By Jon Jay Neufeld
Danish journalists from Ekstrabladet have had occasion to interview the somewhat controversial cycling doctor Michele Ferrari at his regular restaurant, 'La Chiocciola' (The Snail), 15 km outside of his hometown Ferrara. By his own account it is Ferrari's first interview since 1994, arranged such that Ferrari had been sent a list of questions, which he replied to in writing before sitting down for an interview to go into greater depth on some of the issues.
Since 1984 Ferrari has worked with names such as Moser, Bugno, Argentin and Rominger, in addition to Lance Armstrong. According to Ferrari, he is in daily contact with Armstrong when Lance is racing. The calls are not made at a predetermined time, but whenever and wherever. And at times the calls are made in the course of a stage.
"For example, during the Tour de France in 2000, Lance called me in the course of the stage that finished in Courchevel, where Marco Pantani attacked before withdrawing from the race the next day. Pantani's attack was a good distance from the finish and I advised Lance to take it easy and let him go."
According to Ferrari, he was in contact with Lance in this manner 2-3 other times during the 2000 Tour. The direct telephone connection is established by US Postal directeur sportif, Johan Bruyneel.
Ferrari currently has charges related to doping hanging over his head. Until four months ago, when The Sunday Times got word of Armstrong's work with Ferrari, there was little attention surrounding the latter's engagement in professional cycling. "It was not a secret in the cycling world nor among Italian journalists. But nobody wrote about it, because it would be too much praise for a naughty boy like me."
Armstrong confirmed his collaboration with Ferrari to the Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport after being confronted by the 'revelations' in the English paper. Armstrong made a point of emphasizing that Ferrari is a good coach and that doping has never been a part of their relationship.
Ekstrabladet: "How do you feel about Armstrong disclosing your work together?"
Ferrari: "I was not happy about it. Not for my own sake, but for Lance. It could place unnecessary stress on him during the Tour de France, which was about to begin. But he is mentally fit, strong. A real American."
According to Ferrari, "I never tell anyone who I am working together with. It does not help anything and the riders risk a bad image."
The Italian 'health police', NAS have conducted 3 searches in Ferrari's home. The first was August 12, 1998, since which time they have visited him once annually, confiscating papers that could document that he has been working together with at least 20 different elite riders.
Ferrari himself says that in addition to Lance Armstrong he is the personal coach for two other top riders who are on a level just beneath Armstrong. But he will not mention them by name.
Ekstrabladet: "Is Armstrong's present teammate at US Postal, Tyler Hamilton, one of them?"
Ferrari: "No, but I know Hamilton quite well, because he has often been together with Lance when we have trained together in the French mountains."
Ekstrabladet: "How much credit do you deserve for Armstrong's three Tour victories?"
Ferrari: "I am one of several instruments that Armstrong has to play."
According to Ferrari, he began working with Armstrong in 1996, at which time the Texan was a different type of rider, preferring one day races instead of the long stage races. "I was only able to work with him for a few months before he was diagnosed with cancer in September 1996. When he decided to resume his cycling career some one and a half years later he gave me a call and our work together since that time has been more serious. It takes around one year to achieve the optimal results with a rider. You must know everything about him, his family, his habits, his psyche. In 1999, when he won the Tour for the first time, our work together was optimal. Nevertheless his victory really surprised me - everyone was surprised."
Ekstrabladet: "How do you explain Armstrong's transformation from a one-day racer to a Tour winner?"
Ferrari: "His genetic profile has always meant that he is better fit to ride the long stage races in high mountains and long TT's. Before his bout with cancer, however, he had problems nurturing these abilities because he weighed too much and was not sufficiently focused on his training methods and lifestyle. After the cancer he went from 80-82kg to 73-74kg [Ed: his weight in 2001 was reported as 66 kg] and he acquired a new approach to life in general. The period of illness turned him into an entirely different athlete physically as well as psychologically."
Because of his reputation, Ferrari feels that it is best for him to stay away from the Tour de France and the other races that his riders participate in. Contact is limited to the telephone during races. "If Lance calls me and asks me to come to Austin, Texas for three weeks, I come. We negotiate my wage from time to time, dependent on the effort required. There are some riders who forget to pay, but then they also know that I will not help them the next time they call."
Ekstrabladet: "Have you earned a lot of money on this?"
