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Photo ©: Schaaf

News for June 7, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Kelme situation delicate

With a month to go before the start of the Tour de France, the riders from Kelme are getting concerned about non-payment of their salaries, after the sponsoring company has been put into financial difficulties. According to reports in the Spanish press, the riders - including top men Santiago Botero and Oscar Sevilla - have not been paid for the last two months. So far, the efforts of team boss Pepe Quiles have not found a solution, and Sevilla and Botero have sent him an ultimatum saying that if they are not paid for April and May by June 20, they will not ride the Tour de France.

A possible saviour is the Generalitat Valenciana, whose president Eduardo Zaplana is a great fan of cycling. They are currently in negotiations with Kelme about finding a solution, but there is still nothing concrete.

Pantani loses his lawyer

Marco Pantani, scheduled to appear on June 7 in front of CONI's anti-disciplinary commission, will do so without his lawyer Federico Cecconi, who he has employed for the past year and a half. Cecconi stopped his relationship with the rider for a number of reasons, including when Pantani asked for the intervention of Italian president Silvio Berlusconi in the world of cycling.

Pantani has been accused of doping after a syringe containing traces of insulin was allegedly found in his room during the Giro d'Italia raids in 2001. If convicted, he faces a one year suspension. In addition, the case of Fabio Sacchi (Saeco) will also be heard on Friday. Police uncovered gonadotropin in a search of Sacchi's house earlier this year, which he claimed was for his pregnant wife.

Finally, Stefano Zanini (Mapei) will be questioned over a possible case of insulin doping, while Nicola Chesini, Antonio Varriale (Panaria) and Domenico Romano (Colnago-Landbouwkrediet) will be questioned in relation to the Brescia investigation.

CONI introduces new anti-doping measures

The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) has voted to introduce stricter measures against cyclists who are convicted of doping. In a summit in Rome today, a 15 point communiqué was agreed upon and signed by CONI, the Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) and other members of the cycling world.

If a rider is suspended for doping, they will have to spend a certain amount of time in active competition after they come back before they are considered for national and/or regional teams. In the case of U23 riders, this means that their transition to the pro ranks would be delayed. In addition, the criteria for turning pro will be much stricter, and the rider will have to be considered ready to enter by the team and its riders.

Team doctors will have to be certified by the federation and their activities monitored regularly by federation officials. There also will be more anti-doping controls, including a proposal to agree on similar anti-doping measures for all the grand tours; and more education programs aimed at the younger riders teaching them about the risks of doping.

Zakirov fired by Panaria

28 year old Faat Zakirov has been fired by his Panaria team after he tested positive for Nesp before the Giro d'Italia prologue in Groningen. Zakirov was in his first year with the team, and was one of two riders to test positive for the banned substance, which is an improved form of EPO but easier to detect. The other rider was Roberto Sgambelluri (Mercatone Uno), who has not yet been sacked by his team.

Cannondale VP wants concrete selection criteria for grand tours

A day after the Cannondale company founder Joe Montgomery threatened to withdraw the company's involvement in professional road racing if doping is proved to be endemic in elite level cycling, his son and Vice President Scott has weighed in with his comments on the Societe du Tour de France, arguably the most powerful organisation in cycling. Montgomery believes that the Tour should showcase the world's best teams, rather than heavily favouring the French domestic squads, which do not rank in the top 10, unlike Team Coast and Acqua e Sapone. Cannondale are a major sponsor of the Saeco-Longoni Sport team, which was refused its wild card invitation last Monday in the wake of the 'Simoni affair'.

"We think the Tour organizers are hurting the sport of cycling, and hurting mostly the reputation of the once greatest cycling event on earth," Montgomery said to Cyclingnews. "They should be encouraging the top teams to all come to the Tour. It would be good for cycling if the major teams were encouraged to do the Giro, Tour de France, and Tour of Spain. The team owners should know what the requirements are to come to the tour and it should be 100% technical merit versus this random picking of the favourite domestic team. The selection should rational and clear."

