July 07, 2009

Tour de Twitter

JV on the Crackberry,
originally uploaded by Frank Steele.
This is the third Tour de France I've Twittered. In 2007, it was pretty lonely. Last year, we had a core group of fans using the service. This year, Twitter has exploded. Lance Armstrong has been one of the top celebrities to adopt Twitter, alongside Stephen Fry, Ashton Kutcher (I almost typed “Astana Kutcher”), and Barack Obama.

I've developed quite a list of riders, journalists, bloggers, and photographers in preparation for the Tour, and thought I would share it with you.

I started with Carlton Reid's massive, 600+ strong list of “Bike Trade Tweeps”. As I've found more, I've been adding them. I left off a few that appear inactive, like @carlossastre, who has nearly 4,000 followers awaiting his first tweet (what pressure!); likewise Denis Menchov and Robert Gesink, and a few fakes.

Also, these are all in English. Please send me additions, either on Twitter (@TdFblog) or by commenting this post. Thanks!






Cervelo Test Team

Quick Step


Saxo Bank



VS broadcasters


Pros not racing this year


Posted by Frank Steele on July 7, 2009 in About the Tour, Andy Schleck, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Carlos Sastre, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Danny Pate, Dave Zabriskie, George Hincapie, Ivan Basso, Janez Brajkovic, Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Mark Cavendish, Michael Rogers, Robbie Hunter, Robbie McEwen, Tour news, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (7) | 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

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

May 08, 2007

Basso's chimera: “Attempted doping”

CyclingNews.com | Basso: "It was only attempted doping"

Ivan Basso spoke to reporters today about his hearing with an Italian anti-doping official yesterday. He admitted that bags of blood found in the refrigerator of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes and labeled “Birillo” were his, but he said he had never used a single bag to boost his performance, or used any other illegal substance or process.

Basso said the bags were banked for use in last year's Tour de France, and that he's therefore guilty only of “attempted doping.”

“I have never taken banned substances and I have never employed blood doping … I did admit having attempted to use doping for the (2006) Tour de France and I am ready to pay the penalty for that,” Basso said. “All my wins have been achieved in a proper and clean manner and I have every intention of returning to action and continuing with the job I love once I have paid the penalty.”

It will be interesting to see whether any of the documentation found in Madrid suggests any more: There were reports last year of pages that appeared to be riders' doping schedule, and other reports of billing information for the doctor's services.


La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian) | Basso: "È tentato doping. Mai usati prodotti illeciti"

La Gazzetta also has video from the press conference.

VeloNews | Basso admits only to 'attempted' doping

Posted by Frank Steele on May 8, 2007 in Doping, Giro d'Italia 2006, Ivan Basso | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 07, 2007

Basso admits Puerto involvement in face of DNA test

Eurosport | Basso had crisis of conscience

Ivan Basso came clean today. At a hearing with an Italian anti-doping prosecutor, the defending Giro d'Italia champion admitted his involvement in blood doping.

Basso, 29, told Ettore Torri of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) he was in fact involved with Spanish Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, and said he would cooperate with the ongoing CONI investigations. Facing a likely DNA test to confirm or deny his involvement with the doping ring, Basso looks likely to be suspended from all racing for 2 years, and from ProTour teams for an additional 2 years.

Italian cycling federation head Renato Di Rocco:

The head of the Italian cycling federation Renato Di Rocco applauded Basso's decision to collaborate, telling the Gazzetta dello Sport, "Ivan has done exactly what everyone asked of Pantani, and Marco didn't do; now, we ask in the name of cycling to not leave Ivan Basso alone."

UCI president Pat McQuaid:

"Most of all I am very sad that a talented rider like Basso seems to have been involved in some illicit practices," he said. "On the other hand I'm trying to look at this news in a more positive light. Our constant efforts, with our other cycling partners, to put cyclists under pressure are paying off.

"Right now it's not easy to break the rules," he added.

Basso is expected to hold a press conference tomorrow to make a public statement.

AP Sports quotes Basso's lawyer that no further bombshells are expected: “ ‘This kind of activity was carried out individually,’ Martelli said in a telephone interview. ‘He never saw or heard of other riders.’ ”


Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian) | Basso confessa: "Tolto un peso dalla coscienza"

CyclingNews | Basso confesses his involvement in Operación Puerto

VeloNews | Basso admits involvement in Puerto scandal

Posted by Frank Steele on May 7, 2007 in Doping, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d'Italia 2007, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (4)

May 01, 2007

Basso leaves Discovery Channel, abandons season

Eurosport | Basso leaves Discovery

Defending Giro champion Ivan Basso has left the Discovery Channel team, in the wake of a new look at reports he may have been involved in Operacion Puerto.

The Italian, signed by Discovery in December, is scheduled to appear in Rome before his national anti-doping agency this Wednesday after an agreement over the weekend by the Grand Tour organizers to continue to exclude riders believed to be involved in Operación Puerto.

Basso released a statement, saying in part:

“(Sports director) Johan (Bruyneel), (general manager) Bill (Stapleton) and my team mates have always believed in me and shown me great respect. This decision is my way of showing them that same respect. The team is trying to find a new sponsor and win bike races, and my situation is a distraction to both of those goals. It is important that everyone knows this was 100 percent my decision. Nobody asked me to leave. I am grateful to all of the staff and riders and wish them the best of luck.”


La Gazzetta dello Sport | Discovery-Basso è divorzio (in Italian)

ProCycling | Basso asks to be released from contract

VeloNews | Basso leaving Discovery

Posted by Frank Steele on May 1, 2007 in Doping, Ivan Basso, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 20, 2007

Tour director Prudhomme wants Puerto riders excluded again

Guardian Unlimited Sport | Doping probe riders told to skip Tour de France

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme still wants riders implicated in last year's Operación Puerto to be banned from this year's race, potentially derailing Ivan Basso's plans to ride for wins in the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France.

In a story in L'Equipe, Prudhomme said, “Cycling cannot afford to let riders named in the case enter the Tour if they are not cleared of suspicion.”

Jan Ullrich, who announced his retirement last month, is the only rider currently facing charges for involvement in the investigation. Other riders, including Basso, were named by investigators as possible clients of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, but, one by one, the others have been cleared by their national federations. The case was closed when a Spanish judge found that no laws were likely broken in Spain, which had no anti-doping law.

Prudhomme told L'Equipe that the DNA link that German officials claim to have made between Ullrich and 9 bags of blood stored by Fuentes gives him hope: “Now we know it's possible to establish the truth.”


VeloNews | Tour chief says Basso's participation not certain

Posted by Frank Steele on April 20, 2007 in Doping, Francisco Mancebo, Ivan Basso, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (2)

March 18, 2007

Basso exits Tirreno-Adriatico; likely to miss Milan-San Remo

www.cyclingnews.com | Basso's spring interrupted

Ivan Basso's wrist injury on Friday led him to abandon Tirreno-Adriatico on Saturday morning.

Basso strained a ligament in a fall with teammate Vladimir Gusev. He said he narrowly missed a fracture, and that fluid had collected in the injured area.

As a result, Basso is likely to miss next weekend's Milan-San Remo. More importantly for Basso's Giro d'Italia preparation, he'll miss today's time trial stage at Tirreno-Adriatico.

“I don't want to risk anything,” he stated. “If I got tendonitis in the wrist then I would compromise all of my season.”

Posted by Frank Steele on March 18, 2007 in Ivan Basso, Milan-San Remo 2007, Tirreno-Adriatico 2007, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 17, 2007

Disco revival: Popovych takes Paris-Nice Stage 5

VeloNews | Popo' doubles down for Disco'; Rebellin holds lead at Paris-Nice

AFP/Frank Fife

Ukraine's Yaroslav Popovych took his first victory of 2007 with a signature attack out of a strong breakaway group to win Stage 5 at Paris-Nice.

Popovych got in a quality break, along with Dave Zabriskie, Predictor-Lotto's Johan Van Summeren, Rabobank's Koos Moerenhout, T-Mobile's Bert Grabsch, and 8 others, right after the start. The lead group, whittled down to 7, stretched its advantage to 4 minutes at the summit of the Côte des Agnels. Gerolsteiner set a furious pace to keep Popovych from threatening leader Davide Rebellin.

Indeed, Gerolsteiner set such a fast pace on the mountainous stage that they dropped their own Heinrich Haussler, who started the stage in the race's climber's jersey and had to solo in alone for 60 kilometers, finishing dead last on the day. Almost half the field finished more than 5 minutes back, with 60 riders more than 12 minutes back. Haussler somehow holds the polka-dot jersey for at least another day.

With about 20 miles to ride, Popovych decided to go it alone, and was the only member of the break who could outdistance the chase, finishing with 14 seconds in hand. Francisco Ventoso of Saunier Duval took the field sprint, ahead of AG2R's Samuel Dumoulin and Caisse d'Epargne's David Lopez.

