Latest Cycling News for June 26, 2006
Edited by Jeff Jones, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer
Hamilton and Ullrich linked to Operación Puerto
Spanish newspaper El Pais has published its next two articles
in relation to the 'Operación Puerto' affair, which has implicated 58
people in the world of cycling, including several members of the newly
renamed Astana-Wurth team. El Pais is considered one of the top
newspapers in the country, and Cyclingnews understands that it
is in possession of the full 'Operación Puerto' dossier.
Although it is not known whether the Spanish courts will announce anything
officially before the Tour de France, the information that has been leaked
will likely put pressure on the UCI and ASO to reconsider Astana-Würth's
invitation. ASO has already refused the right of Comunidad Valenciana
to race the Tour, and the Spanish teams have been up in arms at what they
claim is "orchestrated harassment" after the publication of confidential
'Operación Puerto' files.
Tyler Hamilton revisited
El Pais turned its attention away from Spanish cyclists in its
first big article on Monday, "The transfusions and the dollars of Tyler
Hamilton". In September 2004, Hamilton tested positive for a homologous
blood transfusion after winning the time trial at the Vuelta a España.
He also returned a positive A sample for a homologous transfusion after
winning the Olympic games time trial a month previously in August. His
B sample was inadvertently frozen, and no result could be determined from
it. Although he is still in possession of his Olympic gold medal, he was
stripped of his Vuelta stage win and suspended until September 22, 2006,
despite appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
According to El Pais, the documents seized by the Spanish civil
guard during Operacion Puerto show that Hamilton was not as innocent as
he claimed. It's alleged that he not only received blood transfusions,
but also a full doping program involving EPO, anabolics, growth hormone
The paper claims that among the files of Dr Eufemiano Fuentes and Jose
Merino Batres, are some details of Hamilton's financial dealings in 2002
and 2003, including a copy of a fax sent to his wife Haven to a hotel
in Gerona, where he lived. On the fax, it's shown that he had paid €31,200
with €11,840 still owing: €35,000 was for the medical program,
and €8,040 was for the medication.
The doctors' files allegedly consisted of two pages. In the first, a
calendar of the racing season is laid out from November to October, with
the races that the rider wanted to do well in being marked along with
the medication that he should take. The markings were in the so-called
"Sanskrit of Eufemiano", a notation system of substances, doses, and procedures.
Before the 2003 season, Dr Fuentes indicated that Hamilton should start
taking EPO from December 21, with 2000 units daily, up until Christmas
Eve, and then on alternate days until January 9. On the 14th of January,
before his first training camp with CSC, he was instructed to withdraw
blood. On January 24, he was to start with anabolics. In March, after
racing had started, he was to take HMG - a hormone used by menopausal
women - to mask the anabolics, as well as taking growth hormone and insulin.
The second page of the file allegedly showed that he won Liège-Bastogne-Liège
six days after a double transfusion of blood, won the Tour de Romandie
shortly afterwards, and prepared for the Tour by not racing in May and
taking anabolics and EPO. He then raced only the Dauphiné Libéré in June
- completely anonymously, and didn't even start the final stage. At the
time, he claimed to be suffering from stomach problems all week, but El
Pais alleged that according to Dr Fuentes files, it was during another
period of blood extraction. In the final lead up to the Tour, he was to
take more growth hormone and re-infuse the blood, as well as doing so
on the first rest day of the race.
Ullrich: the 'son of Rudy'?
In the second El Pais article, "The blood of the 'son of Rudicio'",
it's alleged that Jan Ullrich and several others were among those earmarked
for a blood transfusion. On May 23, when Jose Luis Merino Batres was arrested,
he was carrying an accounts receivable book, which had the following written
in the back of it:
1 - Hijo Rudicio. 2 - Birillo. 4 - Nicolas. 5 - Sevillano. 6 - Sancti
Petri. 12 - Guti. 13 - Serrano (alcalde). 14 - RH. 16 - Vicioso. 17 -
Porras. 19 - Oso. 20 - Bella (Jörg). 24 - Clasicómano (Luigi). 25 - Amigo
de Birillo. 26-Huerta. 32 - Zapatero. 33 - Clasicómano.
The numbers corresponded to those on the blood bags that were seized
from the apartment in Madrid, and the names were allegedly the nicknames
of the athletes who owned the blood. Although some were obvious, it was
speculated that the 'Hijo Rudicio', or 'son of Rudicio' referred to Jan
Ullrich as the 'son' of Rudy Pevenage, Ullrich's long time mentor.
Furthermore, in a page of notes referring to the contents of one of
the fridges dated June 26, 2004, it's recorded that on the top level of
the refrigerator, there were three units of blood with JAN printed on
them. A similar survey taken on May 15, 2006, showed six bags marked with
number 1 [corresponding to 'Hijo Rudicio'], two dated 18/09/05, two dated
29/05/05, another dated 22/12/05, and one dated 20/02/06.
