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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News for May 20, 2007

Edited by Sue George

Landis testifies to his innocence under oath

By Philippa Bourke

Floyd Landis during the hearing
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Floyd Landis vigorously denied the charge that he ever took testosterone or banned substances during his cycling career, which began on dusty mountain trails in Pennsylvania and later saw him ascending the breathtaking climbs of Europe's Alps to a Tour de France win in 2006.

He flatly rejected the claim of Greg LeMond that he had admitted to doping in a heart-to-heart telephone conversation where LeMond, who in confiding his history of child abuse, had revealed what Landis more than once referred to as one of the worst things that could happen to a person.

Referring to LeMond's sexual abuse, Landis said, "It traumatized me," adding that he did not know how to respond. "I apologized .... Again, I apologized," he recalled.

He said when he later talked to LeMond, who spoke of Landis admitting to taking testosterone in the earlier conversation, he told LeMond he did not do so in the earlier call, but LeMond persisted that that was how he recalled the conversation.

Delivered with humility and in a short, staccato-style speech, Landis' testimony laid bare the friction with Lance Armstrong, the trials of competition and injury, and notably, colossal bad management and decision-making at various turns in the saga since learning of his positive doping results in France – right up until his business manager's calls to LeMond three nights ago in Malibu.

More than anything, it was a tale of the fragility of friendships formed on the road and in the intensity of competition. In responding to his own team's attorney Howard Jacobs's final dramatic question about why it was that the arbitration panel should believe him, Landis defended not just his career, but his substance as a man:

"Well they should believe me because people are defined by their principles and how they make their decisions. To me, bicycle racing was rewarding for the pure fact that I was proud of myself when I put the work into it, and I could see results and get something out of it.

"Whatever those results were, as long as I knew that I did the work, that I earned what I got, that was satisfying for me – obviously trying to win - some win more than others - but nevertheless, it's a matter of who I am. And it wouldn't serve any purpose for me to cheat and win the Tour because I wouldn't be proud of it and that's just not what the goal was in the end."

Earlier Saturday, German scientist Wilhelm Schnazer, director of a testing lab in Cologne, testified when called by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). He described how testosterone gel affects a doping test. Schnazer's testimony was given over the phone after the hearing started one hour late this morning.

According to the Associated Press, Schnazer explained how testosterone gel causes one of the four components measured in a doping test to spike when others are unaffected. USADA defines a positive test as any one of the components being above a specified threshold.

Pro cyclist Joe Papp, who is serving his own two-year suspension, effective last Thursday, for a positive test for testosterone during the Tour of Turkey last summer, also testified. He provided accounts of how testosterone gel aided the recovery of cyclists during stage races like the Tour. The testimony directly contradicted opening statements by defense attorneys to the effect that testosterone does not benefit racers in stage races.

Read the complete news feature, Landis testifies to his innocence under oath.

Cyclingnews' coverage of the Floyd Landis case

May 29, 2009 - French authorities summon Landis and Baker
September 28, 2008 - Landis takes case to US federal court
September 10, 2008 - Landis signing with current Health Net-Maxxis team for 2009
July 1, 2008 - CAS delivers final blow to Landis legal challenge
June 30, 2008 - Landis loses final appeal
June 28, 2008 - Landis decision due Monday
March 12, 2008 - Landis' judgment day nears
October 21, 2007 - Landis files appeal with CAS
October 18, 2007 - AFLD takes another look at Landis case
Thursday, October 11 - Landis continues fight, appeals to CAS
Saturday, September 22 - UCI officially names Pereiro 2006 Tour champion, Landis case raises issues
Friday, September 21 - Landis' appeal denied, two year suspension levied

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the Floyd Landis case.

Heras plans return to peloton

Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros)
Photo ©: Russell Standring
Click for larger image

Roberto Heras is counting down towards the end of his two-year suspension and hopes to return to professional cycling. According to Sportwereld, he anticipates no problem in finding a place on a Spanish team.

