News for September 20 1999

Australian cyclists lobby group takes shape

The first six representatives of the recently formed Australian Cyclists Commission have been appointed as the group begins its lobbying work within Cycling Australia. The temporary chairperson of the commission is former Australia pro Stephen Hodge, who's been instrumental in establishing the riders' group.

Hodge told cyclingnews that two representatives - one male and one female - will come from road, track and MTB disciplines. They are: MTB - Scott Sharples and Tanya Cramp; Road - Anna Wilson and Stephen Hodge; track - Danny Day and Sandra Smith.

The cyclists commission is a result of the enquiry into Australian cycling held by the Australian Sports Commission. Many in the cycling community were disappointed with the outcome of this enquiry, as they believed it failed to resolve fundamental problems among the administration of the sport. Despite the depth of talent in Australia, cycling's image in Australia suffered from ongoing bad publicity, including litigation between some of the country's leading riders and officials.

Indeed, leading sprinter Darryn hill has only recently announced he will maintain his status as an Australian, after considering moving to new Zealand and racing as a Kiwi (his wife is from new Zealand).

Hodge believes the commission is a step in the right direction, with the chairperson having a voting seat on the board of Cycling Australia. Nonetheless, Hodge said there CA still maintains the right to endorse the actual rider representatives, a move which could exclude the more politically-active riders.

The recommendation by the ASC was taken up by Scott Sunderland, who organised the initial meeting earlier this year at the Mt Buller Cup. From that point, Hodge became involved and has assumed the role of temporary chair to maintain the momentum. Although the representatives are from the elite level, Hodge said the commission aims to cover the interest of all licensed riders.

In fact, Cycling Australia is also participating at the Bicycling Australia exhibition to be held in Sydney over the October long weekend. In attendance will be Hodge and CA's national development manager, Ryan Moar. "I will be interested to discuss issues," he added.

Marc Streel suspended by HJ&J

Team Home Jack & Jones have issued a press release announcing that the team has expelled their top-tanked Belgian rider, Marc Streel, following his 52.0% Hematocrit testing preceding Saturday's Grand Prix de Nations:

"We are all terribly shocked over the news. We are very shaken over being put in this situation, which we haven't been the masters over. Being over 50.0 is in clear contradictoin with the team's official antidoping-politicy. With reference to this policy, we are now setting up a very quick internal investigation of the case.

We will make the results of this investigation public as quickly as possible and we will act promptly and resolutely. Of course there is a certain risk of sacrificing justice for the sake of prompt action, but for the sake of the sport of cycling and the team, we do not see any future for Marc Streel with HJ&J.

Again we wish to say that we are all very shocked over the fact that one of our riders has brought his hard-working teammates, team leaders and the sport of cycing in general into this frustrating situation."

The development is a terrible blow for HJ&J. Firstly, because Streel's efforts are indispensible in the team's efforts to score some UCI points towards the end of the season and capture top spot in Div.II and the spot in the Div.I that the top spot is to be rewarded at the end of the season. It would now seem all but certain that Ballan will take first place in the UCI Div.II.

Streel's hematocrit levels further shake at the foundations of the team for the fact that both of the team's main sponsors, Home (a Danish real estate agency) and Jack&Jones (a Danish clothing company) both have clauses allowing them to terminate the sponsorship contract in the event of doping on the team. However it is not yet certain how the sponsors will react to the news of Streel's test levels.

More news - Team Home Jack & Jones possibilities after Marc Streel firing

Even though Team Home Jack & Jones has fired Belgian Marc Streel after his hematocrit was found to be over 50%, there is still the possibility of moving into the 1st division next year. Team home Jack & Jones can move up by either winning the 2nd division or being among the 21 best teams on the 1/1 2000, based on their 8 best riders UCI points.

The Teams chance of winning the 2. division is not good. Streel could have changed that on the basis of UCI points he may have won by riding in the GP des Nations. If HJJ are to win the 2nd Division they must do as well as current leaders Italian Team Ballan in the remaining races of the season. On top of that however they need an extra 100 points, realistically these points can only be won in Paris-Tours, GP Isbergues or Giro de Puglia.

Team home Jack & Jones' other possibility is being among the 21 best teams on the 1/1 2000. Marc Streels firing has not changed the teams chances that much. If you take into account the Team changes that have been made for the 2000 season, HJJ lie between the 18-20 best teams. This calculation is however very unstable and there is still many unknowns as to who will ride where next season.

No money from Cantina Tollo

Salaries are not paid according to plan from Italian team Cantina Tollo.

We haven't got our salaries since June 10, and if you don't get your money within three months it's a break of contract, says Danish Bo Hamburger on his own website That's why I have had discussions with other teams, even though my contacts goes over next season. If I am to continue on the team I must have guarantees that I will be paid, not only from the team but also from the actual company Cantina Tollo.

Hamburger is also prepared to sue Italian sports daily La Gazetta dello Sport for writing that the team manager Santoni wasn't satisfied with Hamburger's, Colombo's and Minali's performances. The story was invented by the journalist, says Hamburger.