News for April 5, 1999

Mapei-Quick Step Scandal - Day 3

The supplier of the amphetamines (25 centilitres) has been arrested in Belgium. According to police the person is from the Belgium village of Fleurus. The man is very involved in cycling. They are now tracing his links to an ex-professional rider who has been active in drugs. The trail started in the Mapei team on Thursday before the third stage of the Driedaagse van de Panne when the manager and riders were detained. However it is now considered the posting of the drugs was the work of the soigneur Tiziano Morassut, who is the personal carer of Michele Bartoli. The soigneur was posting the drugs to the Bugno Family in Monza, Italy. Gianni Bugno acknowledged that the address was that of his house in Monza but the name on the package was that of his father Giacomo.

Doctor Jacques Rogge, a member of Drugs Committee of the ICO is not surprised with the discovery of the amphetamines. The product has been around for 30 years but according to Rogge it is still very popular. He said: "It remains on the doping list because of that.

It also did not surprise Rogge that the amphetamines were found in Belgium. He said: "Our country is the turn-table for drugs in the world. It is no accident that of the 12 suspects in the Tour de France scandal last year, 3 are Belgians. That is clearly indicative that it is here that the circuit blossoms. Belgium is known to be a part of the illegal transport of drugs."

And then he is released..

The Belgium guy from Fleurus was released a day after being arrested. The police no longer believe that he was the supplier of the amphitamines which the Mapei soigneur Tiziano Morassut was mailing to Italy. Morassut remains in a prison in Brugge and will be transported to the judge on Wednesday.

TVM and Jean-Marie are sweet

TVM talked with Jean-Marie Leblanc on Saturday. Afterwards Van Calster said "the air is cleared although Jean-Marie Leblanc told us he wasn't pleased with our actions during the Tour de France." He was specifically upset about the way the team withdrew in Switzerland. However, TVM will still not be able to start in the Waalse Pijl.

Meawhile, Jean-Marie Leblanc reiterated his warnings that the Tour de France only had a future if it was above-board. He was speaking after being released from the investigations without charges. He told an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro that his release without charges after more than 8 hours of questioning was a sign that the Tour de France organisation was honest and was not part of the doping circuit. He said: "For me, the essential thing is that the honesty of the Tour has been recognized and that the institution which represents the race emerges from these turbulent events unblemished." said Leblanc.

French riders to comply with drugs standard

Cofidis team management confirmed that all French teams would be acting within the rules set down by the UCI in relation to medical monitoring. The manager Alain Bondue said the teams would submit their medical records to the UCI doctors. The Cofidis doctor, Jean-Jacques Menuet said: "We have had a very cordial meeting with UCI representatives. We are making available to them the records - biological and physiological - as called for by the French Cycling Federation".

While it all sounds sweet the UCI have been upset that the French teams have been tardy with the handover of their medical information.

Italian rider tests positive

21 amateur cyclists were subjected to UCI blood teast during the Tour of the Marche in Italy on Sunday. There were 7 Italian and a Belgian team examined and an Italian rider Giacomo Buccianti (SC Brunero Buongiovanni) was suspended when his blood count exceeded the allowable 50 per cent. A reading over 50 could be due to EPO use.

Report from Montenegro

I was concerned about my friend Goran Jovanovic who reports about bike racing from Yugoslavia. He replied (with some personal stuff deleted):

Hi Bill
Thank you very much for remembering me. I'm still O.K. and ride daily with my friends. My family is OK. We will survive as usual .... We have two girls. We are refugees from Bosnia (since 1992). My family are from Mostar. During the Bosnian war we escaped to Slovenia and then to Montenegro. But where to go now?

... NATO is only helping to strengthen Milosevic's hold on the country.

Thanks mate again!

Report from Matthew Gilmore

Hi Bill
I have started training everyday now and I'm going okay. I started a race about two weeks ago here in Belguim in Kemzeke. I went okay and finished in the main bunch and my teammate won so I couldn not really ask for a better start. I am having some problems with my back - a little bit of muscle pain mainly from over compensation but I guess after breaking 12 bones in one accident then if all I have to complain about is some muscle pain it isn't so bad. I am pretty happy actually. It has not been easy but with all the support I have had not only here at home but also in Australia and England it has really made me feel great that people take the time. So it has given me great motivation to get out there and train everyday.

The Australian Cycling Authorities - can't seem to get it right

Readers might recall I published a report from a regular contributor to - Laurie Cousins about team selection. Here is the report again to refresh your memories and to provide continuity to what follows.

Laurie Cousins comments on Australian Cycling Selection

The issue of team selection by Athletics Australia has been, deservedly, the subject of recent attention on this list. While the system may not be perfect it certainly compares favourably with the situation that exists in cycling.

On Friday Cycling Australia named the national track squad. During the Australian Championships in Perth in February it was apparantly revealed that the qualifying standard for the Women's 3,000 metres individual pursuit had been set at 3:38. No competitor at the championships broke this standard. In her semi-final Kathy Watt recorded 3:40.26 to defeat the current world champion in this event, Lucy Tyler-Sharman, by some 7 seconds. (This time would have been 5th fastest qualifier in Atlanta.)

