Telekom's PR machine has been working in overdrive after top rider Jan Ullrich was named amongst the 86 people under investigation after Giro d'Italia police raids. Ullrich was found to be in possession of corticosteroid inhalants, which he claims were to treat his asthma problem. Five other cyclists from the Telekom team are also under investigation, according to the Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport.
The newspaper also named Unai Osa (iBanesto.com, 3rd), Ivan Gotti (Alessio 7th) and Giuliano Figueras (Panaria, 10th) as being under investigation. However, it is believed that Giro winner Gilberto Simoni (Lampre) is not implicated in the Giro affair, which is gradually taking shape.
Ullrich defended himself saying that "I am asthmatic, and I need sprays and pills to look after the problem and cortisone when it gets worse. But it is not a problem, as it appears in my health booklet."
"And not only my doctor knows, but also the International Cycling Federation," he added. "I will not lose my focus for my preparation for the Tour de France, which remains my big objective."
The sponsor of Ullrich's team, Deutsche Telekom, also came out in support of their riders on Friday, although they did threaten to withdraw if evidence was found of systematic doping within the team.
"We expect to be questioned over the presence of this drug with Jan Ullrich and we will prove that he has the right to take it," said Telekom communication director Jurgen Kindervater to German newspaper Tagesspiegel. But if the suspicions of the Italians are confirmed, "A clear rule is in place. If any systematic doping is found within the team, we will withdraw our sponsorship."
The Mapei-Quick Step team has said that its riders will not follow the recommendations of the Italian Cycling Federation, requesting that cyclists do not compete in other countries while the ban on national races in Italy is still in force.
The team said that it will compete in the Tour de Suisse next week, at the same time suggesting that riders who are guilty of doping should be banned permanently from competition and prevented from signing with another team.
The FCI and CONI (Italian Olympic Committee) decided on Tuesday to suspend Italian races from June 18 until June 23, when the situation will be reassessed. The idea behind the ban is to provide some time to draw up and discuss a code of ethics to fight against doping. So far, it has been criticised by most of the Italian and international press, cyclists, team management, as well as the UCI.
Arend Scheppink, manager of BankGiroLoterij-Batavus. "For some people who mess up, you can't blame the whole of cycling? What they are doing in Italy now, I find unprofessional. Which racer will go now and sit down for a week to think about his profession and how much further that cycling has to go? You can not find the answer to this question in a week.
"Look, I have of course read that there are 87 people under investigation, after the police raids in the Giro d'Italia. But what eventually stays behind after the suspicions? How often is it just more noise about nothing."
Bart Voskamp (BankGiroLoterij-Batavus) called it "Pure hypocrisy."
Rabobank director Adri van Houwelingen said it was "An overstrung reaction."
Leon Van Bon (Mercury): "It's just show business."
Walter Godefroot (Telekom): "What happened with the 27 positive tests from the Tour de France from last year? Mme Buffet knew was minister of sport that surely there are so many riders who are doped. Well, I haven't heard anything more about it. So it may be a political pay back of hers. Nowadays, this sport is disputed as something that is worse than society. But what appears on the surface here, we see in every layer of our existence. What is called within football 'responsible medical treatment', is in cycling directly a doping case.'
A survey in today's edition of Le Parisien revealed that the French public think that doping is being portrayed too heavily in the media. Although 84% of the respondents in the survey condemned doping outright, 48% thought that sport must continue, while 51% said that the media spoke too much about doping.
"For the French, doping is a personal choice, not an affair of the collective," wrote Le Parisien. "57% estimated that doping has always existed (Asterix is their best example) and the phenomenon is inevitable."
Le Parisien stated that within cycling, the French did not regard the sponsors as responsible for the propagation of doping. However, a withdrawal from sponsoring was ill-advised. "When Casino abandoned cycling, its image quickly deteriorated. The gesture was regarded as cowardice."
Despite the recent separation of John Wordin Sports and LeMond Cycling (dated June 12), the Mercury-Viatel team will continue to operate until the end of the 2001 season. In a similarly worded press release to that from LeMond Cycling, John Wordin Sports announced that "This separation will have no immediate effects on the viability of the cycling team."
