First Edition Cycling News for August 9, 2006
Edited by John Stevenson & John Kenny
Landis suspects hidden agenda
By Anthony Tan
The argument that this year's Tour de France winner has a naturally high level of testosterone appears to have gone. So has the claim that the test used to detect testosterone is unreliable. Now, it appears Floyd Landis believes one or both of his samples was tampered with.
In an interview with CNN's Chris Lawrence last Monday, August 7, Landis appears to have accepted the test results that, according to the French national doping laboratory in Châtenay Malabry, found not only an elevated testosterone:epitestosterone ratio from his Stage 17 urine sample, but the presence of exogenous (synthetic) testosterone.
What he doesn't accept - for the time being, at least - is that there's a problem with the test, despite his personal physician Dr. Brent Kay claiming "a long list of potential problems" in an earlier interview with CNN's Larry King Live on July 28; a little over one week ago.
Nor does Landis accept that a member of his former Phonak team - who dismissed him last Saturday after he returned a positive B sample, confirming the earlier "adverse analytical finding" found in his A sample - put synthetic testosterone into his system, on purpose or by accident.
"I'd have a hard time accusing someone from my team doing that," he said. "I trust them, I am certain that is not the case. As to what may have happened, I can't say which is more likely, but the circumstantial evidence points to some kind of agenda."
"There's a myriad of reasons why this test could have made a mistake, including, which appears to be the case at this moment, some other agenda with the people doing the test. They've broken their own rules in making this public from the beginning, and forced me to make these statements as to why this may have happened," said Landis.
CNN later invited doctor Sanguy Gupta to explain the test used which may see the first person in the history of the sport to be stripped of his Tour de France title. Dr. Gupta said the secondary test used to detect exogenous testosterone is separate from the testosterone-epitestosterone test, and is very reliable.
"It's almost like a fingerprint," said Dr. Gupta, "as the experts have explained it to us - in actually finding a specific carbon atom that is only present in synthetic testosterone, and comparing that to natural testosterone.
"It costs around 300 [US] dollars, and that is why it is not used as a general screening test. They [Châtenay Malabry lab] the found it was present in the sample, and was present in the body at the time of the particular test," Dr. Gupta said.
Landis was asked if he could understand if people 'had a hard time buying' his hidden agenda theory, after similar stories have being thrown around in baseball and track and field, as well as in cycling. After L'Equipe alleged Landis' predecessor, Lance Armstrong, used EPO to win the 1999 Tour, the seven-time winner denied the allegations on similar grounds.
"Had I just made this up out of the blue, that would be hard to believe," Landis admitted.
"But considering their past and their history and the things that they've done before - and the fact that the UCI admits that there's a problem with the procedure there, and hasn't done anything to fix it - if I just made this up, and had no evidence of that fact, yeah, I think it would be unbelievable, but this is a different story here."
CNN's guest physician Dr. Gupta admitted testosterone, when abused, is "a substance not typically associated with quick bursts of energy, such as might be used in a particular stage of the Tour de France. So that part of the whole equation is a little bit odd," he remarked. It should also be noted that 30 year-old Landis was tested four times before and three times after his Stage 17 sample, all with negative results.
The final question aroused the most emotion in Landis, when asked what it felt like to potentially be the first Tour de France winner to lose his crown as a consequence of doping.
"I tell you what - I'm going to take that I wore on the last day and I'm going to hang it on my wall - because I'm proud of what I did, I won that race with determination and heart, and I think anybody that watched that race will agree with me on that. Everything I did was according to the rules, which is exactly the rest of the race went, and I'm proud of the achievement that I have made."
Tour of Elk Grove un-invites Landis
By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
The once touted appearance of Floyd Landis at the new Tour of Elk Grove race outside of Chicago this weekend has been retracted by race organisers, citing the negative image surrounding the confirmation of Landis' positive test at the Tour de France. While Landis' sacking by the Phonak team means he cannot race in any ProTour event, Landis is allowed to race in other events while the investigation by the U.S. Anti-doping Agency continues.
However, race director Nick Sepke told the New York Times that while everyone was disappointed to make the decision to ask Landis to not appear, even to sign autographs, it was the best decision at this time. "We didn't want that image associated with our event," said Sepke. "The people here, Floyd's people, everyone was disappointed with it, but we didn't want to do anything to damage our event."
Landis is currently at his home in California and is retooling his public relations efforts with appearances on ABC's national morning programme Good Morning America with his wife Amber in an effort to repair what he said in a USA Today interview were mistakes he made when he felt forced to explain his positive test in the media.
McQuaid plans major anti-doping shake-up
Pat McQuaid, president of cycling's international governing body, the UCI, has told Swiss magazine L'Illustré that the structure of professional cycling may have to undergo dramatic changes in the wake of Floyd Landis' positive drug test.
McQuaid said that the distances of races, the number of rest days, the structure of the racing calendar and the organisation of teams would all be studied by a group of experts. "If the results demand it, we will overturn all our regulations and our working methods as early as the 2008 season," said McQuaid.
"The Landis case gives a clear message for those with the intelligence to decode it," said McQuaid. "For the UCI the time of the easy excuse or pardon is past. This is a war on doping without concessions."
Cyclingnews' coverage of the Floyd Landis case
29, 2009 - French authorities summon Landis and Baker
Ulmer out of world's
Olympic track pursuit gold medalist Sarah Ulmer will not represent New Zealand on the road at this year's world championships in Austria, September 19-22, according to the New Zealand Herald.
