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Scroll down to read these articles from the web site of L'Equipe.  Translated by Walt Ballenberger  
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Doping- Searches of Belgian riders homes- 03/24/06
Tour of Castille and Leon- Vino goes to the bank- 03/24/06
Tour of Castille and Leon- Fertonani takes it- 03/24/06
International Week- Cunego leader- 03/23/06
Tour of Castille and Leon- Garcia Acosta in front- 03/23/06
Tour of Castille and Leon- Popovych wins- 03/22/06
International Week: Zabriskie in the lead- 03/21/06
Milan- San Remo- Pozzato in a Surprise- 03/18/06
Tirreno-Adriatico- Dekker the Winner- 03/14/06
Tirreno-Adriatico- Bertagnolli OK- 03/13/06

Doping- Searches of Belgian riders homes- 03/34/06

The homes of a dozen professional Belgian riders were searched in the region of Dessel and Mol.  
The public prosecutor’s office in Turnhout announced on Friday that the police found several types
of banned doping products (EPO, clenbuterol, nondrolone, and a mixture of dangerous growth
hormones based in insulin).

Following these searches the Unibet.com team stated that it has fired its rider Geert Omloop,
champion of Belgium in 2003.  His name was among those cited on Friday by the daily Gazet van
Antwerpen, as well as that of the Belgian Dave Bruylandts.  Bruylandts denied that he had doping
products.  He is scheduled to rejoin the Unibet.com team on April 1, and he is currently suspended
for a positive EPO test in 2004.  According to Gazet van Antwerpen, Sven Vanthourenhout
(Rabobank), Jan Verstraeten (Fidea), Tim Van Huffel, Aart Vierhouten (Skill Shimano), Peter Wuyts
(Palmans), Christophe Roodhooft (Palmans) and Peter Van Santvliet (Fidea) all had their homes
searched.

“If it turns out that doping products were found in their homes, Omloop will be immediately fired, and
in the case of Bruylandts, he will not be offered an employment contract”, announced Unibet.com in
a communiqué.  The managing director of the team, Koen Terryn, will meet with the two riders on
Saturday morning.


Tour of Castille and Leon- Vino goes to the bank- 03/24/06

Alexander Vinokourov had a double victory during the 5th and final stage of the Tour of Castille and
Leon on Friday.  Thanks to his stage victory the rider from Liberty Seguros held onto his leader’s
jersey and won the event.

With this victory the Kazak confirms  that he is in good condition at the beginning of this season and
solidified his place among the favorites in the next Tour de France, where the succession of Lance
Armstrong is very much an open question.  Vinokourov finished the event with a lead of 21 seconds
over his teammate Luis Leon Sanchez and 26 seconds over the rider from the Discovery Channel
team, Jose Luis Rubiera.

His next race will be Liège-Bastogne-Liège on 23 April where he is the defending champion.  After
that, his only event before the Tour de France begins on July 1 will be the Dauphine Libere from the
4th to the 11 of June.

Results of the 5th stage:
1. Alexandre Vinokourov (KAZ/Liberty Seguros) 147.1 km in 3h51'45"
2. Aketza Pena (ESP) at 4"
3. Angel Edo (ESP) 7"
4. Haimar Zubeldia (ESP) s.t.
5. Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP) s.t.

Final results- general classification:
1. Alexandrer Vinokourov (KAZ/Liberty Seguros) 16h35'12"
2. Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP) at 21"
3. Jose Luis Rubiera (ESP) 26"
4. Egoi Martinez (ESP) 1'08"
5. Jose Azevedo (POR) 1'12

Tour of Castille and Leon- Fertonani takes it- 03/23/06

The Italian Marco Fertonani (Baléares-Caisse d'Epargne) won the 4th stage of the Tour of Castille
and Leon on Thursday, raced between Avila et Navacerrada (148.9 km).  The Kazak Alexander
Vinokourov (Liberty) holds onto the lead in the general classification.

Results of the 4th stage:
1. Marco Fertonani (ITA/Baléares-Caisse d'Epargne)
the 148.9 km in 4h10'59"
2. Manuel Beltrán (ESP) at 29"
3. Alexandre Vinokourov (KAZ) 1'22"
4. Luis León Sánchez (ESP) 1'32"
5. Jose Luis Rubiera (ESP) 1'36"

General Classification:
1. Alexandre Vinokourov (KAZ/Liberty Seguros) 12h43'27"
2. Luis León Sánchez (ESP) at 14"
3. José Luis Rubiera (ESP) 19"
4. Michele Scarponi (ITA) 1'00"
5. Egoi Martínez (ESP) 1'01"

International Week- Cunego leader- 03/23/06

It was a double coup for the Italian Damiano Cunego (Lampre) who took over the leader’s jersey in
the International week on Thursday after having won the 3rd stage between Scandiano and Fiorano
Modène, raced over 165 km.

