Shorts: Germany, VDB, Cooke, Bejar

No anti-doping law for Germany, Vandenbroucke close to deal with ninth team in 13 years, Cooke's Wor

No anti-doping law for Germany, Vandenbroucke close to deal with ninth team in 13 years, Cooke's Wor


The German government has decided not to draw an anti-doping law in the wake of the controversy surrounding Jan Ullrich's implication in the Operacion Puerto affair. The decision was announced on Tuesday by interior minister Wolfgang Schuble, who said: "The creation of a crime of 'sporting fraud' has been rejected." He did add, however, that "the national and international fight against doping must be led even more firmly."

- Frank Vandenbroucke has not allowed last week's mix-up over riding with a false Italian licence derail his likely move to a ninth team in his 13 seasons as a pro. Having already reached an agreement with Stefano Garzelli for next season, the Italian continental team Acqua e Sapone are in negotiations with the errant Belgian. "He is not as mad as they say," commented Acqua team manager Palmiro Masciarelli when asked about the link-up. "He only needs to rediscover the rhythm of competition. I met Frank and his family a week or two ago and found him a calm and balanced man." If the deal is sealed, Vandenbroucke is likely to make his Acqua e Sapone debut at the GP Misano on September 19.

- Nicole Cooke's hopes of regaining the World Cup title took a knock when she crashed out of the Holland Ladies Tour on Tuesday's rain-hit second stage. The Univega rider suffered abrasions to her arm and smashed her helmet after being involved in a 10-rider pile-up. Cooke can clinch the World Cup title in Sunday's penultimate event in Rotterdam assuming she is cleared to start. The stage was won by T-Mobile's Ina-Yoko Teutenberg in a bunch sprint. First stage winner Regina Schleicher retained the overall lead.

- Today's fifth stage of the Vuelta will take place in an unusual atmosphere given that the rider who it was designed to pay homage to is now in doping-imposed disgrace. The stage in Salamanca province to the Covatilla ski station above Roberto Heras's hometown of Bejar was meant to honour Heras, until the Spaniard was stripped of last year's record-breaking fourth Vuelta title for EPO use. "We had a meeting a couple of week's ago and the majority of us decided to do nothing," Nico, president of Heras's Bejar fan club tells today's Marca. "Some members of the club might go up the climb off their own back to encourage the riders and remember Heras."

Some have already done that it seems. Writing on the road to the Covatilla suggests "the Vuelta without Heras is like a bicycle without wheels". Heras himself is believed to have left Bejar, reportedly for Barcelona. "Although he hides it, he's not doing well. Cycling was his life, but they aren't allowing him to live in peace," says Nico.

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