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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

Latest Cycling News for September 9, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Cadel blames the fish

Ooooooohhhh dear...
Photo ©: AFP
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After losing three of his teammates to what was believed to be food poisoning during yesterday's fifth stage of the Vuelta, T-Mobile's Cadel Evans is counting his blessings that he didn't touch the fish salad the previous night. "As you might have heard, the T-Mobile team was reduced by three riders during the fifth stage of the Vuelta. Food poisoning is the reason and I'm pretty sure that it was the dodgy fish salad that did the job," wrote Cadel on his website, www.cadel.com.au.

Evans praised the hotel, saying that it was "easily the nicest hotel by far in this year's race...But the restaurant didn't do our team any favours. We went down to dinner and nothing was out of the ordinary; it was the typical start of a Spanish dinner, salad with iceberg lettuce, fish, tinned asparagus - it always has a mix of at least those ingredients...anyway, it tastes like shit and I don't normally eat it. Last night was no exception.

"We then just ate the other normal things; pasta, rice, meat...all the things we usually eat in the evenings during a stage race. Some people choose what they want, some people eat everything. And in the end, three people in the team got really sick and two aren't real good right now. The two who are crook are Alexandre Vinokourov and Andreas Klier. I hope that Vino lasts a few more days because, as anyone who has had food poisoning knows, it's really bad when it strikes but it can pass pretty quickly."

Hiekmann and Wesemann
Photo ©: AFP
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Cadel went into more detail about his roommate Santiago Botero, who along with Torsten Hiekmann and Steffen Wesemann, was one of the three riders to abandon yesterday. "I'd been sharing a room with Santi Botero since the start of the race and the night before stage five I heard him go to the bathroom early in the morning and he didn't come out for a while. He'd been sick all night and up vomiting. And the only thing he really said was that he was sorry for the stench he'd created... but he wasn't exactly in the right state for a conversation, let alone a stage of the Vuelta."

Despite this, Evans still managed to get up for sixth in the stage which moved him up to fifth on the general classification. "I was following Valverde because I thought he'd be the one to watch the most; he's so strong. But then Cunego came and pushed me off the wheel because he'd obviously decided on the same approach: be with Alejandro and you'll be amongst the winners...but then Cunego got dropped on the final climb...I did what I could, perhaps I followed the wrong wheel at the crucial moment, but I finished fifth in the stage and have moved up to 16 seconds behind the overall lead."

Does Hamilton have bad luck?

Tyler Hamilton (Phonak)
Photo ©: Unipublic
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As we all know by now, Tyler Hamilton crashed in the windy Stage 4 of La Vuelta. Quick.Step's Pedro Horrillo was also involved in the crash and only had a very small scratch to show from the incident, but he told Cyclingnews' Martin Hardie that he was behind Hamilton at the time. "It looked like Hamilton's handlebar broke and he went down. I just went straight over the bars and into the pile up. I don't think I made the medical report because of my injury, but because it was a big crash."

Phonak Director Alvaro Pino said that Hamilton was well enough. "I think he has a bit of swelling in the wrist but I don't think he will have any problems, just when he grips hard or tightens his muscles he will have a little bit of pain in the wrist."

Asked whether he thought Tyler carried bad luck with him, Pino replied, "pfff...hey (laughing), it's partly the situation. When you fall amongst 20 or 30 riders...but it seems that it's either the Tour or the Vuelta where it happens, it's always like that."

Garzelli calm

Stefano Garzelli
Photo ©: Lavuelta.com
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Cyclingnews caught up with Stefano Garzelli at the start of Stage 5 of La Vuelta in Zaragoza and asked him what he thought of Cadel Evans' remarks concerning the need to keep an eye on the former Giro winner.

"At the moment I am calm, I think today will be a day to see how I am, it's a stage that's fairly hard and we will see who is good and who is not. I think at the moment I am feeling pretty good, but maybe I am lacking a bit of form, I am not at the level I was in the Giro but I think from today up until Madrid my form should grow a bit."

