First Edition Cycling News, October 9, 2008
Edited by Sue George
IOC to re-test Olympic Games samples
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Wednesday its intentions to further analyze athletes' anti-doping test samples collected during this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing, China. In particular, the IOC will test athletes across all sports for the performance-enhancing banned blood booster EPO Continuous Erythropoiesis Receptor Activator (CERA).
The Beijing samples from Olympic athletes are en route to the WADA-accredited laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland, where they will be saved in the manner typical of those from the Olympic Games. The IOC is discussing with WADA how many samples will be tested when and how.
"Our message is very clear. The IOC will not miss any opportunity to further analyse samples retroactively. We hope that this will work as a strong deterrent and make athletes think twice before cheating," said IOC President Jacques Rogge on the agency's website. The IOC stores samples from Olympic Games for eight years so they can be tested retroactively should new test methods and banned substances become known.
Earlier this week, Tour de France cyclists Leonardo Piepoli and Stefan Schumacher tested positive for EPO CERA based on testing of blood samples conducted by the French Anti-doping Agency (AFLD).
UCI allows Armstrong to start the 2009 Tour Down Under
The UCI approved Lance Armstrong's participation in the Tour Down Under, the first 2009 ProTour event, set for January 20-25 in Australia. The timing of Armstrong's return to the professional peloton had been called into question due to a UCI anti-doping rule.
At issue was whether Armstrong would be eligible to compete in time for the Tour Down Under because according to the UCI, "Article 77 of the Anti-Doping Regulations introduced in 2004, a retired rider may only return to competition by informing the UCI six months in advance in order to allow him/her to be available for out-of-competition testing."
Although he said he'd previously discussed his return with UCI President Pat McQuaid in late July, Armstrong officially enrolled in the UCI's required anti-doping program on August 1, 2008. Therefore according to the UCI, if it strictly interpreted Article 77, Armstrong "would only be able to return to the sport at international level from February 1, 2009, a week after the end of the Australian event."
However, the UCI said that progress made in its anti-doping programme since 2004, including the increases in the number of tests, especially out-of-competition, and the introduction of the biological passport, means that riders are now subject to a much-reinforced system of monitoring compared to that of the past.
"Consequently, the aim of Article 77 at the time of its introduction in 2004 (to ensure that a rider returning to competition is subject to the same degree of testing as active riders) can be better achieved through careful application of the current methods of the anti-doping programme than by the strict application of a time period," said a statement by the UCI. "The UCI can confirm that Lance Armstrong has and will be the subject of very strict monitoring throughout the period running up to his return to the peloton."
"This decision has been made after a careful assessment of the situation, taking into account both the applicable regulations and the imperatives of the fight against doping which is the UCI's number one priority," concluded the statement.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of Lance Armstrong's comeback
January 18, 2009 - Armstrong announces start of Catlin's drug testing programme
French to test Tour de France samples for blood transfusions
There may be more positives from the Tour de France, as French anti-doping boss Pierre Bordry has said that his agency will go after riders who used autologous blood transfusions. "We already have serious evidence about cases of such autologous transfusions," Bordry said in an interview with the German television sender ZDF. "As to who might be involved, we will be able to say that later."
The AFLD, the French anti-doping agency, has a new method of detecting such transfusions, a method which was not available earlier. The agency will use the method to test the doping samples of suspect riders.
At the moment the agency is busy checking samples for CERA, the new EPO, "but soon we will be able to prove autologous transfusions and we will then test with it."
The agency already has its eye on riders who demonstrated irregular blood values before the Tour, about 30 altogether, and has already informed the riders and their teams. Some of the riders had their blood values returned to normal during the Tour, but others did not. "Some of the suspect riders got back to their normal values. We were very surprised to see, how weak their performance became," Bordry said.
Wrolich to Milram
Peter Wrolich has joined the exodus of Gerolsteiner riders to Team Milram. The 34 year-old signed a two-year contract with what will be the only German ProTour team in 2009.
"I have always said that I want to ride at the highest level for another two years and stay in the ProTour. Gerry van Gerwen has fulfilled my dream!" Wrolich said on his website, peterwrolich.at.
Wrolich turned pro in 1999 with Gerolsteiner. He has won stages in the Tour de l'Avenir, the UNIQA Classic, the Sachsen Tour and the Tour of Georgia. He won the Herald Sun Tour in 2001, the Rund um Köln in 2002 and the Rund um die Hainleite in 2004.
At Milram, he will meet Gerolsteiner teammates Johannes Fröhlinger, Matthias Russ, Thomas and Markus Fothen and Fabian Wegmann, as well as Directeur Sportif Christian Henn.
McGee to wrap up career in Australia
Bradley McGee's European pro racing career wrapped up Sunday at the Circuit Franco-Belge. The Australian rider abandoned, but he was keeping a sense of humor about his experience.
"My last European race was as perfect as could be. It's simply the worst ever: Bad shape, the worst weather conditions and then I was dropped and had to abandon," laughed McGee a couple of days after the race according to the team's website www.teamcsc-saxobank.com. "My head just wasn't in this race with this weather."
McGee will do his final race back home in Australia at the Herald Sun Tour. "The only reason I'm still racing at this point is Sun Tour. It's in Australia and I've been looking forward to doing it and finishing my career there and there's no doubt my head's in this race one hundred percent. It's the perfect opportunity for me to say my goodbyes," said McGee.
"I'm just playing the role as a rider for this one and I'm going to enjoy my last days on that side of the fence. Enjoy being taken care of as a rider and then next year I'll swap roles so I'll be the one looking after the other riders. It'll be a huge change so now I just want to enjoy these next few days."
