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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, December 28, 2008

Edited by Peter Hymas

Page missed post-race doping control

By Brecht Decaluwé

Jonathan Page (Planet Bike)
Photo ©: Mitch Clinton
(Click for larger image)

American cyclo-cross rider Jonathan Page missed a post-race doping control at the fourth round of the UCI's World Cup in Koksijde, Belgium, on November 29. The 32 year-old silver medallist at the 2007 cyclo-cross world championships now has to await a hearing from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and potentially faces a two-year ban.

"I'm relying on a hearing from USADA and I can only hope that they listen to our story that is was nothing but a stupid mistake," a devastated Page said to Cyclingnews.

The UCI's cyclo-cross coordinator Peter Van den Abeele confirmed to that Page didn't show up for the post-race control in Koksijde. "When I talked with Page about this he was devastated and really upset," Van den Abeele said. "He was so upset by the news that he didn't start in Zolder despite having the right to start in the race."

The Belgian said that the UCI's legal and doping departments would look into the case in the upcoming days. "He can't escape some sort of punishment but I'm certainly not the man to judge on that."

Page pulled out of the Koksijde World Cup after a crash on the third lap and left the race venue unaware of his selection for doping controls. A few weeks later, on December 19, Page received a letter which stated he missed a post-race doping control in Koksijde.

"It was the first time he or I had heard of it [the missed doping control]," said Cori Page, Jonathan's wife.

"Jonathan had a crash, was hurt and went back the mobile home," explained Cori about the day in Koksijde. "When I didn't see him anymore in the race, I of course got worried and went back to the mobile home, too. Jonathan was busy calling his doctor, who was in Denmark at the time, to schedule an appointment, and then the contract agent to report that he would not be able to do the race the following day. I was busy talking to Jonathan about the crash and whether or not he was ok and how he was holding up mentally.

Jonathan Page at the Kalmthout World Cup
Photo ©: Isosport
(Click for larger image)

"I didn't remember to go to the finish line to check for doping at the end of the race. I'm usually his backup and I failed," continued Cori. "Our second backup is a guy who is at most of the races helping another rider. He checks the control list, too, but on the days where there are chaperones no one worries because the riders will be picked up and escorted to the control. Koksijde was a race with chaperones.

"Additionally, there are all of the other soigneurs and even some of the officials," said Cori. "When they hear a rider's name called, they all help each other by either finding the rider in person or calling the rider on the phone. None of that happened for Jonathan that day. He had absolutely no idea he was on the list. And after many calls, we came to find out that really no one had any idea, as far as we could tell.

"The only bit of luck Jonathan has had in this situation was that at his appointment with the doctor he had his blood taken as part of his checkup since he was overdue anyway," said Cori. "We offered the test to the anti-doping agency and anyone else that wants to see it. As always, no drugs. At least this way, if he does get suspended for missing that test, he will have been suspended just for his mistake, not for being a doper. Jonathan is far from a doper. Everyone important to us knows that.

Page is now back at his home in Oudenaarde, Belgium. He will be racing on Sunday evening at the Superprestige race in Diegem. Cori Page said, "Jonathan can try to pick up the pieces and race. I will be amazed if he can even make it a lap."

Bileka resigned due to positive EPO control

By Gregor Brown

Volodymyr Bileka at the 2006 Deutschland Tour
Photo ©: Elmar Krings
(Click for larger image)

Ukrainian Volodymyr Bileka quit the sport and Team Silence-Lotto in May due to a positive control for Erythropoietin (EPO). An International Cycling Union (UCI) document stated the reason for the questionable resignation of Bileka, close friend of Yaroslav Popovych and ex-domestique of Lance Armstrong.

Bileka tested positive on April 18 in an out-of-competition control. He participated in the Amstel Gold and was in an escape group in the Flèche Wallonne – April 20 and 23 – before he faxed his resignation to Silence-Lotto on May 3.

The International Cycling Union ruled the 29-year-old should be ineligible to race for two years – June 1, 2008, to May 31, 2010 – on October 9. The Ukrainian cycling federation should follow through with a two-year suspension.

