First Edition Cycling News for August 10, 2005
Edited by John Stevenson
Triathlete cleared for EPO false positive
The Flemish government's disciplinary commission has cleared Belgian triathlete Rutger Beke of taking EPO, Het Laatste Nieuws has reported. Beke tested positive for the blood-boosting drug at a triathlon in Knokke in September 2004, and was suspended for 18 months in March this year.
Like many athletes, Beke insisted that he was not guilty, even though he returned positive tests from the anti-doping labs in Ghent, Belgium, and Cologne, Germany. He took his case to the Catholic University in Leuven, Belgium, where researchers tried to determine whether he was an example of a "false positive" - someone who returns a positive result, despite not having taken the drug. That proved to be the case, as Beke was found to naturally excrete proteins that would yield a positive test.
Beke was cleared on Tuesday, August 9, because there was "no evidence that he took EPO". His case is a landmark one for triathlon and other endurance sports such as cycling, where EPO has been one of the most commonly abused drugs in the last 15 years. It has now cast doubt on all EPO positives in cycling since the urine test was introduced in 2001.
Researchers in Belgium and Germany have been working on an improved version of the urinary EPO test, which is expected to be introduced soon.
The issue of false positives has been raised in the Tyler Hamilton blood doping case. Hamilton tested positive for an homologous blood transfusion during the Vuelta a España last year, and has since been given a two year suspension. However, the test that was used to catch him didn't have a known rate of false positives, as the developers deemed it unnecessary to carry out a false positive study.
Freire out of Vuelta & world's
World champion Oscar Freire looks extremely unlikely to ride the Vuelta a España (August 27-September 18) and the world championships (Madrid, Spain, September 21-25) as he has only just been pronounced fit to ride again after an operation earlier this year. Freire was operated on in June to fix an injury to his saddle area that was making it all but impossible for his to sit on a bike, but the surgery has taken an unexpectedly long time to heal, leaving him unable to train in the meantime.
"If [Freire] sat on a saddle it felt like he was sitting on sharp stones," team manager Erik Breukink told the ANP news agency.
Freire was examined by doctors in Amstelveen yesterday and was pronounced sufficiently healed to be able to resume training. "But it is impossible for him to ride the Vuelta," said Breukink, who added that he did not think it would be possible for Freire to ride in enough races to be ready for the world championships.
Freire himself has also ruled out an appearance at the world's. "I'm still unable to train and it will be impossible for me to go to Madrid," he told Spanish sports newspaper AS. "I'm really annoyed to be missing out because it was a great opportunity for me. I'm sure a lot of people would have come to see me riding at home."
The Spaniard, who was expected to defend his third world championship on his home roads, explained that his injury problems are not yet over. "The wound has healed but the problem is with the bone," he said. "It is a very delicate area, with a lot of nerve connections and tendons. When I support the weight of my body on the saddle I get a lot of pain."
T-Mobile warms up at Hainleite
The T-Mobile team is treating Saturday August 13's TEAG Hainleite in Erfurt, Germany as a final warm-up race for the Tour of Germany, which starts two days later on Monday, August 15 and finishes Tuesday, August 23.
Jan Ullrich will head the team for both races, leading a selection of T-Mobile's sprinters, classics specialists and Tour riders. Ullrich will be looking to follow up, and improve on, his strong ride at the HEW-Cyclassics-Cup where he ended up 12th after doing much of the work to establish the eventual winning group. [/road/2005/jul05/hew05/?id=results]
"Jan Ullrich has come out of the Tour de France in great shape," said T-Mobile directeur sportif Mario Kummer of the rider the team describes as "the only Tour winner still active in pro cycling".
Seven other ProTour teams will be using the German race as part of their build-up to the Tour of Germany, which has increased importance this year as a stop on the ProTour calendar. "Never before have we hosted so many top class teams," said race director Jörg Werner.