The final held later the same evening was won by Alayna Burns in 3:38.02. Both Lucy and Alayna were named in the Australian squad. Kathy Watt's name was not included.

The Athletics Australia 'A' and 'B' standards correspond with world ranking positions that are readily recognisable. The origins of the 3:38 standard for this cycling event are a mystery. The world Track Cycling championships were held in Perth, on the same track as the nationals, in 1997. A total of two (2) competitors broke the 3:38 qualifying standard that Cycling Australia have nominated. In August last year at the World Championships in Bordeaux, France a grand total of four (4) riders were under 3:38. Over these last two World Championships only eight (8) riders have bettered the time Kathy rode in Perth in what was her first serious track competition since the Atlanta Olympics.

In the individual pursuit the competitors in the qualifying round ride for positions in the following rounds so that the fastest rider is matched against the 8th fastest, 2nd against 7th and so on. Often the qualifying times are faster than the times recorded in the finals. So, it is not an event where competitors can coast through the qualifying round - it is raced flat out.

Does any other event, in any other sport, have a qualifying standard that literally less than a handful of competitors have ever reached at the world championship level? Controversy is not new to Australian Cycling. They have been synonymous for more than ten years. Back in 1988, Kathy Watt won the Australian championship in the individual pursuit in Australian record time (3:52.94) and finished 7th in the world championship in Belgium, but was not selected in the Australian Olympic team for Seoul. She had also finished seventh in the Tour de France Feminin, and third in the Australian road championship that year. It can resonably be argued that with an objective, transparent and fair selection policy in place Kathy would be aiming for selection in her fourth Olympic team in 2000. Despite these years of controversy, an inquiry by the Australian Sports Commission, and assurances of change and reform (blah, blah, blah) very little appears to have improved in this area since 1988.

The lesson for athletics would seem to be that change is not easy to achieve and the vigilance of sporting communities is justified in seeking the objective of having Australian national teams made up of the best available athletes.

Note that Laurie was talking about the qualifying round rather than the qualifiers to the semi-finals.

I have also regularly mentioned that I find it hard reporting Australian races because the Australian Cycling Federation (CA) will not send me results or press releases. It is actually worse than that as you will read further on in this feature.

Anyway, a CA representative, the so-called National Coaching Director, Ron Bonham sent me the following Email and posted an "Open Letter to" on CA's WWW site.

CA letter to

Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 17:29:27 +1000
From: Ron Bonham
Subject: Laurie Cousins Report

Dear Bill,

Once again your column contains false and misleading information.

Firstly I refer to Laurie Cousins comments on Australian Cycling Selection and in particular to the fifth paragraph describing the Individual Pursuit. This paragraph leads your readers to believe that there are eight (8) qualifiers in the Individual Pursuit, whereas in fact there are only 4 qualifiers. UCI Regulation 3.2.054

Participation in the World Championships is limited to 2 competitors per nation, who must qualify through participation in World Track Cups. In addition, the outgoing World Champion may be entered in addition to this number of competitors. UCI Regulation 9.2.009.

This fact places an entirely different light on the selection.

Secondly, you continually make the claim that CA will not assist you with results from National Championships. Once again I remind you that you can link to our page for the results or you can cut and paste from our page. In either case this is far more efficient than sending you a fax, which has to be retyped. Furthermore, I gave you my mobile so you can contact me for any report on the event. To date you have chosen to do neither

To make the statement you had to ring around to find out the results is ridiculous, when you had the opportunity to ring me.

If you choose not to avail yourself of the service I am offering, that is your choice, however for you to continue to imply that CA will not provide you with results from National Championships is misleading and totally incorrect.

If you intend using your column to make some public comment about Cycling Australia's decisions, then you have a duty to ensure your column contains accurate statements.

Once again I remind you that you are able to check through me the accuracy of any statements you may wish to make and to also remind you that you can obtain the results of National Championships from the CA Web site.

Regards, Ron Bonham

There were two replies to Ron Bonham:

Reply from Laurie Cousins, Sydney

Early on 30-03-99 I posted some comments on "Oztrack" under the heading "Team selection not so bad, in comparison" , which suggested that the situation regarding team selections in Australian athletics compared favourably with that operating in Australian cycling. The comments were later published on which is a very widely-read, internationally-oriented but Australian-based information source for cycling enthusiasts.

Cycling Australia have since responded by publishing an open letter on their home page, signed by Ron Bonham, the National Director of Coaching, which reads ... as above ... (see letter published above).

In my earlier comments I had outlined the format of this event as "the competitors in the qualifying round ride for positions in the following rounds so that the fastest rider is matched against the 8th fastest, 2nd against 7th and so on."

I did this to point out to Oztrack readers who would be more familiar with events where runners frequently coast through the qualifying rounds, only putting out as much effort as necessary to move on to the next round, whereas in the pursuit the qualifying times are often faster than the times recorded in the finals. The figure of eight qualifiers was not a figment of my imagination. The World Track (Cycling) Championships were held in Perth between August 26-31, 1997 on the same track that was used for the Australian national championships in February this year. The detailed results of the qualifying round of the of the women's individual pursuit from 1997 are available at:

Track Archives

with the details of the finals at:

1997 Finals

There you can also read details of the quarter finals where the fastest qualifier Arndt (Germany) raced the 8th fastest Twigg (USA), Tyler-Sharman (Australia) 2nd fastest qualifier raced Kurreck (USA) who qualified 7th fastest, and so on.