Bileka turned professional with Landbouwkrediet - Colnago in 2002. He remained with the Belgium-based team through 2004. He accompanied compatriot Popovych to American Team Discovery Channel for three years, 2005 to 2007. This year they both raced for Silence-Lotto.

Popovych broke his contract with Silence-Lotto and will return to the side of Armstrong for 2009 at Team Astana.

Tibco headed to Europe in 2010

By Kirsten Robbins

Brooke Miller (TIBCO) doubles up on her stars and stripes
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski
(Click for larger image)

Tibco Women's Professional Cycling Team has its sights set on becoming a UCI registered team in 2010, focused on competing overseas on the World Cup circuit and some of Europe's most well-known stage races.

"We have to be at bigger races in Europe," said team owner Linda Jackson. "In 2010 our finances will be spent on becoming a UCI team and going to Europe. As the riders progress, the team has to progress, too. We want to bump up the team. We've had this plan for four years."

Tibco began to put a mark on the American peloton in 2004 when Jackson, a former Canadian national champion, took over what was the California-based Palo Alto team. According to Jackson, she originally wanted to provide her athletes with an environment that would help them reach their competitive goals. However, she was not satisfied with being a regional level team.

"My goal was to get the girls to the place they need to be in order to reach their ultimate performances," said Jackson who brought the team up to a national level in 2008. "For 2009 our finances have been spent on building the roster and adding Jeff Corbett to our staff. Next year our focus will be on expanding our racing calendar internationally."

The Tibco team roster includes 10 returning riders comprised of US national road and criterium champion Brooke Miller, Alison Rosenthal, Lauren Franges, Rushlee Buchanan, Amber Rais, Alison Starnes, Jerika Hutchenson, Joanne Keisanowski, Victoria Bastide and Stacey Simms. Four recently hired top-notch talents include former Cervélo Life-Force rider Emma Rickards and three former Aaron's riders Katharine Carroll, Julie Beveridge and Meredith Miller.

"I am so excited about everyone on the roster," said Jackson who decided to use a large portion of the team budget on strengthening the roster. "We have a team chock full of talent. Finally, we will have a lot of different cards to play in the races as well as being able to develop our young riders. We have a lot of US national team riders and they need to work together and that will be beneficial for when they go over to Europe with the US national team and compete in events like the World-Cups, World Championships, national team projects and the Olympic Games."

The 14-woman roster will gather for their first training camp before the Tour of California women's criterium in San Francisco. The main training camp will be held in Santa Barbara in March one week prior to the Redlands Classic. The squad will focus on the NRC events beginning in January at the Tour of California women's criterium. The squad's '09 focus will be on races that include Redlands Classic, Mt. Hood, Montreal World-Cup and Tour of Montreal, Cascade Classic, Nature Valley along with Philadelphia's Liberty Classic.

"Even though we have Brooke Miller, I feel that we are a stage racing team," Jackson continued. "We are really excited to have like a GC rider like Julie Beveridge, a major talent, and I'm so happy to work with her."

Tibco will maintain the title sponsorship placement on the jersey and will be joined by Silicon Valley Bank and One Equity Partners as the primary financial support. "We are happy to have our sponsors back on board with the addition of One Equity Partners," Jackson said. "They are a company full of athletes. They have 10 World Championship and Olympic Games gold medals among the partners. None in cycling – yet!"

The team's equipment sponsors include Look bikes, SRAM components, Ritchey Logic, HED wheels, Challenge tires, 2XU casual and compression clothing, Specialized shoes, Squadra clothing, Selle San Marco saddles, SciCon bike bags, Rudy Project eye wear, Clif Shot nutritional products, Fitness 101 and Kurt Kinetics.

Corbett back from retirement with Tibco

By Kirsten Robbins

Jeff Corbett
Photo ©: Matthew Moses
(Click for larger image)

After one year of retirement from cycling, former Directeur Sportif of the Health Net presented by Maxxis team Jeff Corbett will return to a leading position with the US-based women's team Tibco. Corbett will begin his role as the associate directeur sportif, along side team owner Linda Jackson for the 2009 women's Tour of California criterium, Jackson told Cyclingnews.

"I'm really looking forward to Jeff bringing out the best in the team," Jackson said. "He will bring his years of expertise about strategy to the team and we really need that."

