Saiz loses prestigious ProTour position, major tours ask to be removed from ProTour, Ventoux rumoure
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Astana team owner Manolo Saiz has been replaced on the ProTour’s governing council by Crdit Agricole team manager Roger Legeay. Saiz has previously been stripped of the presidency of the Association of Sporting Groups (AIGCP) after being implicated in the Operacion Puerto blood doping inquiry.
– Sticking with the ProTour, the organisers of the three major tours have asked for their races to be scheduled on a separate calendar next season as part of their ongoing conflict with the International Cycling Union over the format of the ProTour.
– Rumours are growing that Mont Ventoux will feature on next year’s Tour de France route after an absence of five seasons. The ‘Giant of Provence’ is likely to feature on the third weekend of the race, prior to the second rest day, as the race moves out of the Alps and pauses before stages in the Pyrenees. Rather than finishing on the Ventoux as it did when Richard Virenque won there in 2002, it is believed that the Tour will pass over the climb for a finish in Carpentras, as it did in 1994 when Eros Poli was the surprise winner after a day-long solo break. If the Ventoux’s inclusion in the Tour route is confirmed at race launch in Paris next month, it will be tackled 40 years after Britain’s Tom Simpson died there in 1967.
– Belgian senator Jean-Marie Dedecker has received a threatening letter containing a mystery powder at his home. Belgian police believe the letter is linked to comments Dedecker made last week about top names in Belgian cycling being involved in doping, which has led to threats of legal action from Tom Boonen and his Quick Step team. An inquiry has been launched into the provenance of the letter.
Meanwhile, Dedecker has said he has been sent details by a doctor of a fourth Belgian rider implicated in drug use. Dedecker said on Dutch TV that the doctor had said the unnamed rider had been looking to buy EPO. Dedecker also repeated his allegations of last week that three Belgian riders had paid 24,000 euros for a doping course in Italy. Once again, he refused to name the riders involved.