Sanchez looking up

The Euskadi boys haven't been having the best of times to date. Adding to the weight of their not too shiny showings in La Vuelta so far is their struggle to gain acceptance into the Pro Tour, which they succeeded in winning yesterday. But there is also the news that EE stalwart David Etxebarria is going back to the camp of Manolo Saiz next season.

Cyclingnews' Martin Hardie spoke to the Basque team's anointed leader Samuel Sanchez on Tuesday in Zaragoza. "I think we are now heading into the terrain that will be better for me. The other day in Soria I found myself going a little bit better...and the stage to Morella should be good for me as well. I hope to arrive towards the front and have some better sensations in the face of the coming days."

Samuel hasn't yet hit top gear but in the two stages where selections have been made to date - Stages 3 and 5 - he has found himself not right at the front but in a relatively respectable position. For his part Julian Gorospe told us not to worry. "Our days will come in the mountains - we are not worried about the time we lost in the team time trial."

Perdiguero confirms with Phonak

By Martin Hardie in Morella

As of result of its position near the end of the season, the Vuelta acts as a sort of open bazaar for team management and riders looking for new partnerships. Earlier this week, Cyclingnews reported some of the latest signings by Phonak, which included Saunier Duval's Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero. Perdi has always been one of the more colourful riders in the Spanish peloton - he has the knack of being able to hold his own in bunch sprints, is fatal in small group arrivals, and this year has even won in the high mountains and an individual time trial. Not that long ago he came out with the line that "cyclists are better with their shirts off" a reference to his trend setting nude centrefold in Spanish rag, Interviu.

After Perdi's sensational San Sebastian win back in early August, Saunier Duval director Joxean Matxin and Perdi came to an agreement that involved Perdi staying within the magic yellow bus for another three years. Perdi has continually said of late that he likes working with the dynamic director and couldn't see any reason to change teams. Well that was until Phonak's Alvaro Pino started waving around his Swiss bank account. It is said Phonak offered Perdi twice his current salary along with buying his way out of his recent deal with Matxin. What all this is worth is not exactly out in the open but it is clearly not a paltry sum.

At the start of Stage 4 of La Vuelta, we asked Perdiguero about the new deal. "Yes now it's for sure, we did the deal last night in Zaragoza," he said, adding that Saunier Duval was a good team with the "type of atmosphere you would expect for a young team".

Regarding his role in Phonak he said that, "I don't know really what I will do but I am for the Classics, they suit my style and for me the Tour is too complicated."

Phonak Director Alvaro Pino immediately confirmed that the deal was done. For his part Saunier's Director Matxin could only say, "C'est la vie."

Cycling Australia issues new doping infraction

By Gerard Knapp

Shane Perkins (Australia)
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman

Only weeks after celebrating its most successful Olympic Games in cycling, the sport in Australia is set to be plunged into a new crisis with the revelation that the governing body, Cycling Australia, today issued a new infraction notice for alleged doping.

Graham Fredericks, the CEO of Cycling Australia, confirmed that an infraction notice was to be served to a member of the Australian junior track cycling squad. Although Fredericks refused to confirm or deny the identity of the rider, Cyclingnews understands the rider is Victorian sprinter Shane Perkins, 17, who won two gold medals at the World Junior Track Cycling championships in Los Angeles in July.

It's believed the rider tested positive to a stimulant of a recreational nature or some sort of flu medication following the keirin event on July 29, where he won the gold medal. However, sources told Cyclingnews that Perkins' subsequent samples provided in events after the keirin - such as the sprint, where he also won gold were clear of any banned substances. Perkins may be stripped of one or both of his gold medals, depending on the outcome of a possible hearing - if the athlete successfully appeals - and then a ruling by the UCI.

If Perkins is to lose his gold medal in the keirin - and it has to be stressed that the rider has 14 days to appeal the finding, which could be overturned - this would elevate American teenager, Ryan Nelman, into the bronze medal, while Daniel Thorsen from Australia would be the new gold medalist and Francesco Kanda (Italy) would take the silver.

