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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for November 26, 2007

Edited by Laura Weislo with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

Slipstream team camp interview: Julian Dean & Timmy Duggan

Timmy Duggan is the longest serving member of Slipstream.
Photo ©: Slipstream Sports
(Click for larger image)

The 2008 Slipstream-Chipotle team will be unlike any previous year's team in that half of the riders are new, coming from the elite ranks of the European peloton. The other half is made up from a different kind of veteran – ones that have been with the outfit from its U23 developmental ranks. Cyclingnews' Mark Zalewski sat down with one from each background, as well as roommates for the week, during the team's first camp in Boulder, Colorado.

If one were to identify a priority mission for the Slipstream team launch camp in Boulder, it would be team unity. With half the roster replaced with what could easily be described as 'ringers,' the possibility of animosity and division setting in before one pedal crank was turned was a dangerous threat to the team. It is certainly not because any one rider was hoping this would happen, but simple human nature and heaps of academic research into organizational behavior spell it out.

Because of this reality, Jonathan Vaughters and his crack staff set out to create an atmosphere to quash any notion of a divided team. One way of doing this was pairing a veteran Slipstream rider with a veteran Euro rider – and like the Odd Couple, hilarity often ensued. But something else also occurred, the start of core relationships that would go a long way to making the team one whole unit.

I spoke with two roommates, Julian Dean and Timmy Duggan about their reactions to the camp a few days in and what they hope the upcoming season has in store.

Julian Dean comes to Slipstream from Crédit Agricole, one of the long-running, successful teams of Roger Legeay – and a program that runs in a complete opposite tone to Slipstream. "A team like Crédit Agricole, with Roger Legeay who has been directing a team for like 20 years, and he has a very exact, sterile formula that works well," said Dean. "The team runs well, and it's all business. But this is certainly a different method from that."

New team-mate David Millar recognized the effect this new tone was having on Dean, saying the camp was the rare moment he actually saw the Kiwi crack a smile. Upon hearing this Dean smiled again and laughed, before pointing out another key difference of this team compared to others. "I think the primary reason is because we are in an environment where we are speaking our mother tongue. You can't express yourself as quickly or as well in another language as you can in your native one."

"For that reason we are having a lot of laughs... and some beers!" Dean continued. "The time of year is good too, November. The next time we get together we will be more serious. But we are creating some stories now that will carry us when it is pissing down rain in Belgium."

Read the full feature here.

Astana riders in limbo

Riders on the Astana team are unsure of their positions after former Discovery Channel director Johan Bruyneel took over the team, bringing along nine riders to a team with 24 in the midst of a two year contract. In the Belgian newspaper La Dernière Heure, 26 year-old Belgian Igor Abakoumov expressed frustration with the management, saying that he hasn't heard whether or not the contract would be honoured or whether the team will solve its financial issues in time to gain a ProTour license.

"I have no news: [Marc] Biver is 'dead'; Bruyneel is 'dead'; the UCI was told to wait," said Abakoumov, who is hoping to have his future resolved soon so he can either take an available spot at Mitsubishi or remain on the ProTour squad. "I have a contact, it's true, but I prefer to remain in the ProTour."

Bruyneel took over managing the squad after this season's multiple cases of doping: Matthias Kessler was positive for testosterone, Eddy Mazzoleni was suspended after being named in the 'Oil for Drugs' scandal, while both Alexander Vinokourov and Andrey Kashechkin tested positive for blood doping. However, the exit of these four as well as Jose Antonio Redondo being let go for disciplinary reasons, the open spots still do not accommodate the nine riders brought in by Bruyneel: Janez Brajkovic, Alberto Contador, Vladimir Gusev, Levi Leipheimer, Benjamin Noval, Sergio Paulinho, Jose Luis Rubiera and Thomas Vaitkus as well as Chris Horner.

With the voluntary exit of Paolo Savoldelli to LPR and Guennadi Mikhailov to Mitsubishi, the team's roster is one rider above the normal team size of 30, and far above the minimum 25 required by UCI ProTour regulations. With the days counting down to the December 15 deadline for submitting contracts to the UCI, the riders are getting nervous.

Angry responses to Sinkewitz' claims

Patrick Lefevere
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Patrik Sinkewitz' most recent statements concerning his history of doping at various teams has met with denials and talk of lawyers becoming involved. The former T-Mobile rider gave a further interview to the Süddeutsche Zeitung this weekend in which he detailed his use of EPO as an espoir on the national team and doping while at Team Quick.Step.

