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Cycling News and Analysis

News for June 30, 1999

Virenque in the Tour

The UCI has stepped into the Tour mess and directed the Société du Tour de France to allow French rider Richard Virenque to participate in the Tour for Team Polti. The UCI considered the decision of the Société du Tour to exclude him was not considered and was taken too late. At 20.30 (European time), the Société du Tour announced that they accepted Virenque's entry. The UCI also directed the Société to allow ONCE manager Manolo Saiz to do his work with the team during the Tour.

Daniel Schamps from Paris reports that in France tonight (Tuesday), the news that Virenque is allowed to ride the Tour is being received with relief and joy. He remains the pet rider for French fans.

The decision to force the organisers to accept Virenque is, however, not uncontroversial. The organisers have been reported as being reluctant to follow the edict from the UCI. The motivation came from an appeal made by Polti against Virenque's exclusion. Once it went to the UCI the Tour organisation was bound to accept the top body's instructions. In an official statement issued by the Société du Tour de France late on Tuesday in Paris the sentiment is clear. They said: "We totally disapprove of this decision and it is contrary to our desire to preserve the image and reputation of the race and sporting ethics, reaffirmed on June 16 when we selected the teams. We deplore the position of the UCI which has used a legal flaw and their decision is in contempt of the defense of fundamental sporting values. While we express our disgust for the decision we have to take note of it."

The UCI simply pulled rank and cancelled the decision by the organisers to exclude Virenque and Saiz.

Virenque told Radio-France in Provence that he was: "really content with the news. The main thing for me was to be at that start of the Tour. Once the judge had made a presumption of innocence we decided to make our first recourse with the UCI. Our case was well made and they decided in my favour. Psychologically, I am ready to start the Tour. Perhaps I do not have the best preparation that I could have but I am ready to lift myself up to the challenge."

Italian team officials taken into custody

The managers of Vini Caldirola (Sandro Lerici), Liquigas (Fabio Bordonali), and Lampre-Daikin (Pietro Algeri and assistent Maurio Piovani) were taken into custody on Tuesday and accused of "dealing in products which are dangerous for the health." The soigneur of Vini Caldirola Daniele Misseri and the team mechanic Andrea Conti were similarly accused. The team boss Alberto Volpi told the press on Tuesday that: "We fired these two persons following the Giro."

The narcotics squads operating out of Florence, Bologna and Brescia conducted 30 hours searches on Monday and Tuesday. The houses of several leading riders were searched including those of Ivan Gotti, Gabriele Missaglia, Franco Ballerini and Pavel Tonkov. In the house of one of the riders the police found EPO. But reliable sources have denied it was found in Gotti's house. Tonkov told the press that they took nothing at all from his house.

The raids are part of an investigation by the prosecutor Soprani and have been going on for several months. Soprani has named the Italian doctor, Professor Francesco Conconi and his Sport's Medicine Institute, as being major players in the systematic doping of top sportspersons over several years.

Marsal's request for licence restitution rejected

A judge at Clermont-Ferrand has rejected the request by Catherine Marsal to get her licence back after she was refused a start in the Women's Road Championship on Friday. The judge said the demand was not admissable. Marsal has made a request to the judge to overrule the French Cycling Federation's decision to stop her riding. The Federation took her licence off her after she failed to attend a drug test on Friday morning. They took her licence away for 15 days.

Marsal demanded that the decision be annulled and that she be allowed to start the Women's Tour of Italy on Wednesday. Her lawyer Florence Hegoburu said her client had not refused to take a drug test. The lawyer said that instead that the request to attend the test was not clearly communicated. Marsal had not known exactly where the test was going to be taken. The lawyer of the Federation said that the case had to be heard before the National Olympic Committee. The judge agreed.

Tour Team Information

Saeco-Cannondale:

Mario Cipollini, Paolo Savoldelli , Laurent Dufaux, Francesco Secchiari, Armin Meier, Salvatore Commesso, Giuseppe Calcaterra, Mario Scirea and Gian Matteo Fagnini.

Mapei-Quick Step:

Davide Bramati, Gianni Faresin, Manuel Fernandez, Paolo Lanfranchi, Bart Leysen, Axel Merckx, Daniele Nardello, Tom Steels and Pavel Tonkov.

