First Edition Cycling News for November 23, 2006
Edited by Sue George
Landis answers hard questions
By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
Floyd Landis appeared on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on Tuesday, with Gumbel pressing Landis rather directly about the allegations against him. After asking about the usual background of the case, Gumbel asked questions in a line that seemed to refer to more recent stories about systematic doping in cycling. "Have you ever seen or been recruited to take performance enhancing drugs?" asked Gumbel with Landis answering simply, "No."
Gumbel asked if Landis had ever seen anyone taking performance enhancing drugs. "I have to be careful not to believe [other] rumours I hear. I've heard speculation of certain people doing certain things, but I wouldn't be able to demonstrate that. What I have actually physically seen is nothing. What you are insinuating is that everybody is doing it and only a few are getting caught - that is not the case. I haven't felt pressure to take anything, but I have thought about... at times when I was down and not racing well, I have thought to myself, 'I wonder if the other guys are doing it and if I should look into it.' That has crossed my mind."
Gumbel also inquired about when Landis left the US Postal team led by Lance Armstrong, pointing to Lance's disappointment over it. "[Lance] is not known for being the nicest guy," said Landis. "You have to understand that a guy who is obsessed enough to try to win the Tour seven times is not thinking the same way as most people on the planet."
The interview also touched on Landis' public defence, particularly focusing on the conspiracy theory aspects. "The [testing] guidelines are so vague," said Landis. "They allow for political agendas to manipulate the outcome of the test." In response, Gumbel included an interview with WADA chief Dick Pound who called those allegations false.
Concluding the interview, Gumbel asked if Landis thinks that his name will ever be cleared, regardless of the outcome of his case. "The damage that has been done is not repairable." Gumbel also added that Landis made it clear to him that if, in the end, he were to lose all of his appeals he would retire from cycling and move on in his life.
Cyclingnews' coverage of the Floyd Landis case
29, 2009 - French authorities summon Landis and Baker
Spanish cyclist Heras maintains innocence one year later
One year after his positive doping test, Spanish cyclist Roberto Heras said he has been denied the access he has requested to details surrounding his test. The 32-year-old Heras and former teammate of Lance Armstrong rode for the Liberty Seguros team, directed by Manolo Saiz. He tested positive for EPO one year ago on his way to what was to be his fourth victory in the Vuelta a España.
"When I first learned of the positive, my lawyer (Jose Maria Buxeda) and I requested data, including the procedure followed [for the test]. They gave us 20 pages of information for the first sample analysis. With the counter analysis, we asked for the same [information], but a year later, we are still waiting," Heras told the Spanish daily Marca. "I feel defenceless."
After lamenting a lack of support from his former team following the positive test, Heras admitted to the Marca that his last year without cycling has been difficult. "July was hard, when the Tour de France started. It's a race to which I've always been devoted. Ever since my first Tour in 2000, I wanted to do well there, although I haven't always done so. Every day, when I get out of bed, I think about how it is possible after a year that I don't have my full test results. For that reason, it has been a very strange year for me. I had 17 years of doing the same things, living by and for cycling, and now I am not racing as a professional."
Heras maintained his innocence and renewed his commitment to fight his positive result. "I dream about returning to racing. A year ago, we said we were going to fight, and that is what we are doing, but it is a long, hard process. We've requested it [the additional information] four times and now we are going to ask for it for a fifth, but we still haven't had an answer."
Heras has already served one year of his two-year ban. He is eligible to compete again after two years if the ban is not rescinded, but he will have to wait a total of four years before rejoining any ProTour team.
Valverde visits Japan
By Miwako Sasaki
Only two weeks after Italian Ivan Basso attended the Cycle Mode trade show, Japanese cycling fan got an opportunity to meet another International big-name rider. Spanish racer and ProTour winner Alejandro Valverde visited the Japan International Cycling Show, another bike show held on November 17-19 in Tokyo. Created in 1990, this year's show attracted 50,000 visitors.
Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears team member Valverde was invited with his teammate Joaquin Rodriguez by Italian manufacturer Pinarello, the team's bike supplier The two Spaniards were joined by their wives on their short visit. Two years ago, Pinarello brought Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi to the same show.
