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Latest Cycling News, October 10, 2008

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

LeMond wants a different kind of testing

LeMond wants an outside body to do advanced testing and doesn't trust team-internal tests
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Greg LeMond's appearance at Lance Armstrong's Las Vegas press conference at the end of September made for some uncomfortable moments. Following the two American Tour winners' exchange, Procycling magazine's deputy editor, Ellis Bacon, caught up with LeMond to ask where he wants to see things go from here.

Anyone who witnessed Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong facing each other at the Texan's press conference in Las Vegas wouldn't be able to help but form some sort of opinion. And whether it was a case of taking sides or simply realising that we are still a long way from resolving the sport's doping problems, it made for uncomfortable viewing.

"Greg, can I just step in for a second?" said Armstrong, after LeMond opened the questions with one to anti-doping expert Don Catlin of the Anti-Doping Research group. Catlin sat alongside Armstrong, and LeMond asked him whether he would consider testing for a rider's VO2 Max and power output on top of monitoring blood values. Catlin will test Armstrong's blood values and publish the results on the internet.

"I understand," Armstrong continued. "You'd like to make a show ... you've done your job. We're here to talk about a few things: the global cancer campaign, the comeback to cycling, and the credibility in and around that. It's time for us, everybody in this room, to move on. We're not going to go negative here. I appreciate you being here..."

And LeMond, having so far only addressed his questions to Catlin, began to respond. "Next question!" Armstrong interrupted. Later, LeMond addressed Catlin once more. "I almost wish we had a fourth seat up here," laughed Armstrong. "Greg, Greg, Greg... You know what, bud? We appreciate your feedback. Thank you..." And it was on to the next, more acceptable question.

Read the full feature.

Scott-American Beef to continue

DS Joxean Matxin assured he had found new backers for his team
Photo ©: Monika Prell
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Spanish sports director Joxean Fernandez Matxin has said that he found new sponsors for his Spanish ProTour team Scott-American Beef, formerly Saunier Duval. The team has had a troubled season since the positive test and ousting of Riccardo Riccò from the Tour de France, with it main sponsor Saunier Duval bailing out in the middle of the season. Bike manufacturer Scott, who stepped in to get the squad through 2009, will nevertheless also quit the sponsorship at the end of the year.

Matxin announced he was on the verge of signing two new backers. "A European multinational company as well as a second, Mexican sponsor," he told Spanish sports daily Marca. "In a matter of one week at the most, everything will be concluded. There is only the signature missing."

According to Matxin, the new main sponsor initially wanted a co-sponsorship and was in talks with the team during the Tour de France. After this summer's turmoil, the company decided going for a four-year main title sponsorship.

"The team will be more European, as the company has branch offices throughout Europe. We will be obliged to sign riders from many countries," he continued to explain, saying he nevertheless hoped to retain the majority of its current riders within the team.

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There might also be a surprise rider ready to join the outfit: Former Mexican rider Raúl Alcalá. The now 44 year-old had two stage wins in the Tour de France in the 1980's and returned to professional racing this year by competing in the Vuelta Chihuahua. "There have been no talks yet, but it's true that some Mexican sponsors interested in joining the project would like to count on Alcalá," said Matxin.

With regards to the squad's anti-doping efforts, the directeur sportif announced "total transparency" and a possible co-operation with the French Anti-Doping Agency to make sure it would have its spot on the next Tour de France. Still, Matxin admitted there was always going to be a risk. "The problem are the people in the background, like [Italian doctor - ed.] Carlo Santuccione in the case of Riccò," he said.

During his hearing in front of the Italian Olympic Committee, the rider had accused Santuccione of providing him with the banned drug CERA. "As long as these people are not sanctioned, the problem of doping will not disappear," Matxin added.

Scharping criticises UCI's special handling of Armstrong

It was "a mistake" for the International Cycling Union (UCI) to give Lance Armstrong an exception to its drug-testing rules, said Rudolf Scharping, head of the German Cycling Federation.

