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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for October 11, 2005

Edited by John Stevenson & Les Clarke

Museeuw in court

Johan Museeuw (Quick.Step-Davitamon)
Photo ©: CN

Former world champion Johan Museeuw will appear in court today accused of possessing EPO and other banned substances. The charges arise out of the investigation into Belgian veterinarian Jose Landuyt who has admitted selling performance-enhancing drugs.

Cyclocross star Mario De Clercq will also face the court, as well as a veterinarian. Court spokesman Tom Janssen told Reuters, "They are being called to appear in front of a grand jury which will rule on whether there is enough evidence to refer them to a criminal court."

Museeuw denies any wrongdoing, although he is currently under a two-year ban laid down by the Belgian cycling federation in October 2004. He retired after the 2004 Paris-Roubaix, so that ban is largely symbolic. It prevents him working as a directeur sportif for his Quick.Step team, but not from fulfilling his current role of public relations for the team.

Museeuw's home was raided in August 2003 and police allege they found Aranesp, EPO and Dexomethasone, while De Clercq is accused of possessing EPO and seven other banned substances. Prosecutors say they also have extensive text message intercepts of Museeuw and Landuyt using code words to discuss the supply of banned substances.

UCI investigator promises independence

Emile Vrijman, the Dutch lawyer appointed by the UCI to investigate l'Equipe's allegations that Lance Armstrong used banned performance-enhancer EPO in the 1999 Tour de France, says his investigation will be completely impartial.

"In no way will [the UCI] be able to read the report in advance or influence its results," Vrijman said in an Associated Press report. "I have a free hand to conduct the investigation."

Vrijman said that his investigation will cover the accuracy of the test results from the French anti-doping lab at Châtenay-Malabry and how they were made public. Alleged EPO positives from Lance Armstrong and other riders in the 1999 Tour de France came to light during the lab's research into ways of improving the urine test for EPO which has been found to return false positives in certain circumstances.

"We're gathering our file of information together and assembling additional experts, and we expect to release a timetable for our investigation by the end of the week," said Vrijman.

The case has led to strongly worded exchanges between the UCI and the World Anti-doping Agency, WADA as WADA chief Dick Pound has accused the UCI of leaking documents identifying the riders while the UCI has claimed WADA was blocking its investigation into the affair.

Vrijman believes it's in WADA's interest to co-operate with his investigation.

"I think it's in the interest of other sports that we look at this issue of retrospective research and make sure that it's dealt with within the rules," he told The Associated Press. "We also need to draw some conclusions about how we will deal with this issue in the future."

He added that all his findings would be made public but said that investigators wouldn't comment until their report is complete.

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.

Roche re-declares for Ireland

By Shane Stokes

Following the disappointment of losing Nicolas Roche earlier this year when the prodigious young rider declared for France, Irish cycling has received an unexpected boost with the news that Nicolas, son of 1987 Tour de France winner Stephen Roche, will be available to compete again for the country from next season onwards.

The decision was made when he realised that information given to him late last year was incorrect. Roche had originally been told that he would have to opt for either Ireland or France. As he intends spending the rest of his life in the latter country, he reluctantly decided to rescind his Irish racing licence, bringing to a close a period of several seasons competing in a green jersey. That situation has now changed.

"I am very happy to be back," he told Cyclingnews in recent days. "Even though I am also French, I was always proud to be Irish. I have two passports as before, but now have an Irish racing licence. That's definite now."

"Things changed rapidly last year as there was a bit of pressure on me. The season was coming up fast and I was told things that were not exactly true, as regards being told that I could not have dual nationality. During the season I realised that was not the case, and thanks to people like Pat McQuaid, the UCI, plus Miceal Concannon and Frank Campbell of Cycling Ireland, I was able to turn things around."

In riding for the Cofidis squad, Roche is the only Irish rider on a ProTour team. He recorded some good results this year as a first-year pro and is likely to ride either the Tour of Italy or Tour of Spain next season.

(Look out for a full interview with Nicolas Roche later this week on Cyclingnews.)

