First Edition Cycling News, November 23, 2008
Edited by Laura Weislo
Kohl expected to tell all Monday
By Susan Westemeyer
Bernhard Kohl will have his hearing Monday before the Austrian National Anti-Doping Agency in Vienna, Austria, and he is expected to tell all the details about his use of CERA before the Tour de France. His manager also indicated for the first time that Kohl had first discussed the possibility of using performance enhancing substances earlier in the season.
The NADA is expected to announce Kohl's penalty immediately after the hearing.
"Bernhard is willing to cooperate and he will tell about the how he got the substance and how and where he used it," his manager Stefan Matschiner told Cyclingnews.
According to Matschiner, Kohl actively sought out the product. "He begged the person for it and got it," he told nachrichten.at.
In his earlier confession, Kohl said that he took the CERA as a result of a crash in the Dauphiné Libéré, which led him to worry about his lack of results for the season and his ability to get a new contract for the coming year. Kohl was aware of the existence of the new drug earlier in the year. "We talked about it in March or April, I don't remember exactly, for the first time," Matschiner said. "I told Bernhard at the time, don't do it," warning him of the chances of getting caught.
In contrast to Kohl, his former Gerolsteiner teammate Stefan Schumacher has continued to declare his innocence and denying having used doping. "At the moment there is no suspension or investigation by either the German cycling federation (BDR) or the UCI," his attorney Michael Lehner told Cyclingnews. "There is nothing to stop him from getting a license for the 2009 season from the BDR or UCI."
He continued, "With this in mind we will soon have discussions with Patrick Lefevere over the validity of the Quick Step contract." Schumacher had signed with the Belgian team for the coming season, After the announcement of his positive controls for CERA from the Tour de France, Quick Step manager Lefevere said that he considered the contract for 2009 "void."
Columbia wants TDU win again
By Susan Westemeyer
Team Columbia wants to win the Tour Down Under again in 2009, "but we'll see with which rider," defending champion Andre Greipel told Cyclingnews. The German sprinter won four of the race's six stages last year to take the overall title.
He noted that Columbia will send a "very strong team" to the Australian race, and "that is very important."
Greipel, 26, said that he will try to win one stage. "Anything more would be great. The season will just be starting and it would be super to start out with a victory."
Lance Armstrong will make his debut at the race in January. What does Greipel expect from the seven-time Tour de France winner's presence? "It will sure increase the media coverage of the race."
Media out of love with Armstrong?
Comments made by Lance Armstrong in The Guardian this week sparked a negative reaction from the mainstream press on Friday. In the interview, Armstrong worried about his safety should he race the 2009 Tour de France, saying that directors of French teams had "encouraged people to take to the streets."
The statements led NY Daily News writer Nathaniel Vinton to muse, "One can't help suspect that Armstrong is using this stuff as preemptive spin to set the stage for an upcoming decision to back out of the Tour."
NBC Sports contributor Mike Celizic was less forgiving, and said Armstrong "looks like a drama queen on wheels" and called him a "narcissist" who is "clearly so consumed with his own self-importance, he thinks all of this nonsense simply has to be conveyed to a world that couldn't care less."
Even Armstrong's former teammate, Paolo Savoldelli, said before the interview was published that Armstrong "loves to stay at the centre of attention, in the limelight," but added that the American knows that he can still win. "He will be at the Giro but his objective is to win the Tour."
The criticism of the media may simply add fuel to Armstrong's fire. Astana manager Johan Bruyneel told La Dernière Heure this week, "Lance has always drawn motivation from anger and resentment. And I must say, while winning is fun, there's nothing more satisfying than winning when everyone wants you to lose."
Armstrong and his team manager Johan Bruyneel are scheduled to meet with the Tour de France organiser, the Amaury Sport Organisation, to discuss his possible start in the race next July.
