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Latest Cycling News for May 15, 2007

Edited by Ben Abrahams & Greg Johnson, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

Landis camp presentation unveiled

The presentation claims testosterone is "a drug that does not
Photo ©: Floyd Fairness Fund
(Click for larger image)

When Floyd Landis' attorney Maurice Suh took to the floor in the embattled Tour de France winner's arbitration hearing in Malibu, California on Monday, he came armed with a Powerpoint presentation - the contents of which Cyclingnews can now reveal in full. In the 34 page presentation, entitled "Opening statement on behalf of Floyd Landis - Winner of the 2006 Tour de France", the Landis camp clearly outlines a series of eight points it feels are key to the American's case including, one of which claims testosterone is "a drug that does not have a beneficial effect during a race like the Tour".

The document then goes on to quote a number of UCI and World Anti-Doping Agency codes which, again, it feels are key to the hearing including: "USADA 'shall have the burden of establishing that an anti-doping rule violation has occurred.'(UCI Cycling Regulations, Art. 16 and World Anti-Doping Code, Art. 3.1)"

The document directly targets the French lab, labeling it 'incompetent.'
Photo ©: Floyd Fairness Fund
(Click for larger image)

The document, supplied to Cyclingnews by Floyd Fairness Fund executive director Michael E. Henson, then goes on to blast the LNDD (Laboratoire National de Dépistage du Dopage / National Anti-doping Laboratory) lab in Châtenay-Malabry, which carried out the testing on Landis' sample, branding it 'incompetent'.

The full presentation, which features a series of supporting documents from the case, can be viewed here.

Photography

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Floyd Fairness Fund

Cyclingnews' coverage of the Floyd Landis case

Tuesday, May 15 - Landis' hearing into 'holy mess' begins
Monday, May 14 - Landis to ask UCI to boot Pound
Monday, May 14 - Floyd's day in court approaches - salvation, or damnation?
Friday, May 11 - Landis claims deal offered for low-down on Armstrong
Monay, April 30 - Landis charges lab, wants USADA investigated
Friday, April 27 - Landis nearly bankrupt?
Thursday, April 26 - Armstrong supports Landis against French lab
Wednesday, April 25 - Landis case: French Anti-Doping Agency defends testing procedure
Tuesday, April 24 - Landis camp responds to new L'Equipe testosterone claims
Monday, April 23 - Landis B-samples show synthetic testosterone
Tuesday, April 17 - French lab begins Landis sample analysis
Friday, April 13 - Landis wants 'B' tests done in LA
Thursday, April 12 - Landis' B samples to be tested

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the Floyd Landis case

Caisse d'Epargne sponsor not against Valverde's presence

By Monika Prell

Alejandro Valverde,
Photo ©: Daniel Schamps
(Click for larger image) Alejandro Valverde, the team's top star

The French bank Caisse d'Epargne, sponsor of the cycling team of the same name, has denied its opposition to the presence of Alejandro Valverde on the team, contrary to a report published in L'Equipe yesterday.

"We are a bank and we don't understand anything of cycling, the relationships with the riders are the responsibility of the cycling team we have a contract of sponsorship with, but we don't have contractual relations with the riders," said Caisse d'Epargne spokesperson Anne-Sophie Jourdain to AS.

In its article, L'Equipe reported the bank had a meeting with team managers in order to advise it of the presence of some riders in its team who are supposedly implicated in Operación Puerto. Jourdain confirmed that a meeting took place, but denied it was connected to recent reports linking Caisse d'Epargne riders Valverde, Rubén Plaza and Constantino Zaballa to the doping network of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes.

"It's true that there was a meeting [on Monday] morning, but that is something normal, routine," she explained. "It was nothing to deal with the rumours about doping that appeared in the media. There is no reason why we should campaign against the team."

Caisse d'Epargne has a contract with the team's owners, Grupo Abarca Sports directed by José Miguel Echavarri, who supposedly shares the same anti-doping vision as the bank. "The only problem would be if it's demonstrated that there exists an organised doping network inside the team, in this case the contract would be broken," assured Jourdain.

The spokesperson indicated that "in the case of Valverde, there exists nothing neither from a medical aspect nor from a judicial aspect that indicates he has doped. These are only rumours that in the world of cycling are not unusual."

Jourdain also defended Rubén Plaza and Constantino Zaballa, contrary to the L'Equipe article that spoke about the anxiety of the sponsor about the presence of the two Spaniards in the team. Both were withdrawn from the team's Giro d'Italia line-up at the last minute, but Jourdain insisted "there exists no judicial proof against them."

Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport alleged last week that blood bags labelled with the name 'Valv(Piti)' and the number '18' were those of Valverde. Piti, according to the paper, is the name of Valverde's dog.

