News for February 15, 2001

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Jalabert back on his feet

CSC-Worldonline reacts

Laurent Jalabert was able to walk Wednesday, according to his team manager Bjarne Riis, confirming to everyone's relief that he has definitely not damaged his spinal cord. Jaja's doctors say he may be allowed home as early as Saturday.

Jalabert's CSC-Worldonline team is putting on a brave but not entirely united face after his accident Jalabert fell Monday evening while replacing a light bulb at his home in Geneva and sustained three broken lumbar vertebrae and an injured coccyx (tailbone)

Team Director Bjarne Riis, when speaking with the Danish press, has indicated that for the time being he is counting on Jalabert having to stay off the bike for at least one month. He is quoted in Politiken, the Danish daily, as saying:

"Maybe Jalabert will be ready earlier, but in any case I have written off Jalabert for the spring classics. He is in pretty good spirits because he is on morphine to dull the violent pain that he otherwise would have. But he can neither walk nor sit. The next 2-3 days he will be at the hospital and when he comes home he will have to rest completely for at least a week. After that he can begin rehabilitation, but it isn't something that we want to push. Jalabert needs to take the break that is necessary, and we will just have to do it on our own without him for the rest of the spring."

AFP quotes Riis as saying: "It is serious what has happened to him. But he has good morale because he will not be operated on according to the doctors. I hope that he will recover quickly."

"It is a hard blow for him and us. But I am optimistic. There are always risks in the world of sport, and I am persuaded that Laurent will be able to ride the Tour de France. We have a good team and I believe that we will be able to figure strongly."

"I have always counted on our participation in the Tour de France, and I think that Jalabert will show his great class in this competition ".

However, the Societé du Tour de France will be handing out the last four wild cards for this year's tour at the end of April or beginning of May, based on team performances over the next two and a half months. Losing Jalabert for a large part of that period is about the worst possible scenario for CSC/World Online. What does this mean for the team's chances? Team directeur sportif Alex Pedersen replies:

"I don't believe that our chances for qualifying for the Tour have ever been exclusively pinned on Jalabert. Last year the team made it to the Tour without him. But of course it is bad news that we are going to have to do without him for so long. I am just hoping that our relatively long list of accidents that have occurred this year already is at an end. Shortly after we got word about Laurent's accident we also heard that René Jørgensen has stomach problems, just as the Tour de Langkawi is approaching the mountain stages, where we had been counting on him to advance in that race."

Possibly reflecting the way the team is actually feeling, Rolf Sorensen was somewhat less upbeat to Danish newspaper BT: "It is a catastrophe. It is so important for our morale, the strength of this team, because of his charisma and his qualities as a great rider who wins 10 to 15 races per year."

So, how many cyclists does it take to change a lightbulb? 23. One to change it and 22 to argue about whether it'll keep them out of the Tour de France

IOC reconsiders stance on Actovegin

IOC medical director Patrick Schamasch announced Tuesday that the IOC is reconsidering its position on Actovegin, the drug at the centre of the current French investigation into US Postal.

Schamasch said that the IOC is uncertain whether Actovegin is performance-enhancing and has asked for further investigation to see if it should be prohibited. A final ruling from the IOC medical commission is expected in April.

"It's still in a grey area," Schamasch said. "For the moment, if we want to go by a very strict definition, it may be banned. But we don't want to accuse anyone without having more information."

Actovegin was initially suspected of improving the ability of the blood to carry oxygen, and banned on that basis. However, Schamasch said that Actovegin, which contains deproteinised extracts of calf's blood, apparently does not carry oxygen. "The explanation of the manufacturers is very vague," he said. "We have asked for more investigation to find out why athletes are taking a product which cannot transport oxygen, to find out if it has any other special effect."

Available medical literature on Actovegin indicates the drug's effects are in improving the transport of oxygen from the blood into the cells, but Cyclingnews has been unable to locate any study that shows an effect on athletic performance. "According to the IOC medical code, we are entitled to ban a product if it is performance enhancing and/or harmful to the health of the athletes," said Schamasch.

