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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest News for October 1, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

No agreement yet for Pevenage and Godefroot

The 'peace talks' between Bianchi team director Rudy Pevenage and Telekom's Walter Godefroot yesterday in Brussels failed to reach an agreement in terms of whether the two can work together in the same team (along with Jan Ullrich) in future. Although according to Godefroot there is time for more negotiations, there was certainly no quick resolution to their differences.

Ullrich's departure from Telekom towards the end of last year also resulted in Pevenage leaving, and since then Telekom's team manager Walter Godefroot and Pevenage have not seen eye to eye. However with the uncertainty surrounding Team Bianchi for next season, Telekom opened the door for Ullrich's return, and given the strong ties between Pevenage and Ullrich, it was also likely that Pevenage would want to be brought back into the fold.

After the talks yesterday, Pevenage would only say that he and Walter exchanged hellos for the first time in 10 months and would not reveal any more information, other than that Ullrich will go on holidays at the end of the week with his partner Gaby and their daughter Sarah-Maria.

Telekom's spokesman Olaf Ludwig commented that "There has been no new appointment made, we have spoken with Ullrich and now with Pevenage. Now Ullrich must decide."

Illes Balears close to agreement with Banesto

The government of Illes Balears and the team are close to reaching an agreement about Illes Balears taking over the sponsorship of the team next season. "It is quite possible that it will be decided this week," team manager Eusebio Unzué told AS, while the director of sport of the Balear Government, Pepote Ballester added, "There only remain a few details to firm up."

The negotiations have been going on for months, with Illes Balears making the first approach to take over the Spanish team. "A cycling team is a great advertising vehicle to attract European tourism to our islands," said Ballester. The team would be called Illes Balears although it's possible that co-sponsors will be found.

Manager José-Miguel Echávarri has offered 13 of his existing riders a spot in the new team: Francesco Mancebo, Pablo Lastras, Vicente García Acosta, Eladio Jiménez, José Luis Arrieta, José Iván Gutiérrez, José López Gil, Xabier Zandio, Rubén Plaza, Leonardo Piepoli, Denis Menchov, Evgueni Petrov and Vladimir Karpets. Juan Miguel Mercado and Juan Antonio Flecha have both been signed by Quick.Step-Davitamon, while the Osa brothers Aitor and Unai may stay at iBanesto, but they are also negotiating with other teams.

Echávarri is interested in Iker Flores and Gorka González (both Euskaltel), while from the Balears side there is interest in track rider Joan Llaneras, Toni Tauler (Kelme) and Antonio Colom (Relax), all of whom hail from Mallorca. Last but not least, Jan Ullrich has been mentioned as being a possible rider for the team, although no doubt it will not be easy to obtain the German's signature.

Rebellin respects Ballerini's decision

Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), who missed out on making Franco Ballerini's Italian world's team is not bitter about being left behind again. I respect the work and the choices of Ballerini," Rebellin told ANSA. "The results show that I'm going very well: clearly not the right elements for his project, but I do not permit myself to pass judgments. On Sunday October 12 I'll rest in the afternoon in order not to miss the live TV coverage of the World's in Hamilton."

Another rider who was left out of the selection, Michele Bartoli said that "You would have to ask Ballerini" as to why he had been left out. "Surely my exclusion was not just based on technical reasons, because I've never talked to Ballerini."

WADA publishes 2004 banned list

By John Stevenson

As promised last week, the World Anti-Doping Agency has released the full text of its 2004 Prohibited List, the schedule of controlled methods and substances that replaces the previous anti-doping list published by the International Olympic Committee.

The WADA list, as it's commonly known, will be adopted by all national and international sports governing bodies that are WADA signatories - in effect, that covers almost everything except tiddlywinks.

The most controversial aspect of the new list is the removal of previous controls on caffeine and pseudoephedrine, as reported on Cyclingnews. These substances are not totally absent from the new list, but have been moved into a new category, WADA's monitoring program.

The monitoring program is provided for by article 4.5 of the WADA Code, which states, "WADA... shall establish a monitoring program regarding substances which are not on the prohibited List, but which WADA wishes to monitor in order to detect patterns of misuse in sport."

The 2004 Monitoring List covers in-competition use of caffeine, phenylephrine, phenylpropanolamine, pipradol, pseudoephedrine, synephine. The morphine/codeine ratio will also be monitored.

While this seems to provide for future restoration of these substances to the Prohibited List, it's hard to see how the interim effect can be anything other than the routine use of caffeine and pseudoephedrine by athletes. As sports scientist Dave Martin predicted last week, this "will become a standard part of rider preparation."

Cyclingnews reader and American College of Sports medicine Health & Fitness member Erica Leister expressed what must surely be a widespread concern about the new regulations: the effect on young athletes. "The most disturbing aspect of the lifting of any control on [caffeine] is going to be the supplementation of juniors," writes Leister. "These are young bodies with usually little known health histories just because of their immaturity. I am not a doctor, but I would assume training and racing with regular supplementation from a coach or parent of over 800 mg of caffeine along maybe with a possible undetected heart defect may be disastrous."

