Doping and selling races aside, the majority of the French population believe that the Tour de France should go ahead this year, according to a survey of 1003 people aged 15 and up conducted by the Journal du Dimanche newspaper. 65% of French people think that the Tour de France will "develop normally", although 66% believe that stages will be bought, and 61% doubt the honesty of the victories. However, only 8% of those surveyed are in favour of stopping the Tour.
There is no political difference, with opinions being split fairly evenly between the right and the left. Young people showed less support for the Tour than older people - 56% of people aged between 15-24 wanted the Tour to absolutely go ahead, compared with 79% of seniors.
66% of people were not at all surprised at Bruno Roussel's 'revelation' that victories can be bought, in spite of the so-called 'gentleman's agreement' that the GC rider lets his breakaway companion win the stage. Money still changes hands, and only 12% think this cannot happen.
As for the overall honesty of the win, 21% never doubt it, 17% always doubt it, and 61% doubt it sometimes. Additionally, 13% of those surveyed want more lenient sanctions for those caught doping, compared with 37% who want "more severe" penalties, and 48% the same penalties.
As predicted by many, the ban on national races in Italy has been lifted just 6 days after it was put in place by the Italian Cycling Federation on June 18. The FCI met in Rome today to decide whether to approve the code of ethics that it had drawn up during the week. The meeting lasted three hours and by the end it was decided to both approve the code and lift the suspension, which has only had a minimal impact on Italian racing.
Further details of the code follow, but there will be one rule that states that any rider who is disqualified for doping this year will not be able to race for the Italian national team until 2003 at the earliest. The disqualification may come from sporting or ordinary justice, and also applies to team staff e.g. managers, doctors, mechanics, soigneurs.
The FCI had also requested its teams not to race abroad during the suspension, but this was ignored by the major teams due to prior contracts with race organisers.
The police operation that started this was carried out during the Giro d'Italia on June 6 in San Remo. The anti-narcotics brigade (NAS), acting on orders from magistrates in Florence and Padova, seized over 200 products, half of which are considered as doping agents.
Florence prosecutor, Luigi Bocciolini, opened an inquiry into 86 people involved in the Giro d'Italia, including 64 riders. He intends to question them over the next month, with the preliminary investigation due to conclude in September this year.
Winner of the Giro, Gilberto Simoni (Lampre), as well as Marco Pantani (Mercatone Uno), and Mario Cipollini (Saeco) are not implicated in the investigation.
It was five days in the making, but will the new Italian cycling Code of Ethics change the face of cycling? Drawn up in Bologna under the guidance of Alfredo Martini, the Code has been designed to address the drug issues that have overshadowed cycling once again in recent weeks.
The FCI accepted it unanimously today, agreeing to remove the ban on national races at the same time. As mentioned above, one rule will prevent riders disqualified or sanctioned for doping from riding in the national team throughout 2001 and 2002.
The Code has 7 major points, and a failure to follow any one of them can result in the sacking of a rider from a team (as in the Fassa Bortolo/Frigo case). To help enforce this and the other rules, a commission will be created with a president and four members, with two year terms. This is expected to be named by the FCI next week.
The Code starts by defining the value of cycling and its purposes. Point 2 defines doping as that which destroys the rules of the sport, or seriously harms the health of the athlete. The third point follows on from this by declaring a commitment to fight against doping. All members must assume a responsibility to set an example in respect to the values of the sport, and this includes following the national and international sporting regulations.
The fourth through sixth points were given a lot of attention. They ask for the maximum degree of observance, collaboration and cooperation between the organisational bodies and the sporting doctors. The teams and riders must try and abstain from using any drugs, even if "legal" unless they are justified.
The final point asks for the protection of the athletes' privacy, and the presumption of innocence when searches are carried out. It is stressed that the rider must guarantee his or her observance of the Code.
Festina's Rafael Casero has broken a rib after falling near the finish of the third stage of the Volta a Catalunya. Casero hit some cones that divided the road with two kilometres to go and fell heavily. He was taken to hospital where a fractured rib on his left side was diagnosed, along with a possible broken collarbone.
As a result of this incident, which came on top of the accidents in the first two stages, tomorrow the riders will protest by stopping for 10 minutes at kilometre zero.
The family of deceased Spanish cyclist Ricardo Ochoa have inaugurated a street in his honour in Barango in the Basque country, where Ricardo was born and buried. In addition, the organisers of the Circuit de Getxo race said that they will rename it "Ricardo Ochoa" in honour of the rider.
Ricardo and his brother Javier (winner of the 10th stage of the Tour de France 2000) were stuck by a car on February 15 near Malaga while they were training. Ricardo was killed immediately, but Javier survived and spent several weeks in a coma, before coming out of it and beginning his rehabilitation. He is progressing, but still has trouble expressing himself and has some paralysis of his lower limbs.
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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