Latest Cycling News for September 21, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones and Hedwig Kröner
Hamilton fails blood tests
By Jeff Jones
The Vuelta a Espańa has been rocked this morning by news that Tyler Hamilton (Phonak), has returned two positive blood tests that showed evidence of a homologous blood transfusion. One test was performed at the Athens Olympics and another at the Vuelta on September 13. Both tests showed evidence of a "mixed red blood cell population, an indication of a homologous blood transfusion," Phonak's press officer Georges Lüchinger was quoted by AP as saying. The results of the counter-analyses are not yet known, but are expected today (Tuesday).
Hamilton, winner of the gold medal at the Athens 2004 Olympics in the individual time trial as well as the Vuelta's eighth stage time trial, abandoned the race prior to stage 13 claiming stomach problems. Hamilton has denied having a transfusion, saying the positive test was the result of a surgical intervention he had some time ago. If the B samples are confirmed positive, then he risks losing his Olympic gold medal, which would make Viatcheslav Ekimov the Olympic time trial champion again.
Phonak team director Alvaro Pino said, "I have spoken to Tyler and he has claimed he is innocent and apart from whatever the (Phonak) team decides, he will do whatever he has to do to defend himself from these accusations." Phonak will hold a press conference later this evening.
Enhancing endurance performance via blood transfusion is nothing new, and the practice has been around for at least 30 years. Athletes admitted to using it at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, when it was not illegal. Typically, a quantity of blood is withdrawn from an athlete some time before an important competition, and when the time comes, the red cells are reinjected to provide an extra boost. This can also be done with another person's blood and even with EPO-enhanced blood, although the risk of detection is far greater. Former Kelme cyclist Jesus Manzano claimed that he nearly died when he was reinjected with some "bad blood" late in 2003.
Tyler Hamilton's case is the first ever positive for a blood transfusion, as up until very recently, doping via this method has been undetectable. A powerful blood test developed by Australian researchers was implemented at this year's Tour de France. The test didn't look for a particular banned substance, but instead examined whether there were any abnormalities in a person's blood as a result of artificial manipulation. At the Tour, it was announced that homologous blood transfusions could be detected, but autologous transfusions could not.
Klöden extends with T-Mobile
German Andreas Klöden will ride for T-Mobile for the coming two seasons, after the 29 year old reached an agreement on Monday evening, with team manager Walter Godefroot. "I am very happy that we could finalise this deal, and above all that I can continue to ride for the T-Mobile Team", said the current German champion, who finished second at this year's Tour de France. "This contract extension gives me plenty of motivation for next season. Together with Jan and Vino, we will make an all-out assault on the Tour."
T-Mobile's team spokesman Olaf Ludwig commented that, "With this we are setting our stall for the future. It is of course a massive bonus for the team to hold onto a rider who has finished the Tour in the podium places. With Jan Ullrich, Alexander Vinokourov and Andreas Klöden, we have three top-class riders who have achieved this feat."
Klöden' s extension follows the team's signing of Spanish climber Oscar Sevilla from Phonak. German sprinter Olaf Pollack has also been recruited from Gerolsteiner to strengthen the team in the coming season.
Canadian team for World's announced
The Canadian Cycling Association (CCA) has announced its lineup for the Road World Championships in Verona, Italy, from September 27-October 3. Based on the UCI Nation Rankings of August 15, 2004, Canada has been allocated two starters in the men's road race. Michael Barry, the highest ranked Canadian on the UCI Individual Rankings, was nominated to the team. Joining him on the start line will be the winner of the 2004 T-Mobile International, Charles Dionne. Reserves for the road race will be Dominique Perras and Cory Lange.
In the women's race, Canada is eligible to enter six women in the road race. Canada's team from the Olympic Road Race has been selected: Lyne Bessette, Sue Palmer-Komar and Manon Jutras. Joining the three of them on the start line will be Erinne Willock, Amy Moore and Nicole Demars. Audrey Lemieux has been named an alternate for the race.
Canada will have two athletes competing in both the men's and women's individual time trial events. In the men's event, 2004 National Champion Svein Tuft and 2004 Olympic team member Eric Wohlberg have been selected; Michael Barry and Charles Dionne named as reserves.
In the women's event, the CCA has nominated Sue Palmer-Komar, the 2004 National Champion, and Lyne Bessette. But Bessette declined the nomination, citing a desire to focus solely on the Road Race. The position has now been awarded to first reserve, Amy Moore. Manon Jutras has been named as a second reserve.
Pre-World's evaluation camps are on going at the moment in Europe for the Espoir and Junior Men and Women. Final nominations to the World's team in these categories will be confirmed within the next week.
52nd Coppa Sabatini on Thursday
The Coppa Sabatini one-day race (UCI 1.2) will be held on Thursday, September 23 in Peccioli, a province of Pisa. The event is taking place just days before the World Championships in Verona and will be one of the final tests for a number of riders also participating at the World's.
The course includes two climbs, the first of which will be ridden eight times on the first circuit, the second twice on the second circuit. Both climbs are short (120 and 70 meters of altitude difference), the course totalling 197.7 km.
Last year's winner Paolo Bossoni (Lampre) is confirmed to take part, as well as Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo), Michael Boogerd and Erik Dekker (Rabobank), Gilberto Simoni (Saeco), Michele Bartoli (CSC), Giuseppe Guerini (T-Mobile) and Yaroslav Popovych (Landbouwkrediet).
Participating teams are: Lampre, Acqua&Sapone, Alessio Bianchi, Ceramiche Panaria, De Nardi, Fassa Bortolo, Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave', Saeco, Team Lpr, Tenax, Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie, Amore&Vita - Beretta, Gerolsteiner, Landbouwkrediet Colnago, Phonak, Rabobank, Saunier Duval, Team CSC, T-Mobile Team.
Jacob's Creek backs Tour Down Under for four more years
Australian Major Events (AME) has announced that the Jacob's Creek wine brand will continue to be the naming rights sponsor for the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under for the next four years. The four-year deal, which will extend Jacob's Creek's association with the event to 2008, is worth in excess of $AU2 million.
Australian Major Events General Manager Leeanne Grantham said the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under is one of South Australia's premier sporting events and is the largest cycling event in the southern hemisphere. "The Jacob's Creek brand which has its home in South Australia is internationally recognised as Australia's leading wine brand and its association with the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under has been instrumental in raising the international profile for both the event and South Australia," said Ms Grantham.
Jacob's Creek has supported the race since its inception when it was the official wine supplier at the inaugural 1999 event and has been the official naming rights sponsor since 2000.
Organisers estimated that the net economic benefit of the 2003 JCTDU was $AU12.5 million after nearly 11,000 tourists traveled to South Australia to watch the race. The 2005 race will be held from January 18-23 January at various locations around South Australia.
For more information, visit www.tourdownunder.com.au.
Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup
On Sunday October 3rd 2004, Hampton Velo Club will once again host the Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross Cup (UCI cat. 2), N.Y. The organisers expect a large participation with last year's elite race winner Mark McCormack (Clif Bar/Colavita Olive Oil) and other top riders from around the country. The ladies race will include last year's champion Anna Milkowski (RONA), facing stiff competition again this year.
"We have races set up for all ages. Masters (35 yrs+), Juniors and a kid's race directly before the elite men's event. There is also a men's B race", explained Hampton Velo Club Vice President Jon Feinberg.
For more information, consult www.hamptonvelo.com. Race registration is at www.bikereg.com.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)