There is a question however about Pavel Tonkov. He is nominated as the team leader for Mapei for this year's race but goes into the race with a tendon injury in the right knew. He suffered with the injury during the Tour de Suisse and has reduced the intensity of his training as a result.

Russian Pavel Tonkov, team leader for Team Mapei for the Tour de France '99, will attend the race with slight problems in the rotulian tendon of the right knee. He was bothered already since the Tour de Suisse, which forced him to reduce the intensity of his training. The protected rider is Steels - he won four stages last year.

Rabobank

Dutchman Michael Boogerd, who finished fifth at the 1998 edition will lead the Rabobank team. Swiss Niki Aebersold, who was named in the tentative squad has not been able to over an achilles tendon injury and he has been stood down in favour of Limburger Marc Lotz. Rabobank will be at the start in Puy du Fou with a team composed of six Dutchmen, one Swiss, one Belgian and one Australian. Robbie McEwen will once again be given the responsibility to contest the sprints. He is yet to win a Tour stage. The team is:

Maarten den Bakker (Ned), Leon van Bon (Ned), Michael Boogerd (Ned), Erik Dekker (Ned), Patrick Jonker (Ned), Marc Lotz (Ned), Robbie McEwen (Aus), Marc Wauters (Bel) and Beat Zberg (Swi).

Banesto

Alex Zülle (Swi), Manuel Beltrán, José Vicente García, César Solaun, Jon Odriozola, Unai Osa, Miguel Angel Peńa, José Luis Arrieta and Francisco Mancebo (all other Spanish).

Kelme Costa Blanca

Fernando Escartín, Javier Otxoa, José Angel Vidal, Javier Pascual Llorente, José Javier Gómez, Juan José de los Angeles, José Jaime Castelblanco (Col), Carlos Contreras (Col) and Javier Pascual Rodríguez (all other Spanish).

ONCE-Deutsche Bank

Abraham Olano, David Etxebarria, José Luis Rebollo, Marcos Serrano, Santos González, Rafael Díaz, Luis Perez, Marcelino García (all Spanish) Andrea Perón (Ita).

Vitalicio Seguros

Angel Luis Casero, David García, Pedro Horrillo, Ginés Salmerón, Prudencio Induráin, Francisco Cerezo, Alvaro González de Galdeano (all Spanish) Hernán Buenahora (Col) and Elio Aggiano (Ita).

Cofidis

Bobby Julich (USA), Roland Meier (Swi), Christophe Rinero, Laurent Desbiens (Fra), Massimiliano Lelli (Ita), Peter Farazijn (Bel), Steve De Wolf (Bel), Claude Lamour (Fra) and Thierry Loder (Fra).

Big Mat-Auber 93

Ludovic Auger, Thierry Bourguignon, Christophe Capelle, Carlos Da Cruz, Thierry Gouvenou, Lilian Lebreton, Denis Leproux, Dominique Rault (all France), Jay Sweet (Aus).

Crédit Agricole

Chris Boardman (GBR), Magnus Backstedt (Swe), Stuart O'Grady (Aus), François Simon (Fra), Cédric Vasseur (Fra), Henk Vogels (Aus), Jens Voigt (Ger), Sébastien Hinault (Fra), Anthony Langella (Fra).

Casino

Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz), Benoît Salmon (Fra), Jan Kirsipuu (Est), Pascal Chanteur, Gilles Maignan, Stéphane Barthe, Christophe Oriol, Fabrice Gougot, Frédéric Bessy (all France).

La Française des Jeux

Stéphane Heulot, Jean-Cyril Robin, Frédéric Guesdon, Anthony Morin, Jimmy Casper, Christophe Mengin, Christophe Bassons, Damien Nazon (all France), Lars Michaelsen (Dan)

Festina

Laurent Madouas, Christophe Moreau, Didier Rous, Laurent Brochard, Laurent Lefčvre (all France), Wladimir Belli (Ita), Rolf Huser (Swi), Fabian Jeker (Swi), Jaime Hernandez (Spa).

