News for October 26, 2000

Festina: Day 3

Pascal Hervé admits

Pascal Hervé, the final cyclist of the nine man 1998 Tour de France Festina team who has maintained innocence over the past two years has now confessed to using drugs. Speaking in the afternoon session of the Festina Trial on day 3, October 25, Herve stated, "I want to confess since that will relieve everyone: yes I doped myself."

36 year old Hervé was, along with Virenque, the only cyclist of the team who denied doping at the time. He did however serve a voluntary suspension in solidarity with his teammates in 1998/1999 and he thought that this made things clear.

When seven of the others confessed in 1998, "I did not confess because I desired that everyone said it, not only the nine mugs who were in the Tour de France."

Brochard acknowledges

1997 World Champion, Laurent Brochard, today acknowledged that he could have won the World Title in San Sebastien, Spain with the "remnants of doping products" in his system. However, he maintained that he did not take anything illegal on the day of the race.

The former Festina rider was amongst those questioned today in Lille, explaining that he and the team used doping products during the 1997 Vuelta a Espana, "8 to 10 days before the World's." When questioned by judge Daniel Delegove, he replied that some of these substances "probably remained" in his body in that period.

Willy Voet interjected that Brochard "was entitled to the same preparation" as the other riders in his team were for the World's, and this included "EPO and injections of growth hormone."

Brochard also said that he had presented a pre-dated medical certificate to justify the use of an illegal substance after he had tested positive in a urine control prior to the Championships. However, he claimed that he won the World Championship "only because of his legs".

The banned substance in question was Lidocaine (a local anesthetic) that was used to treat a herniated disc after a crash. A urine control in Spain revealed its presence, and Brochard's manager, Bruno Roussel claimed that he had received a phone call from French National Team director, Charly Mottet who "knew what to do".

"When Brochard was positive, Charly Mottet told me: "Don't you worry. It is necessary to ask for a predated medical certificate from Fernando Diaz Jimenez (the Spanish doctor). And in fact the UCI gave the us the means to do this. The concern was to save the furniture," said Roussel.

"This certificate should have been produced on the day of the race. If the rider does not produce it, then a sanction should be applied. The UCI therefore did not apply its rules," he stated.


Proceedings during the morning of the third day of the Festina trial were delayed after a long argument between Willy Voet's lawyer, Mr Jean-Louis Bessis and the court. Mr Bessis objected to the presence in this trial of seven of the nine riders who were part of the 1998 Tour de France Festina team, claiming that they were not the only ones guilty.

"This shows the bias of the people in power against the churls," he said, after attacking the UCI President, Hein Verbruggen for threatening to destroy all the urinary samples taken during the last Tour de France. "This destruction of proof also covered doped (1997) World Champion, Laurent Brochard, after an arrangement with Daniel Baal, FFC president," said Bessis. He added that the UCI, the Tour de France, ONCE and Festina were all part of it, as they had profited from doping use. "All those people are accessories," he said.

Prosecutor Gerald Vinsonneau responded that it was not up to them to make the decision: The court of criminal appeal in Douai had decreed that the civilians (cyclists) were admissible. In addition, Pascal Herve's and Laurent Brochard's lawyer Mr Gilbert Collard, said that his clients had something significant to say.

"Enough of this sanctimonious hypocrisy," he said. "All sports' organising authorities are fed up with the plague of doping. There is a system that sportsmen are taken into. The rider follows everything that it says, like chasing mirages," he said.

Rebellin comments

After Richard Virenque's confession on Monday that he had used doping substances during his career, Italian Davide Rebellin (who was a former teammate of Virenque's in Polti) commented that he was surprised.

"He never admitted anything to us. I believed his reasons and he was very convincing. He has been a Bravo actor, even though he evidently had something to hide. At this point, it would have been better if Virenque had spoken before."

Regarding the question as to whether the atmosphere in cycling has now been "soiled", Rebellin said that "We know that there are many voices that say this, but it is the same for all sports. Everyone knows that doping exists, but it should not be said that all practice it. However, this is another hard blow for cycling."

