The Week That Was...
Yesterday, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced the long anticipated decision of the independent arbitration panel of the American Arbitration Association (AAA)/North American Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), that former Phonak Professional rider, Tyler Hamilton, is guilty of a doping infraction by transfusing another person's blood.
Hamilton is suspended from the sport for two years.
During the Spring and Summer of 2004, the UCI warned Hamilton and his Phonak team that following blood screening, he was suspected of manipulating his blood. The UCI targeted Hamilton to test and he tested positive on September 11th 2004 during the Vuelta a Espana.
His two-year period of suspension ends on April 17, 2007.
The twenty Pro Tour teams are threatening to boycott this years Vuelta and Giro in an on-going dispute about start money. A statement signed by the AIGCP President, Patrick Lefevere, read, "The 20 ProTour teams have decided, in total unity with the AIGCP, to keep their position vis-?-vis the Giro and the Vuelta not to participate in the Giro and in the Vuelta if we do not come to an agreement on the participation expenses for 2005. Nevertheless, we will continue to negotiate with RCS in the hope that cycling will win.?
Winner of Paris-Roubaix in 1999, Andrea Tafi, this year finished his beloved hell of the north in the main field in 42nd place. Sporting a special pave-influenced Saunier Duval jersey design, he was fined SFR200 for wearing a none-standard jersey; his team were also fined an additional SFR500.
Now in the twilight of his career, the 39 year-old told Italian TV after the race that, "I have such a big emotion now, but I'm sorry I didn't do better today...in my career, I've had so many beautiful emotions and winning here was the greatest moment of my career. Last night I wasn't feeling that good and so when you aren't good, that's that. But I really want to thank everyone who's supported me."
Speaking in Het Nieuwsblad, shortly before the recent Amstel Gold race, T-Mobile rider, Alexandre Vinokourov, helped to explain why we?ve not so far seen his now characteristic early season victories. "In Paris-Nice I was one of the strongest in the final few days. In Pais Vasco the form improved another notch. We'll have to wait and see whether it's enough for the Amstel. I don't hide that this year there is really only one race in my head, and that is the Tour. But that doesn't mean that I will limit myself to following in the Amstel." Vinokourov finished Amstel in 59th place, over two minutes behind winner Danilo Di Luca. T-Mobile ought to tread with caution as the last time they tried to put all their eggs into that already full Tour de France basket, their season proved to be less that successful and the Tour a major disappointment.
Leading the T-Mobile charge, ahead of Vinokourov, will be Der Kaiser, Jan Ullrich. Speaking on t-mobile-team.com, Ullrich said that he wanted to be the man to end the reign of Lance Armstrong and the US Postal team. "Whoever beats him is the hero. And I want to beat him. To do that, I just have to ride faster than he can. But I have a strong team behind me and with a promising opening race in the legs, I can look forward to the next race with confidence."
Ullrich was referring to the recent Circuit de la Sarthe, a race which he finished in tenth position overall, his best stage placing was sixth after a difficult 180km final stage. The French race was Ullrich?s debut for the 2005 season.
Keep in touch with all the latest news from the Tour de Georgia over the next week as Roadcycling.com brings you all the results, all the action and all the inside stories as and when it happens.
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