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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

Latest News for October 8, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

UCI and WADA still at odds

Cycling's governing body, the UCI, and the World Anti-Doping Agency, WADA, are still not seeing eye to eye. At the World Championships in Hamilton this week, WADA president Dick Pound threatened to exclude cycling from next year's Athens Olympics if it doesn't adopt the new WADA anti-doping code. On the other hand, the UCI is still angry at WADA for (it claims) leaking a report that criticised the anti-doping procedures used during the last Tour de France.

WADA president Dick Pound said earlier this week that "I would like to know what the plans of the UCI are. I will certainly let them know about a new article in the Olympic Manifesto that says that the world anti-doping code is obligatory for all Olympic movements.

UCI president Hein Verbruggen will discuss the UCI's concerns over the new anti-doping code with Dick Pound this Friday, but says that cycling will eventually comply with the code. "There is a WADA code that has been accepted and obviously we will comply with that code," Verbruggen told Reuters. "But that is a lot of work because over the last 20 years the UCI has developed a very detailed rule book for anti-doping control. Now the lawyers have to go into the WADA code and fit it into our existing laws and that is the work that is currently being carried out. There is no doubt we will comply, we will get there certainly before Athens."

On the other hand, the UCI will not say when it will allow independent WADA observers back at UCI events - including these World Championships - after the leaking of the Tour de France report. "I feel extremely annoyed that we are continually singled out due to the happenings in 1998 Tour (de France) and I am not prepared to accept that any longer," said Verbruggen. "For the time being there will be no WADA independent observers in cycling until we have had a good discussion. I have the feeling we are singled out, we want to be treated like every other sport."

Verbruggen pointed out that there will be no WADA observers at the Rugby World Cup which starts on Friday, neither were there any at the world athletics championships in Paris recently. Verbruggen feels that this reflects a double standard on behalf of WADA.

Related Stories

WADA publishes 2004 banned list
WADA makes "mistake" with new approach to doping
WADA unbans caffeine and pseudoephedrine
WADA condemns Tour report leak

Axelsson hopes to race again

Swedish cyclist Nicklas Axelsson might get his four year doping suspension shortened to two years. He was caught and tested positive for EPO at the World Championships I Portugal in 2001. He admitted having used EPO and got a four year suspension from the Swedish Cycling Federation. If he had appealed to the UCI the sentence would probably have been shortened.

"I was in a state of shock," said the Swede, who now wants to take up racing again. In December he will have been suspended for two years, the "normal" time for a doping offence according to the new WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) regulations. Axelsson's lawyer is now preparing an appeal to the Swedish Sports Federation (RF).

"When a new rule like this is adopted it is normal to adjust previous sentences", WADA president Dick Pound said to Cege Berglund, reporting from the World's for Swedish newspaper Göteborgs-Posten.

"I do not wish to interfere in Swedish business but if there is a will, the matter could be solved quite easily", Pound said.

The Swedish Cycling Federation has adopted the new WADA rules but its disciplinary committee has earlier stated that the suspension cannot be shortened.

"I wouldn't really like to comment this, but if it's as Dick Pound says, there might be reason to reconsider," said Swedish Federation chairman Per-Erik Skotthag.

For Axelsson himself, Pound's statement comes as a positive surprise. "I'm training every day to be prepared when I'm allowed to race again," he told Göteborgs-Posten.

UCI confirms mandatory helmet law

After introducing it on a trial basis this year, the UCI has confirmed that helmets will be mandatory in all of its sanctioned events in 2004. The announcement was made on Tuesday during a meeting of the UCI at the Hamilton World Championships.

The UCI first attempted to make helmets compulsory in 1991, however at the time it was rejected by riders. The death of Andrei Kivilev as a result of head injuries caused by a crash in Paris-Nice this year caused the UCI to reintroduce the concept, and riders were required to wear helmets from the start of the Giro d'Italia in May onwards. The rule wasn't strictly enforced at all times, as many riders rode up the mountains with their helmet buckles being unfastened. However the UCI decided to permit this until next year when the rule will come into full effect.

