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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for January 14, 2005

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Sunday Times considers appeal in Armstrong case ruling

By Gerard Knapp

Times Newspapers Limited is considering seeking permission to appeal against the judgment handed down in the British High Court by Mr Justice Eady concerning the libel action brought by six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong against the newspaper.

The legal department of TNL contacted Cyclingnews to clarify an earlier article published on this web site. The Sunday Times' in-house solicitor, Ms Gillian Phillips, stressed that the case was far from over and that the paper still planned to mount a defense in a trial that is slated to commence in October or November this year.

Phillips said the paper had 14 to 21 days to consider its appeal, and while admitting that Justice Eady's latest judgment "concerned" the organisation, she claimed the paper still had an array of legal arguments it could forward in its defence. "In fact, the Judge did not throw out the newspaper's whole defence; he struck out the qualified privilege defence and also a pleaded meaning that the article published by The Sunday Times meant no more that there were some questions needing to be investigated," Phillips said.

"However, the newspaper's defence of justification (truth) remains and the litigation is ongoing. The Sunday Times is considering whether to seek permission to appeal against the Judge's ruling."

Essentially, the paper has to prove that it did not defame the cyclist with publication of the hard-hitting article that cast doubt on Armstrong's achievements.


Justice Eady's statement, issued on December 17 last year, is a significant step in the legal process of this complicated libel case. Initiated by Armstrong after the publication of a story in The Sunday Times on June 13, 2004, the article is also an opportunity for the cyclist to name the Irish journalist, David Walsh, author of the controversial book, LA Confidentiel (so far only published in French, written by Walsh with Pierre Ballester).

Walsh did not write The Sunday Times article and in fact Walsh is not an employee of the paper. Rather, he has been a freelance writer for the paper for several years allowing him time to also concentrate on his books. The article was actually written by Sunday Times' journalist, Alan English, also named in Armstrong's action, who quotes Walsh extensively. It's believed that their naming in the action could put both writers in the firing line should the court find in favour of the claimant and any damages be awarded.


Justice Eady's judgment 'lays the table' for arguments that can be advanced by both sides in the planned trial. Significantly, the judgment does reject key arguments pleaded by TNL.

The judge's striking out of the qualified privilege defence is somewhat ironic for The Sunday Times, which advanced this legal argument and lobbied the House of Lords to introduce it into British Law. It aims to provide a legal defence for quality investigative journalism, but in this libel case, Mr Justice Eady ruled it can't be used by the organisation that fought for its introduction.

Tour of Qatar without Armstrong

The Tour of Qatar, starting January 31 in Doha, Qatar, will take place without Lance Armstrong. Despite of his initial plan to make his season' debut in the Middle Eastern country, the father of three chose to stay at home to keep his children.

Rated Cat. 2.1, the first race on the International calendar will therefore start off without him, but several other top level riders including Tom Boonen (Quick.Step), Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) and Mario Cipollini (Liquigas-Bianchi) will attend. The race is part of the UCI Asia Tour and traditionally fast, as the parcours does not involve any climbs. The start and finish are located in the capital, Doha.

Zabel not sure for Tour

One of the most consistent riders in the world, German Erik Zabel (T-Mobile) has expressed doubts over his selection to ride this year's Tour de France. In his team's training camp on the Spanish island of Mallorca, Zabel was asked by German news agency dpa whether the selection of riders for the Tour de France was already taking shape. "Of course there is a tendency within the team management," he replied. "We're not a democratic association - the manager will decide. In that case, the buck would be passed on to somebody else: he has to win the Tour."

Zabel has participated in the Tour de France 11 times. The German won 12 stages at the Tour, and six times the points classification (green jersey). However, no official stement from the team's management has been made over Zabel's inclusion for the Tour de France yet.

As Zabel's foot fracture has healed, the sprinter is currently shaping up for another big target in 2005, Milano-San Remo. Last year's defeat still weighs heavily on him, as Spaniard Oscar Freire passed him practically on the finish line because the 34 year-old German had raised his arms to celebrate victory, too soon as it turned out. "This defeat keeps following me. It caused more public attention than my four victories there," he said.

Cofidis affair: French newspaper offices searched

On Thursday, January 13, several offices of the French newspapers Le Point and L'Equipe were searched simultaneously by Nanterre court investigating judges Katherine Cornier and Isabelle Prévost-Desprez in what is called the Cofidis affair. The judges' mission was to find out how some of the rider questionings and transcripts of phone calls used in the investigation had reached the editorial teams.

