing 2nd. Jittery Joe's rider Neil Shirley distanced Freddie Rodriguez in the last kilometer to take 3rd.

Leipheimer in the select groupDiscovery Channel brought twice as many riders as last year, and John Devine and Tony Cruz were at the front of the peloton for most of the day. Where the ProTour riders appeared to nail last year's pace from the start, this year, the domestic teams made early attacks, with BMC, HealthNet, Slipstream, and Successfulliving.com populating the first breakaway of 7 riders.

Leipheimer attacked on the 3rd of four long laps that included the climb of Paris Mountain. He and Chris Baldwin swept up remnants of the early break by BMC's Jackson Stewart, Slipstream's Pat McCarty, and HealthNet's Doug Ollerenshaw, with Slipstream's Ian McGregor and William Frischkorn, HealthNet's Roman Kilun, and Successfulliving.com's Daniel Ramsay close behind.

Leipheimer aloneComing to the base of Paris Mountain for the final time, Leipheimer was with a small group with a healthy but not unassailable gap. On the last climb, he changed that (from cyclingnews.com:

The rest of the remaining 30 or so riders in the race could only pick their jaws up off the ground as Levi put on a time trial clinic. “Levi was just... what can you say, he was third in the Tour and probably should have won it,” said former USPRO champ Chris Wherry (Toyota-United). “He is incredible and just rode away from everyone; there were no tactics he was just the strongest one. He went up the climb with two to go and just kept going, it was unbelievable.”

Shirley, Leipheimer, HincapieOn the one hand, Leipheimer was clearly very strong. On the other, 23 miles is a long way to cover with some of the world's best riders trying to reel you in.

But Leipheimer's gap hovered out beyond a minute all the way to the end, with Hincapie coming in at 1:11.

Neil Shirley, whipped but happyTop 10:
1) Levi Leipheimer, Discovery Channel, in 4:22:19
2) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at 1:11
3) Neil Shirley, Jittery Joe's, at 1:14
4) Freddie Rodriguez, Predictor-Lotto, at 1:18
5) Danny Pate, Team Slipstream-Chipotle, at 1:29
6) Shawn Milne, HealthNet-Maxxis, at 1:56
7) Kirk O'Bee, HealthNet-Maxxis, at 2:00
8) Bobby Julich, Team CSC, at 2:00
9) Christopher Jones, Nerac, at 2:00
10) Burke Swindlehurst, Toyota-United, at 2:04

Tyler Hamilton was 12th at 2:11.

Click through any photos for larger versions, or go straight to my Flickr photoset.

Also:
Complete results

My Flickr set from the road race (80 photos) | Flickr pool - if you've got pictures you want to add, let me know

cyclingnews.com | Leipheimer rides alone to national title | Photo gallery

DailyPeloton.com | 2007 USA Cycling Professional Road Race Championship | Ben Ross photo gallery

VeloNews.com | Leipheimer wins U.S. pro road crown | Casey Gibson photo gallery (by the way, here's Casey shooting the rest of us shooting the riders)

Posted by Frank Steele on September 4, 2007 in Bobby Julich, Danny Pate, Dave Zabriskie, Fred Rodriguez, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Zabriskie repeats as US TT champ

Zabriskie hammersTeam CSC's David Zabriskie repeated as US champion in the individual time trial on Saturday.

Zabriskie was pushed hard by teammate-to-be Danny Pate of Team Slipstream-Chipotle, just one second slower over the 18.7 mile course. In fact, Team Slipstream '08 owned the podium, as Tim Duggan finished 8 seconds down.

Just as last year, Zabriskie raced without an earpiece, and the lack of intermediate splits meant he had to sprint flat-out on the finishing straight to pip Pate.

Jonathan Vaughters announced the '08 Team Slipstream squad in Greenville over the weekend, and they're going to have incredible results: Zabriskie, Pate, Duggan, Tom Danielson, Christian Vande Velde, David Millar, Julian Dean, Ryder Hesjedal, Pat McCarty, Will Frischkorn, Christophe Laurent, Jason Donald, Steven Cozza, Trent Lowe, Maartijn Maaskant, perennial TdFblog favorite Magnus Backstedt, Tyler Farrar, Dan Martin, Chris Sutton, Lucas Euser, Huub Duyn, Mike Friedman, and Kilian Patour.

In fact, the team is apparently too sexy for their shirts, so they're having a design contest for next year's team jersey through September 15. “The design must incorporate the Slipstream argyle pattern...”

Saul Raisin is backReturning to competition was Credit Agricole's Saul Raisin, who has battled back from a devastating head injury suffered in April 2006 at the Circuit de la Sarthe. Starting first, Raisin turned in a creditable 44:07. (Click through either picture to be taken to my Flickr pics of the event).

Also back in competition was Tyler Hamilton, wearing a neutral jersey because of an ongoing legal battle with his Tinkoff Credit Systems team, which he claims has tried to change the terms of his 2007 contract in early May, after the season started. Hamilton recorded a 40:23, just a fraction of a second behind Bobby Julich for 6th on the day.

Levi Leipheimer and George Hincapie again skipped the TT, prepping for Sunday's road race, which rips through downtown Greenville and makes 4 climbs of Paris Mountain.

Some logistical issues meant I didn't make it up to the finish line, and only got pictures from the riders coming down the opening chute. VeloNews, CyclingNews and Daily Peloton all had photographers at the awards ceremony -- links below.

Also:

2007 USA Cycling Pro TT championships - My Flickr set - I got pictures of almost all the 33 starters

VeloNews.com | Zabriskie defends pro ITT title | Casey Gibson photo gallery

Daily Peloton | 2007 USA Cycling Professional Time Trial Championship | Ben Ross photo gallery

cyclingnews.com | Zabriskie barely holds off challengers to defend TT title | Time Trial photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on September 4, 2007 in Bobby Julich, Danny Pate, Dave Zabriskie, Magnus Backstedt, Saul Raisin, Tom Danielson, Top Stories, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack