Shorts: O'Grady, UCI appeal, Ludewig, Giro Donne

O'Grady diagnosed with vertabra fracture, UCI calls for action against Aitor and Landaluze, T-Mobile

O'Grady diagnosed with vertabra fracture, UCI calls for action against Aitor and Landaluze, T-Mobile

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Stuart O'Grady was set to decide before this morning's fourth stage whether to continue in the Tour after a crash on Tuesday left him with a minor fracture of a vertebra. O'Grady had a CAT scan in the hospital in Genk after finishing the stage in great pain.

"The scan showed a fracture on the fourth vertebra, but it's a minor one and both the hospital doctor and our own have given him the OK to start on Wednesday," explained CSC press manager Brian Nygaard. "The fracture is not serious, and it would be OK for Stuart to continue in the race, but we won't make the final decision until tomorrow. It all depends on how much pain he's in and if he feels strong enough to go on."

- The International Cycling Union has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the decisions taken by the Spanish cycling federation not to ban Euskaltel's Aitor Gonzalez and I¤igo Landaluze after they tested positive last season. Both were cleared of wrongdoing, Gonzalez because he was able to show his positive test at the Vuelta for a steroid was due to using a contaminated supplement, while Landaluze showed his positive test at the Dauphin Libr for testosterone was due to naturally high levels of the hormone. However, the UCI has called on the CAS to rule the pair had committed doping offences and to sanction them in accordance with UCI rules. The verdict is not expected until the end of the year.

- T-Mobile have admitted they are investigating allegations suggesting that Jrg Ludewig, who they signed this season, was involved in soliciting doping substances in 1998. "Even if Ludewig wasn't riding for the T-Mobile Team at that time, the suspicion alone is reason enough for us to investigate the affair," said team manager Olaf Ludwig. Ludewig, 30, rode for the Team Bayer Worringen in 1998. During this period he allegedly requested, in written form, banned substances, and showed a readiness to turn to doping.

"We don't have any direct evidence of doping and we realise that the incident dates back eight years," said Christian Frommert, director of sports communication at T-Mobile International. "However, even evidence of the intention to use doping substances gives us reason to investigate the facts around the affair. To what extent this will overlap with the team's agenda to clean up cycling remains to be seen," continues Frommert.

- Spain's Marta Andreu won the fifth stage of the Giro Donne yesterday, breaking clear 5km from the finish in Pescia. There was no change in the overall standings, which are led by Team Fenixs' Olga Slyusareva, who leads defending champion Nicole Brandli by 10 seconds and Andreu's Nobili Rubinettiere team-mate Edita Pucinskaite by 24 seconds.

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