First Edition Cycling News for December 19, 2004
Edited by Anthony Tan and Hedwig Kröner
War of the roses dissolving Chocolade Jacques
In an interview published by Belgian newspaper Het Belang van Limburg, former Chocolade Jacques team director Johan Capiot explained his version of why he had to leave the Belgian team managed by Jeff Braeckevelt, who will next season be in charge of the new Belgian Continental team Jartazi in co-operation with former Classics specialist Andrei Tchmil.
Capiot gave a less than positive look on the practices of Braeckevelt during his time with Chocolade Jacques. "All the stuff that happened there has been my undoing," said Capiot, who gives himself until the end of this year to find a new job after a deal with Phonak didn't work out. "If I don't succeed by then, I'm calling it quits."
Speaking about his former role at Chocolade Jacques, Capiot argued that he had been constantly harassed by Braeckevelt. "It was just impossible to work professionally with Jeff Braeckevelt and Walter Planckaert. Braeckevelt did everything in his power to make life hard for me. He never stuck to his duties as a manager. My job as directeur-sportif was made completely hollow by him; to cut it short, he wanted to break me.
"I can write a book about all the stuff Jeff did to me. At the start of the season, I asked him to have a doctor on the team. But Jeff told me there was no budget for that. It's simply asking for trouble when you run around with a plastic bag full of medicine during the races! Once the season was over, I had to take note of the fact that we had two doping cases - Bruylandts [EPO] and Cappelle. Jeff Braeckevelt is just not honest."
Furthermore, Capiot believes Dave Bruylandts' doping infraction cost him his job. "Bruylandts might have cost me my head; he's just trying to take me down with him in his fall. I didn't get Bruylandts into Chocolade Jacques. I knew he was an accident waiting to happen: it's no coincidence the rest of the peloton calls him 'doctor Dave.'"
Bruylandts received a suspension of only 18 months effective and 30 months preliminary after being caught during out-of-competition testing the day after finishing fourth in the GP Cerami, performed at his house on April 9, 2004. He first tried to incriminate his nutritional advisor: "When they told me I had tested positive, it came as a complete surprise to me," Bruylandts told the press when they confronted him with the news straight after it was made public.
"The only explanation I see is that the homeopathic substance that my dietician had administered contained something. I trusted this person completely but that seems to have been a mistake. I'm investigating the matter right now, but I can't say anything about that at this moment," he said.
In July, it became clear that Capiot did not support Dave Bruylandts' story. The rider still maintained that the food supplements given to him by the team were the cause of him testing positive for EPO. "Dave doesn't have to say that those products are the source of the EPO found in his urine," Capiot told news agency Belga at the time.
"But, because Dave turned up with this strange story, we had all the products of the 'Performance' brand tested and they turned out to be of a high level of quality," added Capiot. "There's nothing wrong with the supplements; the whole team gets them and none of the other boys have gone positive on EPO. I want to distance myself from what Bruylandts says, as it sheds a negative light on our co-sponsor."
Meanwhile, Bruylandts, who will be out of competition until the summer of 2006, is threatening to take Johan Capiot to court for defamation of character. "Capiot knows that his story doesn't make any sense, because he was leading the game," Bruylandts told the Belgian press.
"OK, I've made mistakes. I got caught doping, but it happened with the knowledge of Capiot. He's just frustrated he can't find another team. I'll take him to court for that," the Belgian continued, referring to Capiot's declarations about him being known as 'doctor Dave' in the peloton.
Hammond already worried about Roubaix
With the Discovery Channel's first training camp done and dusted, new recruit Roger Hammond is already worried about a race he's become obsessed with winning: Paris-Roubaix.
"I start to worry about Paris-Roubaix sometime around the middle of October," Hammond said to the ThePaceline.com's Chris Brewer. "The guys who are winning the World Cup Classics, or the cobbled ones in the beginning of the year, are obsessed about winning those races just like Lance is for winning the Tour de France. And you can't be that obsessed about that many races throughout the year because of the time and effort you have to put in. So I think for me the main thing is having an obsession to win."
Hammond also mentioned the importance of immersing himself in the environment where he wants to experience success, hence the reason for basing himself in Belgium for the entire road season and riding on pavé on almost every single training ride. "I need to be where there are cobbles and it's wet, so living in northern Europe is perfect for me," he said.
"Every training ride I go on - usually just outside of Brussels - there will sooner or later be cobbles that I will have to ride on. I will also go out and reconnaissance the courses, too. Find out where the major climbs are as they change from year to year. Like the Belgians say, 'the climbs are living.'"
Speaking of the climbs at races like the Tour versus the cobbled climbs in races such as Roubaix and the Ronde Van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders), Hammond said riders appear to ride these races in a 'calm pain', compared to the incredibly explosive, intense efforts characterised by the Classics.
"What's decided over three weeks at a Grand Tour is decided in a five-minute spell in a Classic and it's very, very intense. I can remember at Paris-Roubaix with the final kilometers remaining - there could have been bombs going off in the fields beside me and I wouldn't have noticed. I remember this literal tunnel vision experience - everything in my peripheral vision was gone. Just concentrating on every cobble that went underneath my wheels and on the wheel in front of me so that I didn't hit it."