It's been a very good year so far for the Discovery Channel team. Levi Leipheimer took the Tour of California, his first appearance for the team. Thursday, Alberto Contador, a late signing after being linked with Operación Puerto, took Stage 4 at Paris-Nice, and sits just 6 seconds back of Rebellin. Look for Discovery Channel and Gerolsteiner to slug it out Saturday and Sunday.

T-Mobile's Michael Barry didn't make the start, choosing to return to his European base, recover from a cold, and and return at the Vuelta al País Vasco in April.

There was one possible setback for Discovery Channel, as Ivan Basso took a fall with teammate Vladimir Gusev at Tirreno-Adriatico on Friday, and injured his wrist. X-rays were negative, but Basso may have to pull out of the race.

cyclingnews.com | Popovych rides glorious day away | photo gallery

GrahamWatson.com | Paris-Nice Stage 5

rec.bicycles.racing | Bob Martin's Paris-Nice Stage 5 summary

Posted by Frank Steele on March 17, 2007 in Alberto Contador, Dave Zabriskie, Davide Rebellin, Ivan Basso, Levi Leipheimer, Paris-Nice 2007, Top Stories, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 21, 2007

Stage 3 to the old master: Jens Voigt leads the way

Voigt over the top

Jens at the top of Sierra Road
By Ken Conley.

It was a Tour de France style climb up Sierra Road today, and the cream of the field was first to the top.

A large break went away early, featuring CSC's Jens Voigt, Discovery Channel's Jason McCartney, three riders each from Liquigas and HealthNet-Maxxis, Steven Cozza and Will Frischkorn from Team Slipstream, Jelly Belly's Nick Reistad, QuickStep's Jurgen Van De Walle, and seven others. They got 5 minutes advantage on the field, and Discovery burned a lot of matches chasing.

Finally, Rabobank joined in, and the gap started to come down. Then came Sierra Road. The breakaway fell apart on the 10-kilometer climb, and Ivan Basso was the only Discovery Channel rider who could help team leader Levi Leipheimer, with Hincapie and Danielson falling off from the chase effort. Even Basso fell away shortly up the climb, leaving Leipheimer, Chris Horner, and Rabobank's Robert Gesink the strongest of the main field.

Voigt and McCartney were best of the break, but Leipheimer's group was sweeping through the break's remnants, closing fast. The five joined up a few kilometers from the summit.

Over the top, with 22 kilometers down into San Jose, Leipheimer led Voigt, Horner, Gesink, and McCartney. Fifteen riders were about a minute back, but Leipheimer and McCartney went all out to put some time into the field, and Voigt knew just how to play it.

Voigt saved himself for the last kilometers, and when the time came, he delivered. With Quick Step and Paolo Bettini reeling in the leaders, Voigt led Leipheimer, then Chris Horner over the line.

Voigt's bonus time moves him into 2nd overall, 3 seconds behind Leipheimer. Health Net's Rory Sutherland sits 3rd, at 15 seconds with Chris Horner 4th at 16 seconds back.

The day's Top 10:
1) Jens Voigt, Germany, Team CSC, 3:43:44
2) Levi Leipheimer, US, Discovery Channel, same time
3) Christopher Horner, US, Predictor-Lotto, s.t.
4) Robert Gesink, Netherlands, Rabobank, at :04
5) Paolo Bettini, Italy, Quick Step, s.t.
6) Stuart O'Grady, Australia, CSC, s.t.
7) Enrico Gasparotto, Italy, Liquigas, s.t.
8) Dimitri Fofonov, Kazakhstan, Credit Agricole, s.t.
9) Bram De Groot, Netherlands, Rabobank, s.t.
10) Sergey Lagutin, Uzbekistan, Navigators Insurance, s.t.

General classification:
1) Levi Leipheimer, US, Discovery Channel, 12:46:25
2) Jens Voigt, Germany, CSC, at :03
3) Rory Sutherland, Australia, Health Net-Maxxis, at :15
4) Chris Horner, USA, Predictor-Lotto, at :16
5) Mauricio Ardila Cano, Colombia, Rabobank, at :17
6) Ben Day, Australia, Navigators Insurance, at :18
7) Ryder Hesjedal, Canada, Health Net-Maxxis, at :19
8) Michael Rogers, Australia, T-Mobile, s.t.
9) Sergey Lagutin, Uzbekistan, Navigators Insurance, at :20
10) Stuart O'Grady, Australia, CSC, s.t.


CyclingNews.com | Tour of California Stage 3

VeloNews | Voigt wins stae, Levi leads in Amgen Tour

Posted by Frank Steele on February 21, 2007 in Chris Horner, Ivan Basso, Jens Voigt, Levi Leipheimer, Paolo Bettini, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories, Tour of California, Tour of California 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 09, 2007

Discovery Channel's '07 season to be its last

Discovery celebrates TdG team win

Discovery wins '06 Tour de Georgia team prize
Originally uploaded by Frank Steele.

USAToday.com | Discovery Channel ending its sponsorship of pro cycling

The Discovery Channel team will spend at least some of its 2007 season seeking a new title sponsor, after a management shakeup at the network, according to Sal Ruibal at USA Today.

With Monday's departure of Discovery Network president Billy Campbell, a longtime supporter of the team, the network decided not to extend a 3-year contract that started in the 2005 season. That's when Lance Armstrong won his 7th consecutive Tour de France. The team was previously sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service, which left the sport after negative publicity about the cost of its team sponsorship.

The AP quoted a Discovery Channel statement, which said the company “decided to aggressively shift our focus and resources to support our core business goals and objectives.”

With US national champion George Hincapie, defending Giro champion Ivan Basso, Levi Leipheimer, Yaroslav Popovych, and Tom Danielson, Tailwind Sports general manager Bill Stapleton should be well positioned to find a replacement sponsor.

On the other hand, the team has traditionally been sponsored by U.S. companies, which may be less likely to sponsor the team with Armstrong out of competition. The sport's continuous doping scandals may also discourage sponsors.


VeloNews | Paper reports Discovery to pull sponsorship plug

New York Times | Discovery to End Sponsorship of Team

Posted by Frank Steele on February 9, 2007 in George Hincapie, Ivan Basso, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Tom Danielson, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0)

November 15, 2006

Fat Cyclist take on Basso signing

Fat Cyclist | News Flash! Levi Leipheimer “Totally OK” WIth Ivan Basso Joining Team Discovery

“Ivan Basso’s a huge talent, you know, and I’m very happy to have him on the team,” said Leipheimer. “I can hardly wait to fetch water bottles for him as he tries to get a double grand tour win.”

Worth reading in its entirety.

Leipheimer is probably about as pleased as Jens Voigt over Basso's signing. Voigt told Reuters:

“I can definitely see that it is not good for our image,” Voigt told ARD.

“To the public out there, it looks like nothing has changed.”

Posted by Frank Steele on November 15, 2006 in Doping, Ivan Basso, Jens Voigt, Levi Leipheimer | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 12, 2006

Discovering Ivan

Basso's new look
Photo by Graham Watson.
Presumably, Basso won't have to ride this bike in competition, or I'm predicting lots of knee problems for the reigning Giro champ.

Reader "Joe" points out that this is a Graham Watson photo uploaded to Flickr, so I've unlinked the version previously posted and linked to Watson's site. Watson also has a “Graham's View” feature on the signing, which he calls “one of the most exciting developments to hit the headlines since many a year,” while admitting the move appears to contradict the ethics code agreed to by the teams in Paris in October.

Posted by Frank Steele on November 12, 2006 in Ivan Basso | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 10, 2006

T-Mobile angry at Basso signing

Eurosport | T-Mobile slam Discos over Basso

T-Mobile, who dumped Jan Ullrich, his personal coach, and most of their team management in the wake of the Operación Puerto investigation, says Discovery Channel is violating an agreement between teams by signing 2006 Giro winner Ivan Basso, formerly of CSC.

“We are astonished at the move of Ivan Basso to Discovery,” the German outfit announced in a statement. “We find it inconceivable that they have agreed to sign him, as he must first prove his total innocence against the allegations made against him, just like Jan Ullrich, and only then should he be able to look for a team.”

Discovery Channel director Johan Bruyneel says the team and Basso consulted 4 “specialist lawyers -- a Swiss, a Frenchman, a Spaniard, and an Italian -- and they informed us there was nothing to stop us signing Basso.”

Posted by Frank Steele on November 10, 2006 in Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich | Permalink | Comments (5)

November 09, 2006

Basso-Discovery reaction

VeloNews | Basso feels “reborn” after inking Discovery deal

cyclingnews.com | Basso “happy” with Discovery contract while ProTour teams react

New Discovery Channel team leader Ivan Basso told La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian) his new team has promised to let him pursue the Giro-Tour double, as he intended to in 2006.

