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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for May 16, 2007

Edited by Ben Abrahams & Greg Johnson

Cirque de Landis: Can anyone speak French?

By Mark Zalewski in Malibu, California

Another day, another yellow tie
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Following the first day's swing from enthusiastic and dramatic opening statements to the more mellow (but equally dramatic) testimony by two expert witnesses, the second day began with the conclusion of cross-examination of one of the expert witnesses, Dr. J. Thomas Brenna, by Landis' counsel Maurice Suh.

Again, the examination centered around the measurement of uncertainty with the Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS) test for synthetic testosterone. Dr. Brenna was asked about the differences in the IRMS data returns between the manual, or quality control step, and the auto analysis by the machine.

Q: Should [the difference] take into account measurement of uncertainty?
A: [Dr. Brenna] I think it should take it into account.

Q: Do you see any values being the same?
A: No.

Q: If you saw this process done resulting in this total variance, in your own lab, would you have been concerned?
A: Yes.

The final parts of the examination of Dr. Brenna focused on the re-testing of the samples done at LNDD. The re-running of the samples produced a log sheet - which Mr. Suh commented that USADA had worked to prevent the Landis team from accessing. This log sheet indicated a re-rerunning of the test within ten minutes of the first analysis. The data from the first analysis was not saved, but overwritten by the second analysis, and multiple times on the same day.

The USADA side rebutted Mr. Suh's questions about the differences in the auto versus the manual steps of the test. As well, in regards to the overwritten log files, the USADA counsel asked if there was an opportunity to review the logs given to the Landis team. "[Dr. Davis, Landis' expert present at the testing] was given an opportunity to re-analyse the data on the system but there was confusion as to why he would want to," said Dr. Brenna. "The next day he came back and said he did not need to."

Lost in translation

The biggest drama of the day involved the French interpreter, Pierre Debboudt, of the National Court Reporters. Mr. Debboudt made noticeable errors with specifics of the testimony from the actual LNDD tester of the samples, Cynthia Mongongu. Mr. Suh finally objected at the point when the translator misinterpreted the quantification of "a day-and-a-half" to be "an hour-and-a-half." Mr. Debboudt was dismissed from his duties and the hearing was adjourned for 45 minutes while a replacement for Mr. Debboudt could be located.

More than an hour later the replacement, Martitia Palmer of the Judicial Council of California, resumed the translation duties. However, she was distressed by the fact that she was not able to familiarize herself with the specifics of the case and the terminology of the procedures. Nonetheless, the hearing pressed on. When the answer in question came up again, and Ms. Palmer correctly interpreted it, applause from the press room ensued.

To read Cyclingnews' full coverage from day two, click here.

Pereiro awaiting Landis verdict

Oscar Pereiro
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Click for larger image

Following the opening of Floyd Landis' arbitration hearing with the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), Tour de France runner-up Oscar Pereiro is keeping an eye on proceedings in Malibu, California but the Spaniard insists he's trying to avoid dressing in yellow, incase it should be interpreted the wrong way.

"I have been tempted many times, but have never done it," Pereiro told Spanish newspaper Marca. "It is more that I want to avoid causing offence."

Should Landis lose the hearing against USADA, Pereiro will inherit the 2006 Tour title, although the case is likely headed for the Court of Arbitration for Sport, whatever the outcome in nine days time. "You hope to have a happy ending, but with cycling today, you never know what the truth is and isn't," said Pereiro. "What is clear is that I hope for all of this to be over... it would be like a liberation."

Asked whether he now considers himself the Tour winner, the Spaniard said: "By the treatment of journalists yes, but until the Tour proclaims me winner I won't feel like the champion."

"I've lost a lot, sentimentally and economically," he continued. "Money can be recovered, but what can never be returned are the emotions which have been kept from me. The most a cyclist can ever hope for is to climb the podium of the Champs-Élysées and celebrate with your teammates and I'll never have this."