Plaza, a former Kelme rider, signed a contract with Caisse d'Epargne immediately after judge Antonio Serrano shelved the Puerto case. Zaballa was also distanced from the team for some months, but is now competing again.

FIFA wants Puerto documents

Joseph S. Blatter, president of world football federation FIFA, has declared he wishes to see the documents relating to Operación Puerto. Blatter's request comes after French national newspaper Le Monde claimed last December the Spanish doing investigation spread beyond the world of cycling and into other global sports, including soccer.

At the World Anti-Doping Agency meeting in Montreal, Blatter stated he "wanted to know what was in the Puerto file", according to press agency sid. He was particularly interested as to whether his sport was affected. "It is of highest interest for the sport and for football," he added.

Le Monde claimed to have in its possession several documents revealing the involvement of Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes in the training schedules of the two greatest soccer clubs in Spain: FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. The confidential, but non-nominative documents were reported to be seasonal preparation plans for the two clubs, hand-written by Fuentes himself.

The newspaper claimed that the papers, which also concern the FC Valencia and Sevilla, are not part of the documents seized by the Guardia Civil. If the reports are found to be true and it emerges that high-profile footballers have been receiving illegal treatments, it would mean that the Operación Puerto fallout will be much more far-reaching and have even more serious consequences than was originally anticipated.

"All the sports possibly concerned by this form of doping should target a part of their anti-doping controls on it," WADA vice-president Jean-Francois Lamour told L'Equipe when Le Monde broke its story in December. "In June, FIFA has agreed in principle on the adoption and application of the World Anti-Doping Code. Now we wait for it to present its anti-doping programme to WADA, and we will insist that it includes blood controls."

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'

Monday, May 15 - WADA granted access to Operación Puerto case
Monday, May 15 - CONI asks for Basso and Scarponi suspension
Monday, May 15 - Caisse d'Epargne to investigate its Puerto suspects
Sunday, May 13 - McQuaid blasts Basso for 'lies'
Friday, May 11 - Ivan Basso visits CONI for a third time, CONI questions Kalc, Gómez confirms Spanish Puerto deal
Friday, May 11 - New case against Basso, Lefevere wants Puerto docs
Thursday, May 10 - Spanish riders seek Puerto deal
Thursday, May 10 - Tinkoff suspends Hamilton and Jaksche; Vuelta a Espana organizers lament slow progress in Operación Puerto
Wednesday, May 9 - Scarponi: "I am Zapatero"
Wednesday, May 9 - Caisse d'Epargne pulls Zaballa and Plaza from Giro
Wednesday, May 9 - CSC want to move on from Basso
Tuesday, May 8 - Basso: "It was only attempted doping"

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Operación Puerto

Milram: "It doesn't get any better"

Alessandro Petacchi (Milram)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Despite only three of the Giro d'Italia's 20 stages having been run, the Italian Milram team has already outlined its delight at its home-event performance. The statements come after the squad's star rider Alessandro Petacchi sprinted to victory on Monday's 181 kilometre Stage 3.

"It doesn't get any better than today. We won and we can be satisifed," said Milram's Christian Knees in his diary on rad-net.de.

An escape group of five riders had up to a six minute advantage during the stage, which is not unusual on a sprinter's stage like Monday's. But when they still had over five minutes lead with only 40 kilometres to go, Milram got ichy.

"We did everything we could to catch them," explained Knees. "That meant that we then couldn't give our all in the sprint, because it was pretty strenuous. But Alessandro accomplished it alone.

"After the race, we all had to get on the podium together, because we were being honoured as the 'super team'," he added. "I don't really know what that means, but it is some kind of team ranking that rewards us for our work yesterday and today."

Brown out of the Giro

The Netherlands' ProTour team Rabobank suffered a major blow on Monday's third Giro d'Italia stage, when sprinter Graeme Brown had to drop out of the race, climbing into the team car 50 kilometres before the finish line on the 181 kilometre stage. The Australian had started throwing up shortly after the start of the race, the team said on its website rabobank.nl. "Of course it is a sore disappointment to him," said Directeur Sportif Adri van Houwelingen. "But, first of all, he is ill."

Brown fell back on the day's climbs, but kept fighting his way back until he was unable to go any further. "He then fell behind definitively," according to van Houwelingen. "In just a short period, he lost a significant amount of time. Hence, it became useless to continue. Graeme would have never been able to reach the finish without violating the time limit."

The sprinter also realised it was impossible and decided to stop. "He would have liked to demonstrate his progression as a cyclist in a big tour, but he let common sense prevail," the team website said.

