First Edition Cycling News for April 27, 2007
Edited by Laura Weislo
'What is happening is not legal'
European Commission responds to Unibet gambling advertising situation
The ProTour battle heated up this week with two court rulings in Belgium. While one said that the March 5 deal between the UCI and the Grand Tour organisers was not legally binding, another case examined in Liège concluded that ASO was acting contrary to European law in blocking the Unibet team from its races. In a bid to find out more about the legal standpoint, Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes spoke with the European Commission office responsible for such matters.
The Unibet.com cycling team have been refused access to ASO's races this year on the grounds that gambling and betting advertising is restricted in France, but the European Commission has made a strong statement that this reason should not be used.
"We want to make it absolutely clear that what is happening is not legal," said Oliver Drewes, EU Commission Spokesman for Internal Market and Services, on Thursday. Speaking to Cyclingnews, he stated that his office has been in contact with both the UCI and Green Cycle Associates AB, the holders of Unibet.com's ProTour licence, on the matter, and that it was concerned about the situation.
The Unibet.com team made an important step forward this week when it won a judgement in Liège against ASO. According to the court ruling, the team is entitled under European law to race in Belgium, and also to use their regular Unibet.com team kit rather than its alternative jersey, which does not mention the main sponsor.
If ASO was to refuse the riders, it would have to pay the team a penalty of €5 million per day missed. However, when the management tried to gain accreditation on Tuesday evening, they were denied and the riders were unable to start the race the following morning. It remains to be seen if they will be able to ride Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday.
To read the full feature, click here.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split
October 4, 2008 - New ASO chief to maintain values
Basso decries time-bomb justice
By Susan Westemeyer
Angelo Zomegnan, manager of the Giro organising group RCS Sport, said that "Naturally, openness and believability have priority. We will check everything out before coming to a decision." However, according to the dpa press agency, he is worried about the loss of sponsors as well as decreased media and public interest.
Meanwhile, Basso gave his first interview after the newest announcements, with the Italian newspaper Il Giornale. "I'm not going to give up, I'm going to carry on. I'm strong-minded," he said.
"However, I feel really frustrated. If these latest events had emerged in December or January, everything would have been clarified and closed now, for good or bad. Instead, new documents have suddenly arrived two weeks before the start of the race [the Giro d'Italia]. First they let me train like a donkey and then say 'Sorry, please stop and explain'. That's a time-bomb form of justice."
"I'll be there on May 2 to understand what new things I'm facing," added Basso. "My DNA? I've already given my permission to everybody, my team and even to the anti-doping investigators."
Basso won't be the only one facing CONI on May 2. It was announced today that Michele Scarponi has also been summoned to appear. His appointment is at 8:30 a.m., Basso's at 1:30 that afternoon.
Riders' association reacts to Puerto
Following the reopening of the case against Basso by the Italian Olympic Committee, and the announcement of the ASO that no riders implicated in Operación Puerto would be allowed to start the Tour de France, the Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA) met today in Liège to discuss the situation.
According to Belga, a three hour meeting with fifty riders was filled with heated discussion and divided opinions. The Spanish riders argued that riders who had been cleared should continue to be considered innocent, and expressed their dissatisfaction that a case which had been officially closed was now being reopened.
Another strong opinion was expressed, especially from the non-Spanish riders: that cycling needs to regain its credibility now. "You feel that there is no solidarity, there is no group with a common purpose," said Frenchman Christophe Moreau. "I want believe that the riders who are called innocent are. But there must be clarity. The suspicion must disappear. "
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
Landis nearly bankrupt?
American cyclist Floyd Landis, who is facing antidoping hearings in both the US and in France, has lost nearly $10 million (US) in the fight to clear his name of charges that he used testosterone during the 2006 Tour de France, according to the Bloomberg news agency. Landis, who has repeatedly asserted his innocence, faces a two year sanction and a four year ban from riding for a ProTour team if he is found guilty of doping violations.
Landis has been criss-crossing the United States, making appearances in order to try and raise money for his defence with the help of an organisation called the Floyd Fairness Fund. The fund has raised close to $500,000, according to Landis spokesperson Michael Henson, speaking at the Tour de Georgia last week.
According to the article, his legal expenses have already reached $1 million, and with $3 million lost with his terminated Phonak contract, and $2 million in lost endorsements along with nearly $4 million in prospective sponsorships, his losses have reached eight figures. He also stands to lose €600,000 in Tour de France prize money, currently frozen, which he will forfeit if he loses his case.
Landis' arbitration hearing with the US Antidoping Agency (USADA) is scheduled for May 14, and while his legal team requested the date be moved to a later date after receiving word that further tests on his Tour de France urine samples revealed additional traces of synthetic testosterone, no revised date has been announced.
Cyclingnews' coverage of the Floyd Landis case
29, 2009 - French authorities summon Landis and Baker
CSC for the Giro
By Katharina Schulz
Last year, Danish Team CSC went out to win the Giro d'Italia with their captain Ivan Basso, and they did. However, Basso had to leave the team later that year when he came under serious doping allegations in the wake of Operación Puerto.
This year, CSC are going for a different kind of glory than the overall win: stage wins and a few days in pink. With a team comprising several young talents, backed up by a handful of experienced riders, the team has strong chances for stage wins. With World Champion Fabian Cancellara and US champion David Zabriskie for the time trials, and new acquisition Juan José Haedo already showing the ability to hand his team sprint victories, CSC could be able to have nearly as much success as last year.
The line-up: David Zabriskie, Fabian Cancellara, Alexandr Kolobnev, Andy Schleck, Juan José Haedo, Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Michael Blauzun, Matti Breschel and Volodymir Gustov.
