Latest: Prosecutor appeals Puerto decision; break for Efimkin; Georgia confirmed; Hondo unsure of ra
The dropping of the Operaci¢n Puerto investigation is being challenged by Spanish prosecutors. Also,
PIC © TIM DE WAELE Spanish prosecutors appeal Puerto decision The Spanish prosecutors in the Operaci¢n Puerto investigation have appealed judge Antonio Serrano’s decision to drop the case. Judge Serrano declared last Monday that there wasn’t enough evidence to show that crimes against public health had been committed by Dr Eufemiano Fuentes and seven others. The suspects were involved in an alleged blood doping ring that provided blood transfusions and other doping products to athletes. But doping wasn’t a crime in Spain in May last year, so the investigation had to proceed along other grounds. The prosecutors are basing their appeal on a different law. They are arguing that the suspects involved in the case broke the law regarding the handling of blood and blood products. They also want more investigations to determine what was going on. If judge Serrano dismisses the appeal, it will pass onto the Madrid Provincial Court for consideration. Broken collarbone for Efimkin Russian Vladimir Efimkin (Caisse d’Epargne) has broken his collarbone after crashing in the first stage of Tirreno-Adriatico. The 25 year-old went down in a mass pile-up with around 50km to go in the stage. He was taken to a local hospital, where the fracture was diagnosed. The stage was won by Robbie McEwen (Predictor-Lotto) from Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) in a bunch sprint. Tour de Georgia confirmed This year’s edition of the Tour de Georgia will go ahead as planned between April 16th and 22nd. The fifth edition of the race was in danger of being cancelled for financial reasons, but organisers managed to find enough sponsorship to ensure that it went ahead. The race will now be partly funded by the Georgia Department of Economic Development, along with other sponsor. “On behalf of the Tour’s board of directors (Georgia Partnership of Economic Development), the Georgia Cancer Coalition and Medalist Sports, we are genuinely appreciative of the numerous individuals and corporations who responded to the tour’s call to action for additional support,” said race director Chris Aronhalt in a statement. “This is a powerful reflection of the importance of the Tour de Georgia to Georgia’s tourism economy, to our corporate partners and host communities, and to the international cycling community. While we continue to explore additional opportunities for fundraising, we are confident and committed to making this race a reality for Georgia, for cancer awareness and for the global sport of cycling.” The Tour de Georgia is the longest professional stage race in the USA at 667 miles (1073km). 15 teams will take part in the event, which is ranked as an hors category stage race on the UCI’s America Tour. Stage list Stage 1: Monday, April 16 Peachtree City to Macon Stage 2: Tuesday, April 17 Thomaston to Rome Stage 3: Wednesday, April 18 Rome to Chattanooga, Tenn. Stage 4: Thursday, April 19 Chickamauga/Walker Co. to Lookout Mountain (Time Trial) Stage 5: Friday, April 20 Dalton to Brasstown Bald Mountain/Towns Co Stage 6: Saturday, April 21 Lake Lanier Islands/ Hall Co. to Stone Mountain Park/Dekalb Co. Stage 7: Sunday, April 22 Atlanta (circuit race) www.tourdegeorgia.com Hondo unsure of ban end date German cyclist Danilo Hondo’s doping ban was scheduled to end on March 31, 2007, but he may now face a longer suspension. Hondo was penalised after testing positive for Carpedhon in the Vuelta a Murcia in 2005. He was initially banned for a year, starting March 31, 2005, but appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to get it reduced. The appeal had the opposite effect, and he was given a full two year ban. He subsequently appealed to the Swiss courts, who eventually ruled that the two year ban should stand. But in the meantime, Hondo raced for Team Lamonta during 2006, therefore didn’t spend a full two years on the bench. Last weekend, the CAS declared that Hondo should serve a full two year ban, which means that his race days last year may have to be accounted for before he is allowed to compete again. His lawyer is arguing that Hondo shouldn’t be punished for exercising his right to appeal last year, and the March 31 ban end date should still apply. Got a comment? Discuss this in the Procycling forum. What else is new? Check out the Procycling blog.