First Edition Cycling News, October 14, 2008
Edited by Les Clarke
Kohl positive confirmed
Team Gerolsteiner's Bernhard Kohl has confirmed that he tested positive for CERA during the Tour de France to team manager Hans-Michael Holczer. "I had a call from Bernhard Kohl and he confirmed to me that he had been told of the positive test," Holczer said. "The substance is EPO CERA."
Kohl finished a surprising third overall in the Tour and won the King of the Mountains jersey. His teammate and Tour de France roommate Stefan Schumacher also tested positive for CERA.
The Austrian National Anti-Doping Agency also confirmed the news. "It was our duty to inform Bernhard Kohl of the positive test. We got the information from the French NADA," said Austrian NADA director Andreas Schwab.
"On the one hand, I am really very disappointed that he tested positive, because he had a really fantastic performance in the Tour de France. On the other hand, I am happy that obviously the test proceedings have been so improved that they can find out more than expected."
Kohl cold not immediately be reached for a comment. The 26-year-old, who lives in Vienna, turned pro in 2002 with the Austrian Team Elk Haus. He rode for the Rabobank third division team for two years before joining T-Mobile in 2005. He transferred to Gerolsteiner in 2007.
His teammate Peter Wrolich told LaOla1.at, "I really can't believe it. I will only say something when there is proof."
Kohl had signed a contract for the coming two years with the Belgian team Silence-Lotto. In a press release issued Monday night, Silence-Lotto's management said that after being informed by the press of Kohl's positive controls it, "Immediately checked this information with Gerolsteiner's manager, who has confirmed it. If this information is confirmed by the official authorities, the team management will commence legal proceedings in view of immediately breaking our future collaboration with Kohl."(SW)
Holczer departs cycling, Gerolsteiner skips Lombardia
Having experienced possibly the worst week of his career, Hans-Michael Holczer, manager and owner of the soon-to-be-defunct Team Gerolsteiner, is leaving the sport entirely. He has been buffeted by doping scandals emanating from the actions of his team's riders; on Monday night it was announced that Bernhard Kohl had tested positive for CERA, the latest generation variant of EPO.
The 26-year-old joined Stefan Schumacher, whose positive was announced last week, as another Gerolsteiner rider to have doped during this year's Tour in a team that has always publicly indicated that its riders have competed clean.
It was also announced that the team would now not ride the last race of the season, the Giro di Lombardia. "I am endlessly sorry," Holczer told Tyrol.com. "This just shows how powerless and helpless we are. It is time for me to leave. I surrender in light of this criminal energy."
Had Holczer been successful in finding a new sponsor for the team next season before these positives were announced, it's highly questionable whether the company involved would have maintained any agreement, such is the current economic environment and the market for sponsorship dollars.(SW)
Moser, Simeoni comment on Armstrong's Giro plan
One of Italy's favourite cycling sons, Francesco Moser, has been quick to comment on the announcement of Lance Armstrong's intention to ride the Giro d'Italia in 2009. Speaking with La Gazzetta dello Sport, the 1984 Giro champion said that, "At 37 years old, to return to racing after three years of retirement is a choice that I do not understand, and it seems risky to me. Moser's skepticism could be seen when he said that, "It's as if I announced that I would go back to racing; it seems impossible. We can believe it only when it's clear that he'll be at the start."
Meanwhile, Italian national champion Filippo Simeoni, who was involved in a controversial episode with Armstrong during the 2004 Tour de France has also commented upon the participation of the Texan at next year's Giro. "It's curious that he is already 'safe to participate' and me, with the national champion's jersey on, doesn't yet not know if my team will be selected."
When asked whether there would be any uneasiness riding alongside Armstrong should his Ceramica Flaminia - Bossini Docce squad be chosen to participate, Simeoni replied, "Well, I certainly wouldn't ride with a spirit of revenge; I personally do not feel bitterness, hatred or revenge."
At the time of their stoush in France four years ago, long-time Armstrong associate Michele Ferrari was on trial after being accused of sporting fraud and improper exercise of the profession of pharmacy. Simeoni was one of the main witnesses in the case and the emotions of the case spilled out onto proceedings on the road. Initially sentenced to one year of imprisonment, Ferrari was later acquitted in the second degree by the Court of Appeals of Bologna.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of Lance Armstrong's comeback
January 18, 2009 - Armstrong announces start of Catlin's drug testing programme
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of Lance Armstrong's comeback
January 18, 2009 - Armstrong announces start of Catlin's drug testing programme
Riccò details released
AP has reported that documents released by the Italian Olympic Committee on Monday outlined how Italian cyclist Riccardo Riccò injected himself with the blood-boosting drug CERA the day before the start of the Tour de France. It was also revealed that Riccò had maintained contact with Carlo Santuccione since 2007; Santuccione was at the centre of the Drugs for Oil scandal that dates back to 2004.
Riccò was banned for two years earlier this month by the Italian Olympic body, CONI, after admitting to doping during the Tour de France. CONI reduced the doping part of the ban by six months from the maximum two years due to his collaboration, but it also added six months because Riccò had visited Santuccione, already banned for life by CONI.
