Latest: McQuaid hits out; TDU in town; Dutch at Revolution; Contracts; Saunier in Mali

UCI chief Pat McQuaid says there's a clash of cultures when it comes to doping. Also, the Tour Down

UCI chief Pat McQuaid says there's a clash of cultures when it comes to doping. Also, the Tour Down
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM UCI president Pat McQuaid has attacked the "mafia Western European culture" for its reluctance to deal with the problem of doping in cycling. Speaking in an interview with Dutch NOS television last Friday, McQuaid let fly - indirectly, at least - at countries such as Italy, Spain and Belgium. "There is a clash going on at the moment between two cultures, the Anglo-Saxon and what I might call the mafia Western European culture," said McQuaid. "The Western European Culture is a culture that has to some extent - I won't say condones doping and cheating practices - but because of their culture in life, because of the way they deal with everything else in life they accept certain practices." "The Anglo-Saxon, which would be here [in the Netherlands], it would be Germany, it would be the United Kingdom, it would be Denmark - is the complete opposite. And they have a completely different approach to the doping fight, and it's evident when you see the approach the teams have made - the German teams in particular there were a major problem in July - and the approach they have taken looking at the future and how they move forward into the future. "And it is important, I feel, it is very important that at the end of the day the Anglo-Saxon approach wins out - because if it doesn't, then the sport is doomed." Since being elected as the head of the UCI a little over a year ago, McQuaid has maintained a hard-line stance against doping. 2006 was a banner year for doping scandals, involving some of the biggest names in the sport such as Jan Ullrich, Ivan Basso, and Floyd Landis. So far, no firm sanctions against anyone have been possible from the evidence uncovered in Operaci¢n Puerto, and still no-one knows who won the 2006 Tour de France. The riders involved are in an uneasy limbo at the moment, as the legal machinery in Spain and the USA grinds on. Di Rocco responds Italian federation president Renato Di Rocco didn't agree with McQuaid's comments, and was quoted by Tuttobiciweb as saying, "First of all I would like to say that we find the progress of the French against doping to be very profound and valid. And we want to follow that model. Besides, the federation is answerable to a superior body - the CONI anti-doping tribunal. As for the Anglo-Saxon models cited by McQuaid, we would like to distance ourselves from the Australian and Canadian models, even though they are also Anglo-Saxon." In the past, the Italians have been critical of the Australians' success on the track, particularly at the Athens Olympics, were Australia took the lion's share of the medals. Tour Down Under teams hit town South Australia's capital Adelaide is bracing itself for the 9th Tour Down Under, which takes place between January 16th and 21st. The international teams started arriving over the weekend, led by Belgian Chocolade Jacques on Saturday, and Belgian Predictor-Lotto, French AG2R Prevoyance and Credit Agricole on Sunday. The US Navigators team will be next to arrive on Wednesday, followed by Barloworld and CSC on Thursday, Milram on January 13th, Unibet.com on the 14th and the final international team, New Zealand, on the 15th. The field has grown to 14 teams and 112 riders in 2007 with the racing kicking off with the Down Under Classic in Adelaide's East End on Tuesday night, January 16th before the peloton lines up for the five stage Tour Down Under on the 17th. Top favourites for the race include Australians Simon Gerrans (defending champion), Stuart O'Grady and Robbie McEwen, as well as Tour de France stage winner Juan Miguel Mercado (Agritubel) and Tour yellow jersey wearer Cyril Dessel (AG2R-Prevoyance). More information: www.tourdownunder.com.au. Dutch fast men at Revolution Dutch sprinters Tuen Mulder and Tim Veldt will be riding the next Revolution in Manchester on January 20th. The Dutch duo have been in good form this season with Mulder placed fourth and seventh in the Keirin and sprint world cup standings and the Dutch team placed second behind the Brits in the team sprint standings. The pair will add some serious competition to the line up, which also features sprint number one Craig MacLean and French star Arnaud Tournant. Heading the British talent will be junior team sprint world champions Dave Daniell and Christian Lyte, who looking forward to racing against the stars. "It's amazing to ride against the big names," said Lyte. "It provides real racing in a top level environment which is a rare opportunity for riders our age. "The experience is invaluable. It has definitely helped me and the squad progress and is one of the reasons we did so well at the junior world championships. This season the racing has been better than ever so we're all looking forward to the last event." Lyte will be joined by Olympic development riders Steve Hill, Tim Buck, Pete Mitchell and Josh Hargreaves. These riders will race across a series of sprint events with some feature races to be confirmed. More information: www.cyclingrevolution.com. Contract news Frenchman Walter Beneteau has decided to finish his career, according to velomania.net. The 34 year-old did not get his contract extended with Bouygues Telecom, and did not have any other offers. He turned pro in 2000 with Bonjour, which had morphed into Bouygues Telecom by 2005. His only victories were in the Boucles de l'Aulne, which he won twice, in 2000 and 2003. Team Astan  has signed young Kazakh rider Evgeniy Sladkov for the coming two seasons. Sladkov raced for Jartazi in 2006. Ukrainian Maxim Rudenko (27) will ride for Italian continental team Cinelli-Endeka-Interimp this season. Rudenko was with Ceramica Flaminia in 2006, and has no wins to date. Saunier Duval riding for trees The Saunier Duval team has started a new humanitarian project this year: 100 years for a million trees. Several members of the team (Alarc¢n, Dur n, Fern ndez, Lobato, Rinero, Trentin, and Z rate) have travelled to the African country of Mali, where they will race in the port of Mopti on Tuesday morning. The yellow clad men will test their strength against the locals, in what's sure to be a close battle. After the race, the team, including manager Mauro Gianetti and trainer Joxean 'Matxin' Fern ndez, will go to Fatoma, the town where they started planting the trees. The team will celebrate the Saunier Duval company's 100th anniversary with a commitment to ride one million kilometres in 2007. According to the team, each kilometre covered will result in one tree planted in Mali in an attempt to fight desertification in the region. Got a comment? Discuss this in the Procycling forum. What else is new? Check out the Procycling blog.
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