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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, July 26, 2013

Date published:
July 26, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Blijlevens leaves Belkin over 1998 Tour de France EPO evidence

    Jeroen Blijlevens wins a stage of the 1998 Tour de France
    Article published:
    July 25, 2013, 17:00 BST
    José Been

    Retired Dutch pro confesses to doping

    Jeroen Blijlevens and the Belkin Pro Cycling team have ended their association. The 41-year old sports director was named on Wednesday in the French Senate’s inquiry as one of the riders from the 1998 Tour de France whose doping control samples indicated EPO use. The team’s press officer told Cyclingnews yesterday that they would talk with Blijlevens shortly. Today it was announced they will part ways immediately.

    Belkin Pro Cycling’s management regrets that Blijlevens didn’t take the opportunity to confess before the 1st of April. Riders and staff of, then-Blanco, Vacansoleil-DCM and Argos-Shimano had the possiblity to confess to doping and get a six month suspension and loss of three months wages. Blijlevens didn’t use this opportunity and answered the four questions negatively.

    The former sprinter wrote an open letter today expaining his decisions in the 1990s and the reason why he kept silent during the 2013 doping inquiry. “It was difficult to admit that you had used doping. And I also took into account what it would mean to me to be without a job for six months.”

    The Blanco Pro Cycling Team, formerly Rabobank, was still busy looking for a sponsor in Spring of this year. To Blijlevens this was also a factor to take into account. “The team was looking for a sponsor and it was still unsure if there would be a team in 2014. If I were suspended, it meant I could only do my job for three months in 2013. I decided to start working and prove myself. If there already would have been a sponsor untill 2015 I might have taken another decision."

    Blijlevens paints a familiar picture of the professional cycling scene in the 1990s....

  • O'Grady EPO use a reflection of cycling at the time, says Legeay

    Australian Stuart O'Grady pulled on the maillot jaune in the 2001 Tour after a breakaway
    Article published:
    July 25, 2013, 18:44 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Former GAN manager on "a black period for cycling"

    Former GAN manager Roger Legeay has expressed his disappointment at the news that Stuart O’Grady used EPO ahead of the 1998 Tour de France but said that the Australian’s story is simply indicative of the general state of cycling at the time.

    A French Senate Commission report on doping released on Wednesday included a list of retrospective tests carried out on samples from the 1998 Tour, with O’Grady and GAN teammate Frédéric Moncassin both named as having returned suspect samples.

    O’Grady suddenly announced his retirement from cycling on Monday and confessed to doping in an interview with the Herald Sun on Wednesday. He claimed that he had sourced and purchased EPO himself ahead of the 1998 Tour, where he held the yellow jersey and won a stage as a 24-year-old, but never doped again after news of the Festina affair broke during the race.

    “It’s surprising and disappointing but it was the boy’s own personal initiative,” Legeay told Cyclingnews. “The riders were warned about the dangers and told what they couldn’t do. After that, the riders took their own individual decisions. It demonstrates how things were not good at the time.”

    Legeay, who is now head of the MPCC (Movement for Credible Cycling), denied that there was an organised doping programme in place on his team, which he managed from 1986 to 2008 under the sponsorship of Peugeot, Z, GAN and Crédit Agricole.

    “No, I didn’t know anything at all and you can see that from what the riders are saying now – they did these things on an individual basis. These were...

  • NetApp-Endura riders eager for climbs in Tour of Poland

    Bartosz Huzarski (NetApp-Endura) at Tirreno-Adriatico
    Article published:
    July 25, 2013, 20:35 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Huzarski, König looking forward to team's Vuelta a Espana debut

    Team NetApp-Endura is looking forward not only to the Vuelta a Espana but also the Tour of Poland, and none more so than Polish rider Bartosz Huzarski. Leo König, of the Czech Republic is eagerly anticipating his first grand tour, starting in one month.

    “We are really proud to start in the Tour of Poland. For me it is a pretty important race,” Huzarski told Cyclingnews from the team's training camp in Italy. “It is the biggest race in Poland and for Polish riders. I would like to do my best, so I hope everything goes will and it will be a good week.”