The affair started early last year, when Cofidis rider Philippe Gaumont was charged for doping offenses following the arrest of the team's soigneur, Bogdan Madejak. Although Cédric Vasseur has been cleared of the charges recently, Cofidis went through a difficult year as British time trial specialist David Millar also admitted the use of EPO.

Australia's young track riders take charge in Manchester

They were out of the medals or on the bench in Athens, but two of Australia’s younger track riders have shown they are well on the way to leading at the highest level following their performances in the UCI Track World Cup in Manchester. With three gold medals from wins in the 3km individual pursuit, the points and scratch races, Australia’s Katherine Bates was the undisputed star of the three-day Manchester Round of the UCI Track world Cup held last weekend.

Meanwhile, Scotland's world champion and Olympic gold medallist, Chris Hoy, had Ben Kersten breathing down his neck as the young Australian posted a personal best in the one kilometre time trial (kilo), finishing a close second to the reigning king of the kilo. But it was Bates who impressed in Manchester, taking out all the women's endurance events. The 22 year-old was unbeatable on what has become one of her favourite tracks in the world.

"I've raced here six times and won five gold and a silver so I'm always happy to line up in Manchester," said Bates, who admits her success came despite her being only 90 percent race fit. "In the individual pursuit my times are not quite up to standard but the win has given me great confidence and has let me see how I am travelling in relation to the other women in the world."

"She basically blew everyone away in the final sprint," said Australian track coach, Martin Barras, of Bates' ride in the scratch race. "I am extremely happy with her performances and with the way she and Alexis (Rhodes) worked together in the points and scratch races to maximise Australia's chances."

"The scratch race was pretty cool and it was great to have Alexis helping out," said Bates. "It all came together and it was a great feeling knowing I was stronger than everyone out there on the track. It has given me a huge confidence boost going into World Titles (Los Angeles in March) and it's made me a lot hungrier for the points race rainbow jersey of World Champion," she added.

Bates was in the hunt for a points race medal in Athens before heat exhaustion struck. She battled on to finish seventh and was fourth in the individual pursuit. "I had a real shocker in Athens and didn't do what I know I'm capable of and it has left me with unresolved issues," Bates explained. "It doesn't matter what anyone else says about me doing my best in Athens I walked away with a terrible feeling and that's what's motivating me now."

Kersten rides PB in kilo

Another Australian trackie who had an unsatisfactory time in Athens, Wollongong's Ben Kersten, stepped up in the 1km time trial to post a personal best time of 1:01.94, breaking the 62 second mark for the first time. "Ben had a fantastic ride," said Barras. "He has really come along in his understanding of how to progress his speed through the distance and it was a really solid performance from start to finish."

"I certainly didn't think I'd crack the 1:02 at a World Cup in January and I really hadn't prepared my mind for it," said Kersten. "In fact I probably cooked it up a bit and I suffered from that in the keirin and teams sprint but we qualified in the teams sprint for World's and that was the important thing." Kersten has now stepped up to take over the 'kilo' from one its previous kings, Shane Kelly, who was also racing in Manchester, where he won a bronze in the World Cup keirin and then a silver in the lucrative Japanese Invitational keirin exhibition event, pocketing AUS$20,000 for his trouble.

"I had a few problems with ankle and Achilles injuries before I left and crashed as well so for me getting any further than the semi was a bonus," Kelly said. "For the past 15 years I've put everything into the kilo and had some great results but this year I wanted to see how I'd go concentrating on something else and freshening my mind for a year. But I might have to go back to the kilo for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games though to the see if I can score my third Commonwealth kilometre gold," he added.

Irish return Down Under

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

Whilst Ireland shivers, the cycling season will start for Ciarán Power and David O’Loughlin in the Jacobs Creek Tour Down Under next Tuesday, January 18 in bright sunshine. Over the next five days, they will be representing the Navigators Insurance outfit form New Jersey in the USA. Whereas Power has been a member of the outfit, O'Loughlin no doubt will sample life as the new kid on the block in their colours. At the moment, both Ciarán and David are in Australia preparing along with Navigators Insurance team-mates Chris Baldwin, Siro Camponogara, Hilton Clarke, Kirk O’Bee, Nathan O'Neill and Phil Zajicek for the 2.HC ranked event in Australia.

What a difference a year makes for the Connacht participant. This time last year, David O'Loughlin, the current Irish Road Champion, had severed his ties with the professional ranks. He was back home and was going to base his activities for the year from Cong, Co. Mayo. Last season, Mark Scanlon was the flag bearer for AG2R and Connacht at the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under. He was also road champion, but this time around Mark will not be there.

