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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for June 8, 2007

Edited by Gregor Brown and Bjorn Haake

Quickstep reacts to Dedecker-related raids

One of the few Quickstep team members to be named in the recent raids in western Belgium, just three days prior to the country's federal elections, was soigneur Johan Molly. His house was searched and he was questioned and released.

"I can't really believe that Molly plays a role in a doping case," said Philiep Caryn, spokesman for the team sponsor. "I have complete faith in the good outcome of this matter," Caryn told Het Laatste Nieuews.

Team Manager Wilfried Peeters was upset at the headlines which linked Quickstep with the raid. "Don't ask me how they come to write that nonsense," he told Het Nieuwsblad. "And then they ask why the sponsors disappear. Is that their intention?"

Tom Boonen
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
(Click for larger image)

Meanwhile, star sprinter Tom Boonen gave his reaction to the news. "They have made a whole zoo out of one mosquito," said the 2005 World Champion. The Belgian said that he heard Molly had been linked through an e-mail address. "But don't ask me for any details. I don't know any more."

Molly "is a soigneur for the whole team, not just for me," Boonen said of the man he has known for ten years. "I have always found him to be a very correct, reliable and good man, who does his job well."

Team Quickstep released a statement yesterday clarifying its stance in the raids.

The investigation, which led to 13 people being detained for questioning, were headed by Kortrijk judicial authorities, who acted upon statements made by politician Jean-Marie Dedecker last fall. Dedecker is on the ballots for this Sunday's elections.

Although only lesser-known riders were involved in yesterday's raid, Dedecker called it "the tip of the iceberg," and told Sportwereld that more would come out. He claimed to know "thirty to forty names, from all layers, from the youth cyclists to the pros." He added, "Don't expect me to name names now. However, I can say that the investigation is continuing."

Belgian officials will hold another press conference this afternoon to update the results of their doping raids carried out Thursday, and said they would not have any comment until that time. However, this did not stop the Belgian media from speculating on the names of persons involved in the raids and of the drugs which were found.

None of those involved were "big names", according to It listed former riders Pierre Herinne, David Windels, Rik Coppens, and Patrick Schurm, as well as 19 year-old Kevin Claeys, in addition to Quickstep soigneur Johan Molly. The drugs found were alleged to be EPO, growth hormones, cortisone and "pot Belge." Those involved are said to have used codewords such as "wasp" and "pancakes."

Cycling Australia reaches decision in Shane Perkins case

Shane Perkins (Australia)
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman

The Cycling Australia Disciplinary Tribunal reached its verdict today in the case against track star Shane Perkins and neither side can be declared losers. While Perkins will be stripped off his Cycling Australia license for three months and will have to pay $1,000, these sanctions are suspended under a "good behaviour bond" for the rider

The conclusion of the hearing, held June 5 in Adelaide, was that Perkins was found "guilty of misconduct to the detriment of Cycling Australia and the good reputation of the sport of cycling," the tribunal's statement read.

The incident happened on May 26 in Adelaide, where Perkins, who was under the influence alcohol at the time, attempted to gain entry to a nightclub and got into an argument with the club's staff

While Cycling Australia's CEO, Graham Fredericks, acknowledged that "Mr Perkins has apologised for the incident," the tribunal was also considering Perkin's past behaviour, which includes a six-month suspension due to the inadvertent usage of a banned substance.

Under the bond, which will remain in effect until September 30, 2008, Perkins behaviour will be closely monitored and even minor offences will trigger the penalty to become effective. Under the bond the Australian track rider will not be able to consume alcohol when traveling with the national team.

"Shane is a very talented cyclist but his behaviour was unacceptable," said Mr Fredericks. "But it's our hope the penalty imposed will benefit him in the long term."

Cycling Australia is additionally seeking for Perkins to receive psychological counseling, including anger management and the "responsible consumption of alcohol." It recommended programmes, such as study, work or community services.

No further details of the non-public hearing have been released, and Shane Perkins, who could not be reached immediately for comment, was notified in writing about the decision by Cycling Australia Disciplinary Tribunal.

Vandenbroucke denies suicide attempt

Team Manager Masciarelli gives details

Frank Vandenbroucke (Acqua & Sapone)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Frank Vandenbroucke has denied trying to commit suicide. "What they are saying about me is not true," he told the Belgian website sporza. "Yes, I am very depressed. Sarah [his wife - ed.] wants a divorce and now I am paying the price for that.

"But I did not want to commit suicide. Wednesday, I checked myself into the hospital," said Vandenbroucke, apparently seeking help for his depression.

The rider's story contradicts that of his team manager, Palmiro Masciarelli of Acqua & Sapone, who had signed the Belgian last fall. Masciarelli took him under his wing and had him come and live with his family in Pescara, Abruzzo.

"He asked to return to Vermezzo [Milan], and I gave him 1000 euro and he departed in his car from Pescara," recalled Masciarelli to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Because of Vandenbroucke's unstable mental state he asked that his nephew travel to Milan to visit his adopted son. "When I understood the situation, I asked that my nephew Mimmo go and visit him. He told me that Tuesday night Frank had asked for the credit card, saying that he wanted to go and buy some gas and then he returned in a wretched condition, after spending 450 euro. 'Uncle, it is not as if he put it in the car,' he told me."

The situation worsened and Vandenbroucke was found by Mimmo on Wednesday after he had tried to commit suicide. "It was Mimmo who found him passed out at home. Frank had tried to cut his veins, without success, and he took sleeping pills. Mimmo called the police. If it was not for my nephew then we would have had found him ten days later and we would have been talking of another Pantani."

