Luis León Sánchez says he’s ready to lead Caisse d’Epargne if star Alejandro Valverde isn’t allowed to race.
Valverde is appealing a decision by Italian authorities to ban him for two years for what they say is clear evidence linking him to the Operación Puerto blood doping scandal.
If Valverde isn’t allowed to race the Tour, his Caisse d’Epargne team will lean heavily on the 25-year-old León Sánchez during the season’s most important race.
It’s looking more likely that a Japanese rider will be at the Tour de France for the first time in more than a decade.
Bbox Bouygues Telecom has named Yukiya Arashiro as one of the riders assured to start the 2009 Tour on July 4 in Monaco. The others include Thomas Voeckler, Pierrick Fédrigo, Pierre Rolland and William Bonnet.
Bouygues team boss Jean-René Bernaudeau had high praise for Arashiro, a former Japanese national time trial and road champion who’s racing in Europe for the first time this season.
Alejandro Valverde could barely enjoy his victory Sunday at the Dauphiné Libéré when the questions started again: will he or won’t he be at the start line in Monaco on July 4 for the 2009 Tour de France?
Since May, Valverde is banned for two years from racing in Italy for what authorities say is clear evidence linking him to the Operación Puerto blood doping scandal.
The year’s Tour dips into Italy for about 80km during stage 16, enough to likely torpedo Valverde’s hopes for a shot at the Tour podium despite being arguably in the best form of his career.
Bike racing is quite unlike the mainstream “stick-and-ball” sports that most Americans grew up playing, and can often be confusing, or a even a complete mystery. Even other endurance sports, such as marathon running or triathlon, lack the complexities and tactics of professional road cycling. In those sports, the person that is in the front of the race is usually the one that wins. That’s seldom always the case in cycling. In fact, it’s possible to win the Tour de France without crossing the line first on any of the 21 stages.
Potential drugs cheats at the 2009 Tour de France will face the biggest anti-doping army ever seen at a major sports event next month, UCI president Pat McQuaid warned on Wednesday.
McQuaid, speaking at an anti-doping conference in Paris, also officially welcomed the French National Anti Doping Agency (AFLD) back to the race after their muddy relationship last year.
UCI president Pat McQuaid said several riders currently under suspicion of doping will be named publicly next week, and are likely to face sanctions.
McQuaid, attending an anti-doping conference in Paris on Wednesday to announce plans for the fight against doping at next month's Tour de France, would not give any details on the riders involved.
Quick Step’s Tom Boonen has been given the green light from the UCI to compete in next month's Tour de France despite a recent, second positive test for cocaine.
Boonen, the winner of major one-day classics and Tour de France stages, sparked controversy last month when it was revealed he had tested positive for cocaine for the second time in a year.
It led to immediate calls for him to be banned from this year's showcase event, and the UCI is set to launch disciplinary proceedings against Boonen for bringing the sport into disrepute.
American Chris Horner is back on his bike and confident he will make Astana’s Tour de France squad come July. He’s less sure about when his next paycheck might arrive.
Horner, 37, had the strongest grand tour performance of his career in May at the Giro d’Italia, where he rode in support of compatriot Levi Leipheimer until abandoning the race at the start of stage 11.
Astana has yet to pay a bank guarantee on which their racing future depends, manager Johan Bruyneel said Friday.
"The problem has not yet been sorted," Bruyneel told AFP regarding pending
payments due from the Kazakh cycling federation, the team's owner.
In midweek, the UCI said the team had provided financial guarantees which would allowing Astana to retain their license.
But Bruyneel explained there were still loose ends to tie up.
"The bank guarantee which was incomplete has been reconstituted, that is
Each July millions of cycling fans head to France to experience the world’s greatest bike race or dream of the day they’ll make the trip. Unless they’ve planned carefully, they’ll arrive to find full hotels, blocked routes, overpriced food, chaotic roads, and endless frustration as they try to get close to the race they’ve come to see.