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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for October 9, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

Steffen retracts

The now former TIAA-CREF team physician Prentice Steffen has retracted the comments he made recently in L'Equipe concerning Lance Armstrong and other athletes, and doping. As a one-time doctor with the US Postal Service team in the 1990s, Steffen's comments reverberated around the world as part of the ongoing allegations that Armstrong used EPO in the 1999 Tour.

In a statement, Dr Steffen apologised for any personal comments he made about Armstrong and others: "It was inappropriate for me to suggest that 'the bad guys, like Armstrong, dope, and the good guys, like Hamilton, dope too.' I do not know Lance Armstrong personally and have I never witnessed him taking banned substances. I based my assumptions about Mr. Armstrong on rumours I had heard, instead of on anything remotely factual and I want to issue this public retraction of comments.

"Second, my intentions in participating in the L'Equipe interview were not to impugn anyone's character. I understood the purpose of the interview to be a discussion of the great strides being made by anti-doping agencies around the globe and the opportunity to improve testing for banned substances. As a Board Certified Emergency Room and Sports Medicine physician, I feel it is my duty to help USADA, WADA, and the UCI when I see a potential problem with testing protocols or methods. Unfortunately, the L'Equipe article overshadowed these issues and focused, instead, on my comments relating to specific athletes.

"Third, it is true that some athletes in the professional peloton, accused of doping, have willingly confessed that it is prevalent in the professional cycling. Just as many athletes, however, have done exceedingly well in the sport and have never been implicated in any way. It is an unfair assertion that the only way to achieve success in cycling is through doping. Many other factors such as hard work, dedication, and natural ability play crucial roles in any athlete's success.

"Fourth, I am extremely sorry for any negative impact my comments may have had on Team TIAA-CREF, its sponsors, or staff. My personal comments were not intended to reflect their views. My comments were not approved by Team TIAA-CREF, its sponsors, or staff. I am gravely sorry that Team TIAA-CREF was even mentioned in association with my personal comments."

Dr Steffen finished by announcing his resignation from TIAA-CREF. "I should permanently remove myself from the role of team physician at Team TIAA-CREF, as my comments have damaged and dampened the spirits of these young athletes," he concluded.

See the full text of his statement here

Cyclingnews coverage of the L'Equipe allegations

June 27, 2006 - Carmichael defends Armstrong, Armstrong answers L'Equipe & LeMond
June 26, 2006 - LeMond: "Armstrong threatened my life"
June 19, 2006 - Armstrong calls for Pound's exit
June 18, 2006 - Lance Armstrong's open letter against Dick Pound
June 4, 2006 - UCI hits back at WADA
June 3, 2006 - WADA slams the Vrijman report
June 2, 2006 - L'Equipe stands by its story, UCI supports Vrijman's findings
June 1, 2006 - UCI, WADA and Armstrong react to Vrijman's report
May 31, 2006 - UCI lawyer asks for Armstrong's name to be cleared
May 14, 2006 - Two more weeks for Armstrong investigation

Click here for full coverage of the L'Equipe allegations.

McEwen after Paris-Tours success

Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) wants to finish his season on a high note by winning Sunday's Paris-Tours, the penultimate race in the ProTour series. McEwen will return to his home away from home on the Gold Coast in Australia on Tuesday, together with Angelique, who is pregnant with the couple's second child. But before then, he'd like another victory.

"It would also immediately be the best win in my career," McEwen said to Het Nieuwsblad. "Twice in Paris-Tours, I was in the group that was going for the win. That was in 1996 as a neo-pro when Nicola Minali was faster than Tom Steels. I was 13th then, my best result. In 2002, I got another chance. Zabel won in front of a frustrated Petacchi and I was boxed in and was only 18th. Third time lucky, maybe."

Like many of the top sprinters, McEwen has had a long season, racing and already winning on January 1. "Actually I've almost never been off the bike," he said. "I'm happy that I'll be back home again soon, but even when I rest, I still get that thing out of the shed."

