News for November 10, 1999

Watt's law firm happy

Followers of Australian cycling will no doubt be well aware of the defamation cases between cyclist Kathy Watt and two newspapers (News Ltd's Adelaide Advertiser and the Herald Sun). The papers published comments made at the Adelaide Press Club on August 14th, 1996 by Australian head cycling coach Charlie Walsh, regarding Watt's influence on the Australian team's performance at the Atlanta Olympic Games. These comments were alleged to be defamatory by Watt and her law firm, Oakley Thompson & Co.

Watt initiated legal action against the two newspapers, as well as against Charlie Walsh. The first of the three cases (Watt vs. the Adelaide Advertiser) was heard in the Victorian Supreme court, and an out of court settlement was reached on November 8th, 1999. Watt's law firm told that it was "happy with the outcome".

The next case (Watt vs. the Herald Sun) is due to commence immediately, with the action against Charlie Walsh to be postponed until December, 2000.

Doble Copacabana extra

After being pleasantly surprised reading about this year's race in cyclingnews, the winner of the Doble Copacabana in 1967, François Siohan was able to provide us with some additional information:

"In the 1967 edition, only 10 km were paved and there were only about 15 riders who started. We then did the course of stage 2 and 3 (about 170 km) of this year's race in one day. My winning time was just under 6 hrs. The time this year for stage 2 combined with stage 3 was about 4 hours 15 min. I must have been alone in the lead during that stage for about 5 and a half hours.

"The highest altitude however is not 4400 meters, but considerably less, closer to 4200m. It is reached between Tiquina and Copacabana (both on lake Titicaca). It is not the highest race in the world, except maybe on average, because the Mount Evans hill climb (Colarado USA) finishes at 4307 meters.

"Out of La Paz (Bolivia) there used to be a hill climb to " La Cumbre" at an altitude of 4587 meters. The most difficult for sea-level dwellers (barring use of EPO) must have been the initial 12 km climb. I did two such short uphill races in 1966 and 1967 in La Paz and ended up around 5th each time but with terrible headaches for hours afterwards."

It would certainly be interesting to see the race being held again next year.

News from Portugal

Courtesy of Rui Pinto

The team Porta Ravessa/Milaneza (co-sponsor has not yet been determined), has signed contracts with four riders next year: Gustavo Otero (Esp) from Recer/Boavista, Ivan Herrero (Esp) from Matesica/Aboboda, Oscar Pereiro (Esp, neo-pro) and Portuguese Ricardo Costa (neo-pro).

Five riders have left the team: the climber Philippe Fernandes (to LA/Pecol/AlpiarÁa), the Portuguese sprinter Manuel Liberato (Barbot/Gondomar-new GSIII), Xavier Lamas (Matesica/Aboboda), Miguel Brito and Paulo Silva, who are both retiring.

The neo professionals, Adrian Palomares (23, Esp) and Arturas Trumpauskas (27, Lit) will be riding next season in the Portuguese team Recer/Boavista, managed by Jose Santos. The team has already signed a contract with Bulgarian rider Atanas Petrov, from the other Portuguese team, Gresco/Tavira.

Jenner with C.A. again

According to a report in the New Zealand Herald, top kiwi professional, Chris Jenner has signed for another year with the French cycling team Credit Agricole. Jenner has had a fair season with CA, especially during the first half of the year. He is to ride the upcoming tour of New Caledonia as well as Australia's Tour Down Under in January.

"I've just signed with them for one more year," Jenner said. "That is prefect for me". "I just want to find out how much better I can get and whether I am capable of getting results in big races".

He is aiming for a start in next year's Tour, as well as the Olympic road race in Sydney.

Bassons invited to medical conference

By Tomas Nilsson, correspondent

The French cycling federation has invited Christophe Bassons, La Francaise des Jeux, to it's annual medical conference, held between November 12 and 13 in Tarascon-sur-Ariège, according to news agency AFP. The 25 year-old rider has become something of a symbol for "clean" cycling, but was more or less forced, let's say persuaded, to abandon the Tour this summer after saying that no-one could win a stage in the Tour "on pedals alone" ("à la pédale").

The story of Bassons abandonment can be found here, as well as a photo.

Botero suspended

Colombia's top ranked (103rd) Santiago Botero, Kelme, has been banned for six months by the Colombian Cycling Federation for being caught with a high testosterone level in controls early this season.

Delgado: "Pantani has taken the wrong way"

Spanish ex pro Pedro Delgado is criticizing Marco Pantani for choosing the wrong way to clean his name after being excluded from the Giro with a high haematocrit level.

"A sportsman clears his name in competition and not in courts," said Delgado, Tour winner in 1988 and Vuelta winner 1985 and 1989 appearing in a sports debate in the Spanish senate.

Müller to Post Swiss

German Mapei rider Dirk Müller has signed for Team Post Swiss for next season after a rather dull season that started with a severe crash in the Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia. He was later suspended from Mapei a short while due to doping investigations that in his case lead nowhere.