Documentation shows that Riccò first contacted Santuccione via former team director Daniele Tortoli, and met with the doctor on June 8 ahead of the Tour. Santuccione advised him to take CERA the day before the Tour began, saying it could not be traced in anti-doping tests and the effects would be noticeable a week later. It obviously worked - Riccò won the Tour's sixth and ninth stages in spectacular fashion before testing positive on July 17.
Riccò also told the court that his teammate Leonardo Piepoli used CERA, although Piepoli later denied it in testimony to CONI. Both riders were fired by the Saunier-Duval team and Piepoli's case with CONI is still pending.
Riccò's lawyers were awaiting the release of the court files before deciding on a possible appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Final statements in Landuyt case
Sporza.be has reported that final arguments have been presented in the veterinarian Landuyt case involving seven ex-riders, including Johan Museeuw, Chris Peers, Jo Planckaert and Mario De Clercq.
Defence lawyers have called for the acquittal of the group, saying that although cyclists no longer protected by the criminal court may be punished this should not occur as they already have already received a suspension in relation to the offences.
The Constitutional Court found differently however, outlining that riders have to be punished twice, with Frank Vandenbroucke cited as the precedent for such actions. The man who recently announced he's aiming to make a comeback in 2009 received a sporting sanction in the form of a suspension in 2004 before being punished in relation to criminal activity stemming from doping offences.
The defence team in this case has stated that overwhelming confusion surrounding the facts means that the principle of 'invincible error' may apply. It is a legal term that has its roots deep in the philosophical arguments surrounding the upholding of the law.
It means that a citizen under law cannot be expected to understand the implication of a laws that are interpreted by different courts in an inconsistent manner. It's a legal technicality that applies in this instance to the interpretation of the Flemish Sports Medical Responsibility legislation.
Under the stipulations present within that law, the riders involved have already punished and therefore can not be prosecuted for a civil court.
Crédit Agricole finishes with champagne
Crédit Agricole's riders who competed in last weekend's Paris-Tours have celebrated the squad's last race with champagne, but not on the podium. Sebastian Hinault told L'Equipe that Roger Legeay and his men had a glass of bubbly in the team bus following the finish in Tours.
"I took it as the final race of the season rather than as a last course of a team," Hinault explained. "We spoke about it in the briefing and just tried to have fun." The team's best finisher was Mark Renshaw, who took 13th, while Hinault finished in 54th.
The 34-year-old Frenchman has spent his entire career under Roger Legeay's leadership - first with GAN and now Crédit Agricole. He has found another team for 2009 with a ride at AG2R. He'll join current team-mate Nicolas Roche there after the young Frenchman also signed with squad.
Hinault said that after the Tour de France, he, "Experienced two feelings: having to find another team while hoping that the team [Crédit Agricole] found a sponsor. It is a difficult situation." He said that he consulted Legeay and team management as he was deciding on which squad he would move too when it became clear that his current team was not going to be functioning next year.
Hinault's win in stage 10 of the Vuelta a España cemented his prospects with AG2R, as he explained. "My stage victory in the Vuelta was a clincher. I didn't think that when I won but then I thought, 'Naturally, you're safe'". He also outlined that the lineup of his new team may give him enhanced chances at riding for more victories. "I think I have a little more freedom to play my card at the finish [of races]. Until now, I spent part of my season [working] for Thor Hushovd. At AG2R, there's no real great sprinter."
The same surety cannot be guaranteed for all of Crédit Agricole's riders, however. "It is encouraging and frustrating at times... I know Patrice Halgand has not yet found a team," said Hinault. "I have not seen since its abandonment on the Tour."
Mancebo back in the big time?
After taking the overall title with a commanding performance in the Vuelta a Chihuahua, Francisco Mancebo could be back in the spotlight if contract negotiations with Rock Racing are fruitful.
With the US-based team of Michael Ball looking to continue a path of growth next season, should Mancebo sign with the team he could be competing in events such as the Tour of Georgia and Tour of California with the likes of Tyler Hamilton by his side.
The Spaniard, who has ridden for teams such as iBanesto and AG2R Prévoyance in the past, went into 2006 as one of the favourites for that year's Tour de France. He was excluded from competition by the management of AG2R just days before the Tour began after it was revealed that there was an alleged link between himself and the Operación Puerto case in Spain.
This prompted him to 'retire' from the sport. He returned to racing with the now-defunct Spanish pro continental squad Relax-GAM in 2007, although he was forced to find another team after the dissolution of that outfit following a torrid season of doping scandals.
He joined his current team, Fercase-Paredes Rota dos Moveis, for the 2008 season and may now be on his way to bigger things after several solid performances this year.
New US women's pro team announced
The creation of the LipSmacker Professional Women's Cycling Team was announced yesterday. Based in Boulder, Colorado, it will focus on competing in National Racing Calendar events next season.
The team will include elite U26 riders and experienced professionals, with Colorado resident Missy Thompson named directeur sportif of the squad. Thompson has 15 years experience in cycling, having raced at an elite level on both the road and track for the US national team and T-Mobile. "We we are excited to have a new national level women's team to fill a void in the women's peloton," said Thompson.
Interested category 1/professional riders should send a resume with an overview of goals and objectives for 2009 to Missy Thompson.
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.)
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