Latest Cycling News for June 20, 2006
Edited by Hedwig Kröner, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer
Jalabert caught up in "Cahors affair" trial
By Hedwig Kröner
On Monday, June 19, the trial on the so-called "Cahors affair" involving
23 persons has begun in Bordeaux. The Belgian-French doping scandal begun
in spring 2004 and culminated with the arrests of Belgians Freddy and
Monique Sergant, presumed heads of a trafficking network of "pot belge"
(a mix of cocaine, caffeine, pain killers, sometimes amphetamine and heroin),
as well as former professional Laurent Roux and his brother Fabien, former
mountainbike world champion Christophe Dupouey, former pro Laurent Biondi,
Dominique Bozzi, Sylvain Bolay, Philippe Koehler and Eddy Lembo, to name
but those directly involved in cycling.
The Sergant couple is accused of buying large quantities of "pot belge",
produced in the Netherlands, and selling them to the Roux brothers in
France since May 2002, who then distributed the drug mix further within
French amateur and, to a smaller extent, professional cycling while keeping
some for their own consumption. The relationship between Freddy Sergant
and Laurent Roux dates back to 1998, when Roux raced with Dutch TVM and
Sergant was one of the team's masseurs.
"EPO, growth hormone, cortisone... I used everything that was common
practice in the peloton at the time," Roux told the Bordeaux judges on
the first day of the trial. "Everybody did. The greatest riders used things
that I couldn't get with my small salary. They bought synthetic haemoglobin
and underwent blood transfusions, which I have never messed with."
The 33 year-old, who has been detained for eight months already, based
his defense on his physical addiction to the drugs. The Sergant couple
and the Roux brothers could be sentenced to a maximum of ten years in
Jalabert drug party blamed for addiction
During the first day of hearings in the "Cahors" trial, Laurent Roux's
younger brother Fabien testified that it was former professional and current
French TV consultant Laurent Jalabert who first introduced him to "pot
belge". "I was initiated to using pot belge during a party with Laurent
Jalabert in 2001," the 24 year-old said. "Together with other professionals,
I've seen him injecting himself in the garage of his house that evening.
It was a party organised by his fan club. It's frequent in the cycling
world. These parties take place during the off-season. I came with my
brother, who was a professional. The whole team of the cyclist who was
hosting participated in these parties - from mechanic to soigneur."
Roux said he thus consumed the drug mix for the first time in the presence
of Jalabert. "It was offered by the rider who hosted the party," he added.
Later during the trial, a former teammate of Laurent Jalabert at CSC-Tiscali,
who was heard as a witness, confirmed Roux's accusations.
Spanish Congress approves Anti-Doping law
Except for the Basque National Party, all of the Spanish parliamentary
groups have approved the anti-doping law project proposed by Congress
Commission of Education and Science on Monday, June 19. Congress nevertheless
introduced several modifications with respect to the original text impelled
by the Spanish Government. This proposition of law should be also approved
by the Congress commission next Thursday, June 29, as the next step prior
to its shipment to the Senate, where it will continue to hopefully become
law in September.
A great part of the amendments aimed at clarifying the competitions
of the State and the Independent Communities in the fight against doping,
although the mentioned Basque National Party voted against it because
they considered it insufficient. Also, the name of the new to-be-created
Spanish Antidoping agency was modified, but the most important new feature
of the law, with regard to the sanctioning regime and the responsibility
in doping cases, is that persons involved in the surroundings of the sportsman
may also be held legally responsible.
The project of statutory law in the fight against the doping was approved
by the Spanish government on March 17. It will reform criminal law and
includes imprisonment sanctions of six months to two years for crimes
related to consumption of prohibited substances, as well as regulating
Courtesy of Antonio J. Salmerón
Jan Ullrich: closing in on top form
Is Jan Ullrich's win in the Tour
de Suissee a sign of what is to come in July, or will this represent
the high point of his season, as it did back in 2004? Cyclingnews'
Shane Stokes listened to what he had to say at the post-race press
conference on Sunday.
Tour de Suisse winner
Photo ©: AFP
Earlier this year, former team-mate Bjarne Riis blasted
Jan Ullrich's early season preparation, saying that the German's form
was ‘absolutely catastrophic'. At the time the CSC's boss was in Tuscany
working with Ivan Basso in the lead up to the Giro d'Italia and, according
to Danish newspaper BT, was dismissive about Ullrich's prospects
for the Tour de France.