    The 32-year-old is a good climber who in fact won the mountains jersey in the race in 2005 and 2006 whilst riding for the Polish Professional Continental team Mroz/Intel-Action. However, he is not looking forward to the opening stages in Italy, which start right out with major climbing. He prefers the shorter steeper climbs which come later.

    “The problem is that the first stages are are a bit long for me. The stages in Poland i know really good, they are hilly but not so long climbs as those in Italy. I would like to try to maybe win a stage and I hope my legs are good enough.”

    From there Huzarski hopes to start in the Vuelta a Espana, for which the team has a wildcard invitation. “I hope I will go there. It would be great to start. It would be my first time in the Vuelta and it has always been my dream to ride the Vuelta.” And with “lots of short climbs, I hope to do well.”

    König missed out on the team's Grand Tour debut, the Giro d'Italia, last spring due to back problems. “I'm still dreaming of a Grand Tour. It didn't work out in...

  • White defends Vance report after O'Grady's doping confession

    Shayne Bannan and Matt White are pleased with Orica-GreenEdge's Tour de France.
    Article published:
    July 25, 2013, 23:45 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Calls on governing bodies to draw a line

    Matt White has defended Nicki Vance's report into the anti-doping policies at Orica-GreenEdge after Stuart O'Grady admitted to taking EPO earlier in his career. The revelation, which came hours after the French Senate announced that the Australian was among a clutch of riders who tested positive during the 1998 Tour, raised questions over the strength of Vance's report which came out in June of this year.

    "In her report she even states that under the current climate there's no groundwork laid by the UCI or anyone else to tell truth. At the end of the day people saw how I was treated, especially in the Australian media after telling the truth. Obviously people went to ground and they've been lying for a long time and they felt that they needed to continue to lie because no one was offering them a pathway to come forward to tell the truth. That still hasn't occurred, has it?"

    White was forced to step down from his role at GreenEdge last year after he was named in USADA's report into doping at US Postal. He also lost his job with Cycling Australia and was handed a six month suspension. He said he cooperated fully with Australian anti-doping authorities and also with Vance, served his suspension and was re-instated in his role at Orica-GreenEdge under one year probation.

    Despite the initial acceptance of Vance's report and her recommendations, O'Grady's confession suggests that her remit was perhaps limited. However White suggests that the sport's governing bodies should have done more to support riders.

    "You can...

  • First wave of UCI World CyclingTour results published

    Riders in the finishing straight.
    Article published:
    July 26, 2013, 8:46 BST
    Cycling News

    Events lead up to world championships

    After six rounds of qualifying the results from the first wave of UCI World CyclingTour events have been published. The qualifying events lead up to the world championships, which take place later this year.

    “We have thirteen qualifying events spread all over the world across different continents. If there’s road race then the first 25 per cent over the line per age category will qualify for the world championships. If there’s a time trial then the first 50 per cent qualify,” said UCI World CyclingTour coordinator Erwin Vervecken.

    To find out where the next rounds of qualifying take place, click here.


    Gran Fondo Saint Tropez (France), 7 April 2013


    Road races

    30-34 Mary Harries (France)
    35-39 Stephanie Gros (France)
    40-44 Karine Saysset (France)

    16-29 Martin Kelderman (Netherlands)
    30-34 Philippe Legros (France)
    35-39 David De Vecchi (France)
    40-44 Frederic Ostian (France)
    45-49 Patrick Fiorentino (France)
    50-54 Christian Gratiot (France)
    55-59 Serge Giorgalla (France)
    60-64 Michel Moggia (France)
    65+ Jean Claude Vecrin (France)

    UWCT Perth (Australia), 12-14 April 2013

    Time Trial

    16-29 Emily Mcredmond (Australia)
    30-34 Christina Ladyman (Australia)
    35-39 Amanda Nabi (Australia)
    40-44 Lisa Hanley (Australia)
    45-49 Mary-Anne Elkington (Australia)
    50-54 Elizabeth Nathan (Australia)
    55-59 Jennifer Sammons (Australia)
    65+ Liz Randall (Australia)

    16-29 Brendon Meney (Australia)
    30-34 Carlos De Oliveira (Australia)
    35-39 Rob Carlisle (Australia)
    40-44 Matt Dec (Australia)
    45-49 Andrew Patten...