Masciarelli continues to reach out to the cyclist, and he wishes that he returns soon to his home in southern Italy. "I have told him that if he wants to he can continue to ride for Acqua & Sapone or work for me as a representative. Frank does not have any money. His entire earnings end up with is wife. We have tried to contact her and she always gives a cold response. Freddy Maertens [ex-teammate of Masciarelli - ed.] has tried to talk with his mom, in Belgium, but it is also like she does not want to see him anymore."

Vandenbroucke is recovering at the Red Cross hospital in Fornaroli di Magenta. Masciarelli concluded, "When he is discharged, I am ready to go and pick him up, and to take him to Pescara."

Basso faces FCI Disciplinary Commission

Ivan Basso
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

The Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) Disciplinary Commission has set the date for Ivan Basso's proceedings, Friday, June 15, 12:30, at the Olympic Stadium Federal Office in Rome. The FCI Disciplinarily Commission will act upon the recommendations of the Italian Olympic Committee's (CONI) anti-doping prosecutors, headed by Ettore Torri. On May 25, CONI recommended that the FCI suspend the 29 year-old rider for 21 months.

Basso, who admitted his involvement with Spanish Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, met with Torri on three occasions early last month (three hearings, May 2, May 7 and May 10). The rider known as 'Birillo' and number '2' in Fuentes' documents faces a suspension and the possible stripping of his 2006 Giro victory.

In the May 7 hearing he admitted to working with Fuentes but, a day later, he publicly watered-down his admission. "It was only attempted doping," he commented in a conference room full of journalists and photographers in Milan. He claimed to not have ever used the extracted blood found in Fuentes' labs. "I never used the blood in Madrid," he noted.

Valverde & Pereiro riding the Dauphiné

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Despite facing strong criticism due to Operación Puerto, Alejandro Valverde has not changed his program and the Caisse d'Epargne rider will be leading the team in the Dauphiné Libéré together with teammate Oscar Pereiro.

Both riders will be accompanied by Florent Brard, José Vicente Garcia, Nicolas Portal, Francisco Pérez, Luis León Sánchez and Xabier Zandio. These riders will likely be the core of the team that will start the Tour de France in London on July 7, with the exception of Russian Vladimir Karpets, who will be leading the Caisse d'Epargne team in the Tour de Suisse.

No press boycott for Klöden

Andreas Klöden is not boycotting the press, according to Astana spokeswoman Corinne Druey. "Andreas has nothing against the German media and all other media in general. He only wishes to focus and to concentrate on his preparations for his big program of this summer," she said, referring to the Tour de France.

The dpa press agency had reported earlier that the German rider was boycotting the media until the Tour. "The conclusion of a boycott is only the idea of the dpa," Druey told Cyclingnews.

Wegmann making the rounds

Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

Fabian Wegmann is getting ready for the Dauphiné Libéré, starting on Sunday, where he won the first stage in 2006, but first the Gerolsteiner rider will have a stopover close to home.

"On Friday I will ride Michael Rich's farewell race," he wrote on his website, "It is near Freiburg; there will be a criterium with the top riders qualifying for a derny race. It should be and will be fun, and we surely won't ride all out."

The German recently rode the Bayern Rundfahrt for the first time. "Although the race wasn't so hard this year, I must say that it was one of the best stage races I have ridden so far. In addition to the good organization, the landscape is naturally beautiful." On the first day of the race, he won the climber's jersey, which he was able to hold on to until the last day, when he had to concentrate on helping teammate Stefan Schumacher win the race instead of on the mountain points. "Sure the jersey would have been a nice souvenir but the loss is not tragic."

After that race, he dropped by Stuttgart to check out the course for the Worlds in September. "I must say, it is pretty hard and I think it is harder than the course in Salzburg."

Haselbacher out with tendonitis

René Haselbacher was supposed to be riding the Tour de Luxembourg as preparation for the Tour de Suisse. But knee problems have forced him to change his plans.

"I've been suffering from an irritated tendon for two weeks now. I went to see physical therapists and our team doctor, Dr. Hüring, in Germany, but it didn't get better. Finally, I got the diagnosis. I have tendonitis in the left knee," he wrote on his website,

Volksbank for the weekend races

Team Volksbank will use the weekend races to prepare for one of its season highlights, the Tour de Suisse. "We have to be ready, our riders now have to show what they can do," said Patrick Vetsch, directeur sportif for the Austrian Professional Continental team.

The team will send basically the same squad to the GP Triberg Schwarzwald on Saturday and the GP Kanton Aargau - Gippingen on Sunday. "I want to see fireworks," Vetsch said. "In Gippingen we will see where we stand in comparison to the ProTour teams."

Volksbank will also ride the Memorial Marco Pantani.

Volksbank for GP Triberg Schwarzwald: Josef Benetseder, Gerrit Glomser, Pascal Hungerbühler, Harald Morscher, Gerhard Trampusch, René Weissinger and Mariusz Witecki.

Volksbank for GP Kanton Aargau - Gippingen: Josef Benetseder, Gerrit Glomser, Pascal Hungerbühler, Harald Morscher, Florian Stalder, Gerhard Trampusch, René Weissinger and Mariusz Witecki.

Volksbank for Memorial Marco Pantani: Tyson Apostol, Christian Lener, Philipp Ludescher, Christian Pömer, Werner Riebenbauer and Patrick Riedesser.

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