Latest: Zabel for DNA testing; Contracts; Irish trackiesClose
Erik Zabel supports DNA testing, and doesn't have too many good things to say about former teammatePIC BY LAVUELTA.COM Germany's most respected pro, Erik Zabel (Milram), has spoken out in favour of DNA testing (if necessary) in cycling. While most riders are at least partly opposed to the idea, Zabel took a different view in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport. "With DNA tests, we would immediately have safeguards, and that's what we need," he said. "I can't go on like this. We need safeguards in sport. It's not possible, with these doubts, to stand on the start line. This mess has destroyed our sport." Zabel is about to start his 15th season, and will once again be riding for Milram. He spent much of his career with Telekom/T-Mobile, during which time he was often overshadowed by Jan Ullrich. "We spent eleven years in the same team together," said Zabel. "Then Jan didn't want me any longer. I asked Rolf [Aldag] to speak to Jan, but he didn't want to. Ullrich should have more respect and interest for others. Now we say at most 'ciao' to each other." Contract news British rider Daniel Lloyd will be one of several UK riders at the DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed squad this year. Lloyd hails from Christchurch in Dorset and now lives in Sunbury, Surrey. "It's always been part of the plan to get back to racing in Europe," said Lloyd, who raced for Giant Asia last year. "It's where all the history is, where all the big races are and where you really need to be if you want to make it. "I had some very good results and the team was great, the best in the Far East. It was a pleasure to be able to show just where my strengths are after such a bad 2005 season." Lloyd's 2006 season has seen him come back from a shattered pelvis in 2005. He won stages in the Tours of Siam and Qinghai Lake, and finished third at the UK time trial championships. "He is an extremely accomplished British rider and it's a pleasure to welcome to the team," said Nick Collins, DFL team owner, "He'll be a key member of the squad and certainly one of our specialist time trialists." Lloyd will be riding under team leader Nico Mattan, the team's big signing for 2007. "Nico has been there and done it and Eric is such a big name in cycling I can't wait to learn from them both," said Lloyd, "Hopefully they can bring out the very best in me, especially for the Tour of Britain which is a major late season goal of mine." DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed Team for 2007: Nico Mattan (Bel), Hamish Haynes (GBr), Jens Mouris (Ned), Matti Helmininen (Fin), Evan Oliphant (GBr), Gert Vanderaerden (Bel), Rhys Pollock (Aus), Jeremy Vennell (NZl), Cameron Jennings (Aus), Daniel Lloyd (GBr), Sven de Weerdt (Bel), Bernie Sulzberger (Aus), Robbie Muel (Bel), Bjorn Cornelisson (Ned), Kane Oakley (Aus), David Harrigan (Aus), Pablo Wilches (Col). Irishman Stephen Gallagher will return to European competition in 2007 with the new look Murphy & Gunn- Newlyn & Donnelly-Sean Kelly team based in Merchtem, Belgium. The County Armagh rider has some previous Belgian experience, racing with the Flanders-Afin squad in 2004 and 2005. "It's great to know that a legend like Sean Kelly has faith in my abilities as a rider," said Gallagher. "It's been hard at the tail end of this year with a necessary operation for a hernia but if ever I needed a morale boost, this is it!" Gallagher's first race for the team will likely be the Tour of Qatar, which starts on January 28th. Dutchman Bram Schmitz will be riding in the colours of the Van Vliet-EBH Advocaten team for 2007. The Dutch Pro Continental team's roster is now closed with 17 riders. The 29-year-old Schmitz spent three seasons with T-Mobile, making the team's Giro d'Italia selection in 2005 and winning a stage of the Tour of Luxembourg in the same year. He says he hopes to return to the ProTour ranks in future. Irish have ambitions in Manchester The newly established Irish track cycling team is heading to Manchester for the final round of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup from February 23rd to 25th. Irish pro David O'Loughlin already gave the team a solid start when he produced a qualifying time of 4:32.206 in the 4,000m individual pursuit in Moscow in December. That was enough to give him an 8th place in the event. He was the first Irish competitor to ride the four event World Cup series as part of the ambitious plan by Cycling Ireland which includes qualification for the world championships in Palma, Mallorca in March. "It's a decent start to my international track career," said O'Loughlin: "Especially in the middle of winter as I'm not 100 percent fit at the moment and there's lots of room for improvement. "It's very encouraging. I was only about five seconds off qualifying for the bronze medal ride-off. That's not so far away. Prior to Moscow I didn't do any specific training but I will have more specific work done before the next world cup in Los Angeles in January. There are no indoor tracks in Ireland so I will be training at home using the special trainers that the Australians have developed. I will also be able to get over to the tracks in Belgium and Newport. I have 100 UCI points already from Moscow and I hope that I can qualify for the world championships in the individual pursuit." O'Loughlin currently rides for the US Navigators team, as does compatriot Ciar n Power. Power is also part of a larger Irish team scheduled to ride in Los Angeles. Cycling Ireland's High Performance Director Frank Campbell is delighted with the results of the fledgling project so far. "We are holding another training session in Gent in January and from there we go straight to Los Angeles. If things go to plan we would like to have a good run at the men's team pursuit in Manchester, but Los Angeles could be a bit early for us. "Mark Scanlon and Ciar n Power will be riding the bunch races for us in Los Angeles as well. They both ride for American teams and they have to be over there for their early season training camps and early racing. Things are coming on lot quicker than we could ever have hoped for. The plan is to have a big squad at Manchester and we would love one of the guys to qualify for the world championships and that would probably be Davie (O'Loughlin). But we are only two months along the line and it's pushing our hopes a little bit far at this stage. "We are also taking Louise Moriarty along to Gent to train with the lads and ride the pursuit. We also have Jenny Faye on the squad. Jenny rode the track and the road last year until she was caught in a crash in one of the world cup races and she is already experienced in both disciplines." 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