Albert out of hospital
Cyclo-cross racer Niels Albert was able to leave the hospital in Herentals, Belgium on Saturday, where he had been recovering from injuries sustained in a crash last Sunday. Albert ruptured his spleen in a wreck during the warm-up lap of the Superprestige race in Asper-Gavere, and spent several days in the intensive care unit.
Albert's manager Christophe Roodhooft told Sporza.be that the rider had also sustained a fractured rib and was beginning to develop pneumonia this week, but prompt medication had cured the infection.
"Given the circumstances, things are going well for Niels," Roodhooft said. "He will now have a quiet week, and next week can begin aqua-jogging. That is the only exercise he can begin."
Roodhooft said that Albert will be able to return to the bike in about four weeks. "The season is not over, but the level at which he will return will not be the same as when he left the field."
Different kind of racing for Van Bon in Gent
By Bjorn Haake in Gent, Belgium
Leon van Bon is currently racing in the Gent Six Days, which is very different from what he has been doing the past year, when he raced as part of the Marco Polo team on the road in exotic locations around the world.
Van Bon acknowledged there weren't many similarities. "It is totally different. The only thing that isn't different is that we are on the bike, but the rest is different."
But he was glad for the opportunity with Marco Polo. "It was a great experience, I had a lot of fun." Van Bon valued not only the great riding that he encountered in Asia. "I met some nice teammates from all over the world."
But certainly the racing itself was quite an adventure that Van Bon thoroughly enjoyed. "I did some nice racing in countries I didn't even know there was any racing." It wasn't just any kind of low-level competitions. "The level of racing was pretty good and the race organisations were also good."
With all the positive memories, Van Bon sees a chance that he may go back in 2009. "I don't know, I am still thinking about it but the chances are good I am doing the same next year."
For now, he is focused on the Six Day racing, which he doesn't do too often. "It is only my ninth Six Day, so I think I am doing pretty good." Van Bon admitted that the unusually short track is pretty tough. "I don't think it is easy for anybody."
Van Bon is now getting used to the track and certainly enjoyed the whole event. "It's nice here, a really good atmosphere. It is fun to be part of it."
While Van Bon hasn't made up his mind yet about Asia, he certainly will continue racing. "I don't have big goals for next season, I just try to enjoy myself. I want to stay in good shape all year and be competitive."
Team Barloworld committed to its core
Team Barloworld will continue in 2009 with a roster similar to this year's. The team is adding just one new rider, Italian Michele Merlo. The team sees the departure of Enrico Gasparotto, who left to join Lampre, sprinter Baden Cooke (Rock Racing), and Christian Pfannberger (Katushya), as well as Moises Dueñas, who tested positive for EPO during the Tour de France and has been suspended.
The team nearly lost Barloworld as a sponsor after its Tour de France doping incident, but manager Claudio Corti convinced the South African company to stay on until they could find a replacement. Corti will use the coming year to focus on developing the young talent on the team.
"In the last two years we've achieved excellent results that could have justified us continuing the same strategy but we feel it's the right moment to make a change in direction," Corti said. "Knowing we have extremely talented young riders in the team, we've decided to give them a chance to show what they can do. In the past we've proved we can help riders rebuild their careers, but now we're going to focus our development skills and management experience to help our young riders emerge and be successful."
The British-registered team will again ride Bianchi bikes, with 16 riders in the 2009 line-up. The 24-year-old Merlo, a sprinter, will join the likes of John Lee Augustyn, Chris Froome, Daryl Impey and Geraint Thomas.
After his gold medal on the British team pursuit team at the Olympic Games in Beijing, China, Corti has high hopes for Thomas. "He will now focus on the road and we're convinced he can do well. He's an excellent team player and of a course a very good time trialist."
Veterans Mauricio Soler and Robert Hunter will remain as the experienced team captains. Soler had an unfortunate 2008 season, with most of it affected by crashes. Working on his recovery, he is determined to prove himself as one of the best climbers in the world, building upon his 2007 results as the winner of the mountains jersey in the Tour de France.
