First Edition Cycling News, November 24, 2008
Edited by Laura Weislo
Landis' Federal case going forward
A new challenge to Floyd Landis' disqualification from the 2006 Tour de France is going forward. Landis' attorneys filed a motion Thursday in a US Federal Court. In September, Landis announced he would challenge the decision of the Court for Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which upheld the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) arbitration which saw him disqualified from the 2006 Tour de France for doping.
News that Landis tested positive for testosterone surfaced shortly after his victory in the 2006 Tour. He launched a vigorous, public challenge to the charges, but lost his case with USADA in September, 2007. He appealed to CAS two months later, but lost that case in June.
Landis was given a two-year suspension which ends January 29, 2009, but he was also ordered to pay $100,000 to USADA before he could begin racing again. He signed with the new OUCH Pro Cycling team for the 2009 season.
With his appeals in the normal sporting arena exhausted, Landis decided to take his case to the US Federal Court claiming that the arbiters who heard the case at CAS had conflicts of interest. The official motion was filed Thursday.
David Howman, the WADA General Director, told AFP, "There will be no compromise made," in the fight against doping, even though the agency has nearly used up the allotted $1.8 million to litigate the Landis case.
Surgery for Contador
Alberto Contador will undergo surgery Monday in Madrid on his nose and vocal cords. The surgery will delay the Team Astana rider's training for the upcoming season for a few weeks.
The operation will correct a deviated septum and remove a polyp from his vocal cords. He said that at some point this year he crashed and his glasses hit him hard on the nose. "Although I did not think that the bruise it caused was important, I have noticed certain breathing problems since then." he said.
The 25-year-old also said that for more than a year he has had problems with his voice and larynx. The doctors have found a polyp on his vocal cords which will be removed.
After the surgery, Contador must give his throat absolute rest and not speak for a number of days. "It will be uncomfortable and will also prevent me from training properly on Tenerife," he said. Team Astana is holding its first training camp on the island in early December.
Contador did not believe the surgery will hurt his preparations for the coming season. "It will perhaps delay me a couple of weeks but that is not important." He expects to have time to be well-prepared for his first race, presumably the Vuelta a Valencia.
Kohl's manager denies doping discussion
By Susan Westemeyer
Bernhard Kohl's manager has denied statements attributed to him saying that Kohl had discussed the possibility of using performance enhancing substances early in the 2008 season. Stefan Matschiner disputed the story which appeared on nachrichten.at.
"The fact is that Bernhard and I talk about lots of things. And in the beginning of the year we talked briefly and highly informally about doping in general and the new CERA drug for a quick time," he told Cyclingnews. "No question of should he take it or not. Not even thinking about it. Bernhard already said when he first thought about it and that was after Dauphiné!"
Matschiner continued, "I did not say 'you should not take it' then. That would imply a question from his side he has never asked! I just said 'I would not take it' but as I said, there was no question at that time and it was not an option for Bernhard back then."
Kohl is scheduled to appear before the Austrian National Anti-Doping Agency for a hearing concerning his positive controls for CERA from the Tour de France.
Winter wonderland tests 'crossers in Belgium
An unusually early snow storm turned Sunday's Superprestige cyclo-cross race in Belgium into a bone-chilling hour of suffering for the sport's top riders.
Belgian champion Sven Nys plowed his way to victory in Hamme Zogge ahead of Sunweb-Projob rider Klaas Vantornout. He was clearly fighting numb hands and slippery footing in the final laps of the fourth round of the Superprestige series.
"That last lap was more than I could take. If it would've taken any longer some would have been injured. This is a hard sport, but if you can win in these weather conditions then that makes up for all the efforts," Nys said.
Snow accumulated on the riders' helmets as they traversed a technical course which was a slick combination of thick mud and ice covered obstacles. Riders shook or slapped their hands as they came through the paved section in an attempt to get the blood flowing to their fingers.
Nys stumbled twice on the snow-covered stairs in the final laps, but with a 20 second lead coming into the finale, he succeeded in holding off a strong charge from Vantornout. Saturday's winner Bart Wellens (Fidea) rode a strong final lap to secure third place.
Cheers, tears as Meares claims top honour
By Greg Johnson in Melbourne, Australia
Track cyclist Anna Meares became only the second female to take the prestigious Sir Hubert Opperman medal at the Cycling Australia awards on Sunday evening. Meares collected the medal to a standing ovation by her peers, with the award joining the Female Track Cyclist of the Year and Scody People's Choice Rider of the Year awards she had taken out earlier in the evening.
"Thank you very much, I'm so honoured to win this award," said an emotional Meares. "I never thought I could win this thing, despite all the records the road riders are just too good. It is such a great honour to be able to inscribe my name on the trophy of the great Sir Hubert Opperman."
Earlier in the evening Meares brought a tear to the eye of all in attendance as she broke down recalling the emotional ride she experienced throughout the season. The South Australian-based Queenslander conveyed her gratitude to coach Marvin Barras and also her fellow Australian track team-members, who helped her throughout her recovery.
