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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

News for October 12, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones and Chris Henry

Edita Rumsas freed, Raimondas goes on the attack

Edita Rumsas
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

Edita Rumsas, the wife of Lithuanian cyclist Raimondas Rumsas, has been released on 20,000 euros bail from Bonneville prison, after spending 68 days behind bars. Edita was arrested on July 28, the last day of the Tour de France, when French customs officers found a cache of drugs, some of which were illegal, in her car. She was placed under investigation for drug trafficking and related charges, while her husband Raimondas, who finished third in the Tour de France, was the subject of a lot of interest from French authorities who believed the drugs were intended for him.

Edita looked happy and relieved as she left the prison, and was taken away in the Lithuanian ambassador's car. It was the fifth appeal by her lawyers for her release. She will return home immediately to Italy where she lives with her husband Raimondas and two children.

Raimondas has been questioned once by French authorities, on September 10 while in Italy. He did not test positive for any banned substances during the Tour, and denied that any of the products in Edita's car were for him. Edita claimed that the drugs, which reportedly included testosterone, cortico and anabolic steroids, growth hormone EPO and were for her sick mother.

Investigating magistrate Franck Guesdon does not believe that Raimondas was clean however. In an interview with, he was asked "Was Raimondas Rumsas doped during the Tour de France?". Guesdon replied, "We are perhaps in the presence of a racing cyclist who, thanks to doping, earned money dishonestly."

Guesdon also insinuated that the anti-doping controls during the Tour were not carried out correctly. "It is in the interest of some that they are not too thorough," said the French judge.

It didn't take long for the Rumsas camp to react to this, with lawyer Alexandre Varaut telling a press conference today, "In the interview which he [Guesdon] recently gave to a Swiss newspaper, the magistrate said very clearly that Raimondas Rumsas was probably guilty of doping."

"He hears him as a witness, does not put him under investigation, and in interviews pronounces judgments...It is a fact without precedent. He now has 10 days to show the proof of what he has said in the press," said Varaut, who filed a complaint for defamation today.

Four days in Belgium for TDF 2004?

The 2004 Tour de France will start in the Wallonian region of Belgium, with a prologue in Liege followed by three stages all starting in that region. The first stage will probably go from Liege to Charleroi, then a stage from Charleroi to Namur, and finally a stage starting in Waterloo and crossing the Belgian border into France. A budget of 2.3 million euro will be used to organise these stages.

Ben Day signs for Carvalhelhos-Boavista

Australian cyclist Ben Day has signed for the Portuguese Division II team Carvalhelhos-Boavista for 2003. The team races in Portugal, Spain and France and was one of the most successful Portuguese teams in 2002. This year Day rode for another Division II team, Matesica-Aboboda.

Sandra Missbach signs for Farm Frites-Hartol

German rider Sandra Missbach will ride for Team Farm Frites-Hartol in 2003. She will be the second rider after Christa Pirard to make the step from Team Ton van Bemmelen Sports-Novilon. The 24 year old won the Ronde rond het Ronostrand and the Parel van de Veluwe this season, of her total of four wins. She also rode as a guest rider with Farm Frites Hartol in a few stage races.

Missbach has a contract for one year, with an option for a second year, the same as Pirard.

The Tasmanian Connection in Herald Sun Tour 2002

By Rod Morris

Five Tasmanian riders have qualified for a start in the 51st Herald Sun Tour, which takes place from October 18-27. Two of the Tassie riders - Sean Sullivan and Nathan Clarke - will line-up in the Carlton Midstrength team, which includes a strong Apple Isle back-up crew.

Devonport man, Rick Martin, who has accompanied 15 previous Herald Sun Tours, will act as manager for the Carlton Midstrength team, while Nathan's father, Dennis Clarke, who is president of the Latrobe Bicycle Race Club, is team mechanic and former rider Peter Philp, will act as masseur. Philp is now based at Werribee in Victoria, but is contemplating a return to Tasmania.

Sullivan and Clarke, both 24, have just returned from a six month stint in Europe, where they raced with a strong amateur team [Bloks Nijdam] and gained plenty of personal success. Joining them in the Carlton Midstrength team will be Belgian Elite National Champion Bart Heirewegh, his compatriot Danny In't Ven and Lithuanian, Mindaugas Goncaras.

Clarke won the Sprint Championship in last year's Herald Sun Tour, while Sullivan is expected to shine in the corresponding Criterium Championship.

Fellow Tasmanians, Karl Menzies, Caleb Manion and Bernard Sulzberger will also make their mark on the Herald Sun Tour. Menzies and Manion will ride for the City of Melbourne team, which in fact is under the banner of the UCI trade team, Team Cologne. Manion has also just returned from Europe and his teammates next week will include Victorians, Joel Pearson and James Taylor and German rider Heiko Szonn.

