News for September 2, 1998

Contracts and Transfers

* - Danish Road Champion Frank Hoj (Palmans), will sign a 1-year contract with US Postal Service. Hoj also had offers from Acceptcard Pro Cycling and Cofidis, but chose the American team, where he will be able to ride for himself in the spring classics/semiclassics in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Drugs Update

Virenque makes admissions

According to reports just out, French rider Richard Virenque has told police who are investigating the drugs scandal during the Tour de France drugs that he had used banned substances despite previously vigorously denying any such use. Apparently, he made the declaration during an interview on July 23 and 24. Sources close to the French Cycling Federation say that they are preparing a statement but are officially refusing to comment.

Casagrande gets 6

The Disciplinary Commission of the Italian Cycling Federation has communicated today that Francesco Casagrande and Oscar Mason will be suspended for six months for testing positive at anti doping controls. Casagrande, who races for French team Casino, was found to have excess level of testosterone at the Giro del Trentino, while Mason, a Neo-pro with Brescialat-Liquigas, came up positive for norandrosterone at Settimana Bergamasca. Casagrande was also fined 2,000 Swiss Francs ($US1,400). It virtually means that his days with the French team Cofidis are over. The team has said they will sack him upon suspension for drugs.

Australians persist with Stephens

* Just when the UCI is asking national federations to get tough, the Australian Cycling authories (Cycling Australia - CA) have seemingly chosen to ignore the request. They have confirmed that disgraced Festina rider Neil Stephens will keep his place in the road team for the upcoming Commonwealth Games despite being part of the team which was expelled from the Tour de France.

The UCI has requested that each national body has similar sanctions. The French and Swiss federations have said that they will not allow the riders who were part of Festina to ride in the Worlds in October unless they are cleared totally before then. It is hard to imagine how that will happen, especially in the case of the Swiss riders who have admitted knowledge of the doping at Festina.

The CEO for CA, Graham Fredericks has written to the UCI asking for more guidance. He told the press: "Until there are formal charges laid against Neil, really there is nothing we can do. The selection criteria works both ways _ when a rider has done everything to satisfy that criteria and you don't pick him without good grounds, you leave yourself open to be stung from a legal perspective. As things stand at the moment, we have no grounds not to select him. What other federations do is their business."

Stephens admitted that he had signed documents while in police custody in France which confirmed that he was given EPO by Festina. His claim is that he thought it was Vitamin C. Whether he thought that or not, the fact that there are documents confirming he was riding using EPO (willingly or not). The Swiss riders also never tested positive. But they said they knew what was happening. Under UCI rules, an admission of taking drugs is equivalent to being tested positive.

So does it come down, in the eyes of CA, to being okay to have used EPO if you are ignorant (or claiming to be ignorant).

What about all the riders who might have been straight who could not hold the wheel of the EPO-infested riders? Don't they have rights too?

Juan Fernandez at Festina

It is now confirmed that Juan Fernandez is the new manager of the Festina team. He takes of from Bruno Roussel, who was suspended by the UCI during the Tour de France because he confessed to being part of the systematic doping of Festina riders. Hhile Fernandez is being called the technical director, it is equivalent to manager. He was previously the manager of Mapei-GB and will take over from Thursday in Cordoba before the Vuelta begins.

Australian press report

After recent drug allegations made against the Australian Track squad which failed in the recent World Championships, this article appeared in the The Daily Telegraph, on August 31,1998. It is a Sydney newspaper. The story was written by Charles Miranda and the headline read " Sports stars on gene powder, $3000-a-hit drug seized by Customs".

Some of Australia's elite athletes are using experimental drugs which cost up to $3000 an injection, researchers claimed yesterday. The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre said the latest drug being used by some athletes is a genetically-engineered powder being tested on MS sufferers. Federal and State police investigations found the Adelaide-manufactured drug Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1) is being smuggled into Australia from the United States.

It is being used by several top track and field, cycling and body building athletes. Priced between $2000 and $3000 per vial, the drug is designed to halt muscle degeneration. There have been four seizures of the drug by Custom officers and it is feared dealers are stockpiling IGF-1, and a cheap imitation, ahead of the Sydney Olympic Games. It is manufactured by Adelaide firm GroPep for research, with about 90 per cent of production going overseas medical and research facilities.

International Olympic Committee medical commission Oceania representative Ken Fitch said yesterday IGF-1 was increasingly being used by athletes. The drug would be placed on the Olympic banned drugs list in December this year. It is currently a "prohibited substance" and can only be brought into Australia with a written consent from Federal Health Minister Michael Wooldridge. The NDARC claims IGF-1 was one of several new drugs being used by Australia's elite athletes. The NSW University-based centre, partly funded by Commonwealth and State health departments, has found anecdotal evidence of a dramatic increase in IGF-1 use. It is undetectable and despite side-effects such as diabetes, brain swelling and heart problems, was being mixed with other substances by coaches.

Centre research manager Paul Dillion said evidence including private conversations with the sporting community showed use of the drug was prolific and involved well-known sport stars. Mr. Dillion praised the Australian Olympic Committee initiative announced last week to financially penalise athletes caught taking drugs.

"But that's like shutting the gate after the horse has bolted," he said.

"At last the Olympic committee has moved on the problem but it's too late and they still have a win-win attitude such as giving cars and money to athletes who win medals."

"That encourages people to not do just their best but win at all cost."

Australian Men's Road Team report

On Sunday, August 30, the Australian team raced in Modena in an Under-23 race called the Trofeo Salsi Stefano over a distance of 141 kms. They decided to take only 2 riders and rest the others. Kris Denham and Matt Wilson were the ones to race. Kris Denham almost pulled off another win when he attacked with 4km to go and held the field off solo until inside the last kilometer foreigner.

