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News for December 5, 2000

IOC under pressure

The International Olympic Committee have been put under pressure by the French government and top cycling powers to validate the EPO urine test, after a meeting in Paris today. The meeting was held between representatives of the French Ministry for Sports and Youth, the Council for the Fight and Prevention of Doping (CPLD), the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the French Cycling Federation (FFC).

An official statement released at the close of the meeting by the French Ministry for Sport and Youth, said that "...the participants unanimously agreed that the procedure and outcome of this validation must be quickly and clearly defined by all the institutions concerned and specifically by the International Olympic Committee."

However, no date was actually set for the validation of the test developed by the national Laboratory of Châtenay-Malabry. "The scientists need time and the ministry said to us that it will do whatever is necessary to quite clearly write the protocol for this validation," said FFC president, Daniel Baal.

The UCI and the Société du Tour de France were persuaded in the early part of the year that the stand alone test would be ready in time for the Tour de France in July. However, after a legal and medical consultation held just over a week prior to the Tour, it was decided not to use it. Mr Baal indicated that a scenario like this would not happen again. The test (or future tests) will be validated before it is announced that they will be used.

The possibility of a standardized list of banned substances was also discussed during the meeting, eliminating (for example) the discrepancies between the IOC and UCI banned lists. This is to have a "very detailed amount of attention given to it in 2001."

Other points that were tabled at the meeting included the following:

The official anti-doping control reports will be standardized for use by the UCI and French authorities in 2001.

From January 1, 2001, detection of corticosteroids will be included in all the analyses carried out by the national anti-doping laboratory, regardless of the discipline.

The distinction between the procedures resulting from the application of French law compared with the UCI's rules will be made clear.

World Online to sponsor Danes

The internet service provider, World Online will be the head sponsor of Bjarne Riis' team (TTFKAM) next season, along with CSC. Riis made the announcement today after securing the one year deal with the ISP, for an undisclosed sum. The team of 22 are aiming to be amongst the top 7 teams in the world next year, and have Laurent Jalabert as their star rider. The team will officially be called CSC-World Online.

"I am a very happy man today, we have a completely sponsored team," said Riis afterwards. "I hope that we will show ourselves in all the Classics, and that the riders will be ready for the Tour de France where we will aim at stage wins, the green jersey and perhaps a few days in yellow."

Laurent Jalabert said that he was always optimistic that a new sponsor would be found. "I trusted the brains trust in spite of the financial uncertainties that were echoed in the press," said Jalabert to AFP. "I feel good about this team, which has interesting recruits, and I believe I will have a good season."

Jalabert will aim for the Spring Classics, as well as other big races. He is no longer concerned with holding the world number one spot, a position that he held from 1995 to 1999.

Van Petegem soap

Peter Van Petegem is talking again about his future, after it has transpired that Greg Lemond's new team is not assured for 2001. The principal reason for this might be Peter Van Petegem, who needs to extract himself from a contract with Farm Frites next season.

Peter Van Petegem told Belgian daily, De Standaard on Monday "I'm welcome with Geert van Bondt and Wim Vansevenant to the Mercury team in case the Viatel team of Greg LeMond isn't able to start on its own. I heard from Johan Lammerts that there is an agreement with Viatel, but not on paper. And I have to wait for a decision from the Dutch federation (Arbitragecommissie Sportsponsoring) about my problems with Farm Frites. By December 11 at the latest, it should be clear.

In the Dutch daily, De Limburger Peter Post gives his view on the Van Petegem situation. "We have to wait and see what the decision from the Arbitragecommissie Sportsponsoring will be. And if Van Petegem has to stay with Farm Frites, he is with Domo/Farm Frites next season. We will build a nice team around him. Three riders, and we will make a nice program for that group; but they have to train very hard."

While Van Petegem still had a contract with Farm Frites, he signed an agreement with Mapei on the condition that he his former team manager Cees Priem would be a part of that team. Peter Post asked a buy out price of 750,000 Dutch guilders (Euro 340,000). However, because Van Petegem doesn't want to pay, the Arbitragecommissie Sportsponsoring has to make a decision about his future.

Peter Post says Van Petegem is responsible for the bad atmosphere in Farm Frites last year and a lot of incidents surrounding Farm Frites. "He only wanted to make a lot of money, but with as little as possible racing. He and Cees Priem ruined the whole team, and Van Petegem knows that very well. The biggest loser in this soap became the sport of cycling," said Post.

Post admits Priem had good results with TVM in the past. "But at what price? After his arrest in the 1998 Tour there is still an unfinished doping process in Reims for Priem and his former riders. And then Van Petegem uses Priem as an adviser."

