First Edition Cycling News for July 26, 2007
Edited by Sue George, Greg Johnson, Ben Abrahams and Paul Verkuylen
Predictor-Lotto to sue Vino and Astana
By Paul Verkuylen
The Predictor-Lotto ProTour team is planning on filing a claim against Alexandre Vinokourov and his Astana team for loss of publicity. The Kazakh rider won the Stage 13 time trial before testing positive for blood doping, taking away victory from Predictor-Lotto's Cadel Evans who finished second on the stage and currently holds second on general classification. If Vinokourov is found guilty and disqualified from the race, Evans will be declared the winner of the stage, however will obviously have missed the publicity benefits associated with a stage victory in the prestigious race.
Speaking on Belgian TV, Predictor-Lotto's spokesperson Filip Demyttenaere was clearly disappointed with recent events at the Grand Tour. "I am surprised everyday," he confessed. "The Astana scandal dropped like a bomb, I don't understand it and I don't know what to say."
"My biggest frustration is for the sponsors, we came he to get as much publicity as possible for the team," he added. "Cadel was second on the time trial stage, but now it appears that he should have won, as Vinokourov cheated. But Cadel didn't get to stand on the podium as the winner of the stage, which means we lost a lot of publicity that would have been generated by his win."
The team is reportedly planning on suing the Kazakh and his team for 10 million Euros. "The day after the time trial the front pages of all the papers were covered with images and headlines of Vinokourov, we missed out on that publicity," explained Demyttenaere. "Yesterday [the rest day] it was the same at the press conference, instead of the journalists coming to see us, they all went to write about the positive dope test. Again today the papers are full of images and stories on Astana. We do our best and yeah, it's frustrating."
Demyttenaere went onto to explain that he feels because of Vinokourov the rest of the Tour has been falsified. "We don't know how the following stages would have been ridden, they may have been less aggressive," he said.
"We have missed a lot of publicity because of this, and that is worth a lot of money," Demyttenaere reiterated, adding that the team is at fault just as much as the rider. "Vinokourov didn't do it alone, he is surrounded by people helping him to dope, you can't possibly do that kind of thing alone."
Demyttenaere said he had also spoken with Patrick Lefevere, claiming the director of Quick.Step said he also thought about taking action. "Teams like Astana win by using un ethical means, taking all the publicity that belong to the clean riders and teams. We can't let that go by," he concluded.
Boonen calls for lifetime suspensions
Tom Boonen does not mince his words, with the Quick.Step sprinter calling for Alexandre Vinokourov to receive a lifetime suspension after testing positive for a homologous blood transfusion at the Tour de France. "Vino is a dirty cheat who they ought to suspend for his lifetime," Boonen told HLN.be. "He is causing immense damage to everyone. There are so many teams in search of a new sponsor. This case will not make it easier."
The Quick.Step rider was lying on the massage table when he got the news about Vinokourov, as a text message on his mobile phone. "We have all worked so hard," he said, "we have had fantastic successes with this team, and Vinokourov helps throw all of that away."
Boonen further claimed that Vinokourov was indeed one of the so-called 'Men in Black' - a term used to describe professional riders training in plain colours to avoid detection. "I saw him myself, wearing black," said Boonen. "Gert Steegmans saw him, too. I'm not blind. You know who hides themselves, who disappears for three months and all of a sudden can fly. I have always been told that you can't question the performances of others. But now I am starting to do that. Even if it makes me crazy."
"I am a victim of people such as Vinokourov, because I am in the same circus they are. I can only hope that I will be believed when I say that I don't have anything to do with doping. I underwent five controls before the Tour: four unannounced controls and once after the Belgian championship."
Of the remaining favourites actually left in this year's race, Boonen picked Australian Cadel Evans as one of the riders he still trusts. "I have given up my belief in most of the rest," he confessed. "It is possible to ride the Tour without doping. And to ride and win, too. And Cadel Evans proves in my eyes that you could win it without doping."
"I only know that the UCI has to do its best. Because it goes very far. I have no privacy any more: I have to tell them every day where I am. Go with that to a court and you will always win. But guys like Vinokourov apparently can't leave it alone. Then there is only one possibility: you test every god-damned one of them."
Evans: 'It's not over yet'
By John Trevorrow
Despite losing a handful of precious seconds to the Discovery pairing of Levi Leipheimer and Alberto Contador on Stage 16's finish atop Col d'Aubisque, Australian Cadel Evans remains upbeat about his chances of more than just a podium finish in Paris on Sunday. Speaking to Cyclingnews after Stage 16, Evans admitted he may have underestimated Discovery's one-two punch but was looking forward to the final time trial on Saturday.
"I didn't want to concede any time to Leipheimer," said Evans of the final climb. "He's had a history of doing good flat time trials so it's certainly not over for me yet. Twenty seconds plus the time bonus... so 30 seconds. I had 1'30" [before the stage], I certainly didn't want to concede any time to him today, but you do what you can.