From VeloNews:

“I'm incredibly happy. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say it's a new life for me - I feel reborn," Basso said. "The squad are committed to supporting me in the double challenge of the Tour of Italy and the Tour de France.

“It's a project that fills me with enthusiasm. The team and I have the same ambitions. Now I am thinking about taking a week's holiday, somewhere hot, and near the sea. Then I will think about 2007.”

Apparently, a number of other managers believed the International Association of Professional Cycling Teams had a gentleman's agreement (read was colluding) to keep Operación Puerto associated riders from signing new contracts unless they undergo a DNA test.

Bjarne Riis, translated by CyclingNews:

“In his events I have lost too. I am left without the best in the world, but I also risked my team disappearing,” said the Dane to La Gazzetta dello Sport Wednesday afternoon. “Only a few days ago, the ProTour teams had expressed their intentions to no longer engage the riders entangled with Operación Puerto in addition to requiring a DNA test. In reality, in the end, the interests of individuals prevail while the initiatives go disregarded.”

Disco Camp starts December 3rd in Austin.

Posted by Frank Steele on November 9, 2006 in Ivan Basso | Permalink | Comments (0)

November 08, 2006

Basso to join Discovery Channel

cyclingnews.com | Basso to Discovery Channel: "It's done"

Ivan Basso is set to join Discovery Channel for 2007, after being cleared to ride October 27th by the Italian cycling federation.

Basso, who won the Giro d'Italia this year, only to have his victory tarnished by unproven allegations that he was involved with Operación Puerto doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, gives Discovery Channel the undisputed GT leader it lacked in 2006.

Discovery team co-owner Lance Armstrong confirmed the signing to La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian), and CyclingNews reports an official announcement is expected this afternoon in Austin, Texas.

One possible fly in the ointment: Basso is likely to be asked to submit to DNA testing, which he and his lawyers have resisted until now.

Update: Here's the official release posted at ThePaceline.com (free registration required).

Posted by Frank Steele on November 8, 2006 in Ivan Basso, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (2)

September 07, 2006

Basso hearing September 29

IHT.com | Basso hearing in doping case postponed to Sept. 29 Ivan Basso's hearing before the Italian Olympic Committee, originally scheduled for this Tuesday, has been postponed until Sept. 29th.
"I feel like an imprisoned man waiting for justice, but the wait is becoming increasingly exhausting every day," Basso said.
Basso was one of 9 riders held out of the Tour because Spanish officials suspected him of involvement in the doping ring discovered in the Operación Puerto investigation.

Posted by Frank Steele on September 7, 2006 in Doping, Ivan Basso | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 25, 2006

Ullrich AND Basso negotiating with Discovery?

Eurosport | Ullrich admits Discovery interest

Eurosport reports that Jan Ullrich is in discussions with Discovery Channel, as both seek to return to the top step at the Tour de France.

In an interview with Swiss newspaper Blick (in German), Ullrich said he and Discovery have had contact but have no agreement.

"I have always said I will finish with a Tour victory," said Ullrich, winner in only his second Tour de France, in 1997. "Unfortunately, this year I was prevented from doing so. That's why I will try to add another year."

In a throw-in paragraph at the end, they note: “Basso is another rider recently tipped with a move to Discovery Channel, along with 2006 winner Floyd Landis and Gerolsteiner's Levi Leipheimer.”

Posted by Frank Steele on July 25, 2006 in Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (10)

July 18, 2006

Basso the new boss at Discovery?

Eurosport | Riis denies Basso Discovery link

Eurosport quotes from La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian) that Ivan Basso might jump ship to Discovery Channel in the off-season.

CSC director Bjarne Riis says that's just one of those crazy Tour rumors, and that he is “still regularly in contact” with Basso.

The deal might make sense for Discovery Channel if the team has decided it needs to compete for the Tour victory every year to satisfy its sponsors; Yaroslav Popovych is a possible future Tour winner, but probably 2-3 years from being a race favorite, and Tom Danielson is unproven in longer stage races.

Basso is still training, and says he wants to ride in September's Vuelta.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 18, 2006 in Ivan Basso, Tom Danielson, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 01, 2006

Hamilton could get lifetime ban, Ullrich and Basso 4 years

VeloNews | McQuaid: Hamilton facing lifetime ban; four years possible for Ullrich, Basso

UCI chief Pat McQuaid told VeloNews that Tyler Hamilton could face a lifetime ban if claims that he was a client of a sports doping ring in Madrid are proven.

“With the evidence which we seem to see in this dossier, he's gone for life,” McQuaid told VeloNews on Saturday. “The implications for the riders in the case are two years from WADA code and two years from the ProTour, that's four years. And Hamilton, a ban for life. That would be a second offense.”

McQuaid also maintains that Hamilton can't return from his suspension in September, because his punishment wasn't finalzed until 2005, when the ProTour doping rules took effect, stacking a two-year World Anti-Doping Agency suspension and a two-year UCI suspension, effectively keeping riders out of the sport for 4 years.

The UCI expects to see the full 500-page Spanish Civil Guard report on Monday, but the UCI, the Amaury Sport Organisation, which sponsors the Tour, and the involved teams have all seen an executive summary outlining key evidence against riders.

McQuaid also told Reuters Saturday that cyclists were not Dr. Fuentes' only clients:

“Only riders have been named so far. But many footballers, tennis players and [track and field] athletes are on the list.”

Posted by Frank Steele on July 1, 2006 in Doping, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (5)

June 30, 2006

Julich's ESPN diary launches

ESPN.com | Julich: Team CSC stands behind Ivan Basso

Bobby Julich warming upCSC's Bobby Julich, who finished 3rd in the scandal-plagued 1998 Tour (not last year as his local paper suggested), is writing a diary for ESPN.com during this year's Tour.

Its first edition is up, and focuses, of course, on Basso's withdrawal and what impact that's going to have on the team.

He says CSC briefly considered pulling out of the race, in the emotion of the moment, but that Special Operations training kicked in: “...it's also a reality, as on the battlefield, that when your leader goes down, you have to still accomplish your objective, that the roles may change but you still have a goal to accomplish.”

Personally, Julich says he believes Basso is innocent, that he's been targeted because of his extraordinary Giro performance, but that he's assumed guilty because of the ProTour and ASO regulations, which allow riders to be suspended if they're even under investigation.

The worst thing for me will be if, three or four days from now, Ivan goes down, gives his DNA, does whatever he needs to do to clear his name, and is cleared, but the Tour has already started without him. That really is the hard part for me.

In my opinion, if there is absolutely indisputable evidence that he's involved, then I'm sorry, but we have to accept that, and that would be the most disappointing thing in my career, that I would have to accept that a guy like Ivan was cheating.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like ESPN is giving Julich a standard URL where you can watch for updates, or even, heavens, a standard weblog with an RSS feed.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 30, 2006 in Bobby Julich, Ivan Basso, Rider diaries | Permalink | Comments (5)

Mancebo to retire, Ullrich and Basso to fight allegations

ESPN.com | Contenders Ullrich, Basso barred from Tour de France

AG2R's Francisco Mancebo is apparently throwing up his hands, rather than either maintaining his innocence or admitting guilt in connection with the Operación Puerto investigation. He told procycling.com, “I consider myself innocent and I have never tested positive. I’m just going to see how this all evolves now. I’m sick of this world, I am going to hang to my bike up.”

Jan Ullrich continues to maintain his innocence, after being withdrawn from the Tour de France by his T-Mobile team.

“The only thing I can say so far is that I'm shocked, that I still have nothing to do with this, that I'm a victim now and that I'm prepared [for the Tour] in this year like never before,” Ullrich told reporters outside his hotel near Strasbourg, before leaving for home.

“This is the worst case of my career so far. I'll go on fighting at any rate. But at this moment, I'm desperate.”

The team says it will demand “evidence of Ullrich's innocence,” or may sever ties completely.

As for Basso, he's going to the lawyers:

"I have nothing to do with all this, but I will let my lawyers speak about this before me," Basso told Italian television.


"I'm totally relaxed. I'm waiting for someone to prove to me that I am guilty," said Basso.

Riis is distancing himself from his Giro winner:

Riis noted that Basso's contract forbids him from working with doctors from outside their CSC team.

"Ivan must prove with his lawyer that he is innocent. I believe in Ivan but I have been forced to take the necessary steps," Riis said.

Also, the updated official start list is up (check your favorite surviving rider's bib number - Julich gets 11, Klöden 21).

Posted by Frank Steele on June 30, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Bobby Julich, Doping, Francisco Mancebo, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Who's out: Which riders won't start?

There are only 10 riders from the provisional Tour start list on the list of names under investigation in Spain, including 1 reserve. All will be withdrawn from the Tour.


