First Edition Cycling News for January 31, 2007
Edited by Greg Johnson and Ben Abrahams
UCI remains committed to ProTour but prepared to negotiate
By Shane Stokes
Despite the recent statement by ASO that they will refuse Unibet.com a place in Paris-Nice, thus provoking a stand-off with the UCI over the ProTour, Pat McQuaid has said that he and many others within the sport remain fully committed to the series.
Speaking to Cyclingnews on Tuesday, the Irishman said that the UCI is currently considering what measures it could take if ASO go through with their threat not to allow the 19th ProTour team to take part in what is supposed to be the first race in the competition.
However, he says that he still considers it possible that a solution can be found before the start on March 11. "Without going into details right now, at the moment we are looking at what measures we could take in relation to the Paris-Nice situation. That said, I would hope that things could be resolved before that point.
"There is a general agreement [amongst many of the stakeholders] that the ProTour is good for the future of cycling. It needs some changes, everybody is aware of that, but it requires that everybody gathers around the table and starts working together. We can then look at those [agreed] changes and introduce them. The UCI is prepared to sit down with the Grand Tour organisers and discuss those things.
"There have been a series of meetings this week in relation to the ProTour. We met the Professional Cycling Council last Monday, the ProTour teams on Tuesday, the ProTour organisers on Wednesday, the Management Committee of the UCI on Friday and the UEC congress on Saturday. Obviously the ProTour was discussed at all of those meetings and a commitment to the future of it is there. Everybody from the UCI agrees that the ProTour is the way forward.
"We also spent yesterday in a meeting with the CPA. A group of riders' representatives were there and once again we explained to them the philosophy behind the ProTour project, both as regards its introduction and its future."
As reported earlier, this future would seem to include the possibility of a globalisation of that calendar, with the Tour Down Under appearing to be a strong contender for addition.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of the ProTour-Grand Tours split
October 4, 2008 - New ASO chief to maintain values
Ullrich willing to give DNA sample in Germany
By Susan Westemeyer
Jan Ullrich is willing to travel to Germany and give a DNA sample for German prosecutors to compare to DNA in blood bags taken in Operación Puerto, but he is apparently not willing to let the German prosecutors use a DNA sample obtained during a search of his home in Switzerland last September.
"In a letter from January 22 to the Bonn prosecutors, Jan Ullrich clearly communicated through his attorneys that he is ready at any time to give a saliva sample in Germany," said Ullrich's spokesman Michael Lang. "Jan Ullrich has many times made known his willingness to cooperate with the prosecutors."
Bonn, Germany, prosecutor Fred Apostel announced on Tuesday that Ullrich's attorneys had asked a court in Switzerland to prevent the turnover of the Swiss DNA sample.
However, according to Ullrich's attorneys, the request is aimed at protecting private papers taken in the search of Ullrich's house in September, such as calendars and notes. It was not clear from statements from Ullrich's attorneys and spokesman why the DNA sample taken in September was not suitable for analysis in the Operación Puerto case.
Ullrich's attorney, Johann Schwenn, told German news agency sid that "We don't yet have an appointment for it [the DNA test], but we will soon." Co-attorney Peter-Michael Distel added, "We are handling this case very constructively with the aim of getting Herr Ullrich back on his bike quickly. We are not blocking anything."
Armstrong joins Discovery training camp
One familiar figure at Discovery Channel's training camp in Solvang yesterday was none other than seven time Tour champion Lance Armstrong who joined the team for part of their training ride around the Southern California hills. Despite being fully decked out in 2007 Discovery Channel team kit, Armstrong laughed off questions from journalists about a possible return to the professional ranks.
According to the team's official website, thepaceline.com, Discovery have also spent time reconnoitering the 14.5 mile time trial course from stage five of this years Tour of California, riding the route three times.
The Tour of California starts on February 18 in San Franciso where Ivan Basso is expected to make his 2007 racing debut.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Charlie Woodcock
Out of competition doping controls to increase
By Shane Stokes
A new layer of anti-doping will take hold in March, with the start of the Paris-Nice stage race. The program, which is expected to cost two million Euro, was detailed on Monday by UCI President Pat McQuaid during a meeting with riders' representatives in Brussels.
McQuaid told Cyclingnews on about the UCI's plans to greatly expand the anti-doping fight, something he said has been met with general agreement and which has helped improve relations with WADA chairman Dick Pound.
"We have been presenting a new anti-doping programme at all of those meetings that I mentioned," he stated, referring to meetings with the Professional Cycling Council, ProTour teams, ProTour organisers, UCI Management Committee and the UEC congress - all held in the past week. "I don't want to go into detail of it until we have everything completed and we have crossed the T's and doted the I's, but it has been accepted very positively by everybody and it will be the most advanced anti-doping programme of any sport."
McQuaid said that he hoped an announcement would be made 'in a couple of weeks time,' However rumours are already emerging vis-à-vis what is planned, with a version of the blood volume tests introduced by T-Mobile supposedly on the cards, as well as examinations for growth hormone.
