Results tagged “Operation Puerto” from spare cycles

O Captain my Captain: Kashechkin has furthered damaged Astana's credibility by testing positive for homologuous blood doping, just like Vino. Given that Astana is composed of former Liberty Seguros and T-Mobile riders, could we have expected more?

Contador is planning a Friday announcement with Bruyneel by his side -- prepared statement, no questions. The hush-hushness of it all would seem to imply that it has something to do with Operation Puerto allegations that are rearing their head once more.

Getting ready for the Giro d'Italia

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The riders

Starter List: Cleanest Grand Tour? Much like Discovery, Tinkoff is paying for dipping into the doping bin to fill its rosters as Hamilton and Jaksche are off the start list. Caisse d'Epargne is also paying with the absence of Constantino Zaballa and Ruben Plaza, though their bigger threat is losing Valverde for the Tour de France if those rumors gain traction.

PezCycling does its picks: will the podium be 1-2-3 former Giro winners? (Simoni vs. Savoldelli vs. Cunego) Or will Di Luca or Popovych finally sit atop?

Daily Peloton previews Team Milram: Will Petacchi finally re-emerge (he'll have to do so without Marco Velo and Erik Zabel)

Daily Peloton previews T-Mobile: without Honchar, T-Mobile will have to shift focus to stage wins. Marco Pinotti's journal

The route

The start of the race looks beautiful, but of course everyone is waiting for the dramatic Zoncolan, which will be climbed this time on the steeper side and is referred to as "Europe's most difficult climb" by Daily Peloton.

Daily Peloton route preview w/ elevations

VeloNews route preview

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Steephill is maintaining a Giro d'Italia dashboard

Cycling.tv's Versus Channel has video, but this time around it appears that you have to pay extra for the Giro (in the "Versus Channel", aka the "Italy Channel"). Is it just me, or are they actively trying to make their site harder to use and understand? (not that it was ever easy to use)

'Attempted' dopers suck

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Dopers SuckIf there's ever anything I've heard that makes me want to stock up on extra pairs of Dopers Suck socks its Basso's new defense, which is about the craziest f#$ing thing I've ever heard. Basso is now claiming that he is only guilty of 'attempted' doping as he never used the banked blood (the Clinton inhale defense). His "crisis of conscience" was more of an indigestion of conscience, barely letting out a suppressed burp. The defense is made all the more ridiculous by the fact that the Operacion Puerto evidence that Basso was presented with should quickly unravel it (quoting from cyclingnews):

2) Two telephone recordings from May 13 and 14 made by DS Ignacio Labarta to Fuentes. "Birillo had arrived with Simoni at sixteen seconds," was said on May 13 according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. This referred to Giro d'Italia stage seven, won by Rik Verbrugghe, where Basso finished 16 seconds back with Gilberto Simoni, Davide Rebellin and Serguei Gonchar. The next day another recording, "A certain Ivan Basso won." Basso was now first overall with José Enrique Gutierrez (Phonak) second. "Friend, you have... a first and a second."

3) A fax, outlined in page 15 of the dossier, that was sent from Fuentes to Nelson Giraldo Flores (in Colombia) in the days leading up to the "festival Mayo" (or Giro d'Italia). Fuentes wrote, "As per our agreement, I am sending a list of collaborators and participants in the festival that takes place in May;" going on to ask Colombian Flores for "help and collaboration." It listed riders Basso, Marco Serrano, Michele Scarponi, Gutierrez and Jan Ullrich (spelled with one "l" in the fax) without the use of code names.

4) An agenda with a schedule of blood extractions and transfusions since 2004. In the agenda the pseudonyms 'Birillo' and '2' are use

Guilty

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San Franscisco Grand Prix-84 Update: Discovery Channel's Press Release

It seems perverse for it to feel so refreshing, but at last Basso has come clean and admitted guilt. If only other riders could do the same so cycling can move forward as a sport.

According to cyclingnews, it appears that there is some debate as to whether or not Basso is going to be offered a retroactive two-year suspension, though the UCI is saying no way.

Basso leaves Discovery

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Basso inspects the damageFrom VeloNews:

Beleaguered Italian rider Ivan Basso has removed himself from his two-year contract with the Discovery Channel team at his own request just days ahead of a hearing before the Italian Olympic committee for alleged links to the Operación Puerto doping investigation.

..."Ivan's request was unexpected and he was very emotional, but adamant, about his decision to be released," Bruyneel said in a team statement. "We spoke with him at length before granting his request. Although he was only on our team for a short time, he was a great leader and a very well respected and selfless teammate. I, along with the entire team, wish him the best."

Previously: Basso suspended, Levi's patience pays off?

Ullrich link to Puerto confirmed

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My farewell to Ullrich was touched with the uncertainty of whether or not Ullrich was guilty of doping. Today's confirmation of Ullrich's DNA matching blood in Fuentes' office clears up a whole lot -- especially since the bags were marked "Jan," "N.1", and "Hijo Rudicio" (Son of Rudy). Ullrich's defense has now seized on the last remaining shred of uncertainty to suggest that there is a "manipulation" conspiracy, which fills my head with images of black-clad spy operatives sneaking into Ullrich's apartment late at night and secretly drawing bags of blood while he sleeps.

Farewell, Ullrich

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As suspected, Jan Ullrich has announced his retirement rather than continue his cycling purgatory sans team and license. It's not terribly satisfying as a fan to hear this: if he isn't guilty you would like to cheer and honor his career; if he is guilty you want to feel that justice was somehow indirectly served. Like many of the Operation Puerto cases, you want to know how the sport could be ripped apart on the eve of the Tour de France without a single actual rider being sanctioned.

Instead we are left with the sad knowledge that there are no more Tour de France champions racing. I have a hard time regarding Oscar Pereiro as a TdF champion regardless of any Floyd decision as Pereiro's ascension was a bit of a gigantic-breakaway fluke. Floyd's future in the sport is of course uncertain still.

Ullrich gave us many great Tour de France moments. Perversely, my favorite Ullrich moments were his crashes -- going off the side of the mountain road during stage 13 of the 2001 TdF and his crash on the rain-soaked final TT of the 2004 TdF that cost him another chances at victory. In both cases he got back on the bike and kept on chugging.

Basso to Discovery

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San Franscisco Grand Prix-77

"It's done" -- Lance Armstrong

After much speculation over whether or not Discovery Channel would sign a prominent rider under a cloud of suspicion, Basso will now be trading red and white for blue and grey. I'm a little surprised: Basso was cleared, but he steadfastly refused to submit to DNA sampling that would have definitively cleared him. I'm not saying that Basso is guilty for not submitting DNA; I'm just surprised that Discovery -- one of the few teams not impacted by Operation Puerto -- would sign him without such a test.

Basso to Discovery Channel

It hits the fan

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Landis' A-sample after his remarkable Stage 17 ride tested positive for high levels of testosterone -- we now anxiously await the results of the B-sample. We're all hoping that the beer after Stage 16 wasn't Colorado's Rocky Mountain Oyster label (I'm full of bad jokes this morning).

It's the worst possible news for cycling following Operation Puerto and continues a long streak of scandals revolving around the Phonak team: Hamilton, Urweider, Perez, and Camenzind, as well as Guitierrez and Botero, who were named in Puerto. Personally, I'm shocked that one team can continue to allow so many high-profile doping cases to permeate it.

Update: Landis' interview with CNNSI denying the accusation