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News for March 2, 2002
Edited by Paul Goldsmith
Vandenbroucke where to from here?
Perhaps the only good news in the Frank Vandenbroucke doping case, is that nothing further seems to have happened overnight.
There have also been no reports of VDB's dog kicking the bucket after it was alleged that the drugs found at VDB's house were for the pet.
For anyone who somehow has missed the basic facts of the events, Belgium cycling star and "bad boy" Frank Vandenbroucke is in trouble with drugs, again. VDB was arrested after the Belgium state highway patrol intercepted a French registered car for travelling in excess of the speed limit. For the pedantic among us, the car was doing 98 km/h instead of 70. The driver of the car, Bernard Sainz declared that the car isn't insured.
Police officers then examined the vehicle and found a plastic bag containing suspect products. (The "products" are being analysed, but Sainz maintains that they are for homeopathic preparations). Sainz has a reputation for being involved in the trafficking of sports drugs.
Sainz, who has never before buckled under police or political questioning, appears to have given up VDB very quickly. Which demands the question: just what does Sainz stand to gain by either abandoning VDB so quickly or if VDB is innocent dumping him in it?
The police were then very quick out of the gate, obtaining a search warrant for VDB's house, and making the search. Allegedly found at VDB's house were erythropoetin, morphine and clenbuterol. VDB was taken by police for a night of questioning, and claims that the drugs found in his house are for his pet dog.
Jean-Luc Vandenbroucke, VDB's uncle and former team director said that Frank's problems tended to stem from his peer group. He was never strong enough to say no.
"The drama of Frank, is that he was very badly surrounded. His entourage was always harmful to him. I deplore the choice of his friends, because it is them that have brought him where he is now," he said. Jean-Luc VDB directed Frank in 1994 and 1995.
"He had all the assets," Jean-Luc claimed. "If he had been able to profit longer from my advice and that of his father, he would not be in the trouble that he is. But he wanted to fly with his own wings. And here is the result," added his uncle, as quoted by the Belga agency.
Perhaps the last word, for now anyway, should go to the VDB's townspeople and his mother. In the small village of Ploegsteert where VDB's parents live, not everyone is astonished.
VDB's mother explained, with a very fatalistic streak, she had had her doubts when everything was going so well. "All seemed to be well these last weeks," she said. "Too well even."
"Each time it is like that," she added. "When all is too well, it is then that a catastrophe will surprise you."
Belgian press go for the kill
Meanwhile, the Belgian press have been very quick in condemning VDB. "Treason" and "Fatal error" screamed the headlines, as commentators showed no mercy to their fallen hero.
The La Dernière-Heure/Les Sports, a popular French-speaking daily proclaimed that not only has "VDB lost his employment, but, especially, the essence of little credibility from which he still profited".
La Libre Belgique said that the attitude of VDB was simply "suicidal". The paper's editorial regrets the waste of VDB's great talent. "Beyond the impression of a lamentable waste, there is especially a feeling of anger mingled with spite that prevails with the reading of this new episode - or epilogue - in the novel that is VDB."
Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws, devoted the first six pages to VDB's demise, finishing with, "this time it is definitely the end."
Rogge critical of Belgium and Domo
The Vandenbroucke controversy has lead to IOC (International Olympic Committee) President Jacques Rogge claiming that Belgium remains a hub for trade in performance-enhancing drugs. Rogge is a Belgium native.
Rogge claimed that the arrest of French horse breeder Bernard Sainz for possession of illegal hormonal products proves that Belgium is a center of the illegal hormone trade.
"The fact that Sainz was driving around here with doping products in his trunk proves once more that Belgium is and remains a hub of trade in this sort of thing," Rogge said in an interview with the Belgian daily De Standaard.
"We have to be very tough in fighting the doping problem. We have to get rid of the cheaters," Rogge said.
Rogge was also critical of VDB's old Domo team for not firing VDB earlier when he was known to be associating with Sainz. "A team leadership cannot tolerate something like that. If a cyclist of your team, for whatever reason, does not want to break off relations with such a person, you have to fire him. End of the line," Rogge said.
Rogge also said Belgian justice had to take more initiatives to fight the traffic in doping products.
"It is very sad that this case was set off by a coincidental traffic check I would have preferred that it was the result of a focused check," Rogge told the paper.
"It would be much better if justice would take more initiative on this, that there would be more actions against the traffic of doping products. Believe me, a lot more would be found," he added.
Danish track coach Kim Refshammer
Long time Danish National Track Coach, Kim Refshammer died Monday, February 25 of a heart attack during a morning jog. He was 46 years old. Kim had gone out jogging in the woods of Copenhagen before going to his daily training sessions at the new velodrome.
The bare statistics do not do just the justice to the efforts Kim made with Danish cycling. He took Denmark's track team pursuit to an Olympic bronze in Barcelona in 1992 and a Worlds bronze medal in Hammer in 1993.
Below is an obituary from US-based cycling coach René Wenzel, which sums up Kim's contribution to Danish cycling.
By René Wenzel
"What Kim meant to the Danish Cycling Union and track cycling, particularly in Denmark, can hardly be justified in words. He was responsible for the rise of riders such as Dan Frost, Jimmy Madsen, Michael Sandstod to name a few in addition to coaching numerous World Championship and Olympic teams.
Kim himself was a good track racer with participation in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal as his highlight.
In a season so important for Danish track cycling, Kim will be missed and difficult, if not impossible to replace. But the grief of the Danish Cycling Union pales in comparison to that of his family. Kim leaves behind his wife Jane and four children ranging in age from four (this coming Monday) to 25 years of age.
While they now have to cope with no longer having a father and a husband, I think I speak for everybody close to Kim when I say that we all feel like we missed a father, too. Kim was a guy with many friends, and a person who would go to great lengths to do any favour asked of him by a friend.