The Victorian rumour mill had been spinning for the past week following the initial revelation of an A sample returning a positive result. Tests were then conducted on the B sample that confirmed the original finding, with CA boss Graham Fredericks then faced with the task of informing the rider.

"The infraction notice is to be mailed today," a disappointed Fredericks told Cyclingnews. The athlete then has 14 days to accept the decision or appeal. "There's no doubt he'll seek his day in court," he predicted.

The CEO was also aware of this case had a common thread with Australian cycling's two previous doping-related offences. In 2003, Victorian track rider Robert Wilson was suspended for two years for testing positive to EPO, while earlier this year, teenage sprinter Mark French, also from Victoria, received a two-year suspension for trafficking.

What went wrong?

The sprint podium
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman

At the time of the World Junior Track Cycling Championships in Los Angeles, Perkins told Cyclingnews after his gold medal ride in the Keirin that he had been upset about all the negative publicity the sport had received in Australia following the French affair, but he had handled it well. In fact, he actually used to train with French, because they had the same coach.

"It just makes me want to try harder," the young sprinter said of the negative publicity. "But we're the juniors and we're the clean ones coming through."

It's understood that senior figures in Australian cycling are "absolutely devastated and bewildered" by the results. The young rider had been under close supervision during a one-month training camp and was said to be dedicated to his training and recovery. They will be seeking further clarification of the tests, samples and procedures, given the somewhat inconsistent nature of the rider's results, where a sample given after competition on one day was positive for a banned substance, and then clear on all on following days.

Overall, Perkins was the sprinter of the meet in Los Angeles, displaying great speed and track craft. Perkins had to come from behind to win the keirin but in the sprint (the day where his samples are said to be negative), he appeared to be stronger, finishing well ahead of American rider, Michael Blatchford, who took the silver, while Maximilian Levy (Germany) won bronze and KÚvin Sireau (France) was fourth.

A grade field looking good for Grafton

Eight elite men's teams will contest Australia's Eastmon Camera House Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic on September 18. This year the A grade division has been included as part of the three-race Trek Series and has drawn an elite field of 48 riders, including Henk Vogels (Navigators), who has just signed with top Belgian team Davitamon-Lotto. Vogels will ride for the Fulcher's Cyclery team in a field which also features current national points score leader Robert McLachlan, who will represent the Sydney based Caravello team. Prolific runner-up Peter Milostic is another key member of the Caravello line up.

Delungra cyclist Brendon Jones is a confirmed starter in A grade and will join former winner Ben Brooks in the Cheeky Monkey Cycles team. Jones has been a revelation this year having contested the Tattersalls Cup where he finished 12th in the third round.

The Victorians are also set to make an impact under the guidance of coach Dave Sanders. His main charge, William Walker has been the pace-setter in recent months and is placed seventh in the National Road Series. It's his first year as an U23 rider and cycling officials believe he is destined for a bright future. Walker will represent the Uno Clothing/VIS team. Jonathon Clarke is another Victorian on fire after finishing fourth in the Sunraysia Tour.

Race director Peter Sunderland said the teams format added more gloss to the race. "It would have to be one our strongest fields and there is a lot more depth through A grade," Peter said. "We are very fortunate to have professional riders returning from competition in Europe and it's shaping up to be a very good race."

Regional NSW will be well represented with riders in B and C grade. Inverell wheelers Mick Hoynes and Mark Hanley will contest C grade, along with Tamworth's Fraser Ashford along with Moree's Andrew Noakes, Gunnedah's Tim Hillard and Coffs harbour pair David Leckeby and Erin Rogers. Glen Innes riders Barry Jones and John Williams have entered the O45s division along with Tamworth's Brian Bagster. The O45s division has also been boosted by the inclusion of former Grafton man Kevin Nichols, who won a gold medal at the Los Angeles Olympic Games.

Organisers of this year's race are expecting up to 170 starters for the 228km challenge.

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