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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for December 22, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Sutherland suspended for 15 months, but no misconduct found

Australian rider Rory Sutherland has been banned for 15 months after testing positive for clomiphene during the Deutschland Tour (Tour of Germany) this year. The sanction was announced on Thursday by the disciplinary commission of the Belgian cycling federation, which had jurisdiction in the matter as Sutherland possesses a Belgian licence. The ban, which also carries an additional 9 month provisional suspension, will run until December 15, 2006.

An investigation into the affair, headed by Dr. J. de Beer (Drug Control Service of the Scientific Institute of Public Health in Brussels) and Mr H.J.A. Knijff (attorney at De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek in the Hague), reported that clomiphene - an anti-estrogen fertility drug - is practically unheard of in endurance sports, and is "not expected to produce any performance enhancing effect." By inhibiting estrogen production by the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, it is designed to help women get pregnant, but this also has the counter-effect of improving the production of testosterone. In this way, it's been claimed to reduce the effects of exercise-induced muscle damage in endurance athletes.

In Sutherland's case, no link was found between the positive test and the products that were given to him by Rabobank's medical staff during the Deutschland Tour. The investigation could not find "any indication that Sutherland was directly or indirectly implicated in expressing interest in, or in using substances classified as doping agents" and concluded that he must have taken it without being aware of it.

The investigation recommended that in future, Rabobank should only use certified products and supplements, including those taken outside of racing. It also recommended that riders get a copy of the UCI doping list at the start of each season, and sign for the receipt of this list. Rabobank said that it will adopt all the recommendations of the investigation committee.

Pyrrhic victory for Berden

Belgian cyclo-crosser Ben Berden, who was caught for using EPO last year, will not serve any additional punishment for the use of illegal drugs, save for his current 15 month ban from cycling. The court in Tongeren, Belgium, determined that after a year-long investigation, while at the same time ordering Berden to pay nearly €60,000 in legal costs.

Although Berden will not end up in jail for using an illegal substance, he still faces a big task to raise the money. "I was baffled when I learned of it," he told "I don't know how to even start. This morning I still was thinking to pick up the threads after my suspension runs out in April. Now it's all gone, nothing makes sense."

Berden heard the news on Tuesday, and it wasn't well received. "When I told my wife how much it was, she left and I don't know where she went," he said. "I don't see any future. My money is all gone in lawyer's fees. I'm selling my Harley and will do the same thing with my house.

"I'm still not a criminal. I made a sporting error and never had a problem admitting that. Taking EPO was wrong but I wasn't selling drugs to schoolkids and I wasn't a dealer."

Berden's problems may not have finished, however, as the public prosecutor in Tongeren is expected to appeal against the court's decision not to pursue Berden. Although Berden admitted to using EPO once only, a search of his home on January 3 this year turned up other forbidden products.

Kuyckx cleared

There was better news for Belgian Jan Kuyckx (Davitamon-Lotto), who tested positive for ephedrine and norpseudoephedrine during the Ster Elektrotoer earlier this year. Kuyckx has been cleared of the offense and will not be penalised. He will also form part of Davitamon-Lotto's squad next season.

Aussies' low medal count no cause for alarm

By Gerard Knapp

Katherine Bates isn't worried - but the Australian track squad still have some work to do before next year's Commonwealth Games in March
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
Click for larger image

Despite Katherine Bates' consistency on the track - last week hauling in gold for the individual pursuit and silver in the scratch race - the rest of the Australian track squad left Manchester somewhat light-on in the medals stakes.

Considering that Athens Olympics gold medalists Ryan Bayley and Anna Meares were on board, was the team's relatively poor showing at the UK round of the UCI's track world cup a sign of a team that's underdone for the season ahead?

"Clearly we are in a re-building phase", said Cycling Australia's high performance manager, Kevin Tabotta, who went to Manchester with the squad. "Some still have or are recovering from back injuries, and some in the team is now six weeks behind in their schedules.

"Plus, other riders had been racing quite a bit in Australia, such as the Sydney 1000, the Melbourne Cup on Wheels and even the Oceania's," Tabotta said. "The edge had gone off a couple of people."

Bayley and Meares, the world's leading male and female sprinters in 2004, are both on their way back from injuries in 2005. According to Tabotta, the Manchester round of the UCI track world cup provided the riders with "a good way of saying, 'this is where I'm at now, in terms of international competition'. It's different to the local racing they've had, plus with the racing that came beforehand, and the travel, they can assess where they're at".

But he admitted, "yes, it was not the medal haul as it's been in the past".

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Continental Pro teams for 2006

The UCI has announced the full list of Continental Professional teams for 2006, registering them according to the recommendations of Ernst&Young.

