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Latest Cycling News for May 14, 2007

Edited by Gregor Brown

Bruyneel: "Ivan deceived me and Armstrong is also upset"

Bruyneel and Basso in fall of 2006
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

"Basso did not tell me the truth," said Discovery Channel Team Manager Johan Bruyneel to La Gazzetta dello Sport while at the start of Giro d'Italia stage 2 in Tempio Pausania. The Belgian, along with Discovery team owners Lance Armstrong and Bill Stapleton, had worked hard to sign the Italian last fall after he had been linked to Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

Bruyneel explained to La Gazzetta's Luigi Perna that the team did all it could to ensure that they were signing a rider who could compete without any legal problems.

"We signed him because his case was seemingly resolved, after the double shelving by CONI's lawyers and that of the Italian Federation," the 43 year-old noted. (There was only one "shelving," made by the Italian cycling federation (FCI) disciplinary commission at the recommendation of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI). - ed.) "But when the investigation was reopened we took action and asked Ivan not to ride.

"Basso came to my house in Madrid and wanted to annul his contract with Discovery because he could no longer guarantee that the investigation could be closed with an acquittal. I was disappointed."

Bruyneel claimed that Basso had lied about his relationship with Fuentes and the surrounding Operación Puerto investigation. "Without doubt, he did not tell us the truth."

Basso faces the music
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

He has been working hard with his colleagues, Armstrong and Stapleton, to find a new sponsor for the team. Discovery Channel announced it would no longer sponsor the team starting with the end of 2007. "I have not talked at length with Lance in the last two weeks but I think that he is upset, like me and Stapleton. We had a project to construct a new team around a new leader, Basso."

"The only thing now is to think of finding someone to take the spot of Discovery at the end of the year," Bruyneel continued after being asked if he would ever re-sign Basso.

"I don't believe that it [Basso's case] will have an influence; we behaved correctly. If something comes to the contrary I am ready to confront it."

At the time of Basso's signing with Discovery the team was met with a barrage of backfire from many who believed that the team was acting in bad form. The International Professional Cycling Teams (IPCT) issued a statement following its December 8 decision to exclude the team from its group. "Discovery Channel didn't respect the rules. The ethical code is clear: a ProTour team should not sign a rider involved in the Puerto affair."

Further, some have suggested that the riders are the ones who take all the blame while the teams walk away wiping their hands of the mess.

"This changes nothing," said two-time World Champion Gianni Bugno after Basso's agreement to confess. "... it clearly confirms that it is the cyclists who always pay the price," said the Italian to tuttobiciweb.com. Bugno aimed his comments at Basso's teams, Discovery (2007) and Team CSC (2004 - 2006). "Is it possible that the teams and those who share a room with him [Basso's teammates] don't know anything?"

Today, CONI is expected to give its disciplinary recommendation to the FCI.

Gerolsteiner checking out Tour's mountains

Wegmann in 2006
Photo ©: Florian & Susanne Schaaf
(Click for larger image)

The Giro d'Italia has just started, but Team Gerolsteiner is already turning its attention to the Tour de France. Fabian Wegmann, Markus Fothen, Bernhard Kohl and Sebastian Lang are in the Pyrenees, riding the mountain stages.

They are accompanied by a mechanic and a soigneur, as well as by Directeur Sportif Udo Bölts. "Because of his 12 times riding the Tour, Udo knows the region like the back of his hand and is therefore an important guide and advisor," said Wegmann on his website, fabianwegmann.de.

"We will ride the complete 14th and 15th stages, but we will probably spare ourselves the first flat kilometres of the 16th stage," he said, preferring to concentrate on the finish at the Col du Aubisque.

"Climbs like the Plateau de Beille (14th stage), or the Col de Portet d'Aspet, Cole de Menté and Col de Peyresourde (all from the 15th stage) are all special difficulties and therefore worth checking out. Let's see what our visit show us, and hope that the weather stays good and that we all stay healthy."

Landis to ask IOC to boot Pound

Pound (r)
Photo ©: AFP Photo
(Click for larger image)

Floyd Landis is asking the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to remove Dick Pound as a member and to fire him as chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), according to the Mercury News, a San Jose, California, newspaper.

