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Talented German Linus Gerdemann (Columbia) sent a clear message against doping after winning the Coppa Agostoni race in Italy on Wednesday.

The 25 year-old German who wore the yellow jersey in last year?s Tour de France took a strong stance against doping, beat Leonardo Bertagnolli (Liquigas) e Christian Pfannberger (Barloworld) in a three-rider sprint.

Gerdemann won the Tour de L?Ain stage race in France last week and will be team leader for Columbia at the Tour of Germany at the end of August. He broke his femur and damaged knee ligaments in a nasty crash during the time trial stage of Tirreno-Adriatico and missed the Tour de France but is looking good for the end of season.

Gerdemann was dubbed the new Jan Ullrich while riding for CSC in 2005 but has always taken a very clear stance against doping.

?Bjarne Riis gave me that name and the press picked it up but I?ve believed in following my own road in cycling,? he told Gazzetta dello Sport after his win in Italy.

?I?ve never been tempted to dope and no one has ever offered to dope me. I lucky, I?m part of a different generation of riders. It?s incredible that not everyone has understood that we?ve got to race clean otherwise our sport will die. We?ve got to do all we can to clean things up even if we?re already doing a lot.?

Spain?s Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d’Epargne) carried on where he left off in the Eneco Tour, winning the 4.4km prologue time trial after snatching victory in last year?s final time trial stage.

Gutierrez beat France?s Cyril Lemoine (Credit Agricole) by just 0.89 of a second after the Frenchman started early in dry conditions. Talented Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia) was third at one second.

Britain?s Roger Hammond (Columbia) was 107th at 32 seconds as he builds up for the Tour Britain. Jeremy Hunt (Credit Agricole) was 141st at 42 seconds.

Tom Boonen (Quick Step) was only 68th but will target sprints wins in the Eneco Tour until quitting on Sunday to prepare for the Vuelta. He faces competition from Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) who is returning from injury.

Gutierrez takes Eneco Tour opener, short report and photos>>

Nicolas Roche (Credit Agricole) kept the overall lead in the Tour du Limousin in central France after finishing second on stage two behind Japan?s Yukiya Arashiro (Meitan Hompo GDR).

Roche -the son of 1987 Giro, Tour and world title winner Stephen Roche, won the opening stage on Tuesday with a late solo attack.

The four-day race ends on Friday in Limoges.

Both Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) and 2007 winner Denis Menchov (Rabobank) will not ride this year?s Vuelta Espana after an intense season built on the Tour de France.

Evans initially appeared on a provisional start list for the three-week race that starts on August 30 in Granada but his team replaced him with Matt Lloyd on Wednesday.

Evans is still recovering from his damaged cruciate ligament caused by a fall during the team?s post-Tour de France celebrations. The only race on his schedule for the rest of the year is the Tour of Poland but a visit to a specialist will soon decide if his season is over.

The Silence-lotto team for the Vuelta will be lead by Yaroslav Popovych. Also in the line-up are Dominique Cornu, Bart Dockx, Pieter Jacobs, Olivier Kaisen, Roy Sentjens, Matthew Lloyd and Maarten Tjallingii.

Menchov is not in the Rabobank team after already riding the Giro d?Italia and the Tour de France. Young Dutch climber Robert Gesink who was fourth in Pairs-Nice and the Dauphine Libere races. Spain?s Oscar Freire will ride the first two weeks of Vuelta to prepare for the world championships as he attempts to win a fourth rainbow jersey.

Despite winning the gold medal in the Beijing Olympics, Spain?s Samuel Sanchez has made it clear he will ride for Alejandro Valverde and Oscar Freire at the world championships in Varese.

Sanchez will not ride the Vuelta but instead build-up for the world championships at the Tour of Poland. He has revealed that he will target the Tour de France in 2009.


UCI and Tour owners negotiate new deal
Friday’s international news round-up
Iban Mayo gets a two-year ban for 2007 Tour de France EPO positive
Fleeman follows in Bernhard Kohl’s footsteps
Casper named as fifth Tour de France positive
Sella confesses to doping