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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News for September 21, 2007

Edited by Ben Abrahams & Laura Weislo

McQuaid: Landis case shows that it's not worth taking the risk

UCI President responds to USADA decision

By Shane Stokes

UCI President Pat McQuaid
Photo ©: AFP
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Floyd Landis made history on Thursday, although it is not the kind of statistic that he will embrace or wish to have remembered. The American became the first Tour de France winner to be disqualified for doping, losing his crown after the USADA found him guilty of using testosterone during the 2006 Tour de France.

UCI President Pat McQuaid learned the decision on Thursday evening and gave his reaction to the news afterwards, saying that the fact that Landis is such a big name shows that there is a no-tolerance approach in the sport.

"This is a sign that doping will not be allowed," he told Cyclingnews. "It is a sign that anybody who is prepared to take the risk, be they the yellow jersey of the Tour de France or the lanterne rouge, will be caught by the system.

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"There are guys prepared to take a chance, particularly for the ultimate event which is the Tour de France. But it doesn't work. After all, this is the race winner from last year who is being caught, and this year a couple of the big favourites were caught as well. It shows that the risk is not worth it any more...sooner or later these guys are going to realise that fact. Things are getting better and the testing system is improving all the time."

As the Exum case showed, in the past some high profile Olympic-bound athletes in other sports have had positive test results covered up. McQuaid said that the fact that cycling is willing to take on and suspend the biggest names means that there is clear transparency and a real will to tackle the problem.

"Whoever they are, they will be hit [if doping]. There will be absolutely no covering up," he stated, explaining that there is also the chance of riders passing tests now but being caught further down the line when better technologies are developed. "We are even prepared to put stuff in storage for testing afterwards - that will be done at the world championships, and we did the same at the Tour de France.

"A number of blood samples have been put in storage for eventual examination once the test comes for human growth hormone. We have been told that that test will be validated by either the end of this year or very early next year. We have samples from the Tour de France and we will also have samples from the world championships, waiting for that test to be validated. If any guys have been using growth hormone, they will be caught.

"It is a sign that we are prepared to tolerate nothing, a sign that we are prepared to do the maximum to catch guys who are doping."

Landis case 'proves system works'

Despite some concerns raised by the USADA arbitrators in their judgement as regards to the LNDD's handling and analysis of the samples, McQuaid feels that the decision shows that overall, the anti-doping system is functioning well.

Landis will likely appeal to CAS
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"Today's news is good news for the UCI. It proves that the UCI's anti-doping system works, and more importantly, that the testing system works. That testing system was put under a huge amount of scrutiny by Landis's lawyers over the past 12 months. They went into minute detail trying to prove that system inefficient or incorrect, and they didn't succeed.

"It is good from that point of view. It is good for cycling and good for the sport. It is unfortunate that the first ever winner of the Tour de France has been proven positive, but the most important aspect of it for us is that it shows that the testing system works and so too the doping controls."

Much of Landis' defence was based around raising questions about the LNDD lab and how the sample was analysed. During the trial several issues were highlighted and Thursday's ruling saw the USADA seeming to agree with at least some of these concerns. It decided not to use the positive testosterone:epitestosterone result because of the way things were done in the lab, but instead judged Landis guilty on the basis of the follow-up IRMS examination for synthetic testosterone.

McQuaid admits that some modifications should be made, but feels that the system still uncovered the truth. "There are possibly things that need to be changed," he stated. "You cam always get an element of human error where there are humans involved, but the fact is that they had enough evidence there to prove that he was positive. That is the most important thing."

Landis still has one final chance to salvage his name and rescue his yellow jersey. He can appeal to CAS and, if successful, he would be back in the picture as the 2006 Tour winner. However McQuaid feels confident that the UCI will win out, even if an appeal is lodged.

"I would be confident that the verdict will stand if it is appealed," he said. "It is up to Floyd now...he has got a month now to decide whether he wants to appeal or not. So we should let him make up his own mind. If he does go to CAS, though, we wouldn't be overly concerned."

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

Pereiro wants official confirmation

Pereiro was denied his day in yellow.
Photo ©: Sirotti
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Upon the announcement that Floyd Landis had lost his arbitration and received a two year suspension for testing positive for exogenous testosterone in the 2006 Tour de France, the soon to be declared winner of that Tour, Oscar Pereiro told Radio Marca that he hoped to get official documentation of his victory.

Pereiro said he hoped to get the official notification "witnessed by notary public" since he was not able to "leave Paris with the yellow jersey." Pereiro said he was "very content with the news after fourteen long months of delay."

Pereiro did not want to belabor the point, but mourned the many beautiful moments he could have had if he would have been crowned the victor in Paris that July. However, he said "it is necessary to be positive and to see that within ten years it will be wonderful to remember it."

The Caisse d'Epargne rider said that he was trying to absorb the news, but contrasted his case against that of his team-mate Alejandro Valverde, saying he wished that all cyclists would remain innocent until proven otherwise, and hoped that the UCI and Grand Tours could unite to fight doping worldwide.