Currently that is not the case, with merit governing the selection of only the first 16 teams, but other criteria determining the remaining five 'wild card' squads. On May 2 this year, Saeco was the only non-French team to get a wild card, with Francaise des Jeux, Bonjour, Ag2r and Credit Agricole picking up the other spots. After Saeco's exclusion, another French team Jean Delatour was given preference over teams such as Team Coast (ranked 10th), Gerolsteiner (18th) and Index-Alexia (22nd). Note: Acqua e Sapone did not enter into the equation after the Paris-Roubaix snub.

Montgomery continued: "There should be a formal dis-invitation policy as well. How can you drop Saeco and not drop Mapei, what is the logic there? And finally to invite another domestic French team when they could bring a team with Savoldelli, or Cipo? All of a sudden the Tour de France has gone from the leading race in the world, from the World Cup of Soccer that invites all the best football/soccer players in the world to compete in open competition, to now a sort of local French event that is much less competitive and interesting than it should be."

"Frankly I feel sorry for the fans of cycling the world over. The Giro, even with the tragedies of Simoni and Casagrande was exciting and stimulating. I think the 2002 Tour de France with no Simoni, Cipo, Savoldelli is kind of like a French National event vs the Olympics that it has been and should be."

On Gilberto Simoni? "Just be sure that all of us at Cannondale have been deeply saddened and disappointed over the events of the Giro. We totally reorganized our team for 2002 to be competitive with Lance Armstrong, to make the Tour de France as exciting as possible. We thought Simoni could fairly at least give Lance a challenge - it would be great for the sport. We also thought Di Luca could make a run for the polka dotted jersey as well."

"We completely redesigned our new CAAD7 frame with the help of Simoni in the off season, we went to the Pininfarina wind tunnel to work on his time trialing as well. And probably the most frustrating thing is that we are uncertain of the right final step to take."

"It would be easy if Simoni had been doing lines in his hotel room before the race, that would mean certain and justified disqualification from the team and major tours. But Simoni swears he would rather die than be a cocaine user and from all the time our staff and engineers have spent with him it is very hard to believe he could actually be stupid enough to be using a terrible drug like cocaine which could not help any professional athlete succeed in cycling."

"So we owe it Simoni to let him prove his case, but in the mean time much of Simoni's season and the big tours go on while we sit and figure out what happened."

Sunderland and McEwen comment on Commonwealth Games non-selection

Two notable absentees in Australia's Commonwealth Games team announced last Monday include Scott Sunderland (EDS-fakta) and Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Adecco). In an recent interview with Cyclingnews, Sunderland said that "I'm not sure about the Commonwealth Games anymore. I've had a bit of a change of heart concerning that. Besides, the Team probably will ride the HEW Cyclassics on August 4, which will clash with the road race. If I'm going to be good that week, in some ways it would be better for me to be in Germany. It's been made clear to me that a podium place in HEW Cyclassics certainly would be more beneficial to my European cycling career than a medal at the Commonwealth Games."

McEwen did not make himself available for similar reasons, telling Cyclingnews that "I have withdrawn myself from the Commonwealth Games selection because it clashes with the Hamburg World Cup. They aren't on the same day (Games 3/8 and Hamburg 4/8) but they can't be combined. It is much more important for the team that I ride Hamburg as it is one of the few World Cups suited to my abilities."

"I would have liked to ride the Commonwealth Games but my professional commitments come first," he added, saying that "I'm looking forward to representing Australia at the World Championships in Zolder, Belgium in October."

McEwen is on the point of extending his contract with Lotto-Adecco, but is waiting for the National Lottery to renew its sponsorship. Apparently, they are not too happy with the way the Tchmil retirement was handled by the team management. McEwen has also requested for his friend Nick Gates to be recruited to the team.

Sprinters in force in Postgirot Tour of Sweden

This year's Postgirot Open (June 12-16) will again showcase a number of strong sprinters amongst the starters. The rider with the strongest palmares is Estonian Jaan Kirsipuu (Ag2r-Prevoyance). In recent years. he has been one of the most successful riders in the world due to his sprinting abilities, with a career total of 96 wins. In the Postgirot Open, he holds a record with his 20 intermediate sprint victories. He has also won stages in the race, the most recent one in Eskilstuna in 1999.