"It's clear that he doesn't like to ride a bike, which is why I can't
understand why he wants to be a cyclist," Riis was quoted as saying. "It's
a waste of talent. He has to wake up soon. I believe in him less and less."
Ullrich was reported to have trained hard in the winter but his racing
debut this season was delayed considerably due to a knee injury. He finally
pinned on a number in the Tour
de Romandie, where he finished a distant 115th overall. He then went
on to the Giro d'Italia and while he was relatively anonymous there, he
did beat Basso to win the stage
11 time trial.
At the time he stressed that the Giro was simply a preparation race
and his performances in the mountains there were no reflection of how
he would do in the Tour de France. Following a withdrawal from the Giro
two days from the end due to a slight back problem, Ullrich rested and
recuperated from the Grand Tour, then started to build up again for the
Tour de Suisse. His performances there showed that he has made great progress
since competing in Italy.
Ullrich was clearly in great shape from the start of the Swiss ProTour
race. His T-Mobile team rode strongly for him from the off, riding in
front of the peloton when no other teams would undertake to do so, and
generally doing all that was necessary to ensure he lost no time to the
other big contenders. Although Ullrich said afterwards that he took things
day by day and had gone into the race with no overall aspirations, it
was clear from their pattern of racing that T-Mobile had at least some
interest in the general classification.
here to read the full feature.
Ullrich to skip nationals?
T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich is "top fit" for the Tour de France, said team
manager Olaf Ludwig, who further noted that "the whole team has shown
that it is well prepared." Ullrich plans to retain his form for the next
ten days with a few days of rest before beginning with intensive training
again on Wednesday next week. This could mean sacrificing the German National
Championships: "I will make by final decision on Tuesday, but the tendency
is more that I will stay in Scherzingen," said Ullrich.
His goal for the next week is simple: "I want to remain healthy." Ullrich's
training plans include riding behind Directeur Sportif Rudy Pevenage's
motorcycle for intensive training.
T-Mobile is expected to announce its Tour team on Wednesday, June 21.
Kohl looking to win Tour of Austria
After Bernhard Kohl's surprising third place in the Dauphiné Libéré,
there were some expectations that the Austrian climber might be nominated
for T-Mobile's Tour de France team. But it is not to be - at least this
year, as Kohl was instead announced to ride the Tour of Austria. A lot
of riders from my team are preparing for the Tour," he said. "I'm in top
form, but I've already got a lot of races in my legs."
However, Kohl is looking forward to his homeland tour: "After my performance
in France I can't avoid having the role as favourite. If I still have
my Dauphiné Libéré form in the first week of July, then the victory should
Fellow Austrian Gerhard Trampusch of Team Milram will also be looking
to do well in the Tour of Austria, as will the five participating Austrian
teams. Perhaps the small team with the best chances is Team Volksbank/Vorarlberg,
with Gerrit Glomser. "Our goals all depend on Glomser. That's a big risk,
because with him you never know - Glomser is always good for a surprise,"
said team manager Thomas Kofler.
Steegmans to Quick.Step
Davitamon-Lotto rider Gert Steegmans has been reported to switch to
Quick.Step for next season, where he will join his junior rival Tom Boonen.
The 26 year-old Steegmans, who revealed his capabilities this spring season,
was negotiating his future with his current team when "an obstacle" came
about. Spanish outfit Illes Balears had also made an offer, but the Belgian
chose to stay in his home country.
"No risks" in Totschnig's final preparations
Georg Totschnig and several Gerolsteiner teammates are making their
final preparations for the Tour de France in the ski resort town of St.
Moritz, Switzerland, but they're not mixing in with the high society there.
"I'm not taking any risks," said Totschnig, and Directeur Sportif Christian
Henn supported his rider, saying, "Georg knows what it best for him."
Totschnig will be co-captain at the Tour de France, along with Levi
Leipheimer. The team will ride for both, and "we'll see how things develop,"
according to Henn.
The Austrian's contract expires at the end of the season - will it be
his last Tour for Gerolsteiner? "I'm leaving all my options open," he
said, and Henn added, "We would be glad to give him another chance." Discussions
are expected to be held during the Tour.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)