By Andrew Hood
Former world champion Oscar Camenzind (Phonak) has tested positive for EPO and was immediately removed from the Swiss Olympic team, according to information released Monday by the Swiss Olympic committee.
Camenzind, 32, showed traces of the banned blood booster in a urine sample from a July 22 test conducted by the Swiss anti-doping agency. Under Swiss cycling rules, a rider can be suspended without a second follow-up test being conducted. Phonak also immediately suspended Carminzind from the team.
“Every rider that gives a positive test during a race or during training for a product that helps their results, or if they possess a product of this type, is immediately fired by the team,” said Phonak team manager Urs Frueler.
Carmenzind won the 1998 world championships and the Giro d’Lombardia. He also took the overall title at the 2000 Tour de Suisse and won Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2001. Despite being one of the top names on the Swiss-based Phonak team, Camenzind was left off the 2004 Tour de France lineup.
The Swiss Olympic team were still undecided if it would send a replacement rider to the Games. The men’s road race is scheduled for Saturday.
Camenzind’s positive test comes after a string of high-profile exclusions that include reigning world time trial champion David Millar and world mountain bike champion Filip Meirhaeghe.
Cunego to Vuelta
Giro d’Italia champion Damiano Cunego was back in action over the weekend during for the Clasica San Sebastián on Saturday in northern Spain, where he finished 21st at 1:39 back.
The 22-year-old sensation confirmed he’ll be racing in next month’s Vuelta a España, but admitted he’s going to the Spanish grand tour with less ambition than when he entered the Giro back in May.
“Not to win, but to train for the world championships,” Cunego told VeloNews before the start. “Maybe to win a stage.”
On Tuesday, back in Italy, Cunego was scheduled to visit the child oncology unit at a hospital in Ancona along with teammate Andrea Tonti and Saeco’s directeur sportif, Giuseppe Martinelli.
No Vuelta for Johnson
Saunier Duval confirmed that Tim Johnson won’t be racing the Vuelta a España, which is no surprise to the American, who is fresh off finishing the 96th overall in the Tour of Portugal on Sunday.
Saunier Duval manager Joxean Fernández said the Spanish team’s line-up for the Vuelta includes “the team that’s racing the Clasica plus Rafael Casero.”
Earlier this year, illness derailed Johnson’s chances of earning a spot for the Giro d’Italia. Johnson knew his chances for a berth on the Vuelta team were slim when he told VeloNews back in June, “the Vuelta on a Spanish team, with 12 Spanish guys? I kind of doubt it. These guys live for the Vuelta like I might live for the Super Bowl if I played football.”
Saunier Duval for Vuelta
Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero
Juan Carlos Dominguez
Chechu breaks finger
José Luis “Chechu” Rubiera couldn’t start Saturday’s Clasica San Sebastián after breaking a finger in his right hand during a fall while training with U.S. Postal Service teammate Benjamin Noval. Rubiera is expected to be able to start the Tour de l’Ain in France later this week and then the Tour of England in early September.
Euskaltel narrows list for Vuelta
Euskaltel-Euskadi has narrowed its list of riders for the Vuelta a España down to five confirmed riders, but there’s a long list of others contending for the final four spots.
Iban Mayo and Haimar Zubeldia, who both abandoned the Tour de France, will be leading the orange crush in a full-on assault on the Vuelta to make up for July’s disappointment. Also confirmed are Roberto Laiseka, Samuel Sánchez and Mikel Artetxe. Sport director Julián Gorospe told the Diario Vasco that list of candidates includes the Silloniz brothers, Iñaki Isasi, Dioni Galparsoro, Gorka Arrizabalaga, Iker Flores or López de Munaín. Chavanel with Cofidis, Voeckler stays
French hope Sylvain Chavanel is expected to join Cofidis for the 2005 season, according to a report in L’Equipe. The 25-year-old will leave Brioches La Boulangère to headline the top-ranked French team. Chavanel had contacts with Phonak, Quick Step, CSC and U.S. Postal Service before deciding on Cofidis, the paper reported.
Thomas Voeckler, the French sensation who held the maillot jaune for 10 days and lost the best young rider’s jersey to Vladimar Karpets in the final time trial, will stay with team director Jean-René Bernaudeau, who is expected to announce a new team sponsor soon for the 2005 season. Gonzalez to Lampre
Fredy González, the two-time winner of the Giro’s king of the mountains jersey, will ride with Lampre alongside Juanma Garate and Patxi Vila for the next edition of the Vuelta a España, the Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport reported. González has raced the past five seasons with Colombia-Selle Italia. Racing this week
With the men’s Olympics road race on Saturday dominating the week’s racing calendar, there’s not much racing this week in Europe.In France, the Tour de l’Ain (FRA 2.3) on Tuesday to Friday is the main event.On Wednesday, most of the Italians will line up for the GP Fred Mengoni(ITA 1.3) in Italy.The post-Tour criterium season is winding down, with two events scheduled Tuesday and Wednesday in Holland.