First Edition Cycling News for November 9, 2007
Edited by Laura Weislo
Rasmussen admits lies, claims Rabobank knew his whereabouts
By Katharina Schulz and Laura Weislo
At a press conference today in Hellerup near the Danish capital of Copenhagen, Michael Rasmussen for the first time spoke up about the events leading up to farewell from the Tour de France. He admitted that he has not been telling the public the truth about his whereabouts in the period in question.
"I would like to clearly state that I was not in Mexico in June. I have therefore misinformed both the UCI and the public. It is however important for me to stress that at no point did I lie to the Rabobank team," Rasmussen said. Rasmussen insisted that his employer Rabobank knew the truth. "I have never told lies to Rabobank. They knew all the time where I was and why."
Rasmussen has provided Rabobank's commission of investigation with all information about his whereabouts, and stated that he will give the exact same information to the UCI – together with documentation, which proves that he actually stayed in these places.
Rasmussen was in the yellow jersey when the Danish federation went public with news that he had missed doping controls and dropped him from the national team. Rasmussen had failed to report his whereabouts to the UCI in a timely fashion on several occasions, and had been warned about the issue.
T-Mobile sponsors on the fence, Adidas to say 'adios'?
By Susan Westemeyer
The T-Mobile team's recent bad publicity from the case of Patrik Sinkewitz appears to be trickling up to its sponsors. The news inspired Adidas to changed its mind about supporting the team, and it announced Thursday that it will not extend its sponsoring contract with T-Mobile Team, which expires in 2008. The company is also considering immediately ending its contract with the team. Oliver Brüggen, a spokesman for the sporting goods manufacturer, cited the Patrik Sinkewitz confession as the grounds for the company's action.
Brüggen told the dpa that the Sinkewitz disclosures were "the final step in a long chronology of slow revelations about the past, and lead us to this decision." After Sinkewitz' positive control for testosterone this summer, the company said that it would reconsider its sponsorship, but then, after hard work to salvage the team's reputation by manager Bob Stapleton, the company said in August that it would stay.
Two other sponsors, Audi and Giant, have said that they would wait until sponsor Deutsche Telekom makes its final decision regarding to team sponsorship. "We always keep an eye on cycling," said Audi spokeswoman Iris Altig. "We will wait until Telekom acts." The auto company has a contract with the team through 2008, and the bike manufacturer Giant through 2010.
There was no decision from the communications company announced today in Bonn, where Telekom is meeting. "I have no news," Director Rene Obermann said, according to the sid. "It is not a new doping case", Obermann said, according to AFP. "It deals with the disappointing disclosures about the past."
Stephan Althoff, head of the company's sponsoring division, took a more optimistic approach, saying, "We continue to claim that we want to do our part in helping cycling to get clean." He also denied rumours that Sport Director Rolf Aldag, who in May confessed to having used EPO , would have to go. "He is an important of the team and will continue to be our speaking partner in sports questions," said Althoff.
Former CSC CEO doubts Hamburger
By Katharina Schulz
Former Danish national champion and Tour de France stage winner Bo Hamburger admitted that he took EPO from 1995-1997 in his book Den hřjeste pris, which was released on Wednesday in Denmark. Hamburger was one of the first riders to have tested positive for EPO in 2001, and he still firmly claims that he was not doping at that time. However, his former team doubts his claims and says it has clear evidence that he was still using it in 2001.
Hamburger had joined Team CSC/World Online/Tiscali for the 2001 season, but had had a disappointing spring. Then, in April, he tested positive for EPO and was consequently fired by the team. However, after irregularities in the testing process where, after a positive 'A' sample, two 'B' samples gave conflicting results - one of which was positive, while the other was negative. The charges were dropped because of the irregularities.
The former CSC Scandinavia CEO Asger Jensby told the Danish newspaper B.T. that he was sure that Hamburger is not telling the whole truth. "I am still convinced that he [Hamburger] was doped even in 2001," claimed Jensby. "The results I saw and which I conferred to doping expert Bengt Saltin about showed clear indications of EPO usage. There's just no doubt about that."
