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News for November 25, 2000

UCI vs. Magnien

French road cyclist Emmanuel Magnien was given a three month suspension in August for taking an unauthorised injection of cortisone prior to the Tour de France. His suspension forced him out of the Olympic road team (eventually) and was due to finish on February 24 next year, given that November, December and January are months not normally included in UCI suspensions.

However, he has been racing in cyclo-cross events this month, competing in three so far. The UCI have reacted by taking disciplinary procedures against him, because "the rider was not authorised to take part in cyclocross races."

Magnien claims that the UCI suspensions apply to the road only. "The notification from TAS (Court of Arbitration of Sport) refers to the road program and therefore not with cyclocross races," said Magnien. He also said that all the races that he has taken part in have been under the umbrella of the French Federation (FFC) and not the UCI. However, he has intentions of competing in the Nommay UCI race on Sunday.

If the UCI are successful, Magnien faces a doubling of his suspension (to 6 months) and a fine of between 1000-5000 Swiss francs.

The TAS are also involved in another appeal against sanctioning by off-road specialist Jerome Chiotti. The former World Champion (1996) earlier this year admitted to using EPO to gain that title, and was subsequently given a one year suspension by the FFC. The suspension started on July 11, and also involved a fine of 4000 Swiss francs.

The TAS will make their decision on Chiotti's sanction on December 15.

Memory Card officially withdraws

After the recent financial problems of the Memory Card Technology company, it came as no great surprise that they officially announced the withdrawal of their sponsorship. They realised that they had no way of paying their cyclists' salaries for the next two months and it will be left up to others to pick up the pieces. Presumably, the UCI bank guarantee will be called upon.

"We have already spent too much to set up the team," said director John Trolle, who also sold his shares in Professioniel Cycling Denmark (PCD - the company behind the Team) to new director, Bjarne Riis.

The buyer of those shares believes strongly in the team, saying that "a viable solution will be found in the next few days."

González de Galdeano hopeful

Alvaro González de Galdeano believes that he can find a way out of his potential suspension for nandrolone, a drug that he tested positive for during the Vuelta a Espana. Currently on holidays in Italy, he learned of Fabiana Luperini's 1999/2000 case involving the same substance. Luperini was eventually given a shortened sentence by the Italian Federation after they found no evidence of nandrolone derivatives in her urine samples (although the nandrolone was present).

Gonzalez de Galdeano believes that the nandrolone came from contaminated sports drink, originating from the United States. Both he and Czech cyclist, Jan Hruska consumed the same drink, although Hruska has already been handed a six month suspension. Galdeano is having the drink analysed by the the Spanish Sports Council Laboratory, where he hopes to find the answer.

Both he and Hruska will ride with ONCE next year, and have already started their training programs. Galdeano is hoping that he will be able to start competition at the beginning of the year and not the middle.

More on Joachim

Luxembourg national champion, Benoit Joachim, was recently cleared by his federation after he tested positive to nandrolone during the national championships on June 25. Spokesman for the federation, Ed Buchette, provided cyclingnews with some more details as to why he was acquitted.

Joachim has his samples taken on June 25, however they were not analysed until between September 6 and September 22. This large time discrepancy was an important consideration in this case, as it is longer than the usual turnaround. Joachim's "A" sample contained 5.7 ng/mL of norandrosterone (the derivative of nandrolone that is used to mark its presence) and his "B" sample contained 6.2 ng/ml

The UCI regulations state that "for nandrolone and its derivatives, a sample will be considered positive if the norandrosterone concentration found in the urine after hydrolysis exceeds 5 ng/ml. If the concentration is between 2 and 5 ng/ml or is equal to 5 ng/ml, the Antidoping Commission can request further analyses. If the rider refuses to undergo them, he will be considered positive."

The 5 ng/ml is significantly higher than the IOC's recommended level of 2 ng/ml, which (according to medical statistics) would lead to 11% of people falsely testing positive. In Joachim's case however, there was no doubt that his level was too high. He also voluntarily submitted himself to a hair analysis, that found no traces of nandrolone, but this was not able to be used as an official drug test.

Questions remained as to the time period between taking the sample and the analyses, as well as the fact that he steadfastly denied taking the substance. The contamination argument is also there, but hard to prove unless analyses of the suspected drink/bar/herbal supplement/vitamin pill/toothpaste are made.

Despite being acquitted, it was too late to save Joachim's contract with US Postal, as they immediately fired him based on their "zero-tolerance" drug policy. The Luxembourg champion is hopeful of finding another contract, and is talking with US Postal.