Ferrari: "That is another one of the lies that is told about me - that I am a rich man."
Ekstrabladet: "Is it not true that you have secret bank accounts in Monte Carlo and Switzerland?"
Ferrari: "You cannot become rich this way. You earn more money with a normal medical practice."
Ekstrabladet: "How much does a doctor for a professional cycling team earn?"
Ferrari: "I don't know. But when I started as a team doctor in 1984, I did not earn more than $US6000 per year. Today it is only crazy doctors who work as team doctors, thereby assuming the responsibility for all of the team's riders' consumption of medicine. I would never take a job like that again, because you cannot monitor a rider 24 hours a day."
1998 Tour de France winner Marco Pantani has won his appeal against being convicted for sporting fraud at a court in Bologna, Italy. Pantani was found guilty of the offence in December 2000, it being claimed that his 60.1 percent hematocrit following Milan-Turin in 1995 could only have arisen with the help of performance enhancing substances. He was given a three month suspended prison sentence, and fined 1.2 million lire (US$550).
However, the court in Bologna ruled today that having a high hematocrit is not an offence, and the 1989 Italian law did not apply to Pantani's case. The Court of Appeal's prosecutor, Attilio Dardani, said that even if it had been established that Pantani had used EPO, it was not illegal in 1995. It is now though, after an amendment was made to the law in 2000.
The prosecution were arguing that Pantani had falsified sporting results by using artificial substances. It is not known yet whether they will appeal the ruling.
"Today I was told this trial shouldn't have even taken place," said Pantani in an interview with Bloomberg's Alessandra Bacchetta. "While I am happy at the outcome, I can't help but feel a little bitterness about what I had to go through, with people bad-mouthing me for a whole year."
Darren Tulett, Bloomberg News, also contributed to this report
With the official announcement of the 2002 Tour de France route to take place on Thursday morning in Paris, some more details of the early stages have been revealed. It is well known that the Tour will start in Luxembourg on July 6 with a 6.5 kilometre prologue, followed by two stages which start in Luxembourg (see October 13 News). It has been reported in the Belgian press that the finish of stage 2 (July 8) will be in Saarbrücken. Stage 3 will start in Metz, conflicting with an earlier report that it will finish there, so don't book your hotels yet!
Cyclingnews will be covering the press conference in Paris on Thursday, so stay tuned for the full announcement.
Bjarne Riis will probably ride a new car next year since the Korean car manufacturer Hyundai might finish its sponsoring of CSC-Tiscali. The 10 million kroner (US$1 million) plus nine cars at the disposal for the brand name on the shorts is too much for the Danish Hyundai sales organization. It is now up to the Korean main office to decide. Hyundai has been along since the team started in 1999.
"It's not a disaster. We'll work something out," said manager Bjarne Riis to news agency Ritzau.
Young Thomas Eriksen, who rode as a stagiaire for CSC-Tiscali this fall will ride for the Danish team the following two years. "Thomas Eriksen is the of the greatest young talents in Danish cycling. As a stagiaire he lived up to our expectations", said sports director Alex Pedersen.
Danish ex-pro Jesper Skibby wants to start a Danish U23 team in the third division. A budget at 3.1 kroner (US$320,000) is available according to Danish website cyclingworld.
By Chris Brewer, publisher LanceArmstrong.com
It's with sincere regret that I am writing to tell you that Damon Phinney, the father of one of the initial stars of US cycling Davis Phinney, died following a prolonged battle with prostate cancer Oct 21st in Colorado. I have had the pleasure of knowing Damon for some time now, and he leaves behind a legacy of not only a truly remarkable close family, but also a second kind of family called Cyclists Combating Cancer (www.ridetolive.org).
Damon was the life force behind this group of remarkable people who's common bond - surviving cancer and a love of the sport - has had far reaching effects none of us ever imagined.
My memories of Damon are filled with images of an irascible spry man who knew what he wanted and didn't hesitate to tell you about it. He loved his CCC friends deeply, although he only got to meet a few in person. When he came down to volunteer for Lance's Ride for the Roses a few years ago, we asked if he would watch the phones while the staff ran some errands. Like a real trooper he jumped right in - then he told me later on he probably should have let us know he was hard of hearing! He could literally hold you spellbound as he recanted his trips over the Alps and Pyrenees, stories so dynamic that I recruited him for his expert opinion on LA.com during the 2000 Tour.