Team Vorarlberg (Aut)
Landbouwkrediet - Colnago (Bel)
Chocolade Jacques-Topsport Vlaanderen (Bel) (Bel)
Colombia - Selle Italia (Col)
3 Molinos Resort (Spa)
Kaiku (Spa)
Agritubel (Fra)
Barloworld (Gbr)
Team Wiesenhof Akud (Ger)
Tenax (Irl)
Ceramiche Panaria-Navigare (Irl)
Acqua & Sapone (Ita)
Ceramica Flaminia (Ita)
Miche (Ita)
Skil-Shimano (Ned)
Intel-Action (Pol)
Team LPR (Swi)
Health Net Presented By Maxxis (USA)
Navigators Insurance Cycling Team (USA)

There are, in addition, six more teams that have submitted their registration, but it has been deemed to be incomplete by the UCI. They have until January 17, 2006 to complete their documents, or their registration will be refused:

Elk Haus-Simplon (Aut)
Andalucia-Paul Versan (Spa)
Comunidad Valenciana (Spa)
Relax-GAM (Spa)
Team Androni Giocattoli-3C Casalinghi (Ita)
Naturino-Sapore Di Mare (Swi)

Finally, Cyclingnews' team database guru Théo Muller has completed the provisional team rosters for the ProTour teams in 2006. Take a look at who has come and gone from where at

An unexpected encounter

By Susan Westemeyer

The weather is forcing Fabian Wegmann to do his training on cross-country skis rather than the bike right now, but until recently he was on the road with training partners Michael Rich, Christian Müller and Paul Martens. And then they spotted something unexpected, as they rode near Merdingen (the former home of Jan Ullrich):

"We were followed by little, magenta-coloured figure on the horizon, which slowly came closer and closer. With an unbelievable show of force he joined us, and we though it was just a hobby rider who wanted to show us up. To our surprise it was Oscar Sevilla. We didn't believe our eyes at first. A lot of German pros fly south, but here was a Spaniard, accustomed to sun and warmth, under way alone in Baden at 0° He didn't become a regular in our group, though. He had been visiting the University of Freiburg Klinik and wanted to make the rounds of Ullrich's former training area." ( T-Mobile reported that Sevilla was indeed at the Klinik for a week, receiving treatments for back problems stemming from his crash at the 2003 World's in Hamilton. "We are trying to correct an instability in the lower back through intensive physical therapy," said team doctor Stefan Vogt.

Sevilla trained daily in the weights room and received therapy twice a day while in Freiburg.

Guerrero breaks collarbone after being hit by truck

Mexican points race Olympic medalist Belem Guerrero has broken her collarbone after being hit by a truck whilst out training at home. The accident occurred on Tuesday morning, December 20 on the Toluca-Tenango highway, and Guerrero briefly lost consciousness. She was taken to hospital and had surgery on the same day. Doctor Juan Manuel Herrera, director of the National Sports Commission, claimed the operation was successful.

"We inserted a plate with six screws to join together the two pieces of the right collarbone, due to the fracture that was caused by the impact of the accident," he said. "We expect Belem to recover quickly, and she will stay in hospital for two days, depending on the pain and the traumas in her back."

Guerrero also suffered two broken ribs and two fractured vertebrae in her back. However, she expects to be training again in three weeks.

Courtesy of Juan Ramón Piña/El Norte

Chasing Lance

The Discovery Network's Travel Channel will air a documentary entitled "Chasing Lance: a Fans Story" on Thursday, December 22 at 8 and 11pm EST (7 and 10 pm CST) in the USA. The show focuses on five Americans who followed the 2005 Tour around France supporting Lance Armstrong in his seventh and final victory.

WCCC winter training camp

The Western Collegiate Cycling Conference (WCCC) will be holding its second annual winter road training camp on January 14-16 in Buellton, CA, USA. Last year's event saw over 75 riders taking advantage of the area's mild weather and miles of great riding.

This year's event adds an extra day due to the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend. Returning as the camps featured guests are 2004 Athens silver medalist Dede Barry and Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team's Tom Danielson (winner of the 2005 Tour de Georgia, and 8th place overall at the 2005 Vuelta a España). Both will share their insights into training, managing the demands of training and studying, and in the case of Barry, will be joining everyone on the daily training rides.

Through the funding of the Northern California/Nevada Cycling Association and the Southern California/Nevada Cycling Association, the National Collegiate Cycling Association, Velo Europa Imports, and Eastside Cycles, the camp fee has been kept at $50 per rider.

The event is open to all collegiate cyclists who hold a NCCA license, and all juniors age 16 and older who hold a USCF license.

More information:

For any questions, contact Alden Tanaka, WCCC Director at

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