First Edition Cycling News, January 15, 2008
Edited by Greg Johnson
Australian Anti-Doping Agency reveals Tour Down Under plans
By Susan Westemeyer
The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency (ASADA) on Monday announced its anti-doping programme for next week's Tour Down Under, which will see the event become the first to use the UCI's new biological passport system. The passports are an individual, electronic profile of each rider's blood and urine which will be used for all ProTour riders throughout 2008.
"Clean cyclists coming to the Tour Down Under can rest assured this will be an event where those contemplating doping will face greater scrutiny than ever before," said ASADA Chairman Richard Inges. "Through a combination of blood and urine testing, long term storage of selected samples and existing partnerships with border control and law enforcement agencies, any professional cyclist attempting to dope at this event will face severe consequences."
Measures will include blood profiling of every rider in the race. In addition, the agency will conducted comprehensive urine testing before and during the race. Some samples will be frozen so that they can be tested in the future. The agency also said that it would cooperate with the Australian Customs Service to help stop the possible import of any prohibited substances.
UCI president Pat McQuaid praised the agency's activities and said that the cooperation between the UCI, ASADA and the race organizers was a good model. "These initiatives to protect the Tour Down Under from doping are a demonstration of what can be achieved when international sport and governments work cooperatively together," McQuaid said. "UCI is absolutely committed to eliminating doping from our sport and we are pleased to partner with such a determined anti-doping body as ASADA to protect the integrity of cycling in Australia."
ASADA's role in the Australian sporting landscape has increased in recent times, with an increased focus on the issue of doping in sport resulting from a turbulent year in the nation's top ball sport codes during 2007. The agency also expanded its focus early last year by carrying out its first random test at a round of the national auto-racing series, the V8 Supercar Championship.
Carlino jailed in connection to Pantani death
Fabio Carlino has been jailed for four an a half years after being found guilty of dealing drugs and contributing to the death of former Tour de France winner Marco Pantani, the Pantani family's lawyer has announced. In addition to the jailing of the former disco manager, the Pantani family will receive 300,000 euro in damages.
The Italian cyclist had won the Giro d'Italia in 1998, the same year as his Tour win. Pantani was found dead in an Italian hotel room on February 14, 2004 having overdosed on cocaine.
Despite the closure that comes with the court's decision to jail Carlino, Pantani's mother Tonina is still searching for answers about her son's death. "There's still a lot of mystery surrounding Marco's death," she declared to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "First of all what happened between February 9, when my son bought the cocaine, and February 14, [when] he died of a lung and brain oedema. In those five days other people and other substances were probably involved.
"Why did they take out his heart during the autopsy, why didn't they take fingerprints and what about the marks on his body?" she queried.
The court's decision comes a day after news that the prosecutor of Forlì (Emilia-Romagna) would open a new investigation into the death of 'Il Pirata' based up on the supposed betting that occurred in the final stages of the 1999 Giro d'Italia.
"That is the end of the matter for now," family lawyer Danilo Mastrocinque told Reuters after the verdict was handed down. "We will see about the future."
Armstrong to lead Team Cervélo-Lifeforce
Cervélo co-founder Gerard Vroomen and Cycling Unite's Thomas Campana have unveiled the Cervélo-Lifeforce women's pro cycling team, which will be led by former Time Trial World Champion Kristin Armstrong. The former TEAm Lipton rider replaces Great Britain's Nicole Cooke at helm of the outfit, which was known as Raleigh Lifeforce Creation HB Pro Cycling Team, after Cooke moved to a new British squad for 2008.
"Our young team has made an impressive start in its first four years of competition," said Campana. "Now, the best women's team in the world will also be riding the best bike. After our first week with the Cervélos, I called Gerard to ask how it is possible that they fit our female riders so well, when they also fit Team CSC's men perfectly."
Armstrong's signing is a big boost for the Swiss outfit, which already features a solid lineup of women's riders, after the American had another strong season in 2007 in the lead up to this Olympic year. "I've been riding on a Cervélo for a while and it was one of the reasons I decided to join this team for 2008," said Armstrong. "My main goal is the Olympics and I wanted to make sure I have the best possible equipment there."
In addition to the squad's attraction as the top women's outfit, Cervélo's Vroomen says the teams ethics played a roll in its decision to increase its involvement with the squad. "But, it is not just performance that attracted Cervélo to this team," explained Vroomen. "We are a strong supporter of the most advanced anti-doping program in the world at Team CSC [the same tests now form the basis for the UCI's "biological passport"]. Going forward, we decided we would only support teams that have a similar interest in the fight against doping, which surprisingly, was not met with great enthusiasm by some of the teams looking for sponsorship.
