News for December 12, 2000

Pantani guilty

Three month suspended sentence for sporting fraud

Marco Pantani has been found guilty of sporting fraud in using the banned blood-booster EPO and has received a three month suspended sentence. The verdict, delivered late Monday evening at Italy's northern regional court, found that Pantani had used doping agents, in particular EPO, at the time of his crash in Milan-Turin, October 18 1995. When admitted to hospital, Pantani recorded a haematocrit level of over 60 per cent, well in excess of the UCI's permitted level of 50 per cent.

The crucial testimony came from Professor Massimo Cartesegna, head doctor of the emergency unit where Pantani was admitted after his crash. Cartesegna testified that Pantani's haematocrit level had been "up and down like a yo-yo" while he recovered from the accident, a condition highly suggestive of the use of EPO.

The court asked that Pantani be disqualified from racing for 6 months. The prosecution had also asked that Pantani be fined, but the judge did not include a financial element in the sentence.

Pantani was not present for the verdict, and has not attended any of the previous hearings in the trial. Pantani's lawyer, Gaetano Insolera, said they would appeal.

Kappes cleared

The disciplinary committee of the German Cycling Federation (BRD) has cleared Andreas Kappes of doping charges arising from a positive test for nandrolone, an anabolic steroid, at the German track championships in Hamburg in July.

Tests performed in a Cologne laboratory later found nandrolone in a food supplement Kappes had taken. "Unless the executive committee of the BRD has any objection to this decision, the case is over," BRD acting general secretary Karsten Schuetze said after Monday's meeting.

Kappes had been suspended from his team, Agro Adler Brandenburg, after testing positive but team manager Dirk Meier said "Our contract left us no other choice, but now he has been acquitted he could ride for us again in the coming season."

Kappes also tested positive in 1997, but that time failed to dodge the bullet and was suspended for six months.

Van Petegem signs for Mercury

Peter Van Petegem has finalised the last details of his deal with Greg LeMond and the revamped Mercury team. He confirmed to De Standaard: "Finally it's official now. I signed for two seasons, and Geert Van Bondt and Wim Vansevenant signed for the same period. I hope to have a more quiet winter next year, but there is a chance that Mercury and Viatel will become two separate teams in the future. Than we will have to make a choice."

Van Petegem doesn't expect a quick decision about his situation with Farm Frites. "My lawyer heard that Farm Frites asked for a delay. But that doesn't change my decision for Mercury." Until the Farm Frites situation is resolved, the UCI will not officially recognise Van Petegem's membership of the Mercury team.

Kupfernagel, Spijkerman, Hemsley join Farm Frites

Top German rider, world cyclo-cross champion and Olympic road silver medallist Hanka Kupfernagel has signed with the Farm Frites team of Leontien van Moorsel. She is joined by Bertine Spijkerman and Australian rider Margaret Hemsley.

Kupfernagel was also rumoured to be talking to the US Saturn-Timex team. Describing the move to the Dutch team as a "new paragraph" in her life she said, "Farm Frites made the best offer. Other deals were too sponge-like."

Kupfernagel also confirmed her 'sporting separation' from husband Torsten Wittig who was formerly her manager.

The team has renewed its agreement to ride Koga Miyata bikes.

Canadian cycling figure passes away

Canadian cycling legend Dr. Roger Sumner has recently passed away. Dr Sumner had a long and distinguished cycling career and was a mentor for many great Canadian cyclists including Jocelyn Lovell, Alex Stieda, Sara Neil, Ron Hayman and Brian Walton to name a few.

He was instrumental in the creation of the Canadian Cycling Association and covered cycling for Cycling Weekly, Winning and VeloNews while he was not busy raising his family and working as a dentist. He was dearly loved by cycling friends all over the globe and will be sorely missed.

Reported by Jesse Keefer

USA Cycling appoints Mary Monroe as Chief Marketing Officer

In a break from past practice, USA Cycling has appointed former Trek Bicycle marketing wizard Mary Monroe as its first-ever Chief Marketing Officer. Monroe will oversee business development, communications and sponsor relations. The position was created as part of USA Cycling's new vision for the organization in the forthcoming years.

