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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest News for September 5, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Landuyt confesses, but no names yet

Oostrozebeke veterinarian Jose Landuyt has confessed that he has supplied cyclists with hormones, after being arrested by police yesterday following a search of 21 homes in the West Flanders area. The public prosecutor in Kortrijk in charge of an investigation into drug dealing in cycling and animal sports (horse and pigeon racing) has not revealed the names of the cyclists, and will question Herman Versele, a soigneur from Merelbeke, today over the affair.

Landuyt (49) has also worked as a doping control official in horse races, and for the Federal Food Agency. He was immediately dismissed from the latter position.

Both Landuyt and Versele are acquainted with cyclists Johan Museeuw, Chris Peers, Jo Planckaert, Mario De Clercq, Nico Hendrickx, and Olivier Penney, whose houses were searched by police on Thursday morning. Various products were seized from all the houses, including Museeuw's computer. Those products of a medical nature are being analysed at the moment.

Museeuw was released on Thursday evening after nine hours of questioning by police, but we was not arrested. The news that Museeuw was even targeted rocked Belgium, with the first three pages of Het Nieuwsblad being devoted to the story.

His team director Patrick Lefevere was quoted as saying "I have the fullest confidence in Johan Museeuw until the opposite is proved. I'm counting on an objective and calm investigation. I lived in Oostrozebeke for 18 years. I know Landuyt as a supporter of Johan, who has accompanied us as a driver in races a couple of times. He has never been in the service of the team. We only employ professionals for that."

Chris Peers, who is currently riding in the Hessen Rundfahrt, heard of the searches just 10 minutes before the start of stage 2. "I immediately phoned my wife Krista," he said. "She told me that they had also come in and searched the house, taking away everything that looked suspicious. I respect the investigation, but I have nothing to hide."

Vandenbroucke investigation complete

The VDB affair in 2002
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

Somewhat coincidentally, but unrelated to the house searches yesterday, it has been reported that the investigation into the possession of doping products by Frank Vandenbroucke has been completed. The case began in February 2002 when Belgian police arrested VDB's occasional confidant Bernard Sainz for speeding. After finding a number of suspicious products in Sainz's car and learning that he had been in recent contact with Vandenbroucke, police also searched Vandenbroucke's house and found a number of illegal products there, including EPO, Morphine and Clenbuterol.

Sainz was cleared after the products found in his car were analysed and declared to be legal. However the judge in Dendermonde opened a criminal investigation into Vandenbroucke. It's expected that an announcement will be made at the end of September regarding the case.

González ready for Vuelta defense

2002 winner Aitor Gonzalez
Photo: © Sirotti

As defending champion, Aitor González will pin on the number one dossard in tomorrow's first stage of the Vuelta a España, a 30 km team time trial in Gijon. The 28 year old rider won the race last year after crushing Roberto Heras in the final time trial, donning the golden leader's jersey only after the last stage in Madrid. This year his ambitions of winning have been tempered by the fact that he has performed fairly anonymously in the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France.

Gonzalez told Spanish magazine Meta 2Mil that winning isn't his main objective. "My first aim is to recover the sensations that I had during the 2002 Vuelta. Then we can start to think about winning."

"I see [the route] as being very balanced," he continued. "There are two long time trials, but there are also seven mountain top finishes. If a time trial specialist such as myself wishes to win this year's Vuelta, he'll have to put in a good performance in the mountain stages."

Gonzalez pointed to 2001 winner Angel Casero (Bianchi) as the man to watch this year. "I have a hunch that it will be Casero," he said. "I was surprised during the Tour of Burgos to see that neither Sevilla nor Heras were able to keep up with the best riders during the climb of Lagunas de Neila, they are usually very quick at picking up form, but they still have time to improve. I also saw that Casero was riding very well indeed. It wasn't a case of him outperforming everybody else, but we cyclists pick up on these things quickly and it was easy to see that he was going well, very relaxed, and this makes me think that he's going to be the man to beat."

Click here for Cyclingnews' full Vuelta preview, stage descriptions and start list, with live coverage each day from 14:30 CEST/08:30 EDT/05:30 PDT/22:30 AEST.

Quaranta and Mazzoleni move

Italians Ivan Quaranta (Saeco) and Eddy Mazzoleni (Vini Caldirola) are on the move to new teams. Quaranta will ride for De Nardi-Colpack next season, while Saeco will gain the services of Eddy Mazzoleni.