To Jensby, it was obvious why Hamburger firmly claims he was clean. "In 2001 and 2002 he was conducting quite a formal and public case in order to be acquitted. If he now admitted to having taken EPO back then, he would make a mock of the public and law systems. So I can understand very well that he sticks to his story."
B.T. also reported that Hamburger commented on his relationship with Bjarne Riis in the book. Riis was his boss at the time of his EPO case, and it was Riis who suspended him after the positive test. "At that time I was really angry with Bjarne and I told him that I didn't think it was very dignified. But he was stone-cold. Completely indifferent," Hamburger is quoted as saying in the book.
"I am very disappointed with how Bjarne handled things. When he became my boss, we went from being really good friends to having a strictly professional relationship."
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Images by CyclingWorld.dk
Zabel and Lampater seek revenge in Munich
The finish of the Dortmund Six Day came down to just one thin point separating first from second at the end of night five. With the home town favourites of Erik Zabel and his compatriot Leif Lampater led the Madison World Champions Bruno Risi and Franco Marvulli by that tenuous margin. What followed was a heart-stopping point for point battle that lasted until the night's final event, where Franco Marvulli bested Erik Zabel for the last sprint and gave his Swiss team the overall win. The two teams will have another chance to battle for victory in the Munich Six Day, which began Thursday.
Zabel and Lampater managed to win a new car in Dortmund's Mazda Auto-prime competition, but this was no solace for losing the overall classification. "The road season was long and I switched directly from the road to the track at the Amsterdam's Six Day," Zabel said according to the team's website www.team-milram.com. "Of course, there are moments when the legs are a little bit tired. But with Leif Lampater I had and will have a very good partner."
The stakes are high in Munich, which is regarded as the unofficial Six Day world championship. In the first night's opening Madison, Risi and Marvulli displayed the momentum which drove them to victory in Dortmund. The pair stole a lap, and led alone on the 'zero lap' with 44 points ahead of the pair of Robert Bartko and Iljo Keisse who had 25. Zabel and Lampater were in fourth place with 19 points with plenty of racing left to be had.
Rubiera without a team
Jose Luis 'Chechu' Rubiera is a name familiar to most cycling fans as the faithful mountain domestique who helped deliver Lance Armstrong to five of his seven Tour de France victories. Lauded by commentators for his selfless dedication to the team, Rubiera is now unexpectedly one of the last Discovery Channel riders to find a contract for 2008 after the team closed its doors at the end of the season.
"I still haven't decided anything because I don't have any offer on the table," Rubiera said in an interview published in the Spanish newspaper El Comercio and translated on his fan site, www.chechurubiera.info. "The disappearance of Discovery harmed cycling. A lot of riders are jobless. Jobs are very scarce. And salaries are not very good."
After 13 years as a professional cyclist, it's hard to believe that his career would come to such an abrupt end. "It's possible that this was my last season," Rubiera said. "Times are hard for us. Many are left without a team and the market is coming to an end."
Before giving up his personal aspirations to serve Armstrong in the mountains during the Tour de France, Rubiera was a champion in his own right. Two stage wins in the Giro d'Italia, two top tens in the Italian tour in (10th in 1997, 8th in 2000), and two in the Vuelta a España (6th in 1999, 7th in 2001) along with many high stage finishes and GC positions in other stage races.
After the retirement of Armstrong, Rubiera's role began to fade until finally, this season, he chose to skip the Tour de France in favour of his home tour, the Vuelta a España.
Now that Johan Bruyneel has taken over management of the Astana squad, he has taken several of the jobless Discovery Channel riders along with him: Alberto Contador, Levi Leipheimer, Vladimir Gusev, Benjamin Noval, Jani Brajkovic, Thomas Vaitkus, Sergio Paulinho and even director sportif Sean Yates. However, Rubiera, despite his solid reputation and strong relationship with Bruyneel, has yet to get the call up.
Rubiera, a graduate in engineering, could easily find a career in another field if his cycling days come to an end, but he hasn't yet given up hope of finding the right situation on the right team. "I am 34. It should be a team that would allow me to select my schedule because I have many stages behind me. Maybe take part in one long and several five-day races", Rubiera explained.