Teammate Leon Van Bon, who is recovering from stomach problems, could sympathize with his teammate's situation. "During the race, I approached Brown and he was already vomiting a little bit," said Van Bon. "I then went to the tour-doctor to get some medicine for him, but after he took those, he started to vomit even more.

"Everything seemed to be fine before the start of the race, well, at least we did not notice anything," added Van Bon. "I know what it feels like when you have to abandon a race due to illness. Not only do you feel terrible, you also feel powerless."

Cunego okay despite crash

Giro d'Italia contender Damiano Cunego gave his team a scare after taking a fall in the closing kilometres of the event's third stage, but any fears of the Italian being injured have been laid to rest. The Lampre-Fondital captain fell to the ground after tangling with another rider in the peloton during the closing three kilometres of the Barumini-Cagliari stage on the island of Sardinia.

The local squad's press however confirmed he didn't suffer any injuries as a result of his slide, stating: "no problem for Damiano Cunego."

The rider recovered to finish 164th on the stage, 42 seconds behind the leader, and holds 17th on general classification with the same margin to race-leader and fellow countryman Enrico Gasparotto (Liquigas).

Cavendish delighted with '07 season

Mark Cavendish (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

It may still be in its infancy, but 21 year-old Mark Cavendish is thrilled with his season to date. In addition to the British rider's spectacular victory at the Scheldeprijs Vlaaderen, the T-Mobile rider has taken victory in stages three and six at the 4 Days of Dunkirk, in addition to the event's overall Points jersey.

"I'm happy with the win and thrilled that the season's going so well," he declared. "I'm very grateful to the strong team behind me, supporting me 100 per-cent."

Despite starting the season with an illness, the youngster has sent shockwaves through the professional peloton in his first season as a ProTour rider. "Without [the illness] I might even be on better form," he added.

Cavendish, who is currently training in Italy, has changed his race schedule to include the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya from May 21-27 where he hopes to add another stage victory to his growing palmeres.

Line-ups for Rheinland-Pfalz

Team Wiesenhof-Felt had to scramble a bit to come up with a team for the Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt, which starts Wednesday in Koblenz, Germany. Thorsten Schmidt, who lives in Bad Neunahr, the start of the final stage, will lead the team.

Wiesenhof has to do without Baas Giling, who had 28 stitches in his face following a crash in the Four Days in Dunkirk. Peter Velits will not be able to appear because he has come down with the flu. Both Stefan Van Dijk and Olaf Pollack are recovering from injuries and not ready to race again. Many of the other riders rode a full spring program and are now resting.

Wiesenhof for Rheinland-Pfalz: Robert Retschke, Steffen Radochla, Robert Wagner, Torsten Schmidt, Jörg Ludewig, Daniel Musiol, Christian Leben and Artur Gajek.

Team Volksbank is sending a mixed team of veterans and youngsters to the race. "The boys should show what they have," said Patrick Vetsch, Directeur Sportif. "I don't have any great expectations but can't wait to see how they will do."

Team Volksbank for : Mariusz Witecki, Rene Weissinger, Sven Teutenberg, Florian Stalder, Patrick Riedesser, Josef Benetseder, Philipp Ludescher, Chhristian Pömer.

Aussie squads for junior worlds announced

Cycling Australia has announced the rosters it will sent to the junior road, track and mountain bike world championships in 2007. Amongst the riders it will send to Aguascalientes in Mexico for August's Junior Road World Championships is promising up and coming cyclists Jack Bobridge, Travis Meyer and Josephine Tomic, who feature in an eight-member squad.

The 2007 UCI Mountain Bike Championships will be held in Fort William, Scotland in September. CA also stated it would announced the Elite and U23 Cross Country and Elite Downhill and 4X selections for championships in mid-July, as outlined in its selection policy.

UCI Junior Road World Championships: Jack Bobridge (Road Race & Time Trial), Rohan Dennis (Road Race & Time Trial), Timothy Guy (Road Race), Lauren Kitchen (Road Race), Travis Meyer (Road Race), Lachlan Stewart (Road Race), Carlee Taylor (Road Race & Time Trial), Josephine Tomic (Road Race & Time Trial)
UCI Junior Track World Championships: Jack Bobridge, Josephine Butler, Byron Davis, Philippa Hindmarsh, Jason Holloway, Leigh Howard, Sarah Kent, James Langedyk, Travis Meyer, Glenn O'Shea, Thomas Palmer, Josephine Tomic
UCI MTB World Championships - Juniors: Downhill: Joel Bain, Caroline Buchanan, Joshua Button, Mitchell Delfs, David Hetherington, James Maltman, Tom Patton, andWilliam Rischbieth. Cross Country: Peter Braunsteins, Nathan Haas, Paul Van Der Ploeg

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