First Edition Cycling News, October 13, 2008
Edited by Steve Medcroft
IOC controls called into question
Positive doping test results announced last week have drawn criticism from many quarters, including the International Olympic Committee. After it was revealed Stefan Schumacher and Leonardo Piepoli tested positive during this year's Tour de France, IOC vice president Thomas Bach was highly critical of the sport and questioned the place of men's road cycling in future Olympic Games.
German TV network ARD revealed in its Sportschau program on Sunday night that the IOC concealed inadequacies and shortcomings in its anti-doping procedures during the Beijing Olympics. Details were provided that of the 4770 tests planned for the Games, 300 still lack proper documentation and results.
With WADA conducting surveillance of IOC procedures, an independent commission of observers filed a 50-page report on September 19 which outlined a number of aspects of the Committee's performance in this area. It was revealed that one hundred samples tested for testoterone in a Beijing laboratory were assessed as negative but not reported as such, contravening international standards which stipulate otherwise. "In the area of laboratory reporting, there's room for improvement," concluded the 10-member panel that included WADA members and Chairwoman of the International Skiing Federation, Sarah Lewis.
Another area seen as lacking was the enforcement of 'Athlete Whereabouts' documentation from many national Olympic committees. The report explained that 102 of the 205 participating national organisations in Beijing had insufficient or no information pertaining to where their athletes were at certain times. This comes despite the IOC requesting this information.
This is a critical part of cycling's attempts to catch drug cheats, with the case of Michael Rasmussen at last year's Tour de France the highest profile example of how the sport is using athlete whereabouts to combat drug use. The Dane, who was leading the race at the time, was sent home by Rabobank team officials when it was revealed his whereabouts could not be confirmed at various points in the year when he was required for out-of-competition testing.
Another area where cycling is certainly leading the way in the fight against doping, blood testing, was also a point of contention in relation to IOC testing at the Beijing games. The IOC sought the co-operation of the 28 international summer sports federations to conduct blood screening at the Olympics, with only four federations - athletics, cycling, rowing and modern pentathlon - agreeing to subject its athletes to screening in an attempt to reduce the incidence of blood doping.
With recent news of tests for CERA - used to catch both Schumacher and Piepoli - the IOC has agreed to re-test frozen blood and urine samples taken in Beijing.
Cyclo-cross elite disappointed in Ruddervoorde
By Brecht Decaluwé
Sven Nys won a three-man sprint in Ruddervoorde on Sunday to claim the win in the first Superprestige race of the season and his fifth victory in as many races; not every high-profile rider in the field was as happy with their own form as the seemingly unstoppable Nys, however.
Czech champion Zdenek Stybar was one of the favourites before the race in Ruddervoorde. The young Fidea rider took a good start but he couldn't follow Nys and Vantornout when they attacked in the third lap. Nevertheless the Czech kept leading the chase together with Niels Albert until halfway the race. Stybar started dropping back and was riding in seventh position with Bart Wellens when his tubular came off the rim. “I didn't have a good day; I couldn't get my pulse high enough. I'm disappointed but I'm not worried since I trained well,” Stybar told Cyclingnews. Next week the Czech is defending his title at the World Cup in Kalmthout.
World champion Lars Boom entered his first cyclo-cross race of the season in Ruddervoorde. Before the race the Dutchman explained that he wasn't expecting too much of the race. “My form is ok but I'm not expecting too much of this race. I'm proud that I can show off a great jersey,” he said. The Rabobank rider pulled off the hole shot but then faded away as the race unfolded. Eventually Boom finished in an anonymous 18th place.
After the race Cyclingnews caught up with the Dutchman and asked about how he looked back on his performance. “What can I say, it's as good as last year in my first race,” Boom said while stretching. “I started good and led the field but then I fell short in the sand and in the typical cyclo-cross skills. I need a couple of races to get that going again but I know that I would be at the front if it's a race with long stretches where you need a lot of power. Thursday I'm racing in Ardooie and then I should be performing a bit better next week in Kalmthout,” he added.
