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German anti-doping campaigner Werner Franke, who claims to have seen Jan Ullrich's file compiled by Spanish police for the Operacion Puerto inquiry, has alleged the German rider spent 35,000 euros in one year on performance-enhancing drugs. Werner, a drugs specialist, was asked by the Spanish authorities to look over the documents. "I inspected the file on Jan Ullrich compiled in Madrid and all I can say is that it's been some time since I've seen so much bad stuff," Franke told Rheinmaintv on Thursday. "Some of the people in his entourage are truly diabolical to advise him to take these products and to put him in contact with the Spanish doctor."
Franke was responsible for exposing the culture of doping in the former East Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Ullrich has consistently denied taking any form of drugs after he was implicated in Operacion Puerto.
- Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde and Oscar Pereiro are both on a list of projected starters released by Tour of Spain organisers Unipublic. The Spaniards will be challenging Russian Denis Menchov, who was awarded the 2005 title after winner Roberto Heras was stripped of his title for a doping offence. The Rabobank rider will be joined by team-mate Michael Rasmussen and sprinter Oscar Friere.
The Astana team have been listed as provisional starters and are likely to be given the nod if none of the riders implicated in the Puerto investigation start. Team leader Alexandre Vinokourov has said that he needs more time to get fully fit for the Vuelta, despite looking good on Thursday's stage of the Tour of Germany. "I'm here to get into the pace of competition, I'm not completely great yet, but it is normal after so much time without competing. I need more time, but I'm better than I thought. I will go to the Vuelta without pressure, but if I see that I am OK, I'll go for the overall classification. If not, I will prepare for the Worlds," said the Kazakh.
- Saunier Duval have announced that 21-year-old Welshman Geraint Thomas will be joining the team at the end of the season. A former winner of the junior edition of Paris-Roubaix, Thomas has fought his way back up to fitness after a bad training crash last year in Australia when he was hit by a car. Spaniards Enrique Mata (22) and Miguel Ochoa (21) are also joining the team.
- US-based Rachel Heal has just launched a coaching service on her website www.rachelheal.com. Olympian Rachel, the Manchester Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, has national championship medals in the road race, time trial, track events and cyclo-cross. Rachel has just won a stage race in the USA so has plenty of experience to draw on to make a difference to your training programme. A qualified British Cycling coach, Rachel is also studying for a personal trainer qualification and will be happy to take on clients who are new to cycling or more experienced athletes who wish to draw on the experience of one of Great Britain's top female riders.
Shorts: Ullrich, Vuelta, Saunier, Rachel HealClose
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