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News for March 12, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones
Sainz detained in France
French horse doctor Bernard Sainz has been placed under detention again, this time in his native country of France. Sainz has been under investigation by French authorities since May 1999 for infringement of the anti-doping laws and illegal practice of medicine. His latest "scandal" in Belgium prompted the Parisian magistrate in charge of the investigation, Marie-Odile Bertella-Geffroy, to re-examine case, and she will hear Sainz next Monday.
In the meantime, Sainz will be suspended as according to French law he has not respected the legal conditions he was bound to: he was prohibited from meeting any athletes, from visiting any cycling races, to perform in any capacity as a soigneur, to provide athletes with products, and to leave France.
Nearly two weeks ago, he was caught speeding in Belgium with a car full of homeopathic products on his way home from Belgian cyclist Frank Vandenbroucke's house. Although after analysis, none of the products in his car were found to be forbidden, he still breached several of the conditions above.
The French judicial authorities are concerned about a number of syringes which contained traces of steroids that were found in Bernard Sainz's office during a search in May 1999, immediately prior to the Tour de France. Sainz has always claimed that the syringes were for his horses, and not for athletes as the investigators suspect.
Bernard Sainz's alias is "Doctor Mabuse", not the most flattering of nicknames. It comes from a 1922 film of the same name by German director Fritz Lang, which was followed by the "Testament of Doctor Mabuse" in 1933.
In the first film, Doctor Mabuse is a criminal mastermind who takes advantage of his friends and becomes very rich via his hypnotic powers. He plots to take over the world but is foiled at the last minute by the police, who surround him and take him to prison. In the second film, Dr Mabuse (who is now insane) exerts his control from his cell, where he masterminds several criminal plots through the writing of what appears to be gibberish prose.
The modern day "Doctor Mabuse" is 58 years old, and has been involved in cycling as a trainer and racer for more than 40 years. Bernard Sainz specialised on the track, competing in the 50's and 60's before a bad fall in 1970 forced him to retire. He returned to the peloton in 1972 as a trainer and soigneur with the GAN-Mercier team, and has worked with cyclists ever since.
In 1986 he was imprisoned for amphetamine dealing in the Six Days of Bercy, and has had a long and rocky history with the judiciary. He has always claimed that the products he supplies to cyclists are homeopathic and legal. He is also well known in the sport of horse racing, and has trained a number of winners.
He published a book in 1999, "Les stupéfiantes révélations du Docteur Mabuse" and considers himself as a practitioner of homeopathic medicine.
Verbruggen: VDB not suspended yet...
Contrary to comments in French paper Le Figaro last Saturday, UCI president Hein Verbruggen says that Frank Vandenbroucke will not be suspended yet. "I could never have said that," said Verbruggen to De Standaard on Monday. "We cannot suspend anyone as long as the procedure is finished. That would be against all our rules. If he wants, he can still race."
The Belgian cycling federation has not initiated any proceedings against him, and provided VDB finds a new (or old) team he could race again quite soon if he wants to. That leaves the small detail of the products found in his home by the police (Clenbuterol, morphine and EPO). These are illegal under UCI rules and VDB could face a six month (or more) suspension for possession, once the case is finished.
US Postal comments from Murcia
Colombian Victor Hugo Peña gave US Postal it's first win of the 2002 season, taking the overall classification in the Vuelta a Murcia. Peña's third place in the final time trial moved him in front of the other contenders, including the luckless Jan Hruska (ONCE) who crashed in the TT and had to be content with second place overall. The victory was the 12th of Peña's career and his first stage race win.
USPS directeur sportif Johan Bruyneel was happy with Peña's performance: "He rode a great time trial today," Bruyneel said. "Victor started the season in very good shape and entered the training camps in much better shape than he has before."
"Victor feels really happy. The first thing he told me after the race was that he was finally happy to be able to give something back to the team for all the confidence we have expressed in him. He was very frustrated about the season he had last year, when he was not able to prove his value to the team."
Bruyneel was also happy with Roberto Heras' performance in the TT - he finished 15th and caught and passed the rider in front of him for the first time in his career. The team's other Spaniard Jose Luis Rubiera was on track for a good result too, but crashed with 2 kilometres to go when he slipped on a white line.
Saeco without Simoni in Tirreno-Adriatico
The Saeco-Longoni Sport team for Tirreno-Adriatico (March 14-21) will not contain top gun Gilberto Simoni, who is not considered to be in good enough form to contest the "race of two seas". "It would have been nice if he could have ridden but his current form means he wouldn't be as competitive as people would expect of him in such an important race like Tirreno," said team manager Claudio Corti. "It's nothing to worry about of course, Gilberto's major objectives are later on in the season."
Saeco will be led by Danilo Di Luca and Fabio Sacchi, both of whom are in great form as evidenced in the Spanish races. They will be joined by Salvatore Commesso, Mirko Celestino, Alessandro Spezialetti, Cristian Pepoli, Igor Astarloa and Biagio Conte, whose head injuries after a crash on Sunday are not as bad as first thought, and he is able to ride.
Fassa Bortolo for Tirreno-Adriatico
While a part of the Fassa Bortolo team is setting the pace in Paris-Nice, another contingent of Giancarlo Ferretti's outfit will be strong contenders in Tirreno-Adriatico. The team of Fabio Baldato, Michele Bartoli, Francesco Casagrande, Serguei Ivanov, Dmitri Konychev, Roberto Petito, Rinaldo Nocentini and Gorazd Stangelj should perform well on GC with Bartoli and Casagrande, and in the sprints with Baldato and Ivanov.
Teams for Housatonic Valley Classic
The US Postal team heads the list of teams to compete in the 2002 Housatonic Valley Classic on May 19. The list includes American professional teams, and amateur teams from Europe, South America and the United States. A total of 30 teams of six riders will compete on the 112 mile course.
US Pro teams
US Postal Service
US Amateur teams
Trophée des Grimpeurs moved forward to May 1
The French climbing specialists race, Trophée des Grimpeurs, has been moved forward from May 5 to May 1, announced the organisers. The race, which takes place in the outer suburbs of Paris, was moved so as not to interfere with the second round of presidential elections in France.
2002 Turbo MTB Bike Team
Turbo Bikes team is an MTB team based in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. It is ranked as the best Mexican MTB team at the moment, and includes experienced elite riders such as Ziranda Madrigal (15th in the 2001 World's and 8th in the 2001 NORBA Pro series) and Salvador Barriga (16th in the 2001 World's)
Both riders will be riding in all the World Cup events, in four of five NORBA events and the World Championships. The rest of the team will be concentrating on the Mexican National series and some major North American races.
The team is directed by Manuel Youshimatz, the only Mexican cyclist to have won an Olympic medal.
Ziranda Madrigal (XC Elite)
Turbo Bicycles (www.turbo.com.mx)