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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest News for May 28, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Rider questioned over importing steroids

The second hearing of track cyclist Elena Chalykh and her coach Andrei Manzourov continued in Sydney's Downing Centre local court yesterday, where they face fines up to A$22,000 (US$14,500) and a life ban by the UCI for the importation of prohibited substances.

If found guilty, Chalykh's case would fall under Article 135 of the UCI's Antidoping Examination Regulations of trafficking, which state:

"The trafficking of prohibited substances shall be penalised by suspension for life from all participation in any capacity in a sporting organisation, body, activity or a sporting event."

As reported by Cyclingnews on May 19, Chalykh and Manzourov were detained at Sydney Airport prior to the start of the fourth and final round of the UCI Track World Cup, held from May 16-18 at the Dunc Gray Velodrome.

Among other yet to be identified substances, customs officers found 30 stanozolol anabolic steroid tablets hidden in the sports bag of Chalykh and two Androderm testosterone patches located inside the Russian's bicycle case.

Customs officer Mark Vladimir Berkovich, who speaks fluent Russian, told the court that it was Chalykh's coach who first admitted to owning the bag containing the anabolic steroids, but also said that Chalykh herself also claimed ownership: "I asked her [Chalykh] who do these belong to, and her answer was 'they're mine'," said Berkovich to defence lawyer Peter Bodor during questioning.

Only Manzourov has pleaded guilty to importing a prohibited substance and aiding and abetting, while the 29 year old has continued to plead not guilty throughout the trial.

UCI regulations also state that attempted trafficking shall be penalised in the same manner as the act itself, and that "ignorance of the nature or the composition of the prohibited substances or the nature or effects of the method in question shall not constitute attenuating circumstances or grounds for exemption from punishment unless the ignorance is excusable."

Chalykh has not been found guilty of any doping offence in Australia or overseas, including the second round of the Track World Cup in Mexico where she came away with three gold medals. Although she did not compete in the final round of the Track World Cup in Sydney, she was tested by the Australian Sports Drug Agency (ASDA), with results expected shortly.

Roux suspended for four years

French rider Laurent Roux has been suspended for four years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, effective from Wednesday, May 27. The 30 year old tested positive for amphetamines last year at the Tour de Vendee, but also failed a drug test four years ago. The penalty for a second offense is considerably greater than for a first.

After he tested positive last year, the French Federation refused to sanction him, because the control was carried out by an international body on French territory. The case went to the CAS in Lausanne as a result.

Roux started his career in 1994 with Castorama, and rode for TVM (1996-1998), Casino (1999), Mobilvetta (2000), Jean Delatour (2001-2002), and in 2003 signed for In 2001, he won a stage in the Dauphine Libéré and finished third in the mountains competition in the Tour de France. In 1999 he won the Trophée Des Grimpeurs and a stage in Paris-Nice. He took stage 12 in the Giro d'Italia in 1998 and won the Classic des Alpes and Paris-Bourges in 1997.

Sinyard vows to fight on

The founder and president of Specialized, Mike Sinyard, has said in an open letter to the cycling community that "we are absolutely not giving up" in the bid to have the organisers of the Tour de France extend an invitation to Mario Cipollini and team to race in this year's centenary edition of the Grand Tour.

Specialized is the supplier of bicycles to Domina Vacanze-Elitron, the team of Cipollini, the reigning world road champion and king of the road sprinters. Last Monday, the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), organisers of the Tour and other major cycling events, stunned the global cycling community when it did not extend one of the four remaining wildcard invitations to the team (see Tour Wild Cards announced and Tour selection leaves Cipollini in the cold ).

At a press conference in Paris last Monday, the ASO named French teams Ag2r-Prevoyance, Brioches La Boulangère and Jean Delatour and Spanish squad Euskaltel-Euskadi to fill the remaining places, making a total of 21 teams who will race in this year's Tour.

Later in the week, ASO subsequently announced it would invite a 22nd team to the Tour, but this was the hastily re-financed team of former TdF winner Jan Ullrich, now known as Team Bianchi. Tour de France director Jean-Marie Leblanc said there is only a '10 percent chance' that ASO would invite a 23rd team, as the organisers cited the logistical problems of accommodating another team and its staff on the 21-stage Tour through France.

However, Specialized remains undaunted. "In fact, we're doing everything we can to encourage Mr LeBlanc (director of the TdF) to offer a hypothetical 23rd team slot to Domina Vacanze-Elitron and bring world champion Mario Cipollini to the Tour start line in Paris on July 5," Sinyard said.

"In coordination with Mario's team and with sponsor Domina Vacanze, we also encourage the rest of the cycling community to make its feelings known, forcefully yet respectfully, through more letters, faxes and posts to online polls and discussion groups," he said.

A global survey of cyclists conducted by Cyclingnews showed vast support for the Italian sprinter's team. The survey of over 3,000 cyclists in 67 countries showed that 89.4 percent believed Cipollini's team should have been offered one of the four wildcards last Monday, with cyclists preferring to exclude Jean Delatour (69.8 percent), Brioches La Boulangère (21.3), Euskaltel-Euskadi (3.7), Ag2r-Prévoyance (1.8) and some 3.4 percent were undecided.

