By Andrew Hood
An Australian cyclist is facing doping charges, an Australian Sports Commission (ASC) spokesman said Thursday.
Reuters reported that the ASC released a short statement but declined to name the cyclist, although his identity has been widely published in local media.
“The ASC and Cycling Australia have both written to the athlete outlining the nature and basic details of the alleged doping offences and are awaiting a response from the athlete,” the ASC said. “The ASC continues to work with Cycling Australia in relation to this matter.
ASC rules state an athlete on doping charges has 14 days to plead guilty or will face a Court of Arbitration for Sport anti-doping hearing.
Navigators take Giro della Liguria start Friday
The first stage race of the Italian calendar kicks off Thursday with the three-day Giro della Liguria (UCI 2.3).
The fourth edition of the race starts with the 155km first stage at Castellaro, followed by Saturday’s 147km second stage from Andora to Pietra Ligure and Sunday’s 133.8km third stage from Mignanego to Arenzano.
Navigators Insurance will be among 17 teams making the start for the race, now in its fourth edition. None of the winners of the first three races – Laszlo Bodrigo, Paolo Bettini or Danilo Di Luca – will be among the starters.
Francesco Casagrande (Lampre) won’t be taking the start after tendonitis has slowed his season debut while Frank Vandenbroucke will make his European debut in Fassa Bortolo colors. Last year’s Giro d’Italia runner-up Yaroslav Popovych (Landbouwkrediet) and Michele Scarponi (Domina Vacanze) are other top names making the start.
Acqua e Sapone, Alessio, Amore e Vita, Cofidis, Domina Vacanze, Fassa Bortolo, Formaggi Fiave, Gerolsteiner, Icet Bucca del Gatto, Lampre, Landbouwkrediet, Lotto-Domo, LPR, Miche, Navigators, Nippon and Tenax
Armstrong tops Tour odds
You won’t make a bundle betting on Lance Armstrong to win a record sixth Tour de France. According to odds by online betting agency Mr. Bookmakers (also co-sponsor of Palmans), Armstrong has 1.66 odds of winning the Tour. 1997 Tour champion Jan Ullrich is second at 2.25 to 1, followed by Tyler Hamilton and Roberto Heras at 14 to 1, with Joseba Beloki and Iban Mayo follow at 18 to 1. For big risk-takers, there’s always Christophe Moreau at 50 to 1, Richard Virenque at 75 to 1 and Axel Merckx at 150 to 1.
Bettini leads first UCI rankings
Leading world rankings issued by the International Cycling Union (UCI) on Monday (previous ranking in brackets)
1. (1) Paolo Bettini (Italy) 2,212.00 points
2. (2) Erik Zabel (Germany) 2,093.75
3. (3) Alessandro Petacchi (Italy) 1,989.00
4. (4) Gilberto Simoni (Italy) 1,726.00
5. (6) Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan) 1,640.50
6. (5) Davide Rebellin (Italy) 1,629.00
7. (7) Alejandro Valverde (Spain) 1,614.00
8. (8) Lance Armstrong (U.S.) 1,521.00
9. (9) Michael Boogerd (Netherlands) 1,441.00
10. (10) Iban Mayo (Spain) 1,425.00
11. (11) Tyler Hamilton (U.S.) 1,371.20
12. (12) Danilo Di Luca (Italy) 1,344.00
13. (13) Francesco Casagrande (Italy) 1,322.00
14. (14) Dario Frigo (Italy) 1,265.00
15. (15) Jan Ullrich (Germany) 1,258.00
16. (16) Mirko Celestino (Italy) 1,183.00
17. (17) Isidro Nozal (Spain) 1,150.00
18. (18) Peter van Petegem (Belgium) 1,123.00
19. (19) Francisco Mancebo (Spain) 1,121.00
20. (20) David Millar (Britain) 1,092.00
Colnago turns 72
Legendary frame builder Ernesto Colnago celebrated his 72nd birthday in Cambiago, Italy, this week. Colnago’s birthday this year is very special for him, since it also marks his 50th year as a bicycle maker, the company reported.