Latest: Puerto; ProTour; Wiggins and Millar; Crake

Operaci¢n Puerto: cyclists called to give evidence; Six federations against ProTour; Millar and Wigg

Operaci¢n Puerto: cyclists called to give evidence; Six federations against ProTour; Millar and Wigg
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM The investigating judge in charge of Operaci¢n Puerto has started summonsing the cyclists involved in the affair to give evidence in court. First to be heard, according to Spanish media reports, will be Alberto Contador and Jes£s Hern ndez, who are due to appear in court in Madrid on December 11. Both were part of Manolo Saiz' Liberty Seguros team, but were also among the first to be cleared to race again: Hern ndez changed teams to Relax-GAM, and rode the Vuelta a Espa¤a. Both Contador and Hern ndez are also Madrid residents, and are being questioned first for the sake of expediency. The other riders will likely give evidence in courts closer to their homes. "The call-ups will go out this month but the process of collecting the statements could take a long time to complete," a spokesperson for judge Antonio Serrano was quoted by Reuters as saying. The judge reaffirmed his earlier statement prohibiting the use of Puerto evidence by federations to sanction cyclists. The evidence is central to the criminal investigation, although some of it has found its way to cycling organisations through media leaks. The UCI recently called for help from the Spanish to enable it to move forward with sanctions, but for the time being, this has been ruled out. 58 cyclists were allegedly linked to the affair when Spain's Guardia Civil seized over 100 bags of blood, transfusion equipment, anabolic steroids and hormones in raids in Madrid and Zaragoza back in May. Two flats belonging to Eufemiano Fuentes, the clinic of Jos Merino Batres, and the residences of mountain biker Alberto Le¢n and Jos Ignacio Labarta were searched. All of them were arrested, together with the then-Liberty Seguros team manager Manolo Saiz. A total of eight people have been accused of crimes against public health, as at the time of the raid, doping was not illegal in Spain. None of the cyclists implicated will be charged. Six federations against ProTour Six national cycling federations have officially declared themselves as against the UCI's ProTour. The federations of Belgium, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg and Austria have all supported the Association Internationale Des Organisateurs De Courses Cyclistes (AIOCC) in its campaign against the controversial series. The AIOCC is taking its grievances to the European Commission. In a communiqu, the federations called for a round table discussion between all concerned parties: The UCI, AIOCC, CPA (cyclists association), AIGCP (teams association) and the federations. They want everyone to have a say in how things are run, "not just a small group within the UCI." The federations also expressed their disagreement with the way the UCI is running the European continental circuit. They feel that the lesser European races are being marginalised by the ProTour. "We are in complete disagreement with the current working methods of the UCI," read the statement. Millar and Wiggins try track sprinting Brad Wiggins and David Millar will try their hands at sprinting at Revolution 15 on December 9. Wiggins came up with the idea: a flying team sprint featuring himself, Jamie Staff and Roberto Chiappa on one team and Millar, Craig MacLean and Jan Van Eijden on the other. "There didn't seem much point in Dave and I doing another pursuit, especially as Obree will be there, and we are both in the early stages of training after the off season," said Wiggins. "Gordon [Harling, the event's technical director] had mentioned doing the team sprint before and I just thought it will be a brilliant spectacle and actually a pretty hard race to call." Millar was just as enthusiastic. "I like the idea of it being flying, and as long as I lead it out I'm happy. I learnt my lesson after that Italian Pursuit..man that was hard.so I'm totally up for giving it a try and hopefully I'll have some more form than a month ago!" Wiggins will also feature in the Isaac Galvez Memorial Madison with partner Franco Marvulli. The Madison will serve as a tribute race to the rider who died tragically at the Ghent Six day last weekend, and who was meant to be appearing at Revolution on Saturday. "We felt it was entirely fitting that our Madison be renamed the Isaac Galvez Memorial," said Harling. "We hold a Madison each season at Revolution and from now on it will always been in memory of Isaac. We will also be raising money for the foundation started by Patrik Sercu. We have started the ball rolling by donating Isaac's appearance money to the fund, there will also be collection boxes at the event if people want to donate." Tickets for Revolution 15 can be purchased from www.cyclingrevolution.com or by calling +44 (0)7005 942 579 or +44 (0)161 223 2244. Crake home for Christmas Australian Paul Crake will return home to Australia for Christmas. There he will be admitted to a spinal care unit to continue his rehabilitation after undergoing surgery for the injuries he sustained in a race crash in New Zealand. Crake suffered minor fractures of the C1 and C2 cervical vertebrae, a fracture of the T5 thoracic vertebrae and dislocations through to T7. Both his lungs were also punctured as a result of rib fractures. "I'm really looking forward to being back in Australia for Christmas," said Crake from his room in the Burwood Spinal Unit in Christchurch, New Zealand. "I would like to thank all those people for showing their concern and sending me very positive thoughts. It means so much to me to receive the supporting emails and letters and that's a big part of what keeps me positive. I have received cards and emails from people I've never met before from around the world and it's really heartening. "The continual support is really helping me keep my optimism and keep the battle going. I'm coming to terms with the accident now and trying to work through what's happened. I'm trying to keep my mindset positive and most of the time I have an optimistic outlook because my intention is to get out of the wheelchair. "The doctors can't specifically say yes or no and there have been people in a lot worse condition than me who have recovered fully and that provides inspiration for me." Crake is fully focussed on his recovery and doctors say he is well ahead of schedule in terms of what he is able to do. He is already spending up to seven hours a day in a wheelchair and working twice a day on strength and mobility exercises with the physiotherapists in the gym. "The crash caused severe trauma to his spine and doctors say it will be six to eight weeks before the swelling subsides and the spine settles so they can see exactly what the damage is," said his father Peter Crake who, along with wife Elizabeth, is in Christchurch with their son. Crake's partner Daniela Zanon flew into Christchurch on Monday from her home in Bolzano in the north of Italy. "Paul was very, very pleased to see her and she is spending all her time with him in the spinal unit," said Peter Crake People wishing to send messages of support to him can do so via email through the Cycling Australia website at www.cycling.org.au or by mail to: Paul Crake Patient Spinal Unit - Burwood Hospital Cnr Mairehau & Burwood Roads Burwood Christchurch 8083 New Zealand
Back to top