First Edition Cycling News for May 15, 2007
Edited by Ben Abrahams & Greg Johnson
Landis' hearing into 'holy mess' begins
By Mark Zalewski in Malibu, California
The arbitration hearing for embattled Tour de France winner Floyd Landis began on Monday in Malibu, California at Pepperdine University's school of law. Landis' attorney Maurice Suh began the hearing with an opening statement that continued the blasting of United States Anti-Doping Agency, World Anti-Doping Authority and the French LNDD (Laboratoire National de Dépistage du Dopage/National Anti-doping Laboratory) lab that the Landis side has done publicly for months, calling the handling of Landis' testing "an embarrassment" and that USADA had turned the case to prove Landis' guilt into "a holy mess".
The hearing will be decided by a three person panel made up of legal experts in the area of arbitration. Suh framed the entire case for the panel in terms of a question they should ask themselves at the conclusion of the ten day hearing. "Did Floyd, knowing he would be tested, take testosterone which he knew would not have a beneficial effect?"
He then stressed the obvious point that the outcome of this hearing, either way, will have a ripple effect throughout cycling, and likely all of sport. "Never in the history of the Tour de France has the winner been accused of doping. This is a historic case that has to be done right."
In response to Suh's opening statements, USADA's lawyer Richard Young said that "Landis bet the house" referring to the second round of tests ordered by Landis. "He lost the bet. The respondent [Landis] went eight for eight positive."
The USADA witnesses and legal counsel spent much of the day laying the groundwork for a defense against the appeal, preempting the expected case of procedural errors by the Landis team - much of which was first made public by them late in 2006 and revealed in more detail in the months since.
The majority of the testimony today was by USADA's expert witness, Dr. J. Thomas Brenna, most of which centered around the procedural aspects of the case. There were numerous questions regarding things such as calibration, quality control and maintenance of the testing equipment and the actions of the people operating it at the LNDD lab, to which Dr. Brenna unilaterally declared that all equipment and personnel performed up to par. In his own words, the quality control of the LNDD lab was, "very impressive."
Dr. Brenna went on to describe the actual testing procedures in minute detail, but following a noticeably rehearsed plan with USADA's council, Richard Young. Though there were many lines of questions/answers that were expressed in extremely scientific terms, the USADA team made an effort to decipher the terminology for the panel. The testimony boiled down to affirmation that the process was performed correctly and that there was no possibility for error. However, the true test of the hearing, for both sides, might be the ability for either side to explain their interpretation of the data without confusing the panel.
The cross-examination of Dr. Brenna began with less than an hour in the proceedings, and consisted of essentially splitting hairs - with Dr. Brenna qualifying his responses to the Landis team in the realm of theory and hypothesis. After 40 minutes of cross-examination, the panel adjourned the hearing until tomorrow. Richard Young did provide a long list of witnesses for tomorrow's schedule, with many more experts to come.
Landis himself remained attentive throughout the testimony of the witnesses, occasionally looking back to the numerous family and friends, including his mother, sitting behind him in the gallery. A few lighter moments of the day produced an occasional smile and chuckle from Landis, such as the moments of juggling the variety of visual aid equipment, but otherwise everything was all business. Following the hearing, Landis left the building with no comment for the assembled press corps.
The rare open-to-the-public hearing was attended by some press and other members of the public, but not to the extreme numbers that were expected. About half of the gallery was occupied, with many of the seats filled by Landis' entourage. However, Landis is expected to take the witness stand in the next few days which should increase the size of the audience.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by AFP
Images by Mitch Friedman/www.mitchophoto.com
Cyclingnews' coverage of the Floyd Landis case
29, 2009 - French authorities summon Landis and Baker
WADA granted access to Operación Puerto case
After a previously denied request, the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) has been granted permission to be a party in the Operación Puerto case. WADA was authorised by the Spanish judicial system on May 7 not only to access the files of Operación Puerto, including the recently released 6000 page dossier, but also to intervene in the case.
A statement on the WADA website after a board meeting this weekend said: "WADA will review the documents for elements which may be used for sports disciplinary purposes and will work with UCI. WADA also is filing an appeal against the decision of the Spanish judge to suspend the proceedings."
La Gazzetta dello Sport published a report on April 30 describing a 6000 page dossier released by the Guardia Civil in Madrid to the UCI on Operación Puerto. The document allegedly implicated an additional 49 cyclists on top of the 58 already named in the original 500 page dossier.
CONI asks for Basso and Scarponi suspension
The Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) has asked the disciplinary committee of the Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) for suspensions for Ivan Basso and Michele Scarponi. Both riders have confessed their involvement in Operación Puerto.
CONI asked for a "preventative suspension" while the investigation runs its course. No information was provided by CONI about the duration of the suspension although it confirmed the request on its website.
Basso admitted to "attempted doping," but denied using illegal substances or engaging in blood doping. Scarponi also signed a ten-page confession after meetings with CONI. Both riders have been cooperating with authorities since their admission, and while Italian media outlets have speculated that Basso might receive a reduced sentence in exchange for his cooperation, UCI President Pat McQuaid has denied such a possibility and heavily criticised Basso for waiting so long to admit his guilt.
