News for December 5, 1998

Contracts and Transfers

French cyclist Francisque Teyssier, the winner of this year's GP des Nations, signed a one-year contract in Marseilles this week with Festina. 29-year old Teyssier, who until now had ridden for Mutuelle de Seine Saint Denis, after spending time with teams Big Mat and GAN, said that the Tour de France would be his main goal for 1999. Michel Gros, the sports director for Festina, knows Teyssier well. He used to be his coach at the amateur team Vaulx-en-Velin from 1987 to 1992, before he turned professional. He said of Teyssier: "He is a good rolleur and a talented climber."

The team will meet in Alicante, Spain from December 15-19 to start the preparation for 1999.

Drugs Update

Pascal Hervé sues Voet

Pascal Hervé has begun a lawsuit against Willy Voet, the former soigneur of the Festina team. His lawyer filed the papers to begin the process after the latest outburst from Voet against Hervé and Richard Virenque which was published in the French newspaper France-Soir on Wednesday. Voet had stated that Hervé and Virenque were the greatest users of EPO at Festina. Hervé said: "Up until now we have remained calm about the allegations. But he is now gone too far and I will not tolerate it."

Priem free

The judge who is investigating the TVM doping scandal has ordered that the Russian team doctor Andreï Mikhaïlov be freed from prison. He is to remain in France though under similar conditions to those that have seen Cees Priem and Jan Moors held. The judge also lifted all legal constraints on team manager Cees Priem amd the soigneur Jan Moors. Both Cees Priem and Jan Moors were still at the law courts in Reims at 17.30 where the examining magistrate Odile Madrolle was processing the necessary work to lift the legal controls on them. At the same time, Mikhaïlov was awaiting his release from the prison at Châlons-in-Champagne where he has been held since July 27.

Cees Priem and Jan Moors, also arrested on July 27 were given partial freedom on August 10. They were ordered to remain in France and report to police on a daily basis. They stayed in a hotel in Epernay. They left the hotel on Friday in the early afternoon to attend the hearing.

An historical perspective

A decision by the UCI to adopt the IOC's 2-year suspension rule for first offences would have radically changed the history of cycling had it been instituted many years ago. The UCI is currently still opposing the new rule to combat drugs in sport. But let's assume that the ban had been around for 30 years or so.

A notable case would be that of Eddy Merckx, who would have won two less Tours and one less Giro.

But there is more: Abraham Olano wouldn't have been World Champion, Sean Kelly wouldn't have won la Vuelta, and Angel Arroyo wouldn't have climbed the Tour podium.

Merckx, who abandoned the Giro in 1969 after testing positive, wouldn't have won the Tour that he won that year, the first of five and also the 1970 Tour. He would also have one less Giro, two Paris-Nice, one Paris-Roubaix, one Milano-San Remo. In addition, there is nothing to say that the long break from riding wouldn't have also diminished his ability once he returned.

Olano wouldn't be the same. It is difficult to know with Merckx, but Olano would probably have been affected by the enforced break. The Vasque tested positive for caffeine at the 1994 Tour of Catalonia and served a 3 month suspension. With a two years ban, he wouldn't have won the World Championship, the Olympic Silver medal, nor would he have finished second at la Vuelta, or third at the Giro. And therefore he wouldn't have signed a multi-million dollar contract with Banesto. Who could have filled Olano's shoes? Although we should mention that it would be very unlikely that caffeine, a stimulant that has also been detected in others like Bugno and Jiménez, would carry a two year suspension.

Sean Kelly, would still have a palmares of more than 100 victories, but with some 50 wins less than the 164 that he won in his career, since the Irish rider tested positive at the 1984 Paris-Brussels and at the 1988 Vuelta al País Vasco 88. This last one would have prevented him from winning la Vuelta a España and the World Cup.

Currently the sanctions for doping in cycling fluctuate between three months and one year, but in previous times the punishment was limited to a fine and 10 minutes of penalty. That's how things were in the 1980's. The 1982 Vuelta a España was a good example,. A new drug detection method caught en masse - Ángel Arroyo, Alberto Fernández, Vicente Belda and Pedro Muñoz. Curiously the first two had also tested positive at the same time at the 1979 Vuelta a Asturias. That Vuelta a España was a sad one for Arroyo, who was stripped of the final overall in favor of Marino Lejarreta and was relegated to 13th place. With a two year suspension, Arroyo wouldn't have won a Tour de France stage or placed second overall the next year, which he lost to Laurent Fignon.

Something similar happened to Alberto Fernández, who at la Vuelta a España went from 3rd to 15th in the overall. But the next year he would once again place third at La Vuelta and also at the Giro d'Italia.

Dutchman Gert Jan Theunisse, Pedro Delgado's rival at the 1988 Tour, tested positive for testosterone at that edition and the penalty relegated him to 11th position. It was this same year that Perico (Delgado's nickname) was accused of drug taking after testing positive for masking agents.

Operation for Riis

On Thursday, in a hospital in Freiburg, Bjarne underwent surgery on his right-hand. The Danish rider, who won the 1996 Tour de France, will not be able to train for 10 days.

Riis injured his hand in a training fall near his home in Herning during the season.

Jeannie Longo fails again

The French cyclist Jeannie Longo made two attempts on the World Hour record at the velodrome in Mexico City on Thursday. On the first attempt she stopped after 14 kms in a time of 17 minutes 11.220 seconds. The second attempt she stopped around 10 kms after 13 minutes and 24.258 seconds. The 40-year old Longo has held the record since October 1996 when she covered 48.159 kms in the time. In September this year she also failed to advance that time in two aborted attempts.

Tour de Suisse, June 15-24, 1999

The Stages:
Tuesday June 15, Prologue, Solothurn, 6 kms
Wednesday June 16, Stage 1, Solothurn - Lausanne, 195 kms
Thursday June 17, Stage 2, Lausanne - Küssnacht, 215 kms
Friday  June 18, Stage 3, Bellizona - Chiasso, 168 kms
Saturday June 19, Stage 4, Bellizona - Grindelwald, 171 kms
Sunday June 20, Stage 5, Meiringen ITT, 28 kms
Monday June 21, Stage 6, Küssnacht - Mauren (FL), 160 kms
Tuesday June 22, Stage 7, Mauren - Nauders (Aut), 164 kms
Wednesday June 23, Stage 8, Nauders - Arosa, 198 kms
Thursday June 24, Stage 9, Chur - Winterthur, 223 kms


Stage 4: Over the passes Gotthard, Susten and Grosse Scheidegg.

Stage 5: A difficult ITT in Meiringen and the climb over a major part of the Brünig pass.

Stage 7: Mountain arrival in Nauders (Austria).

Stage 8: Over the Julier pass and the final climb up to Arosa, the well known resort in the Canton Graubünden.

Participation: - There will have only 16 teams (9 riders) compared to this year, when 18 teams participated.

Where is he now?

The Pedal Power Association in South Africa is researching the history of South African bike racing and are trying to find the whereabouts of Allan Dipple, one of their great cyclists from years past. He is somewhere in Australia. Anyone know him? If you do please Email Tim at But only if you believe you are not intruding on this person's privacy.