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Former World Cup, Tour of Flanders, Championship of Zurich and Leeds Classic winner Gianluca Bortolami has been forced to retire from racing due to a heart problem. The 37-year-old Italian, who rides for Lampre, has been diagnosed with scarring on his heart and arrhythmia, which is believed to have been caused to a virus he contracted.
Bortolami turned pro back in 1990, and has ridden for some of the biggest teams in the sport, including Mapei and Festina. His best season was 1994, when he won a stage of the Tour de France, then went on to those Leeds and Zurich victories that carried him to the World Cup title. "I hope to be able to find a new role in cycling," Bortolami said when announcing his retirement from competition.
- The UCI has voiced its support for the US Anti-Doping Agency and the test to detect blood transfusions following the Court of Arbitration for Sport's confirmation of Tyler Hamilton's positive test at the 2004 Vuelta. In a statement on their website, the UCI said: "The International Cycling Union has taken note of the conclusion of the procedure in front of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) following the appeal held by the rider Tyler Hamilton.
"Whilst expressing its full satisfaction for the excellent cooperation with USADA (USA National Anti Doping Agency), the UCI welcomes the recognition of the validity of the method to detect homologous blood transfusion, which was introduced since the 2004 Olympics Games in Athens."
- Bouygues Telecom's Maryan Hary, who has been out of the sport since crashing badly and suffering serious back injuries at last year's Dauphin Libr, has taken another step on his long road to recovery. Hary spent last week training with his team in the Vende and is now due to have a consultation with a surgeon to see if the screws that have been supporting his spinal column can be removed. If the surgeon gives the OK, Hary will spend 10 days resting after the operation and could start racing again at the end of March.
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