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Doping- Hondo suspended for two years- 01/10/06
Doping- Hamilton in Court- 01/09/06
The Dekker Wager- 01/05/06
Moreau: "I Intend to Start Strong"- 12/21/05
Doping- Armstrong Hammers in the nail- 12/20/05

Doping- Hondo suspended for two years- 01/10/06
Danilo Hondo (Gerolsteiner) was suspended on Tuesday in Geneva for two years by the
Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), after having been convicted of doping last March
during the Tour de Murcie.  CAS listened to appeals by the World Anti-Doping Agency
(WADA) and by the International Cycling Union (ICU) against the decision rendered by the
Swiss Olympic committee in June 2005 against Hondo, who holds a Swiss license and was
at that time suspended for one year.

The rider is consequently suspended for a duration of two years as of April, 2005.  Among
other things, CAS rejected the appeal of the German, who asked to be acquitted.  In March
2005 Danilo Hondo was tested several times during the Tour de Murcie.  The analyses
conducted the anti-doping lab in Madrid showed that two of his urine samples contained
carphedon.  This substance, which has effects similar to amphetamines, is on the banned
substance list, in the category of stimulants.

In June 2005, the Swiss Olympic disciplinary committee for doping matters pronounced a
two year sentence against the rider, with one year of that a suspended sentence, along
with a fine of 50,000 Swiss francs (33,000 euros).  In July 2005 Danilo Hondo appealed to
CAS asking to be acquitted..  The ICU and WADA also appealed to CAS in this affair
asking that a suspension of two years be imposed on the rider without any of the sentence
suspended.

Doping- Hamilton in Court- 01/09/06
Suspended for two years for doping, the American Tyler Hamilton, holder of the Olympic
time trial title, will be in court in Denver, Colorado, on Tuesday to be heard by the Court of
Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Convicted of blood doping in September 2004 the day after his time trial victory in the Tour
of Spain, several weeks after his Olympic title, Hamilton (34 years of age) was suspended
by the American anti-doping agency, (USADA), on April 18, 2006.

Tuesday, Hamilton, who appealed this decision in June, will be heard for the second time
by CAS, four months after his first hearing.  The day will be dedicated essentially to
pleadings by the different parties.  CAS will render its final decision at the end of its
deliberations, which could last several weeks.

“The longer this lasts, the more determined I am to have something positive come out of all
this”, explained the rider on his web site.  “All this craziness… has made me stronger, more
aware of the reality that is taking place around me”.  

Hamilton was already tested for the first time on 19 August, 2004, the day after in victory in
the time trial at the Olympic Games in Athens.

The A sample was positive, but the second sample, tested at Lausanne (Switzerland), was
not valid because the blood sample degraded.  The IOC announced last 23 September
that, under those conditions, the American, 4th in the Tour de France 2003 and 2nd in the
Tour of Italy 2002, could keep the title he won in Athens.


The Dekker Wager- 01/05/06
Fed by an original training system, the Dutch team Rabobank is targeting the classics in
the 2006 season with numerous specialists, from the veteran Erik Dekker (35 years of age)
to the upcoming hopeful Thomas Dekker (21 years of age), and also including the triple
world champion Oscar Freire and Michael Boogerd.  With riders of the caliber of Juan
Antonio Flecha, Michael Rasmussen and also Denis Menchov, who is targeting the general
classification in the Tour de France 2006, this team is one of the most talented in the
ProTour and should be competitive in any context.

Freire is “optimistic”
“Our training system is progressively bearing fruit”, added Theo de Rooij, the general
manager, who announced on Thursday the contract extension until 2007 of Thomas
Dekker, winner of a stage in the Criterium International.  Dekker will be the head of a
generation of young Dutch riders who have gone through the cycling school started by
Rabobank ten years ago.  He will be accompanied by Pieter Weening (24 years of age),
winner of a stage of the Tour de France 2005, Joost Posthuma (24) and Theo Eltink (24).

These hopefuls do not make up an entire team however.  In this context, Oscar Freire will
play an important role after a marginal season because of recurrent injuries.  “I really hope
that all those problems are behind me now” stated the Spaniard.  “The training of the next
few weeks will tell me more about my ability to return to a high level.  But I am optimistic”.

Freire “is overjoyed” with the reinforcement provided by his compatriot Jan Antonio Flecha,
a true classic rider, as are Erik Dekker and Michael Boogerd.  “Our team is very strong this
year.  In the classics I think we will rival the Quick Step team and Tom Boonen”, assured
Dekker, who heads into his final season “with the ambition to win a big victory”, before
becoming one of the sporting directors of the team, succeeding Joop Zoetemelk.