He will be 34 years-old for the 2008 season, but says, "I see absolutely no problem with my condition."

Heras tested positive for EPO during the Vuelta a Espana 2005. He won the race, but was stripped of his title.

Pereiro, Valverde among favorites going into Catalunya

By Hernan Alvarez

Saunier Duval's David Canada
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

The Volta a Catalunya is the oldest race on Spanish soil, having begun in 1911. Most of the top racers not in the Giro d'Italia will be starting the 87th edition of the Catalonian race next Monday including Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), Alejandro Valverde (Caisse D'Epargne), and Oscar Pereiro (Caisse D'Epargne) and other Spanish riders like Ruben Plaza (Caisse D'Epargne), Isaac Vicioso (Relax Gam), Oscar Sevilla (Relax Gam), Francisco Mancebo (Relax Gam), Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), and Igor Astarloa (Milram). Those coming to Spain include Erik Zabel (Milram) and Daniele Bennati (Lampre).

Defending champion Spain's David Cañada (Saunier Duval) will have a hard job to win again in Catalonian territory. Pereiro and Valverde will be tough contenders.

200 riders divided in 25 teams will take the start in Salou. There are five non ProTour outfits among the participants including local squads Relax Gam, Andalucia Caja Sur, Karpin-Galicia, and Fuerteventura-Canarias along with the American Team Slipstream. The US team is based in Girona, which helped them get an invitation to compete.

The seven-day Volta will begin in Salou with a 15.7 kilometer team time trial. The key stage will probably be the 203.1km stage four that starts in Tarrega and ends in the Andorran Vallnord-Arinsal ski station. Stage four has three category 1 climbs: Coll de Port (1,630 meters above sea level), Coll de Jou (1,480), and Alt de la Comella (1,365). The last mountain is Vallnord-Arinsal, 1,950 meters high and with a 9% average gradient.

The 170 kilometer long stage two begins in Salou and ends in Perafort. The third day starts there and goes to Tarrega (182.1 kilometers). Later on, stage 5, a 17.7 kilometer one way individual time trial will end up in Vallnord-Arcalis. The next stage will travel between Llivia and Lloret de Mar (177.1 kilometers). That could be a good opportunity for the sprinters. The final, 119.3 kilometer seventh stage will run between Lloret de Mar and Catalonia's capital of Barcelona.

Van Heeswijk not yet retiring

After a hard day in the mountains in the Giro's sixth stage, finishing in the last group over 17 minutes down, Rabobank's Max van Heeswijk was about ready to throw in the towel. Saturday morning things looked different and he had changed his mind, deciding he could continue to cope with his asthma.

"I have bad news," he wrote on his website Friday evening, according to "I will talk to my doctor one more time and hope that he can do something with my airways, otherwise I will retire after this season. This sport is hard enough when you are healthy. I had hoped to keep riding two more years, but that is no longer possible."

By Saturday the 34 year-old Dutch rider had changed his mind. The earlier, more negative entry on his website had been removed, and a new one inserted.

"In response to various media reports that said that I was thinking of stopping, I would like to say the following: After yesterday's hard mountain stage where I had problems with my asthma, I probably reacted too quickly and too impulsively in saying that I would stop racing if I couldn't get over it quickly. I regret the confusion this has caused," he wrote.

Horillo cleared on asthma medication

Pedro Horrillo (Rabobank)
Photo ©: JF Quenet
(Click for larger image)

The Spanish Cycling Federation has confirmed that it will not take action against Rabobank's Pedro Horrillo, the team has announced. The federation's disciplinary committee confirmed that there had been an administrative misunderstanding over an asthma medication.

The problem arose after an anti-doping control following the "Brabantse Pijl". Horillo had a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for asthma medication, but had switched to a new medication not covered by the TUE. His doctor did not think it necessary to apply for a new TUE, although this should have been done.

Court oks Ullrich evidence to Germany

A Swiss court has cleared the way for documents taken into custody during a search of Jan Ullrich's house last fall and other evidence to be sent to Germany. The German cyclist had tried to prevent the transfer.

