News for August 6, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones
Rumsas stays in Italy
Raimondas Rumsas will continue to stay in Italy, intending on giving evidence from his home to the French investigators on the matter of his wife Edita's arrest for suspected drug trafficking last week. Rumsas was visited by his lawyer Alexandre Varaut on Sunday, and expressed his concerns about suffering the same fate as his wife should he travel to France.
"Because his wife has done nothing wrong and is in jail, Rumsas - who hasn't done anything wrong either - fears that he too could find himself in jail," said Mr Varaut in a television interview.
French customs officers arrested Edita on the final day of the Tour de France, as she was leaving to travel back home to Italy. They discovered a large quantity of drugs in her car, which allegedly included the performance enhancers testosterone, growth hormone, anabolic and cortico steroids, and EPO. Mrs Rumsas was placed under investigation for transport of illegal drugs, and is currently in Bonneville jail.
Mr Varaut said that he would request her release tomorrow (Tuesday), and if that is refused they will go to the Court of Appeals. "We will insist that the session is public, so everyone can see that there is no case," he said.
Raimondas Rumsas issued a statement today saying that he was very concerned about his wife, but she had never supplied him with any drugs. "My place on the Tour de France podium is not in any way due to doping," he said. His wife has also denied giving him drugs.
"Since my right to be presumed innocent is under such attack, I prefer that French investigators question me on Italian soil, as early as this week," he added. Rumsas would not be allowed to give evidence in France as an "assisted witness", which means that he could be imprisoned after being questioned.
He has been declared "clean" by the UCI, after the final results of the Tour's anti-doping controls were released last week.
Voet says cycling is no cleaner than it was
Willy Voet, the man who precipitated the biggest cycling scandal in history, and is now a bus driver in the French Alps, believes that nothing has changed with regard to doping in cycling, and the sport is no cleaner than it was at the time of the Festina affair. Voet was interviewed by Swiss newspaper Dimanche.ch, where he discussed the recent arrest of Edita Rumsas, the spouse of third place finisher in the Tour de France, Raimondas. Voet can certainly relate to the events that have occurred in the last week, as he too was stopped by French customs officers in 1998 with a large quantity of illegal drugs stashed in his car.
When asked if this affair came as a surprise, Voet replied, "Not at all. I have always proclaimed high and loud that nothing has changed in cycling...Things have evolved a little in that more people don't take the risk of transporting illegal substances in official vehicles for example. But at the bottom, it's the same. They continue to take us for idiots."
When asked about his interpretation of the Rumsas case, Voet believed that there were far too many drugs seized for just one person. "Then, when I heard the explanations, that the drugs were intended for Rumsas' mother-in-law, I was horrified. I realise that the milieu is still so closed. As early as the beginning of the Festina affair in '98 I thought one of these days, everyone was going to agree to set off on the right foot again. But everyone wanted to point the finger at us, and to vindicate themselves. Nevertheless, when a new rider came to Festina from another team, he was not at all surprised by the way in which we did things."
Commenting on the UCI's declaration that all 141 anti-doping controls taken during the last Tour de France were negative, Voet said that "The Rumsas affair shows again the ridiculousness of these controls. This doesn't prevent Jean-Marie Leblanc and Daniel Baal on congratulating themselves on the cleanliness of the peloton. It's grotesque."
Voet is of the opinion that Edita Rumsas should not be protecting anyone, even her husband. "I had the same reflex at the time. This didn't prevent the riders from dropping me. In her case it's worse. She is the mother of small children and her husband allows her to rot in jail without raising his little finger. That summarises the mentality of the environment."
Latest UCI rankings
It's only been a week since the UCI last issued its rankings for the men, and not a great deal has changed after the HEW Cyclassics World Cup. The winner of that event, Johan Museeuw, moved up from 52nd to 25th place, with a sizeable total of 919 UCI points. At the top of the table, Erik Zabel continues to lose ground, although he is still 47 points ahead of Paolo Bettini. Next weekend's San Sebastian classic could change that, as Zabel is not racing. Erik Dekker has slipped from 4th to 5th, but he's not doing too badly considering his season so far.
