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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News for November 10, 2006

Edited by Laura Weislo

Dutch doctor accuses Belgians of doping

Sven Nijs in Treviso
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Click for larger image
A Dutch sports medicine doctor has stirred up a hornet's nest of reactions to his comments that Belgian cyclo-cross racers have used EPO since the late 90's, and that this is why they've dominated the sport. Berend Nikkels made the statements last week, and could now find himself as the subject of a legal complaint filed by the Belgian cycling federation (KBWB) who are outraged at the Dutchman's comments, reports Het Laatste Nieuws.

Nikkels did not name any specific riders, but according to the KBWB, his statements have caused irreparable damage to the riders, the teams and the federation. In a statement, they claim, "The KBWB cannot and will not accept this, and have requested that their lawyers take the necessary legal steps against Nikkels, and seek compensation for the irreparable damage which [the statements] may have caused to sponsorship income, television rights, and organisation of championships." The statement continued, "these judgements scuttle the efforts of the KBWB, riders and organizers over the last few years to create the success which we now have."

Nikkels was quoted by Het Laatste Nieuws as saying "Since the end of the '90s, the Flemish cyclo-crossers have been injecting EPO and Aranesp. I know this first hand, from persons who are close to them, and also from their competitors. I don't want to give names, but I'm talking about the whole group."

Other statements from Nikkels have attacked not just Belgian 'crossers, but roadies as well. "Of the road-pros 95% are doped." According to Nikkels doping is still organised within teams, and he attacked Quick Step director Patrick Lefevere. "People like Lefevere know this first [when a rider on the team is doping]... I know what he does. But I can't tell it, otherwise I will accuse people of using EPO, and I can't do that, because the information I get falls under my professional confidentiality. But yes, I have concrete proof against Lefevere. The most recent from the fall of 2005."

Ironically, Nikkels has advocated the supervised use of EPO to his own clients in the past. He openly advises his clients, Dutch and Belgian athletes, on use of performance enhancing products. "Sometimes I get a athlete who wants information on doping. I advise and prescribe a certain product, they do the rest... They can do that. I simply don't believe that doping creates more deaths then mustard or 'peperkoek' (cake)."

Rudy de Bie
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image) Rudy de Bie

The reactions from Belgians have been unsurprisingly vehement. Belgian national cyclo-cross coach Rudy de Bie told "These are serious accusations and it's now up to him to prove it. But if it stays only words, I hope someone will sue him, because he's attacking the whole Flemish cyclo-cross community."

Belgian cyclo-cross star Bart Wellens told "What can we do about this? Because this doctor isn't giving names, we shouldn't even think about suing him. I would rather want him to give the names, let the court do it's job and prosecute the guilty ones, even if Belgians are implicated. I'd rather have that then making everyone guilty."

This isn't the first such assault the Belgian federation has had to fend off. In September, Jean-Marie Dedecker claimed that he knew of several top Belgian cyclists who were involved in doping in Italy, but also refused to name names.

Millar treated with leniency by French prosecutor

David Millar (Saunier Duval-Prodir)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

David Millar received an indication today that he will be treated with leniency by the French court, where he is on trial with nine others for violating French anti-doping laws. The public prosecutor for the case, Jacques Hossaert, dropped demands that Millar and his former director sportif Boguslaw Madejak face prison time.

Millar could have faced a three month to year-long suspended sentence if he is found guilty of possession of doping products. Madejak, 51, has already served six months on remand and will not face additional time if the jury decides to accept the recommendations.

Hossaert said that Miller had "brought some very interesting elements to the discussion" and indicated that there were questions as to the exact country where Millar's possessed the drugs, in France or in Spain, according to AFP.

The pharmacist who is accused of supplying EPO to athletes, Pierre Ben Yamin, was not treated so kindly. Hossaert recommended a fine of 3,000 euros and six months to a year suspended sentence for Yamin.

Millar, who returned to the peloton for this year's Tour de France after serving a two-year ban for admitting EPO use, told the court that he took the performance enhancing drugs EPO and testosterone "because it was my job to get good results."

The trial stems from the 2004 'Cofidis affair', during which Millar admitted to taking EPO, and was stripped of his world time trial championship from 2003. Also on trial are Italian Massimiliano Lelli, Frenchmen Philippe Gaumont, Robert Sassone, Médéric Clain, Poles Marek Rutkiewicz and Daniel Majewski and director sportif Oleg Kozlitine.

Barloworld adds Siutsou

By Gregor Brown

Team Barloworld has added to its 2007 line-up Kanstantsin Siutsou. The 24 year-old Byelorussian, in his sixth season as a professional, will leave Acqua & Sapone at the end of 2006 to ride under Claudio Corti in 2007 according to

While riding for Italian-based Acqua & Sapone, the 2004 Under-23 world champion claimed a stage this May in the Course de la Paix. Team Manager Corti will count on Siutsou and his other new signings to enable the team to move up from professional continental team to ProTour team by 2008.

