News for January 13, 2001               

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U.S. Postal train in Tucson

The US Postal squad have arrived in Tucson, Arizona for their first training camp of the year. Although the team trained in Southern California for the past two years, floods and bad weather persuaded them to travel to a dryer climate. However although the last few days have been sunny, a change is expected to bring wet conditions soon.

The majority of the team trained for 80 kilometres yesterday, through Saddlebrooke and Rancho Vistoso, although Lance Armstrong decided an extra hour was in order. Armstrong also found time to sign copies of his book "It's Not About the Bike" as well as playing a round of golf. In addition to training, the team also tried out their new gear, and had publicity photos taken by world renowned photographer, Graham Watson.

The team also answered questions about their racing schedule for this year, which is quite sparse when it comes to racing in France compared with previous years. US Postal's PR officer, Margot Myers told that team manager Johan Bruyneel had modified the program to better prepare for the Tour. Tirreno Adriatico was chosen over Paris-Nice, and the Tour of Switzerland over the Dauphine, for example. He felt that Tirreno would be good preparation for Milan-San Remo, while the Tour of Switzerland comes a little later than the Dauphine and includes an uphill time trial, making it a better choice to prepare for the Tour de France.

Bruyneel also pointed out that the team isn't competing for a wild card slot in the Tour this year, which gives him more of an opportunity to make choices about which races the team will compete in.

Coast train in Mexico

New German division I team Coast of Zülle and Escartin has started its preseason in Toluca, Mexico. The 20 rider squad arrived in Mexico with team director, Wolfram Lindner. Along with Zülle and Escartin, the team members are: Stefan Adamsson, Niki Aebersold, Daniel Becke, Bekin Christensen, Patrick Dahms, Aitor Garmendia, Mauro Gianetti, Michael Giebelmann, Sascha Henrix, Rolf Huser, Frank Hoj, Lars Michaelsen, Roland Meier, Klaus Mutschler, Jason Phillips, Throrsten Rund, Raphael Schweda and Malte Urban.

On day 1, the team trained in Toluca for a two hours, covering 85 kilometres. This was intended to get them used to the altitude (2,640 m) and to relax the muscles.

Saturn to train in Santa Ynez Valley

The 2001 season will commence for Team Saturn in California, with an 11 day training camp in the Santa Ynez Valley in a place called Solvang. The team has been coming here for the past nine years, and hopes to use it once again to provide a good platform to launch its 2001 campaign.

With eight new riders on its roster, the gathering will be a chance for them to meet the more experienced team members, including Frank and Mark McCormack, Anna Millward (Wilson), Petra Rossner and Clara Hughes. It will also be the first time that the team has been united since the death of Nicole Reinhart, who was killed at the BMC Tour of Arlington last year. "It will be a very important time for the team," says Giana Roberge, Team Saturn's Assistant General Manager. "It will be a time for us to heal, to give thanks and to move on."

Whilst at the camp, the riders will be fitted for their bikes and gear, participate in media training, as well as working with coaches, trainers, the team nutritionist and doctors to determine their fitness and training plans for the year. In addition, the riders will also meet with the team sponsors, Timex, Shimano, Louis Garneau, Oakley and KORE. Last and not least, they will be riding their bikes, taking in the hills, roads, scenery and climate of Solvang.

New Dutch team to rival Rabobank? has learned that a new top level professional Dutch team is being planned, big enough to rival Rabobank, which has a large stake in Dutch cycling at the moment. Although negotiations with sponsors are still in progress, the team will likely see the involvement of former "big names" of Dutch cycling. An announcement of the team's sponsors is expected by the end of next week.

TVM trial before July

It is likely that former members of the TVM team will face trial before July 2001, for alleged drug trafficking offences in 1998. In March 1998 before the Tour of Murcia, a TVM car was stopped by French customs near Reims, and 104 ampoules of EPO were found. Then during the 1998 Tour de France, a police search turned up various drugs that were considered masking substances.

The public prosecutor in Reims opened an investigation into case, accusing the people at the top of TVM of "systematic doping organised in the team and paid for with the premiums of the riders". Those named included Johannes Moors (soigneur), Cees Priem (director) and Andrei Mikhailov (doctor).

Cees Priem, together with Russian doctor Andrei Mikhailov were held by police. Priem was released after a few days, but Dr Mikhailov was kept in jail until December 4 for illegal medicine practices. Team management denied that there was any systematic doping within the team, and Mikhailov said that the EPO was for a Ukrainian hospital that looked after children with leukemia.

A date for the case has yet to be fixed, but it is likely that it will be before this year's Tour. No riders have been called by the Correctional Court of Reims.