  • Omega Pharma-QuickStep supports Steels

    Tom Steels joined in on the fun
    Article published:
    July 26, 2013, 9:28 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian was on “suspicious” list from 1998 Tour de France

    Tom Steels will keep his job with Omega Pharma-QuickStep, despite appearing on the “suspicious” list for having used EPO at the 1998 Tour de France. “We unreservedly support Tom,” said team boss Patrick Lefevere.

    Lefevere criticized the French Senate's report, which was was issued on Wednesday and listed “positive” and suspicious” riders from the 1998 and 1999 Tours. “Should a country with such high unemployment spend its money on this?” he told Het Nieuwsblad.

    In stating his support for Steels, who is a sports director and trainer for the team,  Lefevere said “Is there no more benefit of the doubt?”

    Other involved have not been so lucky. Jeroen Blijlevens was released yesterday by Team Belkin, after his name appeared n the positive list, and Abraham Olano lost his position as technical director of the Vuelta a España. Stuart O'Grady also has been removed from seat on the athletes committee of the Australian Olympic Committee.

  • Parting company with Olano a necessity, says Vuelta a España organisation

    1998 Vuelta winner Abraham Olano made an appearance during stage five.
    Article published:
    July 26, 2013, 10:11 BST
    Cycling News

    Olano fired due to 1998 Tour de France positive

    Vuelta a España organiser Unipublic has issued a statement to explain the rationale behind its decision to remove Abraham Olano from his role as technical director, describing it as “an inescapable necessity.”

    Olano was one of 18 riders listed in a French Senate Commission report on Wednesday as having testing positive for EPO when samples from the 1998 Tour de France were retrospectively analysed for research purposes in 2004.

    "Unipublic has seen the inescapable necessity of ending the working relationship maintained over the years with the technical director of the Vuelta, Mr. Abraham Olano Manzano," read the statement.

    "This decision does not prejudice the actions or responsibilities of Mr. Abraham Olano as to the allegations made against him, but is based solely on the information that has been revealed."

    Unipublic described itself as being "firmly against any possible infraction of anti-doping regulations, showing in a public and continuous manner the maximum commitment to the fight against doping” and said that it was up to Olano to clarify the matter.

    "We believe it is Abraham Olano himself who can, with serenity, shed light on this issue and clarify the allegations that have been made against him. We hope and wish that Abraham Olano can solve this situation as soon as possible."

    Olano, who won the Vuelta in 1998 while racing for Banesto, issued a statement on Thursday claiming that he was always "under the control and custody of the team and its medical service. I absolutely do not consider myself guilty."

    Following his dismissal by Unipublic, Olano speculated that the decision had been due in part to the...

  • Argos-Shimano release long list for Vuelta a España

    The Argos Shimano team
    Article published:
    July 26, 2013, 11:13 BST
    Cycling News

    No Degenkolb in Spain in 2013

    Argos-Shimano has released its 12 rider pre-selection for the upcoming Vuelta a España. John Degenkolb, who last year dominated the sprints in race, will not participate this time around.

    As always, the team will have its eye on the sprint stages, but will also look to the many climbing stages. Neither of the team's top sprinters, Degenkolb or Marcel Kittel, will ride this year, as both were in the Tour de france.

    “We have a very diverse pre-selection, with all kinds of riders in the team. We are chasing stage success with a strong selection that includes young riders who will be getting their first Grand Tour experience. All the riders will be very eager to show their specialty during the race and to contribute to the team’s success,” said coach Christian Guiberteau on the team's website.

    The team will send may young riders to the race, said general manager Iwan Spekenbrink. “Our young talents have developed very well this year and have showed their potential, so they deserve the Vuelta a España selection. Their selection is for the present and the future: they will contribute to the team’s performance, and the Vuelta will support their further development.”

    Pre-selection: Nikias Arndt (Ger), Warren Barguil (Fra), Will Clarke (Aus), Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger), Thierry Hupond (Fra), Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA), Koen de Kort (Ned), François Parisien (Can), Tom Peterson (USA), Georg Preidler (Aut), Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned), Tom Stamsnijder (Ned).