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Albizu out of intensive care, Zabriskie signs with CSC, Planckaert prepares appeal against ban, Alva

Albizu out of intensive care, Zabriskie signs with CSC, Planckaert prepares appeal against ban, Alva
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Euskaltel's Joseba Albizu has been moved out of the intensive care unit at a hospital in San Sebastian where he has been treated since crashing his car early on Sunday morning. His friend and fellow pro Jokin Ormaetxea died due to injuries received in the crash. Albizu, 26, has been moved to a recuperation ward at the Donostia hospital in the Basque city where he will continue to receive treatment for extensive internal injuries, including broken ribs and severe lung damage. * US Postal time trial specialist David Zabriskie, who won a stage at the Vuelta with the longest successful breakaway of the race, has signed a two-year deal with Bjarne Riis' CSC team. * MrBookmaker.com's Jo Planckaert has announced that he is going to appeal to the Court for Arbitration in Sport against the two-year ban that was imposed on him earlier this month by the Belgian federation for as yet unannounced doping offences. Hoping to "reclaim his honour", Planckaert told the Belga Press news agency that he wants to "clean his name". His lawyer is hoping to get the two-year sentence suspended until the case is heard by the CAS so that that Planackert can to continue to compete in the meantime. Chris Peers, who received a similar penalty to Planckaert after similar charges, has already said he will not appeal against the ban. Johan Museeuw, who was also banned, has yet to say whether he will appeal. * The first session of the case against 12 riders and team staff resulting from raids on San Remo hotels during the 2001 Giro d'Italia has seen two riders reach a plea bargain with the prosecutors in order to reduce their sentence. Lawyers representing Ermanno Brignoli (then with the Mercatone Uno team) and Domenico Romano (then with Panaria) said both riders admitted their guilt and they consequently received a reduction of a third in the sentence being demanded for possession of doping products. Although both received prison sentences and fines (six months and 400 euros for Romano, two months and 200 euros for Brignoli), their sentence will be suspended and the fines repaid via work in the community. The next session of the court is scheduled for early February. * Long-time ONCE and Liberty Seguros servant Alvaro Gonzalez de Galdeano, the elder of the two cycling brothers, has announced his retirement from the sport after 12 years as a pro. "It's been a difficult decision that has been reached not so much because of a lack of desire to train and stick to the cyclist's strict way of life but because of the inexorable advance of nature," said the Basque, who will be 35 in January. Gonzalez de Galdeano turned pro with Artiach after competing in the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, and has ridden for Euskadi, Vitalicio Seguros, ONCE and Liberty. His best season was 2000 when he won the Spanish road title plus stages in the Giro and Vuelta. He is now hoping to find another job within cycling.

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