News for October 30, 2000

World's news

Magne goes out on a high note

31 year old Frenchman Frederic Magne won his second World Keirin Championship today, beating German Jens Fiedler in a close final. Fiedler, victorious at the World's for the past two years, overcame a mystery fever to take the silver medal, but the day belonged to Magne.

Throughout his 13+ year career, the "angry little bull" as he is known, has taken a total of seven World Titles in tandem and keirin racing. He will retire now on a high note, and work toward building future French champions as the national junior coach.

Boardman in pain

After his incredible World Record ride on Friday, Chris Boardman was seen hobbling around the infield of the track over the weekend, on hand to present various awards. He was clearly in great pain from his ride and it will probably take a few weeks to get over it. However, at least he won't have to line up to race for a while...

Also, Belgian Six Day guru, Patrick Sercu was much in evidence, keeping an eye on the riders for the winter season Most of the riders in Manchester will be contesting the tough Six Day circuit that starts on November 2 with the Dortmund and Grenoble Six Days. Another reason why Stephan Steinweg didn't want to kill himself in his 4km pursuit final against Jens Lehmann (which he lost).

Final medal tally

The 2000 World Track Championships finished with Germany taking the top position on the medal table, courtesy of 4 golds, 5 silvers and one bronze. In second place was France, who could "only" manage four gold medals this year, down from seven last year. The absence of Felicia Ballanger was the principal reason for this, although she had no desire to compete after the Olympics. The two women's sprint gold medals were taken by Belorussian Natalia Markovnichenko, putting them as third on the table.

Great Britain continue to improve helped by the World Lottery Fund financial support, with five medals in total. Spain was the only other nation to net a gold medal, with Juan Llaneras' win in the points race.

Standings after day 5:

                      Gold    Silver  Bronze  Total

Germany                 4       5       1       10
France                  4       1       1       6
Belorussia              2       0       0       2
Great Britain           1       2       2       5
Spain                   1       1       1       3
China                   0       1       1       2
Belgium                 0       1       0       1
Canada                  0       1       0       1
Russia                  0       0       2       2
Argentina               0       0       1       1
Austria                 0       0       1       1
Czech Republic          0       0       1       1

Food problem not solved

The main gripe that fans had at the World Track Championships in Manchester was the attitude of the event organisers with regard to bringing in food to the velodrome, as well as the less than polite security forces. The food problem (no food allowed to be brought in) was not resolved by the finish, much to the annoyance of patrons and the velodrome staff, who had many complaints directed towards them.

Just as annoying was the decision to turf everyone out of the complex half an hour after each session had finished, into the cold and wet outskirts of Manchester. Those who came along to watch the morning session had no choice but to go back into town via fairly poor public transport, only to return in the evening. Most people would have much rather preferred to sit in the bar between sessions!

More track action

Nick Rosenthal, who has provided many colourful reports and pictures from the track championships this week, has more in store for over the winter. He will be in attendance for the last three days of the Gent Six in later November, and has also promised an "introduction" to six day racing for those mystified by the sport.

Nick notes that if you want to get in for Gent, tickets are selling fast. You can book via their website, but it may not be the best option. Fax/phone/email is probably more reliable. Racing starts most nights at 7pm, and tickets range from BEF 350 to 950 per night.

Velodrome information:

Kuipke nv
9000 Gent, Belgium
Tel: +32-9-242.81.50
Fax: +32-9-220.54.94

Tickets for 6 Day Cycle Race:

Tel: +32-9-242.81.54
Fax: +32-9-242.81.57

Track Calendar 2000/2001

November 2-7: Dortmund (Ger)     
November 2-7: Grenoble (Fra)     
November 9-14: Munich (Ger)       
November 15-20: Leipzig (Ger)      
November 21-26: Ghent (Bel)        
November 27-December 2: Zürich (Swi)       
December 5-10: Herning (Den)      
December 11-16: Milan (Ita)        
December 30-January 4, 2001: Hannover (Ger)     
January 11-16: Bremen (Ger)       
January 19-24: Stuttgart (Ger)    
January 25-30: Berlin (Ger)       
May 23-28: Buenos Aires (Arg)  

Ballanger's last race

10 time World Champion and triple Olympic Champion, Félicia Ballanger will ride her last race next week at the Six Days of Grenoble in France (November 2-6). The 29 year old French speed queen has been unbeatable for the last five years, but has finally had enough of the pressure at the top.

The Vendéean has been given a administrative job with the Management of the Youth and Sports in Vendée, starting January 2001. She still has a contract with Jean Delatour for another year, and will help to promote their image next year.

