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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for October 6, 2005

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

International survey on cycling

French daily sports newspaper L'Equipe has asked French research institute Ipsos to conduct as survey on the credibility of cycling, which it has partly published in Wednesday's edition. The survey was carried out in four European countries (France, Germany, Italy and Spain) to compare the public's attitude towards a sport whose image has certainly been influenced by the doping scandals of recent years.

The results of the survey show that a great majority (79 percent) of the general public associated doping with the sport of cycling. In France, even 97 percent of the persons surveyed believe that cycling is the sport which is the most infiltrated by doping, whereas in Germany, 'only' 62 percent said so.

When asked if the doping problems in cycling concerned a majority of the riders, a minority, or only a few, the different perception of the French and the German public was even clearer: In France, 48 percent of the participating replied that they believed a majority of the peloton used banned substances in competition, whereas only 12 percent of the Germans believed so. In Germany, a majority of people (50 percent) answered that they thought only a few riders used doping.

The study also included a question on retroactive testing, which revealed that a total of 67 percent of those reviewed in the four countries was favourable to it, with the Spaniards slightly more reluctant (51 percent). In Italy, 50 percent of those surveyed said that it was impossible to do well in the Tour de France if one wasn't doped, whereas the French seemed more disillusioned: 71 percent believed it wasn't possible to achieve a high placing in their Grand Tour without the help of illegal products.

L'Equipe continued by editorialising on the "omerta" of the subject of doping which it said still reigned within the cycling sport and accused the International Cycling Union (UCI) and its new president, Pat McQuaid, to "take too prudent a stand when confronted with the survey." McQuaid, when interviewed by the paper on the research results, said that "most of the people who thought that cycling wasn't credible anymore were French (66 percent) - so I think there is a correlation between the media and public opinion, which is influenced." Nevertheless, Hein Verbruggen's successor knows that "doping is the sport's biggest problem" and that "the credibility of cycling is compromised."

Ag2R hoping for ProTour place

By Shane Stokes

Ag2R-Prévoyance directeur sportif Vincent Lavenu has said that he is hopeful that his team will get a place in the ProTour next season. The UCI passed over the French team for a licence in cycling's new top division this year, but Lavenu is hoping that some high profile signings made this summer plus their place as leaders of the European Continental Tour will be enough to earn them the nod when the UCI makes its decision in November.

The Spaniard Francisco Mancebo and Frenchman Christophe Moreau are amongst those transferring to the squad, their fourth and eleventh places in this year's Tour de France proving that the team has some big hitters for the coming season.

Although the team missed out due to their absence from some of the ProTour events and the departure of two of their big hitters, Jaan Kirsipuu and Laurent Brochard, Ag2R Prévoyance did take two big results in the competition. Samuel Dumoulin won stage two of the Dauphiné Libéré in June while Alexandre Usov sprinted home second in the GP Ouest France two months later. They also took a total of eighteen non-ProTour wins.

Lavenu and the riders on the team are keen to step up a division, knowing that a ProTour licence would ensure Ag2R's entry into all of the big events. "As far as we are concerned, we are very capable of being a ProTour team," Lavenu told Cyclingnews. "While we don't know yet what the UCI's decision will be, we think we are worthy of a place alongside the other squads."

Ag2R are up against two others in the tussle for the vacant slot. The Silver Team S.r.l (Fassa Bortolo) had a one-year licence and so this is now up for grabs. Head honcho Giancarlo Ferretti has reapplied in an attempt to secure the slot for his new team, thought to be backed by Sony-Ericsson, while Spanish Comunidad Valenciana are the third outfit scrapping it out in the bid to be part of cycling's elite league in 2006. A final decision will be made on December 12th.

A Cyclingnews feature on the fight for this ProTour licence will appear in the next few days.

Rory Sutherland dismissed

Dutch Rabobank Cycling Team has announced the dismissal of Australian rider Rory Sutherland on Wednesday. With a first positive A sample returned at the Deutschland Tour and his B sample now found positive as well, the 23 year-old will know have to explain himself in front of the Disciplinary Committee of the Belgian Cycling Federation.

