First Edition Cycling News, December 2, 2008
Edited by Les Clarke and Laura Weislo
Leogrande gets two years
By Cyclingnews staff
The United States Anti-Doping Authority (USADA) has announced the suspension of Kayle Leogrande for two years after it was established he used EPO during last year's Superweek series.
The three-member arbitration panel decided that Leogrande's admission of drug use during The Point Premium Root Beer International Cycling Classic on July 26 last year, in addition to a 'borderline' A-sample taken in that period, constituted grounds to suspend the Rock Racing rider for two years, commencing December 1, 2008.
The panel heard that Leogrande admitted to using Vicadin, Ventalin and EPO to Rock Racing soigneur Suzanne Sonye following an in-competition test by USADA. Sonye recalled the rider telling her that he had not slept well the night of the test, and when asked why this was the case, he informed her that he had used the prohibited blood-boosting substance.
Evidence also emerged that Leogrande had put soap on his wrist prior to entering the doping control station and that, while giving his sample, he put some of the soap into the stream of his urine, thinking the soap "would f*** up the test." This came after the 31-year-old had asked Sonye where testosterone patches could be bought, as the testosterone gel he had earlier tried had not been as effective as he had hoped.
The panel learned that then-Rock Racing directeur sportif Frankie Andreu was informed of Leogrande's admission by Sonye, and he praised her for doing so. He then spoke with other team management and told them of the situation, outlining the need to terminate the rider's contract based on his admissions. Instead, he was suspended for two weeks after which time he could continue racing.
The court stated, "No one within the Rock Racing management questioned whether Respondent [Leogrande] had used EPO. The only debate was what to do about it. Management determined that it would not terminate Respondent, but instead wait until Respondent received his doping control results from Super Week before making that decision."
Andreu parted ways with the team earlier this year and told Cyclingnews at the time that, "Before Christmas they made some business strategy decisions with me and other members, and that made it obvious to me where they were heading. Since then I was left out of the majority decisions."
It's damning evidence for the team, with team owner Michael Ball coming under fire on occasion for signing riders and staff with dubious records in relation to doping infractions. The latest chapter in this came with the announcement that former T-Mobile soigneur and advisor Rudy Pevenage would have an involvement with the squad next year.
USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart was pleased with the outcome of the hearing, and stated afterwards, "All those who value clean sport should be encouraged by this decision and by those who voluntarily come forward with reliable evidence, placing their trust in USADA, to aggressively pursue those who will cheat their fellow competitors by using prohibited drugs."
Astana trains in Tenerife
The Astana team arrived in Tenerife on Monday for its first training camp ahead of the 2009 season. Sporza reported that it's the first occasion 'new' recruit Lance Armstrong has turned out for the squad, after earlier announcing his intention to return to France for next year's Tour.
The 37-year-old American has expressed his satisfaction in the Tour's management, part of the reason he has decided to ride the year's second Grand Tour after having raced the Giro d'Italia. "I have confidence in the new leadership of the Tour," Armstrong told reporters in Tenerife. "In the Tour, I will do my job for the team."
Following an operation last week, Alberto Contador was also present at the team's training camp and seemed in high spirits, praising Armstrong's decision to ride the Tour. "His vast experience will help us," said the Spaniard. "It's unclear what his current form is like, but he will make us better. He is very important for the Tour."
Contador reiterated that his main goal for 2009 will be the Tour, possibly putting to rest claims that Armstrong's arrival may have begun a rift between the prodigiously talented Spaniard and Astana team management. It appeared as though Contador could have been resistant to the American's comeback as resources and focus may have been diverted away from his bid for a second title in France.
It now appears that the 37-year-old will be a domestique at the Tour – albeit with massive star value attached, more befitting of a team captain. This was reflected in his statement, "During the Tour I'll do my best for Astana," made before heading out for a ride with the team.
Hoy 'VIP freight' in Bangkok
Britain's multiple Olympic Champion Chris Hoy is not only fast on his bike on the track, he proved to be quick in getting out of Bangkok. He is one of the few tourists who has been able to get away from the Thai airport, which has been shut down by anti-government protesters.
