Latest: Valverde close; Landis pursued; Spanish courts; Manx Revolution; USAC collegiate scholarship

Alejandro Valverde should stay with his current team Caisse d'Epargne, but for how long? Also, the F

Alejandro Valverde should stay with his current team Caisse d'Epargne, but for how long? Also, the F
PIC BY LAVUELTA.COM Valverde close to re-signing with Caisse d'Epargne Alejandro Valverde is reportedly close to renewing his contract with his Spanish Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears team. He had been offered a large sum of money to ride for T-Mobile, but his current team acted quickly to ensure that he stayed on board. "Although the offer of Illes Balears doesn't reach the same level as that of T-Mobile, it's significant for the rider," said Valverde's agent Paco S nchez Sabater to EFE. "We should also keep in mind that the rider feels very grateful to Illes Balears for his three year contract, and he knows the big effort that was made by the team in satisfying his desires before T-Mobile's interest. [For Valverde], it's very important that he can respect his own environment, and not to change his habits or his place of residence." The two parties will have one final meeting to discuss the use of Valverde's image rights and the length of the contract, which could be either three or four seasons. This could happen within the next couple of days. French doping agency goes after Landis Floyd Landis will have to answer doping charges on two continents, after the French anti-doping agency (AFLD) asked him to appear before them on February 8. The AFLD's president, Pierre Bordry, told AFP that Landis will probably be represented by one of his lawyers at the February 8 hearing. Landis is already facing a hearing in the USA, in defence of his positive test for a high T:E ratio after stage 17 of the 2006 Tour de France. But the French also want a bite of the cherry, although the AFLD's jurisdiction only applies to France. Although the AFLD cannot suspend him in the same way that the USA Cycling federation and the UCI can, it can prevent him from competing in France. Thus, even if Landis is cleared in his American hearing, he still might not be allowed to ride the Tour de France. Landis said recently that he wished to win a second Tour de France, but even if he is fully cleared, it's unlikely to happen before 2008. He has also launched the Floyd Fairness Fund to help raise "up to $2 million" for his legal costs. Spanish court delays ruling over Code of Ethics The Audiencia Nacional de Espa¤a (National Court of Spain), which has jurisdiction over all of Spain, has postponed judgement on the legality of the ProTour code of ethics. The court said that it requires another two weeks to examine the case, as well as to explain why it has the competence to do so. The case was brought to the Spanish court by the Association of Professional Cyclists, which is concerned that the code of ethics is too strict when compared with normal UCI rules, particularly the deprivation of the right to work when a rider is merely named in a doping investigation. Manzano case shelved The Spanish courts have also shelved the Jesus Manzano case, which started almost three years ago after Manzano gave several candid interviews about drug use to AS. The court was concerned with whether any crimes had been committed against Manzano by doctors and team directors during his time at Kelme. But the court determined that there were none, and neither the Association of Professional Cyclists nor the Madres Contra la Droga (Mothers against drugs) appealed against the decision within the given time limit. Manx Revolution The last Revolution event of this season will take place at the Manchester Velodrome on January 20th, and will have a special focus on three talents from the Isle of Man. The best known of the three is Mark Cavendish, who took gold in the scratch race at the Commonwealth Games last year. Cavendish showed his talent early on in the Revolution series, and progressed rapidly through the British Cycling ranks. He is now about to start his first year as a ProTour riders in T-Mobile. "It will be great riding at Revolution again," said Cavendish. "I haven't ridden this season as I have had a lot of commitments with the GB team and my new T-Mobile team. It's fantastic to see Manx riders doing so well. Peter Kennaugh has been riding well this year but I'm ready to give him a run for his money at the final event." Kennaugh has dominated much of the elite racing this season, beating seasoned pros like Bradley McGee and Bradley Wiggins. The Manx star won the Future Stars last season and went on to become junior world scratch race champion, effectively following in the footsteps of Cavendish. The third talent that has emerged through this season's Future Stars competition is Manx rider and series leader Mark Christian. Based near Douglas, Christian tried to explain the success of cycling on the island. "There must be something in the water!" he said. "You've got Peter Kennaugh, Jonny Bellis and of course Mark Cavendish and there are plenty of good riders below me coming through. I'm not sure what is it but it is certainly good for the Isle of Man." Christian is also quietly confident of taking the overall victory in the DHL Future Stars which he leads by 6 points over Yorkshire's Tom Skubala, "I'm confident, I have to be really," he said. "I have to go all out to ensure taking the overall and I am still looking for that elusive victory in the individual events. It will be a very proud moment if I take the victory so I'm looking forward to it." More information and tickets: www.cyclingrevolution.com or call +44 (0)7005 942 579 or +44 (0)161 223 2244. USAC announces collegiate scholarships The USA Cycling Development Foundation has awarded the 2006 John Stenner Collegiate Scholarships to Rebecca Larson (University of Florida) and Todd Dowling (Bucknell University). Both were recognized for their outstanding leadership qualities in their respective cycling communities and their major accomplishments during their student-athlete careers. Larson is currently an Exercise Physiology graduate student in Gainesville, and is doing research on exercise interventions for subjects with Multiple Sclerosis. She was a team leader for the University of Florida Cycling Team for several years, and recently became head coach. She has also been a mentor to new members. On the competitive side, Larson is currently a USA Cycling cat. 1 racer on the road and a cat. 2 rider on the track. She won the national time trial title at the 1999 USA Cycling Junior National Championships and represented the US at the world championships later that season. In 2000, she won the U23 road race national title. In 2003, Larson won the individual pursuit and the sprint to take the overall omnium title at USAC's Collegiate Track National Championships - a feat she repeated in 2006. Also in 2006, she won a collegiate criterium title and was named to the U.S. National Team by USA Cycling. Todd Dowling is involved in both the Bucknell University Cycling Team and the general cycling community. He helped grow his uni squad from six riders to 27, and raised several thousand dollars worth of sponsorship. As a student, he has a 3.6 GPA as a senior Biology major. He is involved with university clubs and honours societies and tutoring efforts, as well as working to promote cycling in local media publications. Despite his off-bike activities, Dowling has managed to mould himself from a beginner cyclist to a strong finisher in the men's 'A' category in the highly competitive Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference. In addition to the recognition of Larson and Dowling, USA Cycling also recognised several student-athletes with honourable mentions: Lindsey Bishop (Syracuse University), Melanie Meyers (University of Arizona), Kacey Manderfield (Lees-McRae College), Andrea M. Fisk (University of Portland), Briana L. Kovac (Indiana University), Sabina Kraushaar (Fort Lewis College), Caroline Jarolimek (University of Colorado), Matthew Spohn (Penn State), Daniel Hock (Saint Michael's College), Kevin Rice (Northern Arizona University) and Jeremiah C. Bouchard (Fort Lewis College). Got a comment? Discuss this in the Procycling forum. What else is new? Check out the Procycling blog.

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