First Edition Cycling News for November 13, 2006
Edited by Hedwig Kröner
Ullrich: "Something has been taken away from me"
By Susan Westemeyer
"Something has been taken away from me that I had worked very hard for," Jan Ullrich told Cyclingnews on Sunday, November 12. "My goal now is to work all my frustrations out on the bike." The German cycling icon is training around three hours every day at the moment, hoping for an opportunity to make his comeback next season.
"In order to train as comprehensively as possible, we have put together a training plan which includes not only riding but also weight training and the altitude chamber," he added.
Cyclingnews reported last week that Ullrich was staying in shape at his home at this time. "Right now I'm still training in Switzerland," he said. "We have some perfect places here to select the optimal degree of difficulty. Plus the daily work in the altitude chamber is perfect for preparation."
Eventually, Ullrich will attend a training camp in a so-far unannounced location. "Right now we're planning for the next few weeks. Our goal is to go to a training camp at exactly the right time so that we can see the desired results next year. I'm confident that all of our planning will work out perfectly," explained the former T-Mobile rider, who hasn't competed since June this year because of his alleged involvement in Spanish doping scandal Operación Puerto.
Ullrich noted that he had help coping with things this summer. "I'm very happy that the people around me have supported me, and that my fans have stayed true to me. With this support I have been able to look forward and to take on every challenge."
Currently without a license or contract, Ullrich continues to believe that he will be back racing as soon as possible - maybe already in January 2007, as the Berlin Six Day organisers have made him an offer to compete at their event. "In order to convict someone, there must be evidence and a verdict of guilty," race director Heinz Seesing told the Berliner Kurier newspaper. "When these aren't there, then it is legally very difficult to exclude someone. If he can ride, then he will be invited."
Former T-Mobile team manager Olaf Ludwig, whom Cyclingnews interviewed recently is also certain of Ullrich's comeback. "I'm pretty sure that Jan Ullrich will be riding again," he told the paper. "If he can reach the same level of performance, however, is another question."
Another question remains: which team will hire the German, who may still be the subject of an investigation as soon as the Spanish court dealing with Operación Puerto releases its information? Ludwig also criticized Discovery Channel's signing of Ivan Basso. "Discovery regards dropping the legal proceedings as the same thing as being cleared," he said. "What's left of a code of honour among team managers is questionable - the dumb one here is CSC boss Bjarne Riis, who dissolved his contract with Basso."
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
Landis interviewed by French TV
In his first interview with a European television station since July 23, 2006 Tour de France winner Floyd Landis has reiterated his innocence. "I did not take testosterone," the former Phonak rider told France 2 from his home in California. The interview was aired in the broadcaster's main sports show on Sunday evening, Stade 2. "I have to wait for the scientists to prove it, but I hope that everybody will keep an open mind and look at all the evidence before they make a judgment."
Landis is currently preparing for his hearing in front of the USADA, scheduled to take place on January, in which he will defend himself against doping allegations caused by a positive test for testosterone on July 20, 2006. That day, the 30 year-old made up half of the time he had lost the previous day in a stunning solo attack that was praised at the time for being one of the most courageous moves in Tour history.
His ride on stage 17 saw the American jump from 11th on GC back into third, and he reclaimed the yellow jersey two days later in the final individual time trial. Of his eipic ride on stage 17, he said, "It's not uncommon, when you have a bad day, that the best day is the next day".
The French reporter was intrigued by Landis' first reactions to his positive test for testosterone: that he had drunk several beers and whiskey on the night before his famous breakaway to Morzine. Did he understand why people did not believe this explanation? "Yeah, of course. If I try to put myself in their position, I would feel the same way," Landis said. "But at the time, I wasn't trying to make the connection between alcohol and the drug test. I was trying to tell a story in detail of what happened, hoping that somebody would have an explanation."
So how did he explain the positive doping test result? "I can't explain it. I'm just as surprised and confused as everybody. I have to rely on my lawyer and the scientists, because, to be honest, I'm a bicycle racer... That's all I know and that's the only thing I'm good at."
When the reporter asked Landis which arguments he used to question the results of the Chatenay-Malabry anti-doping laboratory, Landis responded, "Even the best people make mistakes. I can't say that the lab has always been the best lab, but I can say that in this case, they made some mistakes."
These last few months, a rumour had spread within the cycling scene in Europe, according to which Landis received a blood transfusion which contained the testosterone. "I heard from other journalists that there was a rumour, but just like with the testosterone test, I can't defend myself against that, because I don't have any information on where this rumour came from," Landis stated.
The American, who did admit that he had injections of corticosteroids to relieve the pain caused by his injured hip during the Tour de France, was also asked whether Lance Armstrong gave him advice on the doping allegations. "He's also been accused of things in the past, and he's one of the few people who can relate to the situation," Landis said about his former US Postal teammate. "His advice is just to be clear in what I say, and to not expect people to give me too much the benefit of the doubt."
Viewing the video of the 2007 Tour de France presentation, in which Tour organiser ASO takes a look back at this year's event - finishing with an image of Landis exploding into pieces like broken glass - Landis admitted that he was "disappointed" to be snubbed in this way. "But I also understand that ASO has a difficult position. I think [cycling] deserves a better reputation than this. I didn't do anything to cause the problems that we have now, but I think that there must be solutions in the future."
Landis, who is back to training two hours per day after having his hip replacement surgery done successfully, only cheered up when finally asked if he had something specific to say to French TV spectators. "My experiences in France, with the French people, were some of the best memories I've ever had in my life," he responded. "It's a beautiful place, and if I could go back and race the Tour again, it would be a dream of mine at this point."
Cyclingnews' coverage of the Floyd Landis case
29, 2009 - French authorities summon Landis and Baker
Botero cleared by federation
On Saturday, November 11, the Columbian cycling federation cleared Santiago Botero of all charges stemming from the Operación Puerto doping case. Releasing the complete report of its disciplinary commission on Botero, federation has "decided to end the investigation because of a lack of evidence," according to Carlos Vargas, president of the federation's disciplinary committee. Botero pronounced himself satisfied with that decision, but complained about "the negative effects on his athletic career".
Botero was suspended by Team Phonak after being named in the Spanish doping investigation, and indicated that he might end his career. However, the Colombian has recently signed with the new Continental team UNE-Orbitel.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
Bettini again 'Flandrian of the Year'
For the second time in four years, Italian Paolo Bettini has been awarded the title of 'Flandrian of the Year' by the readers of Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. Although not Belgian himself, the 32 year-old won ten races this season, which culminated with wins in the World Championships in Salzburg and the Giro di Lombardia. His Quick.Step teammate Tom Boonen, who had won the award for the last two years, ended up second in the rating, with 5,118 points against the Italian's 5,722.
"I had expected that Bettini would make it," Boonen told Sporza. "The end of the season always sticks in people's memories most. Bravo to Bettini!" Far behind the two in the ranking were Alexandre Vinokourov (553 points), Alejandro Valverde (481), and Fabian Cancellara (322) - third, fourth and fifth in that order. The five cyclists had previously been chosen by a panel of experts, including Lucien Van Impe.
Norwegian cyclist of the year: Hushovd
The readers of the Syklingens Verden website have elected the Norwegian Cyclist of the Year 2006. Crédit Agricole's Thor Hushovd won the title with 437 votes, more than twice the amount that were given to second-placed Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Maxbo-Bianchi), the 19 year-old talent who score three stages of the Tour de l'Avenir this year. Third place went to Kurt Asle Arvesen (CSC).
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)