The French investigation attempting to determine whether Lance Armstrong's US Postal team was using banned drugs during the 2000 Tour de France has not unearthed any suspicious findings. Tests are still being carried out on the team's blood and urine samples, with the final results not likely to be known until December.
In comments made to Darren Tulett of Bloomberg News, public prosecutor Francois Franchy said that "If the new tests are negative, our enquiry will be finished. We will be able to close the dossier by the end of March at the latest."
The enquiry was started last November by judge Sophie-Helene Chateau, following the screening of a French TV program showing what it claimed were bags containing swabs, compresses and pill packets being taken away from hotels used by the USPS team in the 2000 Tour de France.
By Jon Jay Neufeld
Danish newspaper Ekstrabladet has published more of its exclusive interview with Michelle Ferrari. The Italian doctor is facing charges related to his alleged involvement in distributing doping substances.
In the next part of the interview, Ferrari talks of his first years as team doctor in the peloton. A period in which he claims that a cycling doctor risked being fired if he wouldn't cooperate with giving the riders dope. "But I cheated them," Ferrari claims.
In 1984 Michelle Ferrari started working for Francesco Moser's cycling team and discovered how both legal and illegal medicine was literally falling out of the team's cars. "Medicine was lying around all over the place. It was in the compartments in both doors, the trunk - everywhere. Most of the medicine wasn't even useful as doping. And many of the products had directly harmful side-effects."
"I worked at reducing the medicine consumption, sometimes cheating the riders by giving them legal products or just glucose. The placebo effect meant that they rode better just because they thought that they had received some kind of miracle drug. The huge medicine consumption was indicative of the mentality in cycling at the time - 'Got a problem? Take a pill'. That was the way it was. And if the doctor didn't live up to the tradition, he was fired."
"At the time both legal and illegal medical products were a 'must'. If the riders weren't taking something they weren't regarded as real professionals. They weren't considered to be 100% serious. There are some things that are presumably different in professional cycling today. But the rules, the riders and the directeur sportif are the same."
Ferrari is facing charges in Italian court in Bologna in December. "None of the interrogated riders have told the police that I have given them illegal medicine. I don't think that I will be convicted. But naturally it isn't pleasant to think about the risk. It is particularly bad for my wife and two children. My wife often asks me why I bother to continue. But I love my job coaching the world's best cyclists. I will always prefer working with a car from Formula 1 over a Fiat Punto.
Ferrari hasn't given an interview since 1994, at which time he felt he was wrongly quoted about his views on doping - particularly EPO - and he has denied all approaches from the media since then. "It was when three of my riders on the Gewiss-Ballan team won the first three places in the Fleche-Wallonne spring classic. The journalists asked how I could explain the team's success. I responded that it was due to training and diet."
"Then they asked where the border between doping and non-doping goes. I responded that anything that isn't forbidden is permitted. But the next day then erroneously wrote that I had said that anything that can't be traced is permitted. After that they wanted to know what I thought about EPO, which was already forbidden at the time. I answered that it isn't that dangerous to use, but that it is dangerous to abuse. There are many physiological reasons why I said that. But it would have taken two hours to explain. You can't claim that EPO is dangerous. But it is forbidden. That's the way it is."
"In the course of the interview I was drinking a glass of orange juice and used it as an example. Drinking orange juice in and of itself isn't dangerous. But it can be dangerous to drink 10 liters, for example - you could develop diarrhea. Only the French L'Equipe quoted me correctly. In the Italian media they quoted me for having said that EPO isn't any more dangerous than orange juice.
Part I of the interview
28 year old Levi Leipheimer, 3rd in the Vuelta and 4th in the World Championships time trial 2001 has signed with Rabobank. A few months ago it would have been impossible, but team manager Theo de Rooij said that "We negotiated with Bradley McGee and Leon van Bon, but both didn't come. So we had some budget left to contract Leipheimer. He knows what kind of team he is coming to. He knows us, he lived in Western Europe for some years and can even understand and talk some Dutch. Leipheimer will ride for the team in the preseason."
De Rooij thinks that it is possible that Rabobank starts in the Giro and the Tour. "And then it's possible that Leipheimer helps Boogerd in the Giro and Boogerd for Leipheimer in the Tour. But Leipheimer isn't a favourite for the Tour, he's an outsider."