"I had a really long speech before because I never thought I could win this award," said Meares. "I think it would just be a fitting end to this evening if I could ask my teammates to come up here and accept this award with me."
See the full report, photos and a complete list of winners from the 2008 Cycling Australia awards.
Cavendish 'still bitter' about Olympics
British sprinter Mark Cavendish is still bitter about being denied a medal at the Olympic Games this summer, he told The Guardian Saturday. After winning four stages at the Tour de France, the Team Columbia star quit the race, giving up a chance to challenge for the green points classification jersey, in order to prepare for the Beijing Games.
Cavendish was due to race the Madison with Bradley Wiggins, a pairing which was successful at winning the World Championship in March. But while every other British track racer went home with a medal, Cavendish was denied when he and Wiggins failed to make the winning move and came in ninth place.
"I was pissed at Brad after the Olympics," Cavendish said. "But if he's made to train for four kilometres for sure he's not going to be good at 50 kilometres [in the Madison]. They [British Cycling] were all about the team pursuit. In training they would ignore me while they timed the pursuiters. They trained so much for that they forgot the Madison. Well, they didn't forget, they didn't give a shit. I felt massively let down and I'm still bitter now.
"The biggest regret of my career is quitting the Tour. I was fighting for the green jersey. I could have potentially won on the Champs-Élysées. I made a commitment to the track team and they didn't give anything back."
Boulder honors Slipstream with argyle bike racks
By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Boulder, Colorado
The mayor of Boulder, Colorado, Shaun McGrath, was in attendance at Saturday evening's launch of the 2009 Garmin-Slipstream team at the Boulder Theater. He began the evening's festivities with a belated "welcome home" before announcing that the city would be honoring the team's 2008 accomplishments with a series of argyle-themed bike racks to be installed around the city.
"We thought this would be better than a key to the city," said Mayor McGrath. The first rack will be unveiled during the city's Athletes Holiday Gathering on Sunday, December 14 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m at the East Boulder Community Center.
Members of the Garmin-Slipstream team along with some of the many Olympians that make Boulder their home will be on hand giving residents a chance to ride, run or just socialize with the elite athletes. Participants are encouraged to bring donation items to benefit local charities.
Check back with Cyclingnews for full coverage of the event and the team's first camp.
Gent track suits Beikirch
By Bjorn Haake in Gent, Belgium
German Andreas Beikirch put in a solid week of racing with his Belgian partner Kenny de Ketele to take third overall in the Gent Six Day on Sunday. The 38-year-old Six Day specialist who also races on the road for the continental team Sparkasse got a start at a young age on the short, tight tracks like 't Kuipke, and felt right at home.
"I grew up on tracks like this. I already raced in the sports facilities in Cologne when I was 10, 11, 12 years old," Beikirch said. So when asked if he needed to get used to a different track like the Gent, he turned the question around. "What do you mean different? You can interpret it that the other tracks are different... In my opinion, tracks like Gent or in the past Cologne and Bremen – the 166-metre tracks are the real traditional cycling tracks."
Beikirch also felt the spectators are better off. "It is ideal for a two-person team and the racing looks really fast. When you get back in, you don't have to try to get much momentum., because it is really steep."
There was another, more selfish reason for Beikirch to enjoy races like the Gent Six Day. "I like the short tracks and because of my height, they really suit me well." The 1.70-metre German said. "Racers like Robert Bartko have different difficulties there. But he is so strong, he can obviously compensate that with other means."
Better to know the quirks
Beikirch admitted that for safer racing it helps when all the racers are familiar with each others' styles. "It is better everybody knows most of the individual habits from the others. One changes this way, the other changes that way."
Beikirch noted his own individual behaviour. "I am known that I do sort of a little hook [when changing], but because everyone knows they can handle it."
Beikirch has been part of the Six Day racing for a long time and has won four of them (Dortmund, Bremen, Stuttgart) and it was that experience that led Patrick Sercu to suggest him as a partner for the up and coming Kenny de Ketele. Beikirch acknowledged that experience and having the eye for situations counts for a lot, but not all. "If you can't pedal, having the eye doesn't help much."
Beikirch thought he and De Ketele did a good job. "We were close to taking the lead on one day – we were missing one point." Beikirch prefers to go out hard and fight as long as possible, but acknowledged it can hurt in the end. "But that is better than riding defensively and maybe ending one place higher."
Sparkasse not affected by financial crisis
Beikirch rides for Team Sparkasse, which is a German bank. It has not been affected by the financial crisis, and rumours that the bank wouldn't sponsor the team next year were news to Beikirch. "That would be news to me. As far as I know they will continue, but it is possible there will be a co-sponsor."
Some of the riders are still negotiating with other teams, even though it is already late in the year. Beikirch acknowledged that some of his teammates had a good year and it was legitimate for them to look what else is out there. "We just have to wait and see what the roster looks like after the negotiations."
Beikirch felt it was hard to make predictions for next year, as 2008 was outstanding for the team and it may be hard to repeat." We won quite a lot of races. That we could take out the Sparkassen Giro with Eric Baumann was really cool."
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2008)