By Andrew Hood
Gilbert wins in Tour Med
Belgian Philippe Gilbert (FDJeux.com) hung on to win the second stage of the 32nd Tour Méditerranéen.
Gilbert’s victory in the 131km stage from Villeneuve-Loubet to Bormes-Les-Mimosas makes up for an error in the final stretches of the GP d’Ouverture La Marseillaise, when he steered off course.
Team CSC’s Jens Voigt finished fifth to retain the overall lead.
Stage 2 results
1. Philippe Gilbert (B), Française des Jeux, 131km in 3:10:45 (41,206 km/h)
2. Franck Schleck (Lux), CSC, s.t.
3. Kim Kirchen (Lux), Fassa Bortolo, s.t.
4. Bram De Groot (Ned), Rabobank, s.t.
5. Jens Voigt (G), CSC, s.t.
6. Davide Rebellin (I), Gerolsteiner, s.t.
7. Franco Pelizotti (I), Liquigas-Bianchi, s.t.
8. Thor Hushovd (Nor), Crédit Agricole, at 0:04.
9. Paolo Bossoni (I), Fassa Bortolo, s.t.
10. Antonio D’Aniello (I), Team Miche, s.t.
1. Jens Voigt (G), CSC, 6:28:46.
2. Philippe Gilbert (B), Française des Jeux, at 0:17.
3. Franck Schleck (Lux), CSC, at 0:21.
4. Kim Kirchen (Lux), Fassa Bortolo, at 0:23.
5. Bram De Groot (Ned), Rabobank, at 0:27.
6. Erik Dekker (Ned), Rabobank, s.t.
7. Franco Pelizotti (I), Liquigas-Bianchi, s.t.
8. Davide Rebellin (I), Gerolsteiner, s.t.
9. Paolo Bossoni (I), Fassa Bortolo, at 0:31.
10. Laurent Brochard (F), Bouygues Telecom, s.t.
Colom, Valverde clean up in Mallorca
The final day of the Mallorca Challenge was vintage Spanish bike racing, full of thrilling attacks, counter-attacks, fine weather, great roads and a nail-biting conclusion.
Toni Colom gave hometown team sponsor Illes Balears its third straight stage victory after holding off a hard chase by Rabobank and then José Antonio Pecharroman (Quick Step) and David de la Fuente (Saunier Duval). The two chased hard over the final 4km, but couldn’t catch Colom who held on to win by two seconds.
Alejandro Valverde, meanwhile, delivered two stage wins and the overall title in his first race for his new team, Illes Balears. Now Valverde sets his sights on Europe. All of the 24-year-old’s wins have come in Spain, something he wants to change.
“After this I race Luis Puig, then I go to Paris-Nice and Milan-San Remo,” Valverde said after finishing safely in the front group. “I would like to win something outside of Spain, but any victory tastes sweet.”
Stage 5, Mallorca Challenge, 148km
1. Antonio Colom (Sp), Illes Balears 3:52:00
2. José Antonio Pecharroman (Sp), QuickStep, at 0:02
3. David de la Fuente (Sp), Saunier Duval), s.t.
4. Alejandro Valverde (Sp), Illes Balears, at 0:09
5. Aitor Perez (Sp), Spiuk, s.t.
Final overall standings
1. Alejandro Valverde (Sp), Illes Balears 17:26:13
2. David Muñoz (Sp), Comunidad Valenciana, at 1:18
3. Aitor Pérez (Sp), Spiuk, at 1:21
4. Ricardo Serrano (Sp), Kaiku, s.t.
5. Angel Gómez (Sp), Saunier Duval, at 2:43
Spanish courts drop Manzano case
A Spanish judge has thrown out a lawsuit by Jesús Manzano against his former Kelme team alleging rampant organized doping for a lack of legal basis.
“There isn’t a case to contest because the types of activities are not included in the penal code,” said judge María Antonia de Torres Díez-Madronero in Thursday’s edition of the Spanish daily AS.
Because Spain doesn’t have laws specifically against doping in sport, unlike Italy and France, the judge ruled Manzano’s case didn’t have a legal basis to be considered by the courts. Spain’s socialist government has promised to enact a federal law against doping in sport, but that effort has stalled.
Last spring, Manzano dropped a bombshell in a series of paid interviews in AS alleging extensive doping within the Kelme team, now called Comunidad Valenciana in the 2005 season. Manzano charged he was forced by team officials to take doping substances and outlined doping methods and ways riders avoided detection in anti-doping controls.
In the wake of the “Manzano tapes,” Kelme lost its place in the 2004 Giro d’Italia and any hope of earning a wild-card bid for the 2004 Tour de France. Team officials also claim it lost any chance of securing ProTour status in 2005 because of Manzano’s allegations.
After an initial review last spring, the Spanish cycling federation officials decided to let the courts handle the matter. Manzano said he will appeal Wednesday’s ruling. He’s also suing the team for damages in another case, insisting doping ruined his professional career.
“I knew this was going to happen,” said Manzano. “Had this continued, it would have implicated many people from politics, the laboratories and cycling. I brought before the courts an important case and it’s been demonstrated there’s no justice in Spain.”
Team sport director Vicente Belda, meanwhile, said he felt justice had been served.
“I always said that the truth would come out and it’s turned like that,” Belda said. “A lot of pain has been caused to this team. Justice has been done and that’s the most beautiful thing about all this. The judges and magistrates have spoken.”
‘Mayor’ Danielson makes pit stop en route to Spain
Tom Danielson (Discovery Channel) made a detour through Durango this week after finishing fifth overall at the Tour of Langkawi. On Wednesday night he spoke to a packed house at his alma mater at Fort Lewis College about his expectations for the coming season.
The Giro d’Italia will be Danielson’s first major objective for the season. After missing out on the Giro and last year’s Vuelta a España with Fassa Bortolo, Danielson said he’s more than happy at Discovery Channel and his imminent grand tour debut.
Danielson might not be home for a while, so that’s why he insisted on stopping back in Durango before heading to Girona, Spain.
“Durango is an inspiration to me,” Danielson was quoted as saying in the Durango Herald. “I love it here. I wanted to come here for a week and see everyone. I intend to be 110 percent involved in the community here. I tend to preach Durango. I talk so much about it, Lance (Armstrong) calls me the mayor of Durango.”