Monroe was responsible for bringing in Volkswagen as a sponsor for Trek. She is a member of the board of US MTB racing governing body NORBA; vice president of MTB advocacy body IMBA; and an Expert-level mountain bike racer.

Previously, USA Cycling's chief operating officer was responsible for marketing and sponsor relations. Under USA Cycling's new business plan, Chief Operating Officer Steve Johnson will assist Voight with planning and budgeting, leaving marketing operations to Monroe.

Golich and Miller named USA Cycling Coaches of the Year

Dean Golich and Bryan Miller have won two of the top coaching awards in the US as USA Cycling named Golich as National Coach of the Year, while Miller received the Development Coach of the Year award.

Golich coached two of his athletes to Olympic, international and national success with Mari Holden winning a silver medal in the time trial at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, and then the time trial gold medal at the World Road Cycling Championships in Plouay, France, three weeks later (see our special feature for a detailed interview). Holden also secured her fifth national time trial title this year.

The second Olympian coached by Golich is mountain biker and cyclo-crosser, Alison Dunlap, who competed in her second Olympic Games, placing seventh in the mountain bike race in Sydney. She led the World Cup series for much of the year before taking second place overall at the end of the season.

Golich began coaching in 1996 after working as a physiologist for USA Cycling from 1994-96. He coaches both road cycling and mountain biking and serves as the team manager for Team GT. In addition to Dunlap and Holden, he currently coaches Katja Repo (Finland), Steve Peat (Great Britain), Roland Green (Canada) and others.

Bryan Miller has been a competitive cyclist at the elite/professional level for 20 years and is passing his knowledge and experience on to younger riders as a development coach. Miller has worked with junior mountain biker and cyclo-crosser Walker Ferguson since 1996.

Ferguson followed up a silver medal at the Junior Cyclo-cross World Championships in 2000 with a gold medal and world title at the 2000 Junior Mountain Bike World Championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain. Ferguson displayed his versatility by also competing in the Junior Road Cycling World Championships in 2000.

Miller and Golich will now compete against other national governing body coaches for the USOC Coach of the Year award. Lance Armstrong's coach, Chris Carmichael, was USA Cycling's 1999 National Coach of the year, while Stephane Girard was honored as USA Cycling's Development Coach. Carmichael went on to win the USOC National Coach of the Year award.

Millar auctions maillot jaune

UK pro Dave Millar is auctioning his Tour de France yellow jersey to raise money for the UK's David Rayner Fund. Millar started the auction after being unable to get a jersey to the Rayner Fund's annual dinner in November because he was in Australia at the time. Bidding currently stands at 650 (650 ukp) and you can send your bid to:

Largest Aussie field ever in Tour of Wellington

Race director Jorge Sandoval tells us he's getting lots of enquiries from Australians wondering if they're eligible for next month's Tour of Wellington. The answer is 'Yes' and there are already about 23 Aussies entered, the largest trans-Tasman contingent in the event's 14 year history. Anyone else thinking about making the trip needs to make a decision soon: entries close December 15.

First victory for Domo-Farm Frites

Mario De Clercq was listed as a Palmans-Ideal rider when he won the Hoogstraten round of the Superprestige cyclo-cross series at the weekend, but he was actually riding in the colours of his new Domo-Farm Frites team, making this the first victory for the squad.

De Clerq was the recipient of many congratulatory calls from Mallorca, where Domo-Farm Frites is currently training, and is delighted to have demonstrated so quickly to the team management that hiring a cyclo-crosser was a good idea.

Heerlen looks likely for 2001 Dutch championships

With Maasbrecht and Rotterdam out of the running to host the 2001 Dutch road race championships, Heerlen in the very south of the Netherlands, is looking like the most probable venue. Heerlen last hosted the event in 1976 when Jan Raas took the title.