News for September 11, 1998

Contracts and Transfers

* Leonardo Piepoli (Saeco), for a while thought to be going to Telekom, has agreed to ride for 2 years with the Spanish team Banesto.

* Franck Hoj (Palmans) the Danish champion, will be joining US Postal next season.

* Marco Pinotti (Ita-Elite: UC Bergamasca) will ride for Lampre next year.

* Enrico Zaina (Ita-Brescialat) goes to Mercatone Uno

* Nicola Minali (Ita-Riso Scotti) to Cantina Tollo

* Gabriele Colombo (Ita-Ballan) also to Cantina Tollo

* Andrea Peschi (Ita-Elite: Brunero) is currently riding in Poland for Cantina Tollo, (as a "stagiaire")

* Ivan Basso has now made his professional debut for Asics-CGA.

Drugs Update

Did Stephens know?

The selection of Neil Stephens in the Australian road team in the Commonwealth Games road race is once again under intense scrutiny following further revelations from the Festina soigneur, Willy Voet. Voet has claimed that the riders all knew about the doping protocols in the Festina team.

He told a French TV station that Bruno Roussel and Eric Ryckaert had organised all the doping in the team. He said: "It all went via the doctor. If he wasn't there he would call me and tell me what to do. I would take it to the riders' rooms and they sorted things out themselves."

Could it have been possible that the riders did not know they were taking banned substances? Voet replied: "No, no, no".

Stephens has denied doing anything wrong. Australian officials in Kuala Lumpur are burying their heads in the sand as more and more damaging revelations are coming out of Europe. The Australian chef de mission, Don Stockins has said: "I have absolutely no comment on the European situation." But he did admit that some team members were becoming uneasy about the whole matter.

Stephens told the press: "I have always been clean. I have never taken anything. I feel that I have been tainted by my fellow Festina riders and it is only thanks to my mates that I have got a bit of my old spirit back."


Laurent Jalabert was asked about the Festina affair after the Vuelta on Tuesday. To the question: Do you have a message for Zulle? Jalabert: "I don't have any message for anyone. I'm here to win the Vuelta and nothing else."

And what about to the President of the French Federation who doesn't think it's normal that the Festina riders are in this Vuelta, what would you say?

Jalabert: "I do not concern myself with the affairs of the president of the federation. They are his affairs and about him, like about Festina, I've absolutely no comments to make. Me, I am not concerned and I do not want to speak about that affair again."

Dufaux, Zulle and Meier

Dufaux, Zulle and Meier will be heard by the Swiss doping commission of the Swiss cycling federation the 30 September in an as yet unannounced location. While there will be no verdict given publicly after the hearing, the UCI will be informed. The UCI and the riders will be able to introduce an appeal to the judgement.

The President of the Swiss Federation stated that the hearing was not linked to the publication of the declarations made by the three riders. Apparently the letters ordering the riders to appear had been sent out before this.

UCI issue statement

After the publication in the French newspaper France-Soir of the extracts of the declarations of the riders implicated in the recent events of the Tour de France, the UCI states that, whatever may happen in this regrettable affair, its position remains unchanged. That is to say that the national federations of Australia, France and Switzerland must respect the date of the 1st October to announce the sanctions against the riders concerned. The UCI also hopes that the prosecutor in Lille will authorise the French cycling federation to use their file during the disciplinary procedure.

Gaumont tests positive and leaves the Vuelta

It has been announced that Cofidis rider Philippe Gaumont failed a drugs test in May by testing positive for an anabolic steroid (nandrolone). But initially it has been stated by the French Cycling Federation that although the levels detected were above the IOC rules, under the weaker UCI rules the test results are acceptable. It is also stated that the levels would have exceeded those deemed acceptable by most national cycling federations. So why is the UCI, who are claiming to be seriously pursuing the drug cheats, out of step?

Neither rider or his team have been told of the positive test result. Gaumont has previously tested positive in 1996 to the same drug. But although Gaumont says he is innocent of any doping he has quit the Vuelta even though he was lying 4th on the GC after Stage 5.

The test result is allegedly related to the Midi Libre event in May. Gaumont now claims he wants a drug test to "prove his innocence." He doesn't seem to realise it is September now.

The UCI dismissed the matter at the time because the levels of steroids in Gaumont's urine was below its limits. But the French Government, intent on getting rid of drugs in cycling, want some action against Gaumont.

Chemists arrested

Two French chemists have been arrested by police over the Festina scandal. They both lived in the same village as the Belgian soigneur Willy Voet, who was arrested by customs officials carrying enough drugs to service the whole Tour de France peloton. The chemists, a married couple, have been charged with "buying, selling and delivering doping products".

Customs targetted the Tour de France

The arrest of Willy Voet and the subsequent Tour doping events were planned by the French customs office in an effort to stop smuggling. The French Government have established a Anti-Doping Working Party and a high-ranking offical of that group was quoted in France-Soir as saying: "Customs officials didn't come across Festina by chance. In combination with capable ministers and various departments, customs received very precise instructions to act."

Bromont, Canada, VTT World Cup, Final Stage

Men, 41.4 kms:

 1. Christophe Dupouey (Fra) Sunn            2.11.09
 2. M. Martinez (Fra) Sunn                      0.47
 3. Evans (Aus)                                 0.50
 4. Palhuber (Ita)                              1.06
 5. Hoydahi (Nor)                               1.26
 6. Chiotti (Fra) GT                            1.45

Women, 31.4 kms:

 1. Gunn-Rita Dahle (Nor)                    1.51.08
 2. Sydor (Can)                                 1.33
 3. Leboucher (Fra) Peugeot-Laposte             2.35
 4. Fullana (Spa)                               4.15
 5. Pezzo (Ita)                                 4.39

Final placings:


 1. Cadel Evans (Aus)                           562 points
 2. M. Martinez (Fra)                           541
 3. Hoydahi (Nor)                               533
 4. Palihuber (Ita)                             477
 5. Meirhaege (Bel)                             475


 1. Alison Sydor (Can)                          426 (winner in 1996)
 2. Leboucher (Fra)                             410
 3. Pezzo (Ita)                                 397
 4. Dahle (Nor)                                 396
 5. Fullana (Spa)                               357