Garzelli confirms with Mapei

Despite leaving it until a little late in the season, former Mercatone Uno cyclist, Stefano Garzelli will be riding for Mapei-Quick Step in 2001. There was some speculation last week about whether he would join the world's number one team, as he wasn't present at the team's training camp and hadn't confirmed his signature. There was also the fact that he had a contract with Mercatone Uno for next year, meaning that a mutual agreement between the parties was necessary to break it.

During the past few days, World Cycling Srl and Admiral (the society that manages Mercatone Uno-Albacom) have reached an agreement that allows Stefano Garzelli to race for Mapei-Quick Step next season. He will sign the contract in Arona next Thursday, and a press conference will follow. Dr. Giorgio Squinzi and other members of Mapei staff will be in attendance, and the new jersey for the team will be presented for season 2001.

Strock's statement

Ever since Greg Strock filed a lawsuit against USA Cycling alleging that they doped him as a junior, there has been speculation in the media as to whether Strock was inferring that Lance Armstrong also received banned substances. Both Armstrong and Strock were teammates on the USA junior national team during the early 1990's, however that's where the similarity ends according to Strock. A portion of his statement was published yesterday, however the full statement follows.

"On November 17, 2000, I filed a lawsuit against USA Cycling, Inc., and other parties, stating that I was doped by a former USAC coach without my knowledge about 10 years ago. I intend to pursue my suit vigorously. One unfortunate reaction to my suit has been media speculation that two-time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong, and I traveled together as teammates during the incidents in question or that Lance may have been involved in, or had knowledge of, the doping incidents that I experienced. I would like to set the record straight. Lance and I never raced together, traveled together or shared the same coach during the time period in question. Although we were both members of various USAC development teams at one time or another, Lance did not go on any of the trips where I witnessed the doping take place.

"Most importantly, Lance was never present during any of the events where I have alleged the doping took place. I do not believe that Lance participated in any of the bad acts that I have stated the USAC committed. Thus, it is completely incorrect for anyone in the media or otherwise to infer that I have alleged Lance was improperly doped or that I have alleged he had any knowledge of what happened to me during that time.

"I have always admired Lance as a true inspiration and hero just as so many others around the world do. I would hope that this statement will end any discussion of a relationship between my lawsuit and Lance. There simply is none."

UCI Cyclocross rankings

The latest cyclocross rankings issued by the UCI after the GP de Luxembourg on Sunday see World Champion Richard Groenendaal (Rabobank) extend his lead over the pack. Groenendaal has 2,335 points, over 800 clear of Mario de Clercq who moved ahead of Bart Wellens into second place. Former world number one, Sven Nijs is holding fourth place at the moment. Top nation is still Belgium, by a considerable margin from over the Netherlands.

Rankings as of December 3, 2000

Elite Men:

1 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) Rabobank                2,335 pts
2 Mario De Clercq (Bel) Palmans-Ideal               1,512
3 Bart Wellens (Bel) Spaar Select                   1,502
4 Sven Nijs (Bel) Rabobank                          1,407
5 Daniele Pontoni (Ita) Selle Italia                1,089
6 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) RVS Liege                   1,009
7 Adrie Van Der Poel (Ned) Rabobank                   762
8 Peter Van Santvliet (Bel) Spaar Select              714
9 Beat Wabel (Swi) K2 Pro Flex                        562
10 Tom Vannoppen (Bel) Vlaanderen 2002-Eddy Merckx    552
11 Wim De Vos (Ned) Spaar Select                      464
12 Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank                     443
13 Petr Dlask (Cze)                                   422
14 Christophe Morel (Fra) Besson Chaussures           366
15 Ben Berden (Bel) Vlaanderen 2002-Eddy Merckx       317
16 David Seco Amundarain (Spa) Euskaltel              304
17 Jiri Pospisil (Cze)                                299
18 Luca Bramati (Ita)                                 271
19 Marc Janssens (Bel) Palmans-Ideal                  261
20 Arne Daelmans (Bel)                                260

Nations:

1 Belgium                    6,144 pts
2 Netherlands                4,164
3 Italy                      1,869
4 Czech Republic             1,319
5 France                     1,283
6 Switzerland                1,281
7 U.S.A.                       760
8 Spain                        667
9 Germany                      596
10 Great Britain               586
11 Poland                      577
12 Slovakia                    461
13 Denmark                     430
14 Luxembourg                  388
15 Austria                     352
16 Hungary                     340
17 Japan                       285
18 Canada                      125
19 Sweden                        5

Dutch rider of the year

Erik Dekker (Rabobank) and Leontien van Moorsel (Farm Frites-Hartol) were voted as best cyclists of the Netherlands in 2000. The announcement was made in Den Bosch on Monday evening, with various current and former riders, and staff of the top Dutch magazine, WielerRevue in attendance. Van Moorsel, a triple Olympic gold medallist, was highly tipped to take the women's title, adding to her 1999 honour as well as the recent "Rotterdam Sportswoman of the Year" which she won.

