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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for August 11, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones & Hedwig Kröner

McQuaid replies to allegations

By Shane Stokes

Responding to the issues raised by UCI Management Committee member Sylvia Schenk, presidential candidate Pat McQuaid has denied suggestions of improper behaviour in his campaign. Schenk has accused the Irishman of receiving payments from the UCI, contrary to article 52 of the constitution, which states that "no member of the Management Committee shall be bound by an employment or service contract with the UCI, a federation or a continental confederation at the same time."

Speaking to Cyclingnews earlier this week, McQuaid dismissed accusations that he has been receiving a salary since moving to Switzerland earlier this year. That he has been given some financial assistance is beyond dispute; Hein Verbruggen confirmed recently that the Irishman has received money, but said that these were expenses rather than salary payments.

Schenk insists that talk of expenses is just a work-around. "In his letters, he [Hein Verbruggen] says that the payments made to McQuaid are merely expenses allowances and have no contractual foundation. But this is still questionable: it is hard to believe that McQuaid left his country for Switzerland without some sort of security of a contract, especially as his whole living must be paid for. If his payments are this high, which is undisputed, and you don't verbalise it in a contract, it represents a by-pass."

For his part, McQuaid says that he is satisfied that the expense payments are allowed. "They are permitted, yes," he said. "There is no clash with the constitution."

"The UCI are not financing my campaign," he continued. "The Irish federation are assisting me in my campaign, and they have been doing quite a bit of work for me, lobbying for me and campaigning for me. The work that I'm doing in the UCI offices at the moment is absolutely nothing to do with my campaign. It is completely separate to that. So I don't think there is really any cause for concern there."

Schenk feels otherwise and has already reported the matter to the IOC Ethics committee. She said that she is willing to take the matter to other tribunals, including CAS, if necessary.

But McQuaid says that he is satisfied that the UCI will be cleared by any inquiry. "I am quite comfortable with any of the investigations and appeals that are going on, and confident that things will go on the favour of the UCI board."

"I think it is very unfortunate that that situation has arisen," he stated. "I don't agree that things haven't been done as they should. I have acted at all times with the board’s wishes. I think it is unfortunate now that we have a board member who has made her way up through the cycling world to be president of her federation and to go onto the board of the UCI and then, for whatever reason, she loses the presidency of her federation and the support of her federation. She is due to step down from the UCI in September and so she has nothing to lose. She wishes to bring this situation to boil. I don't agree with this and I would be quite confident that, in time, the president, Mr Verbruggen, and the UCI board will be exonerated."

He also responded to Schenk’s suggestion that while Hein Verbruggen had contacted each of the 42 delegates, asking them to vote for McQuaid, while at the same time refusing to pass on the contact details to the other two candidates. "The truth of the matter is that to get those details, the UCI had to go to the five continental presidents and ask for the details from them, which we did. We have passed on the information of the five continental presidents to each of the two voting delegates, so they can do the same. The voting delegates are the responsibility and the prerogative of each continental confederation. The UCI has no power, no authority and no right to give out those names and addresses because they belong to each continental confederation. So the UCI has given the details of the five confederation presidents to the other candidates...they can do what we had to do [to get the contact details]."

A full interview with Pat McQuaid will follow this week.

Valverde probably to miss Vuelta

Alejandro Valverde (Illes Balears), who achieved third place at the Vuelta a España last year, will probably miss the event in 2005. According to Spanish and French media reports, Valverde is still experiencing pain in his knee, which had caused him to abandon the Tour de France in July, three days after his stage victory in Courchevel.

Since then, the 25 year-old Spaniard hasn't been able to race nor train properly. During the reconnaissance of Vuelta mountain stages, the Illes Balears rider couldn't exceed a certain level of effort for the ongoing knee pain. Valverde has been officially confirmed to miss the Clasica San Sebastian, and if he will not be able to line-up at the Tour of Spain, his participation at the World Championships in Madrid might also be compromised.