Lotto-Mobistar

Lotto announced their team yesterday and the surprise was the exclusion of Jo Planckaert and Andrei Tchmil. The team is: Jacky Durand (Fra), Mario Aerts, Sebastien Demarbaix, Fabian de Waele, Thierry Marichal, Kurt van de Wouwer, Rik Verbrugghe, Geert Verheyen and Peter Wuyts (all Belgian).

Indurain would boycott the Tour

5-times Tour winner Miguel Indurain told the press this week that he would not take part in this year's Tour de France if he was still racing. This was his first comment about the doping situation and the effect that it might be having on the riders. He said: "It takes too much hard work to build up a reputation in sport to risk ruining it in 15 seconds. Unless you have clear guarantees, it is better not to knock on the devil's door. The riders are under huge pressure, the whole world is on top of them, including the police, as well as the normal tension of the race. This is a very complicated situation."

TVM-Farm Frites now becomes Farm Frites-TVM

The new major sponsor for Cees Priem's team is the current sub-sponser - the prepared potato fries company Farm Frites. They will be the sponsor for the next two seasons. TVM now act as the co-sponsor.

Meanwhile, Peter van Petegem announced that he has signed for two years with Farm Frites-TVM. He said: "I'm glad to stay with Cees Priem. He was the one who believed in me five years ago. I had some offers from other teams, especially from Telekom. But I have decided to stay with Priem. My target will be the pre-season again with the classics in Belgium. I don't like the Tour de France. So I am concentrating on the spring and autumn classics. I have developed into a good classics rider."

Urs Graf gets 8 months

Swiss rider Urs Graf was suspended yesterday for 8 months by the Swiss Cycling Federation and given a fine of 1250 Euros after he tested positive during the Tour of Romandie. The 25-year old rider tested for steroids during a routine urine test after the 5th stage. He confessed to the offence and did not ask for a second test.

Dutch team for European Championships

The Dutch team for the European Championships in Lisbon in August is: Roel Egelmeers, Ronald Mutsaars, Peter Schep (Rabobank), Bram Schmitz, Remmert Wielinga (AGU) and Jos Lucassen (Giant/Löwik). The last two places will be decided from: Laurens ten Dam, David Orvalho (both Batavus), Hoeben (Giant) and Mart Louwers (Rabobank). Egelmeers, Mutsaars and Schep will start in the ITT.

Latest UCI Individual Rankings:

 1. Laurent Jalabert (Fra)              2800
 2. Michele Bartoli (Ita)               2249
 3. Michael Boogerd (Ned)               1946
 4. Davide Rebellin (Ita)               1834
 5. Marco Pantani (Ita)                 1827
 6. Abraham Olano (Spa)                 1750
 7. Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel)           1628
 8. Oscar Camenzind (Swi)               1621
 9. Andrea Tafi (Ita)                   1439
10. Roberto Heras (Spa)                 1300
11. Peter Van Petegem (Bel)             1285
12. Lance Armstrong (USA)               1226
13. Wladimir Belli (Ita)                1225
14. Fernando Escartin (Spa)             1183
15. Jeroen Blijlevens (Ned)             1178
15. Leon Van Bon (Ned)                  1178
17. Jose Maria Jimenez (Spa)            1177
18. Markus Zberg (Swi)                  1162
19. Andrei Tchmil (Bel)                 1125
20. Paolo Salvodelli (Ita)              1088

Swedish Update

Sollerön, Sweden, 65th Solleröloppet, NE, 240 kms, June 25, 1999

Tomas Nilsson, who reports to cyclingnews.com on Scandinavian racing writes that Team Crescent Tranemo launched several early attacks in this 240 kms Cat 1 Swedish classic. A group of 20, among them Swedish Cup leader Kristoffer Ingeby, Team Wirsbo, took off from the peloton at Siljansnäs (35 kms). At Rättvik, (60 kms) the gap was 6.30 and the peloton started the chase with pros Michel Lafis and Nicklas Axelsson. Axelsson was making his come back after the Giro fall, in the front.