The first contact was made during the Vuelta. Within one month Levi Leipheimer had signed a contract for two years with Rabobank in Eindhoven on Friday.
His third place in the Vuelta convinced team manager Jan Raas. Leipheimer understood after the Vuelta he could go for his own chance in the big tours. "This is a very special moment in my career," said Levi after he flew in with his wife Odessa from California. He met the rest of the team during an end-of-the-season-dinner in Valkenburg on Friday night. On Saturday morning he will fly back to the States, again 12 hours in the plane.
Rabobank looked for a sprinter (Tom Steels) and had already a verbal agreement with time trialist Bradley McGee; but he didn't sign. So Levi Leipheimer came into the picture with Rabobank.
"We knew him already for a long time, in De Panne and Duinkerken he already had a good performance in the last spring season," said Raas. "We had the budget (because we were economical)."
A visit to the the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon saw Raas' interest grow. "During the Vuelta I heard from Adri van Houwelingen that Levi was free for the coming season," he added. "That was the moment we got in touch with his manager...And that took some time: an American, living in Spain, going to a Dutch sponsor and with a manager as an intermediary."
"I like the professional way of the Rabobank, just the way they ride," said Leipheimer. "The Tour de France will be my target. For an American that's the most important race. But the Rabobank team has more interests. Of course it is not possible to focus on the Tour like Lance Armstrong. I will play my part in other races too. In some classics for example, to help teammates or for my own chance."
Leipheimer started cycling - after alpine skiing - when he was 13 years old, and rode as an amateur for some years in Belgium. He was with the team sponsored by the pop festival Torhout-Werchter. Since then he has learned to make himself understandable in Dutch. His pro career started in 1995. Via some small American teams he came to US Postal in 2000. Since 1995 he had 22 victories, mostly in his homeland.
A new rider will wear the blue/fuchsia colours of Lampre-Daikin team next season. This morning, directly from his Tuscan hours of Marlia (near Lucca), Lithuanian Raimondas Rumsas arrived at the Lampre-Daikin headquarters in Usmate (Milan). Team manager Giuseppe Saronni and Lampre boss Emanuele Galbusera were there to greet him.
Rumsas is currently ranked 20th on the UCI rankings, but did not renew with Fassa Bortolo this year. He rode Paris-Nice in order to help his teammate Dario Frigo, managing to place second in the overall classification. He then won a stage and the final classification of the Tour of the Basque Countries.
"With Rumsas we are going to bring to the team an athlete who can obtain good results in short stage races," said Sarronni. "However we have together decided that the rider will be able to play his own cards well at the Tour de France."
"I'm happy to have quickly come to an significant agreement for my career," said Rumsas. "To enter into a great team such as Lampre-Daikin gives me a lot of hope for next season. The promise to ride the next Tour de France is confirmation of how much Lampre-Daikin recognises my desire of being a protagonist in France."
Bianchi will be the official bicycle sponsor to the German Coast team for the 2002 season. Team Coast is a UCI division I team sponsored by a chain of fashion clothing shops. In the 2002 season, the team will compete in a full programme of races including the World Cup Classics, the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta d'Espana, plus other important races such as: Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, Tour of Switzerland, Tour of Romandy, Fleche Wallone, Tour of Germany and the Tour of the Basque Countries. If invited, the team will also participate at the Tour de France.
Confirmed riders for 2002 are as follows:
Stefan Adamsson (Swe)
Niki Abersold (Swi)
Daniel Becke (Ger)
Anton Chantyr (Rus)
Bekim L. Christensen (Den)
Fernando Escartin (Spa)
Aitor Garmendia (Spa)
Mauro Gianetti (Swi)
Sacha Henrix (Ger)
Frank H°j (Den)
Rolf Huser (Swi)
Lars Michaelsen (Den)
Torsten Rund (Ger)
Raphael Schweda (Ger)
Malte Urban (Ger)
Christoph von Kleinsorgen (Ger)
Alex ZŘlle (Swi)
New Riders for 2002
Fabrizio Guidi (Ita)
David Plaza (Spa)
Steffen Radochla (Ger)
Thorsten Wilhelms (Ger)
Manuel Beltran (Spa)
Jaime Hernandez (Spa)
Francisco Lara (Spa)
Luis Perez (Spa)
German division II team Gerolsteiner is hoping to jump a number of places in the UCI rankings for next season, principally due to the signing of ex-world number one, Davide Rebellin. Thus, the team wishes to be included as one of the candidates for the Tour de France 2002.