Menchov : “why not me?”
However, one day races will not be the only objective of Rabobank.  After a successful
Tour de France 2005 (polka dot jersey won by the Dane Michael Rasmussen and stage
victories by Rasmussen and Weening) and the second place by the Russian Denis
Menchov in the Tour of Spain (behind Roberto Heras, tested positive for EPO), the
appetite of “the oranges” will be just as large in the stage races.

“The departure of Armstrong will open up a possibility for a number of people who can wine
the Tour de France.  Why not me?” asked Denis Menchov.  Rabobank will in any case be
strong in the mountains with the Colombian Mauricio Ardila (9th in the Vuelta), Rasmussen,
Menchov and Boogerd.

The 2006 Roster : Mauricio Ardila (COL), Michael Boogerd (PBS), Jan Boven (PBS),
Graeme Brown (AUS), Bram De Groote (PBS), Marc De Maar (PBS), Erik Dekker (PBS),
Thomas Dekker (PBS), Theo Eltink (PBS), Juan Antonio Flecha (ESP), Oscar Freire (ESP),
Matthew Hayman (AUS), Pedro Horillo (ESP), Alexander Kolobnev (RUS), Gerben Lowik
(PBS), Denis Menchov (RUS), Grischa Niermann (ALL), Joost Posthuma (PBS), Michael
Rasmussen (DAN), Niels Scheuneman (PBS), Roy Sentjens (PBS), Jukka Vastaranta (FIN),
Thorvald Veneberg (PBS) Marc Wauters (BEL), Pieter Weening (PBS)
General Manager : Theo De Rooij (PBS)
Sporting Director : Erik Breukink (PBS)
Assistant Sporting Directors : Frans Maassen (PBS), Joop Zoetemelk (PBS), Adria Van
Houwelingen (PBS)
Note- PBS= Holland, ESP = Spain, ALL= Germany

Moreau: “I Intend to Start Strong”- 12/21/05

In the columns of the daily L’Equipe dated Wednesday, December 21, Christophe Moreau
declared that he was ready to make an aggressive start to the season for his new team,
AG2R Prevoyance, with the firm intention of “performing well right out of the chute”.  

It will be season number twelve as a pro and only the third team (Festina, Crédit Agricole
and then AG2R Prévoyance) for Christophe Moreau.  Actually in training for a race in
January at the Grand Prix d'Ouverture, the man from Picardy is looking forward to this
season with a positive spirit: “This is an important change”, he declared.  “With each day
that passes, I learn more about this team that is in line with my thinking.  There is a group,
an ambiance, and a solidarity.  And additionally there are words such as confidence or
respect, which are good to hear”.  And he added: “I intend to start out strong.  I want to get
off on a good foot”.  

“My priority is still the Tour”
Moreau, who had no victories last year, has turned the page of Credit Agricole without
regrets: “I was a little lost.  I had the feeling that Credit Agricole no longer had confidence
in me (…).  I am someone who needs to keep a high level of moral.  I have my doubts, and
I need to be spoken to, reassured”.  

As for his schedule, he does not see any particular big changes:  “I want to more or less
keep up the same direction, with three or four big stage races in May and June”, he
indicated.  “I don’t want to turn things upside down, to say for example that before the end
of my career I need to do a Giro or a Paris-Roubaix.  My priority is still the Tour.  In it I’ve
experienced many good things.  This year again it gave me chills”.  

Moreau will ride the Grande Boucle (Tour de France) as co-leader with Francisco
Mancebo.  “Today he is in a better position to finish in the top five in the Tour” he
speculated.  “I see myself rather in the position of a spoiler.  I finished eleventh while taking
risks, and I am no longer in that role”.  

Doping- Armstrong hammers in the nail- 12/20/05

Following accusations of doping of which he is the target, Lance Armstrong has not gotten
over his anger.  L’Equipe on Tuesday reports that the American is holding his line of
defense.

After having responded last weekend in the Flemish press, Het Nieuwsblad, that he was the
“victim of a witch hunt and a publicity stunt by the French media”, the Texan hammered in
the nail even further on Monday in the columns of the Dutch daily De Telegraaf, affirming
“that he will never be present again at the Tour de France, at least at a start or finish”.

The seven time winner of the Grande Boucle (Tour de France) went on to berate in no
uncertain terms the organizers of the event: “It would be out of the question that I shake
the hand of hypocrites like Leblanc, Prudhomme and Clerc”, he stated.  “Of course I will
come to Europe to follow certain races and I will visit the team in the evening at the hotel
during the Tour.  But you will never see me at a start or a finish”.

And in concluding, Armstrong, as he has done before, waved the specter of jealousy: “I
have nothing against the French in general.  I only criticize the Tour organizers and the
journal L’Equipe  (…)  The French have not placed high in the general classification for
twenty years.  In trying to destroy my reputation they hope to rewrite the history, but they
will never succeed in doing so”.  
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