Italian awards

Italian cyclists Francesco Casagrande and Michele Bartoli will be awarded two prizes for Italian sport. Casagrande will receive the "Giglio d'Oro" next Monday, a trophy awarded by local journalists for the best sportsman in Tuscany.

Fellow Tuscan, Michele Bartoli will receive the first ever "Premio Gino Bartali", named in honour of the recently deceased Italian legend. The prize was instigated by Gino Bartali's son, Andrea Bartali, as well as Andrea Bresci (president of the Friends of the Gino Bartali Museum club), Romano Beghelli (journalist), Giovanni Corrieri (former champion cyclist), Pier Augusto Stagi (director of Tuttobici) and Stefano Fiori (cycling journalist).

Bartoli was given the award because of his "high sporting qualities over the entire year, his human qualities, his modesty and his straight morals." It will be officially presented on December 7, at which time a famous Gino Bartali/Fausto Coppi mystery will be cleared up.

Australian Cyclist of the Year

Scott McGrory and Brett Aitken, the "Sling Kings" of Australian cycling, have been jointly named as Australian Cyclist of the Year, the coveted Sir Hubert Opperman Medal at the annual awards ceremony in Melbourne last night. The pair won Olympic gold in an unforgettable night at the Dunc Gray velodrome on September 21, that also saw Gary Neiwand take silver in the men's keirin.

McGrory and Aitken, who also shared the Male Track Cyclist of the Year award, were not able to accept the prize as they are currently competing in the Six Days of Gent, where they were lying in second place after night 4.

Both have suffered from personal tragedies this year - McGrory and his wife Donna lost their three month old son, Alexander, and Aitken and his wife Nathalie learned their daughter is suffering from Rett's Syndrome. However, both managed to maintain their focus and put in a superb performance during the Olympic Games.

In the other major categories, Michelle Ferris took out the Female Track Cyclist of the Year, Anna Wilson the Female Road Cyclist of the Year, David McKenzie the Male Road Cyclist of the Year, Mary Grigson the Female MTB Cyclist of the Year, Wade Bootes the Male MTB Cyclist of the Year and the Male BMX Cyclist of the year, and Natarsha Williams the Female BMX Cyclist of the Year. Outstanding Cycling Event of the year was awarded to Phill Bates Sports Promotions' Tour de Snowy.

The awards:

Australian Cyclist of the Year (Hubert Opperman Medal)

Brett Aitken and Scott Mcgrory

Female Track Cyclist of the Year

Michelle Ferris

Male Track Cyclist of the Year - Jointly Awarded

Brett Aitken and Scott Mcgrory

Female Road Cyclist of the Year

Anna Wilson

Male Road Cyclist of the Year

David McKenzie

Female Mountainbike Cyclist of the Year

Mary Grigson

Male Mountainbike Cyclist of the Year

Wade Bootes

Female BMX Cyclist of the Year
(* AA Elite 19yrs +)

Natarsha Williams

Male BMX Cyclist of the Year

Wade Bootes

Masters Cyclist of the Year

Keith Oliver

Paralympic Cyclist of the Year

Matt Gray

Junior Female Cyclist of the Year

Kate Bates

Junior Male Cyclist of the Year

Ryan Bayley

Outstanding Cycling Event

Tour de Snowy - NSW/ACT Phill Bates Sports Promotions

Qantas Coach of the Year

Kevin Mcintosh - Paralympic Cycling Coach

Cycling Australia Volunteer of the Year

Jim Geary - Victoria

Best Print Story of the Year

Roy Eccleston - The Australian - "Wheel of Fortune"

Best Electronic Story of the Year

Michael Meagher - The Olympic Show (Network Seven) - Tracey Gaudry feature

Best Photograph of the Year

Mal Fairclough - The West Australian (Fairfax Olympic Team) - Scott McGrory

Dutch Cyclist of the Year (nominations)

Erik Dekker and Leontien van Moorsel are the two top candidates for the title of Dutch cyclist of the year. A cycling gala will be on December 4 in Den Bosch to celebrate the awards.

Nominations

Professionals: Leon Van Bon, Erik Dekker, Michael Boogerd, Max Van Heeswijk and Tristan Hoffman

Women: Leontien Van Moorsel, Mirjam Melchers, Chantal Beltman, Mirella Van Melis and Arenda Grimberg

Amateurs: Bjorn Hoeben, Ronald Mutsaars, Bram Tankink, David Orvalho and Thorwald Veneberg

MTB/Cyclocross: Richard Groenendaal, Bart Brentjes, Bas Van Dooren, Corine Dorland and Gerben De Knegt.