"I sort of underestimated Leipheimer a bit," continued the Predictor-Lotto leader. "I've been going a bit stronger than him on the climbs so I thought if he keeps working for Contador for the win... I thought Discovery would be more interested in the win than second or third on the podium. You know, I underestimated him a bit and Bruyneel is not a silly director, maybe he was playing with me while I was hanging there."
Lefevere: IPCT didn't pressure Rabobank
Patrick Lefevere, the chairman of the International Professional Cycling Teams (IPCT), has reacted to the expulsion of Michael Rasmussen from the Dutch ProTour team Rabobank, saying the body didn't pressure the squad. "I don't understand it anymore.," he said to HLN.be. "No, we didn't put any pressure on De Rooy. I see this only with sorrow. This is a bad day for the sport."
Lefevere wouldn't be drawn to comment any further on the Rasmussen dismissal, instead hitting out at the UCI's timing on announcing the rider had missed lodging his whereabouts with authorities. "I cannot talk about the Rasmussen issue, I don't know enough about it," he said. "What is for sure is the UCI communicated this too late and the fact is we are all affected by this."
Pineau and Hinault critical of fellow riders
After years of silence riders who dope are being frowned upon by their colleagues, with Jérôme Pineau (Bouygues Telecom)and Sebastian Hinault (Crédit Agricole) joining the growing list of riders to speak out. Pineau aimed his comments at Cristian Moreni. "There are a lot of riders in his team whose contracts will expire at the end of the season," he stated to HLN.be. "Thanks to him they may also be living on the street. If a rider like him was in my team, I wouldn't hesitate to punch him in the face."
Pineau spoke angrily of the Italian on the French team, which has become the second to leave the Tour in as many days. "You really have to be selfish to do something like this," he said. "It just goes to show again that there is a huge mentality issue with in the peloton."
Hinault is also furious with the state of affairs, which is reminiscent of '98 when the Festina team were thrown off the Tour after doping products were found in a team car. "We are not scared to talk about Rasmussen, only your grandmother would believe that you missed four doping controls by accident," he said to HLN.be of the Dane's excuse for not filing his whereabouts to anti-doping authorities. "He is lucky that he has the law on his side and we can't kick him out of the sport. It's a real shame."
Riders protest, Rasmussen booed
Riders from six French and the two German teams competing in this year's Tour de France protested against doping before the start of Stage 16 in Orthez At the moment that the gun was fired, signaling the start of the stage, the riders from the eight squads allowed the other riders to pass as they remained on the start line. After a few moments they rode away under a shower of applause from on lookers.
The teams involved in the protest included were Cofidis, which has since been thrown out of the event, AG2R, Agritubel, Bouygues Telecom, Crédit Agricole, Française des Jeux, Gerolsteiner, and T-Mobile. They were reacting to the positive doping control of Alexandre Vinokourov, whose team was asked to leave the Tour the previous day.
The protest followed a sign from spectators, who booed Rabobank's then yellow jersey Michael Rasmussen, who was sacked by his team, as he signed the start list.
Rominger "can't understand it"
Former cyclist turned manager Tony Rominger has claimed he knows nothing about doping and is disappointed with the revelations that some of his high-profile clients have tested positive. A manager for some 20 professional cyclists, Rominger's clients include the likes of Alexandre Vinokourov, Patrik Sinkewitz, and Matthias Kessler - all of whom have recently been implicated in doping.
"I am very shocked and disappointed," he told the Swiss radio station Radio DRS. "I can't understand it." He noted that the three riders all have high-paying, long-term contracts, and that doping problems hurt him personally as well. "I work on a provision basis. I lose money on such cases."
Rominger wants to pick his clients more carefully in the future. "When I continue, then I won't work with riders who have dubious trainers," he said.
Rominger himself worked with the controversial doctor Michele Ferrari when he was riding, but said that the Italian simply prepared his training plans. Sinkewitz made similar comments about his relationship with Ferrari just weeks before the announcement of his non-negative test for testosterone.
California announces '08 host cities
Organisers of the Amgen Tour of California have announced the host start and finish cities of next year's 12 stage race. The event, which will be held from February 17-24, will visit three new areas - Modesto, Palo Alto and Pasadena - in addition to Sacramento, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Santa Rosa, Sausalito, Seaside and Solvang.
"We are committed to making the Amgen Tour of California bigger and better every year, continuing to raise the bar for what it means to be the largest, most important cycling race in America," said the event's managing director Shawn Hunter. "From the world-class riders and aggressive and challenging competition, to the tremendous amount of support from the fans and host cities, the Amgen Tour of California has grown to become a highly anticipated event within the international cycling community in only two years. Now in our third year, fans can expect the best race yet."
The 2007 race drew more than 1.6 million spectators, setting records for a single sporting event in the state of California, as well as any cycling event ever held on U.S. soil. The 2007 race reportedly generated $100 million in economic growth for California state.
"After only two years, the Amgen Tour of California is a great race and is one of the greatest races in the world," said 2007 Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel) while competing in the Tour de France this week. "I think it has a good place on the calendar. More and more of the world's best want to come. I think next year we will see an even better field. I think it will just continue to grow like that."