Ullrich's attorneys have until May 26 to appeal the decision, and it is assumed that they will do so, according to the dpa press agency.

The Kantonsgericht approved the transfer because the German investigation is for fraud. The materials under question include a DNA sample.

Lacota puts career on hold

Bekker stands on the left spot on the podium
Photo ©: Ulrik Møberg
(Click for larger image)

One of Denmark's most talented riders, former World Champion and current European Champion, Mie Bekker Lacota, told Friday that she has decided to put her career on hold.

"After having had quite some time now lacking the spirit to train and race, I have decided to take a break from my bike. In the beginning, I hoped that I was just heading a little down period, from which I would soon come up again. That happens to most riders. But now, the hole is beginning to feel infinite. Instead of continuing going deeper and deeper, I have chosen to put my career on standby with the hope, that I will regain the desire to ride," Lacota told

"To me the most frustrating thing has been, that I can't explain, why I suddenly felt so tired of riding my bike. DCU (Dansk Cykel Union) and Team Denmark have been fantastic all the way, and the same thing goes for Team Flexpoint. I have felt no pressure, and they were always there to support me, when I had some problems, and they are all supporting me in my present decision," she added.

"Of course, a part of me would love to go on and complete my dream, but it is no use, when another part of me doesn't bother go training and doesn't bother racing anymore. When you have to achieve something big, you have to make it full and not taking half-measures. I have chosen not to say anything about it previously, hoping that I would come back. In reality, I have probably been a little afraid of the reality, because this has definitely been a big decision to me," she explained.

Lacota's future is uncertain, but she hopes to get back on her bike some day.

Gerolsteiner for Catalunya

Markus Fothen will lead Gerolsteiner in the Volta a Catalunya, which starts Monday with a team time trial. It ends next Sunday with a mountaintop finish in Barcelona-Tibidabo.

Gerolsteiner for Catalunya: Markus Fothen, Johannes Fröhlinger, Sebastian Lang, Ronny Scholz, Tom Stamsnijder, Marcel Strauss, Beat Zberg, and Markus Zberg.

British Cycling Criterium series kicks off in Crawley

By Gerry McManus

The British Cycling criterium series kicks off Sunday evening in Crawley. Top British riders may have thought they had seen the last of pave after the recent Cicle Classic and Lincoln GP races but the Crawley Cycling Club organisers have found more for them in the Sussex town.

Two winners from previous years, Malcolm Elliott (Pinarello - 2004) and Rob Hayles (Team KLR- 2006), are among the 47 riders entered for the one hour plus five laps race for top category riders. 4,000 spectators turned out last year and similar levels are expected this year. Racers will test bike handling skills on a technical 1km circuit.

The Plowman Craven team will be out in strength, but this year, they will start without last year's series winner Elliott who will ride with the support of his Pinarello teammates including Adrian Timmis. Plowman Craven's Simon Gaywood will be of the pre-race favourites. Gaywood has already taken a major victory in the Archer GP this year but is better known for his criterium racing over the years but the race could be won by any of his team mates this year including Tony Gibb and current British criterium champion James Taylor.

Dean Downing (Rapha / Condor) showed good form when he won the rain swept Lincoln GP last weekend. The former British Criterium and Madison champion has support in the shape of Ross Muir and Ben Price but this could be the circuit made for a lone rider like Warrick Spence (Cyclefit- Serotta). Spence outwitted all but Kristian House in the aptly named Warwick town centres races last season after House had broken a crank to leave him on his own take victory after the two had built an unassailable lead.

The local vocal support should be for Jody Crawforth (Evans Cycles) who would most likely win the most aggressive rider award if it was on offer in nearly all of the events he rides. Don’t rule out the youngsters though as Tom Smith, Tom Barras, Liam Holoham and Jon Mozley (all Merlin RT) continue to look like they don’t feel pain like everyone else.

The youth events start things off at 5:15 pm, and elite racers go at 8:00 pm. The winner will take home £750.

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