Tobias Steinhauser and Stephan Schreck are the two T-Mobile Tour veterans who will start in Hainleite. They will be joined by sprinters Eric Baumann and André Korff, while Sergey Ivanov, Andreas Klier and Bas Giling will compete in Erfurt three days after completing the Benelux Tour.
The Hainleite parcours has something for everyone, according to Schreck, who adds, "Any type of rider has a chance there. His directeur sportif agrees. "You need to be in top shape," says Kummer, "but don't have to be an out-and-out climbing specialist. The parcours could also suit a sprinter like Eric Baumann." And Kummer should know - he won this race three times during his pro career, in 1996, 1986 and 1981.
Nevertheless, climbing ability will feature heavily on the shopping list of attributes for the winner on Saturday. The final 36km comprises five laps of the finishing circuit through the Steiger forest in Erfurt, and the lap features the 1,000m Arnstädter Hohle, which is likely to be decisive.
"The final circuit through the Steiger forest can really shake things up and separate the straw from the chaff," says Kummer. "We already saw that last year." Gerolsteiner's Peter Wrolich took out the 2004 edition at the head of a three-man break with Francisco Mancebo and Marius Sabaliauskas.
Stephan Schreck is especially looking forward to the TEAG Hainleite as Erfurt is his home town. "The Erfurt fans can look forward to some quality bike racing," he says. "The roads up the 'Hohle' are so narrow, and the fans are there in such numbers that you get an atmosphere like at the Tour de France. It is a great advertisement for our sport."
T-Mobile for the TEAG Hainleite: Eric Baumann (25), Bas Giling (22/Netherlands), Sergey Ivanov (30/Russia), Andreas Klier (29), André Korff (32), Stephan Schreck (27), Tobias Steinhauser (33), Jan Ullrich (31). Directeur sportif: Mario Kummer.
Armstrong reappointed to cancer panel
US President George Bush intends to reappoint seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong to the President's Cancer Panel, according to the Associated Press. Armstrong finished serving a term on the three-member panel, which monitors cancer research, on February 20 of this year.
His reappointment would be for a three-year term to run to February 20, 2008 and with his two co-members Armstrong would provide periodic reports to the president on issues surrounding cancer research, incidence and care.
Landbouwkrediet-Colnago for Regio Tour
The Landbouwkrediet-Colnago team has announced its line-up for Germany's Regio Tour, which starts today, Wednesday August 10 and finished Sunday, August 14.
Under directeur sportif Marco Saligari, the team will field Bert De Waele, Nico Sijmens, Maxime Monfort, Johan Verstrepen, Sven Renders, Jean Claude Lebeau, Steve Cummings, and Sergey Lagutin.
Gerolsteiner for Regio Tour
The Gerolsteiner team has announced its line up for the Regio Tour - without a designated team leader. "Whoever is in front will be the boss," says directeur sportif Theo Maucher.
The team will field Markus Fothen, Heinrich Haussler, Sven Krauss, Volker Ordowski, Matthias Russ, Torsten Schmidt, Marcel Strauss, and stagiaire Tony Martin.
Freddy Gonzalez to Relax
Colombian rider Freddy Gonzalez Martinez, 30, has signed for the Spanish Continental Professional team Relax-Fuenlabrada. He will start with his new team at the Vuelta a España.
Team DFL for Tour of Britain
British Continental team Driving Force Logistics (DFL) has announced it's line-up for the tour of Britain. Getting a berth in their national tour was one of the objectives for the first-year team which has had a string of top five placings in UK Premier Calendar series races, and saw Yanto Barker take third place in the British National Championships.
Barker raced in France for five years before returning to the UK to lead the DFL squad and says the team's selection for the Tour of Britain is "just reward for the effort put in by the management and riders in the team. We have brought a fresh perspective to road racing in Britain and have been the first British team since Linda McCartney to race consistently on the continent."
