First Edition Cycling News for July 19, 2007
Edited by Sue George and Laura Weislo
T-Mobile racers and others react to Sinkewitz' positive test
By Brecht Decaluwé in Marseille and Sue George
Patrik Sinkewitz (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
After Stage 10 of
the Tour de France ended in Marseille, the T-Mobile riders looked hammered,
but it wasn't just the day's effort that was getting them down.
Nearly a year after Floyd Landis' positive Tour de France testosterone
test, news broke Wednesday morning of T-Mobile team member Patrik
Sinkewitz' positive test for testosterone in a June 8th out of competition
test control a few days after the Bayern Rundfahrt during a team training
camp. The news comes not long after several riders for the team's predecessor
Team Telekom, including 1996 Tour winner Bjarne Riis, admitted to doping.
Former wearer of the yellow jersey and Germany's hope for the future,
Linus Gerdemann, talked with Cyclingnews about his teammate's positive
test. "It's difficult to say something right now because we heard
it just before the start. If it's true, then it is bad news for us, but
it also shows that the system starts to work. It shows that the possibilities
to dope are getting smaller.
"For sure it's not good for our team," said Gerdemann. "When
someone is doping in the team, then he is also not sensible because it's
not only his job [to be affected], but also that of 200 professionals."
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Gerdemann still believes in the direction of anti-doping efforts. "I
said it before that we're on the right course, but we're not at the finish
yet. That's what I said Saturday [when he won stage
7] and that's what I say now. It's very difficult to dope in our team.
I hope the control system evolves even more in this way, that's the future
of cycling," Gerdemann concluded.
T-Mobile's Marcus Burghardt was also passionate in his response, but
chose to express himself by getting into a breakaway Wednesday and eventually
T-Mobile team general manager Bob
Photo ©: Shane Stokes/Cyclingnews
Team General Manager Bob Stapleton was glad to talk with Cyclingnews
in Marseille after hearing the news. "Clearly if the B-sample confirms
the A - which is entirely likely - then it is a bitter disappointment,"
"On the other hand, it shows the testing works with this form of
out-of-competition testing and the internal tests we do," said Stapleton.
"They [the tests] have a powerful message: if you cheat, you have
a good chance to get caught, and if you get caught, there are consequences.
"We go out of our way for these athletes, and we know we demand
a lot in return. But there was trust and that has been broken. That is
When asked how he personally felt towards Sinkewitz, the American didn't
hide his feelings. Stapleton said, "This is a guy we supported and
who we gave every chance to do the right thing. When he puts all of his
teammates at risk and puts the team and the sport in jeopardy, then I
find that a gross disappointment and irresponsible." But he asked
that the other riders in the Tour de France still receive the respect
"We knew this [anti-doping project] was going to be a tough fight
when we started it, but it was something that we felt was possible. We're
going to stay and fight. The [team's] riders were informed by the media
right as they were leaving today. They were obviously shocked, but they
headed for their bikes and wanted to show that they believe in what they're
doing," Stapleton said
Lefevre and McQuaid respond to curtailed TV coverage
Sinkewitz' test prompted German public TV station ARD/ZDF to stop
broadcasting their live coverage of the Tour de France until his case
is resolved. IPCT President Patrick Lefevre shared his thoughts with Cyclingnews.
"I regret what happened because our international sponsors are missing
out on 80 million people who can't watch the race anymore. I also regret
that it took five weeks before the results were known. Everybody came
to London to make a beautiful Tour de France, to avoid scandals. Sinkewitz
wasn't positive in the Tour de France, but he shouldn't have been at the
start since he was controlled much earlier.
withdrew from the Tour de France earlier this week after suffering
a broken nose and a shoulder injury following a collision with a spectator.
If his B sample also proves positive, he may be subjected to a two-year
ban from the sport and a fine of one year of his income. He is presently
suspended by his team, pending an outcome in the case.
