First Edition Cycling News for November 3, 2007
Edited by Laura Weislo and Sue George
Kashechkin case battles "the system"
The embattled Kazakh rider Andrey Kashechkin will have his day in court in Liege, Belgium, on Tuesday to contest the UCI's doping control procedures. Kashechkin sued the UCI after testing positive for a homologous blood transfusion following the Tour de France, saying the UCI's unannounced control a violation of his privacy. After being fired from his Astana team, the rider has taken a unique argument against the result, calling the unannounced control which resulted in the positive result a "violation of his human rights". Kashechkin's positive followed his compatriot and team-mate Alexander Vinokourov's transfusion positive which came during the Tour de France and forced the team to leave the race.
Kashechkin questioned the procedure of the doping control agents who found him on vacation with his family in Belek, Turkey on August 1, saying they seemed hurried. Kashechkin's lawyer, Christian Botteman, told AP on Friday that the control put him in a no-win situation. "He was controlled at 10:45 pm," Botteman said. "It was an abnormal situation. Yet, if he refused it, he would have been considered guilty."
Following the first positive result, the Kazakh federation president claimed that an independent French laboratory had done "repeated analyses" which had shown no abnormalities in the rider's blood. Botteman is expected to argue that athletes face difficulties when trying to use private analyses to counter doping positives.
The legal battle between the Kazakh and the UCI could have larger implications for the sport and the antidoping initiatives which seem to have begun to make inroads in the past year. "This is not a battle for or against doping, because we all are against doping. It a battle against the system which does not respect the fundamental rights of individuals," Botteman said.
However, the ProTour teams association, the IPCT, has joined the side of the UCI in the battle, saying that the fate of the sport is at risk. "If Kashechkin wins on the principle that only public authorities can take care of doping, then we can close shop," IPCT lawyer Jean-Louis Dupont said.
Kashechkin's lawyers will seek a provisional injunction which could allow Kashechkin to resume racing until the case is decided.
Lion King to roar again?
Will Mario Cipollini return to the peloton? The former World Champion took to the bike at the Interbike Industry Cup, and despite crashing before the finish, showed that he had lost little of the speed which propelled him to a record number of career stage wins in the Giro d'Italia. The 40 year-old Italian retired abruptly from the peloton in April of 2005, explaining that after 189 victories he decided to give up when he could no longer dominate his rivals, but was rumoured to be fancying a return to the peloton with the domestic US team, Rock Racing.
The news was first leaked by the team's sprinter Rashaan Bahati on Bicycle Radio that the flamboyant Italian was considering joining the squad sponsored by the designer clothing company. Cyclingnews received confirmation from the team's director, Frankie Andreu, that Cipo is in talks with the team.
"[Rock & Republic owner] Michael Ball talked to Cipollini at Interbike – Cipo did surprisingly well there after being off the bike for so long – if he's actually been off the bike." Andreu was cautiously hopeful that the Lion King would be coming to his team, saying that someone as fashion conscious as Cipollini would be a good fit with his team which is known for being stylish.
However, Cipollini's lawyer, Giuseppe Napoleone, laughed at the possibility, saying that the talk of a return to racing was all a misunderstanding by Ball based on a casual joke at a night club. "I fell out of my chair," he said after hearing that Ball had taken the discussion seriously, according to AFP. "The only thing certain is that at the Las Vegas trade show, Andreau [sic], Cipollini and myself ran into each other at the night club. A glass, a pat on the shoulders and a joke, 'Mario, I have a contract for you'. But for Mario, to ride again doesn't even pass through his head. It's a joke."
Andreu denied that the story was a joke, saying that Ball, manager Haldane Morris and Cipollini met in Los Angeles recently, and that Cipollini has been in regular contact with the team. Ball could not be reached for comment, but Andreu assured Cyclingnews that the story is no joke.
Schumacher to make "irregular" blood values public
Gerolsteiner's Stefan Schumacher, who showed "irregular" blood values in unannounced out-of-competition doping controls before the Worlds, is prepared to make those blood values public later this month. Schumacher, who finished third in the elite men's road race, said that the problems were caused by a bout of diarrhea.
The 26 year-old is on vacation until November 11, after which he "will present the blood values to an expert commission and make clear that there is no Schumacher doping case," his manager Heinz Betz told the dpa press agency.
Schumacher was tested on September 25 and returned "several raised values," according to NADA spokeswoman Ulrike Spitz. The test results were passed on to the German cycling federation and the UCI, both of which allowed Schumacher to ride in the Worlds a few days later. Gerolsteiner team manager Hans-Michael Holczer said that he is "100 percent sure that there was no manipulation."