Beginning with the Prologue in Palo Alto through the grand finale in Pasadena, the 2008 race will visit 12 host cities for official stage starts and finishes, while cities along the route will also have the opportunity to witness the excitement of elite professional cycling. Stages for the 2008 Amgen Tour of California include:
Prologue: Sunday, Feb. 17 - Palo Alto
Westphal lands on his head
Carlo Westphal is in his first ProTour year with Team Gerolsteiner and is now getting to learn the harder side of life in the big leagues. The 21 year-old crashed twice within 10 minutes in the first stage of the International Sachsen Tour, landing on his head. He was diagnosed with a concussion but suspicions of a broken collarbone proved incorrect.
Cycling team doctors association formed
A new association has been formed in American for cycling team's doctors,
to be known as the American Association of Cycling Team Doctors (AACTD).
The newly-formed association has began approaching doctors to join, announcing
it's considering several activities to help further the development of
doctors' skill sets.
Included in the list of proposed activities is an annual assembly which it says is "likely to be held in conjunction with the Tour of California or Tour of Georgia", educational and mentoring programs, seminars, CME activities, team placement assistance, anti-doping efforts, support of cycling medicine research and training camps.
USAC junior team rosters named
USA Cycling has announced its roster for both the 2007 UCI Junior Road and Track World Championships in Aguascalientes, Mexico which runs from August 4-12. Ben King (Hot Tubes) earned automatic nominations to compete in both the road race and time trial by virtue of his recent victories at the national championships two weeks ago. Joining King on the four-man road race roster is Taylor Phinney, his TIAA-CREF/5280 teammate Daniel Summerhill and Nicholas Bax (Hot Tubes). Phinney and Bax will be Team USA's second and third entries in the time trial, while Summerhill will contest only the road race.
In the women's road race will be Lauren Shirock (BMW-Bianchi), Sinead Miller (UPMC) and Jerika Hutchinson. Shirock earned an automatic nomination to compete in the road race after winning the junior women's 17-18 event at the national championships, while Hutchinson earned an automatic bid in the race against the clock with a national title. Miller earned a discretionary nomination after posting solid results at the national championships which included a third-place finish in the time trial and a second-place effort in the road race.
In the track events, Shirock is also slated to compete in the individual pursuit and points race and will be joined on the women's squad by Colleen Hayduk (Team Fuji-Salamander). Hayduk is scheduled to compete in four sprint-oriented events on the track - the 500-metre time trial, the keirin, the scratch race and the sprint.
For the men's track squad, Shane Kline (Team Fuji-Salamander), Nike Reinert (Team Fuji-Salamander), David Espinoza (Herbalife-Bike America) and Lanell Rockmore (Young Medalist Cycling) will represent the United States. Kline is scheduled to contest the kilometre time trial, the scratch race and the omnium competition, while his Team Fuji-Salamander teammate Reinert will compete in the points race. Espinoza is scheduled for the sprint, kilometre time trial and keirin. Rockmore will ride the sprint and keirin.
Mori out for a few months
The 33 year-old Italian Mssimiliano Mori (Lampre-Fondital) who hit a parked car while out training, suffering a broken hip and head injuries is not expected to be back on his bike for a number of months, according to SportWereld
Oakley debuts unique new film at CrankWorx
Oakley will debut a unique new film Have You Seen It at CrankWorx in Whistler, BC Canada today. One of the coolest events in cycling, Whistler Crankworx has become a proving ground that has inspired heroes like Brian Lopes, who has thrown it down nuclear bomb style in downhill, 4X, dirt jumps, and the granddaddy of them all - the Kokanee Slopestyle.
"Have You Seen It is neither a big screen movie nor a DVD," Oakley's Steve Blick explained to Cyclingnews. "We wanted to make a half hour TV movie, intended to run at film festivals and on HD TV networks worldwide. And Have You Seen It will be a DVD extra on the next edition of New World Disorder New World Disorder 8, Smack Down, which will premiere in Las Vegas during Interbike."
"Our purpose behind Have You Seen It is to make something unique to give back to the sport," explained Blick of the company's motivation for making the film. "Our goal is to refocus back to the soul of riding for the right reason and keeping it fun riding with your buddies. Kind of a cross between Lost and Blair Witch Project with mountain biking and some Scooby Doo fun mixed in.
Blick went on to explain a little more about how the film came about, but without giving too many details away. "At the close of the 2006 season, as the seasons changed from fall to winter, a select group of Oakley Factory Pilots came from all corners of the globe to gathered in a zone deep within the Pacific Northwest to search for the soul of MTB after a hard racing season had depleted them," he explained. "They were looking to get in some of the best riding ever. But what they found in those deep, dark woods was something far more unexpected..."
What exactly it was they found remains unrevealed, but the first four teasers and a few images from the movie can viewed at www.haveyouseenitmovie.com, or you can go to Oakley's worldwide premiere of Have You Seen It on Thursday, July 26, at CrankWorx in Whistler, BC Canada at the Longhorn Saloon on the outdoor Jumbotron wall.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)