Teams announced for Tour du Faso

Race organisers A.S.O. have announced the 16 teams that will be taking part in the 17th edition of the Tour du Faso, from October 29-November 9. The field will include three teams from Burkina Faso, eight teams from other African countries and five European teams. The race will take place over 1245 kilometres.

Burkina Faso teams

A.S. Fadoul
SIFA Peugeot

Other African Teams

Ivory Coast

European Teams

GMCI 38 (Isčre)
Marco Polo Cycling Team
Wielerteam Waasland

No more women's Amstel Gold Race

The women's Amstel Gold Race will not take place next year. The race, run in conjunction with the men, formed part of the women's World Cup for the first time this year. However head sponsor Amstel Bier decided to tighten its budget and focus solely on the men's race for next year.

Revamp for Team Ton van Bemmelen Sports

The Farm Frites-Hartol development team Ton van Bemmelen Sports will undergo a number of changes to its roster for next season. The new team leader Leen Merison will not be renewing the contracts of five of the team's current riders, while two more are retiring, thus Team Ton van Bemmelen Sports will have an almost completely new line up.

Monique Verstraaten, Femke Kweekel, Catharina Mulders, Sandra Duin and Sabrina Katee are the riders who did not receive new contracts, and Editha Bergkotte and Wendie Kramp have decided to stop. Track rider Yvonne Heijgenaar is currently discussing a new deal with the team, which has extended the contracts of Slikker and Van Velzen as well as signing De Goede, Pirard, Wallaard and the Groenveld sisters. In addition, Frederika van der Wiel and Nathalie van Katwijk (from the national team) have signed one year agreements with Ton van Bemmelen Sports.

Peter Dawson joins teammates at Tassie Carnivals

West Australian Peter Dawson has been announced as the third member of Australia's world champion pursuit team scheduled to race in the 2003-04 Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals. Dawson was a member of the Australian quartet that won the World Team Pursuit Championship in Stuttgart, Germany earlier this year. Dawson, Graeme Brown, Brett Lancaster and Luke Roberts produced a stunning ride in the final, stopping the clock at 3.57.185 minutes for the 4000 m and setting a new world record. Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania (SCAT) has already announced the signing of Graeme Brown and Brett Lancaster and now has Luke Roberts high on its shopping list.

Dawson (21) has been a regular Australian representative since 1999 and was a member of the Australian junior team that won the World Pursuit title in Great Britain that year. He was also a member of the 2002 Australian that won Commonwealth Games gold in record time. Equally adept on the road, Dawson however is rated among the upper echelon of Australia's track riders at present.

In addition, SCAT Chairman, Mr Grant Atkins confirmed that high profile Belgian rider Wouter Van Mechelen had also signed on. Van Mechelen comes to the Tasmanian Carnivals on the recommendation of Belgian-born-Tasmanian, Matthew Gilmore. Van Mechelen (22) rode with Gilmore in the Madison in this year's World Cup round in Russia where they finished a highly creditable eighth. On the track this year he has won a highly ranked omnium race as well as teaming with countryman Steven De Neef to win the Belgian Ploegkoers (madison) title. On his road bike, recent wins have included a stage of the Ronde Loir et Cher in France, the individual time trial at the Ronde van Vlaamse Brabant and a stage of the Ronde van Antwerpen.

This season's SCAT Carnivals will be held

December 26: Latrobe Carnival
December 27: Launceston Criterium
December 28: Launceston Carnival
December 29-30: Devonport Carnival
January 1: Burnie Carnival

Michael Rogers launches web site

Destined for greatness
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

Michael Rogers has officially launched his personal web site, 2003 was clearly a turning point in the career of the 23 year-old, Canberra-born Quick.Step-Davitamon rider, claiming victories in the tours of Belgium, Germany and Route du Sud, as well as the espoirs (under 23) classification in the Circuit de la Sarthe, where he finished fourth overall. Despite nerves getting the better of him in the prologue, Rogers' excellent form continued throughout the Tour de France, where he played a significant role in helping team-mate Richard Virenque secure a record-equalling sixth King of the Mountains title.

Mick's flash web site is neat and well-designed, containing a brief bio, a calendar of events he will be participating in, and a news and diary section, both to be updated in the near future. Although a lacking a little in content for now, just like Rogers the rider, the platform is there for future greatness.

Click here to visit

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