Cunego, 24 years of age, winner of the Tour of Italy in 2004 and also the Tour of Lombardy that
year, took his first victory of the season and the 28th of his career, which began in 2002.

Vincenzo Nibali, who was the leader the previous day, was at a disadvantage because several of his
teammates abandoned the race, and this left an opening for Cunego, who now has only a two
second lead over his compatriot.  There was a lone escape by Rinaldo Nocentini who took off in the
75th kilometer and led the race for almost 50 kilometers.  But the rider from the other side of the
alps was caught by the peleton with the Lampre team leading the way.  Cunego showed his speed in
the last straightaway to take the win in front of his compatriots Luca Mazzanti and Massimo Giunti.

Results of the stage:
1. Damiano Cunego (ITA/Lampre) 4h19'50"
(average speed: 38,239 km/hr)
2. Luca Mazzanti (ITA) s.t.
3. Massimo Giunti (ITA) s.t.
4. Riccardo Ricco (ITA) s.t.
5. Alessandro Bertolini (ITA) s.t.

General Classification:
1. Damiano Cunego (ITA/Lampre) 12h05'09"
2. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) at 2"
3. Mario Aerts (BEL) 11"
4. Sergio Ghisalberti (ITA) 14"
5. Luca Mazzanti (ITA) 17"


Tour of Castille and Leon- Garcia Acosta in front- 03/23/06

The third stage of the Tour of Castille and Leon went to the Spaniard Jose Garcia Acosta.  The rider
from Baléares-Caisse d'Epargne came in first at Salamanque at the end of a stage of 181.2 km.  He
succeeded to escape from the peleton and held onto a lead of two seconds at the finish line over
Pablo Urtasun and Luciano Pagliarini.  The first Frenchman, Florent Brard, came in 64th

The Kazak Alexander Vinokourov keeps the lead in the general classification in front of two
Spaniards, Luis Leon Sanchez and Santos Gonzalez.

Results of the 3rd stage:
1. José Garcia Acosta (ESP/Baléares-Caisse d'Epargne) 181.2 km in 4h32'21"
2. Pablo Urtasun (ESP) at 02"
3. Luciano Pagliarini (BRE) s.t.
4. Angel Edo (ESP) s.t.
5. Wesley van der Linden (BEL) s.t.

64. Florent Brard (Baléares-Caisse d'Epargne) s.t.

General Classification:
1. Alexandre Vinokourov (KAZ/Liberty) 8 h 31:06.
2. Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP) at 4"
3. Santos Gonzalez (ESP) 5"
4. José Luis Rubiera (ESP) s.t.
5. Michele Scarponi (ITA) 11"

48. Florent Brard (Baléares-Caisse d'Epargne) at 1'53"


Tour of Castille and Leon- Popovych wins- 03/22/06

The second stage of the Tour of Castille and Leon went to Yaroslav Popovych.  The
Ukranian from the Discovery Channel team showed himself to be the fastest in the 11
kilometer time-trial between Almeria nad Olmedo, finishing in front of his teammate Jason
McCartney.  Alexander Vinokourov (Liberty), third in the stage, took advantage of his high
finish to take the leader’s jersey in the general classification:

Results of the stage:
1. Yarolav Popovych (UKR/Discovery Channel), 11 km in 13'01"
2. Jason McCartney (USA) at 1"
3. Alexandre Vinokourov (KAZ) 11"
4. Sergi Escobar (ESP) 13"
5. Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP) 15"

General Classification:
1. Alexandre Vinokourov (KAZ/Liberty) 3h58'43"
2. Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP) at 4"
3. Santos Gonzalez (ESP) 5"
4. José Luis Rubiera (ESP) s.t.
5. Michele Scarponi (ITA) 11"


International Week: Zabriskie in the lead- 03/21/06

The American David Zabriskie is the first leader in the International
Week after the first stage, which took place in two parts near Misano in Italy.  During the first
session, it was the Italian Danilo Napoltano (Lampre) who took the lead, but the victory by the CSC
team during the second session, a team time trial, permitted Zabriskie to take command of the race.

Milan- San Remo- Pozzato in a Surprise- 03/18/06

A Quick Step rider took Milan-San Remo, but it wasn’t the big favorite of the race, the Belgian Tom
Boonen.  The Italian Filippo Pozzato took advantage of a strange race to win one of the most
prestigious events in Italy.  This young rider of 24 years of age had “the best day of my life” on
Saturday, to the chagrin of the title holder, his compatriot Alessandro Petacchi (Milram).  Pozzato is
the fourth different Italian rider to win the Primavera in five years after Petacchi,  Paolo Bettini (2003)
and Mario Cippolini (2002).

