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Photo ©: Swift

News Flash for May 19, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Tour Wild Cards announced

Cipollini, Ullrich and Phonak miss out

The Amaury Sports Organisation has announced the names of the final four teams that will participate in this year's Centenary Tour de France. At a press conference in Paris today, the ASO named French teams Ag2r-Prevoyance, Brioches La Boulangère and Jean Delatour and Spanish squad Euskaltel-Euskadi to fill the remaining places.

After the semi-collapse of Team Coast last week, 1997 Tour winner Jan Ullrich did not get an invitation, despite relaunching the team as Bianchi in the near future. In addition, Alex Zülle's Phonak squad also missed out on Tour selection. The biggest shock was that World Champion Mario Cipollini's Domina Vacanze team didn't get an invite, despite Cipo's immense popularity and status as one of the world's best sprinters.

The ASO's director of cycling Daniel Baal indicated that there was a fair chance that a 22nd team would be selected, provided that the suspension of Team Coast by the UCI was not lifted. "Team Coast still exists," said Baal. "The situation has yet to be clarified by the UCI."

The 21 teams that will ride the Centenary Tour are as follows:

Brioches La Boulangère
Crédit Agricole
Fassa Bortolo
Jean Delatour
Quick Step-Davitamon
Team CSC
US Postal - Berry Floor

Gold medallist Russian cyclist and coach face drug charges in Sydney

By Gerard Knapp

Elena Chalykh
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

A Russian cyclist and her personal coach appeared in a Sydney court today facing charges of importing a prohibited substance and aiding and abetting after Australian Customs officers confiscated a quantity of tablets at Sydney Airport last Thursday.

Facing charges were endurance specialist Elena Chalykh and her coach Andrei Manzourov, who were visiting Australia for the fourth and final round of the UCI Track World Cup, held at the Dunc Gray Velodrome over the weekend.

Before the presiding magistrate, Manzourov pleaded guilty to the charges while Chalykh pleaded not guilty. The pair will appear in court next Tuesday where the coach will face sentencing and the athlete will face another hearing.

Cyclingnews understands that members of the Russian team was detained last Thursday for up to six hours by customs officers after the substances, reported to be anabolic steroids, were found during a search of Chalykh's luggage.

The athletes were later released but Chalykh did not compete in the events over the weekend. Members of the Russian team were immediately tested by the Australian Sports Drug Agency and it is understood that the results of those tests will be presented in court next week.

Chalykh had been a stand-out member of the Russian endurance track squad. In the Mexico round of the UCI's Track World Cup she won gold in the women's points race, scratch race and team sprint, and qualified sixth fastest in the individual pursuit.

Following their detention by Customs last Thursday, Chalykh and her coach were subsequently summonsed to appear in court after analysis confirmed the substances were steroids (it is illegal to import anabolic steroids into Australian without special approval).

This is the second case this year where a champion cyclist has been detained after attempting to import prohibited performance-enhancing substances into Australia. In March the 1992 Olympic gold medallist Stefan Steinweg of Germany was convicted of importing prohibited substances into Australia.

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)