Along with Rebellin, the German team has signed Gianni Faresin (earlier reported as going to Fassa Bortolo) Ellis Rastelli and Daniele Contrini, all from Liquigas.
World madison champion JÚr˘me Neuville has signed a one year contract with Cofidis, according to an official statement from the team. The 26 year old former Credit Agricole rider will be joined by two others: Cedric Vasseur (US Postal) and Bingen Fernandez (Euskaltel-Euskadi).
Cofidis will retain 26 riders for 2002, with one of the departures being the 1998 Tour de France King of the Mountains, Christophe Rinero, who has yet to find a team.
Marc and Yvon Madiot's La Francaise des Jeux team has announced the signing of six new riders for next season, to make up the total number to 18 in the squad. Australians Baden Cooke (Mercury) and Matt Wilson (stagiaire) and British trackie Brad Wiggins will boost the anglo content of the team, which now consists of Bradley McGee.
Also Jean-Cyril Robin leaves Bonjour for FdJ, after riding for the past two seasons without success. 26 year old Carlos Da Cruz (Festina) and 25 year old Franck PencolÚ (BigMat) are the final two riders who will be new to the team.
The following 12 riders have renewed with the team: Brad McGee, Jacky Durand, Frederic Guesdon, Christophe Mengin, Sandy Casar, Nicolas Fristch, Jimmy Casper, Franck Perque, Jean-Patrick Nazon, Thomas Bodo, Regis Lhuiller, and Nicolas Vogondy.
The team should exist until at least 2003, with several riders signing two year contracts. However, FdJ has so far only renewed its sponsorship for 2002.
28 year old StÚphane Barthe will be the only French rider in Lance Armstrong's US Postal team next season, after he renewed his contract for one year. The team's other French rider, CÚdric Vasseur, has already signed for Cofidis.
The Austrian rider Gerhard Trampusch will ride for the 2002 season with the Mapei-Quick Step team. The 23 year old rider from Hall, winner of 20 races in the youth category, is an expert climber. As an amateur he won the National Mountain Championship and has been a professional rider since 1999. He will be best suited to the hilly stage races.
After the arrival of 20 year old Bernhard Eisel last year, the Austrian riders in the Mapei-Quick Step team are now two.
By Jeff Jones
In a follow up from last week's item on three riders from the US NetZero team claiming they were owed money, it transpires that they have now been paid almost in full. Michael Johnson, Jamie Paolinetti, and Mike Tillman had registered a complaint with USA Cycling about the non-payment of their wages and expenses since May. Team manager Jim Fryer and director Martin Church responded by saying that the riders would be paid in full by the end of this week.
Cyclingnews has now received confirmation that some of the riders have been paid their salaries in full, with some expenses still outstanding. The riders are confident that the "issues and obligations discussed last week are being taken seriously" and that the matter will be resolved.
New Zealander Kirsty Nicole Robb will become the ninth and last rider for Michael Zijlaard's Farm Frites-Hartol team next season. The time trial specialist, who rode for Bik-Toscany this year, won the time trial stage of teh Holland Ladies Tour. She also impressed Zijlaard in a time trial in San Sebastian, where she only yielded 8 seconds to FFH star rider Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel.
Leontien will be in the final year of her career next season, and has stated one of her big aims to be the women's Tour de France, which starts in Den Bosch. She will be aided by Mirjam Melchers, who is changing from Acca Due O.
Riders leaving Farm Frites-Hartol include Yvonne Brunen, Andrea Bosman, both who are going to Powerplate-Bik. That team will also gain Vera Koedooder, Corine Hierckens and Italian Alessandra Capellotto.
After an eight-month season of more than 45 events, the National Racing Calendar wrapped up with the Miami Cycling Classic on Sunday, October 21 in Miami. The final standings have been calculated, crowning Trent Klasna (Saturn), Lyne Bessette (Saturn) and the Saturn men's and women's teams as the 2001 NRC champions.