 1. Giacomo Montanari (Ita) Dal Fiume                3.05.00
 2. Antonio Palumbo (Ita) Cuoio Fiume
 3. Marco Nepoti (Ita) Dal Fiume
 4. Francesco Fiorenza (Ita) Promocicli
 5. Antonio Costa (Ita) Ceramiche RB
 7. Matt Wilson (Aus) Australian National                s.t.

Rabobank to the Vuelta by car

Despite reports that some Italian and Dutch teams were going to travel to the Vuelta by sea to avoid France, Rabobank has decided to go by car. Manager Theo de Rooy has selected 9 riders for the Tour which will run from September 5-27. The riders are - Michael Boogerd, Erik Dekker, Mark Lotz, Robbie McEwen, Koos Moerenhout, Rolf Srensen, Leon van Bon, Max van Heeswijk and Marc Wauters.

Peter Luttenberger was originally selected in the team but the Austrian has a knee injury and was replaced by Mark Lotz. Luttenberger has had a disappointing season after his 5th place in the Tour in 1996.

The Tour is an ideal test for the riders before the World Championships in Valkenburg on October 11. The team does not think there is a risk from French police in travelling directly by car. PR-person, Frank van der Meijden said: "We do not have any troubles with the French police. I don't think there will be any problems."

Attack on Dutch Hour Record

Danny Stam and Robert Slippens will attack the Dutch hour record for stayers on Wednesday September 9 in the new stadium Velodrome in Amsterdam. Stam will start first behind Bruno Walrave. Slippens will ride next behind Willem Fack. Slippens expects to do more than 60 km in one hour. The record is held by Peter Pieters with 57.350,16 meters set on September 25, 1997.

Brazilian News

Rodrigo Gini who updates us from Brazil has sent some information about the Santa Catarina State Tour (Volta de Santa Catarina). 92 riders were at the start, representing Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Uruguay. For the first time in Brazil, there were anti-doping tests. Every day, 10 cyclists were given blood tests that are been analysed in Ladetec (an IOC-sanctioned laboratory at Rio de Janeiro University)

We will have results soon. Here are the teams competing:


1. Marcio May (Bra)
2. Daniel Rogelin (Bra)
3. Hernandes Quadri Jr. (Bra)
4. Luciano Pagliarini (Bra)

MM Autos/Peru

5. Alfredo Mondejar (Per)
6. Marco Muoz Rosas (Per)
7. Saul Arana Estabrides (Per)
8. Jose Luiz Berros Lopez (Per)

Seleccion Nacional de Chile

9. Gonzalo Garrido (Chi)
10. Marcelo Sandoval (Chi)
11. Jaime Andres Palomo (Chi)
12. Juan Manuel Fierro (Chi)

Seleccion Nacional de Argentina

13. Ruben Pegorin (Arg)
14. Fabian Tapia (Arg)
15. Jorge Giacinti (Arg)
16. Jose Fernando Antogna (Arg)

Point 700/Caloi

37. Marcelo Eduardo Costa (Bra)
38. Glauber de Souza (Bra)
39. Valdir Lermen (Bra)
40. Evandro Portela (Bra)

FMTC/Avriaple (Uruguai)

56. Robero Pinero (Uru)
57. Kerman da Silva (Bra)

Cascavel/Frammel/Unimed (a mixed Brasil/Peru team)

61. Daniel Reisdorfer (Bra)
62. Jonathan Consuli (Bra)
63. Alexis Mendoza (Per)
64. Carlos Fabiano Braga (Bra)


69. Fernando Fhynbeen (Bra)
70. Jose Aparecido dos Santos (Bra)
72. Evanio Zimmermann (Bra)

Barreiras (Uruguai)

77. Jose Ubaldo Manero (Uru)
78. Juan Manuel Sosa (Uru)
79. Joao Eudes Elias (Bra)
80. Washington Lopes (Bra)

Loteria de Buenos Aires/FMV (Argentina)

85. Flavio Barboza (Arg)
86. Rafael Lombardo (Arg)
87. Daniel Ceccato (Bra)
88. Alessandro Di Domenico (Arg)

Two new state records in Minnesota

Mark Kotz from Minnesota writes that on Saturday evening August 29, 1998, Marla Husnik established a new Women's Hour Record for the National Sports Centre Velodrome in Blaine, Minnesota. In front of 130 friends and fans (including lots of cheering kids slapping the boards at the track), Marla set the standard for women at 40.73 kms per hour. She also raised, through pledges, more than $US1100 for the Youth Cycling League which is completing it's first year in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

On the same night, 8-year old Andrew Kotz set the new Minnesota State Record for the 2000 meters for under age 10. Andrew's record attempt was made at the National Sports Center Velodrome in Blaine, Minnesota just a few weeks after World Champion Marty Nothstein set a new world record at the same NSC Velodrome for the flying 200 meters. Andrew rode a Giant (brand) fixed gear track bike (with the seat as low as it can go) and completed the 2000 meters (8 times around the track) in 4 minutes 22 seconds. The attempt was officially started and clocked by several U.S. Cycling Federation Officials on hand for Marla Husnik's hour record attempt.

Controversy ensued when the officials classified Andrew's record as "unofficial" because he just doesn't have enough speed yet to stay above that darned black line on the steep corners. Andrew's director sportif (and Dad) Mark Kotz has lodged an official complaint with the U.S. Cycling Federation, the Union Cyclist International and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Kids who's Dads are Geeks.

When asked about Andrews new record, sister Meghan was quoted as saying "Can I play with Andrew's GameBoy?"