The Caisse d'Epargne rider also had doping accusations levelled at him after it emerged he tested positive for salbutamol during the Tour. However, Pereiro later proved that he took the drug as part of an asthma medication.

Basso and Scarponi suspended

CONI anti-doping prosecutor Ettore Torri
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

One day after the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) recommended suspensions for Ivan Basso and Michele Scarponi both riders have been suspended from competition by the Italian cycling federation (FCI), it was announced Tuesday.

Although Basso confessed to "attempted doping", he hasn't cooperated as fully as expected according to CONI prosecutor Ettore Torri, who believes the 2006 Giro d'Italia winner has been under pressure from sponsors and advisors, despite no longer being part of a team.

"During the second questioning, he seemed willing to cooperate and give out names and concrete elements," Torri told AP at a news conference in Rome. "Then, he was clearly approached not only by his defense lawyers, but sponsors and technical directors who have pushed him to backtrack. What we have is concrete, but not as exhaustive as we hoped for."

Scarponi also admitted his involvement in the Operación Puerto affair, but like Basso, denied actually doping.

Torri believes that possible retaliation from other cyclists may be preventing Puerto implicated riders from confessing all the details of their involvement with Dr Eufemiano Fuentes and his blood doping network.

Although FCI has yet to issue sanctions against either Basso or Scarponi, both are likely to face a two year ban followed by a further two years exclusion from ProTour teams. UCI president Pat McQuaid recently said there would not be reduced suspensions for riders who confessed or collaborated with prosecutors.

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'

May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
May 15, 2009 - Valverde not welcome in Denmark
May 14, 2009 - Spanish federation wants proof in Valverde case
May 13, 2009 - Spanish Olympic Committee defends Valverde
May 12, 2009 - Valverde responds to sanction
May 11, 2009 - Italian tribunal delivers Valverde two-year suspension
May 8, 2009 - Valverde case: Italian Olympic Committee defends Torri
May 7, 2009 - Valverde to take legal action against CONI prosecutor
May 5, 2009 - WADA and Spanish federation join CONI and UCI on Valverde
May 1, 2009 - International Cycling Union joins in on Valverde's hearing in Italy

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Operación Puerto

Lefevere not happy with Giro arrangements

By Shane Stokes in Salerno

Patrick Lefevere
Photo ©: Stijn Vercaemer
Click for larger image

AIGCP chairman Patrick Lefevere has protested about the logistical arrangements on this year's Giro d'Italia, with a complicated pre-race launch, the transfers between the first three stages on Sardinia plus the long journey to the Italian mainland making life difficult for the riders.

He issued a communiqué on Tuesday highlighting these problems, asking organisers RCS to consider the riders when planning the race.

The team buses, cars and many of those working on the race boarded ferries on Monday, with the first of these departing Cagliari port around 11.30 pm and travelling through the night to get to Naples. The riders flew on Tuesday morning but for some, plans of a rest-day training ride went out the window due to their equipment being on the delayed second boat.

"In light of the numerous transfers that have characterised the first three stages of the 90th edition of the Giro D'Italia, the 'AIGCP'(Association Internationnale des Groupes Cyclistes Professionnels) would like to highlight the logistical difficulties their teams had upon leaving Sardinia," wrote Lefevere in the release. "Some teams only arrived at their hotels at 3pm. Further difficulties were caused due to the fact that the ferry transporting the team vehicles and team equipment was heavily delayed, arriving at the port of Naples at 5.30pm, meaning that the athletes couldn't take part in their normal afternoon training session."

"The 'AIGCP' would like to reiterate that their teams collaborated fully with RCS, something that lead to a wonderful event fully respecting the members of the public, even though they had to organise very complicated transfers for their athletes and staff in occasion of the presentation of the Giro D'Italia on Friday, 11th May and for the timed team trial that took place on the Island of Maddalena the day after."

