First Edition News for October 31, 2003
Edited by Chris Henry & John Stevenson
UCI Criticizes WADA Tour report
The UCI, which has often been at odds with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), announced Thursday that WADA's report on doping control at the Tour de France contains numerous errors and "lacks objectivity". WADA issued the report on the Tour based on the findings of a team of independent observers present during the first week of this year's race.
"There are a number of points in the report which should not have been there," UCI president Hein Verbruggen told the Associated Press. "There are many times in the report where we have had to say, 'This is wrong. This is not correct.'"
Among the primary complaints was WADA's reporting that 20 tests for EPO showed anomalies although upon final review only one positive case was confirmed. Spanish rider Javier Pascual Llorente was the confirmed positive, and the UCI insisted the information on anomalies is to be used as a guideline for future testing.
"It casts a lot of doubt upon what happened," UCI president Hein Verbruggen said of the 20 reported anomalies, calling it "highly unfair to the riders."
WADA director general David Howman did not appear eager to enter into a war of words with the UCI. "The observers are independent," he explained. "We don't want to intervene. We have no intention of getting into a ping-pong game and commenting on comments. Our task was to publish it on the web-site. That's what we've done."
The UCI also disputed WADA's claims that some UCI or international standards were violated, responding that the tests were carried out by a doctor appointed by the French Sports Ministry and working under French law.
Beloki still without team
Although he has often indicated his preference and intention to remain faithful to ONCE director Manolo Saiz in the coming seasons, Joseba Beloki has yet to reach an agreement with Saiz for 2004. Saiz recently announced the arrival of a major sponsor, Liberty Seguros, to keep him in the peloton after ONCE ends its sponsorship this year.
"Joseba has appeared a bit nervous in the last few days and has displayed a lack of confidence, which isn't good for anybody," Saiz said in a Marca report. "He will have to contact us."
Saiz will keep ONCE leaders Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano and this year's Vuelta a España revelation Isidro Nozal, along with much of the current ONCE roster, and can count on five years of support from Liberty Seguros.
Millar looking forward to Tour
Always a protagonist in tests against the clock, recently crowned world time trial champion David Millar (Cofidis) is already looking forward to the 2004 Tour de France. Commenting on his web-site after the Tour route was announced last week, Millar noted that although the placement of two time trials (one of which is a hill climb of the famed Alpe d'Huez) in the final week of the Tour was unconventional, he was already thinking of the prologue in Liège, Belgium.
"I hope to win the beginning prologue this year and then wear the yellow jersey for the next few stages where the Tour actually finishes near the location of the Cofidis headquarters," he explained. "The route looks interesting so I'm looking forward to it. I'm obviously going to try and win [the time trials] in the rainbow jersey, but there will be a lot of racing besides the time trials..."
Upon his return home to Biarritz, France from the World's in Canada and the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas, Millar was presented with a key to the city by Biarritz's mayor and greeted by a number of well-wishers after his time trial success in Hamilton. Millar will spend much of November working with British Cycling at the Manchester velodrome.
Surgery a success for Savoldelli
Team Telekom's Paolo Savoldelli, injured earlier this year after being hit by a motorcycle while in training, successfully underwent a second operation on his nose. Savoldelli had been unable to breathe properly since the initial accident and subsequent surgery, and decided to undergo surgery to further correct the damage.
"I can already breathe much better through my nose," Savoldelli said on the team's web-site, "although there's still a little swelling."
Savoldelli's wife Simonetta had her own reasons to be happy, noting that the removal of scar tissue has improved her husband's appearance. "Paolo is even more beautiful than before," she smiled. "I'm glad he had surgery again, not only for cosmetic reasons but after everything else it will help his sporting achievements."
Leuchs signs for Bianchi MTB
Top New Zealand mountain bike racer Kashi Leuchs has confirmed that he will ride for the Bianchi MTB team in 2004. Leuchs is reported to be"excited" about the move to Bianchi, consistently one of the most successful European teams in 2003.
At Bianchi Leuchs joins 2003 World Cup Champion Julien Absalon and Thomas Dietsch. Leuchs and Absalon will concentrate onconventional cross-country races in 2004, while Dietsch will concentrate on the longer-distance Marathon events.
The 2004 Athens Olympics is a major goal for Leuchs, who recently raced on the Athens MTB course, finishing third behind Liam Killeen (GBr), and Bart Brentjens (Ned). "It was tough on the legs and mind to be racing that hard at the end of the season, but it was extremely valuable for me to visit the course in race conditions. I learned a lot," said Leuchs. He added that although the Athens course lacks any "extremely radical technical sections" it was nevertheless very challenging, with loose surfaces and rocky ground making for tough going and three climbs per 6km lap. "It will be a true MTB champion that wins on this course," he said, adding that with an increased level of support from his new team, "I really believe I have a shot, even to win."
