Latest: Milan-San Remo news; WADA wants Puerto file; Grabvovskyy recovering

There's plenty of news in the lead up to Saturday's Milan-San Remo. Who's hot, and who's not? Also,

Cycling : Tour of Qatar / Stage 2

PETACCHI Alessandro (Ita)
Al Wakra - Qatar Olympic Committee (135,5 Km)
Ronde van Qatar / Rit Etape
(c)Tim De Waele

There’s plenty of news in the lead up to Saturday’s Milan-San Remo. Who’s hot, and who’s not? Also,

PIC © TIM DE WAELE Milan-San Remo news Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) knows how to win Milan-San Remo, having done so in 2005. The sprinter from La Spezia also finished second last year after being foiled by Pippo Pozzato in the final kilometre. But his form is a little up in the air after Tirreno-Adriatico, where he didn’t win a stage. Milram was looking to set him up for the final stage in San Benedetto del Tronto yesterday, but Petacchi couldn’t deliver. “Unfortunately there was a crash in front of me when there were only two kilometres to go,” Petacchi told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I lost a lot of positions and I didn’t succeed in regaining my teammates who were now leading out. I’m sorry not to be able o win a stage in Tirreno-Adriatico, but I feel good and hope to have more luck in Milan-San Remo.” Robbie McEwen (Predictor-Lotto) says that he feels good for Milan-San Remo, a race that he has never won but would dearly like to. The feeling in the legs is the most important, and it’s good,” McEwen told FM Brussel. “If you feel nothing in the legs, that’s best. I’m pedaling well, never had a problem in Tirreno. I would love to win on Via Roma on Saturday, but it’s not a given that it will be a sprint. Furthermore, I still have to survive the Cipressa and Poggio. I have to stay calm. It’s important not to stress in a race of 300 kilometres.” McEwen’s teammate Leif Hoste is back on the bike after his crash in stage 6 of Tirreno-Adriatico. He suffered a big bruise to his left thigh, and abandoned the race on Monday. His team director Hendrik Redant told Sportwereld, “There is nothing broken and the pain is also going away.” After a short training session today, Hoste will determine whether he is fit enough for Milan-San Remo. French sprinter Jean-Patrick Nazon (Ag2r Prevoyance) has pulled out of Milan-San Remo after a crash. Nazon, who won the first stage of Paris-Nice, was training with Nicolas Roche when he slipped on a patch of oil and ran into a car. He was taken to hospital, and although he wasn’t diagnosed with any broken bones, he suffered several bruises and was advised to rest for a week. Belgian Philippe Gilbert will lead the Franaise des Jeux team in La Primavera. Gilbert finished 71st overall in Paris-Nice, and is aiming to be in good condition for Saturday. He will be supported by Christophe Detilloux, Ludovic Auger, Carlos Da Cruz, Frdric Guesdon, Christophe Mengin, Fabien Patanchon and Thomas Lvkvist. WADA to be civil party in Operaci¢n Puerto The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has asked a Spanish judge whether it can be a civil party in the Operaci¢n Puerto investigation. The case was closed last week by judge Antonio Serrano, who ruled that no crimes had been committed against public health by Dr Eufemiano Fuentes and his associates. But the state prosecutor has already filed an appeal against that decision, arguing that the law had still been broken in the handling of the blood. The inquiry was not trying to determine whether athletes had doped, because doping wasn’t then illegal in Spain. But the UCI and now WADA want to examine the evidence to see whether any doping violations had been committed by cyclists. The UCI already has a copy of the case file, which it is looking at, and WADA hopes to be given one as well. In a statement, WADA said, “It is not clear which evidence can be used as of now, since the judge ruled last year that the evidence garnered from the investigation could not be used by sports authorities as the basis for punishing athletes until the criminal investigation is completed. Under the World Anti-Doping Code, anti-doping organizations such as the UCI can sanction “non-analytical” violations, i.e., violations which do not involve a positive doping control test, such as use or possession of prohibited substance and methods, trafficking or tampering. “WADA hopes that the relevant evidence will become available soon and that the judge will allow the use of the entire file for disciplinary purposes.” Grabvovskyy to leave hospital The Quick.Step rider Dmitro Grabovskyy has left hospital after being involved in a car crash on Saturday night. The Ukrainian is recovering after suffering bad bruises to his neck and shoulders. He should be able to train again within four days, but his agent doesn’t expect him to be back racing until the end of May. Got a comment? Discuss this in the Procycling forum. What else is new? Check out the Procycling blog.