Latest Cycling News for November 25, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones
Hamilton speaks out
After coming under heavy fire in recent months following his positive tests for blood doping in the Olympics and the Vuelta, Tyler Hamilton has issued a statement in an attempt to clear some of the issues surrounding his case. Cyclingnews has repeatedly invited Hamilton to comment on his side of the story, but he has been keeping his counsel on the specifics of the case up until now. He is due to be heard by the US Anti-Doping Agency early next year.
"Relating to my doping charge, I will say that, up to this point, I have been losing the 'pr' war - partially because I naively thought that if I stated whole-heartedly that I have never and would never engage in blood doping or any form of cheating - and waited for the process to exonerate me, I would be fine," Hamilton said in a statement. "I also naively thought that officials within the various 'anti-doping' organizations would wait for the due process before passing judgment on me publicly. Again I was wrong. I know now that if I wait to discuss at least a few points of fact with the public, by the time I am fully exonerated, and I know I will be exonerated, my reputation may be jeopardized."
Hamilton also defended his Olympic tests, which sparked the whole affair. "Despite indications to the contrary my A sample from the Olympics, the one that first brought on this issue, was initially determined to be negative for blood doping. When it was re-analysed - and I am not sure why it was re- analysed - it was again deemed negative. It was not a clearly positive test as it has been characterized. Instead, the results of both negative tests were reviewed by a 'panel of experts' and then apparently deemed positive. This much review of one sample calls into question the validity of this test, which has been criticized by many very reputable scientists as being inaccurate and unreliable. To this day, I have not been provided any paperwork from the IOC that states my A Sample was positive.
"Again, contrary to what you have heard in the media, my B sample from the Olympics was not accidentally frozen. I have no idea why an official would lie about this procedure but for the record, the protocol is for the B sample to be frozen when the A sample is negative. This was the case with me after my A Sample was deemed negative and is why the lab froze the B sample, as opposed to a lab 'mistake'."
WADA's Independent Observers Report (see: How Tyler's medal was saved) addressed some of these issues, questioning the competence of the Athens Doping Control Laboratory in handling the blood transfusion test. "It is apparent that a series of errors and/or misunderstandings have occurred such that an A-sample that was originally declared negative but later positive was ultimately unable to have been acted upon," read the report. "There is always a risk, when new methodologies are fast tracked, that problems relating to the very newness of a process will occur. This certainly appears to be the case here."
Had Hamilton only returned "adverse analytical findings" from the Olympics and not the Vuelta a España a month later, the case may have ended already. But his Vuelta results, where his A and B samples were both positive, have complicated matters. Hamilton said that comparing the two test results (from the Olympics and the Vuelta) "reveal serious inconsistencies, which could mean that 1) the test itself is invalid; 2) the test method was not followed; or 3) that one of the samples is not my blood. On this note, I have asked numerous times for my blood to be DNA tested. I have been turned down and also not been allowed to have independent scientists review the findings. In addition, repeated requests to review the raw data and the testing protocol have been thwarted or denied. Doesn't that sound odd?"
Hamilton concluded, "I know we are living in an age where we unfortunately hear about athletes who cheat and I have to admit that, prior to this, when I saw something on the news regarding doping or some kind of cheating, it seemed very black and white. I have now learned that drug testing is very complicated, and mistakes can be made. I have always admitted when I have made tactical mistakes in races, and I hope that when this case is over, the testers and the agencies involved will admit to their mistakes as well.
"I also believe that it is important to keep sports clean and wholly understand that testing is a necessity and will continue to adhere by the rules. This is why it is all the more important that we have a process to expose doping/cheating that works. We need to have officials who protect the process, which includes reserving judgment until all avenues are explored and validated, and utilizing tests that are absolutely accurate. It is unfair to work through the kinks on new and unproven tests with athletes who have trained a lifetime and whose whole livelihood can be eliminated with an inaccurate test.
"In the end, I am not a lawyer, scientist or a publicist so I am learning how to win this particular race fairly in the only way I know, with the truth. What I am is a guy who loves to ride his bike and compete and I have done so for 10 years without ever bending the rules."
Hamilton did not touch on the matter regarding his Phonak team, which is currently struggling to regain its ProTour spot. The UCI criticised Phonak for not paying closer attention to its riders after both Hamilton and his teammate Santiago Perez tested positive for blood transfusions, and Oscar Camenzind tested positive for EPO. Phonak, along with Ag2r and MrBookmaker.com, was heard by the UCI's Licensing Commission last Monday when it appealed to be reinstated into the ProTour. That could mean jettisoning Hamilton and Perez in order to satisfy the UCI.
Tour de Romandie 2005
The stages for next year's 59th Tour de Romandie have been announced by the organisers. The race, which runs between April 26-May 1, will start with a 3.4 km prologue in Geneva and finish with a 20.4 km time trial in Lausanne. In keeping with the 2004 theme, four of the stages start and finish in the same location, while there will be two point-to-point stages.