Nicola Minali (Tacconi Sport-Emmegi) who won last year's final stage to Göteborg will be back this year.Minali is one of few sprinters who has also won a World cup race. He has twice managed to win Paris-Tours, and he has stage victories in all the three grand tours. Minali is aiming for his 50th career victory, perhaps in Sweden?

Six time Giro d'Italia stage winner Ivan Quaranta will not make things easy for these two. He has one of the most explosive sprints in the world, but has recently been injured. He took part in this year's Giro d'Italia, but without success because of his injury.

32-year old Thorsten Wilhelms holds three stage victories in Postgirot Open since 1993. After that season he gave up his career in order to help with the family business, but his will to compete was too big. In 1999, he started to train again, and he was signed as a neo-pro in September and instantly won two races. Now he is better than ever, and eager to show it.

Other sprinters to watch for in the Postgirot Open include Saulius Ruskys, Steven de Jongh, Zoran Klemencic, Jo Planckaert, Tristan Hoffman, Jeremy Hunt and Julian Dean, who are all respected when it comes down to a bunch gallop.

Marlux signs Fukushima

Belgian division II team Marlux-Ville de Charleroi has signed Japanese rider Shinishi Fukushima for next season. Fukushima recently won the fifth stage of the Tour of Japan, and expressed a desire to turn pro.

Team Ireland setup finalised

By Shane Stokes,

Cycling Ireland have confirmed that the details of the new Team Ireland set-up in Belgium has been finalised, with the first riders expected to travel early next month to the base in Tongeren, near Liege. Eugene Moriarty is to act as coordinator for the Irish Sports Council-funded project which will enable Irish competitors to live and race abroad, gaining form and experience for international competition.

"The project will help riders to prepare for and take part in races on the continent," says Ciarán McKenna of Cycling Ireland. "The base is near Liege and is pretty central, enabling riders to compete in a much bigger number of races than was possible with the French base last year."

The emphasis is mainly on the developmental level (junior and under 23), although Elite riders will also be able to use the facilities which can cater for 14 riders at any one time. According to McKenna of Cycling Ireland, a pool of eligible riders has been drawn up (see below) but others who wish to be considered can contact the Federation's High Performance Group at 01 8551522 and apply for inclusion.

"We have a list of names but that isn't definitive," he says. "More riders may be added, while some of those names on the list might not be able to travel due to work or study commitments."

McKenna states that mountain bike riders will also be supported by the Team Ireland initiative, with funding available for them to travel in advance to major competitions in order to train and familiarise themselves with the course. "They will be able to go to an event a week or two beforehand and ride the course - if the Belgian base will be of use to them, they will be able to go there but at this stage we think that it may be of more benefit for them to stay near the competition venue."

Team Ireland Squads

Elite Men
David McCann 
Ciarán Power 
Tommy Evans
Paul Griffin 
Paddy Moriarty 
Tim Barry
David O'Loughlin 
Eugene Moriarty
Brian Kenneally
Eddie O'Donoghue 
Ray Clarke 
Martin O'Loughlin
Development Squad 
Mark Scanlon 
Denis Lynch 
Thomas Hogan 
Tim Cassidy 
Conor Murphy 
Sean Lacey 
Dermot Nally 
Shane Prendergast 
Stephen Gallagher 
Brian Ahern 
Conor Murphy 
Daniel Lynch 
Junior Squad
Paídí O'Brien 
Micheal Concannon 
Barry Woods 
Theo Harwick
Stephen Enright 
Frances Duggan
Nicolas Roche 
Sean Turner 
Andrew McQuaid
Ian Ormond
Geraldine Gill 
Tarja Owens 
Lorraine Manning 
Maria Reilly 
Debbie Booth 
Susan O'Meara 
Louise Moriarty 
Michelle Crinnion 
MTB Squads
Elite XC 
Tarja Owens (Female) 
Robin Seymour
Don Travers
Simon Loughlin 
Glen Kinning 
Oliver Grey
Lewis Ferguson 
John Reid
Philip Roche
Elite Downhill 
John Lawlor 
Glyn OBrien 
Andrew Yoong 
Colin Ross 
Ross Rosingrave 
Jamie Popham 
Jamie Scott 
Ben Reid 
Colm Bradley 
Niall Davis 
Development Track Squad
Elite / U23 
Paul Healion
Shane Prendergast
Eddie O'Donoghue
Peter Dunne
Ryan Hamilton
Tim Cassidy
Brian Ahern
Keith Bannon
Lorraine Manning
Louise Moriarty
Sara White
Gillian McDarby
James Lattimore
Stephen Enright
Michael Concannon
Paudi O'Brien

