News for September 16, 1999

Danish Union challenges UCI over doping

By Tomas Nillson, correspondent

The Danish rider Claus Michael Møller (TVM-Farm Frites), who was banned from competitive cycling for two years by the Danish Cycling Union for being caught with testosterone during Vuelta a Murcia this spring, has taken his case to the next level of appeal.

Although the UCI asked the Danish Union to reduce the sentence to six months - standard punishment in other countries - the Danes refused. Møller has now appealed to the international sports court, CAS, in Lausanne.

"I know that the UCI wants to give me six months but they don't have the right to sentence me. So after consulting my Spanish lawyer I will appeal to the CAS. If the ban isn't shortened it will be hard for me to get a contract. If I get six months I will be able to race again on April 15. Several teams are interested in me. But if there's a two year ban my career is over," the soon to be 31 year old Møller told Danish daily Berlingske Tidende.

It is always the rider's national cycling union which decides how long a cyclist should be banned from racing. The Danish Cycling Union also has a conflict with the UCI over mountain biker Jan E Østergaard, who was sent home from the European championships with a hematocrit level over 50 per cent. Østergaard was banned from the national team which means that he cannot race the World Championships later this month in Sweden.

UCI president Hein Verbrüggen said that the Danes cannot do this. High hematocrit level doesn't necessarily mean that the rider is doped, and riders only lose their licence for two weeks for health reasons.

"We allow ourselves to put an ethic and moral aspect when we pick a national team. It says so in our anti-doping contract with the riders, which the national team riders must sign. We have checked this with our own as well as independent lawyers. If a rider wishes to ride with a high hamacrotit level he must get a certificate from the UCI. So we take Mr Verbrüggens argumentation quite easy," DCU director Jesper Worre told the newspaper.

Telekom prepares for 2000

Casino's 25 year old Kazachian Alexandre Vinokourov is about to sign a two-year contract with German Team Telekom.

The exceptionally talented "Vino" is by many experts predicted as one of the future stars and was already one of the dark horses of this years Tour de France after winning Tour of Valencia (Cat 2.3) in February and later the Dauphiné Liberé (Hors Cat) in June. In the Tour de France he blew on the first mountain stage to Sestriere, but was otherwise at the front.

The question is, what will he be allowed to do in Telekom? "With us everybody has his chance, except in the Tour de France when we all ride for Jan," said team manager Walter Godefroot. The manager also had contact with Italian climber Roberto Sgambelluri of Cantina Tollo as a substitute for the retiring Francesco Frattini.

The negotiations with Oscar Camenzind have come to a definite end. He will ride elsewhere next year. Indeed, Godefroot considers Vinokourov a stronger rider, Telekom spokesman Matthias Schumann told Radsport-news.

Also, Aleksandr Vinokoerov, a 26 year-old rider currently with Casino, has signed for two years for Telekom. He won the Tour of Valencia and the Dauphine Libere this year.

(Additional reporting by Nicko Agelakis and Hans Wilbrink)

A new Danish team for 2000

By Jon Jay Neufeld, correspondent

In the wake of the Danish credit card company Acceptcard's decision not to renew its sponsorship contract with Team Acceptcard, Brian Holm is now busy trying to negotiate a sponsorship to be able to continue along with what is left of the team (Jakob Storm Piil and Jacob Moe Rasmussen already having signed with Danish rivals HJ&J).

Holm, together with Henrik Elmgreen, arguably the godfather of Danish competitive cycling, has met together with the corporate leaders of Fisherman's Friend to discuss the possibility of a sponsorship for a pro cycling team in the 2000 season. "After a positive meeting with the company's Danish division, we met with the English leadership yesterday. That meeting was also positive and we are to receive an answer already in the middle of next week," Holm said.

Holm continued: "If their response is negative, I am planning on taking the year off, and then focus at working towards putting a team together for the 2001 season. It is no secret that I would like to continue as a directeur sportif for among other things, to be able to continue to work with that which one has set in motion and correct some of the mistakes that one naturally makes in the beginning of a new career.

If one just stops now, then it seems as though all the work that one has invested in the last stressful year's time has been wasted.

"If Fisherman's Friend returns with a positive response, Henrik Elmgreen will be the team manager and I will be the directeur sportif. He is clearly one of the most professional people I have ever worked together with. He has a fantastic drive and naturally a wealth of good connections within the sport of cycling. I am really hoping to be able to take three to four of the Danish riders from Acceptcard with me, and we have additionally talked with a number of foreign riders."

"Fisherman's Friend might possibly be interested in also setting focus on other markets, such as Germany and Portugal, for example, in which case we would need to have some riders from these nations on the team."

"If the plans for the new team don't amount to anything, it might well be that I will have the time to write the book that I have been planning to write ever since I retired from the peloton as a rider."

Holm added his own commentary to the events in Spain that are unfolding these days. "I have naturally been following along with the Vuelta. There have been a number of crashes, and many of them have involved the Spanish riders. They will never become cycling acrobats. Many Italians, Frenchmen and Dutch also ride dangerously, but they can control it. By contrast, it doesn't take too much cross-wind or pushing before the Spanish riders completely lose perspective."

Meanwhile, Peter Meinert-Nielsen of the US Postal team hurt a rib after a jetskiing accident at 80 kph across a wave with friend and Acceptcard manager Brian Holm last week. No serious inujry to Meinert although Holm broke a toe. (Additional reporting by Janno Toots)

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