The official statement continued: "The Mercury - Viatel Cycling Team is currently competing in the Dauphine Libere in France, the Tour of Luxembourg and the Tour de Beauce in Canada. The team has won 44 races this season and will be continuing in their winning ways."
Somewhat coincidentally with the current goings on in Italy, the French Conseil de prévention et de lutte contre le dopage (CPLD) announced today that they would be dropping the investigation into 35 riders who were using authorised products under restriction during the Tour de France 2000.
Analyses of samples taken during last year's Tour revealed that 35 riders had recourse to salbutamol/terbutaline and/or corticosteroids, which corresponds to a surprisingly large number of asthmatics in the peloton.
Last August, much to the annoyance of the UCI, the CPLD announced that "45% of the samples taken during the 2000 Tour de France contained doping products."
The UCI reacted by saying that these restricted substances were allowed because they were noted in the health booklet of each cyclist. The CPLD then decided to investigated 35 riders, saying that there were "serious deficiencies in the current regulations, which made them easy to circumvent."
"In most cases, the justifications did not really show that the sportsmen were sufficiently asthmatic to justify the regular use of these substances," noted the CPLD. For the corticoids, "the medical certificates appear to be doubful...many of them are dated at the same time as the control."
For the future, the CPLD desires that "The proper authorities study as soon as possible a revision of the international rules applicable to all sporting disciplines" for these two categories of drugs.
As part of the Tour De France measures to combat doping, there will be at least two medical experts appointed by the UCI who will have to authorise any restricted substances before the start of the race.
The French city of Lyon has expressed interest to host a stage of the 2003 Tour de France, during the centenary edition of the race. Thierry Braillard, assistant sports manager in the city of Lyon, has had contacts with the Société du Tour de France saying that "Jean Marie Leblanc said that he was very happy with our request to host a stage."
"The Société wants the five grand cities to be part of the Centenary Edition, that also were part of the first edition," added Braillard. Maurice Garin won the first Paris-Lyon stage (a mere 476 km) in 1903 on July 1.
A protest by workers of the SICN, technical centre of the mechanical branch of the COGEMA group, caused a short disruption to today's 5th stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, run between Romans and Grenoble. When the race went past in Veurey, the peloton was forced into single file while the publicity caravan had to go on an alternative route.
The protest was about the dismantling of the site, which has been in existence for more than 40 years.
A group of amateur Czech riders travelling to the Pyrenees has been intercepted by French customs on the A-64 motorway near Tarbes yesterday. After searching their vehicle, customs officers confiscated a number of syringes and ampoules which have yet to be identified. The five riders were aged between 18 and 19, and were accompanied by their directeur sportif from a club in Pribram. They were aiming to compete in the 24th Tour cycliste des Hautes-Pyrénées this weekend.
Analyses of the products are still being carried out, although French authorities suspect they were illegal. The Czech team, one of whom won the race last year, has returned home after being questioned by customs.
Saturn Cycling Team members along with Saturn retailers and the community of Arlington, Mass., will gather on Saturday, June 23 to build a playground in honour of Nicole Reinhart, a former member of the squad who died in a race in Arlington last September 17.
The playground will be built at Cutter Park, on School Street off of Massachusetts Ave. in Arlington, and will be named the Nicole L. Reinhart Memorial Playground at Cutter Park.
The construction will be organized by Saturn of Medford retailer Adam York along with Brad Miller, who is Saturn's east regional market area manager, and it will be dedicated on July 7, the day prior to a race in Arlington. Joining in the effort will be Saturn Cycling Team members Frank McCormack and Mark McCormack, both nearby residents, and Andy Lee, director of operations for the team. At a future date a plaque with an inscription set in a special stone will be placed adjacent to the playground.
York and Miller were viewing their first bicycle race on that fateful day when the elation of Nicole's potential victory and a $250,000 prize that went with it was suddenly shattered by the accident that resulted in her death. The 24-year-old rising star in American cycling went off the course and struck a tree. She was pronounced dead at a local hospital 30 minutes later.
Deeply moved by the tragedy and how the community of cycling worked its way through the events of the day and the tremendous grief that followed, York immediately became determined to honor the fallen star.
"It struck a cord with me," said York, who vowed on that day to do something in her honor. "It was such a tragic and sad event. I started by talking to the city, which said a good way to honor her would be to build a playground."
