News for November 2, 2000

Commonwealth Bank Cycle Classic 2000

The 19th and final Commonwealth Bank Cycle Classic is just two days away, starting with the traditional criterium in Kempt Field in Sydney at 2:42 pm on November 4. The 16 stage, 9 day race promises plenty more fast action that the Classic has been renowned for over the years. The Classic has a unique format, involving a mixture of very short criteriums with a few tough road stages thrown in. Time bonuses are therefore critical for the overall classification, but there are still enough hills to remove the pure sprinters from contention.

Stage 6 (Nov. 7) from Port Stephens to Bumble Hill promises to be a thriller, as well as the Wollongong to Nowra stage on November 9. However for spectator interest, the criteriums are essential and almost always draw large crowds.

The race was officially launched in Sydney's Parliament house on Tuesday, with an address by the Minister for Sport and Fair Trading, the Hon. John Watkins MP. Mr Watkins said that "We very much appreciate the importance of major international sporting events following the Olympic Games, and the Commonwealth Bank Cycle Classic has been instrumental in promoting the sport to a vast region."

The NSW State Manager of the Commonwealth Bank, Neil Schafer was present, pointing out that the bank had sponsored the race for the past 19 years - one of the longest running sponsorships in the sport in Australia. "It is gratifying to observe the success that the Cycle Classic has achieved, not only in providing for our Australia cyclists to compete against the world's best, but also for enhancing Australia's standing on the international cycling scene.

A new sponsor for the race this year has been the NSW Motor Accidents Authority, who are promoting a campaign of road safety, especially to thousands of NSW school students who are renowned for their support of the race.

Finally, Mr Chui Seng Wah, Oceania Director of the Singapore Tourism Board was present to launch the 6th staging of the Singapore Trishaw Grand Prix, that will be conducted at six venues (Hurstville, Newcastle, Warners Bay, Terrigal, Coogee, and Canberra) in the lead up to the criterium races. The Trishaws have been a very successful promotion, raising over $200,000 over the years for various charities. This year, the funds will go to the Australian Paralympic Team and the competition will be headed by track cyclist and triple World Champion, Ben Kersten.

International promotion of the race has been carried out over the years primarily by TV coverage. Footage from the race has screened in over 140 countries, and it will be again televised nationally this year by C7 Sports, ABC and SBS with over 30 hours of coverage. The print media coverage has also been extensive over the years, as well as the internet of course. This year, is once again hosting the official website for the Classic, bringing you up to date reports, complete results, pictures and more from the grand finale. It is not to be missed!

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Festina: Day 8

Baal objects

Click for larger image
Daniel Baal
Photo: © AFP

Due to Hein Verbruggen's long testimony in Lille on Tuesday, there was little time to question French Federation president, Daniel Baal. Both Baal and Jean-Marie Leblanc have been called back for Thursday's hearing, although Baal did manage to say a few words yesterday.

He objected to accusations that the various governing cycling bodies had not done much to combat the general problem of doping, and certainly wanted to express these views before the Court in Lille. For example, he denied that the FFC had "done nothing since 1998" because they had already introduced medical checkups prior to the Festina affair. He claimed that the sporting federations had been "dragged through the mud" by the case.

"I am deeply wounded by the the way in which I am being treated by the defense that wants to portray me as the worst of brigands, of criminals," he said angrily. "Soon they will say that Baal was the head of the system, that he filled their pockets. I am very angry because I had to come and answer all these attacks from the gutter that I believe I am the victim."

"If you are clean and are muddied, that is unbearable. I do not have anything to reproach myself with. Since July 1998, people would like to make out that I'm at the bottom of it. They will soon say that it was me who put the bottles of doping products in Willy Voet's car," he added.

Legeay's words

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Roger Legeay
Photo: © AFP

Roger Legeay, former president of the French League of professional cycling and manager of the Credit Agricole team was also briefly questioned on Tuesday. He strenuously denied assertions that within certain teams, "everything was rotten and all were doped". Legeay's GAN team used the services of Dr. Patrick NÚdÚlec, who was subsequently sacked in 1996 after it was found that he was prescribing anabolics within the team.

Legeay admitted that he was mistaken in hiring Dr. NÚdÚlec, who was an "FFC doctor and supervising doctor on the Tour de France. I thought I was making a good choice," he said.

There will be more words from Roger Legeay and Daniel Baal tomorrow.

UCI say they've invested more

During yesterday's hearing between UCI president, Hein Verbruggen and Judge Daniel Delegove, the question of the UCI's drug budget over the past five years was raised. A figure of FF 1.8 million, representing a total of FF 250 million was named by Verbruggen, however the UCI have said that this was misinterpreted.

They claim that they have invested closer to 5 percent of their entire budget: Euro 2 million out of a total of Euro 40 million between 1996 and 1999, and a forecast Euro 3.75 million out of Euro 44.5 million until 2001. In addition, the UCI pointed out that national federations and race organisers who were affiliated with the UCI contributed a total of Euro 1.64 million per year to the anti doping budget. For the year 2000, this works out as a total of Euro 2.82 million ($US 2.4 million) spent on anti-drug controls and research.

