Latest: T-Mobile presents; Germans want Ullrich DNA; Hondo out; Valverde continues; Unibet denied

Monday, January 15, 2007 12.00am
T-Mobile presented its revamped men's and women's squad in Mallorca on the weekend, and aims to be c
PIC BY T-MOBILE The T-Mobile 2007 men's and women's teams were unveiled on the weekend at the Robinson Club Cala Serena resort in Mallorca, Spain. T-Mobile is planning on leading the way in the fight against doping with its revamped men's team this year, with changes in "personnel, leadership and practices" according to the team. "We believe in clean and fair sport, and want to be a team that fans, like, believe in, and ultimately trust," said team manager Bob Stapleton. Three-time time-trial world champion Michael Rogers will play an important role in the team plans, as captain and GC contender. The 27 year-old Australian will be backed by young riders like Patrik Sinkewitz, Andr Greipel and U23 road world champion Gerald Ciolek, and the more experienced Serguei Gonchar, Giuseppe Guerini, Axel Merckx and Michael Barry, The women's team is a mixture of "talent, versatility and experience" with a strong German/Australian focus. There is a new management structure in place, led by team manager Kristy Scrymgeour, directeur sportif Anna Wilson and coach Petra Rossner. On paper, the women's team looks to be one of the best in the world, led by Judith Arndt, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Kim Anderson and new arrivals Oenone Wood and Kate Bates. "Great importance is placed on character," in the selection of women riders, said Scrymgeour. "We want to stay competitive across the entire season and be in contention for the world cup races the bigger stage races." The men's season kicks-off on January 26 with the GP Doha, followed by the Qatar Tour; the women have their first official race at the Geelong Tour in Australia from February 27 until March 1. New bikes The team's riders will also be mounted on Giant's latest machine, which has been in use since the start of the year. Giant has a four year contract with T-Mobile, enabling it to work together closely with the team in order to develop new products. According to Giant, the new bike as "considerable increase in frame rigidity with no added weight, an advance only made possible thanks to the updated carbon lay up schedules. The visual appearance has also been radically changed with a strikingly sleek and stylish new look." Team rosters Men General Manager: Bob Stapleton (USA) Head of Sports Management: Rolf Aldag (Ger) Directeurs sportifs: Tristan Hoffman (Ned), Brian Holm (Den), Allan Peiper (Aus), Valerio Piva (Ita), Jan Schaffrath (Ger) Riders: Michael Barry (30/Can), Eric Baumann (26/Ger), Lorenzo Bernucci (27/Ita), Marcus Burghardt (23/Ger), Mark Cavendish (21/GBr), Gerald Ciolek (20/Ger), Scott Davis (27/Aus), Bernhard Eisel (25/Austria), Linus Gerdemann (24/Ger), Bert Grabsch (30/Ger), Andr Greipel (24/Ger), Giuseppe Guerini (36/Ita), Roger Hammond (31/GBr), Adam Hansen (Aus/25), Greg Henderson (NZl/30), Serguei Gonchar (36/Ukraine), Kim Kirchen (28/Lux), Andreas Klier (30/Ger), Servais Knaven (35/Ned), Andr Korff (33/Ger), Axel Merckx (34/Bel), Aaron Olsen (29/USA), Jacob Piil (33/Den), Marco Pinotti (30/Ita), Frantisek Rabon, (23/Cze), Michael Rogers (27/Aus), Stephan Schreck (28/Ger), Patrik Sinkewitz (26/Ger) and Thomas Ziegler (26/Ger). Women Team Manager: Kristy Scrymgeour (Aus) Directeur Sportif: Anna Wilson (Aus) Coach: Petra Rossner (Ger) Riders: Kim Anderson (38/USA), Judith Arndt (30/Ger), Kate Bates (24/Aus), Chantal Beltman (30/Ned), Suzanne de Goede (22/Ned), Emilia Fahlin (18/Swe), Alex Rhodes (22/Aus), Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (32/Ger), Linda Villumsen (21/Den), Anke Wichmann (31/Ger), Oenone Wood (26/Aus). Team website: www.t-mobile-team.com. Germans want to compare Ullrich DNA The prosecutor's office in Bonn, Germany wants to compare Jan Ullrich's DNA with that in the bags of blood seized during Operacion Puerto last May, according to German weekly Focus. The German court is investigating whether Ullrich defrauded his T-Mobile team. It already has a sample of Ullrich's DNA that was taken by Swiss officials last September. The court wants samples of the blood contained in the "Jan" and "Hijo Rudicio" bags, and - according to Focus - already has the permission of the Spanish authorities in charge of the case to obtain them. Ullrich, who has denied all charges of drug use in relation to Puerto, has up until the end of January to appeal against the Germans using his DNA. If he is cleared, and regains a licence, he may find himself racing for Acqua e Sapone, which is one of several teams he is negotiating with. Hondo back on the bench Tinkoff's new recruit Danilo Hondo has had his two year ban re-imposed by the Swiss Supreme court. Hondo initially received a one year ban after testing positive for carphedon in March 2005. He appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on the grounds that the amounts of carphedon in his sample were too small to have had any performance enhancing effect. The CAS took a harder line - not only rejecting his appeal, but also giving him an extra year's suspension in accordance with WADA regulations. Hondo appealed the CAS decision to Switzerland's Court of Appeal of Canton de Vaud, and managed to get the ban knocked back to one year - or so he thought. The Court of Appeal temporarily suspended the CAS decision, pending Hondo's submission of the merits of his case. When that was done, the Court of Appeal confirmed the CAS decision, and Hondo was back with his two year ban. But while all this was going on, he managed to race again, winning eight races during the rest of the 2006 season. Finally(?), Hondo appealed the two-year ban to the Swiss Supreme Court, which rejected his appeal last week. "This decision means that the athlete is no longer allowed to compete," said WADA in a statement. He expects to be allowed to race on April 1, two years after the date of his original suspension. However, the fact that he raced for several months of last season may see his return date put back. Valverde through 2010 Alejandro Valverde has extended his contract with Caisse d'Epargne through until the end of 2010, ending any speculation that he was looking to change teams. The Spaniard had brief talks with T-Mobile before Christmas, which prompted his current team to react quickly to strengthen his existing deal. At the end of the day, the winner was...Alejandro Valverde. His agent Paco S nchez Sabater said that "Echavarri's offer was an important one for Valverde, also because Alejandro fits in well with this team. The final details dealt with his image rights and the length of the contract, and at the end we found common ground that was extremely important and satisfactory for both parties." ASO denies Unibet Paris-Nice start In what could be the first of many showdowns between ASO and the ProTour, the French organiser has denied Unibet.com a place in Paris-Nice (March 11-18). Although it's been designated by the UCI to be the first ProTour race of the season, ASO has rejected the ProTour competition, and wants to set its own invitation criteria for its own races. Still, 19 of the 20 ProTour teams will get a start, with Unibet being overlooked in favour of Agritubel. Paris-Nice may just be the start. Unibet is afraid of not being invited to the Tour de France now, despite being granted a ProTour licence. "If ASO persists, then our riders will be on the street," said team manager Koen Terryn to the Belgian media. "And then we have to throw in the towel. "You keep a sponsor who has invested €32 million in the sport away from the most important cycling event in the world? That's like if you let KV Oostende play in the Champions League instead of Bremen. I don't think that big businesses will want to invest. If this continues, then I'm worried for the future. The Tour threatens to mess up everything." Unibet will ask the UCI to intervene in the matter. 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