Basso to return to racing in Japan Cup
By Gregor Brown
Italian Ivan Basso seeks to immediately close his period of suspension in the Japan Cup, October 26, according to his Team Liquigas' Manager Roberto Amadio. The 30 year-old will be supported by four teammates as he makes his return from an Operación Puerto-related sanction.
"To win is not easy," said Amadio to Cyclingnews. "It is important for him to race immediately and detach from two years of training and thinking of work -- the result is not as important."
Basso was banned from racing on June 15, 2007, for his links with Spanish Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, centre 2006's Operación Puerto doping investigation. He admitted to giving blood to Fuentes and the Italian cycling federation (FCI) disciplinary commission served him a 16-month suspension. His suspension ends October 24 and the Japan Cup will be his only race in 2008.
Liquigas announced it signed Basso in April for two years. Despite his competition ban, Basso reportedly is training vigorously for his return. He simulated Giro d'Italia stages during the actual race this May and this month, he has completed timed tests on a velodrome near his home in Cassano Magnago.
Basso's preparations mark him as a heavy favourite for the Japan Cup. Finland's Kjell Carlström, Croatia's Vladimir Miholjevic, Slovenia's Gorazd Stangelj and fellow Italian Valerio Agnoli will support him. The team will send Stefano Zanatta as the directeur sportif.
The Japan Cup is in its 17th year and boasts past winners such as Damiano Cunego, Gilberto Simoni and Claudio Chiappucci. It is a challenging parcours that often decided thanks to the Tsuru climb near the finish.
Further investigations of Freiburg Clinic
T-Mobile Team riders may have continued to obtain EPO from the Freiburg University Clinic after 2002, and in 2006 riders are said to have traveled to the clinic for illegal blood transfusions, according to the German news magahine Focus.
The team and the Clinic broke off their working relations afer disclosures in spring 2007 that Doctors Lothar Heinrich and Andreas Schmid had provided riders with illegal doping substantances over the years, up through 2002.
Freiburg Public Prosecutor Christoph Frank confirmed to the magazine that there was evidence that the Clinic provided EPO to the riders after 2002. His investigators were looking into deliveries made from apothecaries to Schmid and Heinrich.
The prosecutor also said that he was looking into claims that "a number of T-Mobile riders made numerous trips in 2006" to the Clinic, "in order to receive illegal blood transfusions." Former T-Mobile rider Patrik Sinkewitz has claimed that he went to the Clinic afer the sart of the Tour de France 2006 for a transfusion, and it is suspected that at least some of his teammates did the same.
Frank said that he is invetigating whether such transfusions could damage the health of the athletes, and, if so, then he could file charges of endangering their health. This could mean that former T-Mobile team management members including Walter Godefroot, Rudy Pevenage, Mario Kummer and Olaf Ludwig could face charges of aiding and abetting in bodily injury. (SW)
Grabsch officially named DS of Milram
MILRAM veteran Ralf Grabsch, after announcing his retirement at a meeting of his fan club last week, has been named by team management as a Directeur Sportif.
"I am looking forward to the new challenge. This is a big chance for me and I can fulfil my dream of a career in cycling after my career in cycling," said Grabsch, who swapped the final year of his contract as a rider to become a Directeur Sportif for Team MILRAM. "It is difficult for a cyclist to put his bike in the corner for the final time. I might have been able to keep on riding at this high level for a few more years, but this is the best step for my professional future."
Gerry van Gerwen, manager of Team MILRAM, was happy about Grabsch' transfer into management. "Ralf was my favourite candidate for the post of Directeur Sportif. He is a loyal person, knows his way around international cycling thanks to his many years, and with his experience will enrich our sporting management team."
Grabsch grew up in Seegrehna near Wittenberg, and rode for a total of 25 years. His talent was quickly recognized by the sports authorities in the former East Germany and he attended the sports school SC DHfk Leipzig. After many years with this East German club he went over to the amateur club RG Hamburg in 1992 along with Jan Ullrich.
Grabsch, whose younger brother Bert won the World time trial title in Varese the end of September, then turned professional and from 1996 to 1999 rode for Team Cologne, which in 1998 became Team Gerolsteiner.