It is perfectly correct that this format was not adhered to at the 1999 Australian Championships; but then there were only 7 competitors in the event.

Details of this race are at

1999 OZ Track Results

Now, as Mr Bonham has so helpfully pointed out in directing us to the UCI Regulation 3.2.054 the regulations governing the conduct of the individual pursuit world championship have been modified (let there be no confusion on this crucial point (!)) and now specify that "the qualifying races shall designate the 4 best riders to participate in the semi-finals. These riders shall be paired of as follows:

2nd time against 3rd time

1st time against 4th time

The winners shall dispute the final and the losers race for 3rd and 4th place."

I believe that this change intensifies the point I was making that the initial pressure in this event is to produce the fastest possible qualifying time in order to have the best possible position in the following round. Obviously when only 4 riders qualify for the finals rather than 8, the pressure is greater. This adds further credibility to comparisons between the raw times of the competitors in different pursuit events.

The reference to regulation 9.2.009 confirms the possibility that Australia could well have 3 riders contest this event as Lucy Tyler-Sharman automatically qualifies as the defending world champion, and both Alayna Burns and Kathy Watt could both qualify if they are both given the opportunity to qualify through the world cup races.

Despite paying so much attention to the semantics of the change in the number of qualifiers from 8 to 4, Cycling Australia has chosen to totally ignore the validity of my main point that in setting a qualifying standard of 3:38 for this event they have adopted a time that a total of only 4 competitors have been able to better at the last 2 world championships. The question remains, does any other cycling event require such a rarely-attained standard, or indeed, does any other sport set such an unrealistic level???

In conclusion, I return to the observation that the situation in Australian athletics compares favourably with that in Australian cycling. Although athletics has its problems it's administrations has not stooped to the level of using it's (mostly) publicly funded resources to attack an innocent, though interested, bystander who was outrageous enough to suggest that they just might be "incorrect in their decision making." At least, Athletics recognises the concept that they are capable of making mistakes.

Laurie Cousins, Sydney. replies on March 31, 1999

Dear Ron

You should note that I have copied this to your CEO and the admininstrative officer. I will also be sending a legal letter by mail to follow.

You have now chosen a very dangerous course of action. The matters with respect to Laurie Cousins will be addressed separately.

The following points should be noted:

(a) I have claimed you will not send me results. That statement is perfectly factual and not misleading.

(b) You should recall that your organisation via the CEO signed a legal contract with me which in part specified that I would be given access to all results and would be the major results WWW publisher for you. Your organisation unlawfully reneged on that written contract with The contract and verbal undertakings indicated that the CA would always send results and other news releases. The Federation neither honoured the contract in its monetary amount nor the on-going arrangement concerning the provision of results. The agreement was never to involve ringing you up or "cutting and pasting" or linking to a site. The agreement was that would be the results site.

I now intend to sue for breach of contract unless a full written retraction is given. I will be claiming unspecified damages against Graham Fredericks as CEO of CA as the person who signed the contract.

(b) I have now written evidence from at least one state federation official that the ACF has instructed them not to send results.

(c) Brian Stephens and James Victor used to send all their email reports and they allowed to keep Australians informed of the progress of the national team. They did this as taxpayer-funded representatives of CA. They now no longer send anything. Brian Stephens instead sends the reports to a minor mailing list in the USA. If CA really wants to publish info about the National team then they should ensure coaches send all reports.

(d) Damien Grundy, a CA official, has publicly stated that does not receive MTB results from CA because it is too political.

(e) The offer of providing full race results by mobile phone can not be accepted as serious or genuine given the detail of the data published by

(f) I will not link to your site. I have told you that repeatedly:

  1. I have commercial interests and sponsors to protect
  2. You are often very slow in getting results up.
  3. You should know that it is difficult to "cut and paste" from a site that uses tables in html format.
  4. The CA site is very slow and badly formatted. The front page is very large for an opening page.
  5. I will not promote your sponsors unless I am paid.
  6. I have commercial formats.
  7. Most importantly, you use frames which exclude more than 10 per cent of the people who access my site daily. The format is user-unfriendly and you don't even bother to use a no-frames option.
  8. Do you tell AAP, Reuters etc to get the information from your site? It is in the interests of cycling in Australia for you to send me, without request, all data.

(g) .... *

My Request:

I demand a full public retraction.

I want it clearly pointed out that you had agreed to send me results and you have reneged on that arrangement.

I want it clearly pointed out that it is your view that my work is promoting cycling in Australia and that I work with the best interests of the sport in mind.

kind regards

* There was another statement under (g) which I prefer to leave private for the time being. CA know why I have chosen to do this. In this period of Olympic scandals involving public officials taking personal gain from their positions any simimlar scandal involving CA officials would be extremely damaging.