According to Reuters, UCI president Pat McQuaid declined to comment
until results of the B sample are in although he speculated on a possible
positive outcome, "I think it is very unfortunate if this is the
case." Sinkewitz will have five days after receiving written notice
to request a test of his B sample.
Christian Frommert, director of sports communication for sponsor Deutsche
Telekom AG, commented on team's website t-mobile-team.com about
the future of the company's cycling sponsorship. "After the Tour
de France, everybody involved will sit down to discuss the way forward
in a calm and considered way."
Clerc comments on Sinkewitz and no German TV coverage
By Gregor Brown in Marseille
ASO President Patrice Clerc made a special announcement only moments
after Cédric Vasseur won stage
10 in Marseille. The Frenchman wanted to speak his mind about Patrik
test and German television's subsequent decision to pull the plug
on its Tour de France coverage.
"I heard about the positive control of Patrik Sinkewitz today,"
said Clerc to the gathered Tour de France press on a sizzling hot day
in southern France. "I am surprised," continued Clerc. "I
think the riders know that we are determined to fight doping. It is a
big risk on the part of the riders to make this kind of joke. The controls
are more and more effective and it is a risk for them."
A year after the Eufemiano
Fuentes affair, Clerc is disappointed that his race has a positive
test result linked to it. "I am also sad and I thought the riders
understood and that they can't do these kind of things."
"I heard about German television deciding not to air the Tour de
France," finished Clerc. "I don't understand why they made a
decision against us because we are working hard and... I don't know. Maybe
they prefer we don't do controls and don't find anything. But if we find
something it means we are trying and to fight against doping. It is not
fair to take this decision while we are showing hard that we are fighting
hard against doping."
Frenchman bookends career in Marseille
By Jean-François Quénet in Marseille
Cédric Vasseur (Quickstep-Innergetic)
on the podium.
Quickstep's veteran French rider Cédric Vasseur bookended his career with
a stage win in Marseille, besting his breakaway companions in a frenetic
sprint to the line.
Photo ©: Cyclingnews.com
Ten years ago, Cédric Vasseur began his Tour de France career by winning
stage give to La Châtre and taking the yellow jersey for five days, while
today he reiterated that he will retire after taking the victory in stage
ten of his last Tour de France. "I'm stopping at the end of this year
for sure," he confirmed after his victory.
Vasseur rode like a master in breakaway, limiting his work in the final
kilometres and timing his sprint to perfection. "I marked two men: Flecha
because he hadn't worked much and Voigt because he's always fearful,"
the Frenchman explained. "When Halgand attacked, I followed Voigt.
I knew how it would happen on the Col de la Gineste - I know this climb,
in ten years, I've had many opportunities to climb it at the Tour of the
Mediterranean or at other races. I suspected that the other riders would
Despite putting in one dig in the final five kilometres, the 36 year-old
sat at the back of the small group and watched like a cat ready to pounce.
"I gambled everything on my sprinting," he explained, still
drained from the heat which reached 37 degrees on the day. "After
230 kilometres, the heat was hard to handle. With 200 meters to go, as
I was in last position of the group and everyone was looking on the left,
I surprised them on the right. I never lost the advantage of the speed,
that's how I managed to keep one tyre ahead of Casar. I felt they were
pushing behind me."
Read the full
Veteran delivers a lesson
By Brecht Decaluwé in Marseille
Winning a Tour de France stage from a small breakaway is an exercise
in patience, cunning and ruthlessness, and the perfect example was given
in Wednesday's stage
ten in Marseille by veteran Quickstep rider Cédric Vasseur. To the
26 year-old Swiss rider who wound up third, that lesson was hard to accept.
Liquigas' Michael Albasini was in a good position to take the stage, but
although he has a solid sprint, it just wasn't enough on the day. "This
hurts," Albasini admitted, "and I know I was riding a lot in the wind
today but it wasn't that work that made the difference."
