News for May 10, 1999

French drug enquiry update

Five people were hauled before a Paris Magistrate Michele Colin on Sunday following the bust of a vast drug ring by Parisien police. 15 people were questioned and 5 remain in custody. They include Bertrand Lavelot, the lawyer for many cyclists, and Bernard Sainz, referred to as Doctor Mabuse by his patients. They are being accused of being the brains in the drug trafficking. Three cyclists were detained on Saturday and Sunday in the courts. They are professional cyclists Philippe Gaumont (Cofidis) and Yvon Ledanois (La Française des Jeux), as well as the former rider Pascal Peyramaure.

Gaumont, Ledanois and Peyramaure were freed after lengthy questioning. Gaumont told the press afterwards that: "I'm free. I've been heard in this case and I stayed longer than the others. But I can say we are not criminals or drug dealers. His attorneys said that Gaumont was charged with using "substances prepared and supplied by Bertrand Sainz and which were presented as being of a homeopathic nature."

The majority of the sportsmen questioned by police in these latest raids have allegedly admitted having consumed doping products. Most had said that they no longer consumed drugs.

Belgian Franck Vandenbroucke, who has recently become, inadvertently, involved in the doping scandals that are sweeping the sport, will hold a press conference on Monday or Tuesday to clarify the truth of the circumstances surrounding his questioning by Paris police on Friday. The judiciary in France have themselves refuted press claims that VDB admitted using drugs. Anything for a story it seems! His father has already indicated that VDB denied anything involvement.

At any rate, the judicial authorities are less interested in the users. They are mainly targetting the traffickers. This is consistent with the new French law aimed at protecting the health of the sportspersons and imposes penalties of up to 7 years imprisonment and fines of a million FFs for anyone caught providing drugs to sportspeople.

When Willy Voet was intercepted on July 8 by French customs officers they were unclear of the depth of the scandal that was to unfold. Earlier in the year (March 9), the TVM truck had been intercepted at Rheims and 104 ampules of EPO taken. The police found drugs and masking substances in their truck again during the Tour de France (at Pamiers).

The police had also intercepted in Poitierts in June 1988 a quantity of "Belgian pot" (a mixture of cocaine, caffeine, amphetamines and analgesics) which they traced to a network as far as Poland. Daniel Baal, the president of the French Cycling Federation, referred to the doping network as a type of mafia. The choice is now clear. To restore cycling as a sport or to see it as an entertainment.

Kelme-Costa Blanca

Kelme-Costa Blanca are about to embark on their 6th Giro. The team, with it's unmistakable green and white jersey, will also be celebrating their 20th year in professional cycling. No other recent sponsor has been involved for that long. Each of the 5 Giro's have brought special successes.

In 1994, Laudelino Cubino won at Fiuggi and in 1995 he repeated the victory at Monte Sirino. The year after sprinter Angel Edo won at Crotone, while they had two wins in 1997 with José Luis Rubiera at Falzes and Chepe Gonzalez at Tonale. That was Kelme's best Giro where Marcos Serrano came in 8th overall, Rubiera at 10th and Gonzalez at 15th. Finally last year, a win by Edo at Imperia. A very respectable history for the team indeed.

This year Kelme shows up with the talent of Roberto Heras. Manager Alvaro Pino commenting on their prospects said: "At this Giro, a good result would be to take a place on the podium. It will not be easy but we have the team to aim for that objective. We will also be hunting for stages and the Green Jersey (Mountain competition). The two rider aiming for the GC will be Heras and Rubiera. The route suits both of them."

Graeme Miller reporting from the USA

Day 4, 64 kms criterium, 100ft of climbing per lap, 40 laps

Today was never going to be easy but it didn't have to be this hard. I, like many others (I hope), was hanging on for dear life - 6000ft plus it was about 85 degrees out made my day very miserable. Groups were going off the front left and right we were trying to place someone in each of them. John Leiswyn was in most of the moves today he was on fire and we were more than happy to see him up the road after his win yesterday. Finally a group stuck - yes, John was there so we were happy none of the top 3 on GC were there so that was even better. The group started with 13 or so Saturn had Mark McCormack, 7-up had Villatoro Sheehan, Merlin-Hind had 4 guys and there were a few others. Mercury now had their turn to chase for the last 12 laps as they had no one. At the end it was the break that held on by a minute and a sprint for the line Lieswyn passed McCormack right on the line for his second win in as many days with Vilatoro 3rd (I think).

Sweden, Kristinehamn Circuit, 84 kms, 20 laps, May 2

Tomas Nilsson writes that "veteran" Peter Johansson, 34 yrs, and U-23 rider Robert Østerling attacked on the fifteenth lap of twenty. Johansson left Østerling behind two laps to go. Acceptcard pro Jan Karlsson, last years winner, came second by outsprinting Johansson's brother Anders. A tiring Østering came in fourth, senior sensation Anders Gustavsson was fifth.

 1. Peter Johansson (Swe) Alingsas CK                 2.02.09
 2. Jan Karlsson (Swe) Falk|pings CK                     0.37
 3. Anders Johansson (Swe) Alingsas CK                   0.37
 4. Robert Østerling (Swe) Upsala CK (U-23)              0.55
 5. Anders Gustavsson (Swe) Mariestadscyklisten	         1.13

Danish Post Cup, Round 2, May 9

Lars Mikkelsen writes that this race called Chicky World-løbet (which means 'race') was the second in the prestigious Post Cup series in Denmark. While Team Home Jack & Jones were busy securing the overall victory in Quatre Jours de Dunkerque (Michael Sandstød), they still had kept Nikolai Bo Larsen and Michael Blaudzun (winner and second place in the first round of the cup) at home to defend their chances in this special Danish event. In spite of the added strength of Team Chicky World in the squad they succeeded. As was the case in the first race Nikolai Bo Larsen went off with a partner - this time not a teammate, but Chicky World's Allan Johansen, and as was the case 2 weeks ago he ended drawing the longest straw.

With AcceptCard Pro Cycling out of the picture (involved in GP Jornal de Noticias and Course de la Paix), the race became the expected duel between the two remaining TT/II teams. The 3rd round will be in Lyngby on June 12.

 1. Nikolai Bo Larsen (Den) Team Home Jack & Jones        98 points
 2. Michael Blaudzun (Den) Team Home Jack & Jones         86 points
 3. Michael Steen Nielsen (Den) Team Home Jack & Jones    38 points
 4. Allan Johansen (Den) Team Chicky World                37 points
 5. Carl Christian Pedersen (Den) Holstebro Cycling       23 points