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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition News for October 16, 2003

Edited by John Stevenson and Jeff Jones

UCI attempts to cool world's drug speculation

Responding to widespread rumours about the identity of the four elite male riders requested to submit urine samples for EPO testing after the world's, UCI doctor Mario Zorzoli has denied that the organisation has provided any details about the riders.

In a report on the website of UK magazine procycling, Dr Zorzoli said that only the Spanish federation had made it known that two of its riders had been required to provide urine samples.

The two Spaniards, plus two other riders widely reported as a Belgian and an Italian (but not Paolo Bettini) were asked for urine samples on Saturday night after their blood samples, provided 24 hours earlier, revealed 'abnormal parameters', according to reports in the European press.

Zorzoli told procycling, "At this stage none of the rumours are true. The samples only went for analysis today and it will be three days before the results of any anti-EPO tests are known. If the 'A' urine sample was positive a 'B' sample would require another three days to analyse.

"How did the mention of a Belgian and an Italian come about? I have no idea," said Zorzoli. "The UCI never publicises this sort of information: I don't know where certain papers and websites have obtained their information. Any urine tests that are taking place could be positive just as much as they could be negative."

Astarloa can look for a bonus

World champion Igor Astarloa should see his performance on Sunday rewarded by his new team Cofidis, despite not having a "World Champion bonus" clause in his contract which he signed well before the World's. Although he will likely not receive a salary increase, he has been promised a bonus for his feat. In addition, long time Cofidis rider David Millar will no doubt receive a little extra for his time trial gold medal.

Martinez and Pezzo looking at Athens

Olympic mountain bike champions Miguel Martinez (France) and Paola Pezzo (Italy) are focusing their efforts on the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Martinez is abandoning his road career, which has been somewhat of a disappointment compared to other mountain bike crossovers, and will concentrate fully on mountain biking again next season. Pezzo, who indicated her desire to ride the Olympics in March this year, is now becoming more serious about it and is currently in full training.

Chaos at Tour of Malaysia as officials boycott

Tuesday's ninth stage of the Tour of Malaysia descended into farce as officials and commissaires refused to work because of an on-going dispute with the race organisers over allowances for food and transport, and the general organisation of the race.

According to the New Straits Times, the stage was run without a motorcycle commissionaire, time-keeper, judge, sprints and intermediate-sprints commissaires or photo finish personnel. The day's results were obtained from a TV cameraman's footage of the finish.

Event staff were unhappy that they had not been paid their allowances, and had only been given limited money for petrol during the tour. Even the race's medical team was affected as allowances which were supposed to be paid every three days had not been met.

Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) secretary Ibrahim Mustapha said he tried to convince the personnel to continue with their duties and demand their payments after the race, but most were already demoralised by broken promises.

The commissaires were reportedly unhappy that finish lines had been moved, stages had started without a briefing, and the organisers of the race had endangered the UCI status of the MNCF by breaching regulations. As of Tuesday, organisers Jet Fit Sdn Berhad had not paid riders' start money and prizes to the MNCF, potentially endangering the organisation's UCI registration if the money is not forthcoming.

MNCF president Abu Samah Wahab told the New Straits Times that the race should not have started without the commissaires and that it was the duty of the race director to ensure that this procedure was met.

"The commissaires should have carried out their duties no matter what. If there were any problems, the race director should have handled it and ensured that the race was run accordingly," said Abu Samah.

Race director Ibrahim Omar said the race was continued because the commissaires' argument that they didn't have money for food was not valid. "If you ask me why they chose to boycott the race, then the only comment I can give is that they wanted the money for their food. If they didn't want to work because of that, then what could I have done?" said Ibrahim.

Seymour certain of Olympic qualification

By Shane Stokes,

Irish mountain bike champion Robin Seymour is now certain of qualifying Ireland for a place in next year's Olympic Games, following a fine seventh place finish in last weekend's International Alanya Mountain Bike Cup in Turkey. Seymour's high placing earned him eighteen world ranking points, increasing his total to 484 for the season and ensuring he is comfortably inside the world's top fifty riders.

The points total ensures that even if Seymour were to fail to score points in his remaining three events and so drift outside the world's top fifty, he would nevertheless qualify under the nations' ranking. His total means that Ireland is currently 18th with the top 22 to qualify.

Tarja Owens and Jenny McCauley are trying to secure one Olympic place under this latter system, and made their tough task a little easier with excellent performances in the women's race at the weekend. Owens came to the finish with three riders and narrowly missed out on second place in the ensuing sprint, while McCauley was four minutes further back in fourth place. They took 30 and 26 world ranking points respectively, adding to those obtained from their 11th (McCauley) and 15th (Owens) placings in the previous weekend's Holland Casino Hondsrug Classic E1 event in Geiten, the Netherlands.

Their combined points total puts them 20th in the world rankings, with Olympic qualification theoretically possible should they edge up to 16th. While this is a tough task, their chances have been helped somewhat by Owens' recovery from a collarbone fracture. Last Sunday's race was the first time she has been able to ride strongly since the injury-causing crash in the European championships.

Next up for Seymour is an E1 on the Olympic course in Greece this weekend. Owens and McCauley must wait until next month before their final two races, the season-closing Soham event on November 8 and the Mount Sdom Bike contest one week later. Both are E1 events and are taking place in Israel.

Hematocrit controls in Milan-Turin

The UCI's medical inspectors carried out blood testing on 37 riders before the start of the 88th Milan-Turin on Wednesday, all of which did not reveal any abnormal values. The teams tested were Formaggi Pinzolo-Fiave', Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo, Mercatone Uno-Scanavino, Tenax-Gardacalze and Vini Caldirola-Saunier Duval

Moore resigns from USA Cycling

USA Cycling announced yesterday that Eric Moore, Director of Field Operations, has resigned from USA Cycling effective immediately.

Moore, who joined the National Off Road Bicycle Association (NORBA) in 1994, spent the majority of his career working on, developing and helping to shape the NORBA National Championship Series.

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