Shorts: Hondo, Lance, Pantani

Hondo to challenge doping ban, Armstrong offered Paris-Dakar drive, no statue of Pantani in Cesenati

Hondo to challenge doping ban, Armstrong offered Paris-Dakar drive, no statue of Pantani in Cesenati

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Danilo Hondo's lawyer is set to challenge the former Gerolsteiner rider's ban that was imposed after the German sprinter tested positive for Carphedon at the Tour of Murcia in March. According to the German Radsport-news website, Hondo's lawyer, Michael Lehner, is going to question the method of detection used, suggesting that there are faults with it, or with the way the control was undertaken at a laboratory in Madrid. "I wouldn't intervene on my client's behalf if I didn't think there was a chance of acquitting him," said Lehner. Swiss-registered Hondo has insisted he took nothing, but will face a disciplinary hearing of the Swiss federation in Berne at the end of May.

- Lance Armstrong has revealed in an interview in this month's edition of French magazine Vlo that he has received an invitation to compete in the Paris-Dakar rally next year. "I received an amusing email a couple of months ago from Robbie Gordon, the Nascar driver, asking me to drive the third car in their team at the next Paris-Dakar," Armstrong told Vlo. The Texan said that he is still under contract with Discovery Channel next year but that "it would make a great programme for Discovery".

Armstrong said that he would continue his campaign against cancer through his own foundation and the commission that was set up by President George Bush, and he also which he belongs to. He also mentioned he is looking over film scripts, although whether they dealt with his own life or possibly other roles that might signal a move into acting he did not say. "Finally, I must improve my surfing," he said.

- The home-town of Marco Pantani will not be erecting a statue to commemorate the late cyclist, the mayor of the town of Cesenatico has announced. Salvatore Montonaro said that, according to the town's by-laws, such monuments could only be raised to commemorate "those who have fallen in wars or for a national cause".

Reaction to the news has been swift and indignant. Vittorio Savini, president of the Magico Pantani di Cesenatico club, said: "The awful news that the mayor announced yesterday was totally unexpected. We only want to honour him and remember him as a great champion of cycling.

Pantani's father, Fernando, also expressed his disappointment. "I feel very bitter and disillusioned," he said. "It's an illogical decision made because of an old law. The unjustified campaign against him continues in his own region."

- After some audacious riding in atrocious conditions Recycling.co.uk's Russell Downing took his second stage win at the Ruban Granitier Breton yesterday (Thursday) and finally took the leader's jersey he had been chasing since his first win three days ago. As the race reached the hilly finishing circuit, and with the rain pouring down, Downing and overnight leader Stphane Ptilleau were the main animators of the stage, and in the finale the Frenchman made one last attack to temporarily ditch Downing before the Yorkshireman made a huge effort to catch him in sight of the line and raise his arms in delight to take his second win in three days. "It's our first big jersey in a big race, we'll try our hardest to keep it," said the delighted Downing.

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