Similarly, the same number of people (89.4 percent) also believed a 22nd team should be invited to ride in the Tour. However, the selection of that 22nd spot was not so clear cut. The survey showed that 51.2 percent want to see Cipollini and Domina Vacanze, with 37.7 percent preferring to see Jan Ullrich and Team Bianchi. Beyond those two teams, there was support for the rapidly emerging Milaneza squad (5.5), while Phonak scored 4.5 percent of the votes and 1.1 percent were undecided.

Verbrugghe back in the Tour of Luxembourg

Rik Verbrugghe (Lotto-Domo) is back on the bike and ready to race again, after tearing a muscle during the first week of the Giro. Verbrugghe will make his return in the Tour of Luxembourg (May 29-June 1), and hopes that he can recover his good form in time for the Tour de France.

He told Het Laatste Nieuws that he has been able to train without pain, however if he feels anything during the Tour of Luxembourg then he will stop. "It was luckily a 'nice' tear," he said. "Neatly down the length of the muscle, not across it."

If things go well, next week he'll head down to the Pyrenees for some training in the mountains, before returning to Switzerland for the GP Gippingen.

Van De Walle training again

Jurgen Van De Walle (Vlaanderen-T Interim), who broke his collarbone last Friday in a crash in the Tour of Belgium, is already training again. According to Het Nieuwsblad he was on the bike for five hours on Monday, asking whether he could do the Tour of Germany which starts next Tuesday, June 3. Team leader Jean-Pierre Heynderickx said that "according to me, that's a little optimistic."

21st Volta ao Alentejo

The 21st edition of this Portuguese 2.3 classed stage race takes place between Wednesday, May 28 and Sunday, June 1. The race features six stages in five days, including a split day on Saturday with a road stage and an individual time trial. Stage 2 (to Portalegre) and Stage 4 (to Monsaraz) both have uphill finishes, while the stage 5 time trial is completely flat.

Of the 12 squads entered into the race, all of the main Portuguese teams will compete, along with Paternina-Costa Almeria, Jean Delatour, Lokomotiv, and a Japanese National team. Milaneza-MSS are the favourites with riders like Angel Edo and Rui Lavarinhas on the roster.

Teams: Milaneza-MSS, Carvalhelhos-Boavista, Antarte-Rota Moveis, Cantanhede-Marques Marialva, Barbot-Torrie, ASC-Vila do Conde, Porta Ravessa-Tavira, LA-Pecol, Pepolim & Irmaos/Ovarense, Paternina-Costa Almeria, Jean Delatour, Lokomotiv, and a Japanese National Team.

The stages

Stage 1 - May 28: Evora-Evora, 176 km
Stage 2 - May 29: Mora-Portalegre, 158 km
Stage 3 - May 30: Alcaçovas - Mourao - 167,5 Km
Stage 4 - May 31: Monsaraz-Monsaraz, 68.8 km
Stage 5 - May 31: Aldeia Da Luz-Aldeia Da Luz ITT, 10.5 km
Stage 6 - June 1: Beja-Beja, 116 km

Eisel renews with

Bernhard Eisel
Photo: © Iain Ashworth
Click for larger image

One of the first contract renewals for next season is 22 year old Austrian sprinter Bernhard Eisel, who has signed with for another year. Eisel has placed in the top three in three stages of the Giro so far, and also has a stage win in the GP Erik Breukink this year to his credit.

"I'm very happy to have renewed my contract with the team of Mr Madiot," said Eisel, who signed the contract on the Giro's rest day. "With FDJ I've found the ideal environment to develop and improve myself. For the second part of the season, my objective is to win a big race, then in 2004 I want to improve on my good placings this year in the World Cup races."

No Tour for Van Petegem

The winner of Paris-Roubaix and the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Peter Van Petegem (Lotto-Domo), will not be riding the Tour de France for his team. Van Petegem is not a Tour rider, his best place being third in stage 15 in 1996. He is currently the leader of the World Cup, and intends to concentrate his efforts on the second half of the World Cup season.

Cyclingnews Giro competition: and the winner is...

Our happy winner
Click for larger image

A brand new Specialized S-works E5 Domina Vacanze replica will soon be on its way to Canada following the draw of the main prize in the recent Specialized/Cyclingnews Giro d'Italia competition held earlier this month.

The winner of the bike is Patrick Brick, 35, from Vancouver, Canada. Patrick correctly selected stages 8 and 9 for Cipo to tie and then beat, respectively, the long-standing record of most Giro wins held by the legendary Alfredo Binda.

Patrick came within 32 seconds of nominating the correct stage time for stage 9, when Cipo broke the record in a tight sprint finish against Robbie McEwen. Patrick's entry of stage 8 to tie and stage 9 to win, with a time of 3:42.30 (Cipo won stage 9 in 3.41.58 (43.249 km/h) was one of over 6000 entries received in this competition. In fact, there were a dozen entries which were within minutes of selecting the stage time for the crucial, record-breaking stage.

As for Patrick, he is a keen cyclist who is a fan of Super Mario. He told us: "I am returning to racing after six years away pursuing an accounting designation. I am a category 4 racing cyclist. I am racing my first race in June, and I am riding about 200 to 300 miles per week. I ride hills twice a week and use intervals as the basis of my training. Mario Cipollini is my favourite cyclist."

Congratulations to Patrick and thanks to Specialized for sponsoring this great competition. We'd also like to thank everyone who entered and of course, congratulations to the man himself for fulfilling yet another of his dreams. Bravo Cipo.

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)