Rebellin also commented about Luc Leblanc's outburst: "It is not true that the UCI haven't tried to fight doping. They lead the way in trying to implement serious drug controls," he said.

The Festina affair: A small start

Problems between the owner and an employee of a pharmacy in Veynes in the French Alps may have precipitated the whole Festina scandal. Owner Christine Paranier (38), provided the doping products to her neighbour, Willy Voet.

After a confrontation between the owner and the employee, the latter went to the police on April 14, 1998 and revealed the dealings of Paranier and Voet. Was it coincidence that three months later Voet was arrested at the Franco-Belgian border?

The French gendarmerie and the customs have been investigating the situation for months. It wasn't only Christine Paranier's doping products that were found in Voet's car. Most of the products like the EPO came from the Netherlands, Spain or Portugal. However Festina bought (with official receipts) from the pharmacy in Veynes more than 6,000 Euros per year worth of corticoids, anabolics and hormones.

World's news

Nick Rosenthal reports from Day 1 of the World Track Championships in Manchester that the Swiss team of Bruno Risi and Kurt Betschart did not compete in the world Madison Championships today. Neither did the Australian team of Brett Aitken and Scott McGrory who won the Olympic gold medal in the event, bringing Australia's participation at the Championships to zero team members.

Great Britain also fielded no team - Rob Hayles and Bradley Wiggins, 4th in Sydney, were "on duty" in the qualifiers and quarter finals of the team pursuit, which was held on the same day as the Madison.

UCI rankings: correction

The UCI have today corrected their latest World Rankings list post-World Cup. Erik Zabel (and not Romans Vainsteins) is now number two, and there are some other changes in the top 20.

Rankings as of October 25, 2000

1 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec    2467.00 pts
2 Erik Zabel (Ger) Deutsche Telekom-ARD                 2181.00
3 Romans Vainsteins (Lat) Vini Caldirola-Sidermec       2099.00
4 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service               1895.00
5 Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca      1767.00
6 Jan Ullrich (Ger) Deutsche Telekom-ARD                1671.75
7 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Liquigas-Pata                   1612.00
8 Laurent Jalabert (Fra) O.N.C.E.-Deutsche Bank         1493.75
9 Andrei Tchmil (Bel) Lotto-Adecco                      1457.00
10 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step                 1437.00
11 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Mapei-Quick Step            1323.00
12 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Lampre-Daikin                  1266.00
13 Wladimir Belli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                   1211.00
14 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Mercatone Uno-Albacom         1192.00
15 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step               1175.35
16 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Deutsche Telekom-ARD            1128.00
17 Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank                           1127.00
18 Abraham Olano Manzano (Spa) O.N.C.E.-Deutsche Bank   1074.75
19 Pavel Tonkov (Rus) Mapei-Quick Step                   977.00
20 Raimondas Rumsas (Ltu) Fassa Bortolo                  953.00

Tour 2001: The rest of the route revealed

The morning of October 26 (European time) will see the presentation of the entire route of the 2001 Tour de France, that starts with an 8.2 km prologue in Dunkirk on July 7. The 88th edition of the race will incorporate a team time trial and a mountain time trial, as well as one Alpine stage (Alpe d'Huez) and three Pyreneean stages.

After the prologue, stage one will be 198 kilometres from St. Omer to Boulogne sur Mer. Following that will be a roughly 200 kilometre stage between Calais and Antwerp, before taking in other parts of Belgium including Liege (the venue for the TTT).

The mountain time trial is between Grenoble and Chamourousse, followed by the stage to Alpe d'Huez which was left out of the Tour this year. The Pyreneean stages follow this, with the exact details to be revealed soon.

Telekom have to choose

Telekom team leader Walter Godefroot said Jan Ullrich will "maybe" do both the Giro and the Tour next year. "But we will talk about this before January. Jan wants to do the Giro," he said.