Klasna started the series off on the right foot, taking victories at the Redlands Bicycle Classic and Sea Otter Classic. The California resident continued to roll over his competition, picking up a win at the Housatonic Valley Classic and a national title in the individual time trial at the USCF Elite Road Cycling Nationals. Klasna racked up 1,388 points, almost doubling the total of second place Scott Moninger (Mercury).
Kimberly Bruckner (Saturn) took the top American spot in the women's standings at fifth. The former duathlete only started cycling three years ago, but stormed onto the scene in 2001, scoring first at the Housatonic Valley Classic and a sweep at the USCF Elite Road Cycling Nationals by taking the national titles in the individual time trial and road race. Bruckner wrapped up the calendar with 792 points. Her Saturn teammate Lyne Bessette was the overall winner with 1,056 points.
The men and women of Saturn cleaned house in the team standings, winning both categories by more than 2,500 points. The men's squad finished with 3,305 points, followed by Mercury with 2,580 and Prime Alliance with 1,828. The women ended up with 4,116 points, while Autotrader.com scored 2,384 points for second place. The Intersports team finished in third with 1,435.
The 2002 NRC will be released in late November.
Men Overall 1 Trent Klasna (Saturn) 1,388 pts 2 Scott Moninger (Mercury) 774 3 Eric Wohlberg (Saturn) 677 4 Baden Cooke (Mercury) 656 5 Chris Horner (Mercury/Prime Alliance) 615 6 Danny Pate (Prime Alliance) 566 7 Harm Jansen (Saturn) 554 8 Vassili Davidenko (Navigators) 509 9 George Hincapie (US Postal) 501 10 John Lieswyn (7Up Colorado Cyclist) 474 Men's Team Overall 1 Saturn Cycling Team 3,305 pts 2 Mercury 2,580 3 Prime Alliance 1,828 4 US Postal Service 1,707 5 7UP/Colorado Cyclist 1,433 Women Overall 1 Lyne Bessette (Saturn) 1,056 pts 2 Genevieve Jeanson (Equipe Rona) 872 3 Petra Rossner (Saturn) 860 4 Anna Millward (Saturn) 821 5 Kimberly Bruckner (Saturn) 792 6 Ina Teutenberg (Saturn) 647 7 Tina Mayolo-Pic (Autotrader.com) 623 8 Katrina Berger (Autotrader.com) 566 9 Sandy Espeseth (Intersports) 541 10 Laura Van Gilder (Verizon Wireless) 536 Women's Team Overall 1 Saturn Cycling Team 4,116 pts 2 Autotrader.com 2,384 3 Intersports 1,435 4 Verizon Wireless 975 5 Proctor & Gamble 823
The 2001 Australian Criterium Championships have been secured by Brisbane on November 10 at the beautiful South Bank Parklands in inner city Brisbane. The traditional Brisbane International Criterium will, for this year only, be the Australian Criterium Championships. The Brisbane International Criterium is an annual event which started in 1997 to celebrate the five Aussies who completed the Tour de France that year.
The field for the event will be the best ever gathered for a Criterium Championship in Australia. International stars attending include Dave Millar (Cofidis), Cadel Evans (Saeco/Volvo-Cannondale), Brad McGee and Sven Montgomery (Francaise des Jeux), Scott Sunderland, Marcus Ljungqvist, Morten Sonne, Kurt Asle Arvesen, Jorgen Bo Petersen (Team fakta), Robbie McEwen (Domo-Farm Frites), Nick Gates (Agro Adler-Brandenburg), and Jason Phillips (Team Coast).
The course is a tough, action packed 900 metre loop along Little Stanley Street and Grey Street in the South Bank Parkland.
There will be a Men's and Women's event with racing kicking off at 2.30pm and going through to 5.00pm. Prize money will be in excess of $8000 for the two events.
This will be a fantastic not to be missed opportunity for Queenslanders to see the best bike race they have ever seen on their home soil.
Major Races and Events
September 7-29, 2002: Vuelta a Espa˝a (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) - Bj÷rn 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 CittÓ 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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