The 27 year-old rode for Quick.Step from 2001 to 2005, and claimed that there was "systematic doping" at the team. He said that team manager Patrick Lefevere, "is a bit naive in a certain way, but that he didn't know what was going on? He must have known what was happening. He's been involved for 30 years, let's not fool ourselves."

Lefevere was reluctant to respond to Sinkewitz' claims. "I am tired of having to react to all the gossip," he told sportwereld.be. "It is always the same sources playing around. They never supply proof. So I have nothing to say to Sinkewitz's statements or any other gossip in a newspaper or on the internet. I have turned the matter over to my lawyers. They will react at the proper time."

In the newspaper interview, Sinkewitz further said that former German national junior coach Peter Weibel knew about his use of EPO while on the team, and did not discourage him. Weibel denied the charges according to dpa, saying, "I will let my attorney decide what steps I should take next."

The 57 year-old is currently recovering from his third heart attack, which he suffered three weeks ago. He was fired by the Bund Deutsche Radfahrer (BDR, German cycling federation) in May, after numerous accusations of doping on his teams during the 80's and 90's.

Sinkewitz also had harsh words for Gerolsteiner team manager Hans-Michael Holczer. "Personally, I don't believe a word he says. You only need to look at the team's history. Rebellin is filmed using dope – and he doesn't know anything about it?" He continued, "He doesn't have to throw Rebellin out – but can anybody really believe that he didn't know anything in the last six or seven years."

Holczer responded to the claims to sport1.de. ""I'm not angry," he said, "but this was all be explained – not publicly, though." He added, "I see a campaign to involve Gerolsteiner in the theme of doping. You can be sure, I am trying to get this cleared up." He would not say, though, who he thinks is behind this campaign. "I would rather not say anything about that."

Evans supports Peoples auction

Cadel Evans at the Tour
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Australia's Cadel Evans, runner-up in this year's Tour de France, will speak at a dinner auction in Shepparton this week to raise funds to support young cyclists via the Scott Peoples foundation. Evans, whose second place in the Tour was the highest ever achieved by an Australian, will offer up one of his prized jerseys for the auction, which is set to take place Thursday night, November 29 at Friars Café

Other Australian Tour riders, Simon Gerrans and Brett Lancaster, will donate jerseys from this year's Tour de France to the auction. Lancaster, an Olympic gold medalist, will offer a jersey signed by all nine of the Milram Tour team members, including Germany's Eric Zabel.

Other prizes include a dinner party for ten, a plasma TV, and a Giant OCR 1 road bike, which will be auctioned with all proceeds from the evening going to the Scott Peoples Foundation.

Scott Peoples was a gifted young Shepparton cyclist who was killed in a road accident near Mansfield in December last year while training. The Foundation was set up Scott's family, friends and fellow cyclists to promote junior development of cycling in regional Victoria.

The auction is being held in the lead up to the inaugural Scotty's Race. The 130km race on December 9 will start and finish at the Queens Gardens in Shepparton. A high class field of up to 200 cyclists will compete in the race.

Bookings for the Scott People's Memorial Auction must be made and paid for prior to the evening. Cost is $50 for a three course meal of which $25 goes to the foundation. To book phone Peter Newton on 58320175 or Chris Bell on 58213544.

De Rooij to tell his side of the story

Former Team Rabobank manager Theo de Rooij will break his silence on the Michael Rasmussen affair the beginning of next month. He will appear on the Dutch TV show "Spraakmakende Zaken" on December 3 to present for the first time his side of the story. De Rooij stepped down at the beginning of August with the team's agreement.

An independent report issued earlier this month on the Rasmussen affair criticized De Rooij's handling of the case. It found that he was right to have fired the Danish rider, but should not have allowed him to start the Tour de France with outstanding whereabouts notices, and in so doing, De Rooij "endangered the reputations" of the team and its sponsor.

Hunter wins prize for best South African cyclist

Hunter won stage 11 of the 2007 Tour
Photo ©: Cyclingnews.com
(Click for larger image)

The seventh edition of the Standard Bank Cyclist of the Year Awards Evening held at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg, South Africa yielded the expected results, with Barloworld rider Robert Hunter garnering the big prize as rider of the year. This is the fifth time he has won the award in the last seven years. One of the highlights of the evening was the auctioning of his stage 11 Tour de France stage winning jersey, won by the Colorpress head man Ryan Lotter. The funds raised will be utilised to assist two charities of Hunter's choice.

