First Edition Cycling News for November 8, 2004
Edited by Jeff Jones and Hedwig Kröner
How Tyler's medal was saved
WADA's Independent Observers Report raises questions
By Jeff Jones
The World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) Independent Observers Report on the anti-doping methods used at the Athens Olympics has shed more light on the events that allowed Tyler Hamilton to keep the gold medal that he won in the individual time trial, despite an "adverse analytical finding" in one of his blood samples. Hamilton's A sample was declared positive for blood transfusion, but his B sample was accidentally frozen, meaning that it couldn't be analysed. For an athlete to test positive under IOC/WADA rules, both their A and B samples need to be positive.
Although Hamilton did return A and B positive samples at the Vuelta a month later, the WADA IO report only focused on the Olympic test. The sample, taken on August 19, was analysed at the Athens Doping Control Laboratory (DCL) and an analysis report signed by the lab director on August 22 registered the A sample as negative, but with an annotation stating that the sample was "suspicious for a blood transfusion." Once the Medical Director of the IOC was informed of this, he decided to take no further action. The B sample was subsequently frozen, and the case would have ended there had not the WADA Science Director become involved.
After a discussion between the IOC's Medical Director, the WADA Science Director and the President of the IOC, the case was reviewed by a panel of external experts between September 9 and 16. The review "resulted in a decision on 16 September 2004 to designate the sample as positive." Hamilton was informed of this on the same day, and given the opportunity to have the B sample analysed in Lausanne. He requested this, but the B sample had been frozen and there weren't enough red blood cells to perform the analysis. It was at this point, on September 21, that the IOC decided that it "will not be pursuing sanctions regarding this matter."
The IOC's decision didn't satisfy the Russian Olympic Committee, which lodged an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in October to try to strip Hamilton of his medal. The Russian Olympic Committee wants the gold medal to go to Viatcheslav Ekimov, who was second in Athens. The appeal is being backed by the Australian Olympic Committee, because Michael Rogers placed fourth in the time trial and could move into the bronze medal if Hamilton is DQ'd.
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Gadret gains confidence
Frenchman John Gadret (Chocolade Jacques) scored a big victory on Sunday by winning the Vlaamse Witloofveldrit in Vossem, Belgium. Gadret beat top Belgians Ben Berden (John Saey-Deschacht) and Sven Nys (Rabobank) by eight seconds, feeling right at home on the hard parcours. "Last week on the Koppenberg (where he placed third) I felt in my element," Gadret was quoted by Flemish TV as saying. "Today, Groenendaal's crash was the key point. Nys was held up a little because of it. When I was riding together with Berden I felt that he was biting his teeth to hang on."
Gadret's big aim now is the World Championship in St. Wendel, Germany. "There's a tough climb there and I want to fight it out with the big boys there. I also want to finish on the podium in a World Cup race once."
Either Giro or Tour for Garzelli
Stefano Garzelli, who will race for Liquigas in 2005, wants to do a lighter program next season. The 31 year old Italian wants to avoid doing the Giro d'Italia/Tour de France double. "I still have to work out my program with Liquigas, but I certainly won't race the Giro and the Tour: it's too heavy," Garzelli told ANSA.
Garzelli did the Giro/Tour double in 2001 and 2003, and this year raced the Giro and the Vuelta. "I was 6th in the Giro and 11th in the Vuelta, placings that did not meet my expectations," he added. "The only happy note was my first maglia azzurra (national team jersey)."
New Expert Commission for German federation
A new Expert Commission has been created within the German cycling federation (BDR) in order to improve communication between athletes, coaches and federation officials. Olympic champions Petra Rossner, Jens Fiedler and pro cyclist Jens Heppner have agreed to become part of it, as well as Gerolsteiner manager Hans-Michael Holczer.
After a long period of internal dispute and the subsequent withdrawal of BDR president Sylvia Schenk on September 23, the Commission's chairman, vice-president Udo Sprenger wants to elaborate more efficient structures and avoid conflicts regarding the nomination of national teams in the future. The first meeting of the commission will be held at the end of the month.
Tom Boonen champagne
Belgian sprinter Tom Boonen will have a limited run of French champagne named after him. His supporters club is planning to sell 500 bottles of Brut Premier Cru, from Chateau Vautrain in Epernay, with a picture of Boonen winning the final stage of the Tour de France on the Champs-Elysées this year. The bottles will cost €20 each and part of the funds raised will go towards the Pinokkio foundation to help children with burns.
Cofidis rides Wilier
French team Cofidis has agreed to a two year deal (with the option for two more) to ride on Italian Wilier Triestina bikes. Each Cofidis team member will receive five bikes, including a time trial machine, which works out at around 140 bikes for the 28 team members. The models include Wilier's super-light Le Roi, a full carbon frame that weighs 950 grams with the complete bike tipping the scales at the UCI limit of 6.8 kg. The Cofidis boys will also ride the Imperiale and a scandium aluminium frames.
Richardson Bike Mart owner injured
Rhonda Hoyt, the co-owner of Texas (USA) bike shop, Richardson Bike Mart, is recovering in Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dallas, after being hit by a car on the weekend. According to the Dallas Morning News, Hoyt was riding on West Campbell Road at Mimosa Drive on Saturday morning at 10:30am when she turned to enter the shopping centre where Richardson Bike Mart is located. She was hit from behind by an car and rolled over the windscreen, suffering numerous injuries. "She's got head injuries, a possible fracture of the neck, three busted ribs, a busted collarbone and two busted toes," her husband Jim Hoyt said.
Rhonda is expected to make a full recovery, although it's unknown how long it will take. A strong advocate of safety while riding, it was Rhonda's first accident involving a car in almost 35 years of riding.
Q&A for Landis at Wisconsin fundraiser
US Postal's Floyd Landis will be special guest at a fundraiser for the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin, USA on November 15. The rider will be available for the attendees' questions, whose donations (recommended minimum is $ 25 per person) will benefit the nonprofit bicycle education and advocacy group. Visit www.bfw.org/new_bfw/events/saris_fundraiser.php for further information.
The 2nd Annual Kona 24hr
On the weekend of November 27-28, the 2nd annual Kona 24hr will take place in Redesdale in Central Victoria, Australia. The course is 17 km of singletrack and fireroads, approximately equal distances of both, even though there will be considerably more time spent navigating the singletrack. The field includes Athens Olympian Sid Taberlay, recently retired pro Paul Rowney, former junior World Champion Trent Lowe, Chris Jongewaard, last year's Kona24hr champion Craig Gordon and veteran Rob Eva. Keeping them honest will be the Kona-Mt Buller Mountain Bike Team with the two fastest juniors in Australia: national series leader Cal Britten and Joel Healy, combining with the comeback kids Dylan Cooper and Kristjan Snorrason.
More information: www.kona24hour.com
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)