The Dekkers finish second and fourth

 
Erik Dekker
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
Click for larger image
Thomas Dekker
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
Click for larger image

The two unrelated Rabobank Dekkers, Erik and Thomas, finished the Eneco Tour in second and fourth position overall, after riding well in the closing time trial in Etten-Leur. Both riders made up places on the final day, with Erik moving from third to second, and Thomas climbing from eighth to fourth.

In his column in De Telegraaf a few days ago, Thomas wrote about his goal of reaching the top five in this race and scoring some ProTour points. That having been achieved yesterday, he reflected on his performance. "In the past week, I've again taken an important step in my career. I'm extremely satisfied with my fourth place in the final classification of the Eneco Tour. The biggest win is probably that I always raced in the front part of the peloton. Normally I find it hard there. But on the relatively small roads with this big peloton and all the chaos it was still good for me.

"I trained a huge amount for this Eneco Tour, because I made it an important goal. Day after day I trained for 200 kilometres. I'm happy that it turned out so well. Especially my performances in Limburg and in the Ardennes were positive. On the way to Verviers, I could do good work to close the gap to the group with Julich. And I could still finish in the first group. That gives me perspective for the future."

Dekker the younger has quite a bit of racing left in his season, with the Clasica San Sebastian, Dutch time trial championships, GP Plouay, Tour of Poland and the World Championships.

Brown vows to return to cycling

Australian cyclist Katie Brown, one of the five Australian team riders injured in the crash in Germany last month that killed team member Amy Gillett, is back home in Sydney and determined to get back on the bike. John Stevenson joined the media throng crammed into her home in Sydney as she spoke about her goals, the crash and the joy of daytime TV.

Katie Brown, surrounded by Sydney's media.
Photo ©: John Stevenson
Click for larger image

Sitting in a wheelchair in her parents' home in the Sydney suburb of Menai, in a trophy room full of older brother Graeme's jerseys and medals and almost swamped by a scrum of TV, radio, print and Internet media, Katie Brown emphasized her determination to return to cycling, even though it looks like being a long and hard process.

"It's my life; it's my career, and it's my job, and I love it to death, so I will get back on," said Brown. "I was hoping for a Commonwealth Games start but I'll look to the [2008] Olympics."

Despite cutting a fragile and still clearly damaged figure in leg braces and bandages under her Australian Institute of Sport uniform, Brown comes across as utterly single-minded about returning to top-level competition. "I was quite determined before the accident and now it's just made me a little bit more determined," she said. "It's just a setback. It's something to rebuild and focus on. They say that this will make us stronger mentally and physically."

First, though, Brown has to get out of the wheelchair. She'll be there, she says, "hopefully only another three weeks then I should be starting rehab with my right leg. They say that it'll be six or seven months [till I am back on the bike]."

Click here for the full story

Schumacher waiting for verdict

Stefan Schumacher, suspended by his Shimano-Memory Corp team since June 2005, is waiting for the German cycling federation's court verdict on his case. The former leader of the UCI Europe Tour rankings had tested positive for the performance-enhancing stimulant cathine during the Rheinland-Pfalz-Rundfahrt in May, where he had won three of the five stages as well as the general classification.

On Wednesday, August 3, Schumacher was heard in the sports court, and is now hoping for acquittal after claiming that he took a medicine against his pollen allergy without possibly being able to know that there was a banned substance in it. "Cathine is on the list of banned substances, but on the information leaflet [of this particular medicine], it is listed under a completely different name," he told German website Radsportnews.com, explaining that his mother, who is a doctor, made the prescription. Cathine is also known as norpseudoephedrine, a metabolite of the restricted substance pseudoephedrine.