Winner of the men's title, Erik Dekker, impressed everyone with his three stage victories in the Tour de France, as well has his win in the Clasica San Sebastian. Best neo-professional of the year was awarded to Bram Tankink, who will ride for Domo-Farm Frites next season. Finally, best off road cyclist of the year went to World Cyclocross Champion, Richard Groenendaal.

Kirchen awarded

Kim Kirchen is to be awarded the title of Luxembourg's cyclist of the year. The awards ceremony takes place December 12 at Mondorf casino.

Virenque's future

Despite the Damoclean six to twelve month suspension hanging over him for the EPO use he finally admitted in last month's Festina trial, Richard Virenque is still looking for a team for 2001. Virenque has retained former racer Eric Boyer, head of GSR as his agent, and Boyer has made representations on Virenque's behalf to Italian, Spanish, Dutch, French and Danish teams.

Boyer said that Virenque was currently spending time with his family and did not wish to appear before the trial verdicts were returned. "We respect the work of the UCI, the federations and the Société du Tour de France," explained Boyer, who is concerned not to put any pressure on those who will decide his new client's future.

Beloki worried about Festina situation

Joseba Beloki has admitted he does not yet know if he will ride for Festina in 2001. "I am confused," he said. "Few riders change teams in December and the situation is a little strange."

Beloki stressed that if he does stay with Festina his relationships with the other riders and with manager Juan Fernandez are "perfect" - it's simply a question of money and career-building. "[The working life of a cyclist] is short and I must build on my podium placing in the Tour. This year will be important for me. If I only come sixth, nobody will remember me."

Beloki has been advised by the UCI to fulfill his one-year contract with Festina. He was originally offered a high-salary five year contract but turned it down when it transpired the deal was arranged through a Dutch intermediary, and instead signed a one year deal.

Festina told to pay up

The Barcelona civil court has ordered Festina to pay 50 million pesetas to Alex Zulle and 20 million to Laurent Dufaux. The money is their salaries for the last third of the 1998 season, which Festina team management company Prosport SA had refused to pay after that year's doping scandal.

Italian teams: Part II

By Jeff Jones

The second of a four part series detailing the first and second division Italian based teams for 2001. Amore & Vita, Cantina Tollo, Colpack, and Fassa Bortolo are presented in this installment. Note that Alessio (mentioned yesterday) have not yet confirmed Christian Gobbi (Ita), Alexandre Gontchenkov (Rus) or Leonardo Guidi (Ita).

Amore & Vita-Beretta

This was actually a British registered team whose existence was in danger this year. However, it will continue in 2001 with a reduced line up. All of the British riders have left, but there is a considerable influx of Poles.

Team Manager: Giuseppe Lanzoni
Directors: Gianluigi Barsottelli & Roberto Pelliconi
Division: II (?)

Riders

Andrus Aug (Est) (Neo)
Roberto Cerri (Ita)
Cristian Fanini (Ita)
Thomas Grönqvist (Swe)
Slawomir Kohut (Pol) (Neo)
Simone Leporatti (Ita)
Masssimiliano Martini (Ita)
Steven Tibbitts (USA)
Marek Wesoly (Pol) (Neo)
Kamil (?) Wolski (Pol) (Neo)
Faat Zakirov (Rus) (Neo)

Cantina Tollo Acqua e Sapone

This wine-sponsored division II squad will retain Danilo di Luca as its star rider, and 2001 could be a big year for him. They have reduced their line up to 17 riders, with the biggest loss arguably being Roberto Sgambelluri to Telekom. However, they have gained Filippo Simeoni (Amica Chips) and Roberto Conti (Vini Caldirola).

