Latest Cycling News for November 27, 2006
Edited by Gregor Brown
Lance Armstrong: cybercriminal?
By Tim Maloney, European Editor
Although French investigators from the cybercrime unit of the Gendarmerie have yet to find the culprits who hacked the computer system of the anti-doping laboratory (LNDD) in Châtenay-Malabry, sending fake e-mails that were allegedly sent by a "close associate" of 2006 Tour De France winner Floyd Landis, according to French newspaper Le Monde, another American cyclist may be a suspect in the cyberspace tomfoolery: Lance Armstrong.
An article published last week in Le Monde by French journalist Stéphane Mandard contained a claim that Lance Armstrong might be the mystery hacker of the LNDD lab, according to allegations by Betsy Andreu in her deposition of January 17, 2006 in the Armstrong/SCA Promotions arbitration case. When Armstrong's attorney Timothy Herman deposed Mrs. Andreu, asking "did you already tell anyone that Lance Armstrong has hacked your computer", Betsy Andreu, the wife of former professional cyclist Frankie Andreu said "I think [Armstrong] has hacked my computer and we are currently suing America On Line to find the IP address of who hacked my computer."
Betsy Andreu had already filed a complaint with the Dearborn, Michigan police department on March 31, 2005 when she tried to sign on to her AOL account and found that someone else had already signed on to her account and that the same thing happened to Frankie Andreu's computer the next day.
Betsy Andreu told Le Monde's Mandard that "Lance wanted to control everything; anything anyone might say about him and he was ready to do anything to do it." According to Mrs. Andreu, her computer wasn't the only one Armstrong had hacked. She claimed in her SCA deposition in January 2006 that former Oakley sports marketing manager Stephanie McIlvain thought that Armstrong had hacked her computer and had placed a bug in the computer of his ex-wife Kristin as the couple was going through their divorce.
"Stephanie told me that [Armstrong] told her he put a bug in Kristin's computer and every word she typed was sent directly to him. Stephanie was scared that Lance had also hacked her computer." Although AOL refused to cooperate with Ms. Andreu, she told Mandard the she next intended to take the matter up with the Justice Department.
When Cyclingnews reached Lance Armstrong at his home in Austin, Texas to ask him about the accusations in the Le Monde article, the seven time Tour De France winner was incredulous. "Oh boy... Just when I thought I had heard it all", exclaimed a surprised Armstrong. "What's next? Saddam Hussein's WMD's are out at my ranch in Texas? 'Ridiculous' does not even begin to describe this latest insinuation. These accusations are not credible in any sense of the word. Are we supposed to believe anything Betsy Andreu says? However, I do wish her all the luck in the world with her lawsuit against AOL, one of the largest ISP's in the world today."
Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears respond to loss of Gálvez
By Shane Stokes
Along with the family and friends of Isaac Gálvez, the entire Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears team was plunged into shock yesterday following the news of the Spanish sprinter's death early on Sunday morning.
The team issued a press release several hours after the tragic event saying that Director Sportif Eusebio Unzué, Isaac's sister, Débora and several other members of the family would travel immediately to Belgium. They paid credit to Gálvez' teammate Joan Llaneras, who they said had put himself at the disposal of the Belgian and Spanish authorities in order to assist.
The team also thanked these authorities for what the release termed "their help and collaboration in order to facilitate the steps necessary on this sad occasion. We make a point of thanking, in the name of Isaac's family and of our team, all the people and organizations which help and support us."
"In these difficult moments for all, all of the members of the team and the companions of Isaac wish to present our most sincere condolences to Isaac's family and, in particular, to his parents, his sister and his wife."
Gent public prosecutor comments on Gálvez crash
By Shane Stokes
Jean Soenen, the public prosecutor of Gent, has cleared the organisers of the six day race Isaac Gálvez was competing in, stating that they had no responsibility for his death.
He told the agency Belga that they had taken all the necessary safety measures, and noted that the accident took place during a sporting event and therefore is a civil case. Soenen's office stated that the accident happened after the rider and Belgian competitor Dimitri De Fauw collided at a speed of between 50 and 55 kilometres per hour, with Gálvez then hitting a railing around the outside of the track.
According to his findings, the impact ruptured several ribs which were pushed back against the heart, causing his death. An examination of his bicycle didn't show any mechanical failures that could have contributed to the accident.
The office of the public prosecutor has called in an expert to examine the images of a video of the accident, and has also asked any spectators who recorded it to contact the police in Gent.
Kummer to be Astaná's sporting director
By Susan Westemeyer
Team Astaná has hired Mario Kummer as Sporting Director, the team for the coming year, the team announced Monday morning. Under the leadership of Technical Director Walter Godefroot, he will work together with Director Sportif Alexandre Shefer, Giovanni Fidanza and Adriano Baffi.
"It is a big challenge for me to work together with this new team. The team will shine in the coming years with its outstanding riders,” said 44 year-old German, Kummer. Team director Marc Biver added, "I am happy that we were able to get someone like Mario Kummer who is such a cycling expert. His competence and experience will be a big advantage for our team."
Kummer rode professionally until 1997. From 2000 until this year, he was Sporting Director at Team Telekom/Team T-Mobile. At Astaná, he will join not only former T-Mobile colleagues Godefroot and Fidanza, but also riders Andreas Klöden, Matthias Kessler, Eddy Mazzoleni and Serguei Ivanov.