The default doping violation punishment is two years suspension from cycling plus another two years prohibition from the ProTour.
Caisse d'Epargne to investigate its Puerto suspects
Following last week's reports in the Italian press that Caisse d'Epargne leader Alejandro Valverde was implicated in the Operación Puerto doping affair, the Spanish team is to investigate the allegations after pressure from its title sponsor. According to L'Equipe, Caisse d'Epargne, a large French financial organisation, is supposedly concerned about its image and has warned team manager José-Miguel Echávarri that the current sponsorship contract, scheduled to end in 2010, may be in called into question.
In addition to Valverde, team riders Ruben Plaza and Constantino Zaballa have also been listed as Puerto suspects and both were removed from Caisse d'Epargne's Giro d'Italia line-up to comply with the wishes of race organisers RCS Sport. However, all three recently participated in the Clásica Internacional a Alcobendas in Spain where Valverde won the final stage time trial and Plaza finished fourth overall.
The team has yet to release an official statement on the matter.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
Hoy calls time on kilo attempt
After coming agonisingly close to setting a new world record for the kilometre time trial, Chris Hoy has said that he will not make a third attempt to better Arnaud Tournant's world best of 58.875 seconds, set seven years ago on the same high altitude track in Bolivia.
"I don't plan to go for the kilo again. I gave it everything and it was so frustrating to miss it by that little margin, but that's sport and you have to accept it," Hoy told the BBC.
The Scotsman had two tilts at the kilo record on Saturday and Sunday, clocking times of 59.103 and 58.880 seconds respectively at the Alto Irpavi velodrome in La Paz.
Following his second kilo attempt, the 31 year-old got back on his bike to better Arnaud Duble's 500m standing start world record, which he said was some consolation for missing the kilo mark. "It was an amazing feeling, I just felt as though I was flying down the back straight. It was a dream ride, everything about it was perfect," said Hoy.
"Part of the battle was trying to get the right weather conditions. It was 25-26C, the wind dropped for 10 minutes and the opportunity was there. After the disappointment of the kilometre, I wanted to go home with something and I'm happy for all the team that I've set this record."
Cooke not making World Cup predictions
Reigning Women's World Cup champion Nicole Cooke has said she'll wait and see how the 2007 season continues to unravel before making any predictions on her chances of retaining the title, after fierce rival Marianne Vos closed the World Cup gap at the weekend's Switzerland round. Vos closed the World Cup standings gap by taking second place to Cooke's fourth in the weekend's Tour de Berne, reducing the margin between the pair by 20 points.
"I've won the World Cup overall twice and it was a fantastic achievement," Cooke told Womenscycling.net. "If I could do it again I'd be very happy, we'll see how the season goes."
Cooke continues to lead the World Cup standings on 251 points to Vos' 195. The British rider opened the 2007 season in astonishing style, taking victory at the Rone van Vlannderen Woprld Cup Race, Geelong World Cup Race, Geelong Tour, Trofeo Alfredo Binda, and Trofeo Costa Etrusca.
T-Mobile looking to sprinters
Team T-Mobile is counting on its young sprinters at the Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt, which starts Wednesday in Koblenz, Germany. Gerald Ciolek and Andre Greipel will lead the team in the five-stage race.
Ciolek recently took a stage win in the Niedersachsen Rundfahrt, while Greipel is still looking for his first season win. Its sprints will be prepared by Roger Hammond, Andre Korff and Eric Baumann, who recently helped Mark Cavendish to two stage wins in Dunkirk.
T-Mobile for Rheinland-Pfalz: Eric Baumann, Gerald Ciolek, Andre Greipel, Roger Hammond, Andreas Klier, Servais Knaven, Andre Korff, and Stephan Schreck.
Orozco signs with Euskaltel
By Antonio J. Salmerón
The Spanish Euskaltel Euskadi ProTour squad has announced the hiring of the promising young Orbea rider Juan José Oroz for the remainder of the 2007 season. The 26 year-old ruder will make his debut with the 'orange' squad at the Volta a Catalunya, which begins on May 21.
UCI vice-president gets GAISF role
Hein Verbruggen, vice-president of the UCI, has been elected as the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) president, the UCI has announced. Verbruggen was elected for the roll at a meeting last month held in Beijing, which will host next year's Olympic Games.
The organisation "represents the sole forum bringing together the whole of sports organizations once a year to exchange viewpoints on themes of common interest," according to its website.
Verbruggen, who is also an International Olympic Committee member, will complete a four year term at the helm of the organisation, which includes 104 international sports federations and organizations.
Irish cyclists wanted to raise money for cancer
By Gerard Cromwell
Despite having produced winners of almost every professional bike race on the international calendar, cycling in Ireland takes a back seat to the country's national games - gaelic football and hurling. The best players are feted at an annual awards ceremony where they are selected on an All-Star team.