Valverde and Rodriguez visited the show for only two days, but they signed plenty of autographs at the Pinarello booth and participated in an on-stage show four times. They answered questions about this season, their hobbies, their families, and the next season. The Pro Tour winner was very relaxed on the stage, and his compatriot Rodriguez, who joined to Caisse d'Epargne this season and worked for Valverde, was cheerful. Both riders joked casually with fans.
After day one of the show, Valverde joined in on a special cruising dinner on the river in Tokyo. It was traditional dinner, and the 26-year-old rider tasted Japanese dishes. But he said the next day that he'd lost one kilo, maybe due to the hard schedule for the show. Referring to the weight loss, Valverde joked, "I'm already getting ready for the Challenge Mallorca (the popular early season Spanish race in February)."
Pinarello's president Fausto Pinarello talked about the Valverde's bike the Paris Carbon. "It's the same bike available to the public, but in a special white colour model for ProTour leader," said Pinarello.
Valverde was not honoured as ProTour winner on the podium following the Giro di Lombardia in October due to a dispute between UCI ProTour officials and promoters of the three Grand Tours. But a month later, the Murcian rider was enthusiastically received by his fans in Japan, where he visited for his first time.
Valverde talked about the next season. "If I can get a good result in the Tour de France next year, I'll skip the Vuelta a España. And after I go to Worlds, then I'll come to the Japan Cup." Onlookers were excited by these words. "I want to come back to the Japan again next year, and to enjoy more."
Basso also had promised Japanese fans two weeks ago that he will come to Japan Cup if he wins the Tour de France next year which means that two big stars may participate in next year's Japan Cup.
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Images by Miwako Sasaki
Swiss continue Ullrich investigation
By Susan Westemeyer
Jan Ullrich may have turned in his Swiss license and denied that the Swiss cycling federation has any jurisdiction over him, but that is not changing anything. The Swiss doping commission is continuing its investigation of Ullrich, but a decision to press any possible charges will not be made until after the first of the year, Swiss official Bernhard Welten told the German press agency sid. The reason for the delay is that officials in Germany and Spain have said that they will forward further documents in January. Only then can the dossier be passed on to the Swiss Olympic Disciplinary Committee, which will decide whether to open hearings. Welten said that the Doping Commission sees no reason to close the investigation.
The delay in the investigation will probably mean a further delay in Ullrich's return to cycling. His manager Wolfgang Strohband said that concrete discussions concerning Ullrich's athletic future would not be held until the legal situation has been cleared up. Strohband told the magazine Bunte that Ullrich is currently doing light training around his Swiss home. "When the legal situation has been cleared up, we won't have any problem getting a license and finding a team for Jan," he said. The cyclist himself was quoted as saying that it was now time "to go on the offensive and to attack, legally and athletically."
Guerini reflects on the 2006 season
By Susan Westemeyer
It sounds like the kind of season a rider would rather forget: sick all spring, his team decimated shortly before the start of the Tour de France, and then broken collarbone putting an early end to the fall races. But T-Mobile's Giuseppe Guerini is proud of what heand the teamaccomplished this year.
Looking back at the season on the team's website, www.t-mobile-team.com, Guerini said that the first few months of the season, he "fought with health problems, especially stomach troubles, which cost me a lot of time, training, and races. I wasn't able to make up for all of this before the Tour."
"The biggest obstacle at the 2006 Tour was not Alpe d'Huez or Col du Galibier," he noted, but the last second announcements that the team's captain and an important helper were removed from the team, and that no replacements were allowed. "Our reaction was typical for cyclists: We got on our bikes, fled from the hordes of journalists and the general chaos and trained for two hours someplace where there were no cars and no people, in order to get our heads clear."
The seven remaining riders were able to not only clear their heads but to ride successfully in the Tour. Three stage wins, the yellow jersey in the team for a few days, and a third place overall finish were the results. "But what pleased me more than that was that we stood on the podium in Paris as the best team. That was definitely my best moment of the season. Who would have thought at the start that we would accomplish that under these circumstances?"
Guerini continued to suffer from stomach problems during the Tour, preventing him from accomplishing his dream of a third Tour stage win. And a crash in the Regio Tour in August gave him a cracked collarbone, putting an early end to his season.