Di Luca hits 4,000 km

Cantina Tollo team leader Danilo Di Luca says he's clocked up 4,000km in the last month of training at altitude in Toluca, Mexico. Returning home at the weekend, di Luca is in top form for his main aim this season: the Giro.

"I was there for 32 days, and only took two rest days. The rest of the time I rode an average of 130km per day for a total of 4,000km." Several of di Luca's team-mates accompanied him to Mexico, including Filippo Simeoni and Alessandro Spezialetti. "The team is taking shape," di Luca emphasised.

The riders were based in a five star hotel in Toluca at an altitude of 2,800m. They alternated between two training loops: Chalma, which includes a 25km coast and Passo Del Osso, which goes up to 3,600m.

Because nobody in Toluca is interested in cycling - "They do not even know Lance Armstrong," said di Luca - the team was able to concentrate on training. Their only distraction was a beer from time to time.

Di Luca is now keen to test himself against his Giro rivals. His first race will be the Laigueglia on February 20. However, he won't be going hard in the early season even if he's feeling good: the objective is the Giro, and di Luca's programme includes just one of the Classics, Milan-San Remo.

Mapei and Domo for Ruta del Sol

The Vuelta a Andalucia goes by the common name of "Ruta del Sol" (Race of the Sun) and will be held in Spain from February 18-22. Two of the biggest teams for the race, Mapei-Quick Step and Domo Farm Frites have finalised their lineups as follows.

Mapei-Quick Step: Manuel 'Triki' Beltran (Spa), David Cañada (Spa), Crescenzo D'Amore (Ita), Luca Paolini (Ita), Filippo Pozzato (Ita), Eddy Ratti (Ita), Michael Rogers (Aus), Charly Wegelius (GBr) and Jesus Suarez Cueva (DS).

Domo-Farm Frites: Romans Vainsteins (Lat), Johan Museeuw (Bel), Dave Bruylandts (Bel), Enrico Cassani (Ita), Fred Rodriguez (USA), Wilfried Peeters (Bel), Max van Heeswijk (Ned). Their eighth rider, Marco Milesi is suffering from a quadriceps infection. His place will be taken by Wilfried Cretskens (Bel). Milesi may start in the Giro Riviera Ligure (February 21-24).

François Scavini candidate for FFC presidency

Current vice-president of the French Cycling Federation, François Scavini, has announced his candidature for the FFC presidency after Daniel Baal will step down from the position next month. Scavini is also the president of the Dauphiné-Savoy committee is the second candidate declared after Alain Calvez (Pays-de-Loire). Baal has been president since 1993 and will keep his roles in the European Cycling Union and UCI.

The FFC's annual general meeting will be held in Paris on March 3.

Sainz wins defamation case

Former horse breeder Bernard Sainz has won two lawsuits for damages against prominent French newspapers. Sainz was implicated in an alleged doping affair in 1999, involving cyclists Frank Vandenbroucke and Phillipe Gaumont. Sainz was put under investigation by French authorities for "infringing laws relating to anti-doping and toxic substances" and for "illegal practise of medicine". However, he always maintained that he was innocent of any wrongdoing.

The court in Nanterre today ruled that journalists from L'Equipe and Journal du dimanche had slandered him by presenting "unbalanced" information in their articles that did not allow Sainz any means of defense. Two JDD journalists and their publisher faced fines of up to FF 10,000 ($US 1,400), while a journalist and the publisher of L'Equipe were threatened with a fine of FF 8,000 ($US 1,120).

However, in its judgment the court criticised Sainz for "taking pleasure in maintaining his mystery and by asserting the annoyingly evocative nickname of 'Dr Mabuse'. This ambiguity, this indulgence and obvious provocation leads the court to limit the sum of the damages to 1 franc ($US 0.14)."