According to UCI rules, a rider must be enrolled in the anti-doping programme for six months before his first race, and Armstrong would have been eligible to ride as of February 1, 2009. However, the UCI bent its own regulation for the seven-times Tour de France winner and will allow him to start in the Tour Down Under as of January 20.

"In these times, everyone should strictly obey the rules," Scharping told the dpa press agency. He also said that he had problems with the return of the 'older generation' riders, such as Armstrong or Alexander Vinokourov. "Even if 're-socialisation' after paying a penalty applies in all walks of life: must it really have to apply in cycling?"

Fofonov gets three months

Kazakh rider Dmitriy Fofonov, who tested positive for the banned stimulant heptaminol after the 18th stage of the 2008 Tour de France, has received a three-month ban from the disciplinary commission of the French cycling federation FFC "for negligence." Having raced for French team Crédit Agricole, the rider is subject to sanctioning by the FFC even though he is not of French nationality.

The sanction takes effect as of October, but does not include the winter period. In any case, Fofonov will be able to race again next spring, provided he finds a new team. Fofonov had affirmed that he used the product to avoid cramping.

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of Lance Armstrong's comeback

January 18, 2009 - Armstrong announces start of Catlin's drug testing programme
January 8, 2009 - Armstrong impresses Carmichael prior to Tour Down Under
January 7, 2009 - Armstrong believes Team Astana can dominate Tour
December 10, 2008 - Merckx: Armstrong's return good for cycling and Giro
December 8, 2008 - Armstrong climbs Teide
December 6, 2008 - Rast on life with Armstrong
December 5, 2008 - Armstrong considers Tour of Ireland
December 5, 2008 - Armstrong: Contador is the best
December 4, 2008 - Horner unites with Armstrong despite past differences
December 3, 2008 - Armstrong and Contador ride separate paths towards Tour
December 2, 2008 - Armstrong surfs with Astana
December 2, 2008 - Armstrong plans to race Tour
December 1, 2008 - Armstrong's anti-doping testing program pending
November 23, 2008 - Media out of love with Armstrong?
November 22, 2008 - Andreu caught up in Armstrong fight again
November 19, 2008 - Armstrong concerned about Tour safety
November 17, 2008 - Armstrong to meet with ASO
November 9, 2008 - Armstrong racing in Texas again
November 7, 2008 - Exclusive Armstrong wind tunnel video
November 7, 2008 - Lance Armstrong speaks at Web 2.0 conference
November 6, 2008 - Carmichael dials in Armstrong's comeback training
November 5, 2008 - Armstrong looking for balance
November 5, 2008 - Photos from Armstrong's wind tunnel test
November 3, 2008 - Armstrong doubles up and heads to wind tunnel

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Lance Armstrong's comeback

Bernaudeau fed up

French team manager Jean-René Bernaudeau has spoken out in the midst of a season's end full of doping affairs and retired rider comebacks. The head of Bouygues Telecom, whose Jérôme Pineau has just won the seasonal French Cup on Thursday after Paris-Bourges, was more than annoyed at the recent positive doping tests of Stefan Schumacher and Leonardo Piepoli, as well as with some of the comeback announcements of suspended riders such as Ivan Basso.

Bernaudeau felt that cycling did not do enough to oust the cheaters, and accused the media of taking advantage of the numerous affairs in pro cycling. "I know today that, despite what the sports authorities or the government say, all of "this" continues. The [anti-doping - ed.] measures are not effective," he said to L'Equipe. "[French cycling magazine] Velo-Magazine gives three pages to the comeback of Ivan Basso. I feel that everybody is an accomplice! For me, Ivan Basso is a guy that doesn't exist! He was part of the Puerto affair."

The Frenchman, who was himself a pro rider in the 1980's, is frustrated that once-convicted riders are given a second chance. "They tell us, managers, to not sign these riders. But these thieves of glory and results are still being taken on. The media are the first to talk about it. Everybody keeps it going. As for myself, I guide my team and find money - sponsors - to pay salaries to people that still believe in our sport."