Guerini, 36, will be the senior rider on T-Mobile in 2007, not only by age, but also by length of service. He has been with the team since 1999.
Australian cyclist convicted for importing performance-enhancing drugs
Former Australian national team member, Andrew Wyper was convicted of illegally importing performance enhancing drugs from Indonesia in a court in Sydney. The 21-year-old was fined AUS$4,067, and the conviction could mark the end of his cycling career. Wyper represented Australia at the 2003 world road championships in Canada and the 2003 junior world track championships in Russia.
In November of last year, Australian customs officials detected a package travelling from Indonesia with four vials of anabolic steroids, seven vials of human growth hormone, and a syringe marked as containing EPO according tot he Courier Mail. A subsequent raid of a house in Inverell led authorities to seize relevant documents in the case.
A spokeswoman for Cycling Australia told the Courier Mail that any information that the organization received about the case would be handed over to the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), which would then notify the UCI. "We are very happy that customs is taking action to stop performance enhancing drugs from coming into Australia," said the spokeswoman.
According to Cycling Australia's website, Wyper had hoped to race in the 2008 Olympics and the Tour de France.
Gewiss returns to cycling with Bianchi
By Gregor Brown
Gewiss is back after 11 years away from the sport of cycling. In 2007, the Italian electronics company owned by the Bosatelli family will return to sponsor the Bianchi mountain bike team. With the convincing of Bianchi representative and cycling legend, Felice Gimondi, Gewiss has agreed to one year, with the option of extending into the 2008 season.
"With a very hushed voice, I say that the return of Gewiss in the world of cycling could be the first step to seeing this sponsor among the [road] professionals," said Gimondi, team manager of Gewiss-Bianchi from 1987 to 1989, to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"The mountain biking is a young world, very dynamic, with a [more] diverse target than the [road] professionals," continued Gimondi. "The agreement also will be considered for 2008, the year of the Olympics, seeing how mountain biking will be in the Games."
Gimondi oversaw the Moreno Argentin's win in the 1987 Liège-Bastogne-Liège while wearing the rainbow jersey of world champion, and the Italian's end of season win in the Giro di Lombardia. The classics star raced for Gewiss-Bianchi for their fist three years in the sport, from 1987 to 1989, and then in his final year he returned to race under the Gewiss name, in 1994 as Gewiss-Ballan.
"It is great news to hear that Gewiss is remembering cycling," Argentin noted to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I believe the Bosatelli family has been a good presence for this sport, and it [cycling] has helped their name become recognized around the world."
"I closed my career with Gewiss in 1994," Argentin pointed out, remembering his win in the 1994 Flèche Wallonne. "The arrival of Gewiss represented a change in how the teams were managed, the sponsor bought [into cycling] all of their managerial aspects that were still unheard of."
Gewiss, based in Cenate Sotto (Bergamo), with 12 sites worldwide, did €329,000,000 in business for 2005 and will lend their name and money to the Bianchi team for 2007. The team will lose their French star, Julien Absalon, but has confirmed signings of Cristian Cominelli (Italy), Emil Lindgren (Sweden), Thomas Dietsch, Stephan Tempier (France), Martin Kraler (Austria), and Pia Sundstedt (Finland).
Guidi signs with Barloworld
By Susan Westemeyer
Fabrizio Guidi of Team Phonak has signed with Team Barloworld for the coming season, the South African team announced Wednesday. He signed a one-year contract with Barloworld, a Continental professional team. Barloworld calls Guidi, 34, "one of the most experienced sprinters in the peloton." He has won 46 races since turning pro in 1995. In 2006, he earned four stage wins. Guidi is the seventh new rider for Barloworld, bring the team's roster up to 17.
Flynn resigns from Bike New Zealand
Bike New Zealand (BikeNZ) announced today that High Performance Director, Michael Flynn, resigned from his position and is returning to Australia for personal reasons.
"I have enjoyed my work with the athletes, coaches, and volunteer staff and firmly believe that the future of New Zealand cycling is extremely positive given the strength of the partnerships we have built with key partners such as SPARC, the NZ Olympic Committee, and Paralympics NZ," said Flynn.