One such player is Tony Griffin. The 26 year-old plays hurling - the fastest ball sport in the world - for his hometown club of Ballyea and his county Clare. Despite being nominated as an All-Star last year, Griffin has turned his back on the chance to play regularly in front of 80,000 fans, swapped his hurley for a bike and taken to hanging around with seven times Tour De France winner Lance Armstrong.
When Griffin decided he wanted to raise some money for charity after his father, Jerome, died of lung cancer in 2005, he decided to do as he always has done, and aimed high. He put his place on the Clare team and his love of hurling aside, swapping it all for a bicycle and prepared for a mammoth six week, 7000 kilometre ride across Canada and Ireland which he hopes will see him raise a massive €1000,000 for his chosen charities: the Irish Cancer Society, the Lance Armstrong Foundation and Ovarian Cancer Canada.
During his time in North America Griffin visited Armstrong at the Tour de France champion's home in Texas, taking some time to go for a ride with the now retired cycling super-star and cancer survivor.
Griffin, who has already received over 500,000 Canadian dollars In pledges and donations, is appealing for people to join him on his 'Ride For The Cure' across Canada and Ireland and raise money for this worthy cause. With Griffin due to return to Ireland for the final two stages of his Ride For The Cure on June 30 and July 1, the organisers are looking for up to 250 cyclists to take up the challenge and ride with him on his final journey home to Ennis, where a festival atmosphere is assured. Griffin will fly home from Canada to join up with Irish fundraisers from all over the country and indeed the world, in Athlone on June 30 before his final stage to his hometown of Ennis the next day.
"We are looking for Irish people to join us on our challenge to raise one million euros to beat cancer," says Griffin's Irish sponsor Martin Donnelly. "Individuals can do the penultimate leg of the Irish trip from their nearest starting point in either Monaghan, Sligo, Ballina, Limerick or Dublin to Athlone. They can do the final leg from Athlone to Ennis, where we are guaranteed a festive welcome, or they can do part of either ride, or both rides. We want participants to raise a minimum of 1,000 euros each to help us reach our goal and we will provide food and accommodation, back-up support and insurance for the event. This is a mammoth challenge and has captured the imagination of millions of people in Canada already."
Interested parties are assured they don't have to be an accomplished cyclist to take part. "This time last year, Tony didn't even own a bike himself! We will give participants all the support you need to get through the ride and to help in fundraising for the event, which is the main priority after all. In fact you don't have to be able to ride the whole way. Raising the money and raising awareness is the most important thing".
For further information on this amazing project visit www.tonygriffinfoundation.com or for a sign-up pack call Eleanor at the Irish Cancer Society on (01) 2310500.
*Gerard Cromwell is Ireland's Tony Griffin Foundation Ride For The Cure director
CSC to sponsor Amateur Hill Climb
Pro Cycling Tour, organiser of the Commerce Bank Triple Crown of Cycling, has announced Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) will again sponsor the series, with the company renewing its title sponsorship of the Amateur Hill Climb.
"CSC is pleased to once again help bring both the Triple Crown of Cycling, and one of the top teams in the world, Team CSC, to the tri-state region," said CSC president Mike Laphen. "With many clients and members of our 77,000 person global workforce based in this area, supporting the long tradition of this racing series, and the top class athletes who compete in it, is a natural for CSC."
The Amateur Hill Climb will be held on the evening of Friday, June 8 and will see riders take on the Manayunk Wall in Philadelphia. The series of races in comprised of and event in Lancaster on June 3, Reading on June 7 and Philadelphia on June 10.
For more information on the races making up the Commerce Bank Triple Crown of Cycling, go to www. procylingtour.com.
First winners of Fantasy Giro game confirmed!
We are delighted to confirm the first three winners of the daily stage prizes here at Fantasy Cyclingnews. It's been a tough battle each day at the top with an unprecedented amount of high scoring teams in this year's game.
Stage 1 - Manager "Slovensko" with team "aussie"
* Note there were three teams with the same Stage only points in Stage 1. This winner was picked at random from the three contenders.
The managers win a pair of Tifosi Optics Forza glasses. Each day of the Giro a prize is awarded to the Stage points leader. Remember you can take part for free until stage 6 begins. There's plenty of time still to create your teams. You have until Friday May 18 to finalise your teams. You can play for free for the first five stages! Try the game out and see how best to play.
It's easy to play the Grand Tour games - all you need to do is pick your dream team of 15 from the riders racing in this year's Giro start list. Then each day pick nine riders to race for your fantasy team from these 15. You'll need a good combination of climbers, sprinters and general classification riders. For more details go to the rules section of the site. It's a great way to follow the Giro.
Full Prize Roster
- Grande Prize Wilier Triestina Izoard Lampre-Fondital team replica bicycle
You can join until Stage 6 begins on Friday May 18 and you can compete equally with players that have joined earlier in the tour.
To register your teams for the game go to fantasy.cyclingnews.com
The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)