Vandenbroucke signs for Lampre

At last, Frank Vandenbroucke has secured a contract for next year. The rider who has been out of competition for most of the season has signed with Lampre-Daikin, putting an end to any number of rumours about his future. His manager, Paul de Geyter announced it on Belgian VRT television on Sunday night.

De Geyter said that 26 year old Vandenbroucke was "very happy to join a team that answered his requirements," although it was not sure whether he meant financial requirements. De Geyter added that finding a team proved to be tough, due to all the stories in the media. "The least movement of Frank was always spread out in the press," he added.

It is likely that VDB will ride the northern classics next year, aiming to repeat his success of 1999 before things went off the rails in the Bernard Sainz "Dr Mabuse" homeopathic medicine affair. He was suspended by his Cofidis team after that incident, but was later cleared and allowed to ride in the latter part of 1999 where he regained some form. However, he fell out with Cofidis at the end of the year, despite having a contract with them until the end of 2001 and even threatened to leave for ONCE.

That didn't eventuate, but Cofidis did not manage to get VDB to many races this year. The pre-season was written off due to a virus and other problems, and his Tour de France ended when he pulled out with knee problems. Since then, he has not raced.

However, this week has been quite good after he married Italian model Sarah Pinacci in a ceremony in Belgium attended by his friends and family, (including Bernard Sainz).

Other signings

According to Danish daily, Politiken, Lars Michaelsen and Frank Hoj (both Française des Jeux) have signed for Team Coast.

Estonian cyclist Andrus Aug has signed a one year contract with division II team, Amore e Vita.

Baal to defend

French Federation president, Daniel Baal, will be one of several officials fronting up tomorrow to face the judge in Lille, as the Festina lawsuit continues. Present in Manchester at the track titles over the weekend, Baal commented on the first week of the Festina case.

"I thought that these three weeks would be hard for cycling, but I did not think that someone can say anything on court without proving it, freely throwing around suspicion. It happens in a court room, but it is also widely publicised in the media. Often it is very close to slander," he said in an interview with AFP.

He also denounced that "Brochard business" (and will do so again on Tuesday in court). The UCI and the FFC were accused of covering up a positive test for Lidocaine prior to Brochard's 1997 World Championship win. However, Baal purports that this is ridiculous. Lidocaine is an authorised substance, so long as a medical certificate is presented. "The president of the UCI and the president of the FFC never deal with this type of case. And the people who were in charge of the anti-doping controls, did their jobs perfectly," he said.

Baal intends to stand up for cycling and the clean riders, whose reputations have been harmed by the backstabbing that has gone on in the first week. "I don't accept that all cyclists are dirty. However, the defense is trying to make us believe it," he commented.

"I consider the attacks that were made against Armand Mégret, Patrick Cluzaud, Charly Mottet to be very poor. If one wants to think that those are the people who are responsible for doping, then one is heavily mistaken. They are people who have their honor, their standing. To sully them is most unjust."

More doping allegations

While the Festina case in Lille continues to cast its shadow over cycling, the Italian Prosecutor Pierguido Soprani in Ferrara has finalised the documents to be used in the doping trial against Italian professor Francesco Conconi - documents that will cast shadows on Danish cycling stars among others.

In connection with the investigations seven points Soprani has a list of 63 top athletes who have all been "handled" by Conconi. The list includes the Danish Tour-winner Bjarne Riis and Rolf Sørensen.

Conconi is one of seven sports doctors suspected of doping athletes with EPO for years.

Over a year ago Rolf Sørensen and Bjarne Riis were connected with Conconi who had received several million dollars in funding from the IOC to find a test for EPO, but instead it is alleged that he used some of the money to provide drugs to professional sportspeople. According to Danish television DR, Rolf Sørensen participated in Conconi's so called "scientific work" involving cyclists and distance runners. The case against the italian Doctors is expected to proceed in court early next year as it did this year.

Courtesy of Ben Larsen

Francaise des Jeux offer anti-doping money

French Lottery organisation, La Francaise des Jeux are to sponsor a campaign against doping and violence in sport over the next year. The company, that also sponsors the cycling team of the same name, have offered FF 2 million ($US 285,000) up until December 31 to persons or groups with projects of a relevant nature. Small groups will be given up to FF 30,000 ($US 4,000), while larger regional bodies may be granted FF 100,000 ($US 14,000).

The plan is entitled "The Rules of the Game" and is not restricted to cycling. The announcement came last Friday at the end of a rather torrid week in court for the Francaise des Jeux team in court.