Ulmer has spent much of this season battling a lower back problem that put her out of the road race at the Commonwealth Games in March, despite a very strong start to her 2006 road campaign with a win on home soil at the World Cup round in Wellington.
Ulmer says she can still ride but only to a certain level, which is about 15 per cent below what she needs to be competitive. However, she is determined to solve the problem and return to racing. To that end, Ulmer plans to visit the Australian Institute of Sport this week to seek advice.
Knetemann classic tools up with Skil
Electrical tools manufacturer Skil will be the main sponsor of Gerrie Knetemann Classic for the next three years. The route of the September 9 event, named in commemoration of the former cyclist Gerrie Knetemann, who died in 2004, follows Knetemann's training course in the north-east of the Netherlands and starts and finishes in Akersloot
"Gerrie Knetemann rode to one of the greatest victories of his career in a Skil jersey in the 1985 Amstel Gold Race. The footage from the race shown on TV after his death strengthened Skil's desire to return to professional cycling, said Skil Europe's marketing manager Robert de Rooy. "Historically, Skil is already linked with the name Gerrie Knetemann and we are delighted to support this event, part of the registration costs of which will go to children's cancer charity KiKa.'
Participants in the Gerrie Knetemann Classic can choose between a 100-km or 150-km course. Registrations are being accepted until August 23. Part of the registration cost goes to KiKa.
World class riders for Lehigh valley velodrome
The Lehigh Valley velodrome will host the Air Products finals, the culminating event of the velodrome's community programs, on Friday August 11. The evening's racing will include the Artie Greenburg Memorial 10-mile final.
Some of the pro racers at the event include Madison of the Americas champion Sebastian Donadio of Argentina and his partner Pete Fitzpatrick of Australia. Joining Donadio will be fellow countrymen Leandro Botasso and Guido Palma. Also racing on Friday US team member Giddeon Massie, Spike pro team member and hometown favourite Andy Lakatosh, former pro-road racer Dave Clinger.
World champion Sarah Uhl heads the list of women riders along with Colavita Bola pro team's Ashley Kimmet, Argentina's Veronica Martinez and Norway's May Britt Hartwell.
For more information see www.thevelodrome.com.
Alan cross team for 2006-2007
The Alan Factory announced today its final roster for the 2006-07 cyclocross season. The team will be based in Minneapolis, MN and covers 14 regions around the US. The team will be lead by elite team riders with grassroots programs in each of the 14 regions. The 2006-07 elite roster is headed by former junior world champion Matt Kelly and former US national champion Jed Schneider.
The full squad includes: Samantha Williams, Nick Weighall, Kevin Hankens, Renee Callaway, Kristopher Auer, Matt Kraus, Troy Barry, Paul Schoening, Bjorn Selander, Dag Selander, Logan Loader, Marc Swart, Ryan Rish, Shawn Adams, Ali Goulet, Kirk Olson , Scot Van Asten, Patrick Morrissey and Morgan Gerlak.
If it's got wheels they will race it
The Big Wheel rally on Saturday, August 12 at the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Colorado will test the endurance of adults on children's toy bikes on a course that involves ramps and stairs. Proceeds from the rally will benefit the St. Joseph Hospital neonatal intensive care unit.
Matt Armbruster, the organiser and founder of the event, said that a friend whose daughter was born three months premature was cared for at the intensive care unit, "She spent those next three months under the expert care of Saint Joseph Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit staff…. After that, it only took an instant for me to realise what the Big Wheel Rally should be for.
"What could be more fun than adults on Big Wheels supporting a great cause," said Armbruster.
For more information see www.BigWheelRally.com
Sydney 1000 returns to Canterbury
By John Kenny
The Sydney 1000 wheelrace will return to restored Canterbury velodrome, in Sydney on October 29 it was announced yesterday. The racing will feature Olympic Gold medalist Steve Wooldridge, Skye-Lee Armstrong, the 2005 world junior champion and Commonwealth Kilometre champion Ben Kersten, if he has recovered from a back surgery.
The Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs players Mark O'Meley and Sonny Bill Williams were also at the Sydney 1000 launch, "Folkesy [Bulldogs coach Steve Folkes] is a big believer in cycling," said O'Meley. "We do a lot of cycling for training. It's a great low impact way to get fit."
The Sydney 1000 wheelrace was launched with a special handicap race involving a Penny-farthing. Wooldridge and Armstrong were the backmarkers, with Penny farthing rider Phil Dixon off limit. The other front markers - and race winners for the record - were the tandem pairing of Athens paralympic sprint champion David Short and Canterbury Bulldogs rugby league cheerleader Lauren.
Wooldridge will be one of the favourites for the wheelrace in October, "I think that it's great to have the Sydney 1000 back [at Canterbury velodrome]," said Wooldridge. "I'm happy to be involved - anything that I can do to help the sport grow I will do as the sport has been damaged on the international level [because of the Floyd Landis scandal] so we need to promote the sport in a positive way."
Canturbury velodrome has 333-metres laps, making a good viewing spectacle for a mass-participation event, "It's good for a big handicap," said Wooldridge. "[The longer laps] are better for a handicap. I've been coming here since I was a young kid to train and race and I can remember when we used to pack this place out when the big races were on."
The major structural problems of the track are being addressed thanks to an injection of funds from Canterbury council, "One side of the track was continually sinking as the track was built on a swamp," said Bates. "The money from council will underpin the affected area and stop the bank slipping. The track is also going to be cleaned to return it to it's original white."
One of the attractions of the track is it's central location according to Bates, "1.5 million people live within a one-kilometre radius of the track," he said. "It's really easy to get to by public transport as well."
Images by John Kenny/Cyclingnews.com
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