The Tour de Romandie will form part of the UCI's ProTour next year, and stage 3 will start outside the UCI's headquarters in Aigle. The two-time defending champion is Tyler Hamilton, but it is very much up in the air whether he or Phonak will be starting next year.
Prologue - April 26: Geneva ITT, 3.4 km
Total: 660 km
De Clercq postpones hearing
Mario De Clercq (MrBookmaker.com) did not show up for his scheduled hearing at the Belgian cycling federation on Wednesday after his lawyer asked for more time to study the case. De Clercq has been implicated in the Landuyt/Versele doping affair, and like Johan Museeuw, Chris Peers and Jo Planckaert, is facing a disciplinary process that could lead to a suspension. The case will now be heard on December 22.
French to appeal
Australian cyclist Mark French is appealing his ban for possession, use and trafficking of a banned substance to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. French was given a two year ban from cycling as well as a lifetime Olympic Games ban after admitting to using Testicomp, which contains homeopathic quantities of glucocorticosteroid and is illegal under UCI/WADA rules. However, according to reports in the Australian media, French claims that independent testing of Testicomp at an IOC accredited lab in Malaysia shows no signs of glucocorticosteroid, and therefore it should not be illegal.
In a statement, Mark French said, "There was nothing prohibited or performance-enhancing actually in the supplement. We've had it tested and I've got more from that batch that I've used if they want to test it themselves."
The Frenchs are claiming that the authorities were only relying on what was printed on the Testicomp label (contains traces of glucocorticosteroid) to sanction Mark French, and this will likely form the basis of their appeal to CAS.
French was also found guilty of possessing and trafficking equine growth hormone, and there is no ambiguity regarding its illegal status. In addition, the Second Stage Report of the Anderson Inquiry implicated French as the rider who had used the eGH, on the basis of strong forensic evidence.
After a professional career spanning 17 years, Italian Gianni Faresin (Gerolsteiner) has decided to retire. Faresin, 39, has spent the last few years in the service of Davide Rebellin, capping off a successful career. His victories include the Giro di Lombardia in 1995, Italian Championship in 1997 and Trofeo Matteotti in 2001, as well as several podium finishes in World Cup races.
Faresin will celebrate his retirement at a special dinner organised by G.S. Cicli Pengo on Friday, November 26 in Scaldaferro. Among those present will be Filippo Pozzato, Gilberto Simoni, Davide Rebellin, Fabio Baldato, Emanuele Sella, Andrea Ferrigato, Matteo Tosatto, Mariano Piccoli, Guido Trenti, Dino Zandegù and Gianni Bugno.
Victory Brewing 2005
The Victory Brewing Women's Team has announced its 2005 roster. Mike Tamayo will continue as the team director, while Gina Grain (Pro Cycling Tour winner), U.S. U23 Time Trial Champion Lauren Franges, Nicole Demars, Sandy Espeseth and Kirsten Robbins are all returning as well. New signings to the team for 2005 are Stacey Peters (T-Mobile), Amy Moore (Quark), Kate Sherwin (neo-pro), Erin Carter and Kim Geist (neo-pro).
"I am very excited with our choice of riders," said Tamayo. "The lineup is solid in strength and experience. More excitedly I am looking forward to managing the team that will animate women's bike racing in North America. With this group all of them can win the race, and are smart and strong enough to be a threatening opportunist."
More information: www.victorycycling.com
Rogers to lead Quick.Step in JCTDU
Quick.Step, Credit Agricole and Ag2r lineups announced
Dual time trial World Champion Michael Rogers will lead the Quick.Step team in the 2005 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under. Rogers, who won the race in 2002 but missed the 2004 event, will return in 2005 with a strong team behind him including the winner of stage seven of this year's Tour de France Filippo Pozzato.
Credit Agricole has now confirmed its team for the Tour with triple Olympic medallist Bradley Wiggins and four time Tour de France stage winner Jaan Kirsipuu starting their 2005 campaign in Adelaide. The Credit Agricole line up will also include five time Hungarian time trial champion and 2000 World Championships bronze medallist, Laszlo Bodrogi.
2003 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under champion Mikel Astarloza heads the AG2r-Prevoyance team, which also includes 2003 Spanish time trial champion Iñigo Chaurreau and Frenchman Samuel Dumoulin, who in 2003 was second overall in the Tour de l'Avenir and 3rd in the Dauphine Libéré. Victorian Simon Gerrans will make his debut with AG2r in Adelaide. Gerrans, riding as a stagiaire with the team, finished second overall in this year's Paris-Correze and is keen to race in his new colours for the first time on home soil.