Tuesday's Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper stated that the measures will cost two million Euro and will also see a considerable increase in the number of out of competition tests, with riders liable to between one and four examinations per season as well as other tests before ProTour races.
Post-competition testing will also continue as before, with the efficacy of this to be boosted by tighter monitoring of the riders between the time they cross the finish line and when they provide the urine sample.
These steps have led to an improvement of relations with WADA chairman Dick Pound who has, in the past, been a vocal critic of the UCI. McQuaid says that the Canadian backs their efforts to secure full information from Operacíón Puerto, something which has been frustrated thus far by the Spanish judge's insistence that evidence gathered cannot be used until the judicial case has been concluded.
"I met with Dick Pound last week and he supports cycling in this," says McQuaid. "He understands the position that we are in and that we have no option but to allow these riders to race for now. We have to observe the basic principle of law, that people are innocent until proven guilty. So we have to allow them race until such time as we can get the information.
"He is in regular contact with the Spanish minister with a view to ultimately getting that material when this investigation finishes. Things are better than they were before with him. He has a better understanding now of what the UCI is doing and understands that we are committed to the fight against doping. He is likewise looking forward to seeing what new measures are being announced and hopefully he will support that publicly as well."
Present at the meeting where McQuaid made the announcement were president of the Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA) Francesco Moser and riders Michael Rogers (T-Mobile), Dario Cioni (Predictor-Lotto), Philippe Gilbert (Française Des Jeux), Cédric Vasseur (Quick-Step) and Roger Hammond (T-Mobile).
Contributing: Gregor Brown
TV interview claims leading cycling doctor knew of doping
In a newly released recording of a 1995 interview with the current Quick.Step team doctor, Yvan Van Mol, he admits that cyclists used growth hormones, but he denies administering the banned drugs to cyclists while part of the then Mapei squad medical staff.
The recording of the interview by Yvan Sonck was made public on the Belgian VRT television talk show 'De zevende dag' on Monday, January 30, by Van Mol himself, "because I knew that if I didn't Het Laatste Nieuws would have", said Van Mol. "The newspaper wouldn't have published the whole interview, making things difficult for me."
Van Mol defended himself, saying, "I've never worked with growth hormones. I did my duty. I got rid of people that I suspected of having done so."
Interview transcript (translated by VRT news)
Sonck: "Have you ever prescribed banned substances such as growth
hormones or EPO?"
Cataldo hit by car while training
By Gregor Brown
Liquigas neo-pro Dario Cataldo was involved in an ugly accident while training on home roads of Chieti (Abruzzo). The Italian, winner of the 2006 Baby Giro, was struck by a car when it did not yield to the right of way, according to tuttobiciweb.com, and luckily Cataldo was able to avoid a passing truck. The incident resulted in a broken right wrist and, likely, a month off the bike. "For how it went, I can say I was lucky," commented the 21 year-old. "Now I will concentrate on recovering and healing quickly." Cataldo took a minute to speak of his fellow Abruzzese teammate. "My countryman Di Luca? I am certain that he is thinking of the Giro d'Italia, and you will see him as a major protagonist of the Corsa Rosa."
Season over for Soetens
Cyclo-cross racer Jan Soetens has hung up his bike for the season after struggling to return from a shoulder injury following a crash in the World Cup race in Kalmthout in October. Soetens had a promising result in the week before the crash, taking a top ten at the opening Superprestige round in Ruddervoorde.
Due to a long recovery period, Soetens was left off of the Belgian team for the World Championships, and, according to his Jartazi team, an illness forced him to stop racing for the rest of the season.
Sid Patterson Grand Prix - at DISC this Saturday night
The Sid Patterson Grand Prix to be held at the Joe Ciavola Velodrome at the Darebin International Sports centre (DISC) this Saturday night will provide some of Victoria's senior track team a solid lead in to the Australian Track Championships, which start on Monday in Sydney.
This year's Victorian team members Joel Leonard, Mark French, Jamie Crass, Ben Sanders will be on show before they head to Sydney. They will be joined by former world keirin champion Jobie Dajka, world junior medallist Daniel Thorsen, 2007 Victorian Keirin Champion Adrian Hansen, former world junior champion Andrew Mason and 2006 Austral Wheelrace winner Dean Taylor.
The women's field, which includes 07 Victorian team members Jessica Berry, Tess Downing and Laine Hammond, will compete in 4 races on the night - scratch, elimination, handicap and keirin.
The Sid Patterson Grand Prix is a graded handicap final with qualifying heats. The night also includes scratch races, aces keirin, elimination and sprint derby plus invitational M17 events.
This year will be the seventh running of the GP and the third time the event has been held at DISC. Former winners of the Grand Prix include Leigh Howard, Brett Aitken, Darren Young and Todd Wilksch.
Reserved seating has already been sold out and only standing room remains, so those without tickets should get in early.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)