  • Isidro Nozal
  • Jorg Jaksche
  • Joseba Beloki
  • Reserve: Aitor Osa
  • Added Friday: Alberto Contador
  • Added Friday: Allan Davis

Update: Astaná-Würth withdrew from the Tour on Friday afternoon. That adds Vinokourov, Kashechkin, Bazayev, and Sanchez as riders from the provisional start list not on the final start list.


  • Ivan Basso


  • Francisco Mancebo


  • Jan Ullrich
  • Oscar Sevilla

Some mainstream press reports have “dozens of others being excluded from the Tour, but that's not the case. There are almost 40 riders named in the 500-page report, but only these 10 were on their team's provisional Tour roster, so only they can be excluded from the Tour.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 30, 2006 in Andrey Kashechkin, Doping, Francisco Mancebo, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Jorg Jaksche, Joseba Beloki, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Black Friday: Basso, Mancebo, Ullrich all withdraw from Tour

procycling | Basso and Mancebo out of Tour

The 1998 Tour has nothing on this year's edition, as both favorites and at least one other team leader have been withdrawn from the Tour by their teams.

Teams are scrambling to reshuffle after all 21 teams agreed to ban all riders named in the Operación Puerto report, including Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, and Francisco Mancebo. The named riders won't be replaced on their team's Tour roster.

T-Mobile has suspended Ullrich, Oscar Sevilla, and DS Rudy Pevanage.

Organizers are considering whether to try again to suspend Astaná-Würth, since 9 of its riders are among the 37 riders on the list. Team leader Alexandre Vinokourov is not among them. Tour director Christian Prudhomme told AFP:

"Astaná-Würth is a bit more complicated because there are so many names from that team being linked to the doping probe," added the Frenchman. "Some of those implicated are on the Tour, and some are not. To us, it looks like they have been operating a team doping policy."

Oddsmakers are working out the results, and currently have Alejandro Valverde as the favorite, at 6.4-1.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 30, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Doping, Floyd Landis, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

June 29, 2006

Basso, Ullrich, Mancebo among riders in Puerto report

Eurosport | Basso, Ullrich fingered in Spain

Spanish radio network Cadena Ser reports that both Tour de France favorites are named in the Operación Puerto evidence files, unsealed by a Spanish judge today.

Phonak riders José Enrique Gutierrez and Santiago Botero, withheld by the team from competition until the case was cleared up, and former Phonak rider Tyler Hamilton are also listed.

Roberto Heras, suspended from Liberty Seguros (now Astaná-Würth), and AG2R's Francisco Mancebo, have also been named, with about 50 other athletes (not all cyclists) likely to follow as the press gets the evidence files.

Tour organizers had pressed for the names of implicated riders to be released. Now they may be wishing they hadn't.

The story at El Pais (in Spanish) doesn't mention Basso, but adds T-Mobile's Oscar Sevilla, suspended Phonak rider Santago Perez, Astaná-Würth's Joseba Beloki, Angel Edo and Quiquie Gutierrez (?).

De Telegraaf claims that Rabobank's Juan Antonio Flecha and Denis Menchov (in Dutch) are also named in the 500 page report.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 29, 2006 in Doping, Francisco Mancebo, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Manolo Saiz, Roberto Heras, Santiago Botero, Top Stories, Tour de France 2006, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 28, 2006

Basso the oddsmakers' pick

Oddschecker.com | Tour de France Betting Odds

European oddsmakers have Ivan Basso a big favorite in the 2006 Tour, sitting at 5-to-4 odds right now.

T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich, the 1997 winner, is a 5-to-2 pick, followed by Alejandro Valverde at 10.9-to-1, Floyd Landis at 16-1, and Alexandre Vinokourov at 20-1 (and shortening: maybe somebody knows a guy who knows a guy at the CAS?).

For the mountains jersey, it's Michael Rasmussen 2-to-1 ahead of Christophe Moreau (8-1), and Oscar Pereiro (11-1).

For the green jersey, Tom Boonen is a major favorite at 6-5, followed by Robbie McEwen at 9-4 and Thor Hushovd a polite 5-1.

Proving that people will bet on anything, oddsmakers put T-Mobile and CSC even to win the team competition, each at 15-8, while Discovery Channel sits at 11-4.

Here's OddsChecker.com's odds page for every rider.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 28, 2006 in Alexandre Vinokourov, Christophe Moreau, Floyd Landis, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Michael Rasmussen, Robbie McEwen, Thor Hushovd, Tom Boonen, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

TdFblog GC preview

It's going to be an amazing Tour.

I am obligated, as a writer for a Tour-centric web site, to make some predictions. This year, it is incredibly hard. A lot of riders either have badly screwed up their preparation or haven't shown us what they can do this season (and another, Alexandre Vinokourov, hasn't and may not get the chance to), and we won't find out which it is for a week or 10 days.

Sitting here, three days from Strasbourg, I believe in the two favorites, Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich. I believe in Francisco Mancebo. Alejandro Valverde may be the future of the sport (depending on what's in those damn bags), and he's at the point in his career to break out some surprises. These guys have all shown they're ready to rock and roll.

For some reason, I don't really believe in Levi Leipheimer. Gorgeous wife, great results, but I have to agree with his DS: Top 10 probably, Top 5 maybe. Floyd Landis and Alexandre Vinokourov both flummoxed me with sub-par Dauphiné results, but I want to believe.

Total wildcards: Denis Menchov, Iban Mayo, Cadel Evans. I think Evans will finish higest of these three, but Mayo could take a spotlight stage, like l'Alpe d'Huez.

I can't read Johan Bruyneel's mind any better than anyone else, but I suspect Popovych and Azevedo will be the two most highly-placed Discovery Channel riders. Savoldelli and Hincapie will be well-placed up to the mountains, then lose time to the better climbers.

Enough procrastination; here's my Top 5:
1) Ivan Basso, CSC
2) Jan Ullrich, T-Mobile
3) Floyd Landis, Phonak
4) Yaroslav Popovych, Discovery Channel
5) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne

I don't see Ullrich gaining 4 minutes on Basso in the TTs, and here's why: The Stage 7 TT profile. It's long enough, at 52 kilometers, but it's a fairly technical course. Even if it's dry, I could easily see Ullrich overcooking a couple of corners, getting out of his rhythm, and not going as fast as he's capable. If it rains, even worse.

I could also see Basso gaining some time on stages with downhill finishes, like Stage 17, where Basso could go over the top of the Col de Joux-Plane with time in hand and conserve all or most of that lead for the 12 kilometers into Morzine. Ullrich's bike-handling has always scared me.

I'm also discounting the Floyd Landis nay-sayers, who say he's got no team. I think with a race as open as this year's, the team strength matters less. Landis needs to identify the real team leaders fast, then cover moves only by the real GC threats. Remember Armstrong watching Vinokourov go up the road, and waiting for Ullrich and Klöden (T-Mobile's “official” GC threats) to bring him back? Same idea. There are plenty of other strong riders who will be chasing down the pretenders.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 28, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Andreas Klöden, Cadel Evans, Christophe Moreau, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Iban Mayo, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Levi Leipheimer, Paolo Savoldelli, Top Stories, Tour 2006 previews, Tour de France 2006, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (1)

June 19, 2006

CSC names Tour nine; Cancellara left off

Team CSC | Team CSC's Tour de France line-up 2006

CSC named the nine men it hopes can lead Ivan Basso to his first Tour de France victory in July.

It's a deep squad, featuring both guys not named “Armstrong” to wear the yellow jersey last year (Zabriskie and Voigt), 1998 Tour podium finisher Bobby Julich, and lots of love from Luxembourg: National champion (for at least another week) and 2006 Amstel Gold winner Frank Schleck, and 2006 Tour of Luxembourg winner Christian Vande Velde.

Biggest surprise is probably the exclusion of Fabian Cancellara; he's probably a victim of the missing team time trial.

Team director Bjarne Riis:

“We are bringing a fantastic team to Tour de France this year. When you look at the names, you cannot help but notice, that this is a team to be reckoned with – a team which has the foundation to be one of the dominating ones in the 2006 edition of the Tour. We go to France this year with one ambition: To win with Ivan Basso. After his victory in the Giro, and with the training he has done in the period since then, I have no doubt he is ready for this next big challenge. He has the class, the willpower and also the team behind him to be one of the favorites,” adds Bjarne Riis.
    CSC 2006 Tour de France squad:
  • Ivan Basso
  • Carlos Sastre
  • Fränk Schleck
  • Jens Voigt
  • Giovanni Lombardi
  • Stuart O'Grady
  • Bobby Julich
  • David Zabriskie
  • Christian Vande Velde

Posted by Frank Steele on June 19, 2006 in Bobby Julich, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Fabian Cancellara, Frank Schleck, Ivan Basso, Jens Voigt, Stuart O'Grady, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 05, 2006

Simoni on Basso claims: Never mind...

