Cycling News Extra for July 4, 2006
Edited by John Kenny & John Stevenson
French court convicts 23 in doping ring
Former cycling coach Belgian Freddy Sergant was sentenced to four years in jail on Monday by a Bordeaux court for his involvement in a doping ring that supplied a cocktail of amphetamines, cocaine and heroin to riders in France and Belgium, according to reports from Reuters and the Associated Press. The sentencing comes amid the Operacion Puerto doping scandal that threw the Tour de France into chaos on the eve of the race.
Sergant received the harshest of 23 sentences that were handed down at the trial, with all of the defendants convicted. He was also fined more than 180,000 euros. He has already spent one year in custody pending the verdict. His wife, Monique, was given a one-year prison term.
The other sentences ranged from fines of 1500 euros to 30 months in prison for former pro cyclist Laurent Roux, with 20 months suspended. "I think the sentence is relatively long and that I will appeal the decision," Roux said. "They want to sentence me and say everything is fine. I am the only top-level sportsman to have spent eight months in a cell for doping and I think that's a lot."
"I have the impression that, despite what just happened in the Tour de France, that I'm the (scapegoat) for a totally corrupt system," he said.
Roux had admitted during the trial to taking banned substances throughout his career.
The accused also included former mountain bike world champion Christophe Dupouey, who was handed a suspended sentence of three months and former professional cyclist Eddy Lembo, who was given a suspended prison sentence of 16 months. Laurent Biondi, former assistant director of the AG2R team, was given a suspended sentence of three months.
Roux's brother, Fabien, was sentenced to 24 months, with 15 months suspended. The brothers, each having already has been jailed for eight months, were ordered to pay more than 180,000 euros each in fines.
About 2,000 doses of what is often called a "magic cocktail" or "Belgian cocktail" were sold in France and Belgium between 2002 and 2005, the prosecutor said.
French Cycling Federation lawyer Paul Mauriac called the verdicts just. "Let's stop saying that others dope, everyone dopes, so I will dope," he said.
Communidad Valenciana to take legal action
By Antonio J. Salmerón
The Communidad Valenciana team has announced that it will take legal action against institutions that it claims have damaged its reputation in the wake of the Operacion Puerto doping affair, according to a press release issued by the team yesterday.
The team declared that team managers and riders have not been complicit in doping. In addition, the 32 members of the team would sue for compensation for the personal, sporting and economic damage sustained by its members over the past three weeks.
Those that could be the target of legal action may include the Operacion Puerto investigators and those that have collaborated with the doping investigation, as well as members of the media.
The press release stated that, "These legal actions will be directed against the people in charge of the investigation and those who have [provided information to the media] and against [members of the] mass media that have accused anyone [of doping] in the Communidad Valenciana team without having the documentary evidence necessary to prove culpability."
The team also stated that their riders have cooperated fully with the investigation from the beginning and that all riders sent voluntarily sent additional blood samples to authorities to be compared with those samples seized by the Operacion Puerto investigators.
Wurth pulls out as co-sponsor
German hardware company Wurth said in Berlin on Monday it was withdrawing immediately as co-sponsor of Astana-Wurth, following its withdrawal from the Tour de France over doping, according to Reuters.
"The decision is a reaction to the suspension of individual riders and the related pulling out of the team from the 2006 Tour de France," the company said in a statement.
Five riders in the team appeared on a list of nine Tour riders named in a doping investigation in Spain. The team, formerly known as Liberty Seguros, is led by Kazakh Alexander Vinokourov, who finished fifth last year.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
Canada announces junior worlds team
The Canadian Cycling Association has announced its team for the junior road world championships in Gent, Belgium in August.
The riders in the junior men's road race will be, Mark Hinnen, Eric Smith, William Goodfellow, Charlie Bryer and Guillaume Boivin. Alexander Korten and Andre Tremblay have been named as reserves. Korten will also join the national team at the Tour de l'Abitibi.
Eric Smith and Mark Hinnen will ride the junior men's time trial. The junior women's road team will consist of Julie Beveridge, Danielle Kenny and Karol-Ann Canuel.
Team Spine rider in coma after crash
Team Spine member and category one racer, Pat Caurant, is in an induced coma at John Muir Hospital due to severe injuries that he sustained after a crash while on a training ride on Saturday.
Caurant suffered severe damage to his head and face. His doctors performed six hours of plastic surgery on Sunday to stop bleeding in his head and have replaced eight litres of blood. The extent of the brain damage will be assessed when the swelling reduces.
2005 US national road champion, Katheryn Curi (Webcor-Platinum) described Caurant as a, "friend, middle school teacher and good person."
Updates on Caurant's condition and other personal details can be found at www.caringbridge.org/visit/patcaurant.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)