Corbett began directing the Health Net team in 2004 and retired in 2007 after three North American Race Calendar (NRC) series victories. Turn the pages back a few more years and Corbett was directing the US-based women's team Diet Rite leading riders like former multi-time US national criterium champion Tina Pic along with Kori Seehafer and Joanne Keisanowski.

"He is tough and he's directed women's teams in the past, too," Jackson said. "You can't have a directeur that people will walk over. He's going to help us at the races this season. I'm really excited about that for 2009."

"I really need Jeff focused on the riders and doing the on-road directing of the team," Jackson said. "He will do several of the races this year. He will also be in charge to build the team calendar and take control of team dynamics."

The peloton's best of 2008 (part 2)

Polls and pollsters from around the world have made their decisions about the best riders and rides of 2008, but Cyclingnews asked the peloton's insiders for their opinions about the year in cycling. What we received was an interesting collection of views (albeit a touch biased) on the best performance, biggest disappointment, rider to watch, memorable race and biggest surprise.

Kristin Armstrong (Olympic TT gold medallist)

Armstrong's gold medal
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Best performance: Olympic GOLD - Beijing Olympics
Biggest disappointment: The continued drug use in the pro peloton – when are these riders going to get it?
Rider to watch in 2009: Coryn Rivera, what she can do on junior gears boggles my mind.
Most memorable race: Beijing Olympics
Biggest surprise: Lance's comeback!

Hugo Coorevits, (Sportwereld journalist)

Best performance: In the Classics, Fabian Cancellara's performance in the finale of Milano-Sanremo. In the stage races, Alberto Contador for winning three Grand Tours in just fourteen months.
Biggest disappointment: The CERA cases. The damage of Schumacher and Kohl is even bigger than the Festina Affair and it takes away yet more credibility from our sport.
Rider to watch in 2009: Greg Van Avermaet. He has showed incredible improvement in the last four years. He worked hard for Hoste in Flanders and finished eighth – all without proper preparation. Then at the Vuelta stage to Sabinanigo he showed that he is big player. Plus he won the points jersey in his first Grand Tour.
Most memorable race: Tour of Flanders. You had the attack of Stijn Devolder on the Mur de Grammont and then an hour of suspense – you did not know if it would all come back together in the final kilometer or not.
Biggest surprise: The biggest surprise for me was Carlos Sastre. He raced for 10 years against "doping machines" and finally was able to win, even this year against heavy favorite Cadel Evans.

Roberto Amadio, (Liquigas Team Manager)

Ballan's world title impressed Amadio
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Best performance: Alessandro Ballan at the Worlds. He won solo with a grand attack. It has been a long time since we have seen a rider finish solo at the Worlds like that.
Biggest disappointment: All the doping cases.
Rider to watch in 2009: Roman Kreuziger. He has already done important things this year and demonstrated maturity beyond his years. Next year he can definitely make another step up in quality.
Most memorable race: There are so many and it is difficult to say one. The Giro d'Italia was very beautiful for its climbs and stages and overall it was a great race.
Biggest surprise: Greg Van Avermaet of Lotto. This year he’s been up at the front so many times. He won a stage at the Vuelta and did well in the Classics, too.

Daniel Freibe (Features editor, Procycling Magazine)

Best performance: Philippe Gilbert’s awesome solo win in Het Volk way back on the first of March.
Biggest disappointment: Off the bike, ASO sacking Patrice Clerc. On it, Paolo Bettini in the spring Classics.
Rider to watch in 2009: Brice Feillu.
Most memorable race: The scintillating stage 19 of the Giro to Monte Pora. Danilo di Luca nearly turned the race on its head, Riccardo Riccò dropped Alberto Contador then spat his dummy, and a bloke we’d never heard of, Vasil Kiryienka, stayed away for an unlikely win. Pure, Italian melodrama.
Biggest surprise: Chris Froome, the Kenyan-raised Briton with no big-race experience, not only finishing the Tour but doing it with aplomb.

