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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for January 20, 2005

Edited by Hedwig Kröner and Jeff Jones

Franco-Belgian doping ring uncovered

French and Belgian investigators have uncovered an international doping network, with 24 arrests being made on Tuesday. The ringleader is a 62 year old man "S.F." from Tremelo, Belgium, who was caught red-handed in a parking lot in Cahors while negotiating a deal: he had 83 syringes of 'pot Belge' in his possession. The police were tipped off after a French cyclist admitted that he had bought doping products from the man last year. The man's son has also been arrested, as well as their supplier "V.J.", a man from Wommelgem near Antwerp in Belgium.

A large-scale simultaneous operation was carried out by police on Tuesday evening, with seven people being arrested in Cahors out of a total of 18 in France. Five house searches were also carried out in Belgium, resulting in six arrests. Four of those will meet the investigating judge in Leuven to see whether they will continue to be held in custody.

Investigators have been on the trail of the doping network since early last year, and believe that S.F. was supplying doping products to French riders. The French cycling federation has been assisting with the inquiry. "We had strong suspicions and therefore we informed the investigating magistrate," French cycling federation president Jean Pitallier was quoted by AFP as saying.

It's not thought that any professional riders are involved.

An interview with Tom Danielson

Great Expectations

Lance Armstrong and Tom Danielson ride side-by-side at the Discovery Channel training camp in Solvang, CA.
Photo ©: Discovery Channel
Click for larger image

Two days into Discovery Channel Cycling Team's first official team camp in Solvang, California, Steve Medcroft caught up with new recruit Tom Danielson, where both team and rider have great expectations for the upcoming season.

2004 started out with a lot of promise for Tom Danielson. After an early career dominating the U.S. Elite racing scene with Saturn Cycling, he signed with Alessandro Petacchi's Fassa Bortolo to begin, what he hoped, would be success in the European peloton.

But Fasso's team dynamics were not what he expected and he ended up spending much of the year living alone in Italy (Danielson's long time girlfriend Kristin Johnson was busy with her own racing schedule in the U.S.), without many friends, and on a team that didn't seem to be the right place for a young rider looking to learn and grow. Given the same circumstance, any other rider would have probably come back to domestic racing and given up the European dream.

Not Danielson. He rode it out, taking whatever knowledge he could from every start. Then, toward the end of the season, the offer of a lifetime came his way - an invitation to race and ride next to the most dominant racer in cycling, Lance Armstrong.

Cyclingnews: We last talked to you just after you'd signed a letter of intent to join Discovery Channel. How has your life changed since then?

Tom Danielson: Well, probably the biggest change is that my motivation for the bike, for training and racing, has just increased twofold. This is making the work that much easier -- really wanting something and wanting to do the best you can gives you a fresh perspective on everyday life. As soon as I knew I was going to ride for this team, I was already thinking forward to the next year; to how I could do everything to be ready and be the best I could. I want to perform for Lance; he's been an idol to me my whole life. Not just from winning the Tour de France, but before too. And since I signed on, I wanted to come prepared and show that I am ready to work -- to Lance, to Johan (Brunyeel), to everyone on the team. These guys have high expectations, so motivation is my big change.

Click here for the full interview

More light shed in Pantani case

The investigation into the death of Italian climber Marco Pantani is shedding some light into what caused him to overdose on cocaine in a hotel room in Rimini on February 14, 2004. Investigating judge Paolo Gengarelli questioned three of Pantani's friends who were with him on the night before he died. Pantani reportedly said, "I don't know if there will be another day for me" to his friends.

Saul Pasque killed

31 year-old Australian Saul Pasque has been killed in an accident in Geelong, Victoria on the evening of Tuesday, January 18. He was out on a training ride at Ceres going up a hill when he was hit by a ute from behind. He suffered severe head injuries and died shortly afterwards in hospital.

Pasque, from Camperdown, Victoria, was the president of the Camperdown cycling club president for the past four years, and had ridden in Europe for a several seasons. He also rode in the Herald Sun Tour. From all reports, he had many friends in the cycling world in Victoria, and his death will be a huge loss for those that knew him.

Tonkov to LPR

35 year-old Russian Pavel Tonkov has signed a contract to ride for Team LPR this season. The winner of the 1996 Giro d'Italia said that he "still felt in good enough condition to be able to ride a season at the top level. The team is young, but the motivation is not lacking. I am convinced that we will achieve some satisfaction."

Dierckxsens unstoppable

After announcing his retirement last weekend, Ludo Dierckxsens has changed been given another chance within the pro peloton and will ride for Landbouwkrediet-Colnago until August 2005. The 40 year-old accepted an offer from his previous team, which will give him the chance to continue racing and preparing his retirement in a suitable manner. After the post-Tour de France criteriums in August, Dierckxsens will end his career as a professional cyclist.

