News for October 9, 1999

Erik Dekker too high

Dutch rider, Erik Dekker (who came 8th in the ITT this week) is not allowed to start on Sunday in the road race. He was tested along with 23 other riders and was the only rider to have too high a hematocrit level - he is out of competition for at least two weeks. He is the first Dutch rider to have tested too high. It is also against the rules (after 12 noon Friday) for the Dutch team to replace him, so they will start on Sunday with 11 riders.

Dekker left via Veronica airport on Saturday afternoon. In an interview on Dutch TV he said there will be a press conference at 3 pm but without him. Rabobank, his sponsor, have not given a statement yet, as they first want to talk to doctors and lawyers about the affair.

Drew scores second major in two weeks

Victorian rider Jamie Drew has capped off an eventful fortnight by winning the 265 km, Cat 1.5 Melbourne to Warrnambool today. This follows Drew's win in the 230 km Grafton to Inverell classic held in New South Wales on September 25, giving the Victorian the two major one-day races on the Australian calendar, outside of the national championships.

Drew, who hails from Warrnambool, attacked with two kilometres to go and finished in front of Chris White and Tim Decker, with John Flood taking fourth while Rick McCaig led home the main bunch. Our correspondent, Brian Farrell, reports there was a northerly wind which made for very fast racing out of Melbourne, the capital city of Victoria, into the coastal centre of Geelong. As the bunch headed inland the wind dropped and the field faced a westerly for the remainder of the race. Full results soon.

"Health" checks instead of doping tests

By Tomas Nilsson, correspondent

No doping tests, but health checks. That's the future in cycling if UCI president Hein Verbruggen gets his way. In the future, from next year on, there will be four health tests annually, where the UCI-doctors will keep their eyes on certain key values for each rider, like the amount of red blood cells. "Only one per cent fail in doping tests. That is a field where we always will be a step behind. I think health tests are the future. That is where we shall invest", said Hein Verbruggen Thursday at the UCI congress.

Does that mean it's OK to cheat as long as you're healthy? It seems to be an incredible admission of defeat. Stay tuned...

French want new records

The French cycling union, struggling for a cleaner sport, suggested Thursday that all world records should be erased at the end of this year. Systematic doping has made it impossible for "clean" riders to beat records, according to the French union. UCI president Hein Verbruggen promised that the suggestion will be considered, but he personally believes in the value of earlier records.

Russians back in union

The Russian federation have paid a US$250,000 debt in order to stay in the union, the UCI have announced. The cash was meant to be insurance in case riders weren't paid by their teams.

Currently, pro teams are registered through their national federations - next year however, they will be directly affiliated with the UCI. Dimitri Konyshev and his other Roslotto teammates will receive the wages they have been owed since the team disbanded.

100th birthday for UCI

The year 2000 marks the 100th anniversary of the UCI and will officially begin for them on Jan. 28th at a conference in the Netherlands. President Hein Verbruggen will announce the 12 membered "Professional Cycling Council", containing 6 UCI delegates, and 6 from professional teams.

Also, the softening of the suspension rules for mild drugs e.g. caffeine and ephedrine will be formally announced. However, it seems to be in place now, as Lithuanian Diana Ziliute will be starting the women's road race today.

Full dozen for Fakta

The surviving Danish pro team Fakta has said it will only have the stipulated ten riders next year. However, now they have had some hooks out after the two of the three remaining Chicky World riders: Bjarke Nielsen and Dennis Rasmussen. Twelve riders would enable the team to ride two races at the same time. The third "Chicky" without a contract, Mark Thune Madsen, hero of HEW Cyclassics, is expected to take up studies to become a school teacher.

Dutch news

Gerben L÷wik (22) has signed for two years with Farm Frites/TVM. He has won as an amateur, ten races this season, including the Omloop van Noord-Limburg, Ernst Sachs Tour and stages in the OZ Beneden Maas Tour and the Tour of Sachsen.

Egon van Kessel (former trainer of the Dutch national juniorselection) will replace assistant-teammanager Steven Rooks. He will join Hendrik Redant next year.

Spanish crit calendar

October is criterium season in Spain, here are some coming:

October 12: Criterium of the Professional Cyclists Association
October 12: City of Terrassa
October 13: Zaragoza, with Escartin back on the bike.
October 23: Criterium of the Professional Cycling Teams Association
October 24: L'Hospitalet
November 7: City of Valencia

Brit rider Hutchinson TT record update

Unfortunately, the weather forecast for Michael Hutchinson's 40 km (25 mile) record attempt was unfavourable and it was postponed to a later date, possibly next year.

"I'll be tapering down my training and going on holiday in November, but I figure that I stand more chance of getting the record given a strong wind and being only 'winter fit' than I do on top form with little wind", he reasoned. "Though hopefully I won't have to wait that long."

The MDT sponsored Cambridge University postgraduate was winner of this season's National Time Trial Series, and has broken 50 minutes no less than seven times this season in out and home time trials. He is attempting to break the 40 minute barrier in this Road Record's Association one way record bid.