Rankings as of August 4, 2002
Individuals 1 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Telekom 2,248.00 pts 2 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 2,201.00 3 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service 1,948.00 4 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 1,632.00 5 Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 1,620.60 6 Robbie Mcewen (Aus) Lotto-Adecco 1,476.75 7 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Mapei-Quick Step 1,468.75 8 Santiago Botero Echeverry (Col) Kelme-Costa Blanca 1,315.40 9 Oscar Sevilla Ribera (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 1,189.40 10 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 1,147.00 11 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Rabobank 1,141.60 12 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo 1,134.00 13 Dario Frigo (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 1,133.00 14 Juan Miguel Mercado Martin (Spa) iBanesto.com 1,116.00 15 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank 1,027.60 16 Alex Zuelle (Swi) Team Coast 1,026.00 17 Mario Aerts (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 1,019.25 18 Fernando Escartin Coti (Spa) Team Coast 1,005.00 19 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 974.25 20 Igor Gonzalez De Galdeano Aranzabal (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 970.00 Top riders of 2002 1 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service 1,948.00 pts 2 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Telekom 1,396.00 3 Robbie Mcewen (Aus) Lotto-Adecco 1,276.75 4 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 1,148.00 5 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo 1,134.00 6 Dario Frigo (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi 1,133.00 7 Alex Zuelle (Swi) Team Coast 1,011.00 8 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Index Alexia 953.00 9 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 874.00 10 Igor Gonzalez De Galdeano Aranzabal (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 873.00 Teams Division I 1 Mapei-Quick Step 7,009.75 pts 2 Lotto-Adecco 5,195.25 3 Fassa Bortolo 5,156.00 4 ONCE-Eroski 4,841.75 5 US Postal Service 4,784.50 6 Cofidis 4,648.00 7 Team Coast 4,519.00 8 iBanesto.com 4,437.75 9 Rabobank 4,347.20 10 Team Telekom 4,339.00 Division II 1 EDS-fakta 2,437.00 pts 2 Bankgiroloterij-Batavus 1,550.00 3 Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 1,324.00 4 Palmans-Collstrop 1,272.00 5 CCC-Polsat 1,242.00 Division III 1 Mapei-Quick Step 1,604.00 pts 2 Volksbank Ideal 380.00 3 Mercury Cycling Team 347.00 4 AXA-VVZ Professional Cycling Team 326.00 5 Team Gericom Bikedrive 314.00 Full rankings
Verbruggen to resign from WADA
The UCI's president Hein Verbruggen intends on resigning from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Verbruggen has been a member of the organisation since 1999 when it was founded, but "didn't feel at ease in the association" due to the constant criticism of cycling according to UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani. Verbruggen also cited his increasing number of commitments as a reason that he no longer could continue in WADA.
Verbruggen has often criticised WADA for its way of dealing with doping issues. Most recently was the case of Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, who was controlled during the Tour for a higher than normally accepted level of salbutamol in his urine. Gonzalez de Galdeano had medical justification for using the drug (for asthma), so according to the UCI it was not a positive test. However, WADA's president Dick Pound and Dr Garnier believed that Gonzalez de Galdeano was positive.
Verbruggen called Pound "a sheriff of the Wild West" for making such a judgment without knowing all the facts. Pound believes that the UCI and other federations are in denial about the drug problem.
Dekker will have another operation
Erik Dekker will undergo another operation at the end of this season on his left leg, that was broken in a fall during Milan-San Remo in March. The Dutchman is back into racing again, but will definitely not be competing in this weekend's San Sebastian classic, despite finishing HEW Cyclassics with the main peloton yesterday. No San Sebastian for Zabel
Telekom's Erik Zabel, who had the misfortune to be caught up in a crash in the final 20 km of HEW Cyclassics, will not be riding the Clasica San Sebastian this Saturday. The German sprinter believes that the parcours is too tough for him, and Telekom will go to Spain with Udo Bölts, Giuseppe Guerini, Bobby Julich and Kevin Livingston.