Ullrich and Franke square off in Hamburg court
The legal battle between Jan Ullrich and German anti-doping crusader Werner Franke continues, with the next court ruling expected on November 30. Franke is appealing an injunction which prohibits him from claiming that Ullrich paid 35,000 euro to Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes.
During Friday's hearing before the Landgericht in Hamburg, Franke testified that the head of the Spanish Guardia Civil told him that the 25,000 euro which Bonn prosecutors have traced from Ullrich to Fuentes was "the deposit for the year, the total sum was 120,000 euro. I have excellent witnesses for that," he said, according to the dpa agency.
Franke's attorney, Michael Lehner, said that he will call former Ullrich mentor Rudy Pevenage, confessed doper Jörg Jaksche, Fuentes customer Ivan Basso and the ex-Telekom soigneur Jef d'Hont – and possibly Fuentes himself – as witnesses. "A thorough hearing of the evidence on German soil could be very interesting and suspenseful," Lehner said.
Ullrich's attorney, Marcus Hotze, said that the case dealt only with one statement by Franke and that everything else is "not relevant for this hearing." When the judge asked whether Ullrich knew Fuentes and whether his blood was stored by the doctor, Hotze did not answer but simply shrugged his shoulders, the dpa reported. Ullrich was not in attendance.
"Bad blood" at T-Mobile in 2006
The investigation into doping practices at the T-Mobile team took a bizarre turn Friday when it was disclosed that at least one blood transfusion had to be cancelled because the stored blood had clotted, the prosecutors revealed on Friday. To transfuse it could have been fatal for the recipient.
"Mr. Sinkewitz said that after the first stage of the Tour de France 2006, the accused Dr. Schmid did not transfuse blood, because this blood was dangerous or unclean," Freiburg head public prosecutor Wolfgang Maier told the dpa press agency. Sinkewitz testified that he was at the Uni Clinic three or four times last year "in order to give blood and then to be freshened up with a transfusion of blood that he had given up before."
The German investigators are looking at whether former T-Mobile doctors Andreas Schmid and Lothar Heinrich can be charged with bodily injury, which could bring a possible jail sentence of up to five years.
O'Loughlin focused on track
By Shane Stokes
Following a strong showing in the Revolution track meet held a fortnight ago in Manchester velodrome, Olympic hopeful David O'Loughlin has confirmed that he expects to take part in the next edition of the competition.
The Mayo rider is the current Irish road race champion but, on the basis of some encouraging performances in the past year, has decided to change his focus and target qualification for the Beijing track races.
He and several other Olympic hopefuls recently had a significant boost when a new UCI-registered track and road team was launched. Backed by the Galway-based Pezula company, the team includes O'Loughlin, former Navigators Insurance team-mate Ciarán Power, Paul Healion, Eugene Moriarty, Martin Irvine, Ryan Connor, William Connolly, Morgan Fox and Louise Moriarty.
It is expected that these riders will form a significant part of Cycling Ireland's ongoing push to develop a strong international track presence.
The Pezula racing team had a good first outing on October 20th at the 17th Revolution track meet. O'Loughlin finished second in the 15 kilometre scratch race for elite men, crossing the line just behind former world points race champion Chris Newton (Recycling.co.uk). He was also seventh in the 10 km points race, with Healion fifth in both that and the 28 lap motor-paced scratch event. Martyn Irvine was eighth in the latter.
The next Revolution meet will take place in Manchester on November 17. O'Loughlin and other Irish riders will be there. The next targets for the Mayo rider will then be the track World Cups in Beijing (December 7 - 9), Los Angeles (January 18 - 20) and Ballerup in Denmark (February 15 - 17).
Neben fights melanoma
Amber Neben's off season got off to an unusual start following the World Championships in Stuttgart in September where she took fourth in the elite women's individual time trial. She was diagnosed and began treatment for melanoma.
"Earlier this year, I noticed a mole on the middle of my back. The more I looked at it, the more I thought it looked like it had the danger signs of asymmetry, irregular border, and an inconsistent color, and the more I thought I should get in to get it checked out," said Neben on www.amberneben.com.
The day after a dermatologist removed the questionable mole, Neben found out that pathologists diagnosed it as melanoma.
"The good news was that it was early and not very deep, but more would have to be cut out, and she wanted me to see a specialist to make sure it was not in the lymph nodes," said Neben, who found out later from her oncologist that her lymph nodes were clear.
Neben was set to undergo surgery Friday to remove an additional portion of skin surrounding the excision. With a cure rate of 99%, she approached the surgery optimistic about her recovery and for the 2008 season.
"The funny thing is that the mole was on my back in a place that is always covered!" said Neben. "I will now be training and racing in clothing, like my Skins, that has UV protection built in. I will also be even more vigilant with my sunscreen." She urged other cyclists to do the same.