VeloNews | Simoni retracts Basso charge

Face to face with an investigating tribunal, Gilberto Simoni has decided that maybe Ivan Basso, facing the biggest payday of his career and carrying a photo of the newborn son to whom he had told the press he hoped to dedicate the day's stage win, didn't actually offer to sell Simoni Stage 20 at the Giro after all.

“I made some erroneous statements but I didn't want to damage Basso's reputation, certain things are part of the race,” said Simoni.

Simoni's lawyer was even more blunt:

“Simoni has denied everything. There was never any question of an agreement, even less so a sum of money,” said the rider's lawyer Giuseppe Napoleone. “However, he was interviewed straight after the finish and he was flustered. But there was never any mention of numbers, we now want the affair to be closed, also for the sake of the Saunier-Duval team.”

Simoni could be sanctioned for “bringing the sport into disrepute.” Given the current investigation in Spain, seems like it would take a little more than an overcompetitive Italian getting a little over-emotional after a stage loss to do that.

If he is sanctioned, there's a chance he could miss this year's Tour.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 5, 2006 in Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 04, 2006

BiciRace.com offers Tour preview

BiciRace.com | 2006 Tour de France Favorites

BiciRace.com offers a preview of the placings in this year's Tour, still 4 weeks away. Maybe it's no surprise their Italian pride leads them to go with Basso, then Ullrich. A bigger surprise is the 3rd step, where they choose the World's Fastest Mennonite, Floyd Landis.

I'm not ready to count Ullrich out until we see him do some Tour de Suisse climbs, but Basso's Giro was indeed pretty impressive. As for Landis, I hope the possible exclusion of Botero and Gutierrez doesn't prove too distracting.

BiciRace puts 3 Americans in the Top 8. Click through to see who, and where.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 4, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rasmussen, Tour 2006 previews, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 29, 2006

Basso triumphant, anointed Tour favorite

Eurosport | Ivan Basso wins Tour of Italy

Ivan Basso took the next step in his development as a rider, wrapping up the Giro d'Italia in Milan yesterday. Basso nailed down a dominating 9:18 margin of victory, and became the consensus favorite to win the 2006 Tour.

Gerolsteiner's Robert Forster took the sprint finish to take Stage 21, but Team CSC wasn't letting anything else happen on the stage.

Gilberto Simoni is still mouthing off about Basso's win in Saturday's Stage 20, when Simoni claims Basso asked for money to let Simoni take the stage win. Basso admits that he convinced Simoni they should ride together on the descent of the Mortirolo, but says the rest of Simoni's story is a fabrication.

The two biggest surprises of the Giro have to be defending champion Paolo Savoldelli's 6th overall and José Enrique Gutierrez taking 2nd.

Juan Manuel Garate takes the climber's jersey, Paolo Bettini both the points jersey and the 110 Gazzetta competition (normally the Intergiro).

Jan Ullrich, who still plans to show up at the start of the Tour July 1, held a press conference Friday night to discuss his Giro exit and his condition after almost 3 weeks of competitive racing. Ullrich says he and director Rudy Pevanage had planned to withdraw Thursday night, but decided that would look “ill-timed” in light of the doping allegations coming out in the Spanish press. With his back hurting on Friday, apparently the result of a strength imbalance between Ullrich's legs, the two decided there was no reason for Ullrich to continue.

On Basso's Giro mastery:

Ullrich: He makes a strong impression. And his CSC team is well-balanced. Ivan is on top of his game. However, I don’t think he will win the Tour. The competition is Italy is distinctively weaker than the one in France. And I want to have a say in it, too. (laughs)


IHT.com | Cycling: Above the pack, but not suspicion?

Samuel Abt gives Gutierrez a well-deserved callout, and examines Simoni's comment on Saturday that Basso “seems like an extraterrestrial,” with the connotation that something more than good training habits were responsible for his performance.

ProCycling | Basso crowned Giro king

Eurosport | Ivan Basso wins Tour of Italy

CyclingNews.com | General Classification | Stage 21 Results

Posted by Frank Steele on May 29, 2006 in Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 27, 2006

Basso wins Stage 20, Giro

Ivan Basso flashed a picture of his newborn son Santiago as he crossed the finish line with a Stage 20 victory today, leading Gilberto Simoni across the line by 1:18.

Basso again showed an extra gear that no one else could match. He and Simoni shed the field to top the Mortirolo together, and stayed away together until the final 2 kilometers of the Passo Aprica, when Basso just flew away from the 2-time Giro champion.

At 2:51, Damiano Cunego led in José Enrique Gutierrez, who cemented his 2nd place overall. Defending champ Paolo Savoldelli could manage no better than 5th, at 6:03, and that moves Cunego into 4th overall, dropping Savoldelli into 5th.

Barring a lightning strike, Basso will win his first Giro d'Italia championship tomorrow in Milan.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 27, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Paolo Savoldelli, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 26, 2006

Flickr'ing the Giro

The Rose Jersey
The Rose Jersey,
originally uploaded by Sergio Maistrello.
I had hoped this year's Giro would be heavily posted on Flickr, but so far, it's been pretty disappointing. Finally, today, Sergio Maistrello posted 18 photos from the start in Pordenone.

There are a few from yesterday's stage, too -- I'm partial to this shot (which two minutes later got a few more cameras), and AllessioAllessio's set from Livorno.

originally uploaded by kreeno.
Also, this one shot by Giovanni Lentini.

Here's a composite from the prologue that's a nice idea, and a great panning shot of Bobby Julich (at right) in the ITT.

So is there any other shared gold out there on the other photo sharing sites? Feel free to link good Giro photography in the comments. Here are Flickr collections for Giro d'Italia and Giro.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 26, 2006 in Bobby Julich, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Photo galleries | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Garate takes Stage 19, new papa Basso comfortable in Giro lead

On paper, Stage 17 was this year's Giro queen stage. But when weather and team dissent led organizers to behead the queen, chopping off the top of the stage, today's stage stepped in. With four big climbs in 224 kilometers, it was the best chance for somebody to try to put the hurt on king-to-be Ivan Basso, celebrating the birth this morning of his second child, a son.

A solid early break got 5 minutes on the field over the second major climb. The highest placed rider was Danilo Di Luca, 12th at 18:27, and some other familiar names were along, including Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt of CSC, Paolo Bettini and Juan Manuel Garate of QuickStep, Johan Tschopp of Phonak, and Francisco Vila of Lampre.

On the Pordoi, Bettini and Julich were quickly off the back, and Ceramica Panaria's Fortunato Baliani led the group over the top, nearly 7 minutes ahead of the pack, to take the lead in the climber's jersey competition.

At the foot of the last climb, Di Luca, Garate, and Voigt were riding with Tschopp, Lampre's Evgeni Petrov, Tadej Valjavec, and Francisco Vila, Ceramica Panaria's Baliani, Laverde, and Emanuele Sella, Patrice Halgand, and Ivan Parra.

Valjavec launched the first attack, joined quickly by Voigt. Parra and Villa tried to bridge, but never quite made it. Parra fell off Villa's pace, to be replaced by Garate, and that pair caught Valjavec and Voigt. Valjavec quickly attacked again, and was countered by Garate, who gapped the trio, only to have Voigt (!) jump out and catch his wheel.

Back in the field, Piepoli turned on the burners, and Simoni, Cunego, and Basso were the only ones who could match him. Once again, Savoldelli was quickly off the back, and once again Discovery's Tom Danielson led him in. Gutierrez drifted off the leaders' group, and Simoni smelled 2nd on the GC, and attacked. Basso and Cunego countered, but Cunego couldn't match the pace, and yo-yoed desperately on and off Basso and Simoni, slowly drifting back, but passing break survivors along the way.

In the last few kilometers, everyone had to be thinking back to the 2005 Tour, and George Hincapie's win over Phonak's Oscar Pereiro after Pereiro had set pace all day. Today, we had a big generalist/superdomestique, Voigt, teammate of the overall race leader, riding alongside a climber, Garate, with an uphill finish, and again, it looked like the big man, Voigt, had played all his cards right for the win. Voigt patiently sat in, and then, with less than 300 meters to go, he patted Garate on the back, gave him a little push, and sat up.

Garate couldn't believe his luck; he had tried to ride Voigt off his wheel unsuccessfully, and now, he was handing Garate the win? The little man, riding in his Spanish champion's jersey, put a safe cushion behind him, still glancing nervously several times back at Voigt, then with 50 meters to ride, he pointed back, acknowledging the gift, zipped his jersey, and took the stage.