Romandie renewed for three years in ProTour

By Gregor Brown

Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Yesterday, the Tour de Romandie had it ProTour license renewed for three years. "At the end of the procedure stipulated by the rules, the Licences' Commission has decided to grant a UCI ProTour licence for 3 years (2007-2009)," read a press release from the UCI ProTour.

The short stage race is held in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. In 2006 the Tour de Romandie celebrated its 60th edition with a win by Australian Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto), who took out the overall classification in a thrilling final time trial around Lausanne. The renewal will allow the race, typically held in late April, a guaranteed spot in cycling's top level calendar, the ProTour, through 2009.

Lampre-Fondital riders to meet in December

By Gregor Brown

Lampre-Fondital will come together for the first time this December in preparations for the upcoming 2007 season. The Italian squad will hold its first meeting, December 4 - 7, near Brescia at Boario Terme.

"The first meeting will be an opportunity to carry out the riders' medical checks, to try new technical material and to define the 2007 competitive program," explained team manager Giuseppe Saronni. "Naturally this will be a time to get to know the new team members and understand the spirit of the squad."

The team will once again aim for the Giro d'Italia with Damiano Cunego, while using the strength of Daniele Bennati and Alessandro Ballan in the sprints and classics. Cunego, winner of the 2004 Giro, had an inspiring 2006 season that included fourth in the Giro and overall winner of the best young rider at the Tour de France. Benna will once again aim for the Milano-Sanremo, before shifting his objectives to the northern classics, like the Tour de Flanders. Ballan will be a valuable ally due to his strength, which brought him third in the 2006 Paris-Roubaix.

Pendleton ready for world cup

Victoria Pendleton (England)
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

Former world women’s sprint champion, Victoria Pendleton, has been carefully preparing for the upcoming UCI Track Cycling World Cup series, which kicks off in Sydney, Australia on November 17. Pendleton could also feature in the brand new women’s two-rider team sprint event, which appears on the event schedule for the first time.

Pendleton’s performances on the track at world level have been steadily improving over the past five years. "I have been to five world championships, and I have been in the top four in the last four and top two in the last two. I am expecting to ride the sprint, 500m time trial and Keirin at the world cup events and maybe the team sprint if they can find me a partner. There are a few girls training at the BC academy at the moment and we could ride the team sprint as well depending on how they are going. That would be wicked."

After Sydney, the world cup series moves to Moscow for round 2 in December, then to Los Angeles in January before concluding in Pendleton's home country with the Manchester round. The 26-year-old from Stotfold in Bedfordshire was pipped to the sprint gold at Bordeaux earlier this year by Natallia Tsylinskaya. How nice would it be to get revenge over the Belarusian in front of a home crowd in Manchester? "It would be very, very nice," continued Pendleton: "Obviously it would be even better to beat her in Palma and win the rainbow jersey. She is very strong and experienced but I know what I have to do to beat her and fingers crossed that I can get it right on the day."

McGee heads up Revolution pursuit

Bradley McGee is the latest big name to join the star studded rider list for the next Revolution track event in Manchester, UK, on November 18th. McGee’s presence now sets up an interesting head to head with prologue rivals David Millar and Bradley Wiggins in what will be their only encounter on British soil before the Tour grand depart in London next year.

The Revolution obviously won’t provide the same challenges as the Tour prologue but a pursuit contest early in the track season is tough enough, "Pursuit is never easy, especially in November" said McGee. "In fact it’s harder in November than in any other month of the year."

This doesn’t mean to say any of these riders will accept defeat easily and McGee has ensured his condition is better than normal at this time of the year, "I’ve had a really short off season - only around 10 days, and even then I was going to the gym so I’m feeling good" he continued. "Track is a big focus this season; I’m already starting to think about Beijing and that makes me think about the 2007 Worlds..."

McGee will race against Millar, Wiggins and a fourth rider in a 3km four rider pursuit, rather than the traditional type with only two riders starting on opposite sides of the track. "A four point pursuit will be a really tough effort" said Millar. "The race will be more intense as we’ll see each other only a quarter of the track ahead. Nobody will want to be caught so it is going to be a hard race."

The Revolution roster is packed with talent aside from Millar and Wiggins, with junior world champions, and road pros Roger Hammons, Jimmy Casper, Yaroslav Popovych, and Gilberto Simoni joining in with the regulars.

For more information see

Another US mountain biker draws suspension for missing test

American mountain bike racer Alice Pennington is the latest US cyclist to receive a one-year suspension for failing to show up for antidoping control. Pennington missed the test after the NORBA Series Finals in Snowmass, Colorado, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced Wednesday. The announcement comes on the heels of news that two cyclists, Jason Sager and Cale Redpath, were given the same sanction for missing antidoping controls at the NORBA National Mountain Bike Series Race #4 in Deer Valley, Utah, in July.

Pennington, of Hood River, Ore., will be barred from competition effective Aug. 12, the date of the Snomass event. All three of the sanctioned riders dropped out of the races in question, leading to speculation that riders were not instructed properly on antidoping control procedures.

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