By Andrew Hood
After a low-profile spring, Oscar Pereiro is getting serious about racing during this week’s Tour de Romandie as he ramps up his preparation ahead of the Tour de France.
Pereiro – who could be named Tour winner if Floyd Landis loses his legal battle to clear his name of doping allegations – has been relatively quiet so far this year. After the Tour, the Spanish rider will race the Vuelta a España, so all along he’s planned his season to have a strong second half.
The Caisse d’Epargne captain is hoping for a strong performance in the six-day Romandie.
“I will take the start at Romandie in good condition, better than last year at this time,” Pereiro said in a team release. “My sensations are good and I have a lot of motivation to test myself in the mountains as well in the time trial trials.”
Pereiro finished 27th at 16 seconds behind winner Paolo Savoldelli (Astana) in Monday’s 3.5km prologue.
“Right now the most important thing is to get my rhythm in a ProTour race to arrive at 100 percent at the Dauphiné Libéré and later the Tour,” Pereiro said. “Romandie is a beautiful race and I’ve always liked the race a lot and I start very motivated.”
Popo to lead Discovery for Giro
With Ivan Basso out of the picture, Discovery Channel has been forced to quickly refit its Giro d’Italia plans. The defending champion walked away from his two-year contract ahead of Wednesday’s CONI hearing and said he won’t defend his Giro title no matter happens.
According to AFP, the American team will turn to Ukraine rider Yaroslav Popovych to fill the void.
Popovych has already tasted success at the Giro, finishing third in 2003 and fifth in 2004 with a three-day run in the maglia rosa. A winner of a stage at Paris-Nice this year, Popovych said earlier this year he already had the Giro on his schedule.
While the team’s official Giro lineup has yet to be released, José Luis “Chechu” Rubiera, a winner of a stage in 1997, and Tomas Vaitkus, a winner of a stage last year, are also expected to race.
Tony Cruz will also miss the Giro after injuring his knee during the recent spring classics campaign and hopes to return to racing in the Volta a Cataluyna later this month.
Germans must submit DNA tests for Olympics
German riders wanting to race in Olympic competition will now be required to submit to DNA testing. That’s according to Rudolf Scharping, president of the German cycling federation.
“Doping has pursued us like the plague since 2006,” the German wires quoted Scharping, the ex-minister of defense. “Our measures against doping will be adopted as normal at the international level.”