After sitting down with Discovery's directeurs-sportifs Johan Bruyneel and Dirk Demol last week, Hammond added his schedule of races has been decided until June; unsurprisingly, the 30 year-old Brit will focus on the Spring Classics, but will compete in Milan-San Remo for the first time. After M-SR, Hammond is slated to ride Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Flanders, Three Days of De Panne, Gent-Wevelgem and Amstel Gold, but "really focusing on the super fortnight there in Belgium".
Here kitty, kitty...
An interview with Ann Knapp
What drives a kitten-loving lady to tear all legs off in 'cross races? Good question. Cyclingnews' Steve Medcroft met with Ann Knapp and discovered why.
Ann Knapp is having a brilliant 2004 cyclocross season. The former U.S. national champion (2002) won the U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross and locked up an automatic slot on the national team for worlds. Coming out of the domestic season in dominating form after finishing third at the US 'Cross Nationals, Knapp is maybe America's biggest chance to make an impact in St. Wendal at the 'cross worlds in February.
But Knapp won't put that kind of pressure on herself, preferring instead to take a more balanced approach to the sport.
You see, although racing is important in her life, it's not everything. Knapp doesn't race to make her living, for example. A physical therapist based in Des Moines, Washington, Knapp trains only after work, riding and running when the weather allows and the spirit moves her. She enjoys a casual, no-pressure relationship with Kona, her sponsor for years, is married to her teammate (Dale Knapp) and is seen laughing and hugging competitors after races are over. She's careful to plan her work vacation schedule so she can make the long weekend trips to compete in East Coast 'cross races without affecting her day job. She even has health insurance.
So in all, Knapp lives a balanced life, and cycling doesn't own her soul. Until she enters a race. The moment Knapp bursts off a cyclocross start line, she becomes a relentless antagonist, always pressing the front of the race. Her legs turn to steel ribbons. Her eyes explode with effort, her face locks in a grimace. She says she likes her racing with "full and competitive fields - to make the race harder."
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Voigt Team CSC's rider of the year
At Team CSC's recent 'boot camp', German rider Jens Voigt was voted 2004 Rider of the Year by the team's official fan club, Cykel Support Danmark. With 16 percent of the votes, Voigt won the poll ahead of Ivan Basso and Jörg Jaksche, whose votes totalled 15 and 13 percent respectively. In fourth place was Frank Høj, with 11 percent of the votes counted.
"I'm very honored having been voted Rider of the Year in my first season on the team," said Voight on team CSC's website, www.team-csc.com, who was also rewarded with flowers and wine for the accolade. "I'm sure it was a close race, as we had so many highlights during the season, and other riders also deserved this title. I'll definitely work very hard next year to live up to the expectations."
2004 ranks as one of the 33 year-old's best seasons ever, including two stage wins and overall victory in the Criterium International in March, another stage win at Germany's Bayern Runfahrt in May, and two victories against the clock: the Luk Challenge two-man team time trial, where he paired with American Bobby Julich, and Stage 4 of the Post Danmark Rundt. Voight also took honours in the mountains and metas volantes classifications in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco (where he also won a stage) and the points competition at the Criterium International. He finished the season ranked 18th on the UCI rankings.
Winfix becomes AKUD
German Div. III team Winfix-Arnolds Sicherheit will continue next season as a Continental team with a new sponsor. Named Team AKUD-Arnolds Sicherheit, the team has been able to keep one of Germany's most gifted U23 riders, Linus Gerdemann, in its 10-man team roster, and as reported yesterday, signed Austrian Gerhard Trampusch for next season. The former Telekom, Mapei and Gerolsteiner rider will be leading the team, which will participate in most German races.
Team AKUD-Arnolds Sicherheit will field the following line-up in 2005: Gerhard Trampusch, Linus Gerdemann, Thomas Liese, Timo Scholz, Felix Odebrecht, Artur Gajek, Gregor Willwohl, Daniel Olszewski, Lubor Tesar, Hendrik Werner and Christian Leben.
MSU named Collegiate Club of the Year
The Midwestern State University Cycling Team has been named the top collegiate cycling team in the US by USA Cycling. In recent years, teams recognized as the top collegiate program of the year include Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., the University of California at Berkeley and Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo.
"I'm thrilled by this award, but the recognition really needs to go to my riders and also to everyone in the community who has had a vision for this team," said MSU Cycling Coach Gary Achterberg. "They have bent over backward on many occasions to do what it's taken to get here.
The application for the award took many factors into account, including the team's performance. MSU currently holds the top six conference spots in the men's Category A, first and third in women's Category A, first and second in both the men's and women's Category B fields, and also has several riders near the stop of the standings in men's Category C. MSU riders also earned medals in four events at the collegiate track nationals in September and finished second in the overall women's standings in the collegiate road national championships last May. MSU althletes have won 17 national championships in the 15-year history of the program.
"There are many in the community who share this recognition," Achterberg said. "This team would not be where it is today without the vision of people like Dr. Bob Clark at MSU and Roby Christie, Ken Webb and many others who are associated with the Hotter 'N Hell Hundred."
Midwestern is one of six schools in the nation to offer scholarships to cyclists, which has helped attract top riders from around the nation to Wichita Falls. The current roster includes athletes from Germany, Wisconsin, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The MSU cycling team also works closely with the school's Department of Kinesiology and has implemented a program of regular performance testing. "We've worked science into our program in a way that few if any other collegiate programs in the nation have," Achterberg said.
"I also believe we also were recognized because we're trying to look beyond collegiate cycling to other cycling opportunities that will allow our riders to develop. I'm also working to attract some of the best high school talent in the state and nation to MSU."
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