Hoy, 32, and his girlfriend, Sarra Kemp, were able to fly out of the country thanks to the help of a long-time sponsor, DHL, the parcel delivery company. His agent, Ricky Cowan, told thescotsman.com that Hoy and Kemp were able to leave the airport in Bangkok with DHL's help. "They had a problem, but the guy from DHL got them on to a flight out of Phuket. They're in Singapore now." (SW)
Katusha adds another
Russian ProTour team Katusha has added Italian sprinter Danilo Napolitano to its roster for 2009, according to Het Nieuwsblad. He'll join Gert Steegmans and Robbie McEwen on a one-year contract to form a three-pronged strike force.
The team will be presented in Moscow later this month, and with the likes of McEwen, Steegmans and Filippo Pozzato already confirmed for next year's lineup, it's sure to grab plenty of attention in a place not recognised for cycling since the days of the Soviet Union.
Manibal appointed to CCA Board
The Canadian Cycling Association (CCA) yesterday elected race organiser Daniel Manibal to the board of the CCA during the final day of its annual general meeting.
"To be elected a member of the Canadian Cycling Association board is truly a great honour," said Manibal. "The support of the provincial federations is a great reward for the work and effort put forth over the past 13 years for the benefit of the sport."
In 2009, Manibal will organise three events on the International Calendar: The Montreal Womens World Cup and Tour du Grand Montréal (Québec) as well as Tour de PEI (Prince Edward Island).
Malaysian national team looking to Langkawi
The winner of the sprint classification at this year's Tour de Langkawi, Anuar Manan, will ride for the Malaysian national team at the 14th edition of Asia's premier road stage race in 2009. He'll be joined by Ahmad Haidar Anuawar, Suhardi Hassan, Mohd Noor Riduan Zainal and Mohammed Zamri Saleh.
President of Malaysia National Cycling Federation (MNCF) and Executive Chairman of Le Tour de Langkawi, Haji Abu Samah, said that, "MNCF's decision to absorb Anuar and Ahmad Haidar in the national team was the right one as the two of them are among the most talented riders in the country and their entry will strengthen the national team not only for Le Tour de Langkawi 2009 but also as a preparation of the national squad to compete in various sports internationally."
Held from February 9-15 next year, the Tour de Langkawi remains a 2.HC event and despite problems in recent years has managed to survive, aiming to solidify its position as a major highlight of the UCI Asia calendar.
Oregon Pro Cycling Classic returns
USA Cycling recently announced that Oregon Pro Cycling Classic will garner a top ranking on the National Racing Calendar in 2009, with race organisers looking to cement its position as one of North America's premier events.
It comes at a time when domestic racing in the US is suffering a slight downturn commensurate with the current economic climate in that country. Executive Director of the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association, Kenji Sugahara, is therefore pleased that the race can continue while others have found the going too tough to do so.
Sugahara explained that, "The Mt. Hood Cycling Classic continued to impress in 2008 and proved itself as one of the crown jewels of competitive cycling. With both epic courses and beautiful scenery, we are fortunate to have such an outstanding event in the State of Oregon. I am thrilled to see the race grow in 2009 to add even more stages and more excitement as Oregon cements its status as one of the leading states in bicycle racing, business, and tourism."
The race will add new courses showcasing the scenic Willamette Valley wine country and add a health and fitness exhibition, which will travel with the race throughout the state of Oregon. Oregon Pro will also expand its 'Pros in Schools' program that sends professional cyclists out to local elementary schools to talk to kids about health, fitness, goal setting, and bicycle safety.
For more information, visit www.oregonprocycling.com.
Davison to ride in Tasmania
Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania (SCAT) organisers have announced that multiple junior world champion Luke Davison will travel to Tasmania to ride the Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals. Davison, who won the omnium, teams pursuit and Madison titles at the junior World Championships in Capetown, South Africa, earlier this year, was also named NSW junior male cyclist of the year in 2006 and 2008.
It's another injection of young talent for the traditional sports carnivals, which boast the best fields for some years in 2008.
Now online: 2008 Cyclingnews reader poll
It's that time of year again... the 2008 Cyclingnews reader poll is now online. Each year, we give you the chance to select the riders, teams, races, moments, equipment and photos that have really stood out from the pack in the last 12 months or so. To keep things simple, we'll be asking you to vote from a fixed selection in each category, as well as some 'free text' fields, so the survey should take you less than 10 minutes to complete.
As an incentive, we'll be giving away a pair of Zipp's 81mm deep 808 tubular wheels on the new 88/188 hub to one lucky entrant... So if you want to fly Fabian Cancellara this Christmas, let us know your thoughts on the rider of the year!
(Additional editorial assistance by Susan Westemeyer.)
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2008)