Surprisingly, David O’Loughlin found early season form in 2004 and was a regular on the national team, which was a bonus. His profile also found new frontiers with a number of prolific wins in UCI recognised races in Belgium, England and Ireland where he won the Murphy & Gunn Shay Elliott Memorial in April.

From then on, it was a roller coaster number of months, which culminated at the World Championships in Verona, Italy where he had a high placing as he did in Belgium at Zolder in 2002. The hankering to get back into the pro ranks was rewarded when he was taken on board the New Jersey based team Navigators.

David will wear the distinctive jersey of national champion in all events where he will race this coming year, but for now the tunic is sure to arouse the passions of the Irish based in Adelaide.

His manager, Ed Beamon is very happy with the signing and said, "David was at a training camp in the States in December. What I saw of him was good and I have no doubts he'll make a fine contribution to the team as Ciarán has done over the last number of years. David’s win in Carraroe, Co. Galway over the Christmas period has set him up nicely for the months ahead," Ed added.

Four young riders in T-Mobile development program

T-Mobile has created a development programme to bring forward a talented group of international riders and support them with the planning, supervision and testing of their training activities. Intense scouting has unearthed four talented young riders, who will now enter the programme initially planned to run over a period of two years: the three Britons Geraint Thomas (18/Junior World Champion 2004 in scratch), Ian Stannard (19/National Junior Time Trial Champion) and Kristian House (24), as well as the Czech rider Martin Mares (22).

The development riders will be invited to attend training camps, performance tests and races together with the T-Mobile pro riders. The experienced Heiko Salzwedel will act as trainer. The 47 year-old has previously coached top Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen, elite German rider Jens Voigt and he was also national team manager of the British World Class Performance Programme. Salzwedel is currently responsible for coaching development with the UCI and is consultant to the Danish and Chinese national squads.

Salzwedel will monitor the talented young riders from a distance; the riders will e-mail him their SRM system generated training data, such as heart rate and lactate values. Salzwedel will evaluate these values to formulate training plans that will guide and progress the riders. He will also collaborate closely with club or national coaches and follow the riders’ competitive performances.

T-Mobile-Team manager Olaf Ludwig views the initiative as an ideal model for sourcing and nurturing a new generation of riders with strong potential. "A young rider needs to follow and adapt to professional training and behaviour patterns before he signs his first professional contract with a ProTour team," he said, adding, "This programme will gradually introduce the riders to higher performance requirements, thus, better preparing them to meet the demands of top professional racing."

The quartet from England, Wales and the Czech Republic will get their first taste of professional cycling when they join the T-Mobile Team training camp on Majorca for a few days in January. "The lads already rank among the best performers in their national teams," Heiko Salzwedel said. "Riding for a pro team is a different ball game, however, but the young riders can learn a lot when they go on training rides with the T-Mobile Team."

Good Friday Track Meeting restored

The Good Friday International Track Meeting will return after a one year break at London's Herne Hill Velodrome on Friday, March 25, 2005, as event organiser Graham Bristow announced. After a 'year out', the SCCU are building on the success of the Centenary edition in 2003 and are planning top quality racing to take place on Good Friday 2005, featuring well known stars of road and track. As ever, the meeting will be designed to provide a day of fun and entertainment for all to enjoy. The program will showcase the ever popular 10 Minute Pursuit starring some big names in road racing plus the traditional International Sprint - with sprinters from around the world, to culminate in the lucrative Golden Wheel Scratch Race.

Supporting events will include the White Hope Sprint for up and coming sprinters, Devil and Points races. A motor-paced event is also planned.

Tickets will soon be available online & the new Good Friday website has gone live at

M Street Racing for 2005

The Washington DC-based M Street Racing has announced its complete roster for 2005 cycling season. The team’s successes in 2004 include first place overall (both in Men’s Cat 3 & 4) in the individual and team rankings for the Mid-Atlantic Bicycle Racing Association’s (MABRA) Best All-Around Rider Competitions, as well as 2nd overall in the recent 2004 Verge Mid-Atlantic Cyclo-Cross Series.

This year, the team has expanded to include an elite men's squad. New additions to the team include Michael White, 15th in the 2004 USCF Elite National Road Race Championship, Adam Fung, winner of the 2004 MABRA Road Race Championships (Cat 3), and Brian Butts, winner of the 2003 International/Tour de Toona (Cat 3).

For M Street Racing's complete 2005 roster, please click here.

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)