Rabobank has not revealed which performance-enhancing drug was found in Sutherland's body, but its Board of Directors has started "an independent investigation to the possible causes and circumstances that have led to a positive test." The investigation will be carried out by a Belgian scientist and a Dutch lawyer. The team has announced that it will only release the name of the substance when Sutherland will appear in front of the Disciplinary Committee.

Boogerd ends season

For Michael Boogerd (Rabobank), the season has come to an end. Originally scheduled to race the final ProTour event, the Giro di Lombardia, Boogerd has sealed his race schedule after the World Championships in Madrid, where he participated despite a knee injury. "I've tried, but it's not working anymore," he said. "I'm going to take a rest."

Rabobank has not yet decided on Boogerd's replacement at the Giro di Lombardia.

Santos Gonzalez sues Phonak

Basque media have reported that Santos Gonzalez is suing the Swiss Phonak cycling team for one million Euros in response to the rider's sacking during the Vuelta a España. Following an internal test where Gonzalez' values exceeded the team's self-imposed limits, the Spaniard claims that the team blackmailed him by asking him to renounce his already existing 2006 contract. According to Gonzalez, he refused to do so, which is why he was taken out of the race by his team and later sacked.

Hushovd extends with Crédit Agricole

Norwegian rider Thor Hushovd has extended his contract with French team Crédit Agricole. On Wednesday, the 27 year-old sprinter inked a deal with his current squad for another three years. "The team has always believed in me," Hushovd said. "From the beginning when I was still young and also during more difficult times. That's why I'm glad to continue riding for them."

Hushovd won the Green jersey of the best sprinter in this year's Tour de France, where he was regularly supplied Norwegian food by his parents, who were following the race in their campervan.

Dierckxsens stops

The oldest professional rider of the peloton, Ludo Dierckxsens, will end his career on October 16, two days after his 41st birthday. The Landbouwkrediet-Colnago rider will say goodbye to cycling with a big event in Tessenderlo, Belgium, where fellow colleagues Tom Steels and World Champion Tom Boonen, are expected amongst many others. In true Belgian style, there will be a criterium to be raced in the afternoon, before his farewell party takes place on the town's market place.

"If I get the chance, I'd like to stay in cycling," Dierckxsens said. "You do meet a lot of people as a rider, and I have the necessary know-how. I'm satisfied with my carrier. I became a pro when I was 30 years old, to see what I was worth in the peloton. With a little luck, I would have even won a big race!," he added. The Belgian won the 11th stage of the Tour de France 1999, and the National Championship in the same year.

Investigation in Gillett's death almost complete

The legal investigation of the death of Australian pro cyclist Amy Gillett has almost reached its end. Gillett died during a training ride with her AIS teammates in Germany on July 18, when an 18 year-old woman lost control of her car and hit the cyclists.

According to the newspaper Ostthüringer Zeitung, the public prosecutors in Gera, Germany, will announce its verdict in about six weeks' time. The driver of the car has been accused of unintentional injuries and manslaughter. According to adult criminal law, the woman can be sentenced to a fine or imprisonment for up to five years, but due to her age, the milder youth criminal law may be applied.

ABG/Bissell continues

Advantage Benefits Group (ABG) and Bissell Homecare have announced the continuation of their partnership to sponsor and build a Midwest based Professional Cycling Team. After succeeding to place fifth in the national racing calendar last season, the ABG/Bissell team looks forward to further building up young talent at the nations highest level.

Bissell and Advantage Benefits have both sponsored regional races, junior/development riders and local women. The Team is Managed by Mark Olson, Cheryl Sherwood and Brian Sheedy from Athletic Mentors LLC.

Rollapaluza 4

The 4th edition of the London bicycle messenger culture extravaganza, Rollapaluza, will take place on Saturday, October 29. The event is a benefit for the Bicycle Messenger Emergency Fund, which provides immediate financial support to messengers who have been injured whilst working. In the past 12 months, five London bicycle messengers have received grants from the BMEF totaling $1500, or nearly £900.

The annual Rollapaluza will take place at the Pleasure Unit, Bethnal Green Road E2, from 7pm-2am. A roller race, open to all, will form the main part of the evenings' entertainment, but there will also be at least 2 London messenger bands, one of which is expected to be the legendary Deadley Treadleys.

Entry fee of £3 will include free entry into the Rapha raffle, competitors in the Roller Race will pay extra.

For more information, go to

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