Paddy Sullivan passes on

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

He was one of life's gentlemen and particularly in the cycling world. Those who had the pleasure of meeting Paddy Sullivan who died last Monday will never forget the warmth and affection that he radiated.

Paddy in my opinion was one of those officials at the top echelon who just got on with the job. I had the pleasure of serving on national committees with Paddy who always saw the big picture and was always aware that everybody was needed to make cycling blossom and fulfil its commitment to all involved in the sport.

Literally he'll be best remembered as the Registrar of the Irish Cycling Federation. Anytime day or night when people called to get their licences he was on hand to facilitate them.

It was a niche that he settled in and every year when elections came around, he was the unanimous choice for the job. Like everything else in this world, change was taking place and with the advent of the Federation of Irish Cyclists back in 1988, Paddy's duties were taken on by the office staff.

Paddy greeted the change and took other duties within the cycling world.

He also had a deep passion for the development of junior cycling and in the late '70's forged strong links with the Gutersloh junior stage race in Germany.

He also commissaired (refereed) events and was a stickler for illegal advertising. "We have to protect our sponsors, there should be no freebies," Paddy always retorted.

Of course on the racing front, he'll be best remembered as one of the leading lights in the Raleigh Dunlop days, but the Junior Tour will always have fond memories of him. He was in at the beginning in 1978, and last year he was actively involved in the promotion before he fell ill, which eventually saw him depart the scene last September and ultimately his death last Monday which will leave a void.

To his sister and brothers and immediate relatives and a large circle of friends, we regret his passing. Their loss is immeasurable but we in the cycling world have lost a true friend and a wonderful ambassador to the sport. May he always be on our wheels?

Paddy was laid to rest in St. Fintans Cemetery, Sutton, Co. Dublin on Wednesday.

Ni beidh a leitheid aris. Codladh samh a Padraig.

USADA announces inaugural class of athlete ambassadors

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's (USADA) Athlete Ambassador Program has announced 10 Olympians to act as Athlete Ambassadors in its drug education program. Four Olympic medalists - field athlete John Godina, swimmer Tom Malchow, weightlifter Tara Nott, and speed skater and track sprinter Chris Witty, along with world champion and Olympic mountain biker Alison Dunlap, Paralympic medalist Cheri Becerra, and two other Olympians, biathlete Rachel Steer and cross-country skier and pro mountain biker Carl Swenson comprise the active athletes who will serve as USADA Athlete Ambassadors. In addition, retired Olympians Steve Holman (track) and Jimmy Pedro (judo) will also work with the anti-doping organization as athlete ambassadors.

The program involves current and retired athletes contributing to the USADA educational programs, as well as talking with groups regarding the dangers and effects of doping in sport, and the importance of ethics, fair play and integrity in sport. Each active athlete signed an agreement with USADA, and is subject to additional out-of-competition testing as part of the USADA Athlete Ambassador program.

Alison Dunlap, who won the cross-country world championship at the 2001 World Mountain Bike Championships in Vail, Colorado, has also won national titles on the road (1991), mountain biking (1999), and cyclo-cross (1997-2001).

"Athletes need to be more pro-active in keeping drugs out of sport," she said. "I believe that the Olympic movement has been tarnished by drug use and because of this I am eager to work with USADA to help them clean up and restore the innocence and magic of the Olympic dream."