The winners of the various categories were as follows:

Overall Men's mountain biker of the year: Burry Stander
Downhiller of the year: Greg Minaar
Cross country rider of the year: Burry Stander
Most promising men's mountain biker of the year: Rourke Crouser
Womens mountain biker of the year- Yolandi Speedy
Most promising women's m/b of the year: Caitlin de Wet
Men's road: Robert Hunter
Women's road of the year: Cherise Taylor
Promising man: Jacques Janse Van Rensburg
Promising women: Robyn de Groot
Men's track: Gadi Chait
Women's track: Joanne van der Westhuizen
Mens BMX of the year: Sifiso Nlapho
Womens bam of the year: Sharlene Mc Gilvray
Men's veteran of the year: Andrew Mclean
Women's veteran of the year: Liza Vermaak
Special award for race that highlights SA to the world: Cape Epic
SA team of the year: Microsoft/MTN
Journalist of the year: Adele Tait
Photographer including TV of the year: Aubrey Coetzee
Physically disabled of the year: Gavin Kilpatrick
Road race of the year: Pick n Pay Cape Argus Cycle Tour
Mountain bike race of the year: Sani2Sea

Kashechkin's lawyer makes 'human rights' case

By Antonio J. Salmerón

The ex-Astana rider Andrey Kashechkin was 'hunted' for a blood transfusion in a surprise control that took place in August 1, when he was on holidays in Turkey accompanied by his family, the Kazakh's lawyer Luc Misson claimed in an interview with AS. "We have asked for a halt to the disciplinary procedure by two very clear points. One, because the [unannounced] controls by the national federations do not guarantee compliance with Article 6 of Human Rights: the right to legal defence.

"Also, the control took place during a family holiday, which is an interference in private life that can only be authorized by a public authority, not a private company," Misson named the case of an officer in the Court of Justice in Luxembourg who was subjected to an internal control, which came back HIV-positive. In 1994, the officer's case was ruled a violation of privacy.

Misson, who is defending the Kazakh rider who has complained that the current anti-doping system is illegal because it violated Human Rights, took the case in order to prove a point. He sees the doping controls as intrusive, and is undeterred by potential consequences should Kashechkin win his case. "The fight against doping has to be a mission of the Police and Justice system, rather than the Federations, or racing cyclists."

"I am calling for Human Rights, for the freedom of the individual to be respected. All doping must be fought by the State. There are 18 countries that have laws against doping. It is a business that moves about 8,000 million euros," Misson stated. "States should know these industries, see where the doping products are manufactured. It is the fight against crime and smugglers rather than condemning the weak," he added.

Misson acknowledged that he faces an uphill battle, expressing pessimism that they would win the upcoming case in Liege. "Perhaps the case is lost in Belgium, but then we go to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (France). There everything can change and create a precedent: the power to remove the federations to preserve the privacy of athletes. Everything has a defence. The athlete must be protected."

Herrada focuses on early season

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Jose Herrada, the winner of a stage in the Tour de l'Avenir and recent recruit to the Professional Continental team Grupo Nicolas Mateos-Murcia, is looking forward to the upcoming season on his new team, and hopes to start with a strong early season.

The young promising climber, born in Cuenca 22 years ago, left the continental Viña Magna-Cropu, where he made his professional debut in 2006, for the team of Ginés Garcia on the strength of that gutsy solo attack on stage six of the Tour de l'Avenir. Herrada was one of the frustrated GC contenders whose hopes were dashed by a large stage three breakaway. "I could not win in the general classification due to a silly escape, which forced me to focus on taking a stage. In addition, I finished second in another one."

Herrada success came despite his racing fewer than 20 days in the entire season, which he called, "something incomprehensible for a continental squad". "To win in the Tour de l'Avenir has been vital to improve my situation," he admitted to Cyclingnews.

In Cuenca, the cold weather is beginning to moving in, and Herrada expressed his desire to come to Murcia to train soon. "Ginés García said to me that all of us will train together as much as possible." Herrada knows that the hilly terrain of his local region is responsible for his ability to obtain goods results in the mountains, but is looking forward to improving in other areas. "I have to improve certain aspects, such as the time trial," Herrada admitted. His younger brother, Jesus, can boast of being the current national junior time trial champion.

Looking forward to 2008, Herrada said that he wants to have a strong beginning of the season. "I usually have allergy problems in April," he explained, and said he hoped to gain good results before then. The 22 year-old rider knows that the Vuelta a Murcia, in March, will be the first major appointment of his new squad. "It is more important to be combative from the beginning in order to gain a 'wild-card' for the Vuelta a España." In this sense, Herrada is optimistic. "We do not have clear leadership, but we are the same people who always are fighting in many races, and that also counts," he concluded.

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