Phil Liggett (cycling commentator)

Cavendish made Liggett proud
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Best performance: The development of Mark Cavendish into the world’s fastest sprinter. Britain has never had such a rider.
Biggest disappointment: Those who still believe they can cheat their way to a few minutes of glory before they are caught and ostracized from our sport.
Rider to watch in 2009: Edwald Boason Hagen.
Most memorable race: Tour de France, spoiled afterwards by the CERA cheats.
Biggest surprise: South African John Lee Augustyn who rode an excellent first Tour and may have even won a stage if he had not crashed on the Bonnet/Restafond.

Luigi Perna (La Gazzetta dello Sport)

Most memorable race: The World Championships, it was similar to 2002 in the way Italy came together for the cause.
Biggest disappointment: Riccardo Riccò's positive at the Tour de France. He impressed everyone at the Giro but he will never be the same, even if he comes back in two years.
Rider to watch in 2009: Rigoberto Uran. He had a great race in the Deutschland Tour and then finished third in Lombardia. At home, in Italy, there is Francesco Ginanni. He is a class act.
Most memorable race: Again the World Championships. It is always the most interesting race on the calendar due to its national tactics, and this year Italy really came together.
Biggest surprise: Mario Cipollini finishing third in a Tour of California stage. To come back at the age of 40, that was a surprise.

See yesterday's news for part one of "The peloton's best of 2008".

Riccò to become father in June

Riccardo Riccò
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Riccardo Riccò and his girlfriend Vania Rossi announced they are expecting the birth of their first child in June. The Italian cyclist is currently serving a doping suspension for positive controls at the Tour de France in July.

"The arrival of this baby will help his dad to overcome this bad period. Now we hope that 'Ricki' becomes responsible," said Rossi to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Rossi is the current cyclo-cross champion for Italy. She has dated Riccò for the last five years.

On July 30, Riccò confessed to the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) anti-doping prosecutor for the doping violations. The sporting tribunal issued him a two-year ban, through July 30, 2010.

He appealed the length to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in November. He also faces criminal charges and a six-year ban from racing in France.

Riccò has left his parents' home in Formigine (Modena) and is living in the nearby mountain town of Serramazzoni. Rossi hopes that soon the couple will buy a home together.

"But I am well here, it is only a quarter-hour from Formigine," Riccò said to the Italian newspaper. (GB)

Quick Step and Milram confirm Tour Down Under rosters

Allan Davis, 2008 Tour Down Under stage winner
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
(Click for larger image)

Quick Step and Team Milram have confirmed their start lists for the 2009 Tour Down Under and Race Director Mike Turtur is pleased with the presence of Allan Davis and Christian Knees.

"Allan is the only rider to compete at all 11 Tour Down Under events from 1999 to 2009. It will be great to see him back at the race in Adelaide in January," said Turtur. "Allan Davis has twice finished second overall at the Tour Down Under, in 2005 and 2008, so 2009 may be his year."

Davis also finished first on stage 3 of the 2008 Tour Down Under, taking his third career stage win. Davis will be joined by Tour de France stage winner Matteo Tosatto, Dries Devenyns, Davide Malacarne, Francesco Reda, Hubert Schwab and Kurt Hovelijncjk.

Team Milram will return to the Tour Down Under led by rider Christian Knees, winner of the 2008 Bayern Rundfahrt.

"Knees has had a strong season, finishing 29th overall at the Tour de France," said Turtur. "Also, Milram's Martin Muller finished first in the Mountains Classification in the 2005 Tour of Denmark, making him one to watch fight for points for the king of the mountain jersey."

Knees and Muller will be joined by teammates Luca Barla, Markus Eichler, Willem Stroetinga, Thomas Rohregger and Ronny Scholz.

Aeronautica Militare-Amica Chips signs Kwiatkowski

Team Aeronautica Militare-Amica Chips signed Pole Michal Kwiatkowski for the next two seasons. The 18-year-old Junior Time Trial World Champion will ride for the Professional Continental team for 2009 and 2010.

Kwiatkowski won the overall and three stages of the Junior Peace Race this year.

He joins fellow Polish rider, Michal Golas, for 2009. The roster of the San Marino-based team also includes Santo Anzà, Matteo Carrara, Leonardo Bertagnolli and Simon Clarke. (GB)

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