"When I asked Thomas, he surprised me by explaining that his team had already been in a monitoring program from a Swiss Olympic-accredited lab for the past two years," he added. "It is not quite as extensive as Team CSC's program, [CSC's anti-doping program budget eclipses the total budget of Cycling United], but it is very impressive given the size of this team."
FSA, Vittoria, Zipp, Speedplay, and Fizik, like Cervélo, have all increased their involvement with the squad for 2008 and signed on for at least a two-year period. The team's co-title sponsor Skoda will also continue through to 2009 as the team's official car.
Team Cervélo-Lifeforce 2008: Kristin Armstrong, Karin Thürig, Christiane Soeder, Priska Doppmann, Sarah Düster, Emma Rickards, Joanne Kiesanowski, Patricia Schwager, Pascale Schnider and Caroline Steffen.
Martin gearing up for season
By Shane Stokes
New Irish professional Daniel Martin is currently building form in advance of his debut with the Slipstream Chipotle team. The 21 year-old climber will further his condition at the team training camp this month, then get his season underway in mid-February. Martin gained a contract with the team thanks to some good amateur results in 2007. His wins last season included the GP Rayol Canadel and Tour de Savoie as well as the points competition in the Giro della Valle d'Aosta and the mountains classification in the Ronde de l'Isard.
He is looking forward to starting his life as a pro rider. "It's great to get a contract, although it wasn't really a surprise," he told Cyclingnews. "It seemed like natural progression. I was pretty sure it was going to happen, so you just expect it, to be honest. It is more just moving up a level [in the sport]."
Martin was approached by Slipstream during the 2006 season but turned down the chance to go pro then. He felt that another year in the amateur ranks would stand to him. "I had only just become comfortable in the amateur ranks when they first started talking to me. I had spent 18 months suffering, clinging on the back of the group, then I started winning races. When they got in touch I didn't feel ready to go back to suffering again! I was pretty young too.
"It is good," he added. I think I have progressed a lot in this last year, to the extent that every race I wanted to do well in worked out. I said at the start of the year that I want to perform strongly in certain races and I got up there in each of them. So remaining amateur for another season worked out."
Although the team programme is still being finalised, Martin is likely to make his debut in the Tour of the Mediterranean, which runs from February 13-17. The Trofeo Laigueglia and the Tour du Haut Var follow later in the month, after which his next races will be confirmed.
Martin is a first cousin of Crédit Agricole professional Nicolas Roche, who also reports himself satisfied with his winter training. He has worked hard in recent weeks and will make his own season debut in the Tour de Langkawi race in Malaysia, running from February 9-17.
Liquigas announce TDU roster
Italian ProTour squad Liquigas has packed its bags and boarded a flight designed for Australia, where the outfit will contest its first event on Australian shores with next week's Tour Down Under. The team's nominated riders left its headquarters in Cecina, Italy on Monday for the South Australian event which gets underway this Sunday evening with a criterium in the city of Adelaide.
The squad, headed by director sportif Dario Mariuzzo, will spend 15 days in Australia during January, with riders expected to return to Italy on January 30.
This month's Tour Down Under is the first event outside of Europe to run as a round of the ProTour.
Liquigas for TDU: Valerio Agnoli, Michael Albasini, Kjell Carlström, Mauro Da Dalto, Murilo Antonio Fischer, Vladimir Miholjevic and Ivan Santaromita.
Delmaine to launch NZ squad
By Greg Johnson
Delmaine Fine Foods is expected to establish its own New Zealand national team in 2008, after the company was originally approached to be the Tour of Wellington's food sponsor - which came with the benefit of being a composite team title sponsor. Instead the culinary company's involvement with the sport, which was initially slated as a one-off, has increased to running a full national program, team manager Stephen Taylor told Cyclingnews.
"It was going to be a one off as Delmaine Fine Foods are a Fresh Foods Company that was approached to be a Food Sponsor of the Tour, one of the benefits was a branded composite team in the Tour," explained Taylor. "As a cycling buff myself I decided to set up a stand alone team to compete in the Tour. We have contracted a number of sponsors to the team and are currently working with another major sponsor that will help see us racing as a National Team in 2008."
While the team's final roster is still being discussed among team management, it has entered Robin Reid, Justin Kerr, Mark Langlands, Ashley Whitehead and Joseph Champman for the Trusthouse Tour of Wellington. Four of the team's riders will also contest next month's Tour de Langkawi - Robin Reid, Joseph Chapman and Ashley Whitehead with Justin Kerr also being selected as a reserve - as a part of the New Zealand National squad.