AIOCC Awards

At today's meeting of the International Race Organisers Association (AIOCC) in Paris, two awards were presented. The AIOCC Trophy was given to the great Ernesto Colnago, who became a frame builder after an accident as an amateur cyclist. The president of the German Federation (BDR), Manfred Boehmer, was also awarded the trophy.

More from the AIOCC

There may be some big changes in professional cycling in future, but not in 2001. After the AIOCC met in Paris today, the following ideas were tabled.

Jean-Marie Leblanc wants to take 3-4 years in order to change the schedule of the whole season. He also wants to make a primary division of 10 teams (all allowed to start in the 3 Grand Tours and the World Cups), and 20 teams in a kind of second division.

The higher level of prize money in 2001 seems not to be a big problem for the organisers. Alain Rumpf, co-ordinator of the professional division in the UCI, said he has more than 100 requests for race upgrades. There are plans too for more races in January and February, with races during the Tour de France and more races until the end of the year. June will become slightly less busy though.

Another plan is to have the national championships after the Tour de France, not a week before, to make June lighter. Also, making the start of the Giro one week earlier in order to give riders better preparation and recovery for the Tour de France.

Category 3 and 4 races will be combined, and there will be changes for category 5 races, which will be aimed at promoting young riders more.

"We don't have to change because we want to change. When we change, cycling has to become better for it. So we have to take our time for all these plans," said Leblanc.

"They are only proposals. For the time being nothing will change. We will study further and our committee will meet again in January," he added.

Melbourne Cup on Wheels

Tonight will see the first official race held on Melbourne's new Vodafone Arena, the scene of the Australian Cyclist of the Year awards last night, and Anna Wilson's World Hour Record last month. It will be the 64th running of the "Melbourne Cup on Wheels", perhaps not as well known in Australia as a certain horse race, but still carries a good deal of prestige amongst cyclists.

The velodrome is Victoria's first indoor track, and for spectators and riders this is a significant step forward given the somewhat 'inconsistent' nature of Melbourne's weather (Ever been to Belgium?). Although Northcote velodrome will be nostalgically missed, the new track will ensure that racing goes on, come rain, snow or worse.

The field tonight will see Olympic bronze medallist, Sean Eadie as the drawcard, starting off a mark of 20m in the 2000m handicap event (riders are given headstarts depending on ability, so all have a theoretically equal chance to win). World junior champion and Junior Male Cyclist of the Year, Ryan Bayley will start just in front of Eadie (25m) and will be chasing another junior champ, Jason Niblett (70m).

Tanner signs for McCartney

Linda McCartney have signed their first British National Road Race Champion for the next two seasons in John Tanner. The 31 year old from Yorkshire has been one of the most consistent and successful British domestic competitors for the fast two years, and will no longer be "stealing our glory," according to team manager Sean Yates.

Tanner was recommended by Italo-Brit, Max Sciandri, who appreciated his work during the Olympic Road Race where he finished 35th, just three places in front of Tanner. Sciandri is one of the team's mainstays and "had no hesitation in recommending him to the team."

Tanner will start the 2001 season with the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under in Australia in January. After that, he will follow a European programme has the Giro d'Italia as the ultimate goal. Tanner has had a good deal of international racing exposure, including the Tour de Langkawi, the Commonwealth Bank Cycle Classic, the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics, "so it's not like it'll be completely virgin territory," he reasoned. "I know it's going to be tough, but I've waited a long time for this chance to come along, and I'm determined to make the most of it."

Rokia signs for VdC

Anthony Rokia (23 La Creuse) will join Belgian second division team, Ville de Charleroi. 28 year old Rokia previously rode for Le Groupement, Cedico, Polti and Cofidis, but returned to the amateur ranks this year. He was to have ridden with VC Roubaix in 2001, but accepted the Belgian offer instead.

Van Poppel to Italy

Former Dutch women's coach, Jean-Paul van Poppel will go to the Italy next year, to coach the world number one Italian women's team, Acca Due O. He will take two Dutch riders with him: Mirjam Melchers and Arenda Grimberg.

Van Poppel quit as coach of the KNWU after the Sydney Olympic Games.

Sweet celebrates birthday

Corey Sweet celebrates his 24th birthday today the 25th Nov. After a season mixed with success and catastrophe he has recovered from the vehicle accident in September and has resumed training for the Tour Down Under.

Corey showed local riders what can be achieved on determination alone when a fortnight ago he won the Transport SA Velofest Criterium. He knew he would have only have a slim chance of winning a sprint finish, as he had only been training for a few days. His tactics were to attack and when caught attack again. On the final lap these tactics worked when he attacked once again, opening up a gap that he held to the finish. He commented after the even, "If only it was that easy in Europe".