First Edition News for September 5, 2003
Edited by Chris Henry & Jeff Jones
Museeuw questioned for nine hours
Johan Museeuw has been released by police in Brugge after spending the day being questioned in relation to raids carried out on 21 houses in West Flanders on Thursday morning. Museeuw's house was one of six riders' houses to be targeted by police, who are investigating the possible supply of doping products to animals and cyclists by an Oostrozebeke veterinarian, José Landuyt. Two other amateur cyclists were questioned today: Nico Hendrickx and Olivier Penney, and both were allowed to go home this evening. Police also hope to question Chris Peers, Jo Planckaert and Mario De Clercq over the matter.
Police have arrested Landuyt and also wish to question an acquaintance of his who works as a soigneur. The soigneur, who lives in Gent, will present himself before the court on Friday.
A variety of things were seized by police, including Johan Museeuw's computer. All medical products have been sent to laboratories for analysis.
"This affair alarms me of course," Belgian federation president Laurent De Backer was quoted by VRT TV. "It must be quite serious, otherwise the court would not by involved. But let us not get ahead of ourselves. We should wait for the results of the investigations before making any pronouncements."
Quick.Step waits on Museeuw case
Following the search by Belgian police of Johan Museeuw's home, part of a large scale investigation into drug trafficking, focusing on growth hormones and possible doping use, the Quick.Step-Davitamon team has decided to wait for further information from the authorities before taking any action. The team issued a statement Thursday afternoon concerning the news of Museeuw's involvement in the police roundup.
"Following the search carried out by the police today, September 4, 2003, at the home of Johan Museeuw, the Quick.Step-Davitamon professional cycling team has decided not to take a position on the subject while it waits for a thorough report on the part of the officials in charge of the affair. The team has taken note of the circumstances, and considering the great professionalism which has always characterised Johan Museeuw, hopes for an objective and quick resolution of the situation."
Heras is here to win
Roberto Heras, leader of US Postal Service's Vuelta team, has declared himself to be in good shape and ready to ride to win. "If I thought I couldn't try to win the Vuelta or did not have the ambition to win, it would be better not to race," he said in Europa Press. "I intend to fight to win."
US Postal directeur sportif Johan Bruyneel said his team line up is " probably the strongest we have ever sent to the Vuelta in our history," and 2000 Vuelta winner Heras is eager to avenge his loss to Aitor Gonzalez last year. "Last year I was close and I'm still annoyed not to have won," he said.
The parcours is varied throughout the three week Vuelta, and Heras expects a Spanish podium, with protagonists such as Gonzalez, Oscar Sevilla, Angel Casero, and Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano. "There's a 50% chance the Vuelta will be won by a climber, and a 50% chance it will be won by a rouleur," he explained. "It's a tour in which the climbers will have good opportunities, along with the time trialists. What I like are the stages in the French Pyrénées, with long climbs like the Aubisque, Cauterets, Aspin, Peyresourde..."
Vuelta blood tests OK
Blood tests were performed on Thursday morning between 7:15 and 9:20 by the UCI on the 22 teams taking part in the Vuelta a España. All riders were declared fit and healthy to take the start on Saturday in Gijon.
Teams for Paris-Tours
Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) has announced the teams selected for the 97th edition of the fall classic Paris-Tours, the ninth round of ten in the World Cup series. This year's event is scheduled for October 5, with the start once again in Saint-Arnoult en Yvelines, southwest of Paris.
Notably absent from the 25 team line up is Quick.Step-Davitamon and its World Cup leader Paolo Bettini, reportedly due to a snafu pertaining to the team's application for the event. The following teams have been selected:
Owens battles on
By Shane Stokes, Irishcycling.com
Tarja Owens has confounded expectations by traveling out to the World MTB Championships in Lugano, Switzerland, where she will line out the cross-country race this Sunday. The Olympic hopeful cracked her collarbone eleven days ago when she fell during the European championships, and was expected to be sidelined for four to five weeks. However, after receiving medical advice, she has entered this weekend's race. All going well, Owens will pick up more world ranking points and so try to get back on track for possible Olympic qualification.
"Tarja started using the indoor trainer two days after her crash and has been working hard on it ever since," said team manager Geoff Seymour. "She got medical advice which told her that she could start the race and traveled out today. She is feeling pretty good and will hopefully get on well in her race this weekend."
Jenny McCauley and Robin Seymour are also chasing points towards the same goal, and will be part of the five-rider cross-country team on Sunday. Seymour is now well inside the world's top fifty and on course to earn a place for Ireland in Athens, while Owens and McCauley must score heavily in the remaining events if they are to stand a chance.