Ullrich training and looking
By Susan Westemeyer
Jan Ullrich has been busily training for the upcoming season -- but not in South Africa, as so many rumours have suggested. He has been in Austria and Italy. "The main work in Austria was the general fitness and work on the mountain bike," he said on his website, www.janullrich.de. The training intensity increased when he moved on to Italy, where he trained with unnamed colleagues.
"It's always hard to start again, that's clear. But it feels good, to be back in the saddle again, and it's fun to go on the limit in training. Our training is going as planned in all aspects. It is an open secret that discussions with teams and sponsors are being held, but nothing has yet been decided," he finished.
T-Mobile sees riders as "ambassadors" for sponsor
By Susan Westemeyer
T-Mobile's Chief Finance Officer Thomas G. Winkler took advantage of a charity fund-raiser to better know two of the team's riders, and to explain the future relations between the sponsor and the team. Winkler, Linus Gerdemann and newcomer Gerald Ciolek took part in a spinning session to raise money for charity.
Winkler told www.t-mobile-team.com that "The focus has changed at T-Mobile. Going forward the sponsor will have less influence on the team's sporting decisions, but the relationship with the riders will be stronger. As ambassadors for T-Mobile, it is important that the riders can properly relate to the company, the brand and the employees," he stressed. "We want the riders to feel a strong sense of responsibility to T-Mobile."
Winkler added that he enjoyed getting to know the riders in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. "We sometimes meet at press conferences, presentations and other events; where there's little time to properly get to know each other. Joining forces tonight has brought us a whole lot closer."
Gerdemann agreed, saying, "It really means a lot to us as riders to enjoy an evening like this with a senior figure from T-Mobile. It's a chance to have fun, swap stories and experiences and see things from a different perspective. Overall, it strengthens our connection to T-Mobile."
José Enrique Gutierrez eyes Giro d'Italia return with Boifava
By Antonio J. Salmerón
José Enrique Gutierrez, who finished in second in the 2006 Giro d'Italia, wants to return to the Corsa Rosa. "In the Giro I have always obtained good results," said the 32 year-old Spaniard to Cyclingnews. "In fact, after the experience of the last edition, when I demonstrated that I was able to reach the podium, I want to return to fight for a repeat, although it will be a very difficult task."
José Enrique and his brother, Ignacio, have reach a verbal agreement with Davide Boifava, who will head the new Italian pro-continental team, a fusion from Androni Giocattoli-3C Casalinghi and Team LPR.
"It does not matter to me if I sign with a pro-continental team, because what the most important thing for me is to recover from the illusion [of Operación Puerto] and to return to compete again," José Enrique continued. He was dropped from Phonak after being linked to the Operación Puerto investigation. "I am one of the most harmed by this nonsense," Gutierrez concluded.
Lance Armstrong made a wave of publicity when he ran the New York City marathon, completing the event in a sub-three hour time. The American was unable to undo his former cycling rival, Frenchman Laurent Jalabert, who competed in the same event in 2005 (2:59'36" versus 2:55'39").
However, both Jaja and Tex will have to make way for the 1995 world champion, Abraham Olano. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the 34 year-old Spaniard toppled the times of his past competitors by going 2:39' in the San Sebastián marathon. He finished 34th behind winner William Serem of Kenyan.
Luis Pérez is close to Relax-GAM agreement
By Antonio J. Salmerón
Luis Pérez is still waiting for a convincing reason why Cofidis decided not to renew his contract. The Spaniard was the highest placed Cofidis rider in this year's Vuelta a Espańa, finishing 10th overall.
"They only said to me that they do not want any Spanish rider in Cofidis, but later they renegotiated with Bingen Fernández, and it pleasingly surprised me ... " the Pérez explained to Cyclingnews.
The Spaniard considered, with his palmarčs, "I have receive offers from ProTour squads, but they are making small offers. I have been competing more than ten seasons, and I am not prepared to continue at any price," Pérez noted. "Relax is the unique team that has offered a worthy contract to me, which I will end up accepting if we can arrive at an agreement ... they are assured of participation in the Vuelta, as well as in other stage races and classics."
O'Grady busy over weekend
Stuart O'Grady raced in Adelaide on Sunday, November 26 in a relatively low key event, the Semaphore Street Carnival. The Aussie was part of the event that included a series of street races (criteriums). Stuart proved what a wonderful ambassador he is for the sport of cycling by taking part in his 'off-season'.
The event included a leg of the Rendition Homes Criterium premiership series, which O'Grady is part of. Stuart rode as part of the team, and controlled the peloton to help one of his teammates who got away in a two-person breakaway.
The event was organised by the Port Adelaide Cycling Club where Stuart began his cycling.
Saunier Duval-Prodir technicians hold technical meeting
The whole technical staff at Saunier Duval-Prodir got together in Scott's main office in Fribourg, Switzerland to get acquainted with the new bicycle the Spanish-Swiss team will use next season. A presentation was made of the new carbon frame, Addict, as well as of the other bike parts and accessories.
Saunier Duval-Prodir's technicians were also trained in assembling the bicycle's drive train by technical experts from manufacturer SRAM. Both the mechanics and the technical partners were impressed with the new materials. The team will be the first ProTour team to ever use the complete SRAM component group.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)