News for March 5, 1999

Amore e Vita fires doping rider

Italian-British team Amore e Vita has fired Filippo Meloni after he was called to appear before the Italian Olympic Committee for alleged drug taking. He was bloodtested during the current Rapport Toer in South Africa and the 28-year old posted a hematocrit level above 50 per cent. In the contract that the riders sign with Amore e Vita it is explicitly stated that they will be fired if they are caught being involved with drug-taking.

Team leader Ivano Fanini said: "Each rider knows what our policy is with respect to doping."

The UCI brought in blood controls 2 years ago. Any rider posting a reading above 50 per cent has to surrender their licence for 14 days. The high reading is not definitive evidence of doping. But it indicates that EPO may have been used. Amore e Vita takes a highly moral position with respect to its sport's sponsorship and is strongly against drugs.

French hour record renounced

Pierre Henry Mentheour, the brother of Erwann Mentheour has renounced the French Hour Record (52.543 kms) after voluntarily admitting that he had used banned substances. The French Cycling Federation has accepted the statement and has returned the record back to Chignoli. Erwann Mentheour recently also declared in his book that he had been a drugs cheat.

Virenque happy to be out of hell

Richard Virenque has told Le Figaro, a French newspaper (article to appear on Friday - later today) that he is happy to be out of hell and said that without his family he would not have been able to cope. He is now happy to be at Polti. On Sunday he will start in Paris-Nice and he admits that in January he did not think that he would be racing this year. He said: "I spoke to my wife téphanie about my options after cycling. We made some plans and projects. I was going to creat a small house restoration company and buy dilapidated houses and do them up. I wanted especially to leave the house in the morning, go to work, and have a life like everybody else."

The troubles he has been through are "tests" and have ensured that his "feet are on the ground". But he also said that the thought of not riding anymore would have left him with nothing. As for Paris-Nice, he said that "taking into account my late return to training, if I finish between 20th and the 30th place I would be content."

Vierhouten back in May

Dutch rider Aart Vierhouten is planning to comeback to racing in May. His doctors have told the Rabobank rider that there is a good chance of him coming back as his recovery from a broken pelvis is progressing well.

During a training camp in Spain in January Vierhouten fell and broke his pelvis. He has been making a slow recovery. Vierhouten has now made his first effort on his bike. The spokesperson for Rabobank said: "He is going faster than we thought. Aart is optimistic. He thinks he will be able to start racing in one-day races in May. In June he hopes to ride the Tour of Switzerland and then participate in the Tour of France."

USA, Redlands Cycling Classic

Mercury rider David Clinger (Woodland Hills) took off from 250 meters to rocket to the Victory in today's stage 2 of the Redlands Cycling Classic, the Highland Circuit Race.

The 84 km race saw 2 major attempts at a breakaway. The first group included Trent Klasna and Roland Green that lasted 3 laps. After a regrouping, Floyd Landes took off on a solo effort that saw his lead grow to 55 seconds. He soon began to tire, and the calm before the storm that was the Green Wave soon hit the front. With 2 laps to go, it was all together for a field sprint. The Mighty Mercury Men lead it out from the last turn and at the base of the finishing punishing climb, David Clinger launched with Teammate Gord Fraser on his wheel. Only Eddie Gregus was able to pass the Mercury Duo.

With the Victory and time bonus, Clinger takes the race lead heading into tomorrow's Time Trial and Criterium.

Highlands Ranch Circuit race from Pam Schuster

Today's 13 lap 37 mile race was the same course as previous years where all the action takes place on the hill up to the finish. This course is tailor made for a Southern Californian showing early season form. Dara Rogers riding for Helen's was that Southern California girl. Alison Dunlap of GT took the 1st 2 Mountain Sprints and I followed her to make sure she didn't want to leave the party. Clara Hughes attacked after the 2nd QOM on the descent and was starting to get a pretty good gap. I decided to try and bridge to her on the climb taking with me was Lynn Bessette of Saturn. When we almost caught her I look down a see I have a flat tire. Apparently Dara Rogers and Cibil Di Quistini were close behind as the trio joined Clara and they were off for good. I eventually catch back on to the pack with the assistence of my teamate Kendra Wenzel and my Timex teammates all give chase to keep the gap down which has now grown to 2 minutes. There wasn't enough time in the race to make much progress and next thing we know it is our final time up the Baseline wall.

 1. Dara Rogers (Helen's)
 2. Lynn Bissette (Saturn)              0.06
 3. Cibil Di Guistini (Elita)
 4. Clara Hughes                        0.17
 5. Pam Schuster (Timex)                2.10
 6. Sue Palmer (Janec)
 7. Dede Demet (Saturn)
 8. Alison Dunlap (GT)
 9. Emily Robbins (Saturn)
10. Alison Sydor (Volvo Cannondale)
12. Anke Erlank (Timex)
17. Julie Young (Timex)
20. Jeannie Longo (Ebly)
44. Linda Jackson (Timex)
52. Jen McRae (Timex)
85. Kendra Wenzel (Timex)