First Edition Cycling News for January 23, 2007
Edited by Greg Johnson & Ben Abrahams
Cycling power broker tells of Tour's fightback plan
Tour de France organiser ASO confident about upcoming legal procedure and new selection criteria
The divide between the most powerful race organisers in the world and the world's governing body of cycling has never been so deep. For over three years, the Grand Tour organisers, spearheaded by Tour de France management ASO, and the UCI have been in constant conflict over the sport's most recent reform, the ProTour. Now, unable to come to an agreement, the two sides will take their fight to the European Commission. Cyclingnews' Hedwig Kröner spoke to Patrice Clerc, the ASO president, about the conflict and the organisation's future plans.
The organisers of the three Grand Tours, the ASO, the RCS (Giro d'Italia), and Unipublic (Vuelta España) have long objected to the ProTour model. They call the forced inclusion of the 20 ProTour teams 'a closed system' and have came up with their own set of team selection criteria late last year. And, after a year full of doping torments, they decided to reserve the right to refuse participation anyone who may harm their image. The UCI is fighting for the ProTour, and have taken the case to the courts.
With the trial in front of the European Commission impending, Patrice Clerc didn't want to comment too much about the issues. "The presidency of the UCI has decided to bring this dissident to the European Commission - the Directorate General for Competition - which means that I can not comment on this today. Although I would have a lot of things to say... I have to spare my entire comments on the subject for the Commission," he said.
The history of the conflict
Clerc did outline the course of events that led to the current situation with the UCI. "Even before the ProTour was officially launched, since 2004, we have always said that we would not adhere to this system. To us, this system opposes the sport and the European sporting model, because it is a closed system. We do not adhere to the concept of a license, either, as it appears to us totally unsuitable to our sport.
For the full interview with Patrice Clerc click here.
McQuaid unhappy with Pereiro
By Shane Stokes
Oscar Pereiro's delay in sending requested documents to the French Agency for the Fight against Doping (AFLD) has led to a rebuke from the UCI, with a press release issued on Monday afternoon stating that president Pat McQuaid has expressed his displeasure to the Spaniard.
According to the release, the Irishman: "sent a letter to the rider, Oscar Pereiro, from the Spanish team 'Caisse d'Epargne', in which he deplored his attitude towards the French Agency for the Fight against Doping (AFLD)."
The release acknowledged that Pereiro has medical authorisation to use an asthma medication containing a controlled substance, but faulted him for not responding promptly to requests by the AFLD for related documentation. On Saturday McQuaid told Cyclingnews that he considered the behaviour of both Pereiro and the team to have been unprofessional in this respect.
"The team was aware of the situation and should have been more professional in dealing with it," he stated. "This is damaging to cycling as it creates the wrong impression."
Monday's release continued in the same vein: "Having suffered from asthma for the last several years, Oscar Pereiro has authorisation (TUA) allowing him to treat this illness by using salbutamol, recognised by the UCI, the AFLD and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
"At the 2006 Tour de France, traces of this product were found in his urine. However the result of tests carried during the race cannot be considered as a positive anti-doping control.
"Although he had medical justification requested from September 2006 by the AFLD proving that he indeed suffered from asthma brought on by physical exertion, Oscar Pereiro delayed providing it to this organisation. This is considered as a failure to respect established administrative procedures.
"This serious negligence by the Spanish rider is regrettable and harms the image of cycling as a whole, although he is not guilty of any infringement."
The UCI also re-expressed its dissatisfaction with the AFLD which, it said, was quick to jump to conclusions despite the granting of a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) to the Tour de France runner-up.
"The UCI has asked the AFLD to refrain from publicly implying that a rider is guilty of a doping offence when he has only committed an administrative fault. Such an attitude does not help to support the cycling community, which is fighting more than ever against the phenomenon of doping," concluded the release.
Liquigas launch '07 outfit
Italian ProTour team Liquigas has taken the wraps off the squad that will lead its efforts in the peloton throughout 2007. The outfit's presentation was help at Sarpi Sei in Milan overnight and presented by local model Federica Fontana.