Albasini was marking the other former Tour stage winner in the bunch,
which wasn't a bad idea. "I was on the wheel of Voigt which is normally
not the worst position," he explained. "Being in the second
position I had at least five metres on Vasseur who was in last position,"
he said of the start of the sprint. "I was very nervous because this was
a golden opportunity, but after 200km you don't have the same sprint in
your legs as you normally would have. It was a long sprint and Vasseur
started very fast, he was very strong and more explosive," he explained
Quickstep hat-trick couldn't have gone to a nicer guy
The sprint into Marseille
Photo ©: Sirotti
Green jersey Tom Boonen watched the sprint of his winning teammate on
television, and was impressed by the Vasseur's timing. "He rode the perfect
sprint. He does the same like I do but I'm a bit more blocked," Boonen
laughed. "He starts his sprint at 250m from the finish, but he started
really fast and that did it." It was the Quickstep team's third win in
this Tour de France- a great success for the team, and Boonen was overjoyed
for his teammate. "When I heard he won from Fitte [directeur sportif Wilfried
Peeters -ed.] it was perfect, this is fantastic as he is a great guy."
At the finish line in Marseille, Quickstep's general manager Patrick
Lefevere was also celebrating the win. "I'm super happy for him especially
since he already announced this is his last year as a professional, but
also because he is the most sympathetic rider in our team. He's always
there when you need him; yesterday we talked about his schedule and he
wants to ride every race until Lombardia," Lefevere smiled.
The Belgian manager hired Vasseur in 2006 when he came over from team
Cofidis. "I hesitated very long before I took him on," Lefevere described
how and why he wanted Vasseur. "He's someone who's very friendly, but
that's obviously not enough to ride for us," Lefevere laughed. "Mainly
he's very versatile and we could use him possibly to support Bettini in
the Spring Classics but he was also usable for the Grand Tours as he's
a rider that will stay in the race. So now my confidence in him was rewarded
and a rider can never give you a better present than showing you're in
"It was already perfect," continued Lefevere before the field came
barreling into town some ten minutes later, "and if Tom [Boonen]
wins this sprint for 12th position he's another step closer to the green
jersey," Boonen eventually finished 13th but gained three more valuable
points on his rival Erik Zabel.
While happy with the win, Lefevere was already looking forward to a fourth
victory in this Tour de France. "Tomorrow is a stage that should suit
us very well - we'll go for a bunch sprint - and I think Cédric is someone
who will now work twice as hard tomorrow."
Predictor's Americans waiting for Pyrénées
By Gregor Brown in Marseille
American Fred Rodriguez (Predictor-Lotto)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Predictor-Lotto's Americans Fred Rodriguez and Chris Horner may be different
types of riders but they have one goal in common, which is to help Cadel
Evans win the 94th Tour de France. The Aussie currently sits in fourth
at 2'41" behind Maillot Jaune Michael Rasmussen.
Rodriguez is the team's sprinter after Robbie McEwen missed the time
cut on the climb to Tignes and while he will be leading the charge in
Thursday's stage to Montpellier, he will dedicate much of the rest of
his Tour to helping Evans in the early phases of the three Pyrenean stages.
He confirmed he will suffer in the mountains but wants to try his hand
in the sprints when the chances arise. "The Pyrénées will be tough on
me and I am mostly hoping for one of these transition stages to be a field
sprint. As long as I can be there; there will be riders like Boonen and
Hushovd, and there is a good chance I can also get in there."
With temperatures soaring upwards to 37 degrees, many riders were suffering,
but not this Colombian-born Californian. "I enjoy this heat," stated 33
year-old Rodriguez to Cyclingnews. "A lot of guys are going to
be trying to go into breakaways but that is not our objective, our objective
is to try to win when the stakes are high, when it is in a field sprint
or when it is in the mountains with Cadel. He is our main guy for any
kind of mountain stage and I am the main guy for any sprint stages."
Chris Horner (Predictor-Lotto)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Horner is also enjoying the warm weather and biding his time for the
mountains. "I really prefer this over the cold; it is warm, it is not
too bad at the moment," said the 35 year-old. "However, it is not something
where you just want to be sitting in the sun either."
