Latest Cycling News for July 23, 2007
Edited by Bjorn Haake
Lawyer versus doping fighter
By Bjorn Haake
Photo ©: Sabine & Rolf Jost
As reported yesterday,
the German weekly sports show, das aktuelle Sportstudio, featured
Wolfgang Lehner, the lawyer generally used by high profile sports stars,
and Helmut Pabst, head of the anti-doping lab PWC that carries out most
of the tests for NADA, the German anti-doping agency.
Pabst was shedding some light on the randomness of the controls. "We
got informed on June 4 that we were supposed to carry out those tests."
This included for his team to get ready and travel to Southern France
for a surprise visit in the T-Mobile camp. Papbst did not accompany his
experts, "who are very experienced." The tests were carried out June 8.
Pabst said that the biggest problem was to get to the riders directly.
"We had information that they would return at 5pm, and right on time someone
in a T-Mobile kit arrived, but it turned out to be a soigneur," the anti-doping
expert commented on the fact that the riders were likely warned while
they were still out training. "On the bright side, every rider showed
up for the test, so it looks the team management made sure everyone would
Pabst sees some difficulty of doing truly random training controls in
reality. "We are not identifying ourselves, but even at the junior track
and world championships in Holland recently, where I didn't think anybody
would know me, I was greeted in the hotel with 'Hello Dr. Pabst'."
Michael Lehner is more concerned with the rights of the athletes and
that the tests are all carried out according to procedure, including the
correct cooling of the samples. Lehner did not say there isn't a doping
problem, but feels that right now there is a tendency to only after the
riders, which are only a small part of the system. He'd prefer a general
amnestie for those who come out, such as Jör Jaksche recently.
The German lawyer said that there needs to be a radical shift in the
whole system. Right now it seems to him that the old guys, who grew up
on doping, are now in charge of things. He specifically mentioned Bernard
Hinault, and while he wasn't a 100 percent certain thought that "I think
he had been tested positive before."
Helmut Pabst for his part contended that there just wasn't enough money
to be as effective as possible. He did emphasize that they have a good
system in place, "with a head controller to guide the team," in order
to make sure that the sports person will be accompanied at all times from
the finish of the race to the providing of the sample. We learned that
from the skiing events, which have difficult logistics."
He did acknowledge that in Klöden's case the Tour de France organisers
made a mistake. After Saturday's time trial, Andreas Klöden was able
to get into a team's van after the race, instead of being accompanied
by an anti-doping expert, as should be the case under the Chaperon ('companion')
system implemented for cycling races in 2006.
This was similar to Sinkewitz. The anti-doping crew was awaiting the
riders after their training ride at the hotel. Australian's Mick Rogers
asked if he could take a shower before, which was denied, but Patrik Sinkewitz
did manage to get into his room first. The anti-doping team came within
minutes to accompany him to the testing area, which "is certainly not
set up like at the Olympics, but was better than we find in many other
out-of-training controls," Pabst emphasized and rejected criticism from
the T-Mobile riders, who had called it the "most chaotic training control
they ever endured."
All riders had left notes on the report about their dissatisfaction,
with one rider, who was not Sinkewitz, adding comments "that filled the
whole flip side of the report," according to Lehner.
Both agreed that because the Danish federation had suspended Rasmussen,
there was nothing the Tour de France organisers could do, as an athlete
cannot be punished twice.
Asked if he watched spots on TV as a fan or as an anti-doping expert,
Pabst acknowledged that he doesn't have much time to watch TV, but occasionally
tunes into basketball, "and then I get so much into it that I probably
don't think about doping."
Brother versus Brother update
By Susan Westemeyer
The "race within the race" has opened up some, with Sylvain Chavanel
far outdistancing younger brother Sébastien, and Bert Grabsch maintaining
a narrow lead over older brother Ralf.
All four finished in the main
pack Friday, getting the same time as winner Tom Boonen, so there
was no change in the fraternal standings. In Saturday's
time trial, Bert Grabsch crashed but still finished over a minute
ahead of his brother, so that they were finally separated in the GC, with
Bert in 118th and Ralf at position 122. The difference was more dramatic
for the French brothers, with Sylvain finishing some six and a half minutes
faster than Sébastian.
Sunday was Sylvain's
day again, as he finished 45th on the first Pyrenean stage, 12'38" down.
The other three came in with the gruppetto at 34'52". In the Chavanel
family GC, Sylvain is now 28th, with Sébastian at 152. For the
Grabsches, Bert is 118th and Ralf 123.
So just imagine a two-main breakaway, with rival teams Milram and T-Mobile
being represented in the forms of the two brothers. What would happen?
Well, brotherly love goes only so far.
"There are no compromises, each of us would grab any chance of winning,"
Bert said on t-mobile-team.com. "We can be brothers again when
the race is over." And according to Ralf, "We would first first want to
stop any rivals latching on to our rear wheels but would then ride against
each other fairly. I believe neither of us has an advantage. An escape
attempt just before the finishing line would be ideal, but Bert's not
A sprinter's nightmare
Robert Förster (Gerolsteiner)
Photo ©: Cyclingnews.com
Robert Förster, the designated sprinter for Gerolsteiner, who has
won stages in the Giro d'Italia, including the final stage into Milano
last year, gave some details on his diary at radsportnews.com about
how a sprinter sees a Tour
de France mountain stage. And it doesn't look too good. Förster
said that it went uphill at kilometre 0, which is why he came to the start
10 minutes early, so he could be in row 1, and not already have to start
at the back.
"It was the calm before the storm, as the orange jerseys [from Euskaltel]
were all around me." "Frösi" started to get nervous when even Thor
Hushovd passed him. He did get help from team-mate Stefan Schumacher,
who had crashed while in a break and was in the process of moving back
into the peloton.