Spanish doctors react

Hein Verbruggen's words yesterday touched a nerve within the Spanish cycling community, and several doctors of first division teams responded to Verbruggen's admission during the trial that generalised doping does exist. Speaking to Spanish daily, As, the doctors of ONCE, Banesto, and Kelme refuted this statement and called for his resignation if he could not prove it.

Jes˙s Hoyos (Banesto) said that "If he has the tests then he should show them, if not, then he should resign. But I believe that everybody is speculating too much on this matter, and they only complicate it more. The solution to the problem would be to legalise doping. It would be the only way in which all were equal, but this cannot be admitted."

Kelme's doctor, Eufemiano Fuentes was defensive, saying that "Definitely I feel alluded to by those words, and many more like me. That does not mean that doping does not exist, because positive tests occur. But it is the same as if the Inspector of Property said that all Spaniards have defrauded the state treasury. One should not generalise or make these affirmations if there is no solid base."

Finally, ONCE doctor, Kepa Celaya stated that "I don't know on what basis that he said that. If he has tests, then he will unmask the cheaters, but I don't believe that generalised doping exists in cycling. The numerous controls prevent it. Furthermore, I believe that cycling is now cleaner than other sports. And of course, all the teams that I have been in have been clean."

Nicole Reinhart benefit

Photo ©: Diana Sanda

In Memory of Nicole Reinhart, Oakley will be hosting a Pancake Breakfast Fund Raiser at their headquarters on November 11, 2000 from 7:30 - 11 am. The cost is $10.00 per person and includes Breakfast and a door prize raffle ticket with all proceeds going to the Nicole Reinhart Memorial Fund. Grand Prize raffle tickets will be sold for $5.00.

The prizes:

1st: Team Saturn LeMond Bike, (In winner's specified size)
2nd: Shimano 25th Anniversary Group
3rd: VR Lotto Pro Frame Set
4th: Oakley Watch

Great mountain and road riding is available near Oakley's office, so bring your bike!

One Icon
Foothill Ranch, CA 92610

To win these great prizes, you don't have to be there on the day. Raffle tickets are available through the Saturn Cycling Team management at Team Sports, Inc. Send a cheque made out to the Nicole Reinhart Memorial raffle to the following address, and note how many tickets you would like. All requests for tickets must be received by November 8 unless you will be present at the breakfast. Cheques received after that date will go directly to the Nicole Reinhart Foundation, unless otherwise requested.

Saturn Cycling Team management
Team Sports, Inc.
W220 N1560 Jericho Ct #3
Waukesha, WI 53186

Kappes case

German rider, Andreas Kappes tested positive for the steroid nandrolone during the German track championships in Hamburg in July. His case was due to come up with the German Federation last Thursday, however it has been postponed to next Wednesday, November 8. If found guilty, Kappes faces a maximum of two years suspension, but the 33 year old said today that he would continue to race. He claims that he didn't know how the nandrolone got there, and it must have been in a food supplement. Kappes was previously suspended for doping in 1997.

As the case has been put off, there was an opportunity for him to race either the Dortmund or the Grenoble Six, starting today. Kappes is currently the most successful German six day rider, however the head of the race in Dortmund, Hans Ost did not want to invite him. "After his positive findings, he was not considered, even though he has not yet been penalised," said Ost.

H°lest°l leads Norwegian national squads

Svein Gaute H°lest°l will go straight from riding for Gerolsteiner to coaching the Norwegian national squads.

"For me it has been a question of 'when' more than 'if', I just have to grab this opportunity. When I said that I would quit after the Olympics, Atle (Kvňlsvoll, resigning national coach) told me I was the man for the job. Atle has laid a solid ground that I will build on," said H°lest°l.

There will be national teams for espoirs as well as women and the Norwegian Cycling Union is also establishing a cooperation with some amateur squads in France to get the Norwegian riders more experience from racing on the continent.

Courtesy of Tomas Nilsson/Arild Reidarsen, Syklingens Verden.

Coru˝es club to turn pro

Spanish amateur team, Club Ciclista Coru˝es, may make it into the professional ranks next season, if certain sponsorship deals go according to plan. The team directed by Ra˙l Rey has up till now been sponsored by Leyma and Winterthur. Although Leyma (a Spanish milk products company) is leaving, Swiss Winterthur will probably stay and there will be additional sponsorship from another Swiss company, yet to be revealed.

Club Coru˝es is primarily made up of Elite and U23 riders, and it has until November 21 to formalise the arrangement with the UCI.

NZMBA 2001 Calendar

The New Zealand Mountain Bike Association have finalised their National Mountain Bike Series for 2001. A total of five rounds have been confirmed, as follows:

Round 1: January 6/7, Levin (UCI Cat E)
Round 2: January 20/21, Tokoroa
Round 3: February 10/11, Nelson
Round 4: February 17/18, Blenheim (UCI Cat E)
Round 5: February 24/25, Christchurch (UCI Cat E)

Courtesy of the NZMBA