Week in cycling: Ullrich on doping, Lemond leaves Mercury, Vaughters wins Dauphine stage

Credit: Grazia Neri/Allsport
BERLIN, June 11 (AFP) - Top German cyclist Jan Ullrich, the 1997 Tour de France winner, has called for lifetime bans for cyclists who test positive for banned substances, German daily Bild reported.

"Riders who use illegal means really annoy me," said the 27-year-old who has never finished outside the top-three in the world's most famous, and difficult race.

He added: "And they shouldn't be readmitted to competition after a ban of a few months but excluded from competition for life."

Ullrich was speaking after the final stage of the drug-plagued Giro d'Italia. Around 70 riders are under some degree of scrutiny after Italian police and drugs squad officers discovered illegal substances of varying degrees while ransacking team hotels last Wednesday night.

Riders found guilty of possession of banned substances are subject to criminal proceedings in Italy, as well as facing bans of between six and 12 months under International Cycling Union (UCI) rules.

Giro raid uncovers 'new generation' of doping drugs

A raid by anti-drugs police on the Giro d'Italia has uncovered a new generation of blood-boosting drugs, which mimic the effects of erythropoietin, the banned red-blood cell booster that was at the center of the drugs scandals that hit the Tour de France in 1998.

Legal sources say that a blood substitute called RGR-13 was found during the raid in San Remo, Italy. It is produced by a small pharmaceutical company, Allos Therapeutics, in Denver, in the US and is still undergoing clinical trials among cancer patients.

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Giro winner Simoni a no-go for the Tour?

PARIS, June 11 (AFP) Belgian riders Frank Vandenbroucke and Ludo Dierckxsens have been included in the Italian team Lampre for this year's Tour de France, team manager Pietro Algeri said here Monday.

However a similar decision on Lampre's Italian team leader Gilberto Simoni, who won the controversial Giro d'Italia on Sunday, will not be taken until the next few days.

"If he's (Simoni) to ride in the Tour de France, he will not do the Tour of Switzerland which starts next week," Algeri told AFP.

For the "Grande Boucle," the Italian team should consist of Belgian trio Vandenbroucke, Dierckxsens and Johan Verstrepen, Czech Jan Svorada, Latvian Raivis Belohvosciks, South African Robert Hunter, Italian Marco Serpellini and Pole Zbigniew Spruch, who came second in the last world championships.

Italian Simone Bertoletti is hoping to snatch the final spot in Lampre Tour de France squad, unless Simoni, who on Sunday admitted that the Tour "could be too big a challenge for me" decides to go on the July 7-29 showpiece.

Lemond leaves Mercury, battles lawsuit

NEW YORK, June 13 (AFP) Triple Tour de France champion Greg Lemond has officially terminated his contract with the American Mercury division one cycling team, Lemond's company announced in a press release late Tuesday.

"LeMond Cycling, the endorsement company of Greg LeMond and Shadetree Sports, its cycling team contract partner, announce the termination of the co-title sponsorship arrangement with the Mercury Cycling Team, run by John Wordin Sports, due to certain conditions which were the foundation of the agreement that put them together," the press release said.

"LeMond Cycling and Shadetree Sports will be looking to energize an independent team for the next racing season."

Lemond partnered with Mercury team director John Wordin to sign co-sponsor European telecommunication provider Viatel to build the Mercury-Viatel team earlier this year. The contract ran until the end of the 2001 season with an option to extend it at the end of each season if the circumstances were right.

The 39-year-old American, who made a return to cycling in 2001, six years after his retirement, only played an advisory role on the team.

Lemond is also facing a lawsuit from Japanese bicycle giants Fuji for "tortuous interference." Fuji, the official bike supplier of the American Mercury team, has been dropped this year to allow its' riders to use Lemond frames in stead of the existing high-end aluminum Fuji ones.

American Vaughters wins Dauphine time trial

VALREAS, France, June 14 (AFP) Britain's David Millar, riding for Cofidis, took the overall leader's yellow and blue jersey after coming second in the fourth stage time-trial of the Dauphine Libere.

American Jonathan Vaughters of Credit Agricole won the 43K time-trial between Beaumes-de-Venise and Valreas in southeastern France, moving him up to second place in the overall standings 20 seconds behind Millar.

Millar, who wore the first yellow jersey of last year's Tour de France after winning the prologue, is determined to win the Dauphine and maintain the kind of form he will need going into this year's "Grande Boucle".

In typically Mediterranean temperatures, the Maltese-born Scot crossed the finish line three seconds behind Vaughters, with Spaniard David Plaza clocking the third best time at 12 seconds back.

Millar leads Vaughters in the overall standings with Frenchman Christophe Moreau in third position, 1:07 behind.

The Dauphine Libere is one of the pre-Tour de France races that many riders choose to participate in as it takes in some of the Tour's mountain stages, and is generally considered good preparation for France's July showpiece.

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