Cycling remained his passion, even as he entered hospice - his loving wife Thea sent us a picture of him riding with Davis. We've lost a good friend, and the Phinney family a huge part of their lives. But I am a better man for having known him, and I should be so lucky to leave such a legacy.
To read more about Damon Phinney and Cyclists Combating Cancer, Cyclingnews has published this article written by him late last year.
An Appeals Court in Aix-en-Provence has meted out a suspended eight month jail sentence to the driver of a Sodexho car in the advertising caravan which killed a 12 year old child during the 2000 Tour de France. Jean-Claude Secchi (53) was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and wounding, and losing control of his car. His driving licence has also been suspended for a year.
The initial length of the sentence was only four months, handed out by the Criminal Court in Draguignan. However, the public prosecutor had appealed the decision, asking for a one year penalty. The Sodexho organisation was asked to pay FF150,000 (EUR22,800) to both the mother and father of the child, and FF60,000 (EUR9,100) to each of the three brothers and sister.
The Mid-Atlantic Cyclo-cross Championship Series (MAC) visits Lake Fairfax - Reston, Virginia on Sunday, October 28, 2001 for the All Hallows 'Cross race. Presented by Potomac Velo Club and the Charlottesville Racing Club, this event is also part of the Northern Virginia/greater Washington, DC Cyclo-Cross series.
As the race series moves south, Ryan DeWald (Beans Rheinhardt) maintains his multi-week grip on the MAC leader's jersey. Bill Elliston (Jaeger Wheelmen) sits in second place but only by a one-point margin over LSV/Trek/VW's Kris Auer. A dominating win by Alex Candelario (Big Shark/Cannondale) at Beacon Cross and a 7th place finish at the UCI-sanctioned Subaru Cross were enough to propel him into 4th place in the series. Greg Ferguson (Trek VW), Sean Groom (Snow Valley) and Ryan Leech (Monkey Hill CS/Aquafina) have been coming on strong and have moved into 5th, 6th and 7th spots, respectively.
In the Elite Women's competition, Katie Compton (Wooden Wheels) has claimed the leader's jersey after her win at Beacon Cross and a top ten finish at Subaru Cross. Prior to these two races, Josie Shew (First State Velo) and Jennifer Leonard (Evolution Racing) were tied for first. Shew chalked up a third place finish at Beacon Cross and an 11th place finish at Subaru Cross. Although Leonard rode a strong race to place top ten at Subaru Cross, her absence on Saturday at Beacon Cross allowed Shew to move ahead into second place in the overall standings. Thais Silva (Wissahickon), an up and coming junior rider, and Jen Dial (Independent Fabrications) make up the remainder of the field's top five.
In the hotly contested Masters 35+ field, Richard Mihills (First State Velo Sport) is the current points leader and Randall Root (Snow Valley) sits on top of the standings for the Masters 45+ field.
The Juniors series is shaping up into a week to week duel between teammates. Ethan Townsend and Joey Thompson, both riding for Wooden Wheels, are tied for the lead.
In the team competition for the coveted MAC Cup, Wooden Wheels maintains the top spot while First State Velo Sport has jumped ahead of Evolution Racing into second place. Wooden Wheels has triumphed in the team competition for the past two years and will be sure to pull out all stops in their quest for a "3-peat."
Racing starts at All Hallows 'Cross on Sunday, October 28,2001 at 10am with the Elite Women's race starting at 12:30pm. The Elite Men get under way at 1:30pm. Prior to the start of racing, a free cyclo-cross skills clinic will be offered to all interested parties.
Marconi Cycling Club in Sydney are once again holding the Anthony Rappo Memorial criterium on the Britton St circuit in Smithfield on Sunday, November 18. With $3 of every $10 entry going to the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, the riders will be supporting a good cause.
There are sprint primes for every grade, and a minimum prize money total of $2000. Sign on from 8:00am onwards.
8.30am E Grade 30 min + 2 laps 9.00am D Grade 30 min + 2 laps 9.30am C Grade 30 min + 2 laps 10.00am B Grade 45 min + 2 laps 11.00am A Grade 1 hour + 2 laps
Major Races and Events
September 7-29, 2002: Vuelta a Espaņa (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 Cittā 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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