In 1999, the Classics specialist, who lives with his wife Doreen in Hürth-Gleuel near Cologne, made his breakthrough in cycling. After a season with outstanding performances, he transfered to Team Telekom where he helped his childhood friend Jan Ullrich win the Vuelta.
In 2003 Grabsch transfered to Team Wiesenhof. After three years with the second-tier German team, he returned to the top class and signed with Team MILRAM, for which he rode the Tour de France three times in a rown, from 2006 to 2008. At Team MILRAM, the Classics specialist was one of the team leaders.
Grabsch' biggest personal success in a MILRAM jersey was his stage win in the Bayern Rundfahrt in 2006. In 1994 he won bronze in the World Championships with the German four-man time trial, and finished second in the International Friedensfahrt behind his teammate Jens Voigt. Two years later, in 1996, Grabsch won the overall title in the Hessen Rundfahrt.
Vanendert to Silence-Lotto
Jelle Vanendert of Francaise des Jeux will ride for Silence-Lotto the coming two seasons, the Belgian team has announced. The 23-year-old turned pro in 2007 with Chocolade Jacques-Topsport Vlaanderen before transfering to FdJ this year.
Vanendert had hip surgery after a terrifying crash in the final stage of the Dauphine Libere when he fell down a ravine and went unnoticed until another rider crashed at the same spot. It was believed at the time that his season would be over, but he returned to racing at the ENECO Tour in August, and also rode the Vuelta a Espana. (SW)
New Australian Track Team announces roster and schedule
Dicker Data and Teschner Technologies Group has announced the formation of a new UCI Registered Track Trade Team to be known as HP-Teschner. The Team will take to the boards this season to compete against the strongest teams and their riders during the 08/09 World Cup Series and other selected races.
HP- Teschner's main sponsor and budget comes from Dicker Data, an Australian distributor of Hewlett Packard. Mr David Dicker the founder and owner of the HP-Teschner Team said today that he "is delighted to support the development of a new Australian based track squad."
Cyclingnews diarist Rochelle Gilmore and Peta Mullens will head the team into its first season. While Gilmore will make a return to international track racing in Manchester after some years focusing on the road, Peta Mullens will remain in Melbourne to prepare specifically for her 'home' World Cup on the 22nd of November.
Teschner Technologies Group (TTG) is the Team's principal equipment partner and will supply the team's riders with their full-carbon monocoque 'Teschner Track Pro'. The team will also ride Teschner's new carbon track wheel sets. TTG's CEO Peter Teschner said that "the involvement in the Team will continue to give world wide exposure to the Teschner products and allow development feedback as new products are brought to the market."
Warren McDonald (Australian Women's National Road Coach 2003-08) will coach and manage the HP- Teschner riders.
The team's full race program is listed below:
Columbia Track GP: October 2-4, Columbia
Cyclingnews online production editor required - Australia
Work on the world's leading cycling web site
Cyclingnews, the world's leading cycling web site, is expanding and is looking for a full time online production editor based in Sydney, Australia.
The position requires applicants to have a keen interest and thorough knowledge of competitive cycling, as well as editorial or writing experience with excellent English skills. The position will involve producing reports, results, photos and features from the world of cycling, so fluency in a second language is also an advantage, as is a familiarity with online production techniques, experience in journalism and attention to detail.
The applicants will need to be self-starters as the position involves regular liaison with production editors in all Cyclingnews offices. As Cyclingnews is a 24/7 daily news operation, the position will require regular weekend work. The weekend duties are handled on a rotating shift basis with other production editors, so the applicant must be flexible in their work schedule. However, the majority of work will be done during normal business hours on week-days.
The online editors will be required to have familiarity with online production applications (a good working knowledge of HTML and Photoshop are important skills) and could also be required to attend major cycling events in each region. However, the primary responsibility is the production of content for publication on the web site. Training in online production techniques can be provided to the right applicant, ability to handle the technical processes involved and an ability to communicate are required.
Please send your CV with a covering letter via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Cyclingnews online editing position - " in the subject line. Deadline for applications is October 15, 2008.
(Additional editorial assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer.)
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2008)