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Canadian cyclist Genevieve Jeanson, 24, has been banned for life by the American Cycling Association after testing positive for the blood-booster EPO at the Tour de Toona in the United States in July. Jeanson has told the La Presse newspaper that she is retiring from the sport but is going to contest the results to clear her name.
- Lance Armstrong has tipped Jan Ullrich to win this year's Tour de France with a "four or five-minute gap". Speaking to German paper Bild, the seven-time Tour winner, who had previously tipped Ivan Basso to win the 2006 Tour, stated: "I predict that Jan will win the 2006 Tour with a four or even five-minute gap." He also said of his own rivalry against the German: "All our plans and tactics were planned with one aim - to put Ullrich in difficulty."
- The Peace Race, which was cancelled last year due to differences of opinion among its organisers, is set to reappear this season but with a more western itinerary than was traditionally the case. Austria has replaced Poland as one of the three host countries with the Czech Republic and Germany. This year's race will start in the Austrian city of Linz on May 13 and finish in Hannover in Germany on May 20.
- Once again Tour of the Mediterranean race director Lucien Aimar and his team have come up with an unexpected and exciting-looking route for their event which takes place on Feb 8-12. The race will start in Marseille and finish five days later in Italy at San Remo. Although the longest stage is a mere 125km, there is plenty to test the teams taking part.
The first stage of 110km to Marignane takes in the Gineste, Roquefort and l'Ange climbs early on, although the latter half should favour the sprinters. Day two brings the traditional Tour of the Med run to the summit of Mont Faron above Toulon, while day three is split into a morning road stage and an afternoon team time trial of 18km at La Garde. The col de la Madone is the main feature on stage five to Menton, while the final stage includes the last 70 kilometres of the route of Milan-San Remo including the climbs of the Cipressa and the Poggio.
The route is as follows:
Stage 1, Feb 8: Marseille-Marignane, 110km
Stage 2, Feb 9: Berre L'Etang-Mont Faron, 116km
Stage 3, Feb 10: La Londe les Maures-Hyres, 125km
Stage 4, Feb 10: La Garde-La Garde, 18km team time trial
Stage 5, Feb 11: Saint Laurent du Var-Menton, 107km
Stage 6, Feb 12: San Remo-San Remo, 120km
- The UCI has granted five more teams to European continental status. The teams are Comunitat Valenciana, Relax-GAM, Andalucia-Paul Versan, Elk Haus and Androni Giocattoli. The Naturino team still needs to present further documentation to assure its selection as the 26th team given this status.
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