At the Tour of Germany, pretty much the only show in town in European Pro Cycling at the moment, Lampre’s Danieli Benatti, once hailed as a the next Cipo, came off white-hot Filippo Pozzatto’s wheel to win the group sprint for Stage 3. Euskatel’s Unai Etxebarria animated early with a long attack, and can console himself with the fact that, although his break failed, his head was extremely well-ventilated. Current race leader Bram Tankink finished with the group, marking probably his last day in yellow as tomorrow’s queen stage looks to be one for the skinnies.
In out-of-competition news, psuedo-American Fabrizio Guidi has been suspended by his Phonak squad after turning up positive for an unspecified controlled substance. While his B-sample sits sealed in a lab somewhere, waiting to tested, Phonak management is no doubt sweating blood as Guidi’s infraction is the 4th for the squad in the past 14 months. Phonak, having only slipped into the ProTour by the skin of its teeth, is currently on a probationary two-year license, due to the doping offnses of last year.
Despite the fact that Guidi has turned up positive, and the fact that he raced in this year’s Tour de France, Tour organizers have declared the 2005 Tour officially clean. Of the 164 blood and urine samples, only one returned mere traces of the stimulant norepinephrine, which could have arisen from legal use of cold medications, and so the UCI declared the race clean. Which just shows you how far drug testing has to go.