McGee is slated to become a sport director for his team after he hangs up his racing wheels. He's filled those shoes just once before.
"In 2002 I was down here [in Australia] with Française des Jeux and something went wrong and all of a sudden we found ourselves without a sports director. I wasn't in the best of shape that year so I decided to take on the role. As it turned out we won the race with Baden Cooke and at the time I said that it was the most physically and mentally demanding I'd ever done. I've never been so tired in my life, but of course I'd never tried it before and probably put too many resources into it. But it's probably a good experience to have had so I know a little bit about what to expect next year."
In the mean time, he is setting his sights on one Sun Tour "special stage" with a climb at the end. McGee expects it to weed out the sprinters, giving him a chance at one last stage win and ending his career with a good result.
Bisolti signs with CSF Group-Navigare
Alessandro Bisolti signed a two-year contract with the CSF Group - Navigare team on Wednesday. The climber, 23 years-old, will transfer from the Saclà Solaris Grigolin Palazzago team.
"This morning I have signed the contract and I'm very happy," said Bisolti. "There were some contacts [with the team] during the Italian Championships, and now it's all [come] true.
"I have the qualities of a climber, so the Giro d'Italia is the main goal for me. But, for now, I just want to learn how can to be a professional rider, and I don't want to speak about the future.
He rode a few races as a stagiaire in 2007 although he won no races. In 2006, he won the Giro della Valle d'Aosta in 2006 and was successful at the Como-Ghisallo and Casalincontrada-Block Haus.
Quick Step for Paris-Tours
After winning a kermesse in Zele on Wednesday, Stijn Devolder is ready to race with his Quick Step teammates at Paris-Tours this weekend.
"The race was really good training aiming for Paris-Tours. I hope that on Sunday the Team will be able to do a great race," said a happy Devolder.
Bram Tankink will not be joining Devolder this weekend after suffering injuries in a crash at the Circuit Franco-Belge.
Quick Step for Paris-Tours: Tom Boonen, Wilfried Cretskens, Allan Davis, Stijn Devolder, Kevin Hulsmans, Sébastien Rosseler, Matteo Tosatto, Wouter Weylandt under D.S. Wilfried Peeters.
Italian autumn classics
Starting Thursday, teams will take on three classic races over four days including the 56th Coppa Sabatini (199km) on October 9, the 91st Giro dell'Emilia (198.9km) on Saturday, October 11, and the 12th G.P. Beghelli (195.8km) on Sunday.
Gerolsteiner's Davide Rebellin has good memories of the Giro dell'Emilia. In 2006, the Italian won and last year, he finished second. He'll be supported by Fabian Wegmann, who finished second in last year's G.P. Beghelli and John Fröhlinger and Oliver Zaugg, who showed good form at the Memorial Cimurri recently with an eighth place.
The CSF Group - Navigare team will try to take advantage of the good form of Maxi Richeze in the Coppa Sabatini, of Pozzovivo at the Giro dell'Emilia and of Mauro Finetto at the G.P. Beghelli.
Team Liquigas will try its luck for a 30th season victory with the likes of Daniele Bennati, Filippo Pozzato, Franco Pellizotti and Leonardo Bertagnolli. Bennati and Pozzato are the team's best bets.
"Sprint finishes are frequent on this route," said D.S. Paolo Slongo of Thursday's race, "but the selection on the last climb could be hard for the pure sprinters, while Daniele and Pippo have the ideal characteristics to hang on and find success."
When the road goes up, Pellizotti and Bertagnolli are expected to do well. Referring to both weekend races, Slongo said, "These are two hard races, but our captains have an enviable form. It will be important to have enough strength at the end. The San Luca on Saturday and the Zappolino on Sunday are two selective climbs. We're confident."
Gerolsteiner:Mathias Frank, Johannes Fröhlinger, Oscar Gatto, Nico Keinath, Tim Klinger, Davide Rebellin, Matthias Ruß, Fabian Wegmann and Oliver Zaugg under D.S. Christian Wegmann.
CSF Group - Navigare:Federico Canuti, Marco Frapporti, Mauro Finetto, Domenico Pozzovivo, Maximiliano Ariel Richeze, Filippo Savini, Francesco Tomei, Fortunato Baliani under D.S. Roberto Reverberi
Liquigas: Daniele Bennati, Filippo Pozzato, Franco Pellizotti, Leonardo Bertagnolli, Kjell Carlström, Mauro Da Dalto, Aleksandr Kuschynski, Matej Mugerli, Alessandro Vanotti, Gorazd Stangelj, Valerio Agnoli, Vladimir Miholjevic (Saturday only), Andrea Noè (Saturday only), Beghelli Carlström (Sunday only) and Vanotti (Sunday only) under DS Paolo Slongo and DS Stefano Zanatta.
Ceramica Flaminia for Trittico d'Autunno: Coppa Sabatini - Maurizio Biondo , Wladimir Duma, Cristiano Fumagalli, Leonardo Giordani, Mikhaylo Khalilov, Hubert Krys, Luigi Sestili; Giro dell'Emilia - Julian Dario Atehortua, Giampaolo Caruso, Leonardo Giordani, Dainius Kairelis, Hubert Krys, Tomasz Marczynski, Luigi Sestili, Filippo Simeoni; GP Beghelli - Adriano Angeloni, Maurizio Biondo, Giampaolo Caruso, Wladimir Duma, Cristiano Fumagalli, Dainius Kairelis, Mikhaylo Khalilov, Tomasz Marczynski
(Additional editorial assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer.)
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2008)