Back with the GC riders, the question was, where's Gutierrez? Simoni looked a little like Gibos past, and he and Basso led in all riders not involved in the break, finishing 7th and 8th at 2:15. Behind them, Cunego and Gutierrez, both of whom had looked near popping, were clawing for every inch, and Gutierrez came 11th at 2:39 and Cunego 12th at 2:40. Savoldelli, Piepoli, Baliani, Danielson, Sandy Casar and Victor Hugo Peña finished together at 4:16, while Pellizotti came in at 5:11.

On GC, that means Basso leads by 6:07, with Gutierrez in 2nd, 4:27 clear of Simoni, who now has a 2:25 cushion on Savoldelli. Pellizotti falls from 5th to 6th, while Cunego pole-vaults from 8th to 5th, now 15:13 back.

One notable DNF, as Jan Ullrich drops out, complaining of back pain.

Five riders were still competing in Liberty Seguros jerseys, and the team ownership promises the team will continue through the end of the season, even without a large portion of the 8 million euros Liberty was kicking in.

cyclingnews.com | Report & Results

Posted by Frank Steele on May 26, 2006 in Bobby Julich, Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, George Hincapie, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Jens Voigt, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Leonardo Piepoli, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Tom Danielson, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 24, 2006

Saiz released, Spain pledges doping crackdown

Eurosport | Saiz released by police

Manolo Saiz has been released, but will likely be called before a judge during the investigation, Eurosport reported today. EFE reports that Saiz is suspected of being a client of the doping group, not an organizer (ProCycling story in English | AS story en Español). El Pais also reports that 200 bags of blood were found in the raid, and that investigators had pictures of former ONCE doctor Eufemiano Fuentes handing off doping supplies to Saiz.

Fuentes remains in custody in the case, as do Ignacio Laberta, assistant director of the Comunidad Valenciana team, former mountain biker Alberto León, and hematologist and lab owner Jose Luis Merino.

Apparently, the group had been under surveillance for 4 months or more, and investigators are reportedly looking through images to identify athletes who have visited the clinic, after which they'll try to match athletes to identifiers on the blood bags or through DNA testing.

Meanwhile, ProCycling quotes “reports in the Spanish press” in a story suggesting that Giro leader Ivan Basso may have been working with Eufemiano Fuentes. Basso denied this, saying of Saiz:

“We are good friends. But it’s too much to say, without any proof, that doctors within his circle have been involved in my preparation.”

Another interesting angle ProCycling picks up from a story in AS is: “the three-month investigation has been focused on the Canary Islands. They also report more people are likely to be detained in the coming days.”

Posted by Frank Steele on May 24, 2006 in Doping, Ivan Basso, Manolo Saiz, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 20, 2006

Piepoli takes Stage 13; Basso still the man

cyclingnews.com | Giro d'Italia Stage 13

Saunier Duval-Prodir's Leonardo Piepoli descended faster than a Falco Saturday to win Stage 13 at the Giro. Piepoli, a climbing specialist, took his first Giro win.

Ivan Basso once again showed he's the class of the contenders, blowing up the field on the ascent of Colle San Carlo, and actually losing time on the closing descent to La Thuile, as he took it gently on slick roads.

Piepoli, who spent last Sunday's climb to the Maielletta shepherding team leader Gilberto Simoni, was given free rein Saturday, and made the most of it. He crested the last climb with Basso, then put 44 seconds into CSC's leader on the descent.

José Enrique Gutierrez of Phonak and Simoni, were 3rd and 4th on the day, at 1:19 to Piepoli, losing 35 seconds to Basso. They topped the climb at 1:24, but pulled Basso back somewhat on the descent. Damiano Cunego, who looked like the most promising contender on last Sunday, rode in with Discovery's Paolo Savoldelli, 2:36 back of Piepoli.

Basso just keeps building his cushion on the GC, now leading Gutierrez by 3:27, Savoldelli by 5:30, Wladimir Belli by 7:35, and Simoni by 8:00. Danielson's 7th, at 8:35, Cunego's 8th, at 8:58, and Di Luca is 9th at 10:36.

Selle Italia's José Rujano, who animated last year's Giro, abandoned on the road, possibly owing to his strange contract, which has him moving to Quick Step June 1. Thomas Vaitkus, who won Stage 9, also abandoned on the road. T-Mobile's Michael Rogers didn't start because of a toothache, while triple stage winner Robbie McEwen didn't start, complaining of a minor illness.


VeloNews.com | Basso tightens grip on Giro as Piepoli earns tough win

cyclingnews.com | Stage 13 photo gallery

GrahamWatson.com | Stage 13 photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on May 20, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Leonardo Piepoli, Michael Rogers, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Tom Danielson, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1)

May 18, 2006

Ullrich rocks Giro, takes TT

VeloNews.com | Ullrich shows his form; Basso solidifies grip on jersey

Looks like Jan Ullrich is TT-fit for the Tour de France.

T-Mobile's 1997 Tour champion scorched the 50-kilometer (31 mile) time trial course today, finishing in 58:48, for his first race victory since last year's Tour of Germany.

Ullrich showed he's got the numerator down on the power-to-weight ratio, and the upcoming mountains should help him shrink his, um, denominator.

"To beat Ivan Basso is going to give me a huge morale boost. I knew right from the start that I was going to have a good day.

Giro leader Ivan Basso of CSC was 2nd on the day in 59:16, 28 seconds back, but ahead of Italian TT champion Marco Pinotti, at 1:01, T-Mobile's Sergei Honchar, at 1:09, and Paolo Savoldelli, at 1:19. Phonak's José Enrique Gutierrez rounds out the top 6 at 1:42.

Damiano Cunego, who was best able to hang with Basso on Sunday's first big climb of the Giro, lost 5:06 (!) to Basso in today's TT, and Gilberto Simoni and Danilo Di Luca did only slightly better.

In the GC, Gutierrez remains in 2nd, now 2:48 back, while Savoldelli slips to 3rd behind Honchar at 3:24 and 3:26. Discovery Channel's Tom Danielson is now 5th overall, 5:38 back, with Cunego 8th at 6:54, Simoni 9th at 7:13, and Di Luca 10th at 7:33.


cyclingnews.com | Jan's one mean motor scooter

Enormous picture of Ullrich at Gazzetta dello Sport

Posted by Frank Steele on May 18, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Paolo Savoldelli, Sergei Honchar, Tom Danielson, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 14, 2006

Basso ascendant: Takes Stage 8, Giro lead

CyclingNews.com | Stage 8 - Sunday, May 14

Ivan Basso announced his presence with authority on Sunday, taking control of the 2006 Giro d'Italia.

Basso rode alongside the other race favorites on the day's final climb, and one by one, they cracked. Race leader Sergei Honchar was among the first, but surprisingly, Discovery Channel's defending Giro champ Paolo Savoldelli also quickly went off the back, as did 2005 Giro revelation José Rujano.

Hometown hero Danilo Di Luca was next, yoyoing off a small group, while Basso sat spinning comfortably on the wheel of teammate Carlos Sastre. Like Basso, Gilberto Simoni was riding with a teammate, Leonardo Piepoli, and also in the leading group were Damiano Cunego, Phonak's Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Luca Mazzanti and Giampaolo Caruso.

Rujano bravely fought back onto the select group, and launched the first attack. Sastre let him dangle off the front like a rabbit leading the greyhounds, and Rujano was recaptured within a kilometer or so. Next to go was Cunego with 4k to the summit, and he went hard. Only Basso could hold his wheel, but he did so with seeming ease, and after perhaps 150 meters, Basso soloed off the front.

Cunego couldn't respond, and 2-time Giro champ Simoni watched Basso ride away, seemingly content to ease in, riding on Piepoli's wheel. This was a stage where Simoni needed to regain some of the time lost in Saunier Duval-Prodir's team time trial, but instead, he lost another 1:15. That's got to depress his team, which spent much of today controlling the race to give Simoni a chance at the stage and some GC. Simoni after the stage:

"When Cunego went I was already at my limit, so I couldn't respond," said the two-time Giro champion. "Basso, on the contrary, had no fear. This was impressive. He did a great climb today. He's going to be difficult to beat, because he also has a very strong team."

Di Luca was trapped in no-man's land, behind the leaders, but ahead of the group that formed around Savoldelli and Andrea Noè.

When the dust cleared, Basso had won the stage, and sits 1:34 up on Phonak's José Enrique Gutierrez in the GC. Savoldelli was shepherded to the line by Tom Danielson, but lost 2:20 on the day. Il Falco's Giro may not be over, but he's going to need some extraordinary performances and extraordinary luck to win it - he's 2:35 back, with 2 weeks featuring loads more of the same to go.