Bernaudeau moreover promised to continue to speak out on the issue in the future. "It's evident that the more this continues, the less chances they will have to try and buy me. I am not corrupted, but some people have tried! I'm proud of doing something that goes into the right direction. Even if I may be a dreamer, I'm happy to work like this," he concluded.

Mike Sayers: The best years of my life

Sayers looks on the brighter side
Photo ©: Larry Rosa
(Click for larger image)

He was one of the peloton's workers - a "blue collar, lunch pail" kind of rider - in his own words. And now Mike Sayers, who spent his decade-long career as a consummate team player and lead-out man, hangs up his wheels and heads for a new and different adventure. Cyclingnews' Laura Weislo spoke with the California native about his history and his future.

It was BMC's Mike Sayers last race in his home state as a professional, and as usual he was on the attack. In early September at the Giro di San Francisco, Sayers made it into one breakaway which didn't quite work. After a ten-lap rest, he was back up the road again, this time in what turned out to be the winning move. He wasn't able to translate his uncanny ability to read a race and time his moves into a victory, but the peloton's bulldog held true to his ethos of riding as hard as he can every time he goes into a race.

However, the human body can only take that kind of punishment for so long, and Sayers knew his time was running out. He decided to make the Tour of Missouri in mid-September his last professional road race after a dozen years in the peloton. "I'm starting to feel it," Sayers says as he packs up his bike and carefully stowed it in the trunk of his car.

"It's not the training itself - I don't mind doing the hours and the efforts. It's taking me longer to recover, and it's getting difficult for me to do the big stage races," he admits.

After two seasons with BMC, a team whose main focus is falling increasingly on stage races such as Tour of California, Missouri and European races like the Tour de Suisse, Sayers knew his place on the team would be harder and harder to keep. "I get three days in [to a stage race] and I'm not recovering like I need to. Then a mountain stage comes and that's already not my forte. It was beginning to be a struggle, and the direction of the team is going toward being a ProTour and big stage race team. I knew deep down I would have a hard time making the cut next year, and I wanted to go out on my own terms."

He's a man of great pride and dedication to the team - a man who has spent his career sacrificing himself, giving every joule of energy his body could manage in order to help his teammates win while only rarely raising his own arms in victory. "I've always accepted that responsibility, and tried to ride as hard as I could all the time," he explains. "I think I can count on one hand the number of times I went to a race and didn't ride flat out. I may have been good, I may have been bad, but it didn't matter, I just tried to ride hard every race because that's what I'm supposed to do.

After giving so much, the last thing he would have wanted to hear is that he wasn't needed. "BMC is a great team - it's going to be in the Tour someday; they have big plans. I wanted to go out on my own terms rather than have them sit me down and say they couldn't have me back. Not that they were going to do that - I don't know - but I didn't want to hear that."

Click here to read the full feature.

Paris-Tours: Cycle Collstrop will start

ASO, the race organiser of Paris-Tours taking place this Sunday, October 12, has announced that Pro Continental team Cycle Collstrop is finally accepted to take part in the event. After an initial statement from ASO on October 5 that it did not invite Cycle Collstrop, LPR Brakes and Mitsubishi because the teams were not included in the biological passport programme of the UCI, the Paris-based company has changed its mind.

"After a verification of the UCI, which guarantees that the riders of Cycle Collstrop comply with the criteria of the biological passport, the outfit has been put back on the list of invited teams," read a statement on ASO's website. There will thus be 23 teams at the start of the Autumn Classic. Defending champion Alessandro Petacchi's team LPR Brakes and Mitsubishi, meanwhile, remain unwelcome.

