News for July 31, 1998

The Australian Coaching Situation

Yesterday, I wondered whether Charlie Walsh was still the National Track Coach of Australia or whether the rumours rushing around Europe at present that he had taken a position with the USCF were true. There were also rumours that CA had sacked Charlie. I asked CA for confirmation. Stuart Dutton from CA now confirms:

Bill,

Sorry for the delay in replying to your comment on the National Track Coach. We wanted to get the answer from Charlie Walsh. He is committed to the Australian team through to the year 2000.

So the rumours are now dispelled.

The drugs scandal update

Marco Pantani comments

Marco Pantani who is just three days from winning the Tour de France now claims that the strike activity by riders has been badly thought out and a waste of time. He said that if riders were using drugs then justice demanded that they be dealt with appropriately by the judicial authorities.

He told the press that: "It is always difficult to know the truth. But solidarity in this case is useless because justice must be respected. Maybe the facts revealed in this doping scandal are not superficial. Maybe they reveal something deep within cycling and if some riders have committed offences, they must pay. We realised after we stopped that it was useless and that justice should keep on doing their job. I thought at first it was a mistake by the Festina masseur and it was not linked to cycling in general. We agreed with organisers we should go on. To stop would only make things worse and be like admitting we have things to hide. This Tour is the most difficult I have taken part in because, on top of the race, there has been the tension linked to the doping cases off the race.''

The reason for Pantani's extended reaction is probably because some of the riders who abandoned on Wednesday, particularly the Spanish and Italian riders, have criticised him for staying in the Tour. There have been allegations that he is more concerned with the yellow jersey and his own glory than he is with justice and riders' rights.

Medical checks to become compulsory

The UCI has announced that from 1999 all riders will have to undergo regular medical testing to keep their racing licences. The UCI have admitted, through their Vice-President Daniel Baal that they underestimated the problems and occurrence of EPO abuse some years ago when the issue of regular medical checks was first proposed.

ONCE - "Nous n'avons rien Ó cacher"

Jose Antonio Montero, the head of the ONCE organisation, has said that despite police raids, the team had nothing to hide. The team has strict medical controls and were cooperating with authorities to ensure that justice was being done. He said he understood that the team doctor Nicolas Terrados would not be released from custody until the results of tests on the drugs taken from the hotel rooms of the team were analysed.

The attention now being given to ONCE is believed to have arisen from statements that an ex-ONCE rider gave in Lille during the Festina investigation. He is believed to have admitted that systematic doping was common while he was at ONCE>

Massi

The French police discovered a cortico´de in the hotel room of Rodolfo Massi.

It seems odd that the riders would still have banned substances in their hotel rooms at this late stage, even if they had them there 3 weeks ago before Willy Voet was caught!

A snippet

Willy Voet was caught on a back road where there is no customs post. He drove his brightly marked Festina car through a small village and was caught by the customs officials who were on the look out for smugglers. A TV team has been to the village and interviewed residents. Some comments were "Oh, we see the cars of cycling teams coming through here regularly.!" And just while the TV crew were there, what should speed by but a cycling team car.... we couldn't tell from the footage whether it had any drugs in it though!

Denmark race cancelled

Jon Jay Neufeld from Denmark tells me that the usual "Tour de France Revenge" - a race held annually in Denmark since Bjarne Riis's victory in 96 - has been cancelled on the grounds that the main sponsor (Denmark's TV2) has gotten cold feet since the doping scandal heated up.

British National Track Championships, Manchester Velodrome

Men's Points Race:

 1. Rob Hayles        	Team Brite        	51 pts
 2. Jon Clay          	Team Brite       	35 pts
 3. James Notley    	Team Amrbosia 		28 pts
 4. Phil West          	Adidas Scicon   	24 pts
 5. Colin Sturgess    	Team Brite        	16 pts

Time: 48:33.756, a new national record time

Women's Pursuit:

 1. Yvonne McGregor    	Adidas-Scicon       	3:40.345
 2. Michelle Ward      	Condor Cycles        	3:48.557
 3. Emma Davies         Harry Hall Cycles    	3:54.524
 4. Sally Boyden        Clarkes Contracts CRT  	3:55.708

Girls Under 16 points race final (60 laps):

 1. Nicole Cooke    	Cardiff Ajax CC         35 pts
 2. Claire Dixon       	Mossley St Joseph CRT   16 pts
 3. Danielle Andrew  	Mossley St Joseph CRT   15 pts at 1 lap
 4. Laura Hewitt        Mossley St Joseph CRT    5 pts at 1 lap

Claire Dixon crashed with 11 laps to go but restarted.

Boys Under 16 points race final (60 laps):

 1. Nathan Harman       Team Brite              22 pts
 2. I. Redpath        	Farnborough & Camberley	20 pts
 3. R Sutcliffe         Team Brite		10 pts
 4. K Page     		MCS  RT			 9 pts