The newspaper claims to have a copy of the complaint which is to be sent to the UCI today. In it, Landis allegedly said that "Pound violated basic principles of the Olympic Charter by making derogatory remarks about Landis in the media," and that he further "has threatened to interfere in the proceedings and has the influence do to so."

The IOC's ethics commission rebuked Pound earlier this year for comments he had made concerning Lance Armstrong.

Floyd's day in court approaches - salvation, or damnation?

By Laura Weislo

On the way to yellow in stage 11
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

He's been waiting for this almost as much as a tough mountain stage. This week, the American cyclist Floyd Landis faces his toughest battle yet - not just to save a race, but to save his career.

When Floyd Landis walks into the Darling Trial Courtroom at Pepperdine University’s School of Law in Malibu (whose Dean is none other than Kenneth W. Starr), the cyclist enters into a process that could lead to salvation or damnation.

Or more likely, it will lead to more legal costs and hearings. But whatever the outcome, the cycling world hopes this sad, damaging case will be resolved once and for all.

Ever since he allegedly tested positive for synthetic testosterone during his 2006 Tour de France victory, the cyclist has been scathing of the process and the parties involved in that anti-doping process. While he's not attacked the sport of cycling, it's certainly been damaged as he's gone on a PR offensive in an effort to supposedly educate the public, but also garner support for his cause.

The hearings are just the next step in a very public do-or-die battle. Should Landis lose, he will become the first Tour winner to be stripped of his title for doping. The sport of cycling will suffer yet another body-blow to its credibility. Should he win, the anti-doping establishment will fall under suspicion.

Read the full news feature, Floyd's day in court approaches - salvation, or damnation?

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

Valverde "very satisfied"

Alejandro Valverde led a sweep of the closing time trial in the Clasica de Alcobendas Sunday for his team Caisse d'Epargne, finishing three seconds before Francisco Perez and four seconds on Rubén Plaza.

"This is my second win in a time trial and I am very satisfied", Valverde said.

"I felt very well and knew I could realize a good time, but with a time trial you never know because it can always be more complicated than you thought in a first place. But this time I won and I am really pleased because my teammates accompanied me on the podium of the stage. It is a triumph for all the team."

His next race will be the Dauphiné Libéré, he said. Until then, "I will keep on training in Murcia and later maybe I will train for some time in altitude."

Franke: "Doping continues"

Werner Franke, German anti-doping crusader, doesn't believe that the Giro d'Italia -- or any other race -- is being ridden clean and dope-free. "The doping continues," he told the German magazine Focus.

"The controls in Europe continue to be full of holes," he said. For example, the current tests cannot recognize certain growth hormones and EPO substitutes, according to the molecular biologist.

Evy Van Damme retires

The Belgian cyclist Evy Van Damme has announced her retirement from the sport. The 27 year-old, who last rode for Caprisonne-Vlaanderen-T-Interm Team, said that she just didn't enjoy it any more.

She announced her decision on the website of her husband, Nick Nuyens, who rides for Cofidis. "The circumstances for women are not always optimal and that led to my decision, too," she said on nicknuyens.be. "I will now have more time to follow and support Nick."

Van Damme plans to now become a fingernail stylist. She was twice Belgian road champion, one time national time trial champion, and second in the European championship in Bergamo.

Junior Road World Championships NZ road team announced

BikeNZ has named the team to represent New Zealand at the 2007 UCI Junior Road World Championships in Mexico, as well as the team for the prestigious Tour de l'Abitibi in Canada.

For the Junior Road World Championships (Aguascalientes, Mexico), August 9-12, the team will be James Williamson (Alexandra), Tom David (Auckland), James Dobson – (Palmerston North), Alex Cull (Auckland), Shane Archbold (Timaru) and Rachel Mercer (Raumati South).

The time trial is on August 9. The road race is on August 12.

For the Tour de l'Abitibi (Val-d'Or, Quebec, Canada), July 16-22, the team will consist of James Williamson (Alexandra), Tom David (Auckland), James Dobson (Palmerston North), Josh Brown – (Palmerston North), Simon Honour (Rotorua) and Wade Mangham (Rotorua).

The Tour de l'Abitibi in Canada will be used as preparation for the Junior World Championships. Mercer will compete at various events in Europe as part of her build up programme while Archbold and Cull will prepare with the junior track team.

The junior track world championships are being held in Aguascalientes, immediately prior to the junior road world championships.

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)

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