Cyclingnews - the world centre of cycling Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  

Recent News

January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008

2007 & earlier

Recently on

Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

First Edition Cycling News, June 11, 2008

Edited by Greg Johnson

Suisse rejects Boonen, Tour to follow?

By Jean-François Quénet in Vienne, France

Tom Boonen's Audi parked out the front of his parents' house yesterday.
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Tom Boonen (Quick Step) will not be allowed to start the Tour de Suisse, race organisers announced Tuesday. The decision follows the Belgian sprinter's positive anti-doping control for cocaine on May 25 and could see the entire team thrown out of the Suisse event, in addition to placing a question mark over Boonen's Tour de France start.

"We want to make a point and emphasise that we will not put up with any rider who behaves that way," Tour director Armin Meier said. "It doesn't matter to us whether it is a world star or any other rider."

The Suisse race organiser also asked the management of the Belgian Quick Step team for its position on Boonen's situation. It requested an answer by noon, Thursday, which is also the deadline for the teams to submit their final line-ups. If the team does not comply with that request, the Tour organisers said that they could decide to exclude the entire team from the race.

Boonen will not be suspended by the UCI for his positive cocaine test. The use of cocaine outside of competition does not carry a sanction and as the test was carried out two days before a race, Boonen has escaped a sanction according to the UCI.

"The UCI will not ask for a disciplinary procedure to be opened," a spokesperson for the UCI explained to Sport Wereld. "The rule for the UCI is the same as that of the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA). There is no sanction for cocaine when talking about an out of competition control."

Coming up on

Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of the Dauphiné Libéré live as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).

WAP-enabled mobile devices:

The deadline for a control outside competition to be handled is one day for an ordinary race and three days before a major Tour such as the Tour, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España.

Tom Boonen (Quick Step) celebrates in Roubaix in April
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

The Belgian Cycling Federation confirmed that they would also not be sanctioning Boonen for the altercation. "That's what the rules state," said President Laurent De Backer to Sporza.

The Boonen issue puts Tour de France organiser ASO in a similar situation to last year with Michael Rasmussen. In the absence of a ban by an authority it only has its power to threaten the teams and sponsors, but is hopeful the team will take the decision to withdraw Boonen by itself.

Tour delegate director Gilbert Ysern was the one who called Rabobank during last year's Tour de France and convinced the Dutch bank to take its rider out of the race. After hearing the news about Boonen's positive case for cocaine, Ysern said the Tour wouldn't follow the Tour de Suisse's lead.

"We're not going to act like our colleagues from the Tour de Suisse," he said. "We will wait and see which position Boonen and his team will take. We'll see if he admits the facts, if he asks for a counter analysis, or if he steps down for the next few weeks."

Following the news of Boonen's test it's understandable that ASO doesn't want Boonen to defend his green jersey this year. But ASO hopes the Paris-Roubaix winner will be sidelined by his employer, rather than it being forced to take preventive measures.

Hushovd disappointed by Boonen positive

Norway's Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole), the 2006 Tour de France green jersey winner, was disappointed to learn of the news that sprint rival Tom Boonen (Quick Step) has tested positive in an anti-doping control for cocaine. The Norwegian said the news puts further emphasis on the sport's need to turn around.

"My first reaction was that it was a sad news for the sport of cycling," said Hushovd. "Our sport is in a difficult moment now, not only in Belgium. If Tom doesn't follow the rules he has to face the consequences, but it's probably too early to tell that he will not ride the Tour de France. Who will decide that?"

Hushovd, who is currently leading the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, would have more chances to win the points classification at the Tour de France if Boonen is forced to stay at home. Hushovd said however that getting rid of the competition isn't the answer.

"I didn't think of that," Hushovd said. "The problem isn't to get rid of Boonen. It's a larger problem for the sport of cycling. I'd like to race against all my adversaries at the Tour de France.

"I like sprinting against Boonen," he added. "I'd prefer him to have no problem with drugs and race. I don't know him out of the races, so I cannot comment on him much more."

The Crédit Agricole rider currently leads the French race by one second over Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne).

Bouygues Telecom ends Boonen negotiations

Jean-René Bernaudeau
Photo: © Régis Garnier
Click for larger image

French ProTour team Bouygues Telecom had shown interest in signing Tom Boonen for the 2009 season, however the team has called an immediate end to discussions. The squad said its policy is clear and that it will not employ a rider who has tested positive for cocaine, as Boonen did in a May 25 test which was revealed yesterday.

"Red card, end of the negotiations," team manager Jean-René Bernaudeau said. "We have a very strict policy in our team. Anybody who's got problems with drugs isn't welcome in our team. If the news regarding Boonen is confirmed, there's no way he can join us."

Boonen's contract with Quick Step ends at the end of this year and the rider known as Tornado Tom has been put on the market by his agent Paul de Geyter. Bouygues Telecom was very interested in recruiting the Paris-Roubaix winner, with its French mobile phone network backer in the process of expanding throughout Europe in association with T-Mobile. The addition of one of Belgium's favourite sons would have given the company a good marketing platform to work off in Belgium.

