Shorts: Aitor, Cofidis, Panaria, LiŠge

Aitor Gonzalez cleared to ride again by Spanish federation, Cofidis name a strong team for the Giro,

Aitor Gonzalez cleared to ride again by Spanish federation, Cofidis name a strong team for the Giro,


The Spanish federation has dropped its investigation into alleged doping by Aitor Gonzalez at last year's Vuelta after the rider was able to show that a supplement he has been using had been contaminated. Gonzalez's representative released a statement to the press on Monday regretting the "irreparable damage to his personal and professional image" the affair had caused, and condemning the leaking of the news to the international press by a French news agency "which implicated the cyclist in a case of doping". The release thanked the Basque fans and the Spanish press for their support during the past few months. Gonzalez is expected to return to racing with Euskaltel in the coming weeks.

- Cofidis's team for the Giro will be led by Belgium's Rik Verbrugghe, winner of the prologue at the 2001 race. Verbrugghe is targeting the opening 6.2km test on home ground in Seraing, and will be joined by compatriots Thierry Marichal, Maxime Monfort and Staf Scheirlinckx. Leonardo Bertagnolli and Cristian Moreni offer a strong Italian presence, while the team also includes last year's double stage-winner Ivan Parra. The line-up is completed by Herv Duclos-Lassalle and Amal Moinard.

- Panaria go into the Giro with their hopes focusing mainly on three riders, overall contender Emanuele Sella, sprinter Paride Grillo, and former mountains winner Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio. They are joined in the team by Luca Mazzanti, Fortunato Baliani, Rubiano Chavez, Sergei Matveyev, Maximiliano Richeze and Felipe Laverde.

- The city of Lige has honoured Lige-Bastogne-Lige race director Jean-Marie Leblanc and past winner Bernard Hinault with positions as citizens of honour. Leblanc directed his final edition of Lige on Sunday.

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