"We are looking at having a core of Elite, U23 and Juniors contracted to the team, who will then attend races around NZ," added Taylor. "So far we have had a tremors level of support from our sponsors and great feedback. A number of young riders approached me at our Elite Road Nationals at the weekend looking for an opportunity to let me know they are keen to be involved if possible. So the work begins to pull it all together."
The new squad will contest New Zealand's major cycling events, in addition to local club races. Some of the events it will contest include Taupo, K2, Armstrong Festival, Benchmark Series and Tour of Northland. The outfit is also expected to contest November's Tour of Southland, where it is hoping to have one or two overseas-based Kiwis play cameo roles in its roster.
LeTua appeal for help
By Jean-François Quénet
Cycling at two different levels definitely exists; while a continental team in France is not granted UCI status unless it proves to have at least a one million Euro budget, two full-time, qualified coaches and riders with declared salaries and insurances, cycling in Asia is not at quite the same level. In fact it's at the opposite end of the scale, but that fact hasn't stopped Malaysia's LeTua team from delivering international results.
After a strong showing in the Jelajah Malaysia last month, and heading into February's Le Tour de Langkawi, the outfit has appealed to those in the industry to come onboard and assist with its efforts to promote and grow talented athletes from its region.
While some teams it will oppose in Langkawi are supplied more than 100 bikes per year, LeTua doesn't even have a sponsor for its bikes. Riders use their personal bikes. "We, the members of LeTua, also buy one bike each for our riders," team manager Shukor Yassin said. "It would be nice if we could all ride the same bikes and also wear the same helmets."
LeTua was clearly the most popular team at last week's Jelajah Malaysia, with hundreds of LeTua fans wearing the team's T-shirts and cheering for the riders for seven days. Not only did LeTua rider Tonton Susanto win the overall classification and Anuar Manan the points competition, but Manan also claimed three stage wins out of seven. "But we are only a group of cycling enthusiasts," Yassin told said.
The team recently joined forces with the car racing outfit Meritus, with the aim of getting a better support.
Anybody from the cycling industry interested in joining forces with the Malaysian squad should contact firstname.lastname@example.org, where the e-mail will be passed on to the right people.
Online retailer partners with Lampre
Online cycling store Comobike.com has signed on as an official partner to ProTour Team Lampre for 2008, in what is believed to be the first major partnership between a ProTour outfit and an online store. The two Italian organizations have a history with one another, with Comobike.com managing the online selling of the squad's blue-fuchsia team merchandise, which has led to the extension of the relationship in 2008.
"Comobike.com is proud that they will be official partner of pro cycling team Lampre for the 2008 season where this world class web shop name will be found on the cycle jersey," said Comobike.com's owner Brent Copeland.
The 25 rider-strong team, owned by Giuseppe Saronni, will begin its season this weekend when the Tour Down Under - the year's opening ProTour round - kicks off on Sunday evening in Adelaide, South Australia.
Vitaminwater-Trek Cycling Team announced
Burnham Racing, a new not-for-profit developmental cycling program based out of Chicago, has announced the Vitaminwater-Trek Cycling Team, a collection of 16 elite-level amateur athletes. The vitaminwater-Trek Cycling Team will focus primarily on road competition, guiding its athletes through the ranks of the United States Cycling Federation (USCF).
In tandem with its athletic aspirations, the Vitaminwater-Trek program will also create a foundation of community involvement. The team has already established partnerships with World Bicycle Relief, an organization that uses bicycles to foster recovery and growth in poverty-stricken countries, and Chicago's Friends of the Parks, an advocacy group that helps protect the city's parks and preserves.
In 2006 and 2007, the former Team Clif Bar Midwest squad recorded 37 podium finishes and 113 top-ten results. Nine athletes from that program will continue their cycling careers under the Vitaminwater-Trek flag, including USCF Category 2 competitors Brian Boyle, Matthew Welch and Andrew Daley. Welch will also serve as vitaminwater-Trek's Director of Sport, coordinating day to day operations during the season.
"I look at our roster and the potential is extraordinary," said rider and managing director Eric Goodwin. "Despite this being an inaugural season, we certainly can't be considered new kids on the block. With Hickman, Loney, Smith and Fischer, we're adding over 60 years of combined racing experience. That type of veteran presence will be such a bonus as we strive to achieve great things."
Vitaminwater-Trek Cycling Team for 2008: Brian Boyle, Matthew Welch, Andrew Daley, Julian Baumgartner, Eric Davis, Joel Feinberg, Eric Goodwin, Jason Knauff, Jason Mindeman, Corey Hickman, Jeffrey Wat, Nicholas Gierman, Andreas Fischer, Timothy Hermanas, Matthew Smith and Patrick Loney.
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