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Second edition news for June 8, 2001
"Up until now, six riders have tested positive. That is 6 riders too many, but only 6 of the 700 to 800 EPO tests that we have done this season. That's proof that we have solved most of the EPO use."
Coupled with this, is the out of competition testing carried out by the various national federations. For example, in the Bayern Rundfarht (2.4, May 22-27), riders from the Telekom team were tested twice on the same day - once by the UCI after the race, and once when they got back to their hotels by the German federation, which has one of the most stringent out of competition testing programs.
Top guns step in
It wasn't only Italian prime-minister Silvio Berlusconi was involved in today's discussion, but even Juan Antonio Samaranch (IOC-chairman) took the phone.
To De Standaard: "If a rider takes anything, they have to hit him. But not the whole peloton. I felt like I was playing a screenfiller's role in a war movie."
Gennaro Niglio, head of the Italian narcotics brigade. "We don't want to hit the complete peloton."
Jean Nelissen's comments
Jean Nelissen is a well known and involved journalist in the Netherlands. His comments on the situation today are tinged with more than a hint of frustration.
"I heard that Guiseppe di Grande jumped from the first floor of his hotel. And that the police found Savoldelli in his hotel room with an intravenous drip. I'm against using doping, but the riders have to use it. See how hard these kind of tours are. I believe they need the time for recovery. There should be a rule that a cyclist can use medicine for his own health. A bus driver takes an aspirin too when he feels bad."
"But we are talking about Italy. In the fifties, the Dutch soccer hero Piet Kluivert played in Italy. He told me they used everything over there: syringes and ampoules. We talk about the years 1950, 1960. And don't forget what happened since the EPO. In 1989 - the start of EPO use - 2 Italian cyclists were in the UCI top 30. Seven years later there were 18(!) Italian riders in the top 30."
"And what about Pantani? On June 5, 1999, he publicly denied he used anything, while he was forced out of the Giro two days before the finish in Milan with 52 percent hematocrit level! And after Milan-Turin in 1995 they found a level of 60.1 percent in his blood. So it isn't strange they pursue him after he is the first rider in Italy to get a suspended sentence of 3 months. If they find anything on Pantani, he has to go to jail for 3 months!"
"Do you know that the official committee against doping has already a budget of 1 million guilders? For what? Only to carry out investigations into the new doping for the future: the so called 'gene doping'. Use a gene of a good cyclist and you become a good cyclist too. There will never be an end in the fight against doping."
Theo de Rooy (Rabobank)
"When I heard the news, the first thing you think: Oh no, not again. It's a drama for the whole sport of cycling, even when you are are not there. We all know that cycling is the most investigated sport. With a lot of rules, controls, even out of competition controls. But this is a completely terrible thing. I don't expect such a control in the Tour de France."
"And what about the image of cycling? I'm not worried about it. The audience is still growing. Look how many people were on the parcours of the Tour of Germany, and during the World Cups and the last weeks in Italy. The public is still enthusiastic about this sport. It has still a very big impact."
Problems for the Vlaanderen off-road teams
After Belgian sports minister Johan Sauwens quit, the cyclocross and mountain bike team Vlaanderen is in trouble. Peter Van Den Abeele has already worked for months to upgrade the team. He had an spoken agreement with the minister, so it was possible to sign Arne Daelmans and Kipcho Volckaerts too (in addition to the already signed Tom Vannoppen and Ben Berden).
"I hope the new minister, Bert Anciaux, will follow the wish of Sauwens," he said. Van den Abeele wants to start with the new, complete team in September. He is also trying to get Filip Meirhaeghe and Roel Paulissen in his team. Meirhaeghe has still a contract with Specialized, but there are some problems with that sponsor.
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