Bouygues Telecom recently extended their contract with the Vendée based team for the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Quick Step boss Patrick Lefevere on the other hand is struggling to secure new sponsors in Belgium. News that Boonen might be joining a French team was likely to wake up the potential sponsors in Belgium, should they be willing to keep the prodigy at a Belgian squad.

Monfort on a Tour mission at Dauphiné

By Jean-François Quénet in Vienne, France

Maxime Monfort (Cofidis)
Photo ©: Jean-François Quénet
(Click for larger image)

Maxime Monfort (Cofidis) showed great form at the beginning of the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré. Showing off his improved time trialing ability, the rider finished fourth in the prologue behind Levi Leipheimer (Astana), Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole), and Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne).

"This result increases my motivation for Wednesday's time trial," said the Belgian. "I'm not at 100 percent of my capacities yet, but I'll target a top 10 finish."

Monfort has been trialing a new position for time trialing that really suits him. "Now I focus on time trials and I enjoy it, I know how important it is for stage races," he said.

Monfort assessed what his specialty is during his first year as a professional with Landbouwkrediet. While at the squad he claimed victory at the Tour of Luxembourg in his first professional season and has since moved to French ProTour outfit Cofidis.

"Stage races are what I'm the best at," said Monfort, who finished 11th at the Vuelta a España last year.

The rider had his eye on contesting last year's Tour de France, but wasn't on Cofidis' roster for the French Grand Tour. While disappointed at first, the decision meant he avoided the drama that followed, with the whole team pulling out of the race after a positive test from Cristian Moreni.

For Monfort, who is one of the leaders of the young generation against drugs use, it would have been a difficult situation to be forced to go home because of somebody else.

"I was very disappointed to be left out of the Tour team, but everything is fine now," he explained. "My start is guaranteed this year. I'm looking forward to my first participation to the Tour de France.

"I know I'll have to take the initiative and secure some advance to the big leaders before the mountains," he added. "I'll have to profit from the stages with little mountains. That's what I did at the Vuelta last year."

Monfort is improving so much that the French speaking part of Belgium will have at least two stars to watch during the coming Tour. Philippe Gilbert (Française des Jeux) is the second rider from the region in the picture.

Cervélo-Lifeforce signs Ryan

By Ben Atkins

Carla Ryan
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
(Click for larger image)

Former Australian Time Trial Champion Carla Ryan has joined the Cervélo-Lifeforce Pro Cycling Team. The 22 year-old from Brisbane has impressed this year in stage races, winning the Under-23 jersey at the Tour of New Zealand and riding strongly in the Tour de l'Aude. Her first race for her new team will be the six day Grand Boucle Féminine International, starting in Gent, Belgium next week.

Ryan's main talents lie in her climbing and longer distance time trialling, something that her new Cervélo-Lifeforce team-mates specialise in meaning that the young Australian should fit in well.

"We are happy that Carla is joining our team," said Thomas Campana, Cervélo-Lifeforce Team Manager. "I'm convinced that she is a great enrichment for all of us and that she can make also a good personal development in the professional business together with us."

Willo's wrist ends his Beauce

By Mark Zalewski in Lac-Etchemin, Québec, Canada

Trent Wilson (Jittery Joe’s) with a broken wrist
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski
(Click for larger image)

Jittery Joes' general classification rider and Cyclingnews diarist Trent Wilson started the first stage of the Tour de Beauce with a bang, launching a daring attack inside the opening kilometres of the 167km stage. But the rationale behind his attack was to be his undoing today. A broken wrist suffered in the first race of Philly week, the Lehigh Valley Classic, put him out for the rest of the week. But the doctors molded the cast around his handlebars, hoping that he could race in his season's targeted race, the Tour de Beauce.

"My wrist hurt and I felt I could pick my lines better if I went up the road," Wilson told Cyclingnews about his rationale for attacking so early. "I thought that if the bunch would give me eight minutes I could stay up the road, get a couple of KOMs and the jersey, then finish and start the race in [the jersey] tomorrow. But I only got five minutes and when they got me back the wrist was done."

Willo had to remind himself of which 'style'
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski
(Click for larger image)

As part of his process for adapting his riding style to his injury, Wilson had the team mechanic switch his brake levers from the "Aussie-style" of braking, or the right lever controlling the front brake, to what he referred to as the American or "Sepo-style" of brake controls with the left lever controlling the front brake. [Ed. - It is not appropriate to translate the Aussie slang here, but feel free to look it up]. He even had a reminder message taped to his handlebars in case he forgot on the road.

Once the pack reeled in the solo Aussie, Wilson knew his race was done. He will spend the rest of the week here in Beauce supporting his team-mates from the team car before returning to his American home in Nashville, Tennessee to reevaluate his season's goals.

(Additional research and assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer).

Previous News    Next News

(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing Limited 2008)