Förster isn't too impressed with the streets in the mountains between
France and Spain , stating that "in the Alps at least the bike rolls along,
even uphill, but here on those bad streets in the Pyrénées
I have got the feeling I am not even going forward."
The valley before the final climb wasn't much to his taste, either. "Spaniards
up front and Spaniards making the pace behind. And the road goes up three
percent." At least he did make it into the gruppetto, even though
"I came from behind; it is better to get into it from the front." And
the calculations worked out. "We thought we would be about 37 minutes
behind, but it ended up being 34 minutes in the end."
. Förster acknowledged that usually it is fun to have the fans along
side the road, "and that was the most we had so far in the Tour," but
also said when he's suffering like this the fans can't provide much relief.
"All I wanted was to die peacefully."
Christophe Moreau moves on
Christophe Moreau was humble
Photo ©: Sirotti
Christophe Moreau, who's chances for overall victory were already reduced
following a crash and subsequently losing time in one
of the flattest stages of the Tour, is now fully out of contention,
after having a bad time trial on Saturday and arriving at the finish with
the gruppettoyesterday. Talking to velo101.com the Frenchman
showed however, that he has moved n already and remembers when things
were even worse.
"In 2002, I crashed three or four times in the opening week. This time
I didn't and made it ok through the Alps as well. It was the crash that
diminished me. A little grain of sand in the machinery."
Moreau continued that his handicap was more physical than mental, with
his bruised ribs causing some breathing trouble and his team gave him
a lot of strength, "they were always around me." The Ag2r captain didn't
like being in the gruppetto, "it's not something to be proud of,
but I didn't have a choice," conceded Moreau, who received treatment from
The Frenchman, who's overall ambitions have vanished over the weekend,
is now thinking of getting into a break in the upcoming two mountain stages.
He thinks that the overall will be made tonight.
Moreau is enjoying his time in the French Champion jersey, a title he
finally won this year after trying his whole amateur and professional
career. "The people seek me out, even in the gruppetto."
Moreau, who had praise for his team-mate John Gadret, never thought about
abandoning over the course of a tough weekend. "I haven't hit rock bottom
yet. I have the will, the maillot tricolore and the support of
my wife Emilie. I have seen that I can stay with the gruppetto,
even though that is not where I'd like to race. I want to get to Paris."
European Espoir Championships
Photo ©: Pierre Carrey/VC La Pomme Marseille
Russian Andrey Klyuev won the
road race of the European Championships for Espoirs ahead of Ignas
Konovalovas from Lithuania. The competition was held Sunday in Sofia,
Ignas Konovalovas (VC La Pomme Marseille), who had already taken fourth
place in the time trial, joined the sole leader, Klyuev, with a counter
attack on the last climb of the race. The duo never did get a lead above
20 seconds but it was enough for them to reach the finish line 13 seconds
ahead of the charging field for a two-up sprint, with the Russian prevailing.
The field sprint was won by Latvian Normunds Lasis (Latvia) to get the
bronze medal. Daniel Martin, also riding for VC La Pomme Marseille and
professional with Slipstream next year, has had health problems since
the 'Ronde de l'Oise' and abandoned 30 kilometre from the finish, after
being present in a breakaway. He is now trying to recover for his August
Konovalovas, not particularly known for emotional outbursts, was visibly
happy after getting the silver medal, declaring "I am really satisfied,"
accompanied with a huge, unusual grin on his face. The Lithuanian also
took 5th place in the European Championships on the track in Cottbus,
Germany, the week before. All in all a very successful week for the young
The 21 year-old's successes this year, including a second place at the
Lithuanian National Championships and the win of the time trial at the
'Ronde de l'Isard' have netted him a contract as a stagiaire for Crédit
Agricole this summer.
Vuelta Ciclista a Madrid
Sergio Henao Montoya, riding for the Colombia es Pasión Team, won the
U23 classification of the Vuelta
Ciclista a Madrid, a five-day stage race that concluded yesterday
with a circuit race in Madrid. The Colombian won with an advantage of
over 13 minutes compared to second place Bury Slawomir of Poland.
Henao finished 15th overall, 2'43" behind Spaniard Manuel Lloret Zaragoza
of the Fuerteventura - Canarias team. The Colombian held the orange jersey
for the U23 leader form start to finish, giving hopes that he may well
be the next Colombian star for the future.
Belgian teams in Roach Hotel
Teams in the Tour de France never know what hotel they might be assigned
to. It might be a luxury hotel, it might be a nice middle-class place
or it might be -- the Roach Motel.
The latter is what the two Belgian teams Predictor-Lotto and Quick Step
found in Saix-Castres, where they had to stay for two long days. "I have
seldom, if ever, experienced something like that," Lotto team manager
Marc Sergeant told Sportwereled.be. "We sprayed everywhere with
insecticide before we moved into our rooms."
"And let's not even talk about the food," sighed Lotto soigneur David
Equipe Nürnberger for Thüringen
Giro d'Italia winner Edita Pucinskaite and World's runner-up Trixi
Worrack will lead the Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung in the women's
Thüringen Rundfahrt, starting Tuesday. Worrack finished third overall
in the race last year.
"After our success in the Giro, we are starting confidently in this
race," said Team Director Jens Zemke. "In light of the strong competition,
our goals are a stage win and a high place in the overall ranking,
hopefully in the top five."
The team also features time trial specialist Charlotte Becker and
the former world champion, sprinter Regina Schleicher.
The riders for Equipe Nürnberger in Thüringen are Edita Pucinskaite,
Trixi Worrack, Charlotte Becker, Regina Schleicher, Andrea Graus and Claudia
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)