According to the doctors' the desk planner, number 1 had three units
of blood and half of 'siberias' (frozen red cells) re-infused on May 1,
which corresponded to five days before the Giro d'Italia. The next transfusion
for number 1 was due on June 20, 10 days before the start of the Tour.
That would have involved the removal of two units of blood and the re-infusion
of two 'siberias'.
The Ullrich link is still clearly speculative, and T-Mobile's spokesman
Luuc Eisenga told Cyclingnews today, "Obviously those accusations
are very strong. It's difficult to react to articles in newspapers and
therefore we insist on seeing the official documents in the case before
we issue any further comment."
"I have nothing to do with this situation," said Ullrich in a statement
on the team's website. Rudy Pevenage commented, "There is nothing to these
May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
May 15, 2009 - Valverde not welcome in Denmark
May 14, 2009 - Spanish federation wants proof in Valverde case
May 13, 2009 - Spanish Olympic Committee defends Valverde
May 12, 2009 - Valverde responds to sanction
May 11, 2009 - Italian tribunal delivers Valverde two-year suspension
May 8, 2009 - Valverde case: Italian Olympic Committee defends Torri
May 7, 2009 - Valverde to take legal action against CONI prosecutor
May 5, 2009 - WADA and Spanish federation join CONI and UCI on Valverde
May 1, 2009 - International Cycling Union joins in on Valverde's hearing in Italy
Caisse D'Epargne-Illes Balears for the Tour
The Caisse D'Epargne-Illes Balears team has been named for the Tour
de France, and will feature the ProTour leader Alejandro Valverde and
the new French champion Florent Brard. The other riders include David
Arroyo, sprinter Isaac Gálvez, José Vicente García Acosta, Vladimir Karpets,
Oscar Pereiro, Nicolas Portal, and Xabier Zandio. The team will be directed
by Eusebio Unzue.
Van Bon returns to Rabobank
Leon van Bon will ride for his former team Rabobank next season, according
to ANP. Van Bon started his career with Rabobank, but left after
2000 to join the ill-fated Mercury-Viatel team. He then signed for Domo-Farm
Frites, which became Lotto-Domo and then Davitamon-Lotto. He was annoyed
at the politics within the team, which he blamed on his non-selection
for the Tour de France. His departure followed quickly, and he has signed
a one year contract with Theo de Rooij's squad.
Savio to Venezuela
Colombian national technical director Gianni Savio (also the manager
of the Selle Italia team), will leave his post after five years in the
job to take up a similar role with the Venezuelans. During the recent
junior Pan-Am championships, Savio worked out a three year deal with the
president of the Venezuelan cycling federation, Artemio Leonett, and will
take the national team from the World's in Salzburg this year through
to the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008.
Leonett also announced that he has signed a large Venezuelan business
to sponsor the national team from next year.
Pacific Coast Highway Share the Road sign unveiled
Share the Road Sign
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) held a news conference
at the Topanga State Beach parking lot last Friday to unveil a new bicycle
sign, as part of the public awareness safety campaign for the Pacific
Coast Highway (PCH).
The project, which has been instigated by Caltrans and the Bicycle Safety
Task Force brought forward by Senator Sheila Kuehl, will install 18 "Share
the Road" signs along PCH from Decker Canyon Road to Chautauqua Road to
raise public awareness to the mixed use of this heavily travelled scenic
route. In conjunction with the sign installation, new requirements will
be implemented when maintenance and construction work is performed through
the area. Wherever possible, a four-foot shoulder will be maintained and
a new "Share the Road" black and orange construction sign will be used
as part of closure signage.
A PCH Bicycle Safety Task Force was formed in October 2005, following
the deaths of two cyclists. It is supported by several local elected officials,
various state agencies, the county, cities, law enforcement, Auto Club,
bicycle clubs and the community.
"Last year, after a fatal accident in which two cyclists were killed
on PCH, members of the cycling community approached me with a number of
ideas for ways to improve safety on PCH for cyclist and for all users
of the state highway," said Senator Kuehl. "The installation of the Share
the Road signs on PCH will help to make PCH safer for cyclists and motorists
alike. I applaud Caltrans, the cycling community, and all the members
of the PCH Task Force for their time and commitment to make our wonderful
coastal roadways safer for everyone."
"We are very pleased that the cooperative efforts of elected officials,
government agencies and the community will result in greater safety on
PCH, a unique and treasured resource," said Raja Mitwasi, Chief Deputy
District Director covering Los Angles and Ventura counties. Also present
were County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and Duncan Lemmon of the Velo Club
La Grange Cycling Club.
The Task force is ongoing to identify other possible safety enhancements
for PCH. The $12,000 sign installation is estimated to be completed by
the end of the month.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)