Trexlertown Velodrome to be resurfaced
The Valley Preferred Cycling Center, formerly known as the Lehigh Valley Velodrome, will get a new surface to go along with its new name. The 32 year-old velodrome in Pennsylvania was last resurfaced 12 years ago in preparation for the 1996 Olympic Trials.
To begin the repairs, all major bumps on the track, mainly in turns three and four, will be ground down until smooth. Then the entire existing concrete overlay will be removed and replaced by a new overlay to the track, creating a clean, smooth surface. In addition, the joint between the inner apron asphalt and the bottom of the track's concrete apron will be repaired and an infield retaining wall near the homestretch will be replaced.
The track will be closed for the remainder of the year and will re-open when the resurfacing project is complete near the beginning of 2008.
Franzoi becomes a dad
Team Lampre-Fondital's Enrico Franzoi will have a new baby to keep him even busier than usual throughout the 'cross season. The three-time Italian 'cross champion became a dad on Thursday when his girlfriend Elena gave birth to a baby – Matteo – weighing 2.5kg.
Anthony and Bessette to defend leads in New England 'cross series
Saturday's Chainbiter and Sunday's Cycle-Smart International are part of the second weekend of the 2007 Verge New England Cyclo-Cross Championship series.
The Chainbiter offers a diverse course that will include at least one sandpit, a leg-blasting climb, and the soul-crushing uphill paved finish stretch, said race director Jan Tanner. "It's a rhythmic course, it's a powerful course," Tanner said. "It's a very fast course with very few recovery areas. The weather forecast is pretty spectacular and the pre-registration numbers are up, so we are predicting a great race."
Sunday's course favors riders who can maintain momentum and use a deft braking touch through the upper tree section while pumping out maximum power on the lower fields. The race is the oldest UCI-sanctioned 'cross race in the US, according to race director Adam Myerson. "This is our 17th year, and we've been a UCI event since the late '90s. We're not trying to be the biggest race; we just focus on having a great course and an event that is fun for regular racers and the elites."
23 year-old Jesse Anthony (Jamis) will battle it out with NERAC's Chris Jones, who is in just his second season of cyclo-cross. Jones has racked up five third places at UCI events this fall, and is eager to take a couple steps up the podium, and maybe take the Verge jersey away from Anthony.
"I need to beat Jesse both days by at least one place to take the jersey, so that's my plan," Jones said. "It looks like it will be fast and dry, so that plays to my strengths."
Series leader Lyne Bessette (Cyclocrossworld.com) will be coming off a difficult stretch of travel and racing, but the Canadian star will look to defend her jersey against challenges from eager New Englanders including Anna Milkowski (Velo Bella/Kona), Rebecca Wellons (Ridley), and Maureen Bruno-Roy (Independent Fabrication/Wheelworks).
Rabobank retains two veterans
Rabobank will keep Jan Boven and Mathew Hayman on its squad after both signed new contracts going into 2008.
As the last active rider from Rabobank's pro team which started in 1996, Boven penned a new one year contract for 2008, which will mark the Belgian's 13th professional season. Boven, a respected rider on the team boasts just one career victory. In 1996, he beat American Tyler Hamilton in the sprint of the first stage of the Teleflex Tour to Valkenburg, The Netherlands.
Hayman's finest hour came ten years later, in 2006, when he won the road race of the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. The Australian, who will head into his twelfth professional season, has also won the overall classifications of both the Challenge Mallorca in 2001, and the Sachsen Tour 2005. His new contract runs for two years, thereby extending his tenure with the team, which began in 2000.
The duo will use their experience to the benefit of younger riders. "Jan and Mathew both are very reliable riders with lots of experience," said Rabobank's Erik Breukink. "[In] the coming season, Jan Boven can play an important role for the youngsters in our team. Last season, Mathew Hayman was important to our sprinters."
Pérez renews with Caisse d'Epargne
By Antonio J. Salmerón
Fran Perez has renewed with his Caisse d'Epargne team for 2008. Perez came to the team in July 2005 after having led the Portuguese Maia Millaneza team, where he won two stages of the Tour of Romandie in 2003. The 29 year-old had a harder time after moving up to the ProTour, but in February 2006, he took his only win in the Clasica de Almería, and this season placed second on a stage in the Giro d'Italia. He was also called upon to carry Alejandro Valverde through the Tour de France, and put in 80 days of competition, implying that his directors have relied on his good work.
Perez is happy to stay put, saying, "I am in one of the strongest squads of the bunch with some of my countrymen." This season left him with a "true bittersweet flavor," after he finished second in the time trial in the Clásica de Alcobendas, which was won by Valverde. Perez was also second in a stage of the Tour de Romandie. So, facing the 2008 season, the slender cyclist born in Murcia said he wants "a greater role for himself." Perez is convinced that, "I can do well in one week races."
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