At the Tour of Britain, Barker will be joined by Ryan Connor, Philip Dixon, Tim Dunford, Martin Ford, and Ben Hallam.
LAJORS series comes to Chicago
Chicago's XXX Racing-AthletiCo has announced that its Alderman Shirley A. Coleman's 16th Ward Sherman Park Criterium on Saturday, September 3, 2005 will be part of the Lance Armstrong Junior Olympic Road Series (LAJORS). The race will be one of just three LAJORS races in the Midwest this year.
The Sherman Park Criterium is one of just three major bike races to take place in the City of Chicago each year. A full day of competition for all age and ability levels will start at 8:00 a.m., with registration beginning at 6:30 a.m. In one of the event's annual highlights, children ages 9 and younger who have a bike and a helmet will be invited to race for free over various distances beginning at 2:15 p.m. The day's racing will culminate with the Women's Open race at 3:00 p.m. and a Pro/1/2/3 event for the men at 4:30 p.m.
The LAJORS program promotes quality junior and espoir racing, with the aim of providing a clear path for riders to follow from beginning racing experiences through training camps to National Teams. Riders aged from 15 to 22 have the opportunity to qualify for USA Cycling Regional Camps by finishing in the top five places of LAJORS races. More details are available at www.usacycling.org/lajors.
For more information on the Sherman Park Criterium see www.xxxracing.org.
Top Irish riders head for Lurgan crit
By Tommy Campbell
Reigning Irish criterium champion Eugene Moriarty is among the top riders expected to line up in Lurgan, Co. Armagh this Friday for a fast and furious criterium in the town. But Moriarty, who assumed the title just a few weeks ago in the national championships in Cork, won't have everything his own way. Last year's winner Tommy Evans is also a favourite for the event, and the two are among a pack of talented riders who will contest the crit.
In last year's event, Evans was pushed all the way by Dubliner Stephen O'Sullivan who has been impressive of late. Stephen's team Cycleways.Com, are also the current team champions' at the discipline. Bill Moore, winner of the final stage of this year FBD Insurance Ras, and Craig Sweetman from the same club has a good aptitude for the short circuit races such as the Lurgan event.
Locally, Lurgan enthusiasts will be shouting for Michael Murray and David Mulholland, both still juniors but with growing reputations. However, there is still a question mark over Murray, who is currently in Austria at the world junior track championships, and may not be fully recovered in time for Friday's event.
Racing kicks off at 7 pm, with the beginner's race, followed by youth events, where the Clann Eireann club expect Thomas Martin to be in the front of the action. The circuit is based on Kitchen Hill, the riders will be lapping the circuit every couple of minutes, taking in Union Street and Hill Street. The seniors and juniors start around 7.30 pm, for approximately 45 minutes of racing.
Big field for Australian MTB Epic
With a few days to go before entries close, the Flight Centre Peppers Hidden Vale Cycle Epic in South-East Queensland, September 3-4 has reached over 800 entries, according to the organisers. The event is the latest beneficiary of the rapid growth in popularity of endurance mountain bike racing in Australia in the last year or so. Events such as the Working Week Series of eight-hour races have also seen record attendances this year, while the 2005 edition of the daddy of Australian endurance events, the Mont 24-Hour, filled up within eight days of entries opening.
"The growth in the Epic has been unprecedented and goes to show it's really struck a chord with local and interstate competitors," event co-manager Peter Creagh said. "We've locals, people from all over Queensland as well as one New Zealand rider who is going to do the entire course on a unicycle."
This year's Epic has expanded to provide events for younger riders and families on the Saturday and co-manager Tod Horton puts the event's growth down to the increased variety of racing on offer. "While the event is anchored by the 100 kilometre race, we've worked hard to expand the Epic to make it enjoyable for everyone involved - from family and friends to support crew and sponsors," he said.
Entries for the Flight Centre Peppers Hidden Vale Cycle Epic close 5PM, Friday 12 August. For more information see www.cycleepic.com.au.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)