"I think we have a good chance to show what we can do over those three weeks. Not only as far as stage wins are regarded, but we might also even go for the pink jersey in the beginning of the race, " said director Bjarne Riis. "Haedo has already shown that he is able to compete with the best in a sprint, and I also think that we have possibilities when it comes to some of the hillier stages, and also of course in the individual time-trials."
Julich discusses season plans
By Shane Stokes
Bobby Julich is likely to end his career next season, and the desire for a strong Olympic result is one of the big motivations for the American CSC rider. He took bronze behind Tyler Hamilton and Viatcheslav Ekimov at the 2004 Games; landing another medal would close off his career in style.
With that in mind, he told Cyclingnews prior to the start of Flèche Wallonne that he was structuring things differently this season. "I am not really focusing on the spring this year. Of course, I would like to do well [in Flèche and Liège-Bastogne-Liège]…. these are two beautiful races that I always wanted to show well in."
He said that he was building steadily up for a July peak. "The Tour is the most important for me. And then the world championships for the time trial, and races like that towards the end of the season. I hope to be going to the Olympics so that is why I want to focus on pre-qualifying as soon as I can for the time trial.
"The Olympics will probably be my last race, or one of my last races."
Hondo suspension upheld
By Susan Westemeyer
Danilo Hondo's on-again-off-again ban for a 2005 positive doping test has made another turn. A Swiss Kantongericht judge has denied Danilo Hondo's appeal of his doping suspension, and now the German sprinter will not be able to ride until the 2008 season. Hondo announced on his website, danilo-hondo.de, that he would appeal the decision.
The judge did not give any reason for his decision.
A small amount of the drug Carphedon was found in Hondo's system during the Vuelta a Murcia in March 2005 while he was riding for Gerolsteiner. In June of that year, the Swiss Cycling Federation issued a two year ban, but with one year to be suspended, followed by a five year probation period. The CAS said later, in January 2006, that Hondo deserved a two year ban, thereby extending his ban by one year per the advice of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
A Swiss court subsequently overturned that ban and allowed Hondo to return to racing, but the Swiss Supreme Court reinstated his suspension in January 2007. Earlier this month, the CAS issued a clarification that the ban must be "effectively" served, and the UCI subsequently ordered the suspension to run through January 2008.
Hondo was so sure that he would win the appeal that he planned to start in the Giro d'Abruzzo on the day after the hearing was scheduled earlier this month. But, as he wrote on his website, "Today it happened - what none of us had expected." He continued, "We are all stunned, because we had barely considered this worst-case scenario to be possible."
While noting that "My family and I are deeply disappointed, we are fed up with this legal marathon," he remained defiant. "There is no way that I will quit here and now. I will discuss with my attorneys what further steps are to be taken. It is certain that I will be at the start again no later than the 2008 season!"
After two third-place finishes in Amstel Gold and La Fleche Wallonne, Liquigas' Danilo Di Luca is looking to finish higher up on the podium in Liège-Bastogne-Liège this weekend. "Two prestigious podiums in four days represent a great result, but it's natural to have a little bitterness when you don't have the big success. You know, I'll try to take some satisfaction in Liege."
Liquigas for LBL: Danilo Di Luca, Franco Pellizotti, Vincenzo Nibali, Michael Albasani, Kjell Carlstrom, Francesco Faillik Andrea Noe and Alessandro Spezialetti.
Kim Kirchen will lead T-Mobile in Liège-Bastogne-Liège this weekend, to be backed up by Patrick Sinkewitz and Michael Rogers. "Michael is no longer hampered by the knee injury he suffered at the Pais Vasco, and is back to his old form," said Directeur Sportif Valerio Piva.
T-Mobile for LBL: Michael Barry, Scott Davis, Adam Hansen, Kim Kirchen, Axel Merckx, Sergiy Gonchar, Michael Rogers and Patrik Sinkewitz
Milram is counting on Mirko Celestino and Igor Astarloa, who "showed themselves in good condition" at the Fleche Wallonne. Astarloa especially hopes to return to form after becoming ill at Vais Pasco.
Milram for LBL: Igor Astarloa, Mirko Celestino, Mirco Lorenzetto, Andrey Grivko, Matej Jurco, Niki Terpstra, Carlo Scognamiglio, Sebastian Schwager
Michael Boogerd and Oscar Freire are heading up the Rabobank team. Boogerd is starting the race for the 12th time and has seven top five finishes. Freire is riding his sixth consecutive LBL. The team features another LBL podium winner, Pieter Weening, who was third in the U23 race in 2003.
Rabobank for LBL: Michael Boogerd, Oscar Freire, Juan Antonio Flecha, Thomas Dekker, Pieter Weening, Koos Moerenhout, Theo Eltink and Jan Boven.
Wiesenhof for Henninger Turm
In 2006, Steffen Wesemann was in an escape group with good chances in Rund um den Henninger Turm in Frankfurt, Germany, but a mechanical problem put an end to that promise. This year, he says, he is looking to make up for that lost chance. "I am on top form, and was able to prepare myself specifically for this race and look forward to a hot race."
Wesemann is leading his Team Wiesenhof-Felt in the traditional May 1st race. The team had hoped to go with a double-pronged attack, with sprinter Olaf Pollack as a "joker" who could take a possible mass sprint finish. But Pollack crashed in the first stage of the Niedersachsen Rundfahrt in Bremen, and underwent surgery Friday on his broken collarbone.
Wiesenhof for Henninger Turm: Steffen Wesemann, Martin Velits, Jörg Ludewig, Torsten Schmidt, Felix Odebrecht, Daniel Musiol, Peter Velits, and Steffen Radochla.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)