Glen Kinning and Lewis Ferguson complete the cross-country team, and will compete in the under 23 and junior events respectively. Nine downhill riders will also take part in the championships. Jamie Popham finished an excellent fifth in the European champs and together with Ben Reid and Andy Smith, will ride the junior race. The senior team comprises national champion Colin Ross, Glyn O'Brien, John Lawlor, Andrew Yoong and Will Corry.
Doping woes continue for the Milaneza-MSS team. Portuguese rider Rui Lavarinhas has been suspended for six months by the UCI after testing positive in Paris-Nice this year, according to a VRT teletekst report. Lavarinhas has become the third Milaneza rider, after Francisco Perez and David Bernabeu, to test positive this year. Bernabeu was also controlled at Paris-Nice.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced Thursday that Rob Sears has accepted a two-year suspension for refusing to take part in a doping control test at the NORBA National Championship Series on May 18, 2003 in Big Bear Lake, California. Sears, 32, accepted the suspension under UCI rules beginning May 18, 2003, the date of the attempted test. USA Cycling will carry out the sanction.
Kjaergaard to retire
Norwegian Steffen Kjaergaard has announced on his website that he plans to retire from cycling at the end of the 2003 season. Unable to find a contract with a team for 2004, and not offered a renewal with US Postal, he has decided to hang up the bike and look for an "ordinary" job in his native Norway. Kjaergaard has ridden with US Postal Service since 2000, and in 2000 and 2001 was a part of the team's Tour de France contingent.
Kjaergaard's most notable performances came in 1999 with overall victory in both the Circuit de la Sarthe and the Tour de Normandie. His last race will be in Belgium at the end of September.
Randell renews with Jet Fuel Coffee
Andrew Randell, 2002 Canadian National Road Champion, has renewed his contract with the Jet Fuel Coffee team for the 2004 season. Andrew's racing ability and his commitment to help develop the younger riders on the team has made Andrew the team's priority signing for the 2004 season. With the team's 2004 plans including a return to European racing, Andrew's experience will be invaluable. While racing with the team in 2002 he won stages at two different events in Europe, the Ringerike Grand Prix in Norway and Milk RAS in Ireland). Andrew currently attends Ryerson University in Toronto.
In 2004 the Jet Fuel Coffee team will enter its sixth season and is currently Canada's longest running UCI registered trade team.
SA Cycling Federation gets new selectors
Andrew McLean and Tony Harding have been appointed as the new national road selectors of the South African Cycling Federation (SACF). South African national team manager, SupaCycling's Harding, will now double up as a selector and he will be joined by the doyen of armchair cyclists nationwide, Andrew McLean, a former pro and well-known television personality in South Africa. Harding's selection credentials are widely known, particularly the way in which he has helped steer Rabobank's Robert Hunter at the critical moments in his career so far.
Kirk and Foster for Manchester
By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent
Former international Lenny Kirk, who dropped out of cycling in his late 20's, has got the bug again. From Newtownards in Co. Down, Lenny just felt that there was life in the legs again. "Recently I went to St. Johann, Tirol in Austria for the UCI World Masters Championships road race and time trial," said Lenny. "In the [time trial], out of 200, I finished 27th, and in the road race I finished 14th. I was in the 40-45 age group. There were times in the last number of years when I felt like selling the bike. I'm glad now that I didn't. Back in my competitive days, it was serious stuff. Those guys at the masters were more serious than I was in my day back in the 80's and they also have the best of gear."
Next week Kirk is off to the World Masters Track Championships from September 7-13 in Manchester. Another blast from the past who represented Ireland on numerous occasions, Morris Foster, will be in attendance as coach. Morris still holds the Derry/Dublin record set on September 20, 1964 in a time of 6 hours and 26 minutes.
Orbea steps up for Cyclingnews Vuelta Fantasy Game
The start in Gijon is less than two days away, but there is plenty of time to join the Cyclingnews Vuelta a España Fantasy Game. The first prize is an Orbea Vertex, featuring an O3 Lobular Voop+Zaccs frame, Zeus Ziccs FCM fork, Campagnolo Chorus and Centaur 10s components, and Mavic Ksyrium rims. It could be yours, if you pick the winning team combination in the game.
The Fantasy Vuelta follows the same rules as our Giro d'Italia and Tour de France games, where you select a team of 15 riders worth a maximum of 9,000 UCI points, from which you pick nine for each stage, the overall, points and mountains classifications. It's a great way to get involved in following the Vuelta stage by stage and you can increase your chances by adding more teams.
The closing date to register teams is midnight European time on September 10 (i.e. after stage 5 but before stage 6). You must build and pay for your teams before stage 6 begins to be eligible for the prizes.
Join now at fantasy.cyclingnews.com.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)