On the other hand, in attempting to create a uniform code for all sports, WADA has undoubtedly done some good work with the list. For example, the previous IOC code defined 'blood doping' as "the administration of blood, red blood cells and related blood products to an athlete, which may be preceded by withdrawal of blood from the athlete who continues to train in such a blood-depleted state." This left the door open for methods that achieved similar ends, such as the use of artificial haemoglobin or oxygen-transfer enhancers like Actovegin.

The new definition is much tighter, bringing blood doping under the umbrella of 'Enhancement of oxygen transfer' and banning both the above messing about with red cells and "the use of products that enhance the uptake, transport or delivery of oxygen."

The new list also specifies previously uncodified quantities such as the permitted blood alcohol level in sports that control for alcohol, though there are puzzling inconsistencies. Spectators of billiards will no doubt be reassured that the ban on alcohol in that sport means they are safe from flying balls caused by drunken miscues, though players may be a bit miffed that they can't even have one beer during a match. Players of boules, on the other hand, are allowed a blood alcohol level (0.5g/l) equivalent to the driving limit in France. In other words, no alcohol in a game traditionally played in pubs and clubs, but it's okay in a game usually played in the park. There's some interesting cultural interpretation happening there.

Even more puzzling is that aeronautics has a permitted blood alcohol level other than zero, even though the threshold is a relatively low 0.05g/l. (For comparison, the Australian legal driving limit is 0.5g/l, usually expressed as 0.05g/100ml, in the UK and most US states it's 0.8g/l). Motorcycle and automobile sports both opt for a sensible zero limit.

Sevilla extends for another year

Kelme's Oscar Sevilla has extended his contract for another season, and together with the promising young Alejandro Valverde will be one of the team's leaders for 2004. Valverde has a contract until the end of 2007, with the standard buyout clause of €1.5 million in place in case he leaves. Kelme wanted Sevilla to sign for two more years, but the 27 year old rider preferred to keep things on a yearly basis.

In next year's Tour de France, Sevilla will be the sole leader, while both he and Valverde will spearhead the Kelme squad in the Vuelta.

Eddy Serri to Domina Vacanze

29 year old Eddy Serri (Mercatone Uno) will join Mario Cipollini's Domina Vacanze team next season. Cipo is rebuilding his famous lead out train, after the departure of Lombardi, Ongarato and Bennati. In their place, he will have Eddy Serri, Andrus Aug, Andris Nauduzs, Devid Garbelli and his old lead out man Gian Matteo Fagnini.

Van Speybroeck to Vlaanderen

Wesley Van Speybroeck (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) will ride for the Vlaanderen-T Interim team next season, joining some 20 other riders in this Belgian division II/development team. The team has also contracted Wesley Van Der Linden, Steven Caethoven, Frederick Veuchelen and Pieter Mertens, among others.

BankGiroLoterij stops after 2004

BankGiroLoterij will no longer sponsor a cycling team after 2004, and team manager Arend Scheppink will have to find a new major sponsor in order to ensure the team's future. Although this season BankGiroLoterij will finish as the top Division II squad, earning the right to move into Division I if it wants, it's unlikely to make the step up due to financial reasons. Already team director Johan Capiot and riders Bart Voskamp, Gerben Löwik and Jan van Velzen have been linked to the new Chocolade Jacques team in 2004, although Scheppink says that he has contacts with some Dutch riders in order to try and strengthen the team.

Vuelta less popular in Spain

Although the Vuelta a España is still more popular among Spanish TV viewers than the Tour de France, this year's race had three million fewer viewers than last year. Total viewer numbers for the three weeks were 43.8 million, down from 47 million last year. This year's Tour de France was seen by around 35 million Spanish TV viewers.

Eugene Moriarty awarded

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

Eugene Moriarty from the Listowel Cycling Club is currently based in Belgium, but back in the heartland of the Kingdom (Kerry) he is one of the sports stars of the month. Moriarty was honoured along with walker Gillian O'Sullivan and football coach Mick O'Dwyer. Eugene's award was accepted during the week by the legendary, John Mangan, "As far as I am concerned, Kerry has had its fair share of good bike riders, down the years, but the bold 'Euge' is by far the best all-rounder in my opinion," said John.

In the next month or so, Moriarty will take off Down Under to get some serious racing into his legs in preparation for Olympic year. Up until now, Moriarty has based himself near Brussels, where he is responsible for the House of Sport for aspiring Irish competitors who want to try their hand at the cut and thrust of European cycling.

Currently going through their paces at the moment are a number of competitors who next week will be donning the Irish singlet in Hamilton, Canada at the world championships. Getting his first taste of a world championship environment will be Emyvale's Paul Brady. Paul is just back from Brussels and has been cycling for the last six years, accumulating a number of medals to prove that he is there for the long haul. His idol is Mario Cipollini, the current World Champion. It would make his day if he met the "Lion King" in North America.

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