First Edition Cycling News for December 24, 2004
Edited by John Stevenson
Five accused over Pantani death
Judicial authorities in Rimini, Italy have accused five people, including Marco Pantani's girlfriend, of drugs offences arising from the February 14 death of the Italian cyclist from an overdose of cocaine.
Investigator Paolo Gengarelli has accused Fabio Carlino, Fabio Miradossa and Ciro Veneruso of supplying cocaine to Pantani. Elena Korovina and an unnamed man are accused of complicity.
The five may face charges of trafficking and distribution of drugs, although the judge in charge of the preliminary investigation has yet to decide to prosecute.
Marco Pantani, the last rider to win both the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France in the same year, was found dead in a hotel in Rimini in February. He was being treated for depression at the time, but the coroner ruled his death was probably an accidental overdose and not suicide.
DNA evidence in Vasseur set-up
CÚdric Vasseur, the Cofidis rider investigated by police early this year for doping offences, claims a hair found contain cocaine was not his, according to a DNA analysis reported in l'Equipe.
On April 1 this year police charged Vasseur with "offences under the legislation on doping and narcotic substances". Vasseur was cleared of the charges on October 22 by the court of appeal in Versailles, which also ruled against the use of hair analysis based on a hair sample supposedly taken from Vasseur on January 21 when Vasseur was in the custody of the Parisian drug squad.
"These results show that the sample contained hair belonging to me and hair not belonging to me," said Vasseur in a statement. "The presence of hair not belonging to me in the analysed sample reinforces the idea that there was a manipulation of the samples with the intent of doing me harm.
"The possible manipulation, as well as the false signatures on two statement transcripts taken at the time of my police custody, are unacceptable and urge me to ask that a light be shone on this whole investigation."
On July 30 the court in Nanterre ordered the Inspection gÚnÚrale des services (the French police 'internal affairs' service) to investigate the falsification of two transcripts of statements by Vasseur. Because of the pending charges against him at the time, Vasseur was unable to ride the 2004 Tour de France or French championships.
Dean looks forward to more of the same
After finally realizing his dream of riding and finishing in the Tour de France this year, New Zealand cyclist Julian Dean is looking forward to a repeat performance in 2005. Dean has recently re-signed for Credit Agricole where the Kiwi sprinter has a solid role as lead-out man for Thor Hushovd.
Dean made Credit Agricole's Tour team this year after several months of determined work on a wind trainer maintaining his fitness after breaking both elbows early in the season. The experience surpassed his expectations.
"I've been to the Commonwealth Games, the Olympic Games and pretty much have been part of every other major bike race in the world. But [the Tour] is a truly special, special event," he told the New Zealand Press Association.
"To me it's more special than the Olympics Games. The whole atmosphere, organisation and intensity is just amazing. The Tour de France is a much more concentrated event and as a rider you feel the spirit of the event because it has a heart. The Tour has got a big pulsing heart that travels around and for me that makes a big difference."
Dean was also the sole New Zealander to finish the Olympic Games road race, coming in 15th in the bunch sprint that followed Paolo Bettini and Sergio Paulinho's first and second places.
"Although I was pleased with my performance in Athens, I wasn't so happy with my result," said Dean. "And I think there is some unfinished business there possibly."
Dean's three team-mates - Jeremy Yates, Heath Blackgrove and Robin Reid - had all dropped out by the finish of the race, along with about half the field. According to Dean, they weren't sufficiently experienced in racing at that level.
"They weren't [ready]," said Dean. "But you have to send somebody and the best idea is to send riders so they, hopefully, can turn pro and go on to become competitive in the future."
Dean is spending eight weeks holidaying at home in New Zealand before returning to racing at the Tour de Langkawi, January 28 - February 6) His goals for 2005 include the Tour de France and the World Championships in Madrid in October - and not breaking his elbows again.
Simoni & Cooke come to JCTDU
Italian star Gilberto Simoni will lead the talented Lampre-Caffita team at the 2005 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under (January 18-23).
The 33 year old has twice won the Tour of Italy (2003 and 2001) and in 2004 and 2000 finished third overall. Simoni is one of a select group of riders to have claimed stage victories in the Tour de France, Tour of Italy and Tour of Spain and will be one of the key members of the newly formed UCI Pro Tour team which is the result of a merger between Lampre and Saeco.
Joining him in Adelaide is strong one day rider Dario Pieri who was second in last year's Paris-Roubaix Classic along with consistent top ten finishers Daniele Benati and Giosue Bonomi.
But the Italians won't have it all their way with the French registered FDJeux.com listing Tour de France star Baden Cooke at the top of their list of starters for the Tour.
Cooke, the 2003 Tour de France sprint champion, this year contested the Olympic Games road race after starting the year with a stage win and third overall in the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under. Also lining up for FDJeux.com is 2004 Australian road champion, Matthew Wilson, and another Olympian in Bathurst cyclist Mark Renshaw. Renshaw was sixth in the points race in Athens. FDJeux.com will also boast a crop of talented young French riders.
Franšaise des Jeux for JCTDU
Lampre - Caffita for JCTDU
JCTDU adds kids' races
In other Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under news, the 2005 edition of the race will introduce the Powerade Mini Tour for Kids in the centre of Adelaide on the final day, January 23.
The last day of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under is usually the most exciting of the race, with the Adelaide City Council Circuit attracting great crowds. The last stage typically decides the Laubman & Pank King of the Mountain, the SA Lotteries Sprint and, of course, the Jacob's Creek Leader's Jersey.
Before watching the professional cyclists race, kids aged 8-14 can take to the course and see some of it from their eyes. The 'hot dog' loop of the start and finish stretch of King William Road is open to kids for half an hour.