Courtesy: Sporza

Liquigas-Bianchi for Qatar

On the day after the official presentation of team Liquigas-Bianchi (Tuesday, January 25 in Milan), the following of its riders will head to the Tour of Qatar, which will take place from January 31-February 2: Mario Cipollini, Magnus Bäckstedt, Dario Andriotto, Nicola Loda, Marco Milesi, Marcus Ljungqvist, Gianluca Sironi and Marco Zanotti.

Other team members including Dario Cioni, Danilo Di Luca, Devis Miorin and Charles Wegelius will fly to Toluca, Mexico, to train at altitude until the end of February.

Why cyclists like to get high

We all know that training at altitude is meant to improve your cycling. But how high is too high, and how long is necessary to stay in the mountains - or inside a tent - to achieve any real benefit?

In the latest Form & Fitness feature on Cyclingnews, an expert on altitude training, Dr John Hellemans, answers the most commonly-asked questions about altitude training.

And as all non-climbers readily admit, the best part of riding in the mountains is descending. In the article, there are also details on what is possibly the longest descent in the world - how does some 4,345 of pure altitude drop in one day's riding sound? Certainly, there has to be some reward to gasping to the starting point at over 5300 metres. For more details, see The highs and lows of altitude training.

Revenge at Revolution 7

With two of the world's greatest sprinters featuring at Revolution 7 in Manchester on January 29, the scene is set for a revenge match. Arnaud Tournant and Chris Hoy will go head to head in a 500 m Time Trial, racing against each other in a TT for the first time since the Kilometre TT at the Olympic Games in Athens. Tournant who will be looking to set the record straight following Hoy’s victory over him in the Olympic Kilo.

"The race in Athens was a huge disappointment for me but I have been training hard over the winter and want the victory," said Tournant. "It will be fantastic to return to the Revolution and we will be ready to make it a good show."

The event will see the two sprinters racing at the same time starting at opposite sides of the track. Hoy has had the upper hand over Tournant over the last two years but Tournant is still the World Record holder. He is now retired from the Kilo and focusing on the sprint and Keirin, so the shorter distance will also suit him.

"It will be really close and very fast," Chris Hoy acknowledged. "I know Arnaud has been focusing his training on the sprints and Keirin so he will be strong over 500 m and I'm sure he will be out for revenge following Athens. My strength is normally in the last 500 m but my form is good and I'm confident I'll still win."

On home turf Hoy should have the advantage and will have the crowd behind him. "It’s going to be really spectacular particularly as Arnaud and I will be on the track at the same time," he said. "It should be very visual and the crowd will be able to see who is up throughout the race so the atmosphere will be fantastic."

Hoy and Tournant will also clash in the grand finale of Revolution 7; a France versus Britain Team Sprint with Craig MacLean and Jason Queally making up the British trio and Gregory Bauge and Francois Pervis joining Tournant. Bradley Wiggins and Spain’s Sergio Escobar Roure will also be squaring up in the endurance events.

Tickets are available to purchase in advance from or can be bought on the night.

NZ Track World Cup team announced

The BikeNZ National Track Selectors have announced the athletes participating in the 2005 Track World Cup final round to be held from February 18-20 in Sydney. In the third round in Manchester from January 7-9, the Men’s Track Team Pursuit placed second. Coach Terry Gyde will lead the following riders in Australia:

Men: Jason Allen, Anthony Chapman, Joshua England, Hayden Godfrey, Greg Henderson, Marc Ryan, David Cresswell

Women: Catherine Sell, Dale Tye

Team Snow Valley moves up

The number one ranked U.S. elite amateur team in 2004 is now one of the newest US Continental Pro Teams. The new team, Snow Valley Sponsored By Seal-On is the result of a joining of forces by Team Snow Valley and Breakaway Brand Builders. The squad retains its title sponsor from past years, Snow Valley Spring Water out of Marlboro, Maryland and adds a new international sponsor, Seal-On, a broad line of stop bleeding products manufactured by Alltracel plc in Dublin, Ireland.