Cuba gets anti-doping lab

Cuba now has its own anti-doping laboratory, being opened on Tuesday with Cuban president Fidel Castro in attendance. The lab cost $US 2.6 million and took 9 months to build, but will have to wait 18 months before being officially approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Shortly after the 1999 Pan-Am games in Canada, four Cubans were convicted of doping including star high-jumper Javier Sotomayor. However, Cuban authorities disputed this and said that there was a plot against the country. It was decided to build the lab shortly after this.

Team Alfa Lum RSM presentation

Click for larger image
Team Alfa Lum in full gear
Photo: © Andrea Gorini

The world number three elite women's squad, Alfa Lum RSM (the RSM stands for Republic of San Marino) held its team presentation last Saturday in the Centro Commerciale "Azzurro" in San Marino. The team has 12 riders, including World TT Champion and Olympic silver medallist Mari Holden, 2000 Giro and Tour winner, Joane Somarriba and 1999 World Champion and 1998 Tour winner Edita Pucinskaite.
Click for larger image
Mari Holden
Photo: © Andrea Gorini

The addition of Holden to this team has strengthened an already solid lineup, and they will surely be looking for more success in the Giro and Tour de France this season. New riders include Aranzazu Azpiroz (Spa), Martina Corazza (Ita), Rasa Mazeikyte (Ltu) and Tatiana Stiajkina (Ukr).

The following members will contest the Tour de Snowy, Canberra World Cup and Hamilton World Cup: Mari Holden, Sara Felloni, Tatiana Stiajkina, and Rasa Mazeikyte and Jon Iriberri (trainer).

Team Roster

Team Manager: Maurizio Ricci
Directeur Sportives: Giorgio Zauli, Mauro Lotti, Fausto Tardozzi
Coaches: Jon Iriberri
Web site:


Aranzazu Azpiroz (Spa)
Martina Corazza (Ita)
Sara Felloni (Ita)
Serena Gazzini (Ita)
Simona Grossi (Ita)
Mari Holden (USA)
Fany Lecourtois (Fra)
Rasa Mazeikyte (Ltu)
Edita Pucinskaite (Ltu)
Joane Somarriba (Spa)
Tatiana Stiajkina (Ukr)
Daniela Veronesi (SMr)

Mongolian cyclists to France?

A delegation of Mongolian may come to Lorraine in May in order to take part in some Elite racing. ,Six riders are expected, on proviso that the UCI pay the costs. Mongolian cyclist Tumur Dasnyam rode for ASPTT Nancy in France a few years ago.

Courtesy of

Aussie track events

This weekend will see two Australian track events held in Melbourne and Sydney. The first is a UCI calendar event, the Sid Patterson Grand Prix, scheduled for Saturday February 17 at Melbourne's Vodafone Arena at 7:00pm.

Olympic silver medallist Gary Neiwand, World Champion Erik Weisspfennig, Jobie Dajka, Shaun Collins, and Brett Lancaster will compete in the event, held in memory of one of Australia's greatest cyclists, Sid Patterson who passed away in 1999.

On Sunday, February 18, the NSW Cycling Federation are holding its Madison Championships at the Duc Gray velodrome at Bass Hill, also at 7:00pm. Australia won Gold in this event at the Olympics and the racing will be be fast and furious with NSW's best Madison riders in action.

Jamba Juice Cycling team

The Jamba Juice Cycling team is based out of Denver, Colorado and has a 11 man roster. Headlining the team is former Nutra Fig pro Zachary Vestal and former Tokyo Joe's pro Joby Siciliano. The team also supports riders in the Cat III and Cat IV fields along with some Cat III women.

The Jamba Juice team will focus on NRC stage races along with some local events. They will start the season off in the Elite Stage Race at the Sea Otter Classic.

Team Roster

Team Director: Andrew Turner

Pro 1/2

Zachary Vestal
Joby Siciliano
Greg Hunt
Ryan Starr
Brian Chimileski
Brian Ellis
Mike Haponiuk
Brian Fuentes
Eric Schwartz
Chris McGee
Brian Hludzinski


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