First Edition Cycling News for June 24, 2005
Edited by Anthony Tan & Jeff Jones
Vandenbroucke must pay €250,000
The Gent Court of Appeal has ordered that Frank Vandenbroucke must pay a fine of €250,000 for breaking the Belgian drug laws. However, the court ruled that he will not have to perform his 200 hours of community service on the grounds that he has already served a sporting sanction for his misdemeanours.
The court case started when police found numerous illegal medical products in a search of Vandenbroucke's home in February, 2002, including morphine, clenbuterol, and EPO. He was sacked from his team and given a six month suspension by the Belgian cycling federation, as well as having to deal with a court case. He appealed his six month ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and achieved a partial victory, with the ban being reduced to only applying to racing in Flanders.
In November 2004, the court in Dendermonde recommended that Vandenbroucke be given a light penalty for breaking the Belgian drug laws. The public prosecutor in the case, Philip Van Linthout, asked that Vandenbroucke did community service instead. However, VDB's lawyer, Luc Deleu, argued that the six month sporting sanction should have been enough, and they appealed. But today's ruling that a heavy fine would be better than community service maintains the line that Vandenbroucke is being penalised as a drug user, rather than an athlete who is doping.
"VDB had too many products in his house to just be considered doping," said the Gent Court of Appeal. "Furthermore, a number of these products aren't even able to be used as stimulants." If Vandenbroucke doesn't pay the €250,000 fine, he risks a three month jail term.
"VDB is a narcissistic figure with huge psychological problems, partly due to the media interest," continued the Court. "Therefore he became arrogant and lost all sense of reality. He is a drug addict and someone with marital problems and a drinking problem. But VDB has had trouble getting his life together. A €250,000 fine is the best solution."
Vandenbroucke's lawyer was disappointed with the ruling, but said that his client would not seek to have the sentence quashed.
Blood transfusions tested for in Tour
Drug testing in the forthcoming Tour de France will test for homologous blood transfusions, but not autologous transfusions or growth hormone, the French national anti-doping laboratory announced on Thursday. According to lab director Jacques De Ceaurriz, the much promised growth hormone test, which was used at last year's Athens Olympics, is not able to be used because of financial reasons, citing the global supply of antibodies as a major problem.
Mr De Ceaurriz said that the homologous blood transfusion test will be used for the first time at the Tour, even though it was announced as going to be used at the start of last year's Tour. The controversial transfusion test has already been used at the Athens Olympics and during the Vuelta a España in 2004, with the then Phonak teammates Tyler Hamilton and Santiago Perez both testing positive for the presence of another type of red blood cell in their bodies. Appeals in those cases are still ongoing, with arguments about establishing a false positive rate and the possibility of having a "vanishing twin" being put forward by Hamilton.
During the Tour, riders will give 150 urine samples and 40 blood samples. The World Anti-Doping Agency has asked that samples be kept for three months following the Tour for possible later testing.
Saunier Duval for Tour
Saunier Duval Prodir team manager Joxean "Matxin" Fernandez has confirmed his line-up for the Tour de France and has commented briefly on the ambitions of each of the nine riders selected:
Angel Gomez Marchante: "He is the rider for the future. I can
imagine him wearing the white jersey in the Tour! Angel is very strong
and raced an excellent Dauphiné; he even gave shivers to the favourites!"
Accompanying Fernandez in the team car at the Tour will be assistant directeur sportif Pietro Algeri.
Liberty, Liquigas for road nationals
In addition to having Isidro Nozal and Luis León Sanchez compete in the Spanish time trial championships, the former rider now cleared of his initial suspension for a high haematocrit before the start of the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, Liberty Seguros-Würth shall be represented by nine riders at the Spanish road championships this Sunday.
Riders: Carlos Barredo, David Etxebarria, Koldo Gil, Jesus Hernández, Dani Navarro, Isidro Nozal, Javier Ramirez Abeja, Luis León Sanchez and Iván Santos.
Isidro Nozal has been selected to ride in both specialities after overcoming without any problem the UCI controls of health and anti-doping, therefore he is back to the team.
In addition, the following riders from Liberty's U23 team shall take part in the national espoir road race on Sunday: Diego Abal, Carlos Abellán, Jose Antonio Baños, Carlos Capitán, Óscar García Casarrubios, Egoitz García, Eduardo Gonzalez, Jose Carlos Lopez, Hernán Ponce, Luis Enrique Puertas, Jose Antonio Redondo, Rubén Reig, Jose Joaquín Rojas, Eladio Sanchez.
For Liquigas-Bianchi, the team has six riders taking part in the Italian road championships this Sunday: Dario Cioni, Franco Pellizotti, Daniele Colli, Enrico Gasparotto, Mauro Gerosa, Oscar Mason, Devis Miorin and Gianluca Sironi.
UCI president-elect handed Kilo petition in person
Armed with 10,679 signatures voting to overturn the recent decision by the UCI to remove the men's kilometre and women's 500 metre time trial from the 2008 Olympic Games, BikeBiz.com editor Carlton Reid and track rider Julie Dominguez confronted president-in-waiting Pat McQuaid at the UCI's headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland yesterday.