He said that the AIGCP was calling on RCS Sport to, "pay more attention to detail when planning future transfers and that they consider not only the organisers' interests but also the necessities of the teams taking part."

Saunier Duval loosen up prior to mountain stage

By Shane Stokes in Salerno

In contrast to the unnamed teams spoken about by Lefevere, the Saunier Duval-Prodir team were able to turn their legs over on Tuesday when their three team cars and nine bikes were waiting for them at their arrival point of Salerno airport. They rode for about an hour, covering approximately 30 kilometres along the secondary roads of Ponte Cagnano and arriving at the hotel in Capaccio around 4.p.m.

Sports director Pietro Algeri said that that the riders were in decent condition and should be ready for the first mountain stage on Tuesday. "The trip was good and the decision of going to the airport to meet them with their bikes turned out to be the right one. Athletically speaking, they are in good shape, and Mori seems to have recovered after falling down on Sunday."

Following Tuesday's rest day, things kick off once again with a tough stage. The fourth day of racing will begin in Salerno and take the riders an undulating and twisting 153 kilometres along the Amalfi coast, inland close to Pompeii and then up the tough final climb to Montevergine di Mercogliano.

Mayo betting on Simoni and Cunego

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Saunier Duval climber Iban Mayo can only see the Giro d'Italia being won by one of two riders: his team-mate and two-time Giro champ Gilberto Simoni or 2004 winner Damiano Cunego. "My favourites are really just two, Simoni or Cunego," Mayo told EFE Radio. "There are others such as Danilo Di Luca and Yaroslav Popovych, but they're not at the same competitive level."

Mayo's official role at the Giro is to help Simoni gain a third overall victory, but the featherweight Spaniard inevitably has his sights on the mountain stages for some individual glory. "I have freedom," he said. "I'm thinking of the high mountains. In Briançon [stage 12] I usually do well, but also the Zoncolan climb is very hard - it's a mountain even harder than those of the Tour de France."

As for the uphill finish to Montevergine Di Mercogliano on stage 4, Mayo doesn't consider it one for the pure climbers like himself. "If you take into account its past winners, you will realise that they are good climbers, but also powerful sprinters," he said. "Riders such as Di Luca, Bettini, Pellizotti or Riccó are all possible winners, although it will be a very difficult task because many Italians want a victory there."

Lamonta team bikes stolen

Riders from German Continental team 3C-Gruppe Lamonta are currently tackling the Olympia's Tour in the Netherlands on borrowed bikes after having their own machines stolen. The thieves also made off with equipment from two other teams during the night after the opening prologue on Saturday.

After the incident organisers worked hard to find replacement bikes for the team, which they managed to do. "I have never seen anything like that," declared Lamonta team manager Holger Sievers to

Some of the team's riders managed to adjust quickly to their new steeds while others ran into problems. Tobias Erler had a mechanical costing him seven minutes while René Obst and Sergej Fuchs did not deal well with the new bikes and also lost time.

Sören Hofmann is currently Lamonta's highest placed rider overall, 2'42 behind leader Martijn Maaskant (Rabobank Continental) after four stages.

Sweeney says cycling holding its ground

By Greg Johnson

Cycling's popularity in Australia has held steady despite the controversy surrounding doping investigations which have impacted the sport's following in other nations, according to figures released by Australian researcher Sweeney Sports. The widely-respected annual sport interest figures, released by the company earlier in the week, show interest in cycling has declined by just a single percent, despite the controversies which continue to unfold in relation to Operación Puerto and the 2006 Tour de France winner Floyd Landis.

The researcher ranks cycling as the ninth most popular sport in Australia, with an interest rate of 35 per-cent of the nation's population. The statistics, based off figures taken from populations in Australia's eight capital cities, also rank cycling as the nation's equal-third highest participation sport, trailing only swimming and bushwalking/hiking, which dropped behind cycling in popularity in this year's report.