Manager: Vincenzo Santoni
Team Managers: Palmiro Masciarelli and Enrico Paolini
Director: Giuseppe Petito
Division: II

Riders

Claudio Astolfi (Ita) (Neo)
Gabriele Colombo (Ita)
Roberto Conti (Ita) (Vini Caldirola)
Danilo Di Luca (Ita)
Cristian Gasperoni (Ita)
Massimiliano Gentili (Ita)
Massimo Giunti (Ita)
Federico Giabbecucci (Ita)
Ruggero Marzoli (Ita)
Simone Masciarelli (Ita) (Mobilvetta)
Cristian Pepoli (Ita)
Kyrylo Pospeev (Ukr)
Filippo Simeoni (Ita) (Amica Chips)
Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) (Liquigas)
Andrea Tonti (Ita)
Guido Trenti (USA)
Sergei Yakovlev (Kaz) (Besson Chaussures)

Colpack Astro

In its second year in 2001, the second division Colpack team will retain nine of its riders from this year, adding from the defunct Polti team (which was considered the 'parent' of Colpack) as well as three neo-professionals.

Director: Antonio Bevilacqua
Division: II

Riders

Giosuè Bonomi (Ita) (Neo)
Fabio Bulgarelli (Ita)
Matteo Carrara (Ita) (Neo)
Michele Colleoni (Ita) (Polti)
Alessandro Cortinovis (Ita)
Gianni Gobbini (Ita)
José Manuel Uria Gonzalez (Spa) (Polti)
Denis Lunghi (Ita)
Renzo Mazzoleni (Ita) (Neo)
Miguel Angel Meza Flores (Mex)
Andrea Nencini (Ita)
Rafael Mateos Perez (Spa) (Polti)
Massimiliano Razzari (Ita)
Moris Sammassimo (Ita)
Ruggero Torraco (Ita)

Fassa Bortolo

Giancarlo Ferretti's Fassa Bortolo team was an Italian success story in 2000. Starting out as a brand new team, Fassa Bortolo rode consistently throughout the season, winning many major races and finishing third on the UCI team rankings by the end of the year. With riders such as Baldato, Belli, Frigo, Konyshev, Loda, Petacchi, Rumsas and new signings Francesco Casagrande, Ivan Basso and Serguei Ivanov, this team could certainly make it to the top in 2001.

Team Manager: Giancarlo Ferretti
Director: Mario Chiesa
Division: I

Riders

Ivan Basso (Amica Chips)
Fabio Baldato (Ita)
Wladimir Belli (Ita)
Filippo Casagrande (Vini Caldirola)
Francesco Casagrande (Vini Caldirola)
Marco Fincato (Ita)
Dario Frigo (Ita)
Leonardo Giordani (Ita)
Volodymyr Gustov (Ukr)
Serguei Ivanov (Rus) (Farm Frites)
Kim Kirchen (Lux) (Neo - De Nardi)
Dmitri Konyshev (Rus)
Nicola Loda (Ita)
Luca Mazzanti (Ita)
Andrea Peron (Ita)
Alessandro Petacchi (Ita)
Roberto Petito (Ita)
Oscar Pozzi (Ita) (Amica Chips)
Raimondas Rumsas (Ltu)
Paolo Tiralongo (Ita)
Matteo Tosatto (Ita)
Tadej Valjavic (Slo)

Sources: La Gazzetta dello Sport/Cycling4all

Hoedemakers signs

Belgian Berry Hoedemakers has signed for one year with the German Team Cologne. He had a contract with the Belgian team Spar-OKI, but there are financial problems with that team, so he was forced to leave.

Raymond Meijs is the road captain of Team Cologne, and with Hoedemakers this German team now has five Dutch riders (Jos Lucassen, Paul van Schalen, and Pelle Kil).

French team news

Despite being expected to return to Bressuire AC, Antony Supiot has confirmed he will definitely stay with Jean Floc'H for another year. François Norce joins CR4C Roanne, while Denis Montard leaves that team for VC Bressan (DN3) and Jean-baptiste Raviot goes to SCO Dijon - Dijon is also negotiating with Frederic Arnaud.

Nicolas Kocianski will remain in the Loire into 2001. Yannick and Thomas Meyer are to leave ASPTT Mulhouse, one to go to VCC Morteau-Montbenoît and the other to Pédale de l'Est d'Haguenau. In Brittany, Yannick Flochlay leaves Plouvien for VS Quimper, Yann Vigouroux goes to ASK Hennebont and Fabrice Denmat to VS Ploumagoar.

Guéguen re-elected

Jo Guéguen has been reelected as president of the Comité de Bretagne, Brittany's cycling body, in a meeting in which the subject of doping was very much in the air. Henri Perrot, the Breton delegate to the Olympic Regional and Sporting Committee said cycling was in danger of disappearing soon if it did not change. Guéguen agreed, denouncing 'cheats' and calling for the immediate suspension of those who test positive.

Courtesy of www.velomania.net