News for February 13, 2000

Streel takes team to court

By Tomas Nilsson, correspondent

Belgian rider, Marc Streel has decided to bring his former team, Memory Card Jack&Jones (ex Home Jack&Jones) to trial. The Belgian ITT Champion was fired last fall when his haematocrit level was too high at the Grand Prix des Nations.

Streel argues that there was no reason for the team to fire him. The high haematocrit level was, according to him, due to dehydration after diarrhea. Dehydration is known to have a slight raising effect on haematocrit level. To have a high level is not proof of the use of EPO, and riders with excessive levels have their licenses withdrawn for two weeks for health reasons.

The Danish team, who want to have a high profile in matters related to doping, has it's own anti doping charter, signed by all the cyclists. It says that riders who are guilty of doping or show an excessive haematocrit level in an UCI test will have their contracts annulled immediately and the payment of salary stopped. If a high haematocrit level is measured in the team's own tests, there will be an internal investigation to find whether it is a question of EPO use.

Streel claims that he hasn't been paid his salary for the last half of the 1999 season, and that the team also owes him prize money. Streel now rides with the Belgian second division team Ville de Charleroi and he claims that the only offers he had for this season from major teams were insultingly low. If he can't improve his position on the cycling market this year he will have to quit.

Italian doping - more riders named

The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) investigation into doping in Italian riders and teams continues, with more top riders being called up to give evidence. Last Friday, six riders were named on the basis of documents passed on to the Italian federation: Fernando Escartin, Abraham Olano, Beat Zberg, Tony Rominger, Pavel Tonkov and Andreas Kappes. Although there is not set date for their hearings, the evidence will be examined by each of their national federations before any action is taken. Five of the six riders are still racing and may receive suspensions if found guilty. Action of this type cannot however be taken against Rominger. The accusations are serious, as nearly all of these cyclists are in the top echelon of pro cycling.

This follows on from the case earlier this week involving Italian Giro winner, Ivan Gotti, who was accused of taking EPO on the basis of a high hematocrit value detailed in seized documents. He explanation was that his varying hematocrit was caused by sickness (intestinal parasites), altitude training and racing. CONI's decision may take a further week, however there is the possibility that the second winner of the Giro '99 may be disqualified.

Quaranta wants Cipollini's crown

Italian sprinter, Ivan Quaranta who recently won 3 stages in the Tour de Langkawi, would like to take over Cipollini's mantle as the "king of the sprints". At the Mobilvetta-Rossin presentation in "Fantasy World" yesterday, the 29 year-old affirmed his aims for the year, which includes winning a stage in the 2000 Giro, as well as racing in the Sydney Olympics: "I want to win not one, but two stages in the Giro this year," he said.

The team, directed by Stefano Guiliani, have Russian born Italian based ex-powerhouse, Eugeni Berzin amongst their ranks, as well as Frenchman Laurent Roux. The latter will only be able to start in the Fleche Wallone after he finishes a drug suspension. "He has a large debt that he wants to redeem, and I have trusted him to do this. He will ride the Giro as well as Berzin and Tim Jones (Zim)," said Guiliani of Roux.

Berzin, the winner of the 1994 Giro is still keen to race, and is close to race weight at 63 kilos: " I do not want to stop racing, I feel I can still accomplish something on the road".

The team also has Sandro Callari, one of Italy's top track riders who wants to make the Olympic pursuit team this year. "After the Giro, that will be my objective, because on the road I will not get many more opportunities," he said. "After the Giro, which I will try and finish, I will have 15 rest days, dedicating myself to the track in order to aim for the Olympics. Important points in that will be the World Cup race in Turin and the Fiorenzuola Six, as well as training with several other members of the "Azzuri" track team. It's an experience that stimulates me, because I've always loved the track," he said.

Team roster

Director: Stefano Guiliani
Team Manager: Fausto Boerggio, Gabriele di Francesco
Bikes: Rossin


Francesco Arazzi (Ita) 
Filippo Baldo (Ita) 
Eugeni Berzin (Rus) 
Raffaele Bosi (Ita) 
Daniele Gadenz (Ita) 
Michele Gobbi (Ita) 
Domenico Gualdi (Ita) 
Mirko Gualdi (Ita) 
Timoty Jones (Zim) 
Milan Kadlec (Cze) 
Sergei Lelekin (Rus) 
Mario Manzoni (Ita) 
Simone Masciarelli (Ita) 
Devis Miorin (Ita) 
Alberto Ongarato (Ita) 
Ivan Quaranta (Ita) 
Graziano Recinella (Ita) 
Laurent Roux (Fra) 
Corrado Serina (Ita) 
Paolo Valoti (Ita) 

Panaria-Gaerne presents

The team of Panaria-Gaerne had their presentation today in the town of Assopiastrelle, Italy. The team is directed by Bruno and Roberto Reverberi, and contains the likes of Swede Nicklas Axelsson, who was sixth in the last Giro d'Italia. The twelve man squad has already had a win this year, with Mexican Julio Alberto Perez who won the stage to Genting highlands in the Tour de Langkawi.

Other members of the team include Italian Paolo Bertoglio, son of Faustus who won the Giro in 1975. In addition there are the Australian neo's, Tom Leaper and Nathan O'Neill who will be keen to make their mark this year.