Savoldelli quoted in CyclingNews:

"The Giro is not finished here...I knew Basso was strongest and I knew that I wasn't on a good day right away when the climb started. I went into the red zone right away and couldn't hold the pace. Thanks to Danielson, I was able to limit the loss. But the next step is the TT and then, the last week is so hard. But to lose 2'35 on the first climb, that's a lot... it should be 1'20". But I'm still optimistic."

Basso's ride was just stunning. He looked so comfortable, turning an easy rhythm and dropping everyone in sight, and credit for his freshness has to go largely to Carlos Sastre, who did a monster turn setting tempo on the final climb to Maielletta.


Eurosport.com | Basso claims pink jersey in style

VeloNews.com | Advantage Basso

CyclingNews.com | Results | General Classification | Photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on May 14, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Leonardo Piepoli, Paolo Savoldelli, Sergei Honchar, Tom Danielson, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 12, 2006

McEwen again, as Pollack takes Giro lead

cyclingnews.com | Giro d'Italia Stage 6 Live Report

With Alessandro Petacchi recovering from a fractured kneecap, Robbie McEwen is clearly the class of the sprinters at the Giro. Today's stage reminded me of a pro basketball game -- not that much reason to tune in until the last 5 minutes.

The doomed break of the day was Ceramica Panaria's Sergiy Matveyev, Dredit Agricole's Christophe Edalaine, and Euskaltel-Euskadi's Andoni Aranaga, who spent 200+ kilometers (about 125 miles) in front, and were relentlessly reeled back by a field powered mostly by Jan Kuyckx and Preben Van Hecke of Davitamon-Lotto.

The D-L riders' efforts would pay off handsomely at the line. In a finishing field sprint that reportedly hit 71 km/hour (44 mph), McEwen beat T-Mobile's Olaf Pollack by half a bike's length, and took his 3rd stage win of this Giro. With a time bonus, Pollack moves into the overall race leadership. AG2R's Tomas Vaitkus was 3rd, with Leonardo "L." Duque 4th.

Top 10:
1) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, in 5:24:13
2) Olaf Pollack, T-Mobile, same time
3) Tomas Vaitkus, AG2R Prevoyance, s.t.
4) Leonardo Duque, Cofidis, s.t.
5) Koldo Fernandez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, s.t.
6) Fabrizio Guidi, Phonak, s.t.
7) Paolo Bettini, Quick Step, s.t.
8) Elia Rigotto, Team Milram, s.t.
9) Axel Maximiliano, Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, s.t.
10) Manuele Mori, Saunier Duval-Prodir, s.t.

Pollack's bonus time moves everyone around, but doesn't really affect the gaps between overall hopefuls. Honchar's at :02, Voigt and Rogers at :08, Basso at :13, and Savoldelli at :22.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 12, 2006 in Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jens Voigt, Michael Rogers, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Sergei Honchar, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 11, 2006

Giro TTT photo galleries from around the web

Graham Watson:

(l-r) Disco slowdown, T-Mo gogo, Honchar trades magenta for pink

(Click through to GrahamWatson.com for full-size images)


Armstrong hitchin' a ride; Basso, CSC on the top step

Click through to cyclingnews.com for full-size images)


New pink jersey leading T-Mobile, old pink jersey w/Gerolsteiner squad.

Click for AP cycling photo wire. Unlike the others, this will be current when you click through.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 11, 2006 in Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Lance Armstrong, Photo galleries, Sergei Honchar, Stefan Schumacher | Permalink | Comments (0)

CSC takes Giro TTT; T-Mobile's Honchar new race leader

cyclingnews.com | Giro d'Italia Stage 6 results

Team CSC turned on the afterburners today to scorch the Giro d'Italia's team time trial. One of my favorite cycling stages, the TTT is a combination of power and cooperation, with teams riding in tight rotating pacelines, varying the workload so their strongest TT men spend more time pulling, and lead-group riders are awarded the time of the 5th member of their team to cross the line. The course today was a pure power course, flat to gently descending, with few turns and wide roads.

Most of the early teams came in around 38 minutes, but CSC, starting 5th from last, came in at 36:56. Jan Ullrich's T-Mobile squad, riding here in support of Ukraine's Sergei Honchar, departed 5 minutes after CSC, and four of their riders finished in 36:55, but Matthias Kessler was gapped at the finish, and came in 2 seconds back to give T-Mobile a 2nd place in (correction) 36:57.

Then came Team Discovery, which had dominated the TTT of recent Tours de France. Without Armstrong and Hincapie, this was a different Discovery, and they finished at the front of the 2nd tier, 39 seconds behind CSC, which held up for 3rd on the day. They were already 24 seconds down at the 10 km (6-mile) mark, and didn't put on the late-stage rush they've shown in the Tour.

Gerolsteiner, riding last with race leader Stefan Schumacher, could manage only 6th, at 1:03.

T-Mobile can take solace in the race leadership, as Sergei Honchar now leads CSC's Jens Voigt and T-Mobile teammate Michael Rogers by 6 seconds. Among GC threats, Basso is 4th at 11 seconds, Savoldelli drops to 5th at 20 seconds, Danilo Di Luca is 12th at 44 seconds. Damiano Cunego's Lampre squad was 1:04 back, and Gilberto Simoni's squad was 1:26 behind CSC. I'll post their new placings when I see them.

The day's big winner has to be Ivan Basso. He's picked up 39 seconds or more against the real Giro threats (sorry, Sergei), and he's no slouch in the mountains. Di Luca, too has to be pleased, as Liquigas limited the damage, finishing 4th on the day at 42 seconds.

The big loser is Gilberto Simoni, who just took 90 seconds of damage in a 40 minute ride.

This was the first TTT in the Giro in 17 years, and there will be none in the Tour de France this year. Organizers had watered down the TTT the last few years to help the Euskaltel-Euskadis of the world, but it's a shame to see it eliminated. The TTT is a very photogenic (and telegenic) event, and it emphasizes the team aspect of cycling in a very visible way.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 11, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Michael Rogers, Sergei Honchar, Stefan Schumacher, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1)

May 08, 2006

Schumacher takes classics-style Giro stage, Petacchi out

VeloNews.com | Schumacher takes lead after wet, ugly day at Giro

Schumacher's powerful win
Schumacher's win at Namur
Fotoreporter Sirotti/cyclingnews.com
Stefan Schumacher took an enormous win in Belgium today, winning Stage 3 of the Giro on the ascent to the citadel of Namur.

Schumacher wisely marked QuickStep's Paolo Bettini, who dropped the field to try to reel in Discovery Channel's Jose-Luis Rubiera, but couldn't close the gap. At about 800 meters to ride, Schumacher squashed the Cricket, kung-fued Chechu, and took the biggest win of his career. Chechu was 2 seconds back for 2nd, and Schumacher's Gerolsteiner teammate Davide Rebellin led in the field 6 seconds back.

Factoring in his margin of victory over Paolo Savoldelli, and the 20-second stage win bonus, Schumacher finds himself in the race leader's jersey, 13 seconds ahead of Savoldelli, 23 seconds ahead of Davide Rebellin.

Despite losing the race lead, Paolo Savoldelli gained time on most of his overall GC rivals, and now leads Sergei Honchar by 18 seconds, Danilo Di Luca by :23, Ivan Basso by :28, Damiano Cunego by :30, and Gilberto Simoni by :49.

Team Milram sprint superstar Alessandro Petacchi got tangled up in a late race pileup, needed medical attention, and came in 14:38 back. After the race, he abandoned, with a fractured kneecap. He's returning to Italy for surgery, and may not be able to start the Tour. Petacchi has 19 stage wins in the last 3 Giros.

Tomorrow's the Giro's last day in Belgium, with a rest day Wednesday and the team time trial from Piacenza to Cremona on Thursday.


Eurosport.com | Petacchi leaves the race

cyclingnews.com | Giro Stage 3 wrapup | Full results

Posted by Frank Steele on May 8, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Davide Rebellin, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Sergei Honchar, Stefan Schumacher, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 07, 2006

Giro Stage 1 photo galleries posted

Graham Watson:

(l-r) Simoni, Cunego, Basso, Savoldelli

(Click through to GrahamWatson.com for full-size images)


José Enrique Gutierrez, Danilo Di Luca

Click through to cyclingnews.com for full-size images)


Ullrich looks big.

Click for AP cycling photo wire. Unlike the others, this will be current when you click through.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 7, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Paolo Savoldelli, Photo galleries | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Giro 2006 web resource roundup

Get on the Giro train
It's the Giro train, and it's left the station
Flickr photo by Benoit Veys
Here's everything you need to know to successfully follow the 2006 Giro via the web.


OLN is repeating their approach from last year, providing a weekly recap show on their Cyclysm Sundays show and live coverage of Monday - Saturday stages through a partnership with Cycling.TV, at $19.99 for the entire Giro. If you already subscribe to Cycling.TV, that's another $19.99 to get the Giro. Mac users note: it works if you've installed Windows Media/Mac and/or Flip4Mac; I had better luck in Firefox and Safari than Camino.