We have lost a really good friend, father and husband, while cycling has lost a great coach and a fantastic human being."
Cyclingnews expresses our deepest regrets and condolences to Kim's family and friends, especially his wife and children.
Condolences can be sent to:
Saeco's early season moves
Saeco (or the more correctly, and mouth-twistingly Saeco Macchine per Caffe' - Longoni Sport) have embarked on a testing early season program, and will field the same team in the Clasica de Almeria that is contesting the Vuelta Valenciana.
With the Valenciana finishing on Saturday March 2, the riders have to back up, with the de Almeria starting the next day. The team is Di Luca, Commesso, Basque rider Igor Astarloa, Alessio Galletti, Igor Pugaci, Andrea Tonti and Germans Joerg Ludewig and Torsten Nitsche.
Di Luca and Commesso will then ride the Vuelta Murcia in Switzerland, from Wednesday March 6 to Sunday March 10. While for the Vuelta Murcia Austrian Gerrit Glomser, Alessandro Spezialetti and Fabio Sacchi will replace Astarloa, Galletti and Tonti. Sacchi will be looking for his first win of the year after scoring numerous placing in the recent Tour of Liguria in Italy.
In the GP Chiasso on Saturday March 9, Flavio Miozzo as directeur sportif has selected Mirko Celestino, Damiano Cunego, Nicola Gavazzi, Cristian Pepoli, American Justin Spinelli, Australian Brad Davidson, German Christian Wegmann and Leonardo Bertagnolli.
All these riders with the exception of Celestino will also ride the GP Lugano on Sunday March 10
Bartoli to miss Omloop Het Volk
Michele Bartoli's press office has contacted Cyclingnews to say that he won't participate in the Het Volk this year because he had a flu last week. Bartoli's re-entry into racing will take place on Saturday, 9 March, in the Trofeo Pantalica in Italy
Cycling Australia calls for nominations
The Cycling Australia Athletes Commission is now looking for nominations for three women's representatives, and one men's MTB rep. The Commission is the representative body for all Australian cyclists, providing input to the administration of cycling in Australia on all issues of concern to members from the club rider right up to our elites.
Current members (Anna Millward, Sandra Smith and Shelley Kamevaar) can re-nominate for the positions. Former men's MTB rep, Cadel Evans has moved to a professional road cycling team and the position for a male MTB rep is open as a casual vacancy for one year.
Stephen Hodge, current Chairperson of the Cyclists' Commission, hopes that "anyone who would like to make a contribution considers nominating for the Commission. We have been able to provide direct input into many of the processes that affect cyclists, from the adoption of a sport-wide Code of Conduct this year, to simpler and better by-laws, Grievance and Selection policies."
The Commission is open so that people have a point of contact on issues that concern them and the Commission will transmit those queries to the administration.
The commission uses e-mail and telephone to keep in touch, and two regular meetings are held each year at major events. This reduces the time the Commission members have to commit to during the year.
The process of filling the four places available will be completed when the nominations are endorsed at the Annual General Meeting in April. The four new Commission members will join Brent Dawson (Men's track rep) and Stephen Hodge (Men's road rep) on the Athletes Commission for the next two years.
Nominations close Tuesday 5 March 2002, however Stephen Hodge is available to answer questions regarding nominating. He can be reached on fax (02) 62902762 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written applications should be marked "confidential" and sent
Go Mart team
Go Mart Cycling is back again and promises to be better than ever. After winning the US National Criterium Championship (Benjamin Sharp), the Junior US National Cyclocross Championship (Mike House) and several other big races in 2001 it will, however, be difficult. Especially, since two strong riders, Benjamin Sharp and Wes Seigler have moved on.
Team director, Craig Slaughter, thinks he has the replacements in Scottie Weiss (formerly of Zaxbys) and Peter Baker (former National Collegiate Road Race Champion). Mr. Slaughter actually thinks the team may be even stronger than last year. "In 2001, Go Mart Cycling was really geared to excel in short road races and criteriums. And we did! In 2002, we want to be competitive in some of the longer road races, too, especially since road Nationals will be in Tennessee. Scottie and Peter provide the balance the team needs. In addition, LeMond bicycles and Bontrager have come on board. This is a significant development for an amateur team to have equipment support of this quality. It is a testament to the quality of our program and will enhance our ability to compete."
The rest of the team from 2001 will be back, including 2001 Junior Cyclocross Champ, Mike House. "He will be a junior in 2002 as well, but he can already contribute at a high level. He is a comer and some one to watch in the next couple of years," said Slaughter. .
Go Mart Team Members
Northern California has a rich pool of cycling talent and a wealth of road racing. The newest addition to the NorCal scene is Team Spine, a San Francisco Bay Area-based amateur team with both elite and competitive level riders. Making its early debut, Team Spine gained national exposure with Rachel Lloyd's podium performance at the US Cyclocross National Championships in December 2001.
In what we hope isn't an omen for the future, Team Spine is the only Northern California team with a major medical practice as its flagship sponsor. In its first year, the team's focus will be on Northern California road events and National Calendar Races.
Team Spine Team Members
Senior Cat. 1/2
Women Cat. 1-3
35+ Cat 3
35+ Cat 4-5
Jose Luis Arana
Senior Cat 3
Senior Cat 4-5
Manager: Kerri Kazala
For more information visit Web site
SuperCup on TV
For those cyclocross nuts who missed the first broadcast of the SuperCup finals coverage, the Outdoor Life Network will give a repeat airing of the show to be held Saturday, March 2, at 3 p.m.
The 30-minute show is a highlight show of both the men and women's SuperCup cyclocross series finals race held Dec. 16 in Baltimore's Patterson Park.