Other riders remaining with the team will be Stephen Cummings, Patrick Calcagni, Gianpaolo Cheula Francesco Bellotti, Felix Cardenas, Paolo Longo Borghini, Marco Corti, Diego Caccia and Carlo Scognamiglio, and Directeur Sportives Alberto Volpi and Valerio Tebaldi.
Riders will undergo medical check-ups in the second week of December. Their first training camp will be held the third weekend of January, and in the meantime, staff will plan racers' programmes.
Formula One's Webber struck while cycling
Australian Formula One World Championship driver Mark Webber has been hospitalised in a critical condition after being struck by a vehicle while cycling. The Red Bull Racing driver was taking part in the Mark Webber Pure Tasmania Challenge on Saturday when he was hit by a Nissan X-Trail near the convict town of Port Arthur shortly before 1 PM AESDT.
Webber was airlifted to Royal Hobart Hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries, according to local authorities.
"He was attended at the scene by paramedics attached to the event before being airlifted to the Royal Hobart Hospital," said Police Sergeant Jon Ford.
The Mark Webber Pure Tasmania Challenge is a multi-discipline charity sporting event founded by the driver shortly after he joined Formula 1. The event features mountain biking, kayaking and trekking legs over several days, with proceeds going to the driver's foundation which helps organisations like the Leukaemia Foundation.
The four wheel drive's driver is believed to have been unharmed in the accident.
Included in this year's field at the Mark Webber Pure Tasmania Challenge was Paralympian Michael Milton. Milton is a multiple gold medal winner at the winter Olympic Games who contested his first summer Olympic Games in Beijing this past August, where he contested both track and road cycling events.
The challenge is due to finish on Sunday in Tasmania's capital, Hobart.
Mathieu Heijboer of Team Cofidis is retiring at the age of 26 due to continuing problems with his right leg. He will become a trainer at Continental Team Rabobank.
Heijboer said on his web page, www.mathieuheijboer.nl, that he made the decision "with pain in my heart, but it is one which is probably the best for me." For two years he has been fighting pain in his right leg, which an operation failed to correct.
The Dutchman rode for the Rabobank Continental team in 2004 and 2005 before joining Cofidis in 2006. (SW)
Cyclist loses leg in alleged road rage attack
By Rosee Woodland, BikeRadar.com
A cyclist in Toronto has had to have his leg amputated after a row with a cab driver allegedly turned nasty. Police yesterday said the cyclist lost his leg after a cab reversed and pinned him to a utility pole.
It's understood people heard arguing before the sound of a loud collision and then someone screaming for help as a vehicle sped off. Police who rushed to the scene at 2:30am found the man lying in a pool of blood, with his right leg barely attached. His $5,000 cycle was lying nearby in pieces.
The 36-year-old later had to have the leg amputated at a city hospital.
Toronto police Detective Constable Paul Strangways told local paper The Star the cyclist had "a very long road to recovery." Strangways said. "He's still getting treatment for a fractured pelvis and eventually will have to learn to deal with a prosthetic."
The original call to police was followed three hours later by a call from a cab driver who said a cyclist had attempted to rob him at the scene.
However, after questioning the man for more than three hours, officers have since told local reporters that no robbery took place. They linked a Beck taxi with damage to its rear trunk, bumper and tail light to the crash.
Police said in a news release that Sultan Ahmed, 38, of Maple has been charged with:
Criminal negligence causing bodily harm
It is understood the alleged weapon described in the charge sheet is Ahmed's taxi.
Sergeant Tim Burrows told the Ottawa Citizen that Toronto police have charged motorists with using a vehicle as a weapon on previous occasions. "Common? Yes and no," he said. "We had a very similar case in 1995. It's not unheard of."
The incident happened on November 14, but because the cyclist had to undergo three operations and was heavily sedated, it was some time before police could get a clear picture of what happened.
Ahmed was due to appear in court today.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2008)