Mesa funeral Wednesday

The funeral of Colombian rider Ubaldo Mesa, who died on Sunday, will be held on Wednesday at the Cátedral Central, Bogota, Colombia, the Colombian cycling federation has announced. Mesa's body will be flown to Bogota today, accompanied by his brother Uberlino Mesa and two officials from banking company Banfoandes, sponsor of the race at which Mesa died.

Mesa collapsed and died from heart failure on Sunday before the final stage of the Clàsico Banfoandes. As well as being a significant rider on the Central and South American scene, he had made several trips to the USA to compete in races such as the Tour of the Gila where he won a stage in 2003. He is survived by his wife and children.

Hoy and Bos at Revolution

Shane Sutton, sprint coach for the British track team, has stated his team's intent to "get one over" the Dutch at the upcoming Revolution on October 15 at Manchester Velodrome. With the recent announcement that Jason Queally will be taking to the boards along with the already confirmed Olympic kilo champion Chris Hoy and Craig MacLean, who last week became the national sprint champion, the biggest battle of the night looks set to be in the Science in Sport team sprint where the reigning world champions will be taking on the might of the Dutch threesome - Theo Bos, Tuen Mulder and Tim Veldt.

"The calibre of the team we're fielding shows how seriously we are taking this. The Dutch are one of the biggest threats in team sprinting in the world at the moment and as reigning world champions we are determined to get one over them in advance of the World Cups" said Sutton.

This weekend's racing in Manchester is event one of Revolution's third season of competition. Other season dates are: Event 2 - November 19, 2005; Event 3 - January 21, 2006; Event 4 - February 18, 2006.

Tickets can be purchased through the Revolution website or by calling 0700 594 2579 or the Velodrome on 0161 223 2244 and selecting option 3. Adults £10, children £5, OAP £5, family (2 adults and 2 children) £22

RAGT Semences bows out

After two seasons, French pro squad RAGT Semences is withdrawing from competition. Originally committed to a three year period, the team has not been able to keep up with requirements set by changes imposed at the start of this season. The team is extremely pleased with their performances in 2004 and 2005 - in their first year, Eddy Seigneur became French national time trial champion, with Frédéric Finot taking third in the same event and performing well at the end of August by winning the Boucles de l'Aulne. Other notable performances have come from riders such as Nicolas Reynaud, Eric Berthou and Sylvain Calzati in races such as the Tour des Régions Wallonnes, Paris-Corrèze and the Tour de l'Avenir.

In 2005 the team had to tighten its budget as a UCI Professional Continental Tour team, concentrating on recruiting and developing young talent. Although this policy didn't lead to significant results, it did serve to help young riders rise to the challenges of the pro circuit. Riders like Sébastien Minard, for example, who won the last leg in the Tour de l'Avenir - the same race Eric Berthou took sixth overall in.

In 2006, a number of RAGT Semences riders will be riding for Pro Tour outfits, including Yoann Le Boulanger (Bouygues Télécom), Christophe Rinero (Saunier Duval), Eric Berthou (Illes Balears), Sébastien Minard (Cofidis), and Olivier Kaisen (Quick Step). Emilien-Benoit Bergès will ride for Auber 93.

Team manager Serge Barle said of the team's withdrawal: "All in all, we can draw a satisfactory conclusion. It's a shame that we were not able to go the full three years, as I reckon that our younger riders would have risen to the challenge. I should like to thank all of the sponsors for their support together with that of the press who were also supportive as a whole. Most of all though, I should like to thank the RAGT Semences management who made it possible for us to race two years on the professional circuit." The team would like to thank all of the organisations for having invited them, including the Société du Tour de France in 2004 and the Dauphiné Libéré.

Top junior signs with Glud & Marstrand Horsens

Glud & Marstrand Horsens, a Danish UCI Continental team, has effectively absorbed the Vejle junior team to generate an under-23 squad for 2006 that includes junior world number 1 André Steensen. Steensen, who won this year's Oberösterreich Rundfahrt and took second overall in the Peace Race, will be joined by Troels Rønning Vinter, Flemming Rasmussen, Kaspar Schjønnemann and Thomas Guldhammer.