Full team rosters
Quick.Step: Michael Rogers (Aus), Bram Tankink (Ned), Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel), Filippo Pozzato (Ita, Dimitri De Fauw (Bel), Kevin De Weert (Bel), Sebastian Rosseler (Bel), Wouter Weylandt (Bel).
Credit Agricole: Bradley Wiggins (GBr), Jaan Kirsipuu (Est), Sebastien Hinault (Fra), Patrice Halgand (Fra), Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun), Benoît Poilvet (Fra), Cyril Lemoine (Fra), Sebastien Joly (Fra).
Ag2r - Prevoyance: Mikel Astarloza (Spa), Iñigo Chaurreau (Spa), Samuel Dumoulin (Fra), Christophe Oriol (Fra), Nicolas Portal (Fra), Erki Putsep (Est), Ludovic Turpin (Fra), Simon Gerrans (Aus).
More information: www.tourdownunder.com.au
Nothstein set for Manchester
33 year old American track legend Marty Nothstein will open his 2005 campaign in the UCI Track World Cup at Manchester, Great Britain, between January 7-9 next year. Nothstein won the World Keirin Championship on the same Manchester track in 1996 and is hopeful for more success. "I have every intention to race at the World Cup in Manchester, although the specific events have yet to be decided," Nothstein said from his home in Pennsylvania, USA. "I would very much like to race the keirin events, scratch race and possibly the Madison in Manchester."
Nothstein is also targeting the special keirin event on January 9, which is sponsored by the Japan Keirin Association and carries £45,000 in prize money.
Nicknamed "The Blade" because he is renowned for winning by razor-thin margins, Nothstein is a powerhouse sprinter, measuring six feet two inches (185cm) and weighing 180lbs (81kg). He recorded his first big international results in 1994 when he won both the World Keirin and Sprint Championships. Two years later, he lost the sprint final at the Atlanta Olympics to Germany's Jens Fiedler. But Sydney 2000 saw Nothstein achieve his lifetime ambition when he took an Olympic gold in the sprint. Since making his World Championships debut in 1989, Nothstein has won three World's golds, two silvers and two bronzes, as well as 35 US national titles. In recent years, Nothstein turned his focus to endurance events, winning the Moscow Six-day and the 100-kilometre New York City Cycling Championship on Wall Street. He is also the current US Keirin champion.
For more information: www.worldtrackcycling.com
Ticketing information: www.ticketmaster.co.uk
Cooke and Wiggins at Revolution
The line-up of riders for Revolution 6 in Manchester on December 4 has been finalised, with Olympic Champion Bradley Wiggins confirmed for the event. Wiggins will be riding all the endurance events on the night, and will team up with Olympic partner Rob Hayles in the madison. For the first time since the event started in November 2003, the organisers will be putting on an elite women's event, which will feature top British cyclist Nicole Cooke.
"It's great to have a women's race at an event like Revolution, even if it is only one, it's a good start," said Cooke. "I'm really looking forward to getting in there and being competitive on the track again, it's going to be pretty tough race though with the field that's there."
Joining Cooke will be British Olympians Emma Davies, Rachael Heal, Victoria Pendleton and 10 more women from the UK scene.
Verge NECCS resumes with Gearworks Bay event
The penultimate round of the Verge NECCS takes place this coming Saturday, November 27, with Round 6: The Gearworks Bay State Cyclo-Cross in Sterling, Massachusetts, USA. With the U.S. National Championships getting closer, the race is expected to be a critical tune-up for National's hopefuls.
Other than loaning the leader's jersey overnight (between Farmington and Northampton) to Ryan Trebon (Kona), Mark McCormack (Clif Bar/Colavita Olive Oil) has led the men's elite standings since round 1 in Maine. But riders such as Michael Broderick (Seven Cycles), Johs Huseby (FiordiFrutta), Tyler Johnson (Richard Sachs-CYBC), and Ben Turner (TIAA-CREF/Clif Bar) are all expected to be challenging at the front of the race. In addition, the battle for the Under-23 standings will continue, with Jesse Anthony (Cyclocrossworld.com) and Matt White (NCC/BikeReg.com) both on the start line. After 5 rounds, Matt White has a significant lead in that contest.
Meanwhile, Mary McConneloug has continued to assert her place at the top of the Verge NECCS women's standings. After five rounds she holds a commanding lead over second placed Anna Milkowski (Rona) and third placed Maureen Bruno (Cyclocrossworld.com). The Sterling event should see all three of them continue to challenge one another at the front of the race.
Papa John's Master's Team
Papa John's International has announced its sponsorship of a Louisville, Kentucky (USA) based master's team for 2005. The team is new, being born out of the Texas Roadhouse Racing Team, and boasts a strong lineup. The Roadhouse team will focus on Pro/1/2 races in 2005, while Papa John's will concentrate on masters racing.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)