Pedro Horrillo injured
After falling approximately 15 kilometres from the finish of the HEW-Cyclassics race in Hamburg on Sunday, Spanish rider Pedro Horrillo (Mapei-Quick Step) cut his right arm badly and needed five stitches. He also badly bruised his right thigh and has a suspected torn muscle.
Horrillo will be undergoing various tests and ultrasound examinations in Spain that have been scheduled by the team's medical staff. However, he has been forced to pull out of racing for a period of at least 30 days.
"I am really sorry as I had finished the Tour of France well, and was hoping to make the most of my good condition during the races in August," he said. "At the moment my thought is that of getting better, ready to be on the starting line of the Vuelta. If the ultrasound exam shows that I have a muscular lesion then I'll be out of racing for more than 30 days - something that would really damage my competitive season."
Six to leave Rabobank
At least six riders will be leaving the Rabobank professional team next season, their contracts having not been renewed. Markus Zberg, Geert Verheyen, Matthé Pronk, Marcel Duijn and Coen Boerman will all be looking for a new employer, according to De Telegraaf. Cyclocrosser Richard Groenendaal will drop down to the Division III team, but Sven Nijs will stay in Division I, as he competes in more road races. Nijs will transfer full time to the road in 2004. Only three new riders will join the team next season: Kevin de Weert (Bel), Robert Hunter (RSA, Mapei) and Remmert Wielinga (Ned, De Nardi Pasta).
Markus Zberg may find a place in Team Coast, while Matthé Pronk is in discussions with BankGiroLoterij.
Marc Sergeant will be Lotto-Domo team leader
Marc Sergeant will fill the role of sporting manager in Lotto-Domo next year, that was to be taken by Patrick Lefevere. Lotto's manager Christophe Sercu said that he would be the "ideal person" for the job, given his talent as an organiser, directeur sportif and his good relationship with the riders.
Mapei-Quick Step for upcoming races
August 7: 53rd GP Città di Camaiore, Italy
Riders : Elia Aggiano, Paolo Bettini, David Cañada, Fabian Cancellara, Dario Cioni, Cadel Evans, Daniele Nardello, Andrea Tafi. DS: Fabrizio Fabbri.
August 7-11: 18th Rothaus Regio-Tour, Germany
Riders: Fabien De Waele, Paolo Fornaciari, Kevin Hulsmans, Robert Hunter, Andrea Noè, Luca Paolini, Eddy Ratti, Charly Wegelius. DS: Jesus Cueva Suarez
O'Brien leads Irish challenge in M Donnelly Junior Tour
By Shane Stokes, Irishcycling.com
Irish junior road race champion Páudí O'Brien will lead the home challenge in the new-look M. Donnelly Junior Tour, which begins tomorrow evening (Tuesday) in Dunmore East. Backed by his Stena Ireland team-mates Theo Hardwick, Andrew McQuaid and Cian Power, O'Brien comes into the race after an impressive early season and is probably the best prospect for a Irish win, although the number of foreign teams competing makes that a tough target to chase.
National road race silver medallist Nicolas Roche is returning after his fine fourth place last year, but will compete in the race on the French Stephen Roche team. The VC La Pomme squad, victorious last year with Philippe Tesson, have also travelled from the South of France, and there are other strong foreign entries from the Netherlands, Scotland, Wales and England.
Backed by Meath businessman Martin Donnelly, the Junior Tour has moved this year from the Dublin area to the South-East of Ireland. The sponsorship has enabled the contest to revert back to a series of longer mid-day races, following several editions characterised by evening stages.
"Martin's support is really important for the race, and for the sport in general," said co-organiser Phil Cassidy. "He has been really supportive of cycling this year and is delighted with the response he is getting. His backing of the Junior Tour is enabling the race to continue and develop, and so we are really grateful for his support."
The M Donnelly Junior Tour begins tomorrow with a 1.7 mile prologue time trial in Dunmore East and continues, until Sunday, with five road stages.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)