OLN | Broadcast schedule | OLN/Cycling.TV web streaming


Look for live text coverage from VeloNews, cyclingnews.com, and Eurosport, with commentary most days at Daily Peloton.

Online Resources:

The official site, in English, Italian, French, Spanish, and German.

cyclingnews.com | Giro Preview | Stage breakdown | Giro map | Start list



A team-by-team look at the Giro d'Italia

Basso (and CSC) ready to dominate the Giro

Eurosport | Giro by numbers

Daily Peloton team previews:
Team CSC | Euskaltel-Euskadi | Liquigas | Lampre/Fondital | Milram | Panaria-Navigare | Phonak | QuickStep

Cycloblog.com | Giro 2006: One for the mountain goats

Riders in the race:

Jason McCartney's Giro Blog

cyclingnews.com | Interview with Bobby Julich, May 3, 2006

Riders sitting out the Giro:

PezCycling News | Magnus Maximus : Giro Watching

AMDProCycling | Michael Barry : Grande Giro

Posted by Frank Steele on May 7, 2006 in Bobby Julich, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Links, Magnus Backstedt | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 06, 2006

Savoldelli takes Giro Stage 1

Defending Giro champion Paolo Savoldelli of Discovery Channel took today's short time trial in Belgium.

Savoldelli was the only rider to covered the 6.2 kilometers in less than 8 minutes. His 7:50 was 11 seconds faster than Française des Jeux's Bradley McGee, and 13 seconds ahead of José Enrigue Gutierrez of Phonak.

Among other favorites, Danilo Di Luca was 10th on the day, at 19 seconds, Ivan Basso was at 23 seconds, Cunego was at :25, and Gilberto Simoni was at :26.

Paolo Bettini, who had hoped to wear the race leader's jersey after Stage 3, came in at 8:32, so he'll need to take 42 seconds out of Savoldelli.

Among Americans, Bobby Julich finished in 8:35, Tom Danielson was in at 8:11, Jason McCartney at 8:21, Phonak's Patrick McCarty, starting his first grand tour, was 93rd in 8:44, and Saunier-Duval's Aaron Olson, likewise starting his first GT, finished in 9:07.

Jan Ullrich finished in 8:39 for 80th on the day.

Top 10:
1) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, in 7:50
2) Bradley McGee, Française des Jeux, at :11
3) José Enrique Gutierrez, Phonak, at :13
4) Stefan Schumacher, Gerolsteiner, same time
5) Serguei Honchar, T-Mobile, at :15
6) Francisco Perez, Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears, at :16
7 José Ivan Gutierrez, Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears, same time
8) Michael Rogers, T-Mobile, at :17
9) Davide Rebellin, Gerolsteiner, at :18
10) Danilo Di Luca, Liquigas, at :19


VeloNews.com | Savoldelli throws down the gauntlet

Eurosport | Back in pink for Savoldelli

cyclingnews.com | Full results | Photo gallery

Tickers: Daily Peloton | VeloNews | cyclingnews.com

Posted by Frank Steele on May 6, 2006 in Bobby Julich, Bradley McGee, Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Davide Rebellin, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Michael Rogers, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Sergei Honchar, Stefan Schumacher, Tom Danielson, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Giro visiting extreme northern Italy

The Giro d'Italia kicks off today, in Seraing, Belgium.

Today's stage is another of those “non-prologue prologues,” 6.2 kilometers (or about 4 miles) in length, with a healthy climb in the middle.

The official Giro page calls this year's race the five-star edition, with defending champion Paolo Savoldelli, Ivan Basso, 2004 winner Damiano Cunego, 2003 winner Gilberto Simoni, and Danilo Di Luca the five favorites.

We'll also get to watch Jan Ullrich riding into condition, facing a very difficult final week of racing.

To follow today's stage, check out:

cyclingnews.com | Giro d'Italia LIVE race ticker

VeloNews.com | Giro Race Viewer (having problems at 10:40 Eastern)

I'll be posting a Giro roundup later today.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 6, 2006 in Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Paolo Savoldelli | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 23, 2006

Valverde again; wins Liège-Bastogne-Liège

VeloNews.com | Valverde wins Liège-Bastogne-Liège Alejandro Valverde followed up Wednesday's Flèche Wallonne victory with a big win at Liège-Bastogne-Liège Sunday. Michael Boogerd and Valverde's teammate Joaquin Rodriguez were caught with 6 km to ride; among the leaders with 5 km to ride were Davitamon-Lotto's Chris Horner alongside Patrik Sinkewitz of T-Mobile, Danilo Di Luca, Andrey Kashechkin, Paolo Bettini, Danilo Diluca, Damiano Cunego, and Frank Schleck and Ivan Basso of CSC. With 1k to ride, Sinkewitz attacked, with Basso following, but he couldn't get away. In the select sprint, Valverde was the strongest, continuing the European youth movement -- Valverde's 25. He's also the first Spaniard ever to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Top 10: 1) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, in 6:21:32 2) Paolo Bettini, Quickstep, same time                                   3) Damiano Cunego, Lampre, s.t. 4) Patrik Sinkewitz, T-Mobile, s.t. 5) Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank, s.t. 6) Miguel Perdiguero, Phonak, s.t. 7) Frank Schleck, CSC, s.t.                                               8) Chris Horner, Davitamon-Lotto, CSC, s.t. 9) Danilo Di Luca, Liquigas, s.t.                                              10) Ivan Basso, CSC, s.t. Also: cyclingnews.com | Liège-Bastogne-Liège live ticker

Posted by Frank Steele on April 23, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Andrey Kashechkin, Chris Horner, Danilo Di Luca, Frank Schleck, Ivan Basso, Paolo Bettini, Patrik Sinkewitz, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 18, 2006

Der Kaiser? More like der Kaiser Roll ...

procycling | Riis: ‘Ullrich's form is catastrophic’

The cycling web is buzzing over Bjarne Riis' interview with Danish daily BT (in Danish). Ivan Basso “crossed paths” with Ullrich while both were training in Tuscany, and Riis has heard that Ullrich looks more like Hugo from “Lost” than the 1997 Tour de France winner.

Riis said Ullrich's state is “absolutely catastrophic”:

“It’s clear that he doesn’t like riding his bike, and for that reason I don’t understand why he wants to be a cyclist, it’s a waste of his talent,” Riis stated. “He needs to wise up right away. My belief in him is dwindling.”

Riis rated Ullrich's form as near that of his expected Tour rivals, but well below Basso's fitness level.

Of course, every year, Ullrich is reported to look like the Michelin Man during his preseason training, and almost every year, he winds up on the Tour podium.

Truth or trash talk? We'll start finding out a week from today, when Ullrich kicks off his season in the Tour of Romandy.

Posted by Frank Steele on April 18, 2006 in Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (3)

July 24, 2005

Apres Lance, les deluge?

Yahoo! Sport | Tour seeks new boss, fluent English an advantage

So, what's next for the Tour? Atop the race organization, Christian Prudhomme takes over for Jean-Marie Leblanc. Atop the podium, who knows?

Discovery manager Johann Bruyneel:

"Nobody will take over from Lance, simply because there's no candidate."

CSC's Bobby Julich, 17th in the Tour:

"I find it very exciting to ride with riders of the new generation. Some of them are really exceptional but the most impressive I think is Alejandro Valverde," said Julich.

"He has so much natural class, he's a pleasure to see. He needs to test himself at the highest level of the Tour but he is one of the riders I will be thrilled to watch in the future. Also Ivan and Tom Boonen."

Armstrong himself, quoted on BBC Sport:

"Jan is a special, special guy to me," Armstrong said. "I truly believe that Jan can win the Tour again, not just once but more than once.

"Clearly he has to show up to the event in a little better shape, because what you see toward the end of the event is the guy who can win the race."

Posted by Frank Steele on July 24, 2005 in Alejandro Valverde, Bobby Julich, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Lance Armstrong, Tom Boonen | Permalink | Comments (0)

“Vive le Tour”

Armstrong says 'Vive le Tour' after seventh crown

Armstrong's comments from his final Tour de France podium:

"It's a dream podium I'm standing on here. Jan is a special person and a special rival," said Armstrong as he turned to the German.

"Ivan, well you are just tough to race against. You're too much of a friend but maybe you're the future of the race for the years to come."

Turning to both, Armstrong added: "Ivan, maybe it's your turn next year, or Jan, maybe it will be yours."

After briefly criticising the doubters who claim that his exploits have been achieved through illicit means - he has faced accusations of doping in the past - Armstrong had only one thing to say: "Vive le Tour. Forever."

Posted by Frank Steele on July 24, 2005 in Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Lance Armstrong | Permalink | Comments (3)