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Galdeano could face Tour sanction
By Andrew Hood
Americans Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods are among the nominees for World Sportsman of the Year as part of the 2003 Laureus World Sports Awards.Their rivals for the honor include last year’s winner, Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher; Brazilian soccer World Cup hero Ronaldo; and Olympic gold-winning biathlete Ole Einar Bjorndalen of Norway.Other cyclists nominated for awards include Germany’s Michael Teuber (World Sportsperson of the Year With a Disability) and Anne-Caroline Chausson of France (World Alternative Sportsperson of the Year).The nominees come from a selection panel comprising 400 journalists from 70 countries. The Laureus World Sports Academy, made up of 41 sports figures – among them Boris Becker, Miguel Indurain, Nadia Comeneci and Martina Navratilova – will decide the winners, who will collect their statuettes May 20 in Monaco.For more information, see www.laureus.com.By VeloNews InteractiveSanroma case nearing settlement
A judge in Spain has ordered organizers of the Tour of Catalonia to pay the family of a rider who died in the race five years ago 132,000 euros compensation.Manuel Sanroma was one of the rising stars of Spanish cycling when he was killed in a fall on June 19, 1999 aged 21.The family had been seeking three quarters of a million euros but said Tuesday they were prepared to accept this much lower offer.”We agree with the ruling and we won’t be appealing,” the dead rider’s cousin, Jose Luis Sanroma, told the EFE news agency. “We believe the judge recognized the faults of the (Tour) organization, and even if we’re not completely satisfied with the amount for us the important thing was to prove that Manuel’s death was an accident and not his fault.”
Galdeano could face Tour sanction
ONCE’s Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano could be forced out of this year’s Tour de France after French authorities have opened an investigation into his irregular doping test early in last year’s race.
Galdeano, who wore the maillot jaune for five days during the first week of the 2002 Tour and finished fifth overall, was tested with high levels of Salbutamol in last year’s race. The UCI, however, allowed the Spanish rider to continue after ONCE produced documents demonstrating Galdeano was asthmatic and used an inhaler which contained Salbutamol.
On Monday, the French Council for the Prevention of Doping said it was opening an investigation into the case at the prodding of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). CPD only has jurisdiction within France, but according to L’Equipe, it could enforce a three-month ban which would for all practical purposes keep Galdeano out of the Tour. French authorities promised a decision within 10-15 days.
“With news like that, I almost feel like leaving cycling,” Galdeano told the Spanish daily AS after Monday’s stage at Setmana Catalana. “They are picking through an old wound that at its time caused me a lot of pain. But I am tranquil. I will continue preparing for the Tour because the rules that we follow in cycling are from the UCI, and according to them, I didn’t commit an infraction.”
During last year’s Tour, Galdeano’s test came back with a reading of 1369 nanograms of Salbutamol, exceeding the limit of 1000 nanograms. Both WADA and CPD consider any levels higher than 1000 nanograms would exceed therapeutic effects and instead consider it a positive test for anabolic steroids.
“It’s not ONCE that has to defend Igor, but the UCI that has to defend its own rules,” said ONCE’s manager Manolo Saiz.
Ullrich confirms Sarthe comeback
Now that the coast is clear for Coast to return to racing, the cycling world is anxiously awaiting the return of 1997 Tour de France champion Jan Ullrich. The troubled German star was penciled to start this week’s Setmana Catalana, but has decided to instead make his return at the Circuit de la Sarthe from April 8-11.
“It’s not a very difficult tour, with no high mountains, so I think it’s a good way for me to come back to competition,” Ullrich told German television Sunday. “I just want to come out there and part of the competition, ride with the guys, chat with them, feel the atmosphere. I miss it.”
Ullrich’s had a long time to mull it over. His last race was the Tour of Qatar and he hasn’t been in a “real” race since the 2001 road worlds in Portugal. Since then, Ullrich’s suffered one setback after another. Knee pain derailed his assault on the 2002 Tour, then he got a DUI, underwent two knee operations and then tested positive after taking party pills in a nightclub last June.
A racing ban expired Monday for the 29-year-old reigning Olympic road champion. The big question now is whether or not Ullrich will be in good enough shape to seriously challenge Lance Armstrong in the 2003 Tour.
Zabel finally slips out of No. 1
Although he won Monday’s stage of the Setmana Catalana, many are wondering if Erik Zabel has seen his best years. Zabel slipped Monday out of the top spot of the UCI rankings for the first time since ending the 2001-2002 seasons in cycling’s top spot.
The 32-year-old Berlin native is without a doubt one of cycling’s great sprinters, scoring 164 victories in his 10-year pro career, but he hasn’t been at the top level since 2001.
Signs that Zabel might be slipping are evident this year, with Monday’s win only his second of the season and his sixth-place finish in Milan-San Remo on Saturday, a race he won four out of five years from 1997-2001. Last year, Zabel won just one Tour de France stage and lost his six-year grip on the green points jersey to rival Robbie McEwen.
Zabel’s best year was perhaps the 2001 season when he won three Tour stages and his sixth green jersey, Milan-San Remo for the fourth time, the HEW Cyclassics World Cup in Germany to follow up his overall World Cup title in 2000.
UCI elite men’s road rankings as of Monday, March 24, 2003
1. Paolo Bettini (Italy) 2300.00 points
2. Erik Zabel (Germany) 2273.00
3. Lance Armstrong (U.S.) 2105.00
4. Dario Frigo (Italy) 1763.00
5. Davide Rebellin (Italy) 1689.00
6. Mario Cipollini (Italy) 1661.20
7. Aitor Gonzalez Jimenez (Spain) 1594.00
8. Robbie McEwen (Australia) 1545.00
9. Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spain) 1455.75
10. Francesco Casagrande (Italy) 1447.00
11. Joseba Beloki Dorronsoro (Spain) 1298.00
12. Michele Bartoli (Italy) 1265.00
13. Michael Boogerd (Netherlands) 1203.60
14. Johan Museeuw (Belgium) 1155.50
15. Santiago Botero Echeverry (Colombia) 1131.40
16. Baden Cooke (Australia) 1068.00
17. Danilo Di Luca (Italy) 1066.00
18. Laurent Brochard (France) 1037.00
19. Mikel Uranga Zarrabeitia (Spain) 1015.25
20. Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano Aranzabal (Spain) 1003.00