In a year which saw most non-mainstream (a term generally referring to anything other than ball sports or swimming) sports take a dive in television audience, the report shows that cycling wasn't spared, with viewing audiences down by three points. The result comes despite the performance of the nation's cyclists abroad, such as Stuart O'Grady's Paris-Roubaix victory, and the increased broadcast commitments to the sport.

Meanwhile at the top of Sweeney Sport's chart cricket has taken over the lead, after swimming's popularity slumped by four per-cent in a year that saw the retirement of swimming super star Ian Thorpe, who has since been accused of returning an illegally high testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio by French newspaper L'Equipe.

Giro to visit beloved place of Clinton and Pitt

By Jean-François Quénet

A letter from Hillary Clinton is displayed
Photo ©: Jean-François Quénet
(Click for larger image)

Before reaching the hills of Montevergine, where the Giro d'Italia contenders will begin to reveal themselves, the race will head from Salerno to one of the most spectacular landscapes in Europe, known as the coast of Amalfi. In the charming village of Amalfi, an old sign says it all: "When Amilfitans will go to Paradise, it'll just be a day like the other ones." Clearly, they know what is paradise is a part of their everyday life.

Some of the world's biggest celebrities, including Fight Club star Brad Pitt, have also made the area famous. The peloton will experience narrow roads, similar to Milan-San Remo's, and will by the Hotel Santa Caterina, a former favourite holiday sport of the Clinton family.

On a letterhead from the White House, the then first Lady sent this message on August 12, 1994:

Dear friends,

Thank you for the generous hospitality you extended to my family, staff and me during our glorious visit to Amalfi. I hope that I will have the opportunity to enjoy the pleasures of Hotel Santa Caterina at greater length someday.

With appreciation and kind regards, I am

Sincerely yours
Hillary Rodham Clinton.

CCA announce Pan-Am squad

The Canadian Cycling Association has announced the squads it will send to the Pan American road and track championships, which will be held in Valencia, Venezuela from May 21-27.

A release from the nation's governing body proudly announced: "After several athletes met the time standards at the CCA trials in Burnaby, BC, on May 9-11, Canada will be sending a larger than expected track delegation to the championships."

Track men: Zach Bell (Points Race), Martin Gilbert (Madison), Ryan McKenzie (Madison), Cam MacKinnon (Team Sprint, Keirin, Sprint, Kilo), Lawrence Leroux (Team Sprint), and Yannick Morin (Team Sprint)
Track women: Gina Grain (Points Race), Monique Sullivan (Sprint)*
Road men: Zach Bell (Time Trial), Charles Dionne (Road Race), Martin Gilbert (Road Race), Ryan McKenzie (Road Race), Keven Lacombe (Road Race, Time Trial), and David Veilleux (Road Race, Time Trial)
Road women: Gina Grain (Road Race)
*Denotes self-funded development athlete selection.

First winners of Fantasy Giro game confirmed!

(Click for larger image)

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" *
Stage 2 - Manager "Zeeman" with team "Empire 2"
Stage 3 - Manager "Hercules III" with team "E4"

* Note there were three teams with the same Stage only points in Stage 1. This winner was picked at random from the three contenders.

Cheetah Bars
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)

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

Wilier Triestina Izoard Lampre-Fondital team replica bicycle
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)

- Grande Prize Wilier Triestina Izoard Lampre-Fondital team replica bicycle
- Daily Stage Winner prizes of Tifosi Optics "Forza" featuring High Speed Red Fototec lenses
- Zipp SL handlebars, 145 Stem, 300 Crankset and 185 Bottom Bracket
- Shimano Dura-Ace WH-7801-SL Wheelset The WH-7801-SL scandium wheelsets
- Saris Bones Rack
- HED handlebars
- Giro Atmos helmets
- First Endurance OPTYGEN
- Cheetah Bars for optimum performance

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

Good luck!

The Fantasy Cyclingnews Team

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