The site was chosen - Cutter Park, which was sorely in need of a playground upgrade but lacking funds to facilitate the improvement. Located in an area with a lot of young children, there was tremendous community support for this endeavor, as well as financial support from Saturn.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, the Nicole Reinhart Foundation was started using the $250,000 she would have received had she won the Arlington race, the fourth in a series. The prize was to go to any racer who could win all four over the course of the 2000 season and Nicole had captured the three previous events. The NRF is partially funding the Saturn Cycling Development Team, which is composed of 14 athletes who are all aspiring cyclists, including Nicole's younger brother Tim.
Across the country, cycling programs are creating awards and honors named after Nicole, to encourage young riders that show the same determination and dedication as she did. Recently some young riders were honored at the Lehigh County Velodrome near Allentown, Penn., where Nicole grew up and spent much of her early racing career.
Nicole Reinhart tribute page
Two Norwegian long distance record attempts will be made in the near future. First on Saturday, June 16, Bjørn Hamre, ex president of the Norwegian Cycling Federation will ride from Lærdal to Oslo, 330 kms, in order to break the 1953 record, held by Wilhelm Trygg at eleven hours and eight minutes. The 49 year old Hamre will use a Pinarello Time Trial bike of the same kind that Jan Ullrich rides. The aim is to do the ride in nine and a half hours.
Next Friday, June 22 at 2000 hrs, Fred Magne Hval will start in Trondheim in order to break Per Ivar Mork's time 15.31.51 in the 540 kilometres to Oslo set in 1985. The attempt will be made the day before the famous tour ride from Trondheim to Oslo. The record parcours however follows a slightly different route, east of the lake Mjøsa by way of Lillehammer.
The Norwegian Cycling Federation has three official long distance records to Oslo starting in Lærdal, Trondheim and Bergen. This year long distance riding celebrates its 100th anniversary.
Courtesy of Syklingens verlden
Major Races and Events
September 7-29, 2002: Vuelta a España (GT) - Preview, stage list
May 11-June 2, 2002: Giro d'Italia (GT) - Preview, stage list, photos
July 6-28, 2002: Tour de France (GT) - Full preview & official route details
December 8: Superprestige Rd 5 (Cat. 1) - Erwin Vervecken
November 29-December 4: Six Days of Noumea (6D) - Sassone/Neuville victorious
November 26-December 1: Six Days of Zurich (6D) - Day 6 - McGrory/Gilmore/Schnider win
December 1: Melbourne Cup on Wheels (IM) - Scott Moller, Keirin, Sprint, Support races
December 2: Cyclo-cross World Cup #2 (CDM) - Sven Nijs again
November 24-December 3: Juegos Deportivos Centroamericanos (JR) - Final results
December 8-9: Frankfurter Rad-Cross (Cat. 2) - Alex Mudroch, UK National Trophy Series #4 (Cat. 3) - Roger Hammond, Grote Prijs Industrie Bosduin - Kalmthout (Cat. 1) - Bart Wellens, Int. Radquer Obergösgen (Cat. 2) - Björn Rondelez, Trofeo Mamma e Papa Guerciotti (Cat. 3) - Enrico Franzoi, Premio Egondo (Cat 3) - David Seco, Irish cyclo-cross championships - Robin Seymour
Results: local racing
Australia - CycleWest Promotions Omnium Series #2, Eastern Suburbs Summer Criterium Series, Carnegie Caulfield Tuesday criterium, Southern Cross Junior Track Open & Madison Cup, Manly Warringah CC, George Town Track Carnival, Carnegie Caulfield CC, Randwick Botany CC, Gold Coast CATS CC, Caesar's Illawarra CC, Caesar's Illawarra (track)
Denmark - Danish cyclo-cross Post Cup #3
Italy - Gran Premio Città di Bassano
Luxembourg - GP De Kopstal
New Zealand - Cyco Criterium series
Spain - Elorrio cyclo-cross
USA - Georgia Cross Series Championship, Chimborazo Grand Prix cyclo-cross, Boulder Cross Rd 6, New Mexico State Cyclo-x Champs, Sorrento Cyclo-x & California State Champ's, Boulder Cross Rd 5, Verge New England series, Northampton CC Cyclo-cross Championships, Chris Cross International CycloCross
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