The team, which is hoping to "cut a fine figure in every aspect" according to its press release, features 30 riders from 13 nations, including 11 new riders to the team. The line up also includes a single neo-pro in Italian rider Dario Cataldo, winner of last year's Baby Giro.
Liquigas also announced some of its lead rider's programs in conjunction with the launch. The announcement revealed the team's lead rider Danilo Di Luca will skip this year's Tour de France to focus on winning the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España, with Filippo Pozzato to lead the outfit at the Tour.
Pozzato, who won the Milan to San Remo in 2006, will also lead the outfit in the Paris-Roubaix and sit out the Giro and Vuelta.
The outfit's first race of the year will be the Tour of Qatar on January 28 - February 2.
Liquigas' 2007 squad:
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Roberto Bettini/www.bettiniphoto.net
Brown pleased with competitive return
By Greg Johnson
Inspiring Sydney cyclist Katie Brown returned to competitive cycling last week at the UniSA Women's Criterium Series, held in conjunction with the Tour Down Under in Adelaide, Australia. Brown's return to competition comes less than two years after she sustained horrendous injuries during a training accident in Germany that claimed the life of teammate Amy Gillet in July 2005.
"I'm happy to finish in the middle of the bunch," said Brown on her return. "I'm just up there to enjoy myself."
The event is just one of many Brown will contest in 2007 following the announcement she's signed to ride for the Dutch Vrienden Van Het Platteland team this season. "I'm just so proud to be out here, I really am," added the passionate Brown.
Her return to racing last week is the fullfilment of vow Brown made to the Australian media in August 2005, when she declared: "I was quite determined before the accident and now it's just made me a little bit more determined. It's just a setback. It's something to rebuild and focus on. They say that this will make us stronger mentally and physically."
Brown, the younger sister of Rabbobank's Graeme, is left with minor scaring as a result of her injuries, which included: a fractured right patella; ruptured left patella tendon; cuts requiring stitches all the way down the right arm; all but two bones broken in left hand, and broken knuckle in ring finger; two broken ribs on the left side; and a collapsed lung.
It was just five months after the horror crash that Brown returned to a bike at the Australian Institute of Sport for the first time. While the movement in her leg was limited at the time, she was lucky to have a leg at all, with the injuries at first believed to be so bad that doctors considered amputation.
While Brown may well be back on the bike, she admits it will take time to return to the level she was at prior to the accident.
"I don't have the legs yet, the girls have been racing hard throughout the season and are really strong," she said.
Hoy steps up kilo preparation
Scotsman Chris Hoy will now ride both the sprint and kilometre time trial events at next month's Manchester Track World Cup in order to sharpen his form for the world championships and an attempt at Arnaud Tournant's kilometre world record in Bolivia in May.
"It's not often that I get the chance to ride the kilo in front of a home crowd, especially with the rainbow jersey on," said the 30 year-old from Edinburgh.
"It will be my second from last kilo before I go for the world record in May. I have not done much preparation for the kilo yet so it is important I keep the feel for it. After the world championships I will be focusing on the world record attempt."
Hoy appears to be on track to seriously challenge Tournant's record after claiming two gold medals during the weekend's world cup in Los Angeles, winning the keirin and helping Great Britain defeat France in the team sprint.
Victorian team for Aus Track Championships
Cyclesport Victoria has announced its team selection for the Australian Track Championships taking place at Sydney's Dunc Gray Velodrome from February 5 - 11.
A strong lineup will contest the men's endurance events including Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sean Finning (Castlemaine CC) and U23 time trial champion Zak Dempster (Bendigo CC) while Mark French (St Kilda CC), Shane Perkins (Carnegie Caulfield CC) and Jason Niblett (Horsham CC) are expected to lead the team in Sprint events.
The women's squad will be headlined by 2005 world pursuit champion Katie Mactier (Carnegie Caulfield CC) alongside Tess Downing (Carnegie Caulfield CC) and Jessica Berry (Bendigo CC).
Mark French (St Kilda CC)
Katie Mactier (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
Under 19 Men
Leigh Howard (Geelong CC)
Under 19 Women
Lisa Friend (Carnegie Caulfield CC)
Athletes with disabilities (AWD)
Michael Gallagher (Carnegie Caulfield CC) LC1
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)