Nijs drops back

Cyclo-crosser Sven Nijs will follow his other off-road Rabobank teammates to move from the Rabobank Division I to the Division III team next year. Nijs did ride a road program with the top team this year, but decided that he would prefer to concentrate on cyclo-cross.

Olympic cycling medal still in limbo

By Alan Messenger

It's 31 years since Kiwi cyclist Bruce Biddle crossed the line fourth in the road race at the Munich Olympic Games and was subsequently promoted to third when the Bronze medalist Jaime Huelame (Spain) failed a drugs test. Although he was given the placing Biddle has never been awarded the medal, apparently because he was not drug tested, a requirement in those days for all medal winners.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee recently launched a bid to have the medal awarded, pointing out that Biddle made himself available for testing immediately after the race. A recent IOC Executive meeting discussed the matter, but ruled that they could not overrule the rule of the day. The New Zealand Olympic Committee is still awaiting a written confirmation of the position.

NZ Olympic Committee spokesman Gordon Irving said that the 31 year old issue was not completely closed but it appeared unlikely that Biddle would ever receive a medal. "The IOC can't or won't overrule the International Cycling Union rules of 1972," he said.

When IOC President Jacques Rogge was in New Zealand in December last he told local cycling officials that he was optimistic that Biddle's case was a strong one but he warned that it was rare for a medal to be awarded retrospectively.

Biddle now lives in Italy and was not available for comment.

Fiedler to Air Namibia International in S.A.

One of the world's top track riders, Jens Fiedler, has confirmed that he will start in the Air Namibia International Four Day race at Bellville, South Africa, from 11-14 December. Fiedler, together with his 13 German teammates, arrive on November 26 for training and will remain in S.A. until December 17. The strong German contingent are using the opportunity to prepare for the Athens Olympics in 2004.

The Four Day Air Namibia event will feature national teams from Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands, as well as an invitational world team, two South African teams, plus two further possible teams from Greece and Great Britain.

There is also a possibility that a curtain-raiser event will be held in Krugersdorp a week earlier to allow Highveld fans the opportunity to see some world class racing.

TQ Paper Ladies 2 Day Cycle Race

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

The TQ Paper Ladies 2 Day Cycle Race has been organised by the Dublin Wheelers Cycling Club for the past 11 years, and has matured in that time to become a part of the international calendar, with support from the Irish Sports Council. The current sponsor is TQ Papers from Baldoyle, Co. Dublin, becoming involved in 1996.

According to Brian Carolan who is responsible for the entries, "This year I have seen a marked improvement into the response to the entry forms. We have a number of foreign teams coming. The winner for the last years, Esther van der Helm from Holland has confirmed her participation. Hopefully, she will not frighten off the opposition," said Brian.

The event gets under way during the first weekend of October.

Stage 1 - October 4: Santry Road Race, 64 km (8x8km laps)
Stage 2 - October 4: Santry ITT, 2 km
Stage 3 - October 5: Santry Road Race, 74 km

Further information can be had from Brian Carolan, the entries co-ordinator at 111 Ballymun Road, Glasnevin, Dublin 9, or by phoning 01.8370590.

Past winners

2002 Esther van der Helm, Moving Ladies Groenewoud (NED)
2001 Esther van der Helm, Moving Ladies Groenewoud (NED) 
2000 Julie Hooper, Women's Cycle Racing Association (UK) 
1999 Louise Jones, Team Rudy Project (UK) 
1998 Claire Moore, Irish Road Club 
1997 Susan O'Mara, Dublin Wheelers CC 
1996 Angela Hunter, New Brighton CC *first year of TQ Paper Sponsorship* 
1995 Helena Kinsella Dublin Wheelers, 
1994 Marie Purvis Isle of Man, 
1993 Claire Moore, Traynors Solicitors, 
1992 Claire Moore, Cidona Carrick. 

Argus fills up quickly

One of the largest mass participation rides in the world, the Argus Cycle Tour in Cape Town, South Africa, attracts a field of around 35,000 cyclists each year. It's becoming more popular than ever though, if the response to the opening of online entries on September 1 is any indication.

"Last year the 32,000 online entries poured in over a record breaking period of 33 days," said Ken Sturgeon, co-chairman of the Cycle Tour Management Committee. "This year it took only 64 hours in total to fill all the online entries."

Organisers will be verifying the entries over the next week, and there are still postal entries available.

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