However, this places Telekom in a quandary: whether to to the Giro (May 19-June 10) or the Tour of Germany (May 29-June 5). The sponsor would like their best riders in Germany, even though it is a much lower ranked event.

Kaiser killed

21 year old German, Robert Kaiser (TEAG Team Köstritzer) has died after a motorbike accident on Monday evening. Kaiser, a member of the German national team, started his career with SSV Gera, winning a silver medal in the World Track Championships in 1997 and the overall Bundesliga winner in 1997 and 1998.

Team news

Team Post Swiss have signed neo pro's, Martin Elmiger and Gregory Rast for next year as well as U23 Champion Aurelien Clerc, who will join the team after the cyclocross season finishes. In addition, Steve Zampieri (Mercury), Gerrit Glomser (Panaria) and Roland Müller (Nürnberger) will join the Swiss outfit.

Former Polti rider Fabio Sacchi will join Saeco-Valli & Valli next year

Bernhard Eisel (19) is another young rider who has been snapped up by Mapei. He signed a two year contract with them.

Colombian team Selle Italia will sign Jose Joaquin Castelblanco for next year, joining Jhon Fredy Garcia, Fredy Gonzalez, Rubert Albeiro Marin and probably Felix Rafael Cardenas. They will lose top riders, Hernan Buenahora and Jose Jaime "Chepe" Gonzalez however.

In addition, three riders, Alejandro Ivan Cortes, Hernan Dario Bonilla (Aguardiente Antioqueño-Loteria de Medellin) and Luis Oran Castañeda (Vitalicio Seguros) are still without a contract, but looking to race for a division I or II team.

French team Saint-Quentin have signed Lithuanian Arturas Trumpauskas (Boavista) and Latvian neo, Andris Reiss, as well as cyclocross star Christophe Morel (Besson Chasseures) for next season.

From Portugal, the Boavista team will see the arrival of Carlos Teixeira and Rui Pinto (neo). Luis Castellano (Troiamarisco) will probably ride for Cantanhede/Marquês de Marialva next year. Finally, Lizuarte Martins will ride next year for the third division Troiamarisco/Matesica team

Poland's Piotr Przydzial will join Lampre-Daikin after his team manager at MAT-Ceresit-CCC team agreed to let him go to the 1st division in order to better develop his talents. MAT-Ceresit has signed Lithuanian road champion, Vladimir Smirnov.

Linda McCarteny have signed 22 year old Russell Downing to their squad for 2001. A member in 1999, Downing was left off the team at the last moment as there were only 10 places available. He was offered a leader's role in the Linda McCartney-WCU development squad, but turned it down to race in Italy. He raced with an U23 team there, with some success despite a broken foot in the early part of the year.

Thanks to Cycling4all/other sources

Flataas hesitates

In November Norway's female ITT ace Solrun Flataas will decide whether to continue her cycling career or not. At age 32 she has given cycling all her time for the last four years resulting in an Olympic ticket and a fourth place in the World Championships in Plouay.

She expressed her doubts about the future in an interview for the local paper Østlendingen, done at a folk music festival in Folldal. Except for her abilities as a cyclist the physio therapist Flataas also excels on the diatonic accordion.

Courtesy of Tomas Nilsson

HPV update

A couple of days ago, we reported a story on the World's Fastest Bicycle Competition - how fast can a person go under their own power on two wheels. Sam Whittingham, who set a new World Record for 200m at 6.15 seconds wrote in to clarify some of the rules.

The goal is to make the run entirely human powered. No stored energy, solar, wind, and nothing can be added to or leave the vehicle during the course of the run. A helper is allowed to steady the vehicle at the start for no more than 10 metres. From then on, the person has to accelerate to top speed along a flat stretch of road until they reach the distance markers. The wind in any direction must not exceed 1.667 m/s.

The record must be repeated within 5% in 10 days to be ratified, and an official and two observers affiliated with the IHPVA must be present.