The new Snow Valley/Seal-On squad brings a strong mix of veterans and talented young riders including: six-time U.S. National medalist and National Elite criterium Champion Jon Wirsing; two-time Pennsylvania State Champion Josh Taylor; two-time Pennsylvania State, former National U-23 Points Race Champion and Tour de Cuba stage winner Kyle Wamsley; 2003 U.S. national U23 Road Champion, Killington stage Race GC winner and former Ofoto rider Jonathan Erdelyi; U.S. Elite National Track Champion and U.S. World cup team member Mike Beers; Australian Ben Lindsay with eighteen top ten finishes in the U.S.; former Saturn U23 Development program member and winner of the mountain Jersey at the Tour de ‘Toona John DeLong; former National Collegiate Road Race Champion and 4th place finisher at the Univest Grand Prix Peter Baker; former U.S. National Team member in Europe Ryan DeWald; and former Virginia State Criterium Champion and Southwest Collegiate Cycling conference Champion Ryan McKinney; and top ten finisher at both the Housatonic Valley Road Race and the Elite Nationals Road Race Russ Langley.

According to Managing Director Arch McKown, "We've been working toward this season since 1995, when we first contacted Jon Wirsing to help us bring our amateur team to a higher level. Working with Olympic silver medalist Brian Walton helped us develop a top notch program and we were able to achieve one of our primary goals - to be the best elite amateur team in the country. Now, with our association with Breakaway Brand Builders and their sponsors, we're able to take the next big step and try to achieve the same level of success at the professional level."

The team will be getting together for the first time as a single group at a one-day mini-camp on January 15th which will include preseason fitness evaluations and training program planning as well as an inaugural group training ride. Preseason training camp will be held from March 15th-20th near Asheville, North Carolina.

Team Snow Valley Sponsored By Seal-On 2005 Roster

Jon Wirsing (USA), Josh Taylor (USA), Kyle Wamsley (USA), Mike Beers (USA), Jon Erdelyi (USA), Ben Lindsay (AUS), Ryan DeWald (USA), Ryan McKinney (USA), Russ Langley (USA), Peter Baker (USA) and John DeLong (USA).

:Support Staff : Managing Director Arch McKown, Managing Director Jamie Davis, Team Director Jon Wirsing, Team Manager Josh Taylor, Head Team Mechanic Chris Militello, Team Physician Marc Neiburg, D.O.

Team Snow Valley will again be aboard Bontrager equipped LeMond framesets. Preseason fitness evaluation and training will be conducted by Fitness Concepts. Additional product sponsorship is being supplied by Rudy Project, Hammer Nutrition/E-caps, Speedplay, Cateye, Serfas, Defeet and Squadra.

For additional information on Team Snow Valley Sponsored By Seal-On go to

Klassen to Yeti

Yeti Cycles has signed top freerider and pie-baker extraordinaire, Tyler "Super-T" Klassen, to its roster for the next two seasons. "We have some of the best racers in the sport, but adding a great freeride talent like Tyler will make sure our big travel bikes are designed for the rigors of big drops and other freeride specific stunts," said Chris Conroy, Yeti's president.

23 year-old Klassen has appeared in countless videos and has won a number of contests including the 2002 Red Bull Rampage freeride event and the Race Face Freeride Challenge. Considered by many to be one of the best freeriders in the sport, Klassen will display his talent in international freeride competitions and will be seen in videos and photos throughout the world.

Tyler will ride the new Yeti 303 DH, AS-X, 4x, and DJ frames.

'Meet the teams' in Northern California

"Unattached" racing cyclists in Northern California will have an opportunity to shop for a club for the 2005 season at the 'Meet The Teams Day', to be held at the Early Bird Criterium on Sunday, January 23 in Fremont, California.

Meet The Teams Day organizer, Geoff Gunderson of the Cycle Sports/ Trumer Pils Racing Team said, "We're really excited about how many local racing clubs will be taking this opportunity to promote their programs, recruit new members, and kick off the 2005 racing season." The event will include over twenty Northern California cycling clubs and teams, including several squads for women, masters, and juniors.

This Sunday’s Early Bird Criterium will be the fourth of five such events, held Sundays through January 30. The first race, for Category 4 riders and Category 5 riders with experience in five or more races, begins at 9:00 AM. A mentoring session for new racers is scheduled for 10:00 AM, followed at 11:15 AM by racing for Category 5 riders with experience in fewer than five races.

Directions, entry fees, and schedules for the Early Bird Criterium are available at

The following teams have confirmed their participation in Meet The Teams Day: Cycle Sports/ Trumer Pils, McGuire Real Estate, Bay Area Velo Girls, EMC/ Real Racing, Le Peloton Feminin, Roaring Mouse, Tieni Duro, Fremont Freewheelers Bicycle Club, Berkeley Bicycle Club, Peninsula Velo, Luzvimin Racing, Team Taylor, MAKO/ Galaxy Granola, Monte Vista Velo, Form Fitness/ Niko Ventures Cycling, Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club, Central Valley Cycling, Organic Athlete, Left Coast Racing Team, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Monticello Cycling Club.

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