In Bonäs (120 kms) the gap stood at 2.30 and at the foot of the Skeer hills some kilometers later it was 1.25. The climb split the front group. Anders Juhlin took the GPM along with six other riders and the peloton at only 30 seconds. In Mora at 170 kms the gap was only 15 secs and when the group was caught soon after Cantina Tollo pro Marcus Ljungqvist launched a counter attack. Ljungqvist, here racing for Team Wirsbo, had rested the whole way, while loners Lafis and Axelsson did the hard work assisted by Lafis Upsala team mate Jan Matsson. Five riders followed Ljungqvist. His two team mates Jonas Ljungblad and Kristoffer Ingeby, Jonas Emanuelsson and Martin Johansson of Team Crescent Tranemo and Tomas Holmgren, CK Bure.

On the second Skeer climb the group broke up. On the top only Ljungqvist and Martin Johansson remained. On the last five kms Johansson tried to shake of Ljungqvist but in vain. Ljungqvist won the uphill sprint easily. For Nicklas Axelsson the race proved that he is back in racing again only two weeks after his fall in the penultimate stage of Giro d'Italia whrw he broke a collar bone.

 1. Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe) Team Wirsbo * 	     5.50.46
 2. Martin Johansson (Swe) Team Crescent Tranemo    	0.02
 3. Niklas Rönnerling (Swe) Team Crescent Tranemo    	0.28
 4. Stefan Andersson (Swe) Motala AIF     		0.28
 5. Krister Sjödal (Swe) CK Hymer			0.28
 6. Örjan Gustavsson (Swe) Skoghall CK    		0.28
 7. John Nilsson (Swe) Team Wirsbo     			0.28
..
37.  Nicklas Axelsson (Swe) Skara CK **			1.34

*  contracted to Cantina Tollo-Alexia
** contracted to Navigare-Gaerne

Women, 80 kms

 1. Madeleine Lindberg (Swe) Borlänge CK
 2. Susanne Ljungskog (Swe) Burseryds IF
 3. Emilie Öhrstig (Swe) Borlänge CK

Sollerön, Sweden, Soldvarvi, NE, Criterium, June 26, 1999

Elite 50 kms:

 1. Örjan Gustavsson (Swe) Skoghalls CK Hammarö
 2. Anders Juhlin (Swe) Team Wirsbo

Women 25 kms:

 1. Susanne Ljungskog (Swe) Burseryds IF
 2. Madeleine Lindberg (Swe) Borlänge CK
 3. Emilie Öhrstig (Swe) Borlänge CK


Falun, Sweden, Kuriren GP, NE, June 22, 1999

 1 Robert Österling  (Swe) Team Crescent Tranemo     1.20.50
 2 Jonas Emanuelsson (Swe) Team Crescent Tranemo     	0.02
 3 Johan Nyman (Swe) Team Wirsbo			0.02

Australia, Carnegie Caulfield Cycling Club 2, June 26

The 1999 Pick-a-Part 100km Handicap was run over the flat course based on Modella in Victoria's Gippsland region with around 100 starters. The run of excellent weather continued, sunscreen was the order of the day rather than the rain capes we expect in mid-winter.

No complaints about the handicapper this time out as the scratch riders caught the surviving lead bunch as they crossed the line. Shaun Collins, a past Victorian Kilo Champ, by all accounts worked hard during the first lap of 50km then conserved himself for the finale. With the determined combined scratch and second scratch bunches encountering difficulty getting past the echelon formed in the light cross-head wind Collins applied his amazing burst of speed to finish 10m clear with his arms in the air. The action in the big pack in the final kilometre saw riders cover the full width of the smallish road, with plenty of position making occurring. Unfortunate Katie Mactier had a couple of spokes removed from her front wheel, at 800m, courtesy of the pedal of some-one who expected the "girly" to yield in the ruck. Good luck and fine skills saw all stay upright. Notable efforts came from two Under 17's third placed Johnny Clarke and Fifth Travers Nuttal, both lads rode gear restricted and found the advantage of leg speed bred in track competition.

Fastest time was taken by Robert Tighello in a tight battle with Mt. Martha youngster Michael Gill.

 1. Shaun Collins
 2. Mal Sawford
 3. Johnny Clarke
 4. Mark Matheson
 5. Travers Nuttal
 6. Nick Groves

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