Chiotti's ban reduced

Frenchman Jerome Chiotti has had his one year suspension reduced to six months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne today. Chiotti was stripped of his 1996 World Cross Country MTB title after admitting to taking EPO early last year, and was given a year's suspension by the French Cycling Federation. However, the CAS declared that the penalty imposed by the FFC exceeded the maximum suspension for first time drug offenders as decreed by the UCI.

Chiotti's ban began on November 24, 2000 but he will now will have to serve three months of it, along with a three month suspended sentence. He will not therefore be able to participate in the French Cyclocross championships this weekend in Blaye, France, but will be able to compete again on February 24.

The Chiotti case (and the Richard Virenque case) raises issues of how to to suspend athletes who later admit to doping. The CAS judges expressed wishes that international federations consider confessed athletes as separate cases. There should be special rules to treat these types of cases differently to conventional doping cases.

The UCI's standard suspension for a first infringement (six months to a year) was a problem, according to the CAS, FFC president Daniel Baal, and Chiotti's manager, Antoine Vayer. "The application of the penalty causes problems," said Baal.

"The CAS has just proved that it is not independent," said Vayer. "It sanctions the repented ones first...for me it is the first step towards the legalisation of doping. The message is clear: 'above all, do not say anything'. The UCI is responsible."

Summer fired

Austrian rider, Jochen Summer has been fired by his Swiss Phonak team after being suspended by the Austrian Cycling Union for 3 months until April 30, 2001. He tested positive to Phentermine after a national race in Switzerland in the beginning of December 2000.

In September 2000, Summer signed a 2 year contract with Phonak, but now he has to find a new team which could prove difficult at this time of year.

Courtesy of Enzi Christopher

Slovakian Cycling Awards for 2000

Best of Slovakian Cycling

1 Bazalik - Jerabek - Lepka (Track - Olympic Sprint Team)
2 Liska - Zabka (Track - Madison)
3 Filip Polc (MTB - Downhill & Dual)
4 Ondrej Slobodnik (Road)
5 Robert Nagy (Road)
6 Dagmara Polakova (BMX)

Best in each category

BMX - Dagmara Polakova
Cyclocross - Robert Glajza
Indoor - Szilard Kiss
MTB - Filip Polc
Road - Ondrej Slobodnik
Track - Bazalik-Jerabek-Lepka

Best Slovakian Cyclist of the 20th Century

1 Anton Tkac
2 Ondrej Glajza
3 Vlastimil Ruzicka
4 Jan Svorada Jun.
5 Milan Jurco
6 Milan Dvorscik
7 Miroslav Vymazal
8 Lenka Ilavska
8 Peter Hric
10 Matej Laczo

Courtesy of Jozef Kovac

Linda McCartney-Jacob's Creek baby watch

Australian Road Cyclist of the Year and Linda McCartney-Jacob's Creek team member, David McKenzie, is now a father after his wife Susan gave birth to little LuLu on January 2. Weighing in at a healthy 3.5 kg, the little nipper is the Australian couple's first, and they are of course very proud.

On the subject of babies, Matt and Andrea Stephens' little Josh is reported to be doing just fine now. Josh was born three months prematurely, but now at 19 weeks he is the perfect picture of health, and bringing a smile to the face of all who visit the Stephens household.

More on our winner

Tom Grothe, the winner the Blackburn Motivator in's reader poll, is more than just your average 52 year old Masters racer. According to his peers, Tom has had some incredible luck, mostly of the bad variety over the past few years.

Approximately one year ago, Tom had the misfortune of being hit by a motorist while riding with a group. A motorist turning left tried to squeeze through busy traffic and didn't see the riders coming up the road. Others were injured, but Tom took the brunt of it. Among other things, he injured both knees and completely shattered both the upper and lower bones of one leg. He was told that had this happened 10 years ago they'd have just amputated his leg.

Tom remained positive about the entire ordeal, turning up to local Minnesota races and cheering on his teammates. His colleagues saw him move from a wheelchair to crutches to a cane, pushing forward and dealing with things head-on.

Tom may need both knees replaced as a result of the accident, but wants to get himself fit once again before undergoing the procedures so that recovery won't take as long. The Blackburn Motivator came along at just the right time and went to just the right person.

Thank you...

A small note of thanks goes to the n readers who voted for in the Titec online poll that we mentioned in yesterday's news. Despite starting yesterday at a lowly 3 percent in each category "What sites are you visiting" and "Most informative of these sites", has moved into the lead with 52 and 74 percent respectively after a flurry of votes.

We're quite frankly astounded at the response. Now the question is, do we win a fabulous prize or will the fuzzy feeling suffice?

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