Pozzato was in the lead group on the Poggio, the last difficulty of the Milan-San Remo event.  The
peleton was preparing to catch the former winner of the Tirreno Adriatico (2003) in the last straight
line in order to set up a mass sprint finish.  But with one of their teammates in front, the Quick Step
team deliberately slowed the pace and Pozzato was able to hold his lead of a couple of meters until
the finish line.  Behind Petacchi, who was visibly surprised, Tom Boonen stopped working and raised
his arms in celebration, and he gave up third place to Luca Paolini (Liquigas) which made for the
34th all Italian podium in the history of this event.

“I’m sorry for Ballan, who gave a great effort on the Poggio, explained Pozzato, but  I was not able to
help in the escape group, Boonen was just behind us (…).  Now I have to bring the world
championship jersey to the team.!”  “The sprinters waited and no one was pushing”, confirmed
Ballan.  “When I saw that, I decided to attack.  It was a shame that Astarica was the only one who
was helping in the escape group”.  “Before the Poggio, we had to sacrifice Sacchi and Velo behind
the breakaway with Trenti”, stated Petacchi.  “In the final kilometers Zabel and Sacchi  worked hard,
but they didn’t have much left”.

Six in the lead group on the summit of the Poggio
Raced at an average speed of 45 km/hr, one of the fastest in history, the 97th edition of the
Primavera was marked by a long escape of eight riders (Allegrini, Auger, Carlström, Cheula,
Contrini, Etxebarria, Matveyev and Scheirlinckx).  They built up a lead of eleven minutes before
being caught with 28 km to the end.  A group of four (Moerenhout, Reynes, Schleck et Trenti) took
off with 16 km to the finish line and arrived at the Poggio with a lead of fifteen seconds.

On this climb of 3.7 km with a gradient of 4.5%, Frank Schleck of Luxumburg was the first to try to
get free.  But he was joined by the Italian Alessandro Ballan, then by another small group (Astarloa,
Sanchez, Nocentini) in which Pozzato was also included.  These riders took turns leading until the
summit which was 5.7 km from the finish line, and they held an advantage of several seconds over
the peleton.  Then they were all overtaken in the finish straightaway, except for Pozzato.  The winner
of the stage of Saint-Brieuc in the Tour de France 2004 put forth a great effort to grab a surprise
win.


Tirreno-Adriatico- Dekker the Winner- 03/14/06

The 41st edition of the Tirreno-Adriatico was won on Tuesday by the Dutchman Thomas Dekker
(Rabobank).  The seventh and final stage was won in a sprint by the Italian Alessandro Petacchi
(Milram) who beat out the Australian Robbie McEwen (Davitamon - Lotto), his compatriot Paride
Grillo and the Norwegian Thor Hushvod.  This was the 7th win of the season for Petacchi, 32 years
of age, and the 113rd victory of his career.

Raced between Campli and San Benedetto del Tronto (166 km), a circuit course that was perfectly
flat, Dekker was able to keep his 14 second lead over the German Jorg Jaksche (Liberty Seguros).
Jimmy Casper (Cofidis), who managed to get into the final group, finished 8th.

“I did not want to finish Tirreno-Adriatico without a stage victory.  My teammates worked very well;  
Knees and Poitschke before the final circuit, Cortinovis, Sacchi, Velo and Zabel in the last kilometers
lead me into the last 180 meters.  I preferred to wait until the last possible moment in the sprint
because the road was ascending and the wind was in the face.  I am surprised at my condition
because I feel stronger than I did last year over this same course when I had sore legs after the
week of racing”, stated the Tuscan three days before the start of Milan-San Remo which is the
biggest objective of his season  “I won’t hide it, I want to win over this course, and having Zabel at my
side, who has already won the race four times, is a big advantage for me”.

Tirreno-Adriatico- Bertagnolli OK- 03/13/06

The Italian Leonardo Bertagnolli (Cofidis) on Monday took the 6th stage of the event which took
place over 179 km between San Benedetto del Tronto and Torricella.  The Dutchman Thomas
Dekker (Robobank) keeps the lead in the general classification.

Dekker, 24 years of age, well protected in the middle of the peleton, easily controlled the situation
and should take the best win of his career on Tuesday.

As for Leonardo Bertagnolli, he took his second stage win of this season after the one he won in the
Tour of the Haut Var, and this was the7th of his career.  At the end of a stretch that was particularly
animated, the principal sprinters, who were preparing for an intense battle, were surprised by
Bertagnolli, who made the decision to attack with a little less than a kilometer to the finish line after
having fought off the return of the peleton which was led by Alessandro Petacchi.