Although McQuaid described the petition as 'powerful', he said all lobbying should be directed at the International Olympic Committee (IOC), not the UCI. The decision to exclude two track events, and not the road events, was made by the IOC, said McQuaid, contradicting reports from national cycle federations, and admitted the deletion of the women's 500m sprint was a 'catastrophe' for China, host country of the 2008 Olympics.
"The petition is a very powerful statement," acknowledged McQuaid. "I'll make sure [Hein] Verbruggen sees it. He'll make sure the IOC sees it.
"It's up to the IOC to change this decision. It can't be changed by the UCI," he said.
"They [the IOC] came to us 18 months ago asking for the inclusion of BMX. We agreed to that and knew we'd have to drop two medals to accommodate BMX. We didn't make any decision at the time. We tried to brazen it out with the IOC, hoping they'd forget about events having to be excluded. It was the IOC who told us to exclude track events, not road, because the women's 500m, for instance, was only introduced [into the Olympics] at Sydney [in 2000]."
Kilo and 500 TV figures "not as strong"
McQuaid added that only 19 out of the 24 national federations surveyed replied, and told BikeBiz.com's editor that the UCI did its own analysis of the TV figures [from past Olympics], finding that the Kilo and 500m TT were "not as strong as other [cycling] events".
"You've got to realise that each federation votes in its own interests. Those countries that don't have any specialists in the Kilo voted against the Kilo. If we ran the survey again, we'd get the same differing answers."
Continued McQuaid: "The kilo has a long history in the Olympics but it's a speciality of just a few, big nations. You can tell which medals will go where before the event starts. Lots of countries don't bother to put athletes in because they know they can't win. The points race is more open, more countries have a chance of placing. You don't know who's going to win. A few years back there was a rider I think from Uruguay got a medal in the points race, the first cycle medal for Uruguay."
Should cycling count itself lucky?
Although saying the responsibility to reverse the decision lies with the IOC, McQuaid appeared to be telling Reid that cycling as a whole should count itself lucky, when considering other sports faced with the prospect of total exclusion, such as archery.
"At the Singapore vote in early July, the IOC is voting on which country gets the 2012 Olympics, but a couple of days later there's a vote on which sports stay in the Olympics and which have to come out," McQuaid said. "Modern pentathlon and some equestrian events could be voted out."
"We know cycling will be voted in again but if cycling is the fourteenth or fifteenth most popular sport, it weakens our position for the future. We're lobbying IOC members hard to make sure cycling comes high up the list. Then there's a vote every four years to see which 28 sports are in the next Olympics and which have to come out. A vote of 51 percent of IOC members is needed for a sport to stay."
"Our concern is that we don't lose even more events in the future. Lots of wheeled sports want into the Olympics, like freestyle BMX and roller-blading. We're happy to represent these sports, it will make the UCI stronger, but what we can't have is the situation where we're asked to introduce new sports but have to delete existing cycle events."
McQuaid ended by saying that the UCI will not review its decision but said there was a small chance of the decision being overturned if representations were made instead to the IOC. "We can't recommend to people or federations to lobby their national IOC members, but that's what it might take," he said.
Van Loocke forfeits Belgian Championships
Landbouwkrediet-Colnago's sprinter Jurgen Van Loocke will not start in this Sunday's Belgian Championship in St Hubert. Van Loocke finished the Vuelta a Asturias with a light fever, possibly as a result of getting a cold in the Tour of Belgium. His doctor has therefore recommended that he does not race on Sunday.
Breedlove dies during RAAM
The organisers of the Race Across America (RAAM) have announced that competitor #188, Dr. Bob Breedlove, has died after colliding head on with a pickup truck in Colorado on June 23. The accident occurred shortly after midday, 28 miles west of Trinidad, Colorado, when Breedlove was riding on a slight downhill. According to the driver of the truck, Breedlove appeared to collapse on his bicycle and swerved into the path of the oncoming vehicle. When paramedics arrived on the scene, they pronounced him dead.
Race Director Jim Pitre said: "Speaking both personally, and on behalf of the entire management and all those associated with the race, I extend my most sincere sympathy to the family of Bob Breedlove."
Breedlove's death is the second in the race's recent history, after Brett Malin was killed during the 2003 edition.
Victoria's first closed crit circuit announced
In Australia, Victoria's first closed-circuit racing and training facility purpose-built for road cyclists was announced today.
A joint initiative between BASE (Bicycle Association of the South East) and Recreation Victoria/City of Casey, Premier Steve Bracks honoured his pledge of $500,000 towards this project with The City of Casey contributing another $250,000. The criterium circuit will be built as part of the new Casey Fields Sports Complex near Cranbourne on the Berwick-Cranbourne Road.
"Australian road and track cyclists are achieving enormous success on the world stage and especially in Europe," said a statement. "It is facilities like this new criterium circuit that will enable Australian cyclists to remain at the forefront of world cycling. With the opening of Casey Fields, cyclists now have a place to learn, train and race all at the one facility. When combined with the other outstanding indoor velodromes provided by the State government, cycling in Victoria is truly On the Move."
While the Casey Fields circuit is being built, cyclists will continue to use the existing circuits at Sandown Park Raceway and AFL Park Waverly. It is said that wheelchair racing, human powered vehicles and inline skaters all stand to benefit from the project as well.
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