Leeanne Grantham, General Manager, Australian Major Events said, "The Powerade Mini Tour for Kids is the curtain raiser for the big boys. We are pleased to be able to provide young kids with the opportunity to get their bike on the road, their legs pedaling and heart pumping on the same stage as their idols do.
"Encouraging kids to undertake some form of physical activity is great and an initiative that we are more than happy to support."
To register your interest or enter the Powerade Mini Tour for Kids, presented by Active Factor & Laubman & Pank contact Bicycle SA on 8232 2644.
Full strength British team for Manchester World Cup
Britain's track team will be at full strength for the first time since the Athens Olympics when its riders line up for round three of the World Cup at Manchester from January 7-9 2005.
Gold medalists Bradley Wiggins and Chris Hoy return after missing the opening rounds, and should boost the team's prospects of moving into the top three overall. Britain is currently lying fourth of the 30 competing nations behind Russia in top spot followed by the Netherlands and Germany.
"We're up for it," said team manager Shane Sutton. "The Olympic Games are over, it's time to move on and Manchester will be a good place to start. We've done well in the World Cup so far despite being under strength. Now, with home advantage, we'll be pushing for even better results."
Olympic record holder Hoy will be favourite to take the kilometre time trial and will also be one of the mainstays of the Team Sprint squad.
Wiggins, a triple medal winner at Athens, will concentrate on the endurance events. He will contest the scratch and points race and team up with Rob Hayles in the Madison.
Hayles also rides the pursuit and faces a grudge match against world champion Sergi Escobar. The Spaniard narrowly defeated Hayles in the world final in Melbournein May. The duo clashed again in the bronze medal ride at Athens, where again Escobar came out on top.
"It would definitely be nice to put one over him this time," said Hayles. "I've beaten him once, in the rounds at Athens, but he went faster when the medal was at stake. I've already qualified for the Worlds after finishing second in the opening leg of the World Cup at Moscow, and a win over Escobar on my home ground would be a real bonus."
In the women's events, Britain's top road racer, Nicole Cooke will make her track World Cup debut in the points race. Still only 21, the Welsh woman has a superb record that includes winning four junior world titles, a Commonwealth road race gold, the Road World Cup and this year's Giro d'Italia.
Victoria Pendleton leads the keirin overall after scoring a brilliant win in Los Angeles. Victoria faces stiff competition from Germany's Susann Panzer, and Italy's Elisa Frisoni, who are currently second and third overall and eager to oust the British sprinter from top spot.
Emma Davies should shine in the pursuit and scratch after showing good form in LA where she won silver and bronze medals.
Great Britain line-up for Manchester track World Cup
Men: Steve Cummings, Rob Hayles, Paul Manning, Chris Newton, Bradley Wiggins, Ross Edgar, Chris Hoy, Craig MacLean, Jason Queally,
Women: Nicole Cooke, Emma Davies, Nikki Harris, Jackie Marshall, Victoria Pendleton.
Fassa Bortolo rider Kim Kirchen has been awarded the title of Sportsman of the Year in Luxembourg, beating 11 other finalists for the accolade, including tennis player Gilles Muller, who came second. In 2004, 26 year-old Kirchen was national road champion, won the final stage of the Tour of Luxembourg, and finished sixth in the Olympic Games road race in Athens.
Tasmanian Carnivals add Malaysia Airlines international rider award
By Rod Morris
The 2004-05 Basslink Tasmanian Christmas Carnival Series is offering a new incentive this season - return airfares to Europe for one lucky rider and spectator.
Malaysia Airlines has come on board as a new sponsor for the Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania and is offering three European return fares.
One of the prizes will go the best performing cyclist at the Christmas Carnivals in nominated events at the Latrobe, Launceston, Devonport (two nights) and Burnie programmes. At most carnivals, riders will be offered three chances to pick up points in the Malaysia Airlines International Rider award, two handicap events and one scratch race.
A souvenir yellow Carnival Leader's jersey will be presented at the end of each day - or night's - carnival to the rider who has accumulated the most points.
At the series-ending Burnie Carnival, the rider who has amassed the greatest total of points, will win the overall Carnival jersey as well as a return airfare to Europe.
Malaysia Airlines is also giving away two spectator return trips to Europe.
Carnival patrons are invited to fill out a coupon and place in specially marked boxes at each carnival, with the overall prize being drawn at Burnie on New Year's Day.
Jermakov to Kalev Choclate Merida
Estonian cyclist Janar Jermakov will ride in 2005 for Continental team Kalev Chocolate Merida.
Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club 2004 Club Of The Year
The Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club (LGBRC) has been named USA Cycling's 2004 Club of the Year, Division I. The LGBRC has previously been recognized as Division I Women's Club of the Year in 2002 and Regional Club of the Year in 2000.
Division winners were determined by how well-rounded and active a club was in proportion to its number of members, according to USA Cycling. Judges based their decisions on the number of events a club held, outstanding competitive results, clinics and seminars held to benefit member education, and community related charitable events. Clubs were further evaluated on programs implemented to stimulate growth in their discipline or club and the visible results of those programs.
"USA Cycling has just recognized the Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club as the best large cycling club in the US. This is something that I have believed in for many years and I am very pleased that USA Cycling agrees with me," said Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club President, Barry Gordon.
Team IAB-Zeta Gas
Team IAB-Zeta Gas has completed its Elite roster for 2005. Previously Team Aida's Bail Bonds new sponsorship has enabled the formation of a new squad for 2005. In 2004, Team Aida's Bail Bonds participated in all the major races in the southwestern U.S. and Northern Mexico. The highlight of the year was Ryan Blickem's stage win at the Tour of the Gila.
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