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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Second Edition News for June 5, 2002

Edited by Gerard Knapp

Cannondale founder Joe Montgomery comments on Simoni and Saeco

The founder and president of Cannondale, Joe Montgomery, has threatened to withdraw the company's involvement in professional road racing if ongoing investigations and events in Italy reveal that doping is endemic in elite-level cycling.

The American bicycle manufacturer has been one of the key sponsors of the Saeco-Longoni Sport Division 1 trade team in Europe since the mid-'90s. Its vision subsequently led the charge of US bicycle makers who now sponsor elite teams, with the perceived benefits coming from the publicity and credibility of providing equipment at the highest level.

However, Saeco-Longoni Sport has suffered a succession of blows in the past two weeks, principally due to team leader Gilberto Simoni failing two doping control tests, and then on Monday, June 3, the Societe du Tour de France withdrew its invitation for the team to compete in this year's Tour de France.

A further twist for Cannondale is that the stand-out performers of this year's Giro: overall winner Paolo Savoldelli, six-stage winner Mario Cipollini and debut rider Cadel Evans; were all with Saeco and/or Cannondale up until last year.

Below is the full statement issued today by Cannondale:

Gilberto Simoni of the Saeco/Cannondale team, to which we are the official bicycle and clothing sponsor, tested positive on two recent occasions for traces of cocaine. The first test was administered on April 24, and the second on May 21 during the Giro d'Italia. As a result of the first test, the Saeco team withdrew Simoni from the Giro. As a result of the second test, the team suspended him without pay. Yesterday, the organizers of the Tour de France withdrew the Saeco team's invitation to the 2002 Tour.

There is absolutely no doubt in our mind that we owe you, as a fan of professional bicycle racing, an explanation of our stance on drugs, on our association with Gilberto Simoni, and on our sponsorship of professional bike racing.

Cannondale and the other sponsors of the Saeco team are firmly committed to keeping drugs out of professional cycling. It should be noted that it was the decision of the Saeco team - and not the decision of the UCI or the Giro organizers - to withdraw Simoni from the race following the test that first revealed traces of an illegal drug. The team acted promptly and decisively, and we fully supported their decision.

Simoni doesn't dispute the results of the tests that found evidence of cocaine in his system. However, he absolutely insists in the strongest possible terms that he has never knowingly used cocaine. He is now working to prove how, without his knowledge, traces of cocaine entered his body. A visit by Simoni to his dentist on April 24 (the date of the first test) has proven to not be the source of the cocaine.

Since cocaine use is a civil crime in Italy, the Italian police are conducting a thorough investigation into the case and Simoni is providing his full cooperation. In the interest of fairness, and in the absence of any new, incontrovertible findings, Simoni's future with the Saeco team will be determined following the conclusion of this investigation. Of course, should it become clear that Simoni knowingly used cocaine for any reason, he will be dismissed from the team immediately.

When we first set out to make bicycles in 1983, we never imagined that our quest to build the finest possible racing bikes would lead us here. We are much more comfortable discussing the engineering merits of tube diameters and fabrication techniques than we are debating the technicalities of pharmacology and legal process. This is new territory for us, the proper path isn't always clear, and we ask for your patience and understanding as we try to do what is right.

What is clear to us is that our passion for handcrafting the world's most innovative bikes remains. We count on the feedback and insights of the world's top professional racers to help us constantly improve our bicycles. Our goal has always been to work with honest, fair-minded, drug-free athletes with the highest level of integrity. If future events or circumstances cause us to conclude that this isn't possible, we won't hesitate to reevaluate and possibly terminate our involvement with any individual or team in professional cycling.


Joseph S. Montgomery

Founder and President,


Tour de France film-maker dies, 53

The producer of the film 23 Days in July, Tim Sullivan, passed away on May 25, aged 53. Sullivan spent most of his career in the Australian film industry and made over 200 films, but it was his documentary on the Tour de France that was perhaps his best-known work.

The documentary follows Australian cyclist Phil Anderson in his attempt to win the 1983 Tour de France (won by Laurent Fignon). Anderson, riding for the Peugeot team, discusses his training and strategy for winning the TdF, while veteran cycling journalists John Wilcockson and Phil Ligget provide the analysis and day-to-day coverage of the race and its leading riders.

(Note: The film is still available on video. After a quick look Cyclingnews found it at the World Cycling Productions site for US$14.95, available in NTSC and PAL.)