CEO Rodger Thompson commended Flynn's contribution to BikeNZ's High Performance program throughout his two year tenure. Flynn managed the New Zealand team at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games campaign, implemented a High Performance plan for the Beijing 2008 Olympics, and drove the development of BikeNZ Europe, New Zealand cycling's European training base.
"Since starting with us in January 2005, Michael has been brought vitality to all areas of our High Performance program," said Thompson. "As well as his work in building our high performance structure, he has been instrumental in overseeing the development of the depth in our junior programs, which has resulted in unprecedented success at junior World Championship level."
With new name, Tour of Virginia joins NRC
Beginning in 2007, the Tour of Shenandoah will be known as the Tour of Virginia. Now a National Racing Calendar (NRC) event, the Tour of Virginia will run from April 24th to April 29th throughout Virginia.
Unlike previous editions, this year's Tour of Virginia will include parts of Virginia outside the scenic Shenandoah Valley. No details on the route or new host cities have been announced yet, but a majority of the course is expected to remain the same.
The Tour of Virginia aims to position itself as North America's answer to the Tour de L'Avenir. It traditionally showcases emerging national and international talent; in past years, the race has been a focus for many U25 teams. In 2006, winner Brent Bookwalter was only 23-years-old.
While the Tour focuses on U25 riders, older riders may participate. "Pro teams will, for the foreseeable future, be permitted to send older riders to this race, but the team leader must be U25." The cycling community will have an "opportunity to look at our best young talent and see for real what kind of leadership qualities they have at a relatively young age," said race director Matt Butterman.
An important mission of the Tour of Virginia is to inform the public about how to control the onset of diabetes and reduce the complications through exercise and a healthy lifestyle. To this end, the race will support Team Type 1, an all-diabetic racing team that will compete in the event.
Cycling stars show support for Cronulla criterium
By Greg Johnson
The covers were taken off plans for a new annual criterium to be held in the New South Wales' Sutherland Shire at an unveiling at the state's Parliament House yesterday. Some of the nation's most influential sporting figures were on hand for the Cronulla International Grand Prix's launch, ahead of the inaugural event to be held on Sunday, December 17.
Among those at the launch were Predictor-Lotto team-mates Robbie McEwen and Nick Gates, Discovery Channel's Matt White, Rabobank's Graeme Brown, Australian Olympic cyclists Ben Kersten and Steve Wooldridge, and triathlete Chris McCormack all of whom will contest this year's CIGP.
"We are proud that the event will be held in such a vibrant attractive and picturesque part of Sydney," announced Kevin Greene, MP. "The fact that the competitors will include Olympic and Commonwealth Games competitors will ensure this event is considered a must-do on the cycling calendar," he said.
The event, organised by Phill Bates, AM and John Scott, will include a 40km elite men's criterium to be held on the 1.3km beach-side circuit, as well as an elite women's race, plus veterans and junior divisions.
"I'm very pleased on behalf of NSW Health to announce we will be the principal sponsor and also have naming rights for this event," revealed NSW Health Minister, John Hatzistergos, MLC. "We will use it as an opportunity to market some very important health promotion messages particularly around wellness."
Event organisers have secured a 90-minute television package with the Nine Network which will include live coverage of the Elite Men's race starting at 11am. The television package will also be broadcast in Europe and Asia at a yet-to-be-revealed time.
"I've for a long time been concerned on the one hand about the tremendous profile of cycling and on the other hand about the low profile it tends to get," said influential radio broadcaster and deputy chairman of the Australian Sports Commission, Alan Jones, AO.
"Cycling deserves a better fate than what's dished out to it. I think anything that can be done to elevate the profile of cycling and encourage people to understand, anything that can be done to advance that has to be a good thing."
It's hoped the Grand Prix will help rebuild the area's reputation which was destroyed last year during an afternoon of racially-motivated riots.
"It will be staged, as you know, one year after the riots that did so much damage to the image of that community," added Jones. "The organisers had hoped to get the event up last year but the unfortunate events that took place on December 11th put paid to that."
Among the professional women who have been confirmed for the event are Kate and Natalie Bates, Rochelle Gilmore, and Kate Nichols.
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Images by Greg Johnson/Cyclingnews.com
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