And of course as a true-blue Kiwi, Leuchs is delighted that New Zealand will host the 2006 world mountain bike championships. "It's bloody incredible!" he said. "I can hardly imagine how great it is going to be to race in Rotorua. Not only is this my home country, but Rotorua is like my second home in New Zealand. It's a really fun place, full of mountain bikers, a great cafe culture, and some of the best mountain bike trails on earth."
Italian federation clears A. Conti
Italian cyclist Alessandro Conti has been cleared of EPO use following a counter analysis which negated an initial positive test. The Italian Sports Medical Federation issued a communique to the national Olympic committee CONI indicating that Conti's counter analysis was negative. Conti was originally suspected of a positive result following the Coppa Sportivi Malvesi in June.
Meanwhile, the case of Davide Bragazzi has been confirmed. Bragazzi tested positive at the Bassano-Montegrappa race in Cima Grappa on June 1, according to a report in La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Vergegear.com 'cross series to New Jersey
The Beacon Cyclo-Cross in Bridgeton, New Jersey, USA on November 2 is the next stop in the 2003 Vergegear.com Mid-Atlantic Cyclo-Cross Championship Series (MAC). Last weekend's pair of UCI races drew riders from all over the country and shook up the series rankings, putting Todd Wells (Mongoose/Hyundai) and Ryan Trebon (Kona) at the head of the men's table and Carmen D'Aluisio (Clif Bar) on top of the women's.
The course in South Jersey includes fast, hard packed roads, a large sand pit, a few tricky technical areas and a leg-burning long terraced run-up. Racing gets underway at Beacon Cross at 10 am. For race details or additional series details, see www.monkeyhillcs.com/mac/mac2003/.
Irish cycling's AGM season
By Shane Stokes, irishcycling.com
The Cycling Ireland commissions for the various branches of our sport hold their AGMs over the next few weeks, culminating in the AGM for the umbrella organisation itself.
The MTB Commission's AGM will take place November 1 in the Spawell Hotel, Tempelogue, starting at 2 pm. The meeting is open to all. Contact Brendan Kilbride in Cycling Ireland (01 8551522) or Geoff Seymour (01 2863890) for more details.
Cycling Ireland's women's commission will hold its general meeting on Saturday November 8 at the Spawell Hotel, Templeogue, starting at 10:00am. Everyone who is interested in women's cycling in Ireland is welcome to attend. A range of topics will be discussed, including a review of the 2003 season vis-ā-vis performances and CI's input into the women's scene, plus an outline of the programme for 2004. Selection criteria, personal goals for next season, carding applications and other matters will also be covered at the meeting.
2003 saw some good progress in the women's scene, with several significant newcomers joining the sport, the TQ Paper 2 Day reaching new heights and the Irish squad performing very solidly in the B world championships. The hope is that this progress will continue in 2004, enabling the women's scene to grow yet further.
Newcomers are very welcome to attend the meeting. More information is available from Valerie Considine at 086 3825842.
November 9 sees the Track Commission's meeting take place at the Spawell Hotel, Templeogue, while Cycling Ulster's AGM will be held on Tuesday November 11 in the House of Sport, Upper Malone Road, Belfast. Beginning at 8 pm, the AGM will see a number of top positions come up for election. Both Frank Campbell (Chairman) and Davy McCall (Secretary) will step down due to other commitments, and so a good turnout is encouraged for the crucial voting.
Finally, Cycling Ireland's 2003 AGM will be held in The Abbey Court Hotel, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, on Saturday, November 22. The meeting will begin at 11 am while the Champions Night award presentation and dinner will be held in the same venue at 8pm. Tickets for the latter event cost 40, and are available from Cara and Brendan at Kelly Roche House (01-8551522). All tickets must be pre-booked by Friday November 14th.
Velo Girls adds junior rides
San Francisco, California women's cycling club Velo Girls has announced the addition to its schedule of a monthly ride for junior female riders. Velo girls founder Lorri Lee Lown says that one of the club's objectives for 2004 is "to increase participation by young girls aged 12 years old and older.
"While many young girls ride a bike for transportation, not many ride for fitness, recreation, or competition," says Lown. "The goal is to encourage more young girls to ride on a regular basis, help them meet other girls who also ride, have fun, and realize the health benefits associated with riding a bicycle. The program will begin with a monthly road ride, and will expand to more rides in others areas and mountain bike rides as the program grows."
Lown added that many of the club's members found they'd ridden bikes as kids, but "something happened in their teenage years that kept them off the bike, And before they know it, they're a 30-year old woman who hasn't been on the bike in a decade."
The inaugural ride will be on the road, but girls are encouraged to participate on any type of bike they may have. There will be a dedicated ride leader for the junior group and the route will be chosen and modified to fit the needs of the girls, says Lown. For more details, see www.VeloGirls.com
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)