The rider from Gijón indicated that he would like to stay involved in the sport regardless of what happens. "I would also like to train young kids, beginners".
Signings official for Nicolás Mateos
By Antonio J. Salmerón
Wednesday was an intense day of signing contracts for the Professional Continental Nicolas Mateos-Murcia team. Several new signings were formally made public, including that of Alberto Rodriguez, the brother of Spanish national champion Joaquim Rodriguez. "The change has been very important for me," said Alberto Rodriguez. "This is the start of a very cool, new cycling project, especially for a rider like me. I have been in Continental squads for three years, and I think with the jump to the professional category I will have more opportunities to work, to compete and to demonstrate how much better I can do," he said.
The rider, who was born in Parets del Valles (Barcelona), comes from the continental Viña Magna Cropu. Rodriguez had high praise for his new professional squad. "It's the best squad for me now because I can race throughout the entire season," Rodriguez said. "That is the reason why I have been lacking so far, because I need a continuity in the competition that can allow me to get better results."
Rodriguez is looking forward to the Spanish stage races in 2008. "Vuelta a la Comunidad Valencia and Vuelta a Murcia," he listed. "[These] are very good for me and I can arrive to them ready to work hard and to try to give a surprise, who knows."
Javier Etxarri has renewed his contractual agreement with the Grupo Nicolas Mateos-Murcia for two seasons. His representative, Vaquerizas defined him as "a young rider with a great future." The 21 year-old rider added that, "I am very happy because this squad will have the opportunity to complete the season, but at the same time, I hope to start getting results." A fractured clavicle in the Tour of the Pourvenir with the Spanish national team, prevented him from going to the World Championships in Stuttgart (Germany).
Coming from the Relax-GAM, climbers José Miguel Elías and Julián Sánchez Pimienta are happy with their decisions. "I could not spend more time waiting for a firm proposal from my squad, after much uncertainty. I finally was convinced that I needed to find a new motivation in a new team", Elías expressed today to Cyclingnews.
On the other hand, Pimienta will be accompanied by his brother in the Grupo Nicolás Mateos-Murcia. "I did not have any complaints of my time at Relax. I worked very hard for my leaders, and similarly will do in this new team, but with the possibility of enjoying greater freedom to improve my results", the 27 years-old rider commented today to Cyclingnews.
Both riders are convinced that, "the Grupo Nicolás Mateos-Murcia management are preparing a highly competitive team and praised the spirit of ambition that is being instilled in it for 2008". In this sense, they said in addition that, "we will work very hard in order to win a 'wild-card' invitation to the Vuelta a España".
Vierhouten to Dutch Conti team
Aart Vierhouten has signed with the Dutch Continental Team P3 Transfer-Batavus, it was announced Thursday. The 37-year old had not been offered a new contract by Skil-Shimano, which wanted to add more Asian riders.
"It is an ambitious team. I don't see this as a step down," Vierhouten said to HLN.be. He added that he would be interested in staying with the team for a long time. "Now as a rider, perhaps later in another role. With this team we will soon be invited to ride Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne and the Brabantse Pijl."
LA-MSS squad complete
By Monika Prell
The LA-MSS team announced its complete roster on Thursday. The Portuguese team, formerly known as Maia Milaneza broke its relation with the town of Maia, showing the definitiveness of this decision by moving the headquarter from Maia to Povoa de Varzim. The team will even changes the colour of their jerseys from green to blue for next season to reflect the changed identity.
The composition of the team also underwent some changes, as the Spaniard Angel Vazquez (who will end his career) and the Portugese riders António Amorim, Pedro Andrade, Edgar Anão and Vítor Carvalho won't be a part of the team next year. Newcomers are Pedro Romero (Extremadura Spiuk) and Constantino Zaballa (Caisse d'Epargne).
According to ciclismodigital.com, the squad for next year consists of the following riders: Afonso Azevedo, Rogério Batista, João Cabreira, Pedro Cardoso, Cláudio Faria, José António Garrido, Bruno Neves, Bruno Pires, Pedro Romero, Xavier Tondo and Constantino Zaballa
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)