After the 54-kilometre Albi time trial on Saturday, he will be faced
with three stiff Pyrénéan stages where his services will be called upon
in the finale. "It is my job but, of course, it is everybody's' job on
the team too look after Cadel, let's be clear on that," he said of the
current 'transitional stages' in southern France. "However, ninety percent
of the work will be on everyone else, while my job will be to look after
myself so when we get into the mountains I can do a better job for Cadel
than I could if I was using up energy right now on work that other guys
on the team could be doing."
Rodriguez and his fellow Americans Dave Zabriskie and Christian Vande
Velde are all without contracts for 2008, but Rodriguez said he's not
negotiating as of yet. "Not at this point," said Rodriguez. "Everything
is kind of just waiting until the Tour is over so I can start [searching]."
HE declined to comment on which teams he would like to work with. "Right
now I would rather not comment; I don't like to speculate on where I am
going or what's going on. I am pretty happy with where I am now, so, we
will wait until after the Tour to start speculating."
Eisel eases through the tough days
By Gregor Brown in Marseille
Sprinter's talk between Bernhard
Eisel and Thor Hushovd
Photo ©: Bjorn Haake
T-Mobile's Bernard Eisel is still making his way though the Tour de France
after suffering on the Alpine stages. The 26 year-old Austrian sprinter
hopes to take advantage of the trip to flatter terrain on Thursday in
Montpellier to go for his first ever Tour stage win. Eisel reflected on
his Alpine pains before the start of stage 10.
"It was okay," remarked Eisel to Cyclingnews about Tuesday's
stage to Briançon. "It was just I had problems on the first climb
when we started from kilometre zero straight up to a hors catégorie
climb. ... I tried to warm up on the rollers but it does not make a difference.
If I go to the village [Départ] and have two coffees it is the
same as... It is better; it is more motivation for me, actually."
"Really, I hate to do days like that. I was dropped last year on the
Galibier and this year on the Iseran. Okay, we come back on the descent,
but it is just the whole run, suffering and suffering... you have to kill
yourself." Eisel stayed with a group of non-climbers and sprinters that
eventually finished in a 73-man group at 28 minutes back on winner Mauricio
Soler. "We tried to keep it together at the bottom, control the race a
bit, but when they start to attack it is just, 'boom!'"
Eisel is looking towards stage 11 to Montpellier. "I think tomorrow
will be a nice day for the sprinters," he continued. "Then, the next day,
is too hilly, and we go to the time trial and then up to the mountains...
We will have to suffer again!
"I will suffer but I love the Tour and it is for me, it is a passion.
It is really nice that they [the team directeurs] decided to bring me
here. I will even do everything [I can] to come back nest year."
The German team managed by Bob Stapleton reached new peaks when it grabbed
the Maillot Jaune and stage
win with Linus Gerdemann. The jersey was lost when the brave, young
rider faded on the finish to Tignes,
but Eisel continues to have high aspirations for the rest of the Tour.
"Tomorrow is my chance for the sprint," noted the likable Eisel. He
is given a free card to play even with Gerdemann and Kim Kirchen as GC
riders. "We have six riders and at the start we have free cards, and Linus
can look over himself because he is smart enough and strong enough. We
also have Kim Kirchen; they are working pretty well together."
The team has had the extremes of fortune in the Tour so far, with Gerdemann's
stint in the yellow jersey off-setting the abandons of crash victims Mark
Cavendish, GC-favourite Michael Rogers and Patrik Sinkewitz, who collided
with a spectator. Eisel still thinks the team has a good chance despite
having less strength in numbers. "We still have a pretty good team but
with six riders it is not... It is a strong team but the not the biggest
one. We had some really bad luck the other day."
The team would like to have Gerdemann end the Tour in the Maillot
Blanc of best young rider but Eisel thinks it will be tough. "We will
try but like we said even before the Tour, his biggest rival for the white
jersey is [Discovery's Alberto] Contador. He showed it yesterday just
how strong he is."
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