Vejle Junior Team sports director Jan Steensen, is following his junior riders and will be new sports director.

Glud & Marstrand Horsens has also re-signed 22-year-old Norwegian Håvard Nybø and 19-year-old Kim Marius Nielsen for another year, enabling it to send a full under-23 team to the races in 2006.

Mont 24-Hour by the numbers

By John Stevenson

This past weekend, Australia's national capital Canberra played host to the Mont Australia 24-Hour Mountain Bike Championship, believed to be the biggest 24-hour race in the world in terms of total participation.

The growth of endurance mountain bike racing over the last several years has led to events that generate some pretty staggering numbers and the Mont's 2,445 participants generated their own startling statistics.

The course, a 19km loop of fire road and singletrack at Kowen Forest in the Australian Capital Territory, held up to 612 riders at any one time, according to the event's timing guru Russell Baker. Their average age was just over 34 and riders clocked up a total of 8,621 laps for a total distance over the race's 24 hours of 164,747km. That's equivalent to more than four times round the world.

Finding somewhere for all those riders to stay is one of the biggest challenges for an event this size, and organizing club Canberra Off-Road Cyclists carved out 190,000 square metres of campsites in the forest to provide accommodation for an estimated total of 6,500 people. As one of the commentators remarked, these events have become the Woodstock of mountain biking.

Verge Mid Atlantic Cyclocross

The $30,000 Verge Mid Atlantic Cyclocross Series heads into the first of two international double-header weekends next week with two UCI categorised races. Saturday, October 22 is Wooden Wheels Cyclocross at Granouge, one of the oldest UCI events in the USA, and on October 23, the series moves a half-hour north to the Wissahickon Cyclocross.

Saturday's Wooden Wheels race, named for the sponsoring bike shop, takes place at "Granouge", the estate of A.I. DuPont, near Wilmington, Delaware. Sunday's race takes place at a new venue, the Ludwig's Corner Horse Show and Country Fair in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania.

For more information, see

Ride to Reunite

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, cyclists are uniting in an effort to raise worldwide awareness, relief, and funds for the victims of this recent disaster. The Ride To Reunite, a ride from San Diego to New Orleans from October 22-30, specifically focuses attention on the critical need to reunite children and their families who were affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Ride organisers have joined forces with the charity Save the Children, and through its Gulf Coast recovery fund for children all money generated will be put to immediate use. All donations will be 100 percent tax deductible.

The goal is to raise $100,000 for hurricane victims. People can contribute by joining the group of already committed cyclists for a segment of the ride, sponsoring a rider or by donating products that can be used in a raffle to generate money for the charities.

The ride will depart from the San Diego Velodrome at 8am Saturday October 22, finishing at 3pm Sunday October 30 in New Orleans. The group will include 8-10 professional cyclists alongside hundreds of cyclists riding segments of the journey. Ride logistics have been planned for those riders going the distance including navigators, mechanics, a team chef, mobile support, and traveling caravan.

For more info on how to join please send an email to or visit to make donations starting Tuesday October 11.

London lawyers race for charity

On Sunday 16 October, London's barristers and solicitors will gather at the Herne Hill International Velodrome in London for the fourth annual Lawyers' Bike Races.

The event is a charity benefit for the UK's the Teenage Cancer Trust, with the help of the Bar Cycling Club and the Solicitors' Cycling Club.

Events will include the team pursuit, scratch races and individual time trials. There is scope for some serious competition, but the programme is structured to ensure that everyone enjoys the day, regardless of the previous experience or fitness level. The main aim is to have fun participating on Britain's premier outdoor cycling track.

While the event is organised by London's lawyers, entries from other professions are encouraged, and entries are open to both teams and individuals. Participants simply need a serviceable road bike. There will be an opportunity to try out fixed-wheel track bikes on the course, and a registered coach will be on hand to assist.

To register for the day, or for further information, contact Rod Freeman at

For more information about the Teenage Cancer Trust, visit

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