For tomorrow's race, McEwen hopes that some of the other teams will ride for a bunch sprint, not just Davitamon-Lotto and T-Mobile. "Just like Zabel, I have to look for other allies. Like Hushovd, Nazon, Bennati...because Paris-Tours comes so late in the season, it's a difficult race to control anyway. This is a select classic for the motivated riders. As a team you have to be damn well organised. It's not good for me that Van Petegem, Mattan, and Van Bon won't be there for various reasons."

McCauley back for another Tour of Southland.

By Alan Messenger

It's nine years since Gordon McCauley won New Zealand's Tour of Southland, but the evergreen Kiwi is back in this year's field for the PowerNet sponsored race and as always he'll be one of the tour's major players. "I don't think you could consider me one of the favourites to win but I'm certainly in pretty good shape," McCauley said in an interview at Auckland Airport on his way to ride the Australian Sun Tour.

Last year McCauley was a late entry in the Southland race, and with no real preparation, he won two stages and for good measure took out the King of the Mountains title. After the Tour, the Auckland based rider promised that he'd be back this year and with better preparation could again be a win contender.

He has spent this whole year at home in New Zealand but he doesn't see that as a problem going into the Tour. "To tell you the truth I think it's working to my advantage. I'm not tired as I usually am at this stage of the year. I'm actually focused on the end of season races like the Sun Tour and the Tour of Southland," McCauley said.

McCauley has a further motivation for Southland. "Yes I'm on the Commonwealth Games long list now, and that's an incentive," he added.

At Invercargill, McCauley will line up in a strong Zookeepers Trek team with Hayden Roulston, Heath Blackgrove, Dale Cheatley and trackie Marc Ryan. McCauley, however, isn't the only previous winner in this year's field. Double winner John Lieswyn (USA) will line up in what may well be his swan song event in a strong Southland Times team with another previous winner, US based Kiwi Glen Mitchell, World Track champion Greg Henderson and two young Waikato riders Tim Gudsell and Peter Latham.

Latham's presence in the team will certainly give it some extra firepower. Last year, as a member of the Rabobank team, he won the time trial stage and took out the overall Under 23 title. Last month at Madrid in Spain, he took the bronze medal in the World Under 23 time trial event.

Entries for Southland don't close until 17 October, but race organizer Bruce Ross said that he is confident of fielding 20 teams for the Tour. "I can't give a final lineup yet of course, but there has been immense interest from around the World. I've had enquiries from Poland, Holland, France, Germany and Switzerland," he said.

The Tour starts in Invercargill in New Zealand's deep south on Monday, November 7, and finishes back in the city on Saturday November 12.

Mandri to Auber 93

Promising young Estonian rider Rene Mandri has signed his first pro contract with French continental team Auber 93. He will join the four other Estonian pro riders (Putsep, Aug, Kirsipuu and Tombak) in the peloton and will have an interesting race program next season.

Women's speed record broken

Lisa Vetterlein
Photo ©: Jeremy Sievers
Click for larger image

A new women's land speed record has been set today in Battle Mountain, Nevada, USA. Lisa Vetterlein of Des Moines, IA clocked 66.52 mph (107.05 km/h) between the 200m traps and 65 mph (104.6 km/h) average for 1 km at the human powered vehicle world speed challenge in Battle Mountain.

There was also a new World European record set by Damjan Zabotnik from Slovenia at 72.10 mph (116.03 km/h).

Saddleless record attempt falls short

49 year-old Dutchman Maas van Beek has failed in his attempt to beat Fausto Coppi's record of 45.848 km for an hour riding without a saddle. Van Beek made his attempt at noon on Saturday in the Alkmaar Sportpaleis, but only managed to cover 42.1036 km. He was using a massive 68x11 gear, which equates to an average cadence of 53 rpm, around half of what is typical for a seated hour record attempt. On the other hand, Van Beek could conceivably go for the Masters 50-54 hour record, which currently stands at 42.439 km, set by US rider Scott Porter in Manchester in 2003.

Courtesy of Frans Rutten

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