Sun Tour kickstarts another sensational summer

By Cyclingnews staff

Matt Wilson (
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

ProTour squads and some of the world's best riders will surely make this year's Jayco Herald Sun Tour the perfect curtain raiser for a great Australian summer of cycling. Now in its 57th year, Victoria's biggest stage race showcases some of the state's best scenery and culture. Riders travel from Traralgon through to the Victorian Alps and back to the state capital, Melbourne, where cycling is a local religion for some. The Lygon St criterium is a highlight amongst the city's 'Little Italy' district.

Defending champion Matt Wilson returns as the leader for US-based outfit Team Type 1 after he took the title in 2007 with the now-defunct squad. With experienced American Ed Beamon at the helm, look out for the team that supports awareness and treatment of Type 1 diabetes. Wilson will have kiwi rider Glen Chadwick for support, who recently won the overall title at the Vuelta a Mexico and is in the form of his life following an appearance for his country of birth at the Olympics in August.

Team CSC is undoubtedly the big drawcard, with three Australians appearing on the road for Bjarne Riis' squad while Brad McGee's brother, Rod, is calling the shots from the team car. McGee, making his final appearance as a professional rider, will be joined by compatriots Stuart O'Grady and Matthew Goss and they will be on the hunt for stage wins. Talented Dane Lars Ytting Bak will be the supporting firepower, himself capable of taking a win.

Cyclingnews spoke with Bak as the CSC team was introduced in Melbourne ahead of the race, and he was confident of a good showing. "Matthew Goss is in really good shape - he's a good sprinter and he did very well in the Tour of Britain and Franco Belge. I also have good form myself, plus Stuart and Brad," he explained. "It's looking good. I've heard that there are a lot of bunch sprints here, so we're in a good position with Matt and Stuart; we'll see how the rest goes.

"I don't know how hard the long day and the time trial are, and we'd like to go for the GC for sure. In a race like this, 10 guys can go up the road on the first stage, and then you need to be in that group otherwise the GC is gone. You have to be awake because all the stages are short; it's going to be intense racing - you have to be up the front and alert. We'll see what happens."

Read the full preview.

Back problems end Ardila's season

Mauricio Ardila of Team Rabobank is the next to join the list of those whose season has ended. The Colombian is still suffering from back problems stemming from a crash in the Vuelta a España.

The 29 year-old was in the Netherlands for medical examinations the last few days, with Rabobank team medical staff checking his back.

Ardila had been scheduled to ride the Coppa Sabatini, Giro dell'Emilia, GP Beghelli and the Giro di Lombardia. Marc de Maar replaced him in the Coppa Sabatini, while the team will compete with only seven riders in Emilia and Beghelli. The decision of the final team line-up for Lombardia has not yet been made.

Cyclingnews online production editor required - Australia

Work on the world's leading cycling web site

Cyclingnews, the world's leading cycling web site, is expanding and is looking for a full time online production editor based in Sydney, Australia.

The position requires applicants to have a keen interest and thorough knowledge of competitive cycling, as well as editorial or writing experience with excellent English skills. The position will involve producing reports, results, photos and features from the world of cycling, so fluency in a second language is also an advantage, as is a familiarity with online production techniques, experience in journalism and attention to detail.

The applicants will need to be self-starters as the position involves regular liaison with production editors in all Cyclingnews offices. As Cyclingnews is a 24/7 daily news operation, the position will require regular weekend work. The weekend duties are handled on a rotating shift basis with other production editors, so the applicant must be flexible in their work schedule. However, the majority of work will be done during normal business hours on week-days.

The online editors will be required to have familiarity with online production applications (a good working knowledge of HTML and Photoshop are important skills) and could also be required to attend major cycling events in each region. However, the primary responsibility is the production of content for publication on the web site. Training in online production techniques can be provided to the right applicant, ability to handle the technical processes involved and an ability to communicate are required.

Please send your CV with a covering letter via e-mail to with "Cyclingnews online editing position - " in the subject line. Deadline for applications is October 15, 2008.

(Additional editorial assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer.)

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