Sulzberger has been enlisted in the Australian Institute of Sport team, which will represent VicRoads, one of the tour's major sponsors. Sulzberger's teammates will include a trio of Queenslanders, Ashley Huthinson, Jonathon Cantwell and Aaron Kemps, who won last year's Latrobe Wheelrace and talented Victorian, Lee Godfrey.

The 10 day, 12 stage Herald Sun Tour will start in Melbourne City next Friday with a 40 minute criterium before venturing clockwise around Victoria over 1028 km. The race will include two double stage days, 103 intermediate sprints and 29 hill climbs, including a penultimate climb up the tough Mt Baw Baw - a stage some riders are already describing as "Hell on Earth."

The Herald Sun Tour has been upgraded a 2.3 category by the sport's world governing body, the UCI and will include 35 international riders from 14 different countries and 45 Australians. There will also be $120,000 prizemoney on offer to keep the riders more than a little bit interested.

Tour de Langkawi upgraded to 2.2

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

Tour de France's Jean Marie Leblanc and Telekom Malaysia Le Tour de Langkawi's Datuk Wan Lokman have one agenda, and that is the success of their respective tours. Admittedly LTDL, which first saw the light of day in 1996, is only in its infancy compared to le Tour, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year.

The world and its oyster knows about Le Tour but LTDL is an Asian event, and in that part of the globe it is fast becoming well known thanks to the efforts of Datuk wan Lokman and his organisation First Cartel which is based in Kuala Lumpur.

In the last few days, the Professional Cycling Council of the Union Cycliste Internationale at it's meeting in Zolder Belgium has upgraded the Malaysian stage race from 2.3 to 2.2. This makes the Telekom Malaysia Le Tour de Langkawi the highest ranked cycling event outside Europe, comparable to the Tours of Germany, Portugal, and Sweden.

Since its inception in 1996, Le Tour de Langkawi has grown in stature and in 1998 when Alan Rushton and his London based Sport for Television Company came on board as the Technical Operators, the event simply moved up a gear and has continued that upward trend which surely made the upgrading a formality.

Of course the support of the Malaysian Government and its Prime Minister Dato' Seri Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamad has been the key to its success. In addition the extremely high level of organisation and the continued investment in the event by its main sponsor Telekom Malaysia and supporting sponsors, Malaysian Airlines, Petronas, Gamuda, Proton cars have contributed greatly. The race now attracts top cycling teams in the world, proof of the stature of this race on the calendar.

It is also recognition of the investment that First Cartel is putting into the television coverage of the event that now has live broadcast for 2 hours every day.

According to Race Director Pat McQuaid "this is terrific news for the Tour de Langkawi and a recognition of the continued effort of Datuk Wan Lokman, Race Organiser to achieve the highest levels. It is likewise a huge boost to cycling in Asia and will have a very positive effect on the promotion of the sport in the region."

Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series Round 2

The Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series picks up with Round Two at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester, MA on October 13, 2002. Multiple National Champions will be on the start line for this round of the Verge Series. Round One winner Mark Gullickson looks to defend his Verge Series leader's jersey with the help of his Mongoose/Hyundai teammate Todd Wells who will be flying the red, white and blue of the U.S. National Cyclo-Cross Champion's jersey.

Meanwhile, last week's runner-up Jonathan Page (Richard Sachs) will be trying to go one spot better in one of his final U.S appearances before he heads back to Switzerland for the European 'cross circuit.

Like Gullickson, former two-time US National Champion Mark McCormack of Saturn will also bring help in defending his 2001 overall Verge Series title in the form of his brother (and Saturn teammate) Frank McCormack.

They'll all be challenged by Jonny Sundt (K2 Bikes), the reigning (and 5 time) Canadian National Champion Peter Wedge (Kona), U.S. U23 National Cyclo-Cross Champion Adam Craig (Giant), New England Favourite Johs Huseby (Independent Fabrications), and the Clif Bar team of Jackson Stewart, Dave Wyandt, and Andy Jacques-Maynes.

Mary McConnelough (Seven Cycles) won round one going away. She should have more of a battle on her hands in Gloucester, thanks to the California duo of Carmen D'Alusio and Gina Hall flying of Team Clif Bar.

Also on hand will be New England Series regulars; Canadian National Champion Shauna Gillies-Smith (SRP-Gearworks-Spin Arts), U.S. Masters Champion Jodi Groesbeck (Putney/WestHill), and U.S. collegiate champion Alicia Genest (Richard Sachs).

Remaining rounds of the Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series

Round 2 - October 13: ECV Cyclo-Cross, UCI Category 2
Round 3 - October 27: The 12th Annual Cycle-Smart Amherst International, UCI Category 2
Round 4 - November 24: ChainBiter Cyclo-Cross, UCI Category 3
Round 5 - December 1: W. E. Stedman Co. Grand Prix of Cyclo-Cross, UCI Category 3
Round 6 - December 8: American Express Financial Advisors Cyclo-Cross, UCI Category 3


(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)