Pound: Doping is a problem with a capital P

World Anti-Doping Agency Chairman Richard Pound
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Outgoing World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president Dick Pound criticised the UCI on Thursday, calling the doping issues surrounding the sport "a problem with a capital P". The world championships are set to begin in Stuttgart, Germany next week, and even though the UCI has announced that it has stepped up anti-doping controls to a never before heard of level for this event, performing hundreds of controls and saving samples for future testing, Pound questioned the UCI's decision not to invite his organisation to participate.

Normally, WADA does not perform in-competition testing, which is the jurisdiction of the UCI, but instead focuses on out-of-competition testing. However, the agency can participate as an 'Independent Observer' if invited by the UCI. WADA participated in an 'anti-doping steering group' on an invitation from the German government earlier this year, and offered its services as an Independent Observer, but was never invited by the UCI to fulfill that role.

Pound said that if WADA had been invited, "we would probably have gone there, because we criticized - rightly so - the efforts of the UCI in regards to doping for several years," Pound told AFP, adding that his outspoken views were "perhaps one of the reasons why WADA was not invited."

UCI president Pat McQuaid responded to Pound's comments, telling Cyclingnews, "For [WADA] to be invited to an event as an observer, you need to invite them a year in advance, so they can put it in their budget. There was no question that they turned it down because of any rows with the UCI. That is not the case. The fact is that it was never in their budget to do it, and they are not an actual testing organisation at events."

German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble
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The issues of doping in cycling rose to such a fervour in Germany during and after the Tour de France that the world championships were nearly cancelled. "At one point," Pound recalled, "the German government was about to say that it would not hold [the world championship] if it was not satisfied with the anti-doping controls. When one comes to this stage in a sport, you have a real problem with a capital P."

He further emphasised the problems in cycling, referring to the German media's pull-out from the Tour following the positive doping control of Patrik Sinkewitz. "When you get to the point that media refuse to cover your event, and sponsors are bailing out because they don't want to be associated to a bunch of people who are cheating, you've got a real problem in your sport," Pound told CBC news. "And they're having to wrestle with the consequences of letting it get out of control."

Pound will have his last chance to offer his views on what cycling should do about the Problem next month when an anti-doping summit will be held in Paris. Pound assured that he never said cycling was the only sport affected by doping, but the situation is "particularly serious" in the sport, noting the cases from the last two Tours de France.

Pound has had a tumultuous relationship with the UCI, but the outgoing president, who departs from his position in December, conceded that the current administration "understands the extent of the problem". He added: "The question is to know if they will be able to develop a sufficiently robust program to deal with the problem."

Luis Pérez leaves with a victory

By Monika Prell

Luis Pérez Rodriguez (Andalucía-Cajasur)
Photo ©: AFP Photo
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Spaniard Luis Pérez (Andalucía-Cajasur) will leave cycling with a second major victory in his palmarès after breaking away to win Stage 18 of the Vuelta a España in Ávila. The 33 year-old, winner of Stage 2 at the 2003 Vuelta, is set to end his professional career this year which began with ONCE in 1995.

"I am now one of the happiest people in the world," declared Pérez. "I want to dedicate the win to my team Andalucía-Cajasur - from the riders to the whole outfit because it was the only team that had faith in me and cared about having me on its roster."

Aside from his two Vuelta triumphs, Pérez also won Stage 1 and the overall at this year's Clásica a Alcobendas, but described Thursday's win as the best moment of his long career.

Interviewed on Spanish television channel TVE, he denied that the victory would have any impact on his imminent retirement, saying: "Although I got today's stage win, I already made the decision. I spent 13 years as a professional rider. For me, there's no better way to finish my career than getting a victory in the Vuelta a España."

CAS to rule on Valverde case

The UCI has accepted the proposal from the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) for mediation by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in order to solve the conflict over the participation of Alejandro Valverde in the world championships in Stuttgart next week.

The UCI had declared that Valverde was ineligible for participation at the Worlds because he was under investigation for possible doping violations in connection with the Operación Puerto case. However, the RFEC has contended that no new evidence has been presented, and that the UCI has no cause to place the rider under investigation.

UCI President Pat McQuaid has called for Valverde to submit his DNA for comparison with the blood seized in the Spanish investigation, and thus end all suspicion. "The DNA test would stop all questions about him, but he hasn't put his DNA forward and he is not going to, by the looks of things," McQuaid told Cyclingnews on Thursday.

"They [the Spanish federation] did ask us to go to CAS and we are prepared to do that in order to get it sorted. We will defend the case in CAS."

The mediation will take place Wednesday, September 26, in Switzerland, just days in advance of the world championship road race on September 30.

Cycling Australia backs Davis

Cycling Australia has rejected a request from the UCI to withdraw Discovery Channel sprinter Allan Davis from the Australian world championship team for Stuttgart. The UCI correspondence, received by Cycling Australia on Thursday, cited Article 9.2.002 of the UCI Cycling Regulations as the basis for the request.