According to Schumacher, he even asked his team doctor, who in turn allegedly asked the Dutch cycling federation about approval. "I have nothing to hold against myself. I did everything I could, I was even more than cautious before taking the medication." The 23 year-old continues to train, as his lawyer Mathias Lehner (who also represented Danilo Hondo in his doping case, incidentally with the same substance Cathine) as well as himself believe that the charges against him will be dropped. "I still have goals this year. I need to be fit right away when I can race again," Schumacher said.

Ag2r a ProTeam in 2006?

French Professional Continental team Ag2r has good chances of getting a ProTour licence for next season. After signing the best French GC rider at the Tour de France, Christophe Moreau, as well as this year's Tour fourth placed Francisco Mancebo, the team is looking increasingly likely to join the first class of Pro racing as of 2006.

"I believe Ag2r will be a ProTeam next year," Illes Balears rider Francisco Mancebo told Spanish daily Marca. Everything indicates that the vacant spot left by Fassa Bortolo's Giancarlo Ferretti will be occupied by Vincent Lavenu's squad, possibly even with a new co-sponsor. "The economical offer they made was impressive - I won't deny that," Mancebo continued on his decision to leave Illes Balears. This would suggest that Lavenu should have the budget needed for a ProTour license.

Mancebo further explained that his role within the team will be that of a leader also for the Tour de France, and that Christophe Moreau will be working for him at the race. "They told me that when they signed Moreau they told him that he had to work for somebody else in the Tour," he said. At first, Ag2r was looking to sign T-Mobile's Alexandre Vinokourov, but that deal never happened.

Still wearing his Illes Balears team colours, Mancebo will take his teammate David Navas with him to France, as well as one other rider of his confidence. "Initially, that one should have been Leonardo Piepoli, but he was made another better offer so now we're looking for somebody else," Mancebo concluded. For this season, the Spaniard still has one more goal: to get on the podium of the Vuelta a España with his little baby girl Paula, born during the Tour de France.

Barclays Global Investors named San Francisco GP Sponsor

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

Threshold Sports, promoters of the Pro Cycling Tour in North America, announced today that Barclay Global Investors has inked a three-year sponsorship deal to be the title sponsor of the San Francisco Grand Prix, which will now be known as the Barclay Global Investors Grand Prix. Barclay Global Investors is known world-wide for the Barclaycard credit card.

Barclays replaces T-Mobile as the title sponsor of the four year old race after T-Mobile's two-year sponsorship ended. Subsequent to the expiration of the agreement with T-Mobile, the women's race of the San Francisco Grand Prix was indefinitely postponed by the promoters due to high costs and difficulty of running two races on the streets of downtown San Francisco.

Lampre-Caffita for Clasica San Sebastian

Damiano Cunego will be one of Lampre-Caffita's main riders for the Clasica San Sebastian, the 20th ProTour race, this Saturday. After missing the middle part of the season because of mononucleosis, Cunego returned to racing recently and is feeling good. "On the final day of the Due Giorni Marchigiana race, Damiano was with the first riders, I am confident for the next races," said Lampre-Caffita's DS Giuseppe Martinelli.

The team will also race with Salvatore Commesso, Eddy Mazzoleni and Giuliano Figueras, who was second on Wednesday in the second day of the Due Giorni Marchigiana.

The full team is: Damiano Cunego, Salvatore Commesso, Giuliano Figueras, Eddy Mazzoleni, Andrea Tonti, Gorazd Stangelj, Alessandro Spezialetti, Patxi Vila.

Davitamon-Lotto for Deutschland Tour

The following riders will race in the Deutschland Tour (Tour of Germany) between August 15-23 for the Davitamon-Lotto team: Mario Aerts, Mauricio Ardila, Christophe Brandt, Cadel Evans, Nico Mattan, Axel Merckx, Bert Roesems, Wim Vanhuffel. Reserves: Leon Van Bon, Johan Vansummeren. Directeur Sportif: Allan Peiper.

Mertens to Davitamon-Lotto

Peter Mertens (Chocolade Jacques) has signed a preliminary contract with the Davitamon-Lotto team, which will see two year agreement.

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