Article 9.2.002 states that "A rider against whom an investigation was opened in relation to a fact which may cause a breach of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules, will not be eligible for the World Championships or is not authorised to participate to the World Championships until the end of the suspension or until his definitive acquittal."

In an open letter to UCI president Pat McQuaid, Cycling Australia responded by saying: "Our position is that clause 9.2.002 cited by you does not apply in the case of Allan Davis as there is no charge pending against him nor is there an open investigation of Mr Davis in respect of any possible Anti-Doping violation. Therefore we feel our Federation has no legal basis to remove him from the team."

The letter also noted that the Australian Anti-Doping Authority closed its case against Davis in relation to the Operación Puerto investigation on December 14, 2006 on the basis of insufficient evidence, and that Davis issued a statement on July 28 offering his DNA for testing if required.

Boonen out of Worlds, ends season

Having not fully recovered from a knee injury sustained in the Vuelta, Tom Boonen has withdrawn from the Belgian world championship team and called an end to his 2007 season. The decision was not an easy one for the 2005 world champion, who had originally planned to remain at the Vuelta until Thursday in order to arrive in Stuttgart on peak form.

"This was a painful decision," Boonen told Sportwereld. "Unfortunately I cannot complete the training that is necessary for the world championships. I've chosen to offer my place to someone with better chances than I currently have."

"Tom had been 110 per cent fit and wanted to play a meaningful role in the world championships," added Quick.Step - Innergetic manager Patrick Lefevere. "But it's now a week after his fall and he feels not at his best. It was the logical decision to end his season here. Don't forget that Boonen has been racing since January."

Boonen's place on the team will be taken by Liquigas' Frederik Willems.

Canada announces Worlds lineup

The Canadian Cycling Association has announced its squad bound for Stuttgart and the World Road Championships. The elite men's and women's teams will be made up of four riders, while the under 23 men's team totals five. The full lineup is as follows:

Elite men: Svein Tuft (road race and time trial), Cam Evans (road race), Ryder Hesjedal (time trial) and Dominique Rollin (road race). Reserve: Andrew Randell (road race).
Elite women: Erinne Willock (road race), Alex Wrubleski (road race and time trial), Leigh Hobson (road race) and Anne Samplonius (road race and time trial).
U23 men: Christian Meier road race and time trial), David Veilleux (road race and time trial), Keven Lacombe (road race), Brad Fairall (road race) and Ryan Anderson (road race).

Melbourne to get 2010 Worlds

According to the Melbourne newspaper Herald Sun, the Australian city is to host the UCI World Road Championships in 2010 after Gulf country Bahrain withdrew its bid on Thursday. Bahrain's bid was said to be more financially lucrative for the UCI, back lacked the necessary government support.

Ali Al Zayani, general manager of Sports Marketing Arabia, the company behind Bahrain's bid, told the Gulf Daily News: "It's very unfortunate because Bahrain has not lost the event based on our quality as hosts, nor have we lost it because the international community does not accept us as a candidate. We have lost it because our own government and private sector do not want the event and have not given us the support that we need.

"The president of the UCI even came to Bahrain to see what we have to offer, and he was fascinated."

The course proposed by Melbourne is thought to contain elements of the women's World Cup circuit around neighbouring city Geelong. The UCI will make its official announcement after a meeting in Stuttgart on Tuesday.

Orbea Oreca makes four new signings

By Iker Rioja

Spanish Continental team Orbea Oreca has signed four new riders for next season according to Spanish newspaper El Correo. They are Sergio De Lis, Miguel Mínguez, Jónathan Castroviejo and Mikel Nieve, all of them neo-professionals. "We have been following them for two years," explained team manager Álvaro González de Galdeano.

Team Orbea acts as a feeder team for ProTour squad Euskaltel-Euskadi.

Sydney needs asthma volunteers for study

The University of Sydney (faculty of Health Science) and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital are conducting a research study on the effect of beta 2-agonists on exercise-induced asthma (EIA) in endurance trained people, and are looking for asthmatic athletes to participate in the study.

While numerous studies have highlighted the increased prevalence of exercise-induced asthma (EIA) in endurance-trained athletes, a condition which involves the use of inhaled b2-agonists bronchodilators, several studies, as well as clinical observations, report that daily use of b2-agonists bronchodilators might lead to tolerance to the protective effects of these drugs.

Tolerance can lead to delayed recovery from broncho-constriction. In an effort to improve understanding of the effect of chronic use of inhaled b2-agonists bronchodilators in EIA in the athletic population, researchers at the University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (Sydney) are conducting a study to determine the effects of different types of inhaled beta 2-agonists on bronchial reactivity.

Interested athletes 18 years of age or older who train a minimum of three times a week, and are currently taking asthma medications, are invited to participate. Participants will have access to some fundamental data regarding their asthma, including full lung function assessment as well as results of a bronchial challenge test. This information may assist in improving the control of their asthma.

All testing will be conducted at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Department of Respiratory Medicine. Subjects